c O n tEn ts August
04 Las Vegas Mini-Castles 16 Robert L. Lewis Dexter
E N T E R TA I N M E N T 12 The Long & Short Of It 26 MuggleNet.com Declares Verdict on Whether Harry Potter Should Have Died 20 Dave Maples 38 LA Theatre Beat
F E AT U R E D 23 What’s All This “Street” Talk About? 32 Kathy Clifford’s Cal Tech
PUBLISHER, EDITOR IN CHIEF Prather Jackson VICE PRESIDENT Bernice Harris VP MARKETING Michael D. Coxson
WEBMASTER Autumn Hawarden FILM Iman Lyons LIFE & STLYE EDITOR Niki Shadrow
DIR. OF MARKETING Launy Rhem
OPERATIONS Erskine D. McSwain (1991-2000)
SENIOR EDITOR Pamela Spyrs
PRODUCTION MANAGER Hector Santacruz
ADVERTISING Joseph Mandel
CONTRIBUTORS Raina Silberstein Anthony Calderon Lili Ramirez Leah Michele Yananton Sarah Klegman Jessica Amodeo Adam Freeman Pockross Andy Nguyen Rachel Stuhler K. Carlson Leah Yananton Rayne Sieling Steve Zall Sid Fish
DISTRIBUTOR NEWSWAYS ASSISTANT EDITOR Jenny Werth ASSOCIATE EDITOR Anthony Calderon CREATIVE DIRECTOR Autumn Hawarden LAYOUT ARTIST Amanda Ehrlich
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Las Vegas Mini-Castles
A Magical Blend Of Renaissance, Modern Amenities And Five Star Service…
By Anthony Calderon
The phrase “Still Waters Run Deep” is generally applied to a quiet person, indicating that although this individual may not be terribly extroverted, they have vastly more depth than you may have thought. This is the perfect description of Annette Fiala, Las Vegas entrepreneur extraordinaire, whose humble demeanor would never lead you to imagine that she singlehandedly conceived, designed, and made manifest the amazing Las Vegas Mini-Castles… And when I say “Castles,” I mean Castles, as a quick visit to her website www.lasvegasminicastles.com will clearly show… Now, honestly, for me writing this article is almost like that familiar scene in a movie where the Cop is investigating something that involves a member of his family, and someone inevitably will have to say that line we’ve all heard before: “Look, Tony, you
gotta’ get off this case. You’re too close to it. You’re just not thinking straight!” Okay, so why do I use that analogy? The answer is I LOVE CASTLES… Always have… It started with my love of Camelot and King Arthur and Excalibur stuck in the Stone, and Guinevere breaking Arthur’s heart; Percival’s quest for the Holy Grail – of course, Merlin…you get the idea. I’m a Castle junkie… But on the other hand, it makes me an aficionado, so maybe I’m the perfect person to solve this case! I mean, write this article… The sheer numbers describing the Mini-Castles are astounding – 4 Castles- 31,000 sq. ft. of Luxury accommodations, located in a private gated community. Literally a world of your own. 36 Guest Suites, including 8 Master Suites with Breakfast bars and Trajet Spas; 44 Baths; 8 Chef’s Kitchens including Wolfe and SubZero Appliances, Granite Counters, Floor to Ceiling Cabinetry; Full Wet Bars (Amen!); Formal Dining Rooms and 22 Stone Fireplaces; Marble and hardwood flooring; 4 Custom Swimming Pools, Spas and BBQ’s, (1 For Each Castle) … The good news for Investors is that Annette is selling the Mini-Castles for 18.5 Million. Luckily, however, for the rest of us who are 18.4 Million shy of making that purchase, the Las Vegas Mini-Castles are available to rent…which is why the Las Vegas Mini-Castles have become known worldwide…
to do if you’re going to win anything is stay, calm, relaxed and focused… Cort Kibler is a Professional Poker Player from Germany who travels around the World with 24 other German Poker Players. Last year they were all here for the World Series of Poker, and rented a house so they could have more privacy to collect their thoughts, as opposed to staying inside overcrowded hotels… The experience was not good… There was one pool that they had to continually call the landlord to come and clean. Catching a cab to the casinos in the morning
was also an issue, because cab drivers aren’t necessarily known for their promptness; and coming home meant waiting and fighting with hundreds of other tired poker players also trying to get a cab… Once home odds are none of the guys cooked anything – Cort and his friends may have grabbed something back at the casino… Sleeping meant they all shared rooms at night, then divided their time in the community bathroom that morning – and unless someone threw a piece of bread in the toaster, it meant they were standing in front of the house, in the blazing sun, hungry, waiting for their cab…then, of
As I write this article the World Series of Poker is just wrapping up their 7 week competition in Vegas… Professional Poker Players from every country around the Globe have flown in to town in the hopes of winning Millions of dollars… Tensions are high and the most important thing you have
course, once they got to the casino, the real stress began… Oh, what a difference a year makes! Cort found out about Annette’s Las Vegas Mini-Castles online and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He immediately booked two Castles for his team, and the changes in their Vegas experience are staggering… Let’s start with my favorite subject – food… Annette provides Cort and his team with their own Personal Chef, who prepares fresh meals for all of them every day – breakfast & dinner! And remember that business with waiting for cabs in the morning, and scrambling to get one from the casino at night? Well, Annette, as part of her service, has hired
a HUMMER LIMO to pick up Cort and his teammates every day and drive them to the casinos twice a day! It’s gets better, there’s no more room sharing, and each of the Guest Suites have their own private bathroom and balcony… Stepping outside into the courtyard, Annette’s Pools are cleaned every other day, and there’s an above ground Spa for each Pool… And Cort and his friends can BBQ when they’re not playing poker… I asked Cort if his expectations of living in the Mini-Castles were met – he replied, “My expectations were met and exceeded… I can’t describe how amazing it’s been here.” I believe we call that a Royal Flush! Perfect!
