Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Artist A Day - Contemporary Art Delivered to Your Desktop 365 Days a Year

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 29, 2012 -- Artist A Day (AAD) announces the launch of its redesigned website, www.artistaday.com, an online contemporary art forum dedicated to building exposure for professional artists, while providing a global community of enthusiasts access to new works of art every day.

Since 2007, AAD has featured over 1700 artists, and served over 1.2 billion pages with 36 million unique visitors and over 200,000 daily users. The result: massive online and offline exposure for an Artist when they are featured. Artist Kevin Box concurs, saying, "Artistaday created such a buzz that it took a month to followup with all of the leads they brought to our website. A year later I still have collectors and enthusiasts contacting me with interest that originated from AAD."

AAD also allows its audience to rate and comment on art, as well as have the Artist comment back. That type of dynamic feedback creates a real and substantial connection between Artists and the public. Says Partner Kai Hansen, "Our business model is simple. We show a new piece of contemporary art every day. What we were amazed by was how many people started using us as a way to incorporate art into their daily lives." The spectrum encompasses everyone from enthusiasts to collectors, teachers to students, to anyone who appreciates art. The unifying element is an ability to discover up and coming talent that has yet to go mainstream.

For 2012 AAD's new content includes: multi person video chat interviews with our Artists using Google+ Hangouts, occasional originals offered by the Artists exclusively through AAD, and a coffee table book featuring 5 years of the best contemporary artists. AAD will also continue to do what it does best, create a direct link between Artists and an audience who loves art.

About AAD
Founded in 2007, AAD's audience of over 1 million followers and 36 million unique visitors have the opportunity to view and comment on a new piece of contemporary art by a working professional Artist 365 days a year. In most instances this exposure is the largest online media event of an Artist career, resulting in thousands of unique visits to their website. With one person we can influence the art world, with a million that influence is exponential.  www.artistaday.com Twitter: @artistaday  Facebook: Fb.com/artistadaydotcom .

SOURCE Artist A Day

Singer-Songwriter Skip Friel Releases Third Album, Passage, May 5

-Album weaves introspective lyrics with textured acoustic instrumentation for a delightful journey-


 
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Feb. 29, 2012 -- Part of what makes indie-Americana music persistently relevant is the clarity with which it relays complex emotions through lyrics and stories. The really great songs reveal enduring, often startling truths about humanity and personal transformation. Skip Friel's new album, Passage, continues in this context and asks the listener to go beyond the surface of themes such as love, loss and longing.

The musical journey begins with 'Another Island,' a spectacular retelling of a family story that pays homage to one of Friel's ancestors -­- a broken-hearted 19th century Irish immigrant arriving in New York Harbor who discovers the restorative powers of self-reliance and new love. In listening to the album as a compilation, one gets the sense that survival and personal growth gain momentum through generations in songs such as 'Transcending,' a modern-day story tracing the birth, extraordinary life, and death of a woman who far exceeded limited expectations placed upon her. "After the recording process was complete, I noticed a commonality running through the music," explains Friel. "Each song is about transitioning, growth, and passages of renewal through time."

Percussionist Bob Simmons notes, "Passage speaks of the pathos of life, but at the same time offers inspiration and hope to 'everyman.' The album asks the mind to reflect, the soul to feel, and the heart to love."

Deeply introspective, the songs comprising Passage also are intricately woven with threads of soulful roots instrumentation. Backed by soaring melodies of veteran Grand Ole Opry fiddler Charlie Austin, bright mandolins, and lush acoustic guitars, Friel's vocals are made of emotion. "These are great songs," said Austin. "I'm very excited to be part of this project."

Passage is the follow-up to Friel's solo award-winning album, Twilight Red Sky . The Virginia-based singer-songwriter performs an eclectic mix of original music with his band, the Resonators.

Produced by New Moon Music, the album was recorded and mixed by Randy Friel at Clay Garden Studios in Norfolk, VA and Scullville Studios of Scullville, NJ. Randy founded New Moon Music, an independent label specializing in blues and roots music. Clients include such greats as Levon Helm, Bruce Springsteen, Deborah Coleman, and the Dixie Hummingbirds. Tony Mascara of The Audio Lab in Millville, NJ mastered Passage.

Passage artists are: Charlie Austin, Julie Clark, Rosie Eberwine, Randy Friel, Fred Kovner, Gary Krebs, Cindy McNellis, Bob Rankin, Rich Ridolfino, Anna Lee Scully, Charlie Shugarman, Bob Simmons, and Martin Somers. The CD cover features original graphic art by Bart Morris of Morris Design and photography by Kathy Keeney, both of Norfolk, VA.

CD Release
Available May 5 on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3 & www.skipfriel.com .

Event
A CD release event is scheduled for 9:30 p.m., May 5, at Taphouse Grill in Ghent, Norfolk, VA.
SOURCE Skip Friel Music

TICKETS FOR THE LOS ANGELES ANIMATION FESTIVAL

Admirer and Connoisseur of Great Animation, Sean Lennon, To Serve As Artistic Director


LOS ANGELES, CA, FEBRUARY 22, 2012 – Tickets for the highly anticipated 3rd annual Los Angeles Animation Festival (LAAF) are currently on sale and may be purchased online at http://blog.laafest.com/tickets/. The Festival will run from Wednesday, March 7th through Sunday, March 11th at the historic Regent Showcase in Hollywood. Festival passes and tickets to all individual events can also be purchased in person at the Regent Showcase beginning on March 7th.

