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Archives: January 2006

Memoirs get less real, comedy more so

181841__ss_l.jpgFirst it turned out James Frey‘s real life was mostly fictional. Then news broke late last week that Jeff Garlin‘s fictional life become mostly real on TBS, with “The Jeff Garlin Show.”

And now, Sarah Silverman is joining in, too. Comedy Central is readying “The Sarah Silverman Program.”

Per the Hollywood Reporter, she will play a character — also named Sarah Silverman — “whose absurd daily life will be told through an array of scripted comedic scenes and songs.”

This is good news, because we’d previously been worried who’d play me in the “The Claude Brodesser Program”; now, we know.

Thar she blows: Kidman circling Baumbach picture

whalesq.jpgEXCLUSIVE: FishbowlLA has just heard a tale, but it’s no fish story: “The Squid and the Whale” writer-director Noah Baumbach‘s next project is with John Lesher and his newly revamped Paramount Classics shingle. It’s a script Baumback’s written, and little is known about it other than news that Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are both attached to the project. Also of interest: The wayward Scott Rudin is producing the project.

Very big fish, indeed.

Developing

Remembrances for Wendy Wasserstein

New Yorkers are clearly mourning the loss of Wendy Wasserstein, lioness of the contemporary theatre and, by all accounts, a warm and lovely woman. The NYT obituary celebrating her life and career is already #4 on MEL; at the Village Voice, theater critic and playwright Michael Feingold remembers her giggle, and at Bloomberg, legendarily tart critic John Simon (late of New York) only has nice things to say, calling her “delightful” “funny…and fun to be with” and a mensch (to get a sense of just how rare these compliments are, see Liesl Schillinger‘s excellent review of Simon’s criticism). Both remember her intelligence, humor, wit, sparkle and skill.

They are, of course, not alone in that regard; there will no doubt be more stories and op-ed essays to come. Below are just a few examples.

Wendy Wasserstein, Chronicler of Women’s Identity Crises, Dies [NYT]
Wendy Wasserstein [Village Voice]
Wasserstein’s Wit, Humanity Reflected in Plays: An Appreciation [Bloomberg]
Recalling the Stages of an Uncommon Life [NYDN]

Close your eyes and think of England…

The movie business is crazy stuff: You spend millions of dollars, sometimes hundreds of millions, only to discover people don’t like what you’ve made until it’s too late to matter.

Now, Vertigo, responsible for independent Blighty films like “Human Traffic” and “The Business,” (not to be confused with my show of the same moniker) is doing things in reverse. The company is offering potential “investors” in their new film, “Outlaw” a copy of the movie as well as an executive producer credit.

For the equivalent of twenty bucks, aspirant Brit Bruckheimers will also get the chance to be an extra in “Outlaw” and to watch “casting sessions.”

The downside? With a $10 million budget, the credits alone will probably be two hours long. And with financing this sketchy, we suspect these “casting sessions” probably involve motel rooms.

UFW v. LAT

United Farm Workers has formally demanded that the LAT retract various claims in its recent multi-part story about alleged corruption among UFW officials. This action, as media-watchers know, is a necessary precondition for a libel suit, although the ratio of retraction demands to actual suits is something like 1332:1.

We thought the UFW series was pretty persuasive, but of course we don’t have sufficient knowledge of union history or politics to evaluate UFW’s counter-claims. So if you have six hours or so to spare, read it all and decide for yourself.