Cort and his Poker Team aren’t the only players renting Annette’s Castles this year, either – another Castle is being rented by a Poker Team from Sweden… In fact, Annette’s Vegas Mini-Castles opened in 2006, and since then Annette has had Players for the World Poker Series staying in her Castles every year… The list of Guests renting Annette’s Mini-Castles is long… “A” list Actors, entire Film Crews and Production Companies, Professional Athletes, Honeymooners, Corporations renting all the Castles for Company Retreats, Groups visiting Vegas for Conventions… It’s truly endless…
If you’re like me, the opportunity to lease all four of Annette’s Vegas Mini-Castles and live like a King, with your Queen, in your own personal Court – your entire community – is a Dream Come True… All this from the incredibly creative mind of Annette Fiala, a woman who was driven to design and build homes… Annette told me when she passes by a construction site, she can “Smell the wood in the air…” Now, for all you “Apocalypse Now” fans, Annette didn’t follow that with: “It smells like Victory,” but looking at her Vegas Mini-Castles, the only word that comes to mind is “Victorious…” To Contact Annette Fiala to Lease or Purchase the Las Vegas Mini-Castles, please visit www. lasvegasminicastles.com
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THE LONG & SHORT OF IT By Pamela Spyrs
How long should it be? Who should star in it? What’s the message? So why make a short film? Or should it be a full-length feature? These are questions many filmmakers ask when setting out to make their next film. Alex Lyras, a writer, producer and actor sat down with Pamela Spyrs to share his thoughts on why short films have become so popular in the industry and what he recently experienced in making one on each coast.
Alex Lyras on Short Films and Full Length Features PS – You’ve made two short films this year. Isn’t that going backwards after making two features length films? AL – Not at all. After Benicio Del Toro won the academy award he did a short film with a friend. PS – I didn’t know that. What compelled him to do that, do you think? AL – Probably the same reason I do it. Shorts are their own art form. They can be a great deal of fun. Some of Hemmingway’s best writing can be found in his short stories. PS – And they don’t take as long to complete.
AL – Yes, features can take years to fund and shoot. The best thing about a short is how doable it is. You have to “do” if you want to hone your craft. It certainly beats watching u-tube. PS – What would you say to someone setting out to do their first short? AL – Know the moment you want to capture. Good shorts, whether comedic or dramatic, will leave you with goose bumps. It can be more challenging than you think. And it teaches you about a story. I never went to film school, but most first year students have to make a short with no dialogue. It’s a visualization drill, and it’s invaluable.
PS – What are your shorts about? AL – I’m in post with a dramatic one called ELEGY, about an ex-boyfriend and girlfriend who reconnect at a wedding two years after she lost her husband. Clearly they have a history, but I don’t go into all that. The moment I want to portray was simply the possibility of them getting back together. It doesn’t sound like much, but so many of life’s big moments are truly miniscule. These two characters spar a bit over their past, and then share a laugh, and it all seems normal. But then there’s a moment where you see the man let his guard down a bit, and the woman responds by softening
John Chakos & Alex Lyras ever so slightly, and letting him in, and you realize that there is still love there. There’s no big resolution, and you don’t even know if they’ll end up together, because that’s not what the film is about. The film is about possibility. And how that lights us up. PS – It only runs about 11 minutes. That’s not much time to tell a story is it? AL – Actually, you can do it much less time. Most shorts are too long. The second one I did is 6 minutes. It’s a comedy about a father and son who
are superheroes. It’s called, DADDY DYNAMO. The film turns into animation at the end. It’s a fun whammy ending. You need that in a short. The end has to be a whammy.
wants some story on his reel? You’d be amazed; I mean it, really amazed, at how many professionals will work on your short without pay if you ask. Especially now. People want to work.
PS – Otherwise no goose bumps, right? How much does an endeavor like this cost?
PS – You produced a feature that’s almost done. From the title, HETEROSEXUALS, I’m guessing it’s a comedy?