Longtime LAAF supporter, Sean Lennon, is serving as this year’s Artistic Director and has hand selected four feature films which he will personally introduce. In addition, Lennon has also selected some animated shorts from famed Japanese pop artist Keiichi Tanaami which will screen before wach of his feature selections.

Events honoring celebrated animator and Academy Award® nominee, Bill Plympton, will include the world theatrical premiere of Adventures in Plymptoons, a documentary on Plympton’s career by Alexia Anastasio, and a special screening of Plympton’s first animated feature film, The Tune, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Additional events include a cast and crew screening of The Iron Giant with a post-screening Q&A with director Brad Bird; a revival of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Team America: World Police with Phil Hendrie & Puppeteers LIVE on-stage; a screening of Shrek honoring its 10th Anniversary and it’s win of the first Oscar® for Animated Feature; and a screening of this year’s current Oscar® Nominee for Best Animated Feature Film, A Cat in Paris.

LOS ANGELES ANIMATION FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:

Wednesday 3/7/12
7:30 PM OPENING NIGHT PARTY: Host TOM KENNY, stage show, special guests, festival previews/teaser reels, music from live band NYLON PINK (www.nylonpink.tv) and DJ TUNA.
Plus JERRY BECK'S Cartoon-orama
Joint Event with ONE PLUS HUB Productions and LA Film School

Thursday 3/8/12
7:15 PM SEAN LENNON Presents AKIRA
10:15 PM ANIMAYO Presents TWO DIAMONDS - Erotic Animation by Female Directors (Adults Only)

Friday 3/9/12
7.30 PM CHARITY SCREENING IRON GIANT - Cast & Crew Event with Director BRAD BIRD attending. Great 35mm print on the big screen.
10:00 PM MTV LIQUID TELEVISION Best of Historical and the New Series followed by an AFTER PARTY sponsored by LIQUID TELEVISION & TITMOUSE featuring music from live band NYLON PINK (www.nylonpink.tv) and DJ TUNA.

Saturday 3/10/12
12:00 NOON Family "ENCORE" Matinee IRON GIANT - reduced price admission
2:00 PM Web Sensation DICK FIGURES LIVE! - screening with cast & crew!
4:00 PM SEAN LENNON Presents FANTASTIC PLANET
5:30 PM ASIFA presentation of GULLIVER’S TRAVEL (1939) & Superman short “Mechanical Monsters"
7:30 PM HONOREE BILL PLYMPTON WORLD PREMIERE ADVENTURES IN PLYMPTOONS (Bill Plympton & Dir. Alexia Anastasio in person)
9:30 PM WEST COAST PREMIERE A MONSTER IN PARIS
11:30 PM TEAM AMERICA - with PHIL HENDRIE and puppeteers on-stage

Sunday 3/11/12
12:00PM THE CAL ARTS LEGACY- the program will feature the student works of JOHN LASSETER, HENRY SELICK, and the creators of TV hits SpongeBob SquarePants, Power Puff Girls, and Dexter’s Lab as well as the films of recent graduates
2:00 PM GALA EVENT DREAMWORKS and SHREK - celebrating its 10th Anniversary Oscar win & feature fil screening
4:00 PM 2012 OSCAR Nominee - A CAT IN PARIS
6:00 PM SEAN LENNON Presents GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES
8:00 PM HONOREE BILL PLYMPTON 20th Anniversary Screening THE TUNE - Bill Plympton in person. And LAAF Awards Ceremony with host TOM KENNY

ABOUT THE LOS ANGELES ANIMATION FESTIVAL
The Los Angeles Animation Festival was founded in 2007 by John Andrews and Miles Flanagan. Frustrated by the lack of a cohesive animation festival in Los Angeles, the founders sought to create a festival experience that allowed unknown animators to meet and mingle with industry professionals. LAAF is now the largest International Animation Festival in Los Angeles and offers a unique social and business experience to those attending, celebrating both mainstream and independent animation with special screenings, events, panels, awards and contests. More information regarding the festival can be found at www.LAAFest.com.

Miles Flanagan, LAAF Founder & Co-Director
LAAF co-founder Miles Flanagan has been producing and directing commercials and station IDs in the U.S. since the mid 1990's. Originally from the UK and a graduate of both St. Martin's School of Art and Middlesex University, he directed music videos for The Pogues, Dave Stewart and Paul McCartney before coming to the States. His first job in the U.S. was to create and direct the opening theatrical logo for Lakeshore Entertainment. His award-winning animated spots include work for Microsoft, Pringles, Visa, and CBS. He recently opened his own studio, Parallax Studioworks, Inc. to develop features and another film festival in LA.

John Andrews, LAAF Founder & Co-Director
LAAF co-founder John Andrews served as MTV's VP of Animation in the mid 1990's. He was hired to produce the series Beavis & Butt-Head in 1992 and produced most of MTV’s animated shows in the 90’s as well as the feature Beavis & Butt-head Do America. In 1997, he became Executive Producer of Commercials and Special Projects for Klasky Csupo where he remained for 12 years. Currently John serves as Executive Producer and Creative Director of 6 Point Media and EP of Development at Six Point Harness.

