Saturday, December 08, 2007

Michael Andrew Frank Archives 1993

magician, originally uploaded by sieWee.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Archive Video • Click Here

Colorful Clouds After Rain, originally uploaded by Solsonic.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Magician sues over cartoon Jesus

Metrano claims Family Guy stole his act


Family Guy is being sued again, this time by a spoof magician who claims the show stole his act – and gave it to Jesus.
Seventies entertainer Art Metrano claims the cartoon ripped off his deliberately rubbish tricks in a scene showing how Christ’s miracles had been overstated.

The animated comedy then cut to Jesus performing an act Metrano’s lawsuit says is ‘identical in music, sound and action’ to his own.

Metrano, who played Captain Mauser in two of the Police Academy films, wants more than $2 million in damages for each of four alleged infringements of copyright and other rights, plus unspecified punitive damages.

Here’s his act:

And here’s the Family Guy clip:

Earlier in the year, veteran comedian Carol Burnett launched a similar lawsuit over a parody of her act in the show, but it was thrown out by a federal judge.

Incidentally, Art Metrano’s own website plays the A-Team theme tune, with no acknowledgement of the music’s copyright holders.


Ray-Mond, originally uploaded by Carroll Arts Center.


Ray-Mond, originally uploaded by Carroll Arts Center.

More BS

Nice days on the west coast. Work continues to be weak. I can’t make it happen if it’s not there. I’m sure holiday traffic will start at some point, I’m just getting impatient.

Evenings ending early, leaving me wondering if I should stay longer for chump change or spend some time in the evening with my sweetie. Bottom line is, I know when the money is there and I make it happen. If it’s not there, I grope on my girl. Not a bad plan, if I do say so myself.

I enjoy my time at the City Walk and the rest of my time doing as little as possible. I watch lots of movies, plenty of football, take nice cigar walks on the beach and have mastered the art of chill’en.

I think about a lot of things like the role of passion in ones life. I’m lucky in that department. No shortage of passion in my life. My life is my art and my art is my life. I’m like a big 3D collage of expression, experiences and just enough pain to make things interesting.

Life is good. I went to Santa Monica the other day for a walk. Walking on the beach for me is like hitting a reset button in my brain. Hearing the waves crash and feeling the sand between my toes as I walk makes me feel like a little kid. I walk and think about my life. I walk and fill my heart will good thoughts and feelings.

Tonight I look forward to going to work and making as many people as possible happy. I never get tired of that look in peoples eyes when they feel the magic.

Another fine day wasted away in the pursuit of relaxation. I like it best that way. Gives me plenty of energy for the work I need to do tonight. It has to be better than the last two evenings . . . . I hope.

Writers Strike Continues

30 Days of Strike: The Month In Review

By Peter Clines

For many of us, the past month has been a whirlwind of picketing, news reports, and negotiating-room hearsay. With the flood of information available, a fair share of rumors have been treated as fact while other, more relevant stories were all but ignored. As the strike hits the ominous 30-day mark, Creative Screenwriting re-examines some of the major events of the past four weeks, including a few that probably didn't receive all the press they should have.

Monday, Nov. 5-Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) go on strike and begin to picket studios after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) walk out of negotiations the night before, claiming a lack of faith. The picket lines are immediately joined by members of the Teamsters and the Screen Actors Guild. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards all pledge their support.

Nov. 6-Production shuts down on the hit sitcom The Office after lead actor Steve Carell refuses to cross a picket line. Ellen DeGeneres returns to work on her talk show and receives scathing criticism from the WGA and strike supporters.

Nov. 7-Fox fires many writing assistants and associated staff from struck shows. The network also announces the indefinite postponement of season seven of 24, citing a desire to give the show "its standard uninterrupted run" when it does air. Desperate Housewives and Law & Order: SVU also cease production due to lack of scripts.

Nov. 9-The WGA stages a rally at Fox studios, and over 4,000 writers and supporters show up. Speakers include WGA President Patric Verrone and Family Guy creator/showrunner Seth McFarlane. McFarlane compares the earlier firing of his staff to an abusive parent slapping a helpless child and saying, "Look what you made me do!"

Nov. 10-In New York, Broadway stage hands go on strike, closing over two-dozen theatrical shows, including The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Monday, Nov. 12-The "Voices of Uncertainty" video appears on YouTube, showing news interview clips of Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch, and other media moguls proudly announcing how much money they are making and will continue to make off digital revenues. Also on this day, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) sends letters to Variety and Deadline Hollywood asking that the AMPTP not be referred to as "producers" in future reporting. NBC fires the entire staff and crew of The Office.