AL – I think the goal here is to spend as little as possible. Look around your home. Can you shoot there? Do you know good actors who need reel footage? What about a commercial DP who
AL – You got it! It’s about three couples at different stages of love. A married couple struggling with fidelity, friends that cross over and become lovers, and ugly ducklings that meet and fall for each
other. We shot in New York last summer, and now we are scoring it. I believe it’s going to be a hit. PS – How does making short films inform making features? AL – Short films are good practice because you cover all the bases of a feature length: time constraints, monAlex Lyras as ey constraints, scheduling conDADDY DYNAMO flicts, location issues, actresses who are diva’s, grips who chain-smoke, caterers who cook with gobs of butter. The same goes for post-production. You need an editor, color correction, sound design and final mix no matter if your project is 10 or 100 minutes long. PS – So tell me, what are your favorite films on filmmaking? AL – Tom Dicillo’s, LIVING IN OBLIVION, hands down. Simply brilliant and so real. It’s a New York story, and totally authentic. A close second is Christoper Guest’s directorial debut, THE BIG PICTURE. This one is all LA and it is also totally authentic. They are both about a filmmaker being driven to the brink of insanity. If you’re starting out and have not seen them, get on it! It will prepare you for the chaos. And fire you up for the fun. PS – In 2008 you made your mark in the LA theater scene with your award winning show THE COMMON AIR. Rumor has it you’re taking it to New York City. Will there be time to create films in between? AL – My passion is to work as much as I can. The more I’m involved in the thick of it, be it pitching TV, writing a stageplay, or filming a short or feature, the more my creative juices flow. If any platitude is true, it’s that work begets work. I’d love to keep talking with you, cause you’re awesome, but I have to go finish my novel, cookbook, encyclopedia… PS – Was I keeping you? Didn’t mean too... Break a leg, or several legs, and keep us in the loop with the next project. AL – I promise to. None of it means a thing until there’s an audience to enjoy it.
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With half the face splattered with blood and the other clean shaven, it was nearly impossible to miss the gruesome billboards advertising a certain Dexter a few years ago. Here was this smiling man with some wicked secret and you just knew this show was going to be more than your average shoot em’ up, song-n-dance cop circus. Now, while anxious audiences hold their breath, season four approaches. And we just know there’s going to be a collective exhale strong enough to blow down those very billboards that drew so many of us to Dexter in the first place. What is it that makes one show a phenomenon while so many others never get beyond a pilot? I hear some of you, rubbing enough of that special Buddha’s belly, right? Well, in Hollywood, you never really do know. And the opinions do vary naturally, but everyone agrees there are some essential threads in the fabric of making fabulous TV- unbelievable story line, gripping plot, talented cast and those who produce the show. Without these true stars, there would simply be no show, no weekly get-togethers over soda and popcorn and nothing to look forward to as the clock ticks slowly towards five. With this in mind, one man in particular merits our attention, Robert Lloyd Lewis. Lewis is the line producer for Dexter and is basically your goto man to save time and money while
shooting various scenes. He takes the script and helps to realize it by figuring out how to juggle different scenes into more time and cost effective venues that will still produce the best quality. Lewis says it’s like being a building contractor. And this Lewis is a very clever man. So, I say believe him. In fact, I say, listen to his story- it’s full of twists and turns and interesting parallels in and of itself. Upon returning home from college, Robert Lewis was strolling in downtown Englewood, NJ, and he happened upon the shooting of Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.” There was an action scene being shot and a crowd had gathered behind ropes to watch it being filmed. Just like all human beings, Lewis wanted to be INSIDE those ropes and so he simply slipped under them, got a coffee cup, acted like it was for the director and told the guards he was a production assistant. It worked, without a hitch. So he figure, why stop there? Well, he didn’t. In fact, for the next two days he continued the act. He didn’t get a pay check after his little stunt, but, he never got caught either. So started Lewis’ early career in show biz. And isn’t that how it so often is- slipping under ropes, pretending to be someone you’re not, fooling everyone around you and fitting in with the crowd? Indeed. Lewis realized early on in the game that if you wanted to make it in this crazy industry you had to get out there and “Just do it.” So he did. He moved to New York City and started calling TV, movie and commercial companies. He had 85 interviews until someone finally asked him the magical question, “can you drive a truck?” “Sure can,” he lied and went off to deliver a truckload of fake snow to location. And that was his ‘official
beginning.’ He started off as a production assistant and moved up that ladder to producing commercials in one and a half years. He says it was a better education than film school. And it must have been because before long Lewis was out here in Los Angeles making movies! The Hollywood success story we all dream of!