Ross Otterman, Festival Director
LAAF Festival Director Ross Otterman is a Los Angeles based Producer with a number of recent feature film producing credits. In 2010, Ross Otterman produced Death and Cremation, overseeing the project’s development, casting and production. In 2011, he produced the thriller The Employer and followed up the project with the horror-psychological drama Excision, a 2012 Sundance selection. Most recently he produced the action comedy In Security.

"After Earth" Is First Motion Picture to Be Shot with Sony's F65 Camera

Sony Pictures Entertainment's Upcoming Science Fiction Epic Gets True 4K Production Treatment


PARK RIDGE, N.J., Feb. 29, 2012 -- The latest film from the production company Overbrook Entertainment and acclaimed director M. Night Shyamalan, "After Earth," scheduled for release next year by Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia Pictures, is the first major motion picture to be shot using Sony's groundbreaking F65 CineAlta™ digital production camera.

Shyamalan commented, "I couldn't be any happier with the F65, which is amazing since I'm a 'film guy' and I thought I'd die a 'film guy.' It's a digital media that's warm and has humanity in it which is obviously the most important thing to me."

"The F65 is like a great leap forward," said director of photography, Peter Suschitzky. "As soon as I did testing of the F65, I was immensely impressed by the amount of detail it captures, by its incredible flexibility, from low lights to high lights, and its great contrast range. It really is a camera for the future and I'm going to use it again on a number of films."

In January 2012, Sony began worldwide deliveries of the F65 camera to meet the incredibly high demand from production professionals. Approximately 400 units were pre-ordered, and several other high-profile productions are also planned to be shot with the F65.

"This movie is the perfect first project for the F65," said Alec Shapiro, senior vice president at Sony Electronics. "The combination of an innovative moviemaker and a script with incredibly high production values will test the limits of this camera and its powerful feature set. The result is sure to be a unique and visually immersive entertainment experience for the movie-going consumer."

The F65 camera's unprecedented 8K image sensor, with approximately 20 total megapixels, offers higher image fidelity than any other digital cinema production camera. With 16-bit Linear RAW file output capability, the F65 creates the gateway to an end-to-end 4K file-based mastering workflow.

In response to the strong interest in Sony's new F65 CineAlta™ camera from the filmmaking community, Sony Pictures Studios plans to host workshops on digital workflows supporting the F65. The workshops, beginning in March, are designed to educate qualified directors, cinematographers and other film industry professionals.

SOURCE Sony Electronics

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Al Capone's Niece Wants Al Capone Pardoned!

FORT MYERS, Fla., Feb. 28, 2012 -- In the age of Prohibition, Al Capone was Public Enemy Number 1. But to Deirdre Marie Capone, who as a child traded "knock-knock jokes" with him while bouncing on his knee, he was kindly "Uncle Al". And now, 65 years after his death in 1947, she wants him pardoned.
"Al Capone was a mobster, but not a monster. He was a victim, not a villain," said Capone, author of Uncle Al Capone...The Untold Story From Inside His Family . Her grandfather, Ralph Capone, was Al's brother and listed as Public Enemy #3. She is Al's grand niece and the only author of a book about Al Capone by someone who actually knew him, touched him, heard him talk and ate meals with him.
She puts forth a persuasive case to justify her claim for pardoning the most famous inmate at Alcatraz.

"Outrageous, you say? Not entirely," said Capone, who remembers her grand uncle teaching her to swim, ride a bike and play the mandolin.

"Consider this. The American Bar Association conducted a retrial of Al Capone in 1991 with a real jury, and presided over by Chicago Federal District Court Judge Prentice Marshall, an outstanding jurist and professor of trial advocacy at the University of Illinois Law School. The verdict: 'Not Guilty on All Counts!'"

All the evidence presented in the retrial was available at the original trial in 1931, which resulted in a prison sentence of eleven years, said Capone, a frequent guest on TV and radio shows as well as documentaries depicting the Prohibition Era.

Despite the legend of FBI Agent Elliott Ness, she thinks the evidence shows that Al got a raw deal.

"Among the things that came to light in the retrial was the utterly incompetent defense presented by Al Capone's lawyers, and the fact that the Federal Government tortured a witness until he agreed to testify against Al Capone," she said.

Okay, so he may not have been guilty of income tax evasion, but what about the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and all the other alleged killings masterminded by Al Capone?

"The key word here is 'alleged.' He was never proved to be responsible for any killing. And we don't convict and sentence people to prison based purely on allegations," she said.

Al Capone's quotes have stood the test of time. He is remembered for saying immortal lines like, "When I sell liquor, it's called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it's called hospitality."

"The fact is Al Capone had a price on his head of $50,000 (about one million dollars in today's dollars) placed by rival gang leaders. In one afternoon, he dodged over 1,000 machine gun bullets. He was having lunch in the Hawthorn Cafe in Cicero, Illinois, when seven cars rolled up and a dozen men fired their Tommy guns through the plate glass windows at Al and his bodyguard. They dove to the floor and, amazingly, both survived without a scratch. Unfortunately, innocent people were wounded, and Al came to their aid and paid their medical expenses even though neither he nor his bodyguard fired a single shot," she added.

