Current Affairs

SAG Awards: Actors Honoring Actors!!

Screen-actors-guild-awards-2010-winners Being a performer and union member myself, I love Acting Awards - especially when we keep it in the family.

And I am pleased that once again, there is talk about combining SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) into one Actors Union...It's about time, don't ya think? I'm all for it.

And now, in order of appearance:

Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series:
Steve Buscemi, BOARDWALK EMPIRE
He was so nervous about being the first award of the night, it was cute! And although I didn't expect it, I really wanted Hugh Laurie to get his due for HOUSE...maybe next year?

Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series:
(My personal pick!) Julianna Margulies, THE GOOD WIFE
She was so stunning and gracious, in her red dress (My favorite color). The best part was her thanking her in-laws for producing the most beautiful human being...her husband. "Life is just better with you in it Keith." I love romance.

Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series:
The Cast of BOARDWALK EMPIRE
Steve Buscemi did the talking but he didn't know what to say...he left his napkin with his speech on his table. This win is no surprise but I was routing for THE GOOD WIFE!

Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Melissa Leo, THE FIGHTER
When she got to the podium she was crying. She's better when someone else writes her words or clothes her... so she says. But I thought she did great and the silver sparkle dress she wore was amazing.
But, what I want to know is why wasn't Dianne Weist nominated for RABBIT HOLE? Hello?

Outstanding Male Actor in a Comedy Series:
Alec Baldwin, 30 ROCK
What a disappointment. Chris Colfer deserved this one.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series:
Betty White, HOT IN CLEVELAND
Who doesn't love a sweet, funny, old lady? She's 89 year old. And she got a well deserved standing ovation as she walked the long way to the podium. Why would they put any nominee, especially an old one, in the back? I don't understand that, but I'm glad she won!!

Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy Series:
The Cast of MODERN FAMILY
Yay! How fun is this show??? SO fun!! Ty Burrell spoke for the show and they were so happy. It is truly an ensemble piece. 

Screen Actors Guild Awards 47th Annual Life Achievement Award:
Ernest Borgnine, who just turned 94 years old.
He's done 164 films so far. He's so cute. I think he and Betty White should hook up! To all the actors, he said, "We are a privileged few who have been chosen to work in this field of entertainment."  And it is a privilege!

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Al Pacino, YOU DON'T KNOW JACK
Good job...unfortunately he was not there to accept the award.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Claire Danes, TEMPLE GRANDIN
So awesome that she gave credit for her performance to her fellow cast members. Just lovely.

Outstanding Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Christian Bale, THE FIGHTER
I picked him...who wouldn't! He's hot. Plus, he appreciates the gift of being an actor. "We get to walk in other peoples shoes, and life without empathy is no life at all."

Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Natalie Portman, BLACK SWAN
We all knew she was the front runner... and she going to be a mom. It's almost like she's grown up.

Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role:
Colin Firth, THE KING'S SPEECH
I think he might take all the awards for this category this year. But this award is the one that really matters to him because it was getting his SAG card that made him feel like a real actor!

Outstanding Ensemble Acting:
THE KINGS SPEECH
I was surprised. I really saw the cast of the SOCIAL NETWORK as the best ensemble. But everyone is always more moved by a story of over coming than taking over. Oh well - good for them.

Ok, so my question is why don't they air the winners for the Stunt Ensembles? That's not right, they're part of our union too!! Why don't they get any air time? I guess they were just the warm up act... to the main ceremony.

The stunt performers and coordinators from INCEPTION and TRUE BLOOD received honors for Outstanding Performance by Film and Television Stunt Ensembles. SAG Awards committee chair, JoBeth Williams, and SAG president, Ken Howard, announced the awards on the Red Carpet.

Thank you Actors and the Screen Actors Guild for giving all of us the chance to dream, feel and experience things we never would, if it wasn't for the movies...and TV!



9-11: it still hurts

9_11-memorial-flowers I didn't post on the anniversary date of the attacks. But instead, I watched as mourners put flowers in the memorial and the names of the victims were read, one by one.

There were 4 moments of silence in New York, one to mark the time each building was hit and one at each moment when each building fell. I thought about not only my City but of the victims at the Pentagon and the heroic victims in Pennsylvania.

I did not lose anyone personal in the attacks and I was out of range of the planes myself. But - as it is with most Americans - the tragedy and the fear that took our nation that fateful September day still hurts. And remembering that both hurts and warms my heart.