Robert L. Lewis Once again he put himself in the action, only this time he didn’t slide under the ropes. “When you don’t have a reputation, you have to create material,” Lewis says. And create material he did. His first gig was in
1980 shooting a horror film called “Superstition” for which the crew, actors and composers worked free. In fact, he paid $50 for the script, borrowed $10,000 and shot it over a weekend. Within hours of completing ten minutes of the film, he had a deal to finish the movie. How? Well, he went straight over to a former wellknown company called Carolco (responsible for films such as Rambo and True Blood) and they kicked in over $1 million and made his low-budget horror film. I asked him to see a copy and he insists there aren’t any. I don’t know if I believe him. He moved on to shooting many, many other movies such as the CBS TV Movie “A Summer to Remember,” in 1984 staring Tess Harper, Dennis Haysbert and Louise Fletcher. Then, fast forward some 20 years later and we find Lewis as producer of this wildly popular Showtime program Dexter. When asked for advice for aspiring producers, Lewis says “find a new profession.” Okay, well, if you are going to stay put, then here’s what else he recommends, “be tenacious.” He says there’s a lot of heart break and disappointment. He says you can’t take things personally. And he also advises to make all your phone calls after 6 p.m. because only then will the executives actually answer as you won’t ever get past the secretary during working hours. If you are a writer he says the easiest way to get into the business is to write a great script. He says that will get you to the top. But great writers are rare…except on Dexter. It’s a good thing Lewis didn’t follow his own advice of finding a new profession, for where would we be without him? With Lewis on the Dexter team among the other talented crew, we are sure to be graced with many more seasons of this twisted characters battle between the justice system and where it fails. Indeed Lewis confirms that one of the reasons for Dexter’s popularity is his ability to live out a lot of people’s fantasies of “balancing the books.” Of making what most people see as an unjust world just. Or, as I would say, of taking things into your own hands and seeing they are resolved as you see fit. However you explain it, Dexter is cleaning up the scum of the planet episode by episode, and we love to watch him as much as he loves to clean it up. As Lewis says, the Dexter creative team
led by Clyde Phillips is brilliant at coming up with fresh themes for each season and exploring that season’s concept. I doubt anyone would disagree. Some of Dexter is filmed on location at the Sunset Gower and Sunset Bronson Studios. The two studios have come together to form the largest independent studio featuring 23 sound stages and 28 acres. Also instrumental in making Dexter a huge success is how well the cast work with each other. Lewis says in his 30 years of working in this industry this is “the most professional cast I’ve ever worked with, all driven by Michael Hall. He brings a strong degree of professionalism to the show and sets an example to the rest of the cast and crew.” Something else that keeps Dexter’s fans coming back for more is the complexity of each character. True, Dexter is the most devious and genius of all the characters, but each character is damaged in some way. And we love that don’t we? Dexter’s love interest, Rita, carries an ocean of emotional baggage inside her soul. And while not all women would ever dream of wanting to identify with her, it can’t be denied that all too often many do. The result of this real-life-womanon-the-couch and the fictional woman on TV relationship? Even more of a guarantee that many people will turn on the tube every week to find out what happens next. Proof is seen in some of Dexter’s awards. Other than Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for best Drama, Dexter has won a Spike award, two Golden Satellite awards and a Saturn award. But, to me it’s the originality of this show and its influence long after it’s off the air that makes it a winner. All the awards in the world don’t mean a thing if a spark isn’t left on an audience’s memory. Or, perhaps as Dexter would say, a few drops of dried blood.
Dave Maples cast of “In Plain Sight“
by Brian Carroll
David Maples spends his days making people disappear. No, he’s not a criminal or even a magician. David is the creator and executive producer of the USA Network hit, IN PLAIN SIGHT. The series revolves around Mary Shannon, A U.S. Marshall with the Federal Witness Security Program, commonly known as Witness Protection. While diligently protecting federal witnesses, she is also dealing with her dysfunctional family and friends. Maples first came to Los Angeles to seek fame and fortune as an actor, but eventually realized he didn’t want to be forty and still going to auditions while needing a job to pay the rent. So he started his own production company, which made industrial videos, while writing some spec scripts on the side. The scripts got him noticed, and he found himself writing for the popular “Rugrats” cartoon series. Next up came a stint on the writing staff of “Home Improvement,” followed by a season on the Hank Azaria show, “Huff.” Around that time, David started pitching his own ideas for shows, which led to “In Plain Sight.” Maples first wrote the pilot script for IN PLAIN SIGHT in 2004. It was originally headed to UPN, but the network