"There were many other attempts to kill him, including paying his chef to poison him, and a plot to blow up his house on a Sunday afternoon when he and his family were having dinner," she said.

For more information, visit http://www.unclealcapone.com

About Deirdre Marie Capone

Deirdre Marie Capone's grandfather was Ralph Capone, listed in 1930 as Public Enemy #3 by the Chicago Crime Commission. That makes her the grand niece of Public Enemy #1, Al Capone.

As a child, she didn't know he was a notorious gangster. He was just her Uncle Al.

But after he died on her seventh birthday she began paying the price of being a Capone.

From age 7 to 13 her classmates were not allowed to play with her. Just before her 11th birthday her father committed suicide due to the burden of the Capone name. At age 18 she was fired from her first full-time job because of her name. These circumstances made Deirdre determined to find out more about her family history and to write this book.

She had countless conversations with her grandfather, Al's brothers and sister, Al's wife, and his only child, Sonny. Each made her promise to not publish anything until all of them were dead and buried. Deirdre is the last member of Al's family born with the name Capone. She is literally the last of the Capones. Finally, after all these years, she can share things about Al Capone that none of his many biographers knew.



SOURCE Deirdre Marie Capone

Mario Andretti - Auto Racing's Greatest Driver - to Partner With Cellar Angels for Charity Fund Raising

CHICAGO, Feb. 28, 2012 -- There is one person known the world over as the greatest driver ever to sit behind a wheel of a racing car: Mario Andretti. There is also one valley in the United States known for producing more world-class wines than any other: Napa Valley.

Beginning today Cellar Angels brings the two together in an unprecedented online event to raise money for 15 different charity organizations.


Cellar Angels is a unique online company connecting highly acclaimed artisanal Napa and Sonoma County California wineries with their members on behalf of their growing list of charity partners. The winery discounts a specific wine offering for five days and after purchasing members get to select which charity receives proceeds. Cellar Angels will feature Andretti Winery's 2009 Sangiovese at www.cellarangels.com.

"We may never drive as fast; however, when you drink this wine you'll certainly understand why Mario appreciates the easy pace of great wine with great food," said Martin Cody, Founder of Cellar Angels. "Mario's passion for life is evident in his winery and certainly this wine. We're thrilled to offer this wine at such a great price to raise money for our charity partners and thank Mario for the opportunity."


The Andretti Winery in Napa Valley is reminiscent of a quaint Italian villa nestled in the center of 45 acres of vineyards. The winery is dedicated to celebrating the Italian lifestyle and producing the finest wines in the world. The opportunity with Cellar Angels will both raise funds for important charities and also introduce others to this exceptional winery.

"Mario Andretti is the most recognized name in the world of racing," said Patrick Connelly, General Manager of Andretti Winery, Napa Valley. Regarding Cellar Angels he added, "It is an obligation and an honor to provide support to the community."

Cellar Angels membership is free and interested parties hoping to secure some of this wine should sign up at www.cellarangels.com. The event lasts just five days and as a special incentive for all case orders: $1 shipping and an autographed picture of Mario Andretti. Upon completion of their wine purchase members are able to select a charity where Cellar Angels donates proceeds towards funding much needed assistance.

Members are also treated to a custom movie with a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the winery and the people. The event begins today and ends Saturday, March 3, 2012.

About Cellar Angels
Cellar Angels was created by a compassionate group of wine-lovers intent on changing the world through wine. Their mission is simple: connect small, artisanal wine producers to larger audiences, expose wine-lovers to exclusive purchase opportunities from partnering boutique wineries and raise money for a select group of charities. They love wine, love introducing others to great wine and love making a difference. Cellar Angels provides an opportunity to accomplish all three. For information, please go to www.CellarAngels.com.

About Andretti Winery
The finest things in life are often hidden away and that's the case with the award-winning Andretti Winery. Nestled alongside a quiet country lane in the heart of the legendary Napa Valley, Andretti Winery exudes Old World Charm as it whisks wine lovers back in time to a slower pace of life. Modeled after a rambling Italian village, the winery conjures up the boyhood home of its namesake, Mario Andretti, the finest race car driver of all time. Come, taste the good life. For information, please go to www.andrettiwinery.com.

SOURCE Cellar Angels

Dan Aykroyd and Judy Belushi Present a Special Performance of... The Official Blues Brothers Revue March 5 at the Rialto Theater in Joliet, IL

Hometown Concert to Commemorate 30th Anniversary of the Passing of John "Joliet Jake" Belushi


Featuring Very Special Guests - Paul Shaffer, Tom "Bones" Malone, "Blue" Lou Marini, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Otis Day (Animal House) and Father Guido Sarducci Greeting Guests on the Blue Carpet Pre-Show


Facebook's 800 Million+ Users Can Access Event via Milyoni's Social Live Technology


JOLIET, Ill., Feb. 28, 2012 -- Dan Aykroyd and Judith Belushi have announced a special star-studded performance of The Official Blues Brothers Revue to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the passing of John Belushi a/k/a "Joliet Jake". Set for March 5th at the Rialto Theater in the fabled hometown of the iconic Blues Brothers, the concert will feature guest stars (and original Blues Brothers Band members) Paul Shaffer, Tom "Bones" Malone, "Blue" Lou Marini, and Matt "Guitar" Murphy as well as Otis Day from Animal House. SNL's legendary Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) will serve as official VIP greeter for the pre-show Blue Carpet.