Nov. 13-David Letterman announces he will pay all WorldWide Pants employees on The Late Show and The Late Late Show out of his own pocket through the rest of the year, even though production has shut down.

Nov. 14-A poll conducted by Pepperdyne University shows that 69% of the public supports the writers. Support for the AMPTP comes in at 4%. A similar poll by SurveyUSA shows writer support at 63%.

Nov. 15-Singer Garth Brooks cancels a scheduled appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in support of the strike. Production shuts down on The Bionic Woman, one of several shows kept on the air despite sagging ratings.

Nov. 16-Both sides announce that they will resume negotiations after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This same day, production is pushed indefinitely on Ron Howard's Angels & Demons (a prequel to The DaVinci Code) due to script issues. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman is on picket lines.

Monday, Nov. 19-Several media buyers (the folks who buy advertising time from television networks) announce the possibility of asking for refunds or renegotiations if the strike continues into the next month and affects the second financial quarter. On this same day, CBS news writers vote to authorize a strike, although one is not called. Production is also pushed indefinitely on Johnny Depp's passion project Shantaram, with a screenplay by Eric Roth, and on the Weinstein Company's Nine, being adapted by Michael Tolkin. Both films claim unresolved script issues as the reason for the delay.

Nov. 20-The WGA stages a march down Hollywood Blvd., starting at Ivar and ending at the legendary Chinese Theatre. Singer Alicia Keys performs at the start of the rally. The screenwriters are joined again by actors and Teamsters, along with members of the Service Employees International Union and the California Nurses Association. Estimates again put attendance at over 4,000.

Nov. 21-Picketing ends for the long holiday weekend. Brad Pitt bows out of Universal's State of Play, claiming the script by Matthew Michael Carnahan is not ready to shoot. Carnahan is unavailable for rewrites because of the strike.

Nov. 22-Thanksgiving Day. The first of the "Speechless" videos appears on the web, a series of public service announcements conceived by director George Hickenlooper (Factory Girl) and screenwriter Alan Sereboff (Snowblind), hoping to show the public the vital importance of writers in the creative filmmaking process.

Monday, Nov. 26-Strike talks finally resume under a media blackout. On this same day, NBC announces a deal with Netflix to offer episodes of hit shows like 30 Rock, The Office, and Friday Night Lights the day after they air via the "Watch Now" online service.

Nov. 27-Late-late night talk show host Carson Daly crosses picket lines and returns to work despite harsh criticism from the WGA and supporters. He claims he has supported the strike for three weeks and now must support his staff.

Nov. 28-Democrats cancel a televised presidential debate on CBS, scheduled for December 10th, when the candidates announce they will not cross possible picket lines. At the negotiating table, the WGA presents their latest offer for a contract, complete with an economic breakdown of what it would cost on a per-studio basis.

Nov. 29-Conan O'Brien announces he is paying his staff members out of his own pocket, even though production on Late Night has been shut down. After three days of pushing their pre-strike deal and conditions, the AMPTP finally presents a new set of offers, which the WGA refers to as "a massive rollback."

Nov. 30-The Broadway strike ends after less than three weeks. Theatrical producers stress that the important matter was always reaching a mutually agreeable compromise and getting the shows up and running again as quickly as possible.

Monday, Dec. 3-Twentieth Century Fox prepares to close a deal that will make its films available on iTunes, one of the main conditions being that Apple must raise prices. On this same day, the last new episode of Heroes airs on television with a somewhat truncated ending written before the strike by creator Tim Kring so fans could have some closure. During commercials, as always, NBC urges fans to watch whole episodes online at the network website.

Dec. 4-The summer blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is released on DVD. If it does as well as Dead Man's Chest (which had almost $5 million in sales its first day on the shelves), long-time Pirates scribes Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio can expect a little less than $6,700 in writing residuals under the current system.

With the holidays closing in fast, it can only be expected that both sides will be even more active in the month to come. And yet, Creative Screenwriting still hopes there will be no need for a second recap at the start of next month.


Fat and lazy, my day is hazy

Tunes cranked up, found a VHS tape in the garage. Brought it inside and popped it in the player. LIVE RUST, classic Neil. . . the stuff I listened to back in the day.

boxes of crap, a box with an old passport in it. Back when his name was Buster. His social security card in it. Buster Thomas Frank. I love that kid and miss him a lot. We haven’t spoken in a year at this point. Despite weekly attempts to communicate with him, it’s clear that he wants nothing to do with me. Sound familiar? They say history repeats itself, well; in my case it has so many times, you would think I would get the picture.

