Tuesday, August 4, 2009

RPK YES - 1 Nation 1 People 1 Voice......and the rest of the usual news....

LBN-SEE IT:...Obama Joker poster popping up in Los Angeles.....

DioGuardi Back as 'American Idol' Judge

Abdul's return to Fox's juggernaut is still uncertain.

By Wrap Staff

Songwriter Kara DioGuardi, who joined the 'American Idol' judges' panel this past year, will return for the upcoming ninth season of “Idol,” Fox announced today.

With the show set to premiere in January, two of the show's three original judges -- Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson -- are set to return as well, but the fate of Paula Abdul is still uncertain.

DioGuardi, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, was the first new member of the panel since the show debuted in 2002.

TV's No. 1 show brought her in as it began to lose viewers, a trend that continued in the most recent season despite its hold on the top ratings spot.


I recently attended the Coldplay concert in Los Angeles.

What rouses my senses about music and especially concerts are the energy that emanates from the musicians themselves and the ensuing energy of the crowd.

When I watch them up on stage in front of so many screaming fans they seem to be in the zone, embracing life with a powerful conviction and joy.

When in this environment a tinge of envy glides up my spine as I watch them glide up and down the stage.

I realize in this moment that if there was one thing I would want to be, it would a talented singer singing to a crowd of thousands.


***Steven Spielberg will direct a new version of "Harvey" -- about a man and his invisible six-foot rabbit --- as his next project for DreamWorks and Fox.

The project sets the stage for the long-awaited funding of DreamWorks as an independent studio.

***Badly in need of a breakout hit after successive misfires, Universal will have to keep waiting.

Its two-hour, 16-minute Judd Apatow dramedy "Funny People" opened to $23.4 million this weekend, which was good enough to lead the domestic box office.

But it didn't quite achieve the breakout success that some tracking estimates had predicted.


***Former Garden State governors Tom Kean and Brendan Byrne dining together at '21' in NYC.

***Judge Sonia Sotomayor admiring Elliott Arkin's sculpture of Obama, titled "Hope," in the office of White House counsel Jeffrey Bleich.

It was girls' night out at Vico on Madison Avenue in NYC the other night.

Our spy at the popular pasta nook said Six that Katie Couric dined there with her daughter, Carrie, while at another table, Self magazine Editor-in-Chief Lucy Danziger was eating with her daughter, Josie.

Adding to the girl power was Avon CEO Andrea Jung, who was treating her niece to dinner.

***They've been a rumored couple for the better part of a year, but Sunday was the first public appearance for "Slumdog Millionaire" couple, Dev Patel, 19, and Freida Pinto, 24.

But Sunday night in London the couple smiled arm-in-arm for photographers at a special screening of the film that made them famous.

*** Beyonce( above ) enjoyed a late-night dinner with husbamd Jay-Z at LAVO Italian Restaurant and Nightclub in Sin City.

*** Ex-Bachelorette Jillian Harris and her Chicago computer software consultant fianc Ed Swiderski, celebrated their engagement at SushiSamba Rio in Chicago along with six friends.

*** Audrina Patridge (above ) and her on-again boyfriend Cory Bohan were spotted hanging out by the pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Tropicana Bar.
*** Twilight's Nikki Reed and Paris Latsis were seen hanging out by the pool with some pals at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California.

Hollywood insiders last week found themselves invoking the name of a man theyve never met and whose opinions remain obscure to them.
Jeffrey R. Immelt is the man who rules General Electric and hence bears ultimate responsibility for key decisions involving the future of NBC Universal.
Its Immelts man, Jeff Zucker, who again shuffled the deck at NBC last week and thus focused attention on the malaise gripping the entire corporate landscape, encompassing film and TV.
In granting Ben Silverman his exit visa, Zucker dealt directly with a management issue at the network.
But indirectly he also raised the bigger Immelt question:
Does GE want to stay in an industry -- entertainment -- that has proved so uniquely inhospitable?

Filmfest Bribery Case Could Have Deep Impact
Could seriously hinder the way Hollywood does business overseas.