The Official Blues Brothers Revue, starring Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty as Jake and Elwood, has been playing to sell-out crowds worldwide and has a full roster of tour dates planned for the coming year. Produced by Dan Aykroyd and Judy Belushi, the revue combines the humor and hit songs from the original Blues Brothers concert experience, paying homage to Chicago's rich tradition of blues, gospel and soul music – all performed with the passion and precision of the original Blues Brothers Band. Complete ticket information below.

The reach of this special one-night-only concert event will extend far beyond the theater in Joliet. In addition to the concert itself, a live webcast will be available for Facebook's 800 million-plus fans worldwide. Using Milyoni's Social Live technology, fans worldwide can share the unique social experience as they engage with one another during the live event. Viewers can chat with friends, comment at specific points during the broadcast and invite others to watch the event.

Milyoni's Social Live broadcast will be available on the Animal House and Blues Brothers fan pages and will be available for $5.00 via Facebook Credits, PayPal or credit card. Fans can RSVP and prepay starting today at https://apps.facebook.com/blues-brothers-revue/ .

The event will also be simulcast to viewing parties at most House of Blues locations around the country using Social Live. Dan and Judy's profits from the March 5th webcast will be donated to International House of Blues Foundation® (http://www.ihobf.org/) in the memory of John Belushi. In the works are subsequent live DVD and CD releases.

The March 5th anniversary concert by the Official Blues Brothers Revue also signals the return of Jake and Elwood Blues as a vibrant and vital brand spanning a wide range of properties and platforms, spearheaded by Panacea Entertainment's Eric Gardner on behalf of Dan Aykroyd and Judy Belushi. Initiatives on multiple fronts will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

The Blues Brothers were created by Aykroyd and John Belushi in the late 1970s and first appeared before a national audience as musical guest on Saturday Night Live. With initial musical guidance by Paul Shaffer (for the past 30 years musical director and sidekick on Late Show with David Letterman ), the Blues Brothers evolved rapidly into a worldwide phenomenon encompassing touring, multi-platinum record albums, merchandising, and, ultimately, a timeless 1980 feature film directed by John Landis.
The Official Blues Brothers RevueMarch 5 at 8pm The Rialto Square Theater15 East Van Buren Street,Joliet, Il 60432Tickets: $60, $50, $40 and information at:
http://www.rialtosquare.com/broadway_shows.asp#


About Milyoni
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Milyoni, Inc. is the leader in social entertainment. The company's technology provides entertainment companies with a way to connect and engage with Facebook fans, and turn them into customers. Whether it's watching a live concert, movie or sporting event or shopping your favorite brands, Milyoni enables companies to monetize fans pages through a unique level of engagement and a shared, social experience. Milyoni's services reach over 150 million fans from industry leading customers, including Universal Pictures, Lionsgate, Paramount Studios, Big Air Studios, Austin City Limits Live, Turner Broadcasting, University of Oklahoma and The NBA to bring a variety of digital content and physical goods to fans on Facebook. For more information, visit www.milyoni.com.

SOURCE Milyoni, Inc.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chicago and The Doobie Brothers Roll Across the U.S. with an Amphitheater and Arena Summer Tour

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27, 2012 -- Rock legends Chicago and The Doobie Brothers will share the stage this summer for an evening of classic rock hits spanning both artists' extensive repertoire of chart topping and award winning hits. Doubling the value for fans this summer, both bands will co-headline the 21 date U.S.tour kicking off on July 11th in Tuscon, AZ at the Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatre with confirmed dates through August 24th at the Toyota Pavilion in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Each band will perform individual sets, playing their biggest hits, and then both Chicago and The Doobie Brothers will join together for a thrilling grand finale encore, playing each other's songs at the end of each of these summer shows. Tickets for the Live Nation promoted tour go on sale in select markets beginning March 2nd at Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com.

Chicago, the legendary band with horns, and the highest charting American band in Billboard Magazine's list of Top 100 artists of all time, will once again allow a winning bidder to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing the band's classic hit song, "If You Leave Me Now" onstage with Chicago at every concert. This is the third consecutive year that Chicago has teamed up with the American Cancer Society to create "Sing With Chicago," a highly successful promotion that has raised over $130,000 to fight breast cancer.

Fans in every market will be able to bid on a package that includes a meet and greet with the band, two premium tickets and a chance to sing onstage in concert with the band. Previous year's winners were so moved by the experience that they launched the Facebook group, "I Sang With Chicago," where they shared stories about their experiences and videos of themselves onstage singing with the band. Each winner has an incredible story to tell.

As was done last year, the money raised this year is in honor of Chicago's friend Paqui Kelly, the wife of Notre Dame's head football coach Brian Kelly, who is a breast cancer survivor. Chicago has generously supported other charitable causes in the past, including the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and Hannah & Friends, started by Maura Weis and her husband, Charlie Weis, the current coach at the University of Kansas.