(link via L.A. Observed)

More Minutiae, Kissing Valentino By A Crystal Blue Italian Stream Edition

  • Jon Friedman isn’t fooled by Oprah’s rigteous piety, and Joel Stein is an annoying fly that must be swatted away: That’s the general theme of Jon Friedman’s column today, plus Bode Miller is a press-mongerer. Even so, it was fun to watch. [MW]
  • Watch an episode of Sex and the City. They say it far more succinctly. n+1 thinks they’ve discovered dating, that dropping SAT scores is hot. Here’s a dating tip: it’s not. [n+1]
  • Two more Alessandra Stanley corrections: Honestly, the mind boggles. [Gawker]
  • Farewell to a 60 Minutes director and a part of history: Longtime — nay, founding — 60 Minutes director Arthur Bloom died from lung cancer. It was Bloom’s stopwatch that famously opened 60 Minutes almost since its inception, and that iconic image and sound is inextricably indentified with 60 Minutes to this day. [NYT]
  • In case you were wondering…Media-macher-turned-crusading-Canadian Michael Ignatieff was victorious in the recent Canadian election, taking the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, connecting with locals, and actually, it seems, making a go of it. Vive le Canada! [Globe & Mail]
  • mediabistro.com invites you to meet, and drink with, the teachers

    mediabistro.com, the parent company which grants us 40 acres and a blog, would like to invite you, FishbowlLA-reader and potential mediabistro.com class-taker, to meet the teachers of its upcoming film and television related classes this Thursday evening at the Beauty Bar in Hollywood. A ten-percent class registration discount will be offered, and also, THERE WILL BE FREE DRINKS. Including, I am told, well drinks. Not just some two-buck chuck BS like they have at those Learning Annex open-houses.

    Also, on Friday night, Claude and I will be hosting a mediabistro.com Meet The Bloggers night in the mens’ restroom at the 101 cafe. Come by around 8, okay?

    Complete info on Meet the Teachers night here. Please RSVP if you’re coming via the link on that page.

    More cuts at Time Inc.

    More cuts at Time Inc. today – Ad Age reports that 80 employees were sent home today, from both the editorial and business sides.

    On Dec. 13, 2005 Time Inc. axed 105 employees, including Time president Eileen Naughton, exec VP-news and information Richard Atkinson and Entertainment Weekly president Andy Sareyan.

    Another well-publicized name on the cutting room floor last December: former Director of Public Affairs, Diana Pearson. Except this was odd: yesterday in my usual Sunday-morning newsweekly email onslaught, suddenly I was receiving emails from Pearson again, over a month after she’d been let go. A little freaked, I emailed alterna-Time PR person Ty Trippet. Ty responded that Diana, along with some other staffers, “was able to stay on for some extra weeks. And she worked this past weekend.” Then today, the axe falls again. Very confusing.

    TIME INC. CUTS CONTINUE, 80 STAFFERS TO GO TODAY [AdAge]

    Earlier:
    Time Inc. Cuts Deep [FBNY]

    Media in the Movies: Will Shortz Doc Wordplay Sold to IFC for Approx. $1 Million

    Shortzcutz.jpgCongratulations Will Shortz — puzzle master, brain-breaker, Soduku author and now movie star! The documentary Wordplay, by director Patrick Creadon about NYT crossword aficionados features puzzle editor Shortz (NPR’s “The Puzzle Master,” which sounds vaguely hot) and covers the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, with sprinklings of crossword minutiae and $1 million worth of fun for the whole family, which is how much IFC paid for it (after a fierce bidding war!).

    Personally, I prefer Boggle. I would totally go see the Boggle movie. Also, I might just be the Camp Winnebagoe Boggle champion. Then again, I might not be. Who’s willing to call my bluff?

    Crossword guru Will Shortz a fitting star for ‘Wordplay’ documentary [Salt Lake Trib]

    Playwright Wendy Wasserstein Dead at 55

    wwass.jpgBroadway lost another great today as New York playwright Wendy Wasserstein died of lymphoma at age 55. In 1989, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her play The Heidi Chronicles, which also took the Tony and the New York Drama Critics Circle award for best play. Wasserstein wrote comedies, though she believed her exploration of feminism via her plays and essays was political. Ever the lone she-wolf, Wasserstein gave birth to a daughter in 1999 and never revealed the father’s identity.

    She is survived by her mother, daughter, and two siblings, including New York owner Bruce Wasserstein.

    Wendy Wasserstein, Chronicler of Women’s Identity Crises, Dies [NYT]

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