By Dominic Patten

For four years, from 2002 to 2006, Gerald and Patricia Green ran the
Bangkok International Film Festival in Thailand.
They brought the glamour of stars such as Catherine Deneuve and Michael Douglas to gala events, and films like Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” to the screen.
To achieve that, the U.S. Department of Justice says, the Greens bribed Thai authorities $1.8 million, for which they received $14 million in government contracts and grants.
On Tuesday, the Greens -- he produced Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” in 1986 and was an executive producer on the 2006 Christian Bale film “Rescue Dawn” -- go on trial in a Los Angeles federal court, charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The Greens were arrested in December 2007 and have pleaded not guilty.
They are currently out on bail.
The consequences of the case could have serious implications for the way Hollywood does business overseas.
This is especially true in countries where the local culture demands a few palms be greased to get a job done.
“The movie industry has good cause to be somewhat fearful of the way the administration may or may not choose to utilize this law,” Green’s lawyer, Jerome Mooney III, told TheWrap
The money allegedly went to, among others, former Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Juthamas Siriwan, through Film Festival Management, a company specifically created to bid on the Bangkok International Film Festival.
The Greens were awarded the management contract for the 2003 debut of the Bangkok International Film Festival.
Created out of the Bangkok Film Festival, which debuted in 1998, it saw such stars as Steven Seagal walking the red carpet, master classes from Terry Gilliam, films such as Julie Taymor’s “Frida,” starring Salma Hayek, and Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” playing to packed houses.
Their involvement with the festival, and the various spin-offs of it, ended when Siriwan and other officials they dealt with lost their pivotal positions in a coup in 2006.
The Greens are also accused of obstruction of justice and falsified tax returns.
In indictments filed in October 2008, the Department of Justice alleged that, besides the greasing of palms with bribes, they "altered and falsified film production budgets to make them appear as though they were created in 2006 in an effort to characterize bribe payments as bona fide film production expenses” when the budgets “were not created in 2006."
It is charged that they hid the payments in various businesses, all of which had the same offices and personnel, and created false tax returns.

The corrupt practices act, which became law in 1977, prohibits American citizens and corporations from making “an offer or payment of anything of value to a foreign official, foreign political party or candidate for political office,
for the purpose of influencing any act of that foreign official in violation of the duty of that official, or to secure any improper advantage in order to obtain or retain business.”
In recent years, investigations and prosecutions under the corrupt practices act have become the number two enforcement priority behind terrorism cases.
This is one of the few cases in which an alleged violation has resulted in a trial.
If convicted, the Greens could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The tax charge carries an additional 10-year sentence, and they could get 20 years for the money laundering.
The problem with the corrupt practices act and the film industry, as lawyer Mooney sees it, is that the act neglects to take into account the real cost of doing business outside North America and Western Europe.
“The fact, is in the movie business there are many things that have to be taken care of, and that have to be paid in local areas,” he told TheWrapBy prosecuting the couple, the U.S. government is simply "not accurate in what it is saying.
They never inflated any budgets for any purpose, and they did not hide any of the funds they paid to anywhere,” he told TheWrap.
“They all showed up properly in their books and records.”
In that context, last month, Mooney and Marilyn Bednarski, the lawyer for Patricia Green, even attempted an order precluding the prosecutors from using terms like "bribe" or "kickbacks" at trial.
While that attempt was unsuccessful, Mooney said the judge appreciated the Greens' concerns and has told the government to watch its language.

"They can't throw the words around just for the purpose of trying to create improper implications. They've got to be contextual and appropriate to the setting," Mooney told TheWrap.

Jonathan Drimmer, a lawyer specializing in the corrupt practices act, agrees that the outcome of the Green case could seriously affect Hollywood’s desire to make movies overseas.

While there are “narrow” payment exceptions granted within the act -- as long as they are made through official and transparent channels --
the real crux, says Drimmer, is in strict adherence to letter of the law.
The U.S. government, he said makes illegal for businesses in this country what is the natural course of business in another, especially in cultures outside of Western Europe.

“We are mixing apples and oranges,” Drimmer told TheWrap.
“One of the most vocal criticisms of the application of the law is that it restricts the ability of U.S. businesses, including the film industry, to conduct business overseas and be competitive.
We are imposing our own legal regime on a culture where often the cost of doing business is making a small contribution or gratuity.”
Though Drimmer said the Greens' was the first case he knew of to be prosecuted under the corrupt practices act, it is not the first example of a Hollywood production running into trouble for greasing palms overseas.

Although not a government case, in 2007, the budget of “Sahara,” the 2005 adventure film starring Matthew McConaughey was entered into the public record in a contractual lawsuit between author Clive Cussler, who wrote the novels on which the film was based, and production company Crusader Entertainment.
Cussler’s complaint was not budget-oriented.