passed on the show before USA picked it up. Maples believes the presence of a strong female lead kept the show alive. And while today it seems like IN PLAIN SIGHT must have been tailored for star Mary McCormack, Maples says he hadn’t even heard of the actress before she came in to read for the part. David and co-executive producer Paul Stupin auditioned and considered over a hundred actresses before Mary, but within ten seconds of meeting her, David knew she was the one. “The character Mary, her nickname for her sister is Squish,” David explains. “I made that up. That wasn’t even a name. I was just looking for something interesting for a sister to call her sister that we hadn’t heard before. And within the first minute of meeting Mary, she said her oldest daughter who I don’t even think was a year old at the time, her nickname for her was Squish.” Add that to the fact that both Mary the character and Mary the actress were Irish Catholics from New Jersey, it’s no wonder Maples thinks he must have been channeling Mary McCormack when he wrote the script. IN PLAIN SIGHT was an immediate hit when it premiered in 2008, but Maples admits it took him a few episodes to
find the correct tone for the show and decide if it was a comedic drama, a dramatic comedy or a character driven procedural. He points to the fourth episode as the turning point. And while the stories on IN PLAIN SIGHT can be a bit more serious and heavy than some of the other USA fare like “Psych” or “Monk,” the producer says the network has embraced the show and done an amazing marketing job for them. While the writing and post-production staff of IN PLAIN SIGHT are housed at Sunset Gower Studios, the show is actually shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That distance creates some challenges for Maples as a producer, but he still plans on keeping his office in Hollywood. While mentioning that Sunset Gower has happily fulfilled every request from his staff and he saves a lot of time sound mixing at the studio’s Technicolor facilities, he confesses he has an ulterior motive for staying at this lot. “The fact that I live a mile from the studio is a huge plus and one that I would not easily trade for anything,” David explains. “It’s an ungodly amount of work to get a show produced. Being able to just buzz home and see my kids for half an hour at suppertime or put them to bed, it means a lot. Sunset Gower’s so geographically desirable that that’s a huge plus for me personally.” Looking forward to the future of the show, David says he knows in broad strokes where he wants to take the characters. The witness protection stories will continue to be a constant in each episode, examining what happens when you take people from what they know and put them in a new set of circumstances. But Maples admits he has the most fun writing about Mary Shannon’s personal life and her family, which includes her mother Jinx, played by Lesley Ann Warren, and her sister Brandi, played by Nichole Hiltz. “The first season was all about them battling their demons and sort of being pulled apart from within and the second season has been much more about external forces conspiring to confound their attempts to make themselves whole,” Maples revealed. But he insists the show’s characters haven’t found their happy ending quite yet. “Jinx is still an alcoholic. Brandi is still the person with zero self-esteem. Mary is still the person who wants to keep the world at arm’s length. Now that they’ve finally kind of admitted to themselves and each other who they are, we’ll see how they deal with those things perhaps in a more honest way.”
Maples first wrote the pilot script for IN PLAIN SIGHT in 2004. It was originally headed to UPN, HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
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WH AT ’ S A L L TH IS “ S T R EET” TAL K A B O U T ? By Pamela Spyrs
Susan Feniger takes the eats off the streets and puts them into the kitchen Susan Feniger & Kajsa Alger Photo Credit: Helena Ruffin
Susan Feniger Photo Credit: Ann Johansson
Nothing’s better than walking through the streets of your favorite city and stopping for a taste of a local delicacy from the street vendor on the corner. That’s what Susan Feniger used to do as she traveled throughout the world, taking note of unique recipes to bring back to the streets of LA, but this time bringing it straight to the kitchen of her new restaurant STREET. “Street is the most vibrant expression of my passion for world food to date,” shares Feniger, “Street is like a trip around the food stands of the world under one roof.” With the opening of STREET Feniger has explored new culinary horizons combing her passion for travel and her insatiable cravings for food from other cultures worldwide. Feniger says the single greatest influence on her life’s work has been the food she tasted from street vendors throughout the United States and around the world. She believes the unsung chefs of the streets create food that excites the palate with bold unexpected flavors and exotic ingredients. For Feniger it was these vendors who inspired her idea to open STREET. In her eyes they bring their heart & soul and generations of extraordinary cooking to their stands daily and now she recreates it in her own kitchen. “The most inspired food for me as a chef has always been dishes I found on the street…walking the streets in almost any country, you can find something you will never see in a restaurant,” says Feniger, “Someone has perfected that dish, and the dishes ability to be so incredibly straightforward but often so complex coming off a
cart never ever ceases to amaze me. These are the folks that should be getting the James Beard awards!” Feniger has such amazing passion for food and people, that is sometimes seems fated that she would end up in the restaurant business. It started as far back as she can remember. As a young girl she used to cook in the kitchen with her mother and continued through high school and beyond. Except for that time in her life as a wood-worker (can you believe it?!) she has been on a steady path ever since. Kajsa Alger, Executive Chef & Partner at STREET has collaborated with Feniger throughout the creation of STREET every step of the way. Alger has brought many of the Asian influences to the menu. She to has a love for travel and tastes of world food so together with Feniger they have truly made STREET a taste of the world. Susan Feniger’s work with Mary Sue Milliken at the Border Grill restaurants and Ciudad remains a huge part of her life. Without doubt though, the opening of STREET is truly the birth of a dream she has made a reality.
