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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Szymanski’

Courtney Love Drops By International Press Academy Event

ShutterstockCourtneyLoveThere was a pretty interesting moment last night in Century City at the Intercontinental Hotel, where the global group of entertainment journalists known as the International Press Academy (IPA) had gathered to hand out their annual Satellite Awards. It happened when Courtney Love surprise-presented the Pickford Award to a man who played an important role in her one-time movie career.

From a summary article by IPA vice president Mike Szymanski:

Love admitted being a troubled personality in Hollywood, and the man she was presenting an award to, Mike Medavoy, actually paid the high insurance premium out of his own pocket for her so she could do her role in The People vs. Larry Flynt, which earned her lots of acting kudos.

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Patch Deletes Another Farewell Post

In the wake of the August 16 Patch layoffs, a messy aspect has been the posting and quick deletion on network sites of various farewell messages. For example, this goodbye from Prospect Heights, NY local editor Amy Sara Clark was quickly taken down. Even though there’s nary a negative word in the article about AOL or Patch. But evidently, the policy is to wipe all such traces clean.

Another such occurrence took place Monday on the other coast, far from Clark’s former Brooklyn journalism perch. Susan McMartin has been a regular weekly columnist for Studio City Patch for the past several years, chronicling her ups and downs as a single mom and later, hiring as a staff writer on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men.

Her August 26 post was the first most readers had heard that local editor Mike Szymanski is one of the AOL/Patch employees exiting Patch by no later than October 15. Comments started coming in, then the post was deleted.

We contacted McMartin and she was kind enough to provide us with a copy of her deleted column. It follows, after the jump, for posterity’s sake.

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Patch Editor Remembers His Close Friend, Roger Ebert

The only good thing about the death of Roger Ebert is that it has provoked an outpouring of Internet content residing far from a realm the critic never stood for: “snark.” It’s been one heartfelt, spectacular, memorable article after another, a tribute trail that includes a wonderful April 4 essay by Studio City-Sherman Oaks Patch editor Mike Szymanski.

Szymanski was lucky enough to forge a relationship with Ebert that went much further than most such Fourth Estate brushes. It started on the red carpet of the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in 1986 and blossomed into a fantastic same-time-next-year tradition north of the border:

We got to know each other by covering many, many film festivals together, and later found out we had a close mutual friend, [the late] Canadian-Italian journalist Angela Baldassarre, and for more than a dozen years always scheduled a dinner or lunch together no matter how busy we were during the crazy Toronto Interational Film Festival.

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Sally Kirkland Pays Heavy Price for Film Festival Fall

Studio City Patch local editor Mike Szymanski is a personal friend of actress Sally Kirkland. That connection enabled him to get to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank to do a video interview with the 71-year-old Oscar nominated performer after surgery for a weekend mishap at the Studio City Film Festival.

Kirkland is remarkably calm about the whole thing, even though she says the broken ankle and rehabilitation from her CAP Theatre fall will prevent her from walking for three months and has forced her to cancel four projects. “Life happens,” she noted.

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AOL Patch-Work Approach Has Some Local Editors Stretched to the Limit

This is not exactly the way AOL likely envisioned marching Patch into the critical operational year of 2013. Lately, when a site loses a local editor, one of the company’s responses has been to upside-down replace the departing journalist. In lieu of a new hire, Patch is tasking a number of adjacent LE’s with the duty of doubling their coverage area.

“Our goal is to have a Patch in every community in the U.S.,” company rep Joe Wiggins told FishbowlLA. “As such, we are testing a number of different models, including about 20 sites in the SoCal area covering two or more communities.”

The model Wiggins is referring to is that of clearly hyphenated sites like Echo Park-Silver Lake and North Hollywood-Toluca Lake. But the kind of Patch double duty we’re zeroing in on involves sites where there is a generic email address and no LE listed.

Based on some research at the city council and other local LA levels, it appears to us that Marie Cunningham, local editor of Beverly Hills Patch, is also presently running West Hollywood Patch; Susan Pascal, overseer of Agoura Hills Patch, has her hands in Calabasas Patch; and Mike Szymanski, the company’s longtime Studio City cheerleader, has separately taken charge of the Sherman Oaks site.

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Here Comes the Deep Throat Judge…

It’s early in the New Year, but the rotating quartet of performers set to play the part of the Southern judge who heard a Deep Throat obscenity case is going to be a hard, cheeky combo to beat. Per Studio City Patch local editor Mike Szymanski‘s write-up of preparations for the play The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, opening at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood January 24:

Porn star Ron Jeremy said, “This is a way to bring a whole new audience to discover the importance of Deep Throat.” He, writer Bruce Vilanch, actor Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch) and porn legend Bill Margold will take turns playing the conservative Southern judge that heard the case trying to prosecute Deep Throat and trying to define obscenity.

This west coast version of the Off-Broadway play is being shepherded by Studio City resident David Bertolino. Among the many other recognizable names taking part is Georgina Spelvin, the one-time star of a movie (The Devil in Miss Jones) that was double billed with Deep Throat. She has told Bertolino this will be her final public appearance.

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Johnny Depp Hangs with Studio City Moms

Every once in a while, Studio City Patch editor Mike Szymanski dons the byline mantle of “Mr. Studio City” to run down the latest local celebrity sightings.

The headline is always done in the form of a rhyme, and for his latest dispatch, he was able to sync up Jessica Alba getting her wrist hurt with a celebrity-crashed school concert:

Another star who loves jazz—Johnny Depp–popped in at the jazz concert at Walter Reed Middle School and shocked everyone. He was coming to watch the daughter of a friend who was performing.

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LA’s Oldest Patch Shares Intriguing Benchmark

A year ago, the first Patch located within LA’s city boundaries flipped the switch in Studio City with veteran journalist Mike Szymanski (pictured) at the helm. Today, in his one-year anniversary essay, he shares an intriguing metric:

I’m not supposed to give our monthly hits in specific numbers, but suffice it to say we reach more than the population of Studio City (and when our local homeboy Justin Bieber does something like bump his car, a whole lot more people stop in to see what’s going on.)

If Arianna Huffington has not yet picked up on this clever way of rating Patch traffic, FishbowlLA thinks she should. Moving forward, each and every Patch local editor should be able to at least hit a monthly mark equal to the latest local U.S. Census stats. Think of it as readership by representation.

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Topless Protest Averted, But Many Challenges Remain

Today’s Studio City Patch article “A Little School in Crisis, Part 1” clocks in at an astonishing 2,289 words. That’s four times the normal Patch.com website item length.

The first of a four-part series by site editor Mike Szymanski, the article details the uncertain times faced by Valley View Elementary in light of county-wide LAUSD cuts. When word came down last June that 82-year-old principal Harold Klein (pictured) had been given his walking papers, student parents went into overdrive.

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Patch Hits South Pasadena, Press Club

In these times of journalistic layoffs and media conglomerate belt-tightening, the rapid, ongoing Southern California expansion of community news hub venture Patch.com seems almost surreal. Yesterday, after some last-minute technical hiccups, the AOL seed-funded enterprise turned on the newest of its area websites, South Pasadena Patch, the same day the L.A. Press Club announced that San Francisco-based Patch west coast editorial director Marcia Parker (pictured) will be flying down to address the organization’s annual meeting on Thursday, October 14th.

When a new Patch launches, one of the first orders of business for readers is to click on the biography page of the site’s local editor. In the case of South Pasadena Patch, the new hire is Sonia Narang. After receiving a Master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley, the California native honed her skills as an online video producer for PBS’ Frontline, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC.com and others.

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