He claimed that the final script featured changes which he had not authorized and which caused the movie’s failure at the box office.
But during the course of the suit, the budget showed that there were "courtesy payments," "gratuities" and even "local bribes" totaling $237,386 handed out on locations in Morocco to expedite production.
Among the line items that seemingly would clearly fall under the corrupt practices act were a $40,688 payment that halted a river improvement project during filming and $23,250 for "Political/Mayoral support.
"Crusader countersued Cussler, claiming the author also had breached his contract, giving the movie bad publicity and making details of his financial negotiations with Crusader public, and both sides ended up having to pay.
Contacted by TheWrap, Department of Justice spokesperson Laura Sweeney had no comment on either the Green case or the “Sahara” case.
Others distinctly do.
“You do have a recipe here,” says lawyer and former DOJ corruption-enforcement official Jonathon Drimmer, “where the outcome of the Green case could become an instigator of addition scrutiny of the entertainment industry by the Department of Justice.
Like they have with the medical device industry and the oil services industry, they could begin to pursue industry-wide cases based on an investigation of one on a practice that may be repeated by others.
“I’d look very close at my internal controls and books, because the Green case is just the kind of spark to lead to a much brighter spotlight on the film industry.”
For Mooney, the corrupt practices act needs a "second look" to prevent producers and Hollywood studios from being caught up in the vaguenesss of a law which, in his view,
"can be problematic for domestic industries -- and the movie industry is certainly one of those."

***Vanity Fair has split September covers - Michael Jackson and
Farrah Fawcett -
and the explosive Fawcett article by Leslie Bennetts offers a remarkable, on-the-record example of the father-daughter dynamic between Farrah's on-off lover Ryan O'Neal and his daughter Tatum (who he calls a bitch), as well as insight into his relationship with Farrah.

Michael Jackson Vanity Fair September 2009 Tribute Cover

The day Michael Jackson died the internet stood still, Google crashed and people committed suicide.
The king of pop death was transformed into a huge circus.
I haven’t written about it because I am still disgusted.

Vanity Fair is selling us the September issue with two magazine covers, one to be considered a Farrah Fawcett tribute and the other one a Michael Jackson tribute.

If you choose to buy the Michael Jackson one here are a few fragments from what you’ll find inside.

“No I don’t date, no.
I like girls and everything, but [laughs] … Oh, you think I’m one of those?
No! I’m just not that interested right now.” — Jackson in February 1977

“And a lot of entertainers don’t know this, but interviewers help entertainers 100%.
I don’t mean promotion-wise;
I mean like when they ask you questions, it helps you to look at your future yourself.”
— Jackson in February 1977

On the first mix of the Thriller album:
“It was terrible.
And I cried at the listening party.
I said, ‘I’m sorry — we can’t release this.’ …
Everybody at the record company was screaming that we had to have it out and there was a deadline. …
So we re-did a mix a day. …
We were overworked, but it all came out OK.”
— Jackson in 1984

***Over a hundred entertainment industry movers and shakers including many media are expected at Michael Levine's Second Annual Entertainment Industry Breakfast on Tuesday August 11th at the chic Portia Via Restaurant on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills.

Guests are being asked to participate in the Levine charity "We All Walk In Different Shoes" where guests will bring a pair of used shoes to be donated to the Salvation Army."

***The peace between Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly is nothing more than a forced armistice.
***In June, The Weekly Standard was handed from one conservative billionaire, Rupert Murdoch, to another, Philip F. Anschutz, for about $1 million.
***Viacom expects its new "The Beatles: Rock Band" video game, coming in September, to be a big hit.
However, second-quarter sales of "Rock Band" fell flat.
Also, analysts are questioning whether The Beatles, a classic rock band of the '60s, will attract "Rock Band's" younger audience.
***Mort Zuckerman plans to spend several million dollars on new color printing presses for his New York Daily News, enabling the newspaper to print color cover to cover, and draw back readers and advertisers.
But analysts say:
"This is too little, too late if you're competing with the Web."

***Billy Joel should have tried to "Get It Right the First Time" with soon-to-be ex-wife Katie Lee Joel.
Sources say the aging pop star, who is legally separated from Katie Lee, is completely distraught over the June breakup and wants to get his woman back.
According to friends of the couple, "Billy is obsessed with her" and is trying to rekindle the relationship.
The two split because Katie Lee -- a TV food critic and chef -- wanted to have kids and a family, and Joel did not.
Adding to the tension were Katie Lee's many nights out with designer Yigal Azrouel.
***Katherine Jackson spoke for the first time about her son's death last night on Geraldo --
calling in to say "My son is dead and I don't think he just died of natural causes.
He's too young.
Something happened."
MJ's mother also denied her husband, Joe, is banned from their Encino home and said Michael's children, who she currently has custody of, are "doing fine."

***The state with the highest percentage of people who walk to work is Alaska.
***The youngest pope was 11 years old.
***Tom Sawyer was the first novel ever written on a typewriter.
***The cable cars in San Francisco are the only mobile U.S. National Monuments.
***Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace.

"I hate alcoholics and AA.
If you can't drink responsibly, don't drink at all.
Don't go to meetings, whine about your character flaws and blame the fact that you are a sociopath on booze"
-- Roseanne Barr.

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