It hurts my heart, because we should be able to go about our day without experiencing the fear and loss of being attacked out of no where - that fear will remain with us forever. And we grieve the loss of a safe world, the loss of those who will now grow up without a parent, spouse or child because of the anger of others who were misguided as they crashed our planes into buildings. As Americans, we thought we were somehow immune to this kind of terrorism. But we are not. Even 9 years after that sunny Tuesday in September of 2001, we remain diligent in our watch so we can feel at least the illusion that if we watch our backs we'll be safer. 

And, it warms my heart because out of this came an appreciation for each other as vulnerable fellow human beings. Along with this, a tenderness toward those who had personal losses, loss of hope, and for those who risked and lost their lives coming together to try to help others; this tenderness towards others is now part of who we are, drilled into our collective psyche with a violence from which we could either run or embrace.

911 They say that by 2011 (Ten years after the attacks) we will have a memorial and office buildings built up on the grave-site of our heros and victims where the Twin Tower once stood. But for now, in New York we have the lights. They illuminate our skyline honoring the dead and igniting optimism for a safer, better future. 


 


Healthcare Reform...Red Style!

RED NURSE
Everyone is sick of healthcare... get the irony!?! 

So...let Me take your vital signs...are you feeling anything? (wink, wink)

I have to be honest with you, with all the talk over the past year, and especially last month, about healthcare reform - I don't really understand what it is, what was decided, or who benefits from it -- or if it's really going to make anyone more healthy here in our great country.

Apparently, it's all very interesting (and by interesting, I mean boring), but it's really health insurance reform - lowering insurance premiums, and taxes related to medical costs, etc. etc. The government has a vlog that you can check to get all the latest updates on the new healthcare program.

RED NURSE 2On their site, they review such issues as how the new bill will create new consumer friendly health care and affordable health coverage. It'll impact health insurance for the individual, family and business by reducing premiums and creating a new competitive health insurance market; and how it will make criminals out of insurance companies who deny coverage based on preexisting medical problems.  Most insurance companies may not turn out to be criminals... but they are (under this new act) required to stop with the arbitrary increases in premiums.

But I think the videos on their site would have captured the audience attention more if they were in the form of a music video - like MTV...(stay tuned to Red's World for upcoming music videos by Red)

One thing I know for sure is that if I'd been elected President, there would have been some real reform - because I would have taken your "health" into my hands and take a very personal interest in it. That's right, Red would have taken care of you... It's more fun that way.

After all a "healthy" life is a fun life!


Winning Hearts, Minds and Medals at the 2010 Olympics

Red and Johnny Weir win hearts, minds and medals at the 2010 Olympics with thier stunning performance of "Fire and Ice" in the New Figure Skating event: The Perfection Skate Competition.

Fire and Ice

When Johnny Weir was scandalously underscored for his brilliant performance of "Fallen Angel" in the Men's Figure Skating Competition (putting him in 6th place for that event), something unexpected occured. Never discouraged, Johnny spontaneously decided to partner with Red for in a combination that was spell binding. JohnnyWeir

Thier chemistry, freedom and magic was palpable as they skated their way to Gold, being the first American skating pair to win in Perfection Skating.

 

 

 

 

The new Olympic Event came into being,spontaneously, as a result of audience demands for perfection on ice.

RedS

And who better to embody the essence of this sport than these two representatives of perfection? Judges and audience alike, were mesmerized by Red and Johnny in every way.

It appears that these two shining stars were destined for Gold. 


Salt This! New York Health Department: An Open Response

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm on a salt crusade and anyone who wants to join me is more than welcome. If you don't like salt, or want it banished from your plate, that's your choice. But you have to agree that we all have the right to eat what and how we want. It's like the first amendment right to freedom of speech - only it's about freedom to eat.

But New York City Heath Department is now trying to take that right away by trying to control how much salt we eat -- whether we are eating out at restaurants or at home. Who are these people? Why the need to exercise supremacy over others? Tell me...what happened to freedom of choice in this country? It's getting more and more difficult to live decadently and I live in the City of decadence (well, one of them).