Photo Credit: Helena Ruffin
The ambiance is soothing yet exciting, creative yet adventuresome, jazzy yet ever so chic. The food is filled with unique spices and bold flavors. The high energy that fills the restaurant makes you want to come back again and again. So are you ready yet? Meet at STREET and get ready to savor mouth-watering tastes from flavors all over the world. STREET – 742 No Highland Avenue – Los Angeles, CA 90038 – 323.203.0500
www.eatatstreet.com HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
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Declares Verdict on Whether Harry Potter Should Have Died
Students at Notre Dame, Emerson Spartz, the #1 Harry Potter fan site founder, and Webmaster Ben Schoen reveal their insights on the most controversial issues of the Harry Potter series It’s a question for which only two Notre Dame students with tens of millions of hits per month on their fan site would dare conjure up an answer. A question that only the person who met J.K Rowling herself could even attempt. “Would the series be stronger if Voldemort had killed Harry?” The verdict? Well, you’d have to pick up the latest publication produced by two students mesmerized by the boy magician. On a cool evening in July, the two young students waited to greet their fans at a book signing in Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard. Young girls dressed in Hogwarts uniforms, one with a crescent and gold scarf wrapped around her neck though it was only a mildly cool California evening. Emerson Spartz, a senior studying business at the University of Notre Dame, and Ben Schoen, who is studying psychology/sociology at Notre Dame, are the young wizards behind this quest. As a cool breeze passed by, the young men in their 20’s wore T-shirts for a warmer part of the day and commented on the weather, how it was different in Indiana where they go to school, but it was lost in the noise of traffic along the busy street. Hollywood was such a long distance from home, but they had just finished answering everything Harry Potter, from Albus Dumbledore to Quidditch to Voldemort. The main question is the title of their newest book, “Harry Potter Should Have Died: Controversial Views From the #1 Fan Site,” which their publisher Ulysses Press emphasizes is an “independent and unauthorized fan publication.”
by April R. Moon
With which character do you most identify? Emerson Spartz By April R. Moon Hermione Why? Her braininess. “But not as over the top.” Read first Harry Potter novel at about the time the third installment was published. Ben Schoen Harry Why? He is constantly overcoming obstacles, a theme in Schoen’s own life. Read first Harry Potter book after his friends got into reading the series. Favorite Harry Potter book? Emerson Spartz Goblet of Fire Why? “I love it, I can’t tell you why.” “That book more than any other transports me to Hogwarts.” Ben Schoen Prisoner of Azkaban Why? Harry finds out a lot about his parents.
Emerson Spartz (left) and Ben Schoen Their first book concentrated on the seventh and final book, “MuggleNet. com’s What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7.” But their latest concoction deals with the entire series. In one swift gesture, the students round up all the questions, debate the pros and cons, then offer their verdict. “Should Voldemort be pitied or loathed?” “Does Harry Potter die in Deathly Hallows?” “Which couple has the most romantic story?” “Is Severus Snape a hero?” Yet, how can they answer the questions millions of fans have debated for years? Who made them authorities on the subject? For one, Spartz and Schoen were inspired by their fans, the tens
of millions who visit MuggleNet.com monthly to debate and collaborate on all things Harry Potter, to expand on the conversation online. The home-schooled Spartz set up the Web site in 1999 when he was 12. He and Schoen have also read the entire Harry Potter series. So when the pair makes a verdict, the spell over the debate doesn’t disappear, but it is greatly diminished by the great and powerful wisdom the two possess. But Spartz didn’t realize the power MuggleNet.com gave him. “(Rowling) randomly called my house completely out of the blue,” Spartz remembered, still in awe of the moment. It was in 2006, after the sixth book, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” was issued.
When Rowling invited him to meet with her, he said he would have to “check his schedule,” but, joking aside, his one-hour meeting turned into a 2½ hour conversation. “She makes you feel like you’re old friends,” he said. “She’s awesome.” So did she divulge any secrets? “Well if she did, I wouldn’t be able to talk about it, then would I,” he joked, then added, “not anything of substance.” These two students have unprecedented access to the Harry Potter world, having met the stars of the movie franchise whom they call “all very charming and vivacious” at the premieres they have attended since the third installment, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
The two have already seen the latest movie out in theaters now, which is based on “Half-Blood Prince.” So, how did the new film measure up to the book, in the view of two authorities on the subject?
Major Questions in “Harry Potter Should Have Died”
“(HBP) lived up to my expectations completely,” Schoen said, adding there wasn’t any scene that stood out as cut from the book of the same title. The only minor issue that prompted a lot of text messages from friends was the exclusion of Dumbledore’s funeral.
“Would the series be stronger if Voldemort had killed Harry?” You’ll be surprised to learn the authors have an answer for both sides, but only one official verdict.
“But for the most part, they made smart cuts,” Spartz added. “They had to condense a very large book into a very short movie.”
“Should Voldemort be pitied or loathed?” On one side he doesn’t deserve any pity, on the other he was an orphan who grew up in an “uncaring Muggle institution.”