Northern California's Doobie Brothers are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their propulsive roots-based, harmony laden, guitar driven style that sold an estimated 40 million records over the course of four decades. In 2010, original members Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston, and 30-year member John McFee marked a new chapter with the delivery of a potent album – World Gone Crazy (HOR Records), featuring a guest appearance by the legendary Willie Nelson.

It's their first new album in a decade, and it produced the Top 20 track "Far From Home" and the Top 5 GAC Video "World Gone Crazy." Their current single, "A Brighter Day," is #22 on the AC charts, and continues to climb the charts. The band recently returned from an extremely successful tour in New Zealand. Forty thousand tickets were sold (3 shows)—almost 1% of the entire population of New Zealand. Over the past year, The Doobie Brothers made several stops into Nashville to appear on the Grand Ole Opry and to film a Crossroads special with Luke Bryan. Bryan and the Doobies performance of "China Grove" was in heavy rotation on the CMT channel.

For additional information, visit: ChicagoTheBand.com and DoobieBros.com.

Chicago & Doobie Brothers' Tour Dates
July 11
Tucson, AZ
Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatre
July 13
Lake Tahoe, CA
Harvey's Lake Tahoe
July 14
Concord, CA
Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
July 15
Los Angeles, CA
Gibson Amphitheatre
July 17
Denver, CO
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
July 20
Kansas City, MO
Starlight Theatre
July 21
Dallas, TX
Gexa Energy Pavilion
July 22
Houston, TX
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
July 24
Atlanta, GA
Chastain Park Amphitheatre
July 26
Raleigh, NC
Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
July 29
Cincinnati, OH
Riverbend Music Center
August 1
Detroit, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre
August 2
Pittsburgh, PA
First Niagara Pavilion
August 4
Atlantic City, NJ
Borgata Resort Spa & Casino
August 16
Boston, MA
Comcast Center
August 18
Wantagh, NY
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
August 19
Holmdel, NJ
P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
August 21
Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
August 23
Virginia Beach, VA
Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
August 24
Scranton, PA
Toyota Pavilion


SOURCE Chicago

'Tears of the Earth' - Memorial Concert and Photo Exhibit for the Great East Japan Earthquake


OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 27, 2012  -- "Tears of the Earth," a memorial concert and photo exhibit for the Great East Japan Disaster will be presented on Sunday, March 11, 2012, 1 p.m., at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco on the first anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

The commemorative event and fundraiser will support the ongoing work of the Japan Recovery Project of the Public Health Institute (PHI) in Oakland. It will be a gathering for people to share their feelings and grieve about the disaster.

Both western classical and Japanese music and performers will be featured. Artists will include Alexander Barantschik, concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; Shoko Hikage, playing the koto; Brenda Wong Aoki, storytelling artist; and a photography exhibit of the earthquake area by Satoshi Ueda.

The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami that followed took more than 15,000 lives, and 3,200 people are still missing. More than 320,000 survivors evacuated from the disaster and continue to live in temporary housing. In addition, people who live close to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants as well as people who live throughout Japan are anxious about the long-term effects of exposure to radiation through the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat.

In the past year, a slogan, "Gambare Nippon" (Fight for Recovery of Japan), was repeatedly uttered in the Japanese news media. Some progress has been made in recovery, such as cleaning up debris, building temporary housing for evacuees and recovering basic infrastructure of communities. However, a large number of evacuees and those who lost relatives and friends still experience lingering effects of depression and trauma.

The Japan Recovery Project at PHI aims to address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues for the people affected by the disaster – including evacuees from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant area – in collaboration with government and nonprofit agencies. See www.jrpphi.org for more information.

The March 11 event will include remarks by Hiroshi Inomata, the Counsel General of Japan of San Francisco, Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, president and CEO of PHI, and Tooru Nemoto, Ph.D., Director, Japan Recovery Project. The event will be introduced by well-known Japanese news anchor Junko Kubo.

The multi-faceted cultural program will include a performance of the Cesar Franck Violin Sonata by Barantschik and Akimi Fukuhara, piano. Also featured will be a performance of the Vivaldi Concerto for Four Violins by violinists Yasuko Hattori, Yukiko Kurakata, Beni Shinohara, and Anni Asuka Yano accompanied by Timothy Bach. The performers include members of the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera Orchestra as well as the faculty and alumni of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Traditional works from Japan for koto will be performed as well as duets for koto and violin. In addition, Brenda Wong Aoki will present a piece for story teller and Japanese instruments that were inspired by the March 11, 2011, events. The memorial will open with a solemn prayer chant by Buddhist monks accompanied by bass player Shinji Eshima of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and bassoonist Steven Dibner of the San Francisco Symphony.

Photographer Satoshi Ueda is a resident of Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate who has devoted himself to chronicling the disaster, its aftermath, and its ongoing story on film. He has exhibited this work in Europe and Russia and will be exhibiting for the first time in the U.S. Some of his images will be projected in the theater accompanied by the solo violin music of J.S. Bach.

Violinist Yukiko Kurakata, on behalf of the performers says of the event, "This will be an occasion for all, audience members and performers, to come together as one through music to remember last year's event and send our compassionate support for the recovery of Japan."