Sedan Delivery at FULL volume, singing along with the tape. Rock’en out in the valley, right on. Powder Finger, like an old friend. The music of my misguided youth. Has to be loud.

Blank stares from strangers
stopped to watch just because

Trying to connect
wanting things to make sense

Need to escape
in a cloud of cigar smoke

Pumping gas at the corner station
always wanted life to feel like a vacation

Moronic ramblings in the early afternoon. I tell myself I want to write more, expand a little. What’s stopping me? At times I feel like I have some things to say. Not sure where my life is heading, but that’s OK. Ebb and flow baby, it’s all a part of life.

I don’t operate in the real world. I feel very lucky to be a highly functioning idiot. In my world, the good guys win and it’s entirely ok to break into song and dance.

Quartez the Killer, I used to use the instrumental intro for my zombie routine as a kid. I was in a teen contest once at Bill Brewe’s Magic Shop. The curtains open, my music starts, I start to float the ball when it all of a sudden it falls to the ground with a crash and breaks in half. Great way to start out in a competition.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Video du Jour • Click Here

Phenomenon-Something Sweet

Mike Super Interview

1) What were you feeling when you heard your named announced as the new Phenomenon?

When they announced my name it was very surreal... Even now I still don't believe it! All I remember is feeling relief that I wasn't voted off, and then a huge wave of happy sadness because I know my parents would've been so proud!! It was all I could do to keep it together. I remember thinking in my head, I'll replay this for the rest of my life.

2) The illusion with the money and newspaper was really unique. Where do you look for inspiration when coming up with fresh ideas?

The money and newspaper illusion came to be, because I was really striving to do a wide range of material on the show. I wanted all of my routines to be completely different. The biggest obstacle on the show was PROVING that everything was truly random. The live audience knows, but you must do things in such a way that the TV audience KNOWS it's random as well. So thats why i used the wind chamber to swirl the bills...because there's no way to control that...

AND that's why I used the prediction IN the USA Today. They hold it in their hands and know it couldn't be changed. So that was my primary inspiration for the dollar routine.

3) Do you believe in true paranormal or "mentalist" abilities?

Being a Christian, I absolutely believe in the spiritual side of life. I'd NEVER say it isn't possible, that God would bestow a special gift to a person. I also DO believe a bit in the paranormal, because my faith dictates I must. However, I believe they both have VERY rare manifestations in our world. I am by nature, very skeptical and think that most of the time everything can be explained thru natural means of deception. So you could say I'm a bit of a walking contradiction. I do, however, believe that my appearance on the show was an amazing example of how God works... I found out I got the show on what would've been my mother's birthday...and I was fortunate enough to win on what would've been my father's birthday! There's no way that's just coincidence!

4) If you could do one thing differently on the show, what would it be?

Absolutely nothing. My main goal was to remain true to who I was and be myself... I can honestly say I did that. So overall, even if I would've been voted off, I was happy with my material choices and my personality. That said, I'm VERY critical about myself and my performances... it's honestly hard for me to watch myself. I believe you can always improve your performance, no matter how much stage time you have.

5) What was your favorite, and least favorite, thing about being on Phenomenon?

My favorite thing about Phenomenon is two fold. In order they are, I made lifelong friends with the cast and the crew, and I got to reach MILLIONS of people with my performances! The cast and crew are now legitimately a part of my life and I'm really thankful for that. It was something I wasn't expecting. From the executive producers down to the cast, EVERYONE was down to earth and we became an all around family! The contestants even helped each other!!! Keep in mind this was a competition. It was a blessing to be involved in this show simply because of the people I've met and can now call my friends.

6) What's next for you?

This show has been amazing for my career... I owe the Executive Producers, Suzy, Michael, and Dwight a debt of gratitude I'll never be able to repay. I have several offers for my own TV show, I'm also currently working on a possible Vegas deal. I've even been offered some small movie parts which I'd love to do as well! But for right now, I'll definitely be pursuing my own magic series on TV...I have a concept that is completely fresh and has never been done. I'm REALLY excited about it! I'll also be touring City Theaters and Performing Arts Centers around the US, so I hope everyone that watched the show comes out and sees more of what I do! I'd like to thank my family, friends and EVERY person that voted and supported me throughout the show! My fans, old and new have been amazing! I love them all and if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be where I am today!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

1937 Magician Mickey, originally uploaded by Marklaro72.

Video du Jour • TF C & B's • Click Here