Committed to their craft, the students will continue to keep the magic alive on their Web site long after the movies are complete to “continue to provide a place for fans to collaborate,” Schoen said. “There’s always going to be new kids who are discovering the series and they’re going to want a place to talk about it,” Schoen added. Then there is the proposed Orlando theme park based on Harry Potter, and Spartz mentioned Rowling is coming out with a new encyclopedia. They consider themselves lucky, though, to have lived through the experience of waiting for each installment, “experiencing it as it comes,” Schoen said. The students will always have a new HP-related trick up their short sleeves, and their fans will wait with breathless anticipation, even in a small bookshop on metal chairs late on a July evening.
“Does Harry Potter die in Deathly Hallows?” That depends on the definition and circumstances. “Which couple has the most romantic story?” Spartz and Schoen debate the romances of Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione, and even Harry/Hermione before they reach a verdict. “Is Severus Snape a hero?” Well, think about who Harry names his youngest son
“Are the HP books for adults or children?” Verdict… “The books were written for adults, children, and any human on the planet who can read.”
Repairing Copiers, Printers & Fax Machines – But More Importantly, Building Lasting Relationships With Clients… Cal Tech manages to make every Client feel as if the Universe revolves around them, a feat entirely due to Kathy Clifford’s dedicated attention to the needs and concerns of her Customers… But how, one might ask, is this possible? Logic seems to dictate that the larger a company grows, the more susceptible it is to falling victim to the Achilles’ Heel of most Corporations: Customer Service. Yet in Kathy’s case, her Customer Service has grown stronger with her expansion… As amazing as it sounds, Kathy’s ratio for retaining first-time Clients is 100%. Allow me to repeat that another way – once you become Kathy’s Client, you never leave. Now, I know that sounds like the plotline of Tom Cruise’s “The Firm,” but Kathy doesn’t need the Mafia to make you stay with her, she keeps you by providing consistent customer satisfaction…and if that doesn’t work – no, kidding…
By Anthony Calderon The great Playwright Lillian Hellman took the title of her celebrated Play “The Little Foxes” from a line in the “Song of Solomon,” which reads: “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” The verse is a metaphor which can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, my favorite being a warning that we should pay attention to the small details of any foundation, because if your base develops a weakness, the entire structure will fall… Applying that theory now, if you will, to Kathy Clifford’s Copier, Printer & Fax Repair company Cal Tech, it’s easy to understand why her business operates on such a high level of efficiency… Though vast in its scope of Tech Support for small and large companies and corporations throughout Los Angeles County,
But I began this story with a quote from the Song of Solomon about “…the little foxes, that spoil the vines,” and there is an important reason I started with this quote: it is the key to Kathy’s success… Kathy Clifford runs her company from the ground up. Every aspect, no matter how minute, is overseen by Kathy. Ironically, Kathy’s training for this kind of comprehensive, managerial scrutiny began with one of her first jobs – Quality Control in a Christmas Card and Paper company…and for some reason I feel like I need to put a little “Smiley Face” after a sentence like that… But it was there, inspecting and examining thousands of Christmas stationary, searching for defects, where Kathy realized that the strength of any company is in the accuracy of the details – if she failed to do her job, it would have a ripple effect that would reverberate through the entire company, ultimately causing the company hundreds
of thousands of dollars… So, to say that Kathy Clifford is meticulous in her work ethic and supervision of Cal Tech is an understatement on par with claiming Stanley Kubrick did “a little prep work” for every film he made… And, just so you know, to Kathy Clifford, Customer Service isn’t a “Job Title,” it’s an attitude. A philosophy. An agenda. A goal. A practice. A mission statement. A…well, you get the point, so I’ll stop shy of calling it a “Religion.” Let’s just say it’s very important to her… “Constant Communication” is the phrase she repeated to me over and over, this is how you keep Clients… As a Customer of Cal Tech, you are called as Kathy’s Service Technicians are on their way to your establishment; you are called again as
the Technicians are fixing your machines – to make sure you’re happy with the Service as it’s taking place in real-time; and finally, you are called after the Tech has left, just to make sure nothing was forgotten, and all your problems have been resolved… And above all, Cal Tech offers “Same Day Service!” So, when you’re filming your independent movie at Sunset Gower Studios and you’ve got a last-minute script rewrite to disseminate to your cast and crew, but your copier is not only malfunctioning, it’s ready to be taken out to the pasture and shot, having Kathy’s Cal Tech Service Technicians available to come out and repair your equipment means you finish your movie on-schedule, without going over budget, which means
more money for advertising – and now, after making millions at the Box Office, you’ve just won an Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Of The Year…would it really be too much to ask that after you thank God, your Agent, Manager, Cast & Crew, Wife/ Husband – and the public – that you give a special “Shout Out” to Kathy Clifford and Cal Tech for making all this possible? Alright, we’ll cross that road when we get to it, in the meantime, stop worrying about that temperamental fax machine, unpredictable printer and moody copier – put Cal Tech on your speed dial and be done with it… For Service, Sales or Supplies, contact Cal Tech at 800 834.0092 Or visit them at www.caltechcopier.com
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LA THEATRE BEAT BY STEVE ZALL AND SID FISH
With summer winding down there is still a lot of great theatre left in town such as:
“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents ZING ZANG ZOOM” is a thrill-filled, mind-blowing circus spectacular where family fun is no illusion. Produced by Feld Entertainment, it runs through August 2 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. For tickets call 800-7453000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
“Fiddler On The Roof” When a humble milkman’s daughters choose suitors who defy his idea of a proper match, he comes to realize, through a series of incidents that are at once comic and bittersweet, that his children will begin traditions of their own. Written by Joseph Stein and directed by Sammy Dallas Bayes, it runs through August 9 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. For tickets call 800-9822787 or visit www.BroadwayLA.org.
