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Archives: July 2008

Tom Short Says Sayonara to the IATSE

Tom Short.jpg
Thomas Short, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (that’s the guild representing all those unwashed below-the-line workers), yelled an outright “CUT” Thursday to his career atop the IATSE.
He offically retired, ending his 14-year stint as top man at the union.
Though he was a powerful negotiator and had strong opinions about union strength, Short had a checkered career with the IATSE, occasionally drawing the ire of other unions like the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America. Short was frustated by the WGA during its 100-day strike this spring, because it delayed contract talks and the Guild refused to apologize for the strike’s economic impact.
But Short has always been a man of the people in the IATSE. The former Cleveland stagehand always had an open ear for any union member who had something to say.
On a studio tour that I accompanied him in the mid-1990s, Short went from studio to studio, glad-handing and taking note of working conditions.
“Don’t you just love these people,” he exclaimed at the end of the tour. “To me it’s so important to listen to what the union members have to say.”
Short will be replaced by IATSE executive Matthew D. Loeb, who has been an International VP since 2002. He was one of the labor execs credited with devising and implementing the organizing and bargaining strategices under Short.
“I am not leaving for political or for health reasons, but rather because I have learned that life is short and there is a great deal that I have yet to experience and enjoy,” Short said in a statement.
Short had a year left on his four-year term as president. Loeb has been in charge of the film and TV production units for the last decade.
Membership in the IATSE blossomed under Short, increasing more than 50% to cover more than 400 locals and more than 110,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.
“I have put forth my energy and every effort to enrich this organization and enlisted the help of what I believe to be a phenomenal staff of intelligent, sophisticated and progressive individuals who have stood ready to work hard and assist in accomplishing the goals I believe we had to achieve in order to survive the many challenges facing this International,” he said.

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John Roberts: Rock Me Like a Hurricane

We happen to share an affinity for CNN’s John Roberts having grown up with his musical VJ stylings north of the border at MuchMusic. It appears that Jon Stewart may have joined the club.

Steve Harvey Laid Off?!

We got this in our tip box:

SHarvey_7.31.jpgTIP: Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Harvey let go.

Here’s an email of this date from longtime LOS ANGELES TIMES columnist
Steve Harvey (the “Herb Caen” of Los Angeles), to a colleague at CBS

…just wanted you to know that I’ve been laid off and the column is kaput.

It’s been fun corresponding with you through the years.

Good luck, Steve H.

Is John McCain’s New Attack Ad Racist?

Apparently John McCain missed the Barack Obama teflon memo. The latest, and now controversial, ad out of the McCain camp includes images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, that maybe are supposed to suggest…we’re not sure, that Barack doesn’t wear underwear? That he’s a bad parent, who dates his bodyguards? Maybe if the whole thing wasn’t so laughable we’d be offended (we mean, seriously, Britney and Paris? they don’t exactly inspire adulation). Some people are suggesting that the ad is racist because, in the words of Josh Marshall, it is “pushing the caricature of Obama as a uppity young black man whose presumptuousness is displayed not only in taking on airs above his station but also in a taste for young white women.” Many people are noting it was just this sort of imaging that the GOP used against Harold Ford Jr. back in 2006.

McCain says the interpretation is ridiculous. Obama responded with his own video saying McCain is taking the low road. Truthfully, we think it’s just one more instance of McCain demonstrating he actually has no idea whatsoever about anything that could remotely be called current. Watch both videos for yourself after the jump.

Read more

In Which the ‘Montauk Monster’ Gives New Meaning to Dog Days of Summer Media Blogging

IMG_1883_3_.JPGWe’ve sort of been ignoring the Montauk Monster up until now, mostly because between the water bug we found in the bathtub yesterday and seeing Jaws at far too young an age we’ve had our fill of scary water monster stories. However! Being that it’s a slow Thursday in July, and there is very little else to tell you about (you know, notwithstanding the blow the court just dealt to Bush over whether White House aides can be subpoenaed, or, the fact that the Bush administration is trying to make birth control the equivalent of abortion under the eyes of the law) we bring you the Montauk Monster!

Gawker is calling him Monty, and he washed up on the beach earlier this week looking very much like something out of Where the Wild Things Are only scarier because he came out of the depths of the ocean. Add to that the fact that no one seems to know what it is! Fox News is speculating it might be a raccoon or a dog and a commenter at Gawker writes in to say the whole thing is a photoshop hoax, though Gawker isn’t buying that argument. Some folks suspect it’s merely part of a viral ad campaign, though for what we hesitate to ask. Here at FBNY we’re all sticking with it being an animal experiment gone awry signifying that we are all destined for alien abduction on October 14, 2012. Or else it’s a dog, though we’d rather it be a monster than a sad drowned doggie, truth be told. Who wants to go to the beach!

Comic Con 2008: Freaks and Geeks

comiccon01.gif What have we learned from our immersion in fanboy land? Well, we learned that James Franco has shockingly bad teeth. A PR-type person sitting next to us during the Pineapple Express panel, turned around to someone sitting next to us pointing at her mouth and shook her head in disapproval.

Call that completely useless information.

Anyway, below is a picture of this Fishie at the G4 party. Unless we’ve missed something major, we think this might be the final Comic Con 2008 post.

We have one quote that we haven’t found any other place to put. It’s from Kevin Smith at the Entertainment Weekly panel. He said,”Geek culture is here to stay.” I’m sure someone said that about Disco and Grunge…but with 123,000 people in the nerd herd. What do we know?


Journos Compete on Jeopardy (And So Can You)


SmartMoney deputy editor Matt Heimer put down his abacus to compete on Jeopardy last Friday. We caught up with the self-professed FBNY fan in the game show afterglow to talk Trebek, velociraptors, and his rigorous pre-taping training. He wouldn’t tell us how much prize money he won, but he did tell friends at his viewing party that he was “not paying for all the drinks.”

Heimer had support from SmartMoney colleagues, who showed up to watch his game show debut.’s Rob Wherry and Ken Shadford even set up a practice Jeopardy game in the magazine’s video production room back in April to prepare Heimer for battle.

Heimer said he used to watch Jeopardy a lot when he first moved to New York and couldn’t afford to do much besides watch TV. He tried out and didn’t make the cut back in the ’90s, but he still felt his “really immense capacity for remembering useless information” should be put to use on-air.

“I had a blast,” he said. “My biggest hope was that I wouldn’t do anything embarrassing that I’d be teased about for the rest of my life.” He watched another taping where a category was “Financial Planning,” but Heimer didn’t get so lucky with his own game’s categories. His performance met his expectations, and he’s especially proud of his answers “Peter the Great” (a Daily Double!), “velociraptor,” and “beefalo.”

His advice to Jeopardy hopefuls? “There are a ton of media people out there [for whom] it’s worth rolling the dice.”

Go on, hit Trebek with your best shot.

Who You Gonna Call?

comiccon01.gif There were a lot of Ghostbusters at Comic Con. A lot. About even to the amount of Jedis. For real.

Anyway, we were trying to figure out why. We think it might be because of the new Ghostbusters’ video game. Or maybe it’s just that geeks were the heroes of that movie – geeks dig that and naturally want to dress up like that.

As we snapped the picture, the guy that we can only assume was portraying Dr. Venkman (think ladies man) yelled,”We dig chicks in glasses!”

Good thing for them to be at Comic Con then…


Farscape and Fan Base

We spotted actor Gigi Edgley from the series Farscape with devoted fan…having a serious ‘fanboy moment’ Tim Heiderich formerly of the LA Weekly.

When Heiderich was asked how it felt to finally meet Gig Edgley in person, he said,”Uhm…uh…wow.”

Of course.