The New York City Health Department is asking the food industry to voluntarily lower salt in their products over the next five years. Their goal is to decrease salt level by 25% - TWENTY FIVE Percent! Ouch! And they have this inane idea that if they decrease it slowly over time, people's palates will adjust, get used to the lack of flavor, and won't notice that their food doesn't taste good anymore. That's ridiculous! What do they take us for - idiots? (That's a rhetorical question... of course they do and, unfortunately, many of us are.)

We've been here before:

Seriously, the idea is that it's somehow more healthy to eat less salt? People will believe anything! Don't they know that decades ago they were telling people not to eat so much pepper? That pepper produces hardening of the arteries and liver damage - In fact, it's six times as active as gin in producing cirrhosis of the liver. But there is no way we're going back to the days of prohibition. So, gin and pepper stay! 

It's not trendy to reduce pepper (or gin) in people's diet, not anymore. Now, it's much more popular to focus on salt as the evil. But does it really seem right to blame death and destruction on a natural substance like salt? Isn't it worse to put synthetic things in our system? Not according to the Health Department. What arrogance to think that we can do better than nature at providing good preservatives and flavor enhancers!

Many people buy into the idea that salt causes high blood pressure, heart problems or whatever the current rhetoric is; fear tactics that have little base in reality. What they consider healthy eating is, incidentally, not necessarily accurate. The truth is we need salt to live. Creating a salt deficiency is unsafe. But the Health Department thinks we're so stupid that we will believe anything they claim and, with this, they attempt to "handle" us.

They claim that people get 80% of their salt intake from the way the food is cooked or packaged not from table salt...well, they've never sat at a table where I'm eating. I grew up on processed food and have used (what would be considered by their standards to be excessive amounts of) table salt on that food - all my life...and guess what? I have LOW blood pressure. If I ate less salt, my blood would simply stop pumping and that would be a tragedy. I could die. So stop the silliness and let us eat food we like and need. Let us determine what's healthy for our own bodies. And, quite honestly, if it does kills us - which it won't - isn't that our choice? I'd rather die of salty food than a flavorless life.

Oh, and then, one of the worst arguments comes from Dr.Thomas Farley (New York City Health Commissioner) who said, “Consumers can always add salt to food, but they can’t take it out,” True, you can always add salt - and I do. But has he ever tasted food that was not prepared with enough salt and then tried to add enough salt to it after preparation? It never works right - the food always just tastes bland or weird. You try this and you'll see what I'm talking about.

And think of the cost to the food industry to implement such a feat...taste testing and recipe changing takes time and money. Who will bare the cost of this? Us - the consumer! We will have to pay more for food that is not delicious.

I know some people who have been wooed by the Health Department's claims and are trying to lower their salt intake. These people will not be impacted by this "out with the sodium" incentive.

 

Again, my argument is:

We should have choice - about lifestyle, about beliefs and about food!

People can currently buy less-salty packaged food goods and low-sodium menu items if they choose to now. So why force all of us to do that? I mean, I'm not going to make you eat your vegetables, and I certainly won't eat them. But I will, absolutely, fight for your right to eat them, no matter what anyone else thinks!

What's a sodium deficient girl, like me, to do?
...Start a salt crusade! Join me in maintaining our right to be salty.

Click here to go to our facebook SOS (Save Our Salt) group - let's change the world

Kisses,
Red


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Chicken Little may be right

So sometime today (October 9, 2009), between the 9:00am and Noon (Eastern Time) America is bombing the moon. It's some sort of search for water, it's a scientific discovery, it's about exploration ...but I'm stuck on - we're bombing the moon.

Anyway, i thought I should give you a "heads up" as the fall-out (literally what and how far it will fall from the sky) is unknown. As are the specifics of the impact of the bombing the on the orbits of the moon or earth or the sun or the universe or the solar system. And honestly, I don't know enough about it to know more than, well, it's quite an undertaking and the potential effects (good or bad) are yet to be determined... I guess you can watch the coverage and see.

But, just in case Chicken Little was right and the sky is falling...I wanted to take a moment to say, thanks for reading my blog!



9-11: The end of the world

Sept 11 attack I remember exactly where I was when the first plane hit the first Tower, then the second, and then the Pentagon, and then the crashing plane in PA. I think everyone who heard about it but wasn't next to it, and perhaps those who were, felt like they were in a dream like state...it simply couldn't be real. 