“Crowns” explores the lives of the “hat queens,” six women in the South whose stories of love, loss, identity and sisterhood are woven into the hats that crown their heads and the songs that speak their truth. Adapted by Regina Taylor from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry, and directed by Israel Hicks, it runs through August 16 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena. For tickets call 626-3567529 or visit www.Pasadenaplayhouse.org.
“74 Georgia Avenue” & ”The Pushcart Peddlers” The first is the story of a successful businessman caught in a troubled marriage who escapes by revisiting his past, and the second is a farce about two immigrants, one fresh off the boat and the other a streetwise banana peddler on a race to the future. Written by Murray Schisgal and directed by Frances Mizrahi and Chris Winfield, it runs through August 22 at the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre in North Hollywood. For tickets call 818-700-4878 or visit www.lcgrt.com.
“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” celebrates the pivotal moments of Sinatra’s life which solidified his legendary status, and recalls the essence of the man through the glorious music he sang. From his early big band beginnings
in the 1940s on through his glory days in Las Vegas with the Rat Pack in the 1960s and ending with his final performances in the 1990s as “The Chairman of the Board,” the show is packed with the swingin’ songs that made Sinatra the hip prince of popular music. It runs through August 23 at the Laguna Playhouse Moulton Theatre in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 949-497-2787 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse. com.
“The Pain and the Itch” A young daughter is in serious need of attention while her parents worry if the milk is organic. A ravenous creature may be prowling the upstairs bedrooms. An average Thanksgiving for this family unravels into an exposé of disastrous choices and less-than-altruistic motives. It runs through August 23 at The Main Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena. For tickets visit www. bostoncourt.org.
“Coming Home” is an achingly beautiful new play that exposes life in contemporary South Africa through the unforgettable love of a mother and her child and the promise of a new world. Written by Athol Fugard and directed by Stephen Sachs, it runs through August 29 at The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. For tickets call 323-663-1525 or visit www. FountainTheatre.com.
“Ray Bradbury’s Yestermorrows” Three short stories. The first of a night watchman at a motion picture studio lot finds himself with the responsibility of protector of the entire world who must outwit those set on destroying him. The second is a story of an undead young couple in love who live in the cistern that runs underneath the city. The third is a tale in which youngsters discover the secrets of time travel and
visit the past. Written by Ray Bradbury and directed by Alan Neal Hubbs, it runs through August 29 at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. For tickets call 323-960-4451 or visit www.Plays411.com/raybradbury.
“Cymbeline the Puppet King” The Romans have taken over Britain, and British King Cymbeline is now known as the Puppet King and his wicked queen wants her stepdaughter to marry her son so that he will become king but she disguises herself as a boy and escapes into the wilderness to return after many adventures for a joyous reunion with her father and twin brother. Freely adapted from Shakespeare by Angela Berliner and directed by Will Pellegrini, it runs through August 30 at MEDIA PARK in Culver City. For tickets call 310-838-4264 or visit www.theactorsgang.com.
“Pageant of the Masters: The Muse” This years Pageant of the Masters ‘living portraits’ production is a theatrical meditation on artistic inspiration in general and the roles of women in art in particular. Directed by Diane Challis Davy, it runs through August 31 at the Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach. For tickets call 800-487-3378.
“The Miser” is a comic tale where an old widower decides to marry off his children against their will, causing the entire family to scheme to steal his fortune buried in the backyard. Written by Moliere and directed by Ellen Geer it runs through September 27 at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
LA THEATRE BEAT by Heidi Helen Davis and Ellen Geer from the play by Anton Chekhov and directed by Heidi Helen Davis, it runs through September 26 at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com.
“Julius Caesar” a gripping political thriller about one of the most notorious political assassinations in history examines the delicate balance between liberty and government order. Written by William Shakespeare and directed by Ellen Geer, it runs through September 26 at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum. com.
“The Cherry Orchard” In 1970s Virginia, an old Southern family desperately clings to tradition in the aftermath of the civil rights movement. Freely adapted
The curtain is coming down on the stage with a wow so try to catch some of these productions right now.
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