Tickets are available through City Box Office at 415-392-4400 or www.cityboxoffice.com. Prices are $30 for adults and $15 for students in advance and $35 for adults and $20 for students at the door.

For more information please visit www.jrpphi.org or contact Dr. Tooru Nemoto, Project Director, tnemoto@phi.org; Mariko Iwamoto, 510-302-3373; miwamoto@phi.org.

About the Public Health Institute
The Public Health Institute is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, the U.S and around the world. It is one of the largest public health organizations in the nation and is at the forefront of research and innovations to improve the efficacy of public health statewide, nationally and internationally.

Calendar Editors
Tears of the Earth – Memorial Concert and Photo Exhibit for the Great East Japan Earthquake, Sunday, March 11, 1 p.m., Herbst Theatre. Benefit for the Japan Recovery Project (www.jrpphi.org). Music of Franck, Bach, Vivaldi, Japanese traditional and new music. Performers: Alexander Barantschik, Shoko Hikage, Brenda Wong Aoki and others. $35 adult, $20 student at door or $30 adult, $15 student through City Box Office www.cityboxoffice.com.

SOURCE Public Health Institute

"South Park" is Back With All-New Episodes! The 16th Season Begins on Wednesday, March 14 at 10:00 P.M. on COMEDY CENTRAL®

"South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season Uncensored" DVD And Blu-Ray Arrives In Stores On Tuesday, March 27


All-New Season 16 Episodes Available In HD Exclusively On Xbox LIVE, iTunes, Sony PlayStation Network, Amazon Video On Demand, Vudu, And in SD on Samsung Media Hub And InDemand


New Episodes Also Available On SouthParkStudios.com


NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2012  -- "South Park" returns for its 16th season with seven all-new episodes beginning on Wednesday, March 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on COMEDY CENTRAL, followed by an all-new season of "Ugly Americans" at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.

On Tuesday, March 27, "South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season" will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment. In addition to all fourteen uncensored episodes from "South Park's" landmark 15th season, the Blu-ray and DVD include the groundbreaking documentary "6 Days to Air: the Making of South Park", a first-ever look behind-the-scenes at South Park Studios that gives fans an insider's look at the making of an episode. The bonus features are rounded out with "6 Days to Air: Behind the Scenes of 'City Sushi,'" mini-commentaries by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and never-before-seen deleted scenes.

Each "South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season" Blu-ray and DVD come with an added bonus. We're giving away free downloads of the new "South Park: Tenorman's Revenge" Xbox Live game. Each Blu-ray and DVD will include a unique code inside for fans to enter at www.southparkstudios.com/season15 to get thousands of prizes. It's first come, first serve so fans have to act fast. The first 5,000 to enter their code will get a download of "South Park: Tenorman's Revenge" game, an exclusive "South Park" theme and a 48 hour trial of Xbox Live Gold Membership. The next 70,000 entries will get an exclusive "South Park" Xbox theme and a 48 hour trial of Xbox Live Gold Membership.

The all-new episodes from this season are available in HD exclusively on xBox Live, iTunes, Sony PlayStation Network, Amazon Video On Demand and Vudu, and in SD on Samsung Media Hub and InDemand. Episodes are also available on SouthParkStudios.com.

Voted "The Greatest Animated TV Series" in a poll conducted by Entertainment Weekly, COMEDY CENTRAL's "South Park" launched on August 13, 1997. The series airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. and repeats later that night at midnight (all times ET/PT).

Penn Brewery Launches Two New Beers & the 'Malt Minute' Video Series

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 27, 2012 -- Penn Brewery is pleased to announce the launch of two new beers, Overlook IPA and Cool River Kolsch-style, as well as the debut of its new online video series entitled the "Malt Minute."

Penn's New Beers
"Overlook IPA is the latest introduction to Penn's expanding family of ales, joining Allegheny Pale Ale, Harvest Rye IPA, and Nut Roll Ale," said Sandra Cindrich, Penn's President and CEO. "Cool River is the first Kolsch-type beer made by Penn," Cindrich added. "It's brewed in the style of the classic Kolsch beer originating from Cologne, Germany."

Penn Overlook IPA (Photo) - a clean, hoppy, American-style IPA with a smooth mouthfeel. It's brewed with two-row barley malt and American hops, including Zeus and Northern Brewer varieties. It has an attractive light-copper color and a prominent aroma, with an ABV of 6%.

Overlook IPA is named for the popular Pittsburgh vantage point atop Mt. Washington, which overlooks the city and its Three Rivers. Its label design captures this quintessential image of Pittsburgh.

Cool River Kolsch-Style (Photo) is a crisp, clean beer with a subtle fruit fragrance. It's pale golden in color and delicate in flavor, with subdued hoppiness and a 4.5% ABV. Cool River's refreshing tang makes it an excellent summer beer. Its packaging pays homage to Pittsburgh's Three Rivers and summertime fun on the water.

Overlook IPA and Cool River Kolsch-style will be available on draft and in 12 oz. bottles in Penn's Gourmet Selection variety pack beginning in March and May, respectively.

