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Season of Giving

FishbowlLA Ticket Giveaway: The Comedians of Chelsea Lately*

Greetings loyal Fishbowl readers. It’s holiday time, and we’re feeling the Hanukkah spirit. So all you fans of Chelsea Lately (or of comedy in general) listen up. We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway to see The Comedians of Chelsea Lately perform at Club Nokia on December 16. Ross Mathews, Heather McDonald, Josh Wolf and Jen Kirkman will all be performing.

First five people to email us will get tickets. The show starts at 9. More info here.

*Three of our winners have since told us they can’t make the show. So keep emailing if you’re interested. We have three pairs of tickets left.

Legal mumbo jumbo after the jump.

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‘Like’ ABC7 and $1 is Donated to Spark of Love

It’s not often I’ll plug a local promotion, but this one is too good to pass up.

If you “Like” ABC7 on Facebook, $1 will be donated to the Spark of Love Toy Drive, which collects new, unwrapped toys for underserved children in Los Angeles.

Spark of Love collected over 500,00 toys last year for the holidays.

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Sherry Lansing Makes a Very Generous High School Donation

It’s going to be quite the 50th high school reunion next June for former Hollywood studio exec Sherry Lansing (pictured). Thanks to her pledge of $5 million to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, she will be basking in not just the glow of her Fox, Paramount and philanthropic success, but also that of a major financial backer.

Lansing’s donation to the “Laboratory +” $55 million drive will go mainly towards the Sherry Lansing Theatre, a 250-seat auditorium to be used as the primary rehearsal space for the high school’s theater and other peforming arts programs. Per today’s announcement:

“Attending the Lab Schools was one of the most important experiences of my life,” said Lansing. “It shaped my value system. I think what I remember most is that the Lab Schools were a non-judgmental environment, where we were totally free to be ourselves. What was important was academics–not other values that people might think are important, such as social status or how you look.”

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LA Times Expresses Its Condolences to the Greeting Card Industry

In the form of a pair of November 24 posted articles by reporters Rosanna Xia and Jessica Guynn, the LA Times essentially sent the greeting card industry the equivalent of a prank item. Watch out for the carving knife and don’t trip over the bone-chewing dog on your way out, the paper might as well have written.

Turkey doomsday Exhibit A was titled “Internet to Greeting Cards: Sorry for Your Sales Loss”, while Exhibit B came with the equally concerning headline, “New Smartphone Apps Let Users Create and Send Greeting Cards.” However, despite a steep decline in annual U.S. Christmas season greeting cards, there are still a few glimmers of hope. Per Xia’s piece:

“The biggest change we’ve noticed is that more people are now willing to buy a $3 to $5 paper product online,” said Susan January, president of the Greeting Card Assn. “For a long time, greeting cards were considered a personal tangible experience–people felt like it was a product you had to hold and choose in person. You actually had to feel the card.”

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Billboard Celebrates the Bieber Brand

Just how does a 17-year-old kid from Stratford, Ontario get this big, this fast? That’s the still worthwhile industry-side question underpinning Billboard‘s candy-striped cover story by Kerri Mason. The publication calls “Under the Mistletoe,” a Christmas-themed album arriving November 1 that is already responsible for a Facebook app and Bieber’s first-ever number one iTunes single, the singer’s most musically mature work to date.

The first cited explanation comes from Teen Vogue entertainment editor Danielle Nussbaum, and it’s a pretty good, albeit obvious, one. Her take:

Justin Bieber is a pop culture phenomenon, and he got that way through social media. His fans made him famous, and he’s responded in kind by giving them every single piece of himself that he can. He’s created a brand, but also granted his fans a level of access that a lot of musicians just don’t.”

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Here’s Hoping Jerry Lewis Donates Big to His Own Telethon

Heading into Labor Day weekend, there continues to be much written about the absence of Jerry Lewis from the MDA telethon. In an op ed today in the Las Vegas Sun for example, Robin Leach suggests that the lack of a Lewis mention in the last two MDA press releases is “not only downright rude and disgraceful, but also a tragedy.”

Hmmm, that may be overstating it a bit. But we get Leach’s overall point, as echoed by many others. What the heck happened between the MDA and its former celebrity champion to trigger such an ugly, public divorce?

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USC Annenberg Names 2011 Health Journalism Fellows

USC Annenberg just announced the names of its 2011 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellows. Among the projects, OC freelance writer Janet Wilson will get $2,000 to write about environmental issues in Maywood. You may recall the brown tap water in that city from a few years back. You may also recall their rather unscrupulous city government.

Bernice Yeung was also awarded $5,000 to investigate health problems in California’s disparate unincorporated communities for California Watch.

Full list of grantees after the jump:

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Baron Davis Aces Play-by-Play Gig

Because of an injury, Baron Davis could not take part in his second annual sold out charity kickball game, held Sunday afternoon on the campus of his Alma Mater Crossroads High School in Santa Monica. So while a whiter, shorter, and more female bearded doppelganger stood in for him on the field, Davis did the PA system play-by-play from a fold-out table on the third base side. The Clipper-turned-Cavalier definitely has a future in broadcasting if he so chooses.

E! Entertainment reporter Ben Lyons redeemed himself from an early, no-call fly ball drop in right field to boot a pair of home runs and almost bring his Black team back from a huge early deficit to the Grey’s. Along with revisiting a recent interview mix-up with Lyons involving MTV, Davis repeatedly warned women in the audience whenever a certain athlete came to the plate. “Ladies, do not look into his eyes. He will hypnotize you.”

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Star Wars Fans Continue to Rally in Support of LA’s ‘Princess Leah’

Laura T. Coffey, a Pacific Northwest based writer-producer for the Today Show website, has an inspiring look today at the way more than $20,000 has been raised by Star Wars fans in support of a west LA couple struggling to figure out what is afflicting their four-month-old daughter Leah (pictured). The newborn has been the victim of mysterious, frightening seizures.

Along with celebrity donors such as Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and voice actor Stephen Stanton (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), the grassroots social media campaign aimed at Zev and Francesca Esquenazi has attracted the attention of a Muscular Dystrophy Association researcher, who has offered to include Leah in a gene-splicing study. It’s almost too much for Zev to handle:

“To have the support of my fellow nerds right now–it’s just amazing,” he said. “I remember as a kid I used to get beat up because I used to bring my Star Wars action figures to school, and now these are the same people who have come to my aid and are trying to help a little girl they’ve never met before.”

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ABC Scores with LA Skid Row Episode of Secret Millionaire

The new ABC-TV Sunday night program Secret Millionaire clocked in March 27th with an LA Skid Row themed episode. Thirty-six-year-old Advertising.com co-founder John Ferber (who sold to AOL in 2004 for $435 million) came to town last year and posed as a down-on-his-luck businessman forced to stay at a cheap downtown hotel and survive on a weekly allowance of less than $60.

Producers also had Ferber present himself as a documentary filmmaker chronicling volunteer work. The episode easily won its 8 p.m. time slot (10.5 million viewers) and marked the fourth consecutive time since the program’s March 6th debut that the series has claimed the female 18-to-49 demo. Post-airing, Ferber tells the Baltimore Business Journal he has been heartened by the response:

“The producer had said to me, and she was a very sweet woman, she was driving me to the airport in LA and she told me her goal through the whole objective was that it stimulated people to do more in the community and to help other people. I’ve received hundreds of correspondence from people who say basically that; they’re doing more.

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