These attacks, changed how we live - we're now willing, without question, have our  bags searched when riding the subway; we gladly give up the right to carry certain items onto plane flights and we come together to watch and help each other when danger could be close because we understand that we are all potential victims of catastrophe. And we do this all this without question, because the aftermath of 9/11 made us know our own vulnerability and appreciate our strength in ways we never had to before.
September_11_burning  
But it also changed our psych as a people by created a prescient for this kind of tragic human experience in our own back yard. Our children will not grow up in a world that doesn't know a time when the reference "Ground Zero" had nothing to do with the World Trade Centers. They will not know a world without these images. And youths in cities will never know a life without the expectation that it's part of being in the human community to tell someone if you see a suspicious package in order to keep others safe. Or that to have someone search our bags for possible explosives or weapons was once considered a violation of privacy. Or a world where we were the country who's national soil was free from great civilian losses due to international terrorism. For them, living with this is part of life as it's always been. But for those of us who lived through it, it was the end of the world.

After September 11, 2001, I reconnected with people in my life that I'd forgone communication with for one reason or another. I don't think I was alone in feeling that now was the time to honor those throughout my life who had been important to me, no matter what had transpired to separate us. It was a time of feeling helpless, where I would spend my days at the Red Cross, volunteering my time just to feel some sense of usefulness in the healing of a nation. And a time to reevaluate how we treat those we love and those we disagree with.

Tribute_in_Light_Memorial In New York today we remember the what happened in our City. The 9-11 Lights shine brightly into the night where the World Trade Towers once stood, honoring the victims and all of us who were changed by this. It's a day to acknowledge our heroes; both those who, for no other reason than it was their job, lost their lives walking up hundreds of flights of stairs in an attempt to get to those who were trapped; and those civilians who volunteered for the days and weeks that followed, to go through the rubble of ground zero to see if there were any survivors trapped below.

And today I honor all, around the nation and around the world, that did what they could and do what they can to continue to inspire us all to come together united in our strength as people who value life and freedom.


We've Been Here Before...

So, even though I ran for President and lost, I'm not above acknowledging Obama's 100th day as in Office and honoring all that he's done in that short amount of time.

It's true that I'm probably one of the most apolitical people in the world. I take no real interest in politics, or the state of the union, or any issues really (except The Gays). I even proudly exercised my right to NOT VOTE because "I'm not arrogant enough to think that my vote matters," (especially with the archaic Electoral College business!) And, up until now, I really didn't think it mattered who was president. There has been, in my lifetime, too many politics in politics – too much deal making in government - to think that anyone elected is really going to take an interest in what's best for the country, it’s people or represent the voters.

However, since this past election...I'm open to the idea that it actually may matter. In the practical sense, with the checks and balances of our system, the power of the President is limited (as it should be) so what he/she can do, has not changed. In that sense, the position of President is still a figurehead.

But what has change because of the election of Obama, is how that office (and thus our country as a whole) is viewed by Americans and other countries. Since his election, we just look better. Because he is someone who commands respect in an authentic and approachable manner; someone who elicits trust implicitly; and speaks to everyone (not just one group), there seems to be trust for, and pride in, our government instead of secret (or not so secret) suspicion of it.

The bad news is that comedy will suffer as Obama lacks the ability to create the comedic fodder his predecessors provided us with. But I guess we’ll just have to live with that because the atmosphere surrounding that office has changed.

Obama has brought with him, his ideal of hope and the American dream; a belief that anything is possible...a message really resonates with me. So now, for the first time in my lifetime, I’m actually paying attention to political issues. It’s a weird change, I admit. (Some people close to me wonder if I’ve been taken over by aliens.)

Because it’s fun, and because I’m amazed by the excitement that is created as our nation come into a new era, I had to do something to honor my new found openness to politics, the American human experience, and the potential positive political power of the Presidency. So, I put together a video of our times.


It’s my way of saying, “We can feel proud of what we’ve accomplished by changing the face of America.” I believe that if I can…we can. Through song, pictures and video this presentation incorporates changes through the ages. Both now and way back when… Things Change.


Eating Nuts?!?

Nuts eat nuts I know what you're thinking ;)
But I'm actually not talking about those kind of nuts!

Seriously,  I'm talking about peanuts here. And I'm talking seriously about Peanuts

So I was at Grand Central Station yesterday and what did I see? Giant Peanut People handing out free peanuts to passers by! You better believe that peanut industry must be suffering to put on such an elaborate promotion.