Penn's "Malt Minute" Online Video Series
Each "Malt Minute" segment in the new series features one of Penn's brewers discussing a pertinent craft beer topic, ranging from overviews of various beer styles, their attributes, and their history to explanations of common craft beer terms such as "IBU." Each installment runs between 60 and 90 seconds in length, and new segments will be introduced every other week. Pittsburgh-based agency Warhola Productions produces the videos.

According to Linda Nyman, Penn Brewery's Marketing Director, "The concept for the 'Malt Minute' video series was born from feedback from Penn consumers. So many of them told us that they wanted an easy way to learn more about craft beer basics - the different styles, the brewing and fermentation methods, the ingredients - and we wanted to share that information in a format that would be engaging and simple to understand.

"'Malt Minute' videos are meant to communicate basic sound bytes and 'fun facts' in a lighthearted, informal format that doesn't require a big time investment from the viewer," said Nyman. "They're not videos about Penn Brewery's beers in particular, but about the craft beer world in general. They offer viewers a quick way to build knowledge of that world."

Viewers will be able to find "Malt Minute" segments at http://www.maltminute.com, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and via e-mail blasts to viewers who register on the Penn Brewery site to receive them.

The first "Malt Minute" episode will highlight the Marzen style of beer and air online on March 1.

Penn Brewery, opened in 1986, is Pittsburgh's oldest and largest brewery. It specializes in award-winning German-style craft beers sold in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, and Illinois. The Brewery is located in Deutschtown on Pittsburgh's North Side, in the mid-nineteenth-century landmark E&O Brewery Building.

SOURCE Penn Brewery

Friday, February 24, 2012

Columbia/Legacy Recordings Celebrates Janis Joplin with the Release of Essential New Additions to Her Catalog:

"JANIS JOPLIN - THE PEARL SESSIONS" (NEW TWO-DISC EDITION PREMIERING NINE PREVIOUSLY UNAVAILABLE TRACKS & NEWLY DISCOVERED STUDIO RECORDINGS)


THE FIRST OF BEAR'S "SONIC JOURNALS": "BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY FEATURING JANIS JOPLIN - LIVE AT THE CAROUSEL BALLROOM 1968" RECORDED & PRODUCED BY OWSLEY STANLEY ("BEAR")


"Highlights From The Pearl Sessions," Limited Edition Double 10" Vinyl Release, Struck for Record Store Day 2012


NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2012 -- Columbia/Legacy Recordings celebrates Janis Joplin with the release of two essential new titles in the catalog of the American blues-rock-country-soul singer: Janis Joplin - The Pearl Sessions , a two-disc set premiering newly discovered studio recordings produced by Paul Rothchild (available Tuesday, April 17) and Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin - Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 , an electrifying full-length concert recorded and produced for release by the legendary soundman Owsley ("Bear") Stanley (available Tuesday, March 13).

 
The Pearl Sessions is an historic expansion of Joplin's final studio album, providing fascinating new insight into Janis' creative process through a range of rare and previously unreleased material.

Newly available bonus material on The Pearl Sessions includes the original master mono mixes of the album's singles ("Cry Baby," "Me and Bobby McGee," "Half Moon," "Get It While You Can," "Move Over," "A Woman Left Lonely") and a full-length second disc showcasing Joplin live in the studio performing never-before-heard takes of Pearl classics. From behind-the-scenes banter to full finished takes, The Pearl Sessions shows the complexity of Joplin's genius, the tough and vulnerable aspects of her personality, her lightning sense of humor, and her razor-sharp attention to the details of her craft. Offering fresh perspectives on the more familiar "official" versions of the songs, alternate takes of "Get It While You Can," the Janis Joplin-composed "Move Over," and others open up unexpected new dimensions in the material and in the sublime nuances of Joplin's delivery.

The Pearl Sessions offers an unprecedented opportunity to be in the room with Janis, her producer, Paul Rothchild, and the members of the Full Tilt Boogie Band (guitarist John Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, organist Ken Pearson) as they create one of the enduring masterpieces of rock 'n' roll.

Originally released on January 11, 1971 (three months after her passing on October 4, 1970), Pearl debuted Joplin's final finished studio recordings. The only album Joplin ever recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, the touring ensemble that had backed her on the Festival Express (a mythic 1970 concert tour by railroad across Canada with the Grateful Dead, the Band and others), Pearl included canonical studio recordings of songs that had been introduced to audiences on tour. A live version of "Tell Me Mama" (a song not included on the original Pearl ), recorded during the legendary Toronto Festival Express date, is included as a bonus track on The Pearl Sessions .

Also included as a bonus is Janis' scorching live version of "Half Moon," recorded for her appearance on "The Dick Cavett Show" on August 3, 1970.

Peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200, a position it held for nine weeks, Pearl included some of Janis's most familiar and best-loved performances including her cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" and her off-the-cuff a cappella "Mercedes Benz." A never released alternate take and the original "Me and Bobby McGee" demo are both included on The Pearl Sessions .

When putting together material for a 40th anniversary edition of Pearl , researchers discovered a treasure-trove of previously uncatalogued audio tapes from the album's sessions, produced by Paul Rothchild. An industry legend, perhaps best-known for producing the first five Doors albums, Rothchild further solidified his position in music history with his work on Pearl .

The Pearl Sessions brings together the original mono versions of the album's 45s