Using the tag-line: "Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life,"  The National Peanut Board is trying to make peanuts look good --- or silly.  They even had peanut plants.Nut plant nutman

They're trying so hard to repackage Peanuts as "good for you" instead of a deadly killer. Good luck with that...

By now everyone knows that Stewart Parnell, CEO of Georgia's Peanut Corporation of America (now bankrupt), told his plant manager to send contaminated peanuts out, even though he now is taking the fifth.

His fatal mistake caused at least 9 deaths and hundreds of sick consumers. Over 2100 items were recalled in late January after cases of salmonella had been traced back to peanut products. The largest product recall in history.

I took some nuts... but I didn't eat them. I'm not ready to risk my life just to taste some nuts. But that's just me. However, I did enjoy the costumes!

Nuts

To help consumers identify affected products, FDA has initiated a searchable database of recalled products that is updated daily or as additional recalls are identified. 


SAG Strike Scare: What's going on?

News_logo SAG (Screen Actors Guild) may go on strike and everyone in the film and television industry is up in arms about it. SAG says that AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) won’t give them fair terms on a new contract; and AMPTP says that SAG’s demands are unrealistic. Eveyone in the film/television industry including writers, directors, and crewmembers worry about weather they will have jobs to go to if things aren’t resolved for SAG.

To get you up to speed, here’s a quick overview of course of events that led up to the current SAG strike scare. I also suggest you go to the above links in the first paragraph, for more background.

SAG’s contract with AMPTP expired on July 1, 2008. And AMPTP made it’s last and final offer, with terms that were unacceptable, to SAG. Everyone was reluctant to consider a strike only a few months after the WGA’s strike ended.

Rather than calling for it’s members to vote for strike authorization at that time, SAG continued to work under the expired contract while SAG union leaders continued to try creative ways to keep the negotiations with AMPTP going; including getting a third party federal mediator. Still with no resolution in sight at the end of the mediation process, SAG announced that it would be sending out a strike referendum ballot to SAG members in December.

What this means is that if 75% of SAG voting members vote “Yes”, SAG will have the authorization to strike. It does not mean that SAG will, but it does mean that SAG can strike if no agreement is reached.

The contract is complicated so (to the best of my understanding) I’ve attempted to provide brief, simplified outlines of only 3 of many the issues that remain unresolved at this juncture:

    1. AMPTP wants SAG to eliminate force majeure protections from the contract. This protects Actors when production stops as the result of an “act of God” has been and is one of the most basic protections of a union contract, which has existed since the first SAG contract in 1937.

 

    1. DVDs: Residuals and benefits have not been improved for Actors for 22 years. Because in 1986 video was considered “experimental,” AMPTP only agreed to give Actors 1% of the revenue generated through Video (now DVD) sales with promises to review it once it became a valid vertical for film. DVD sales are currently the biggest revenue source for film/television products. Yet, AMPTA has never increased the Actors’ DVD residuals and benefits. And refuses to do so now.

 

  1. New Media: Over the past few years the use of Internet to watch movies and TV (weather on your computer or on your phone), has become another vital revenue source for these products. SAG wants to get paid and receive residuals for work in this medium.  AMPTP says that it’s still an “experiment,” so they want to keep Internet projects non-union and without residual compensation. AMPTP is ignoring that as technology had improved, how and where we watch our shows has changed. Clearly, this is an issue that SAG cannot ignore. It is not a potential medium for the film industry (as AMPTP argues) but a very current one.

An aside: New Media compensation was also an issue in the WGA (Writers Guild of America) negotiations, one that continues to be problematic. In fact on November 20, 2008, the WGA filed for arbitration against AMPTP for non-compliance with the terms of the contract. AMPTP is not making new media payment to writers or paying the agreed upon residuals for the on-line streaming of television shows.

Because I make my living in the film and television industry, these issues are near and dear to me. But beyond that, I believe that people should be treated fairly in the workplace and receive fair compensation for work performed. I have faith that these are values that most people share and would be willing to fight for. And, I believe that unions are there for a reason, to protect its members from being taken advantage of.

I believe that voting “YES” on the SAG strike authorization referendum will give SAG an advantage by creating a stronger base from which to approach AMPTP for a fair contract. For this, power in numbers count.

* BTW, I’ve invited AMPTP and SAG members and IA film crewmembers to join in the discussion here…let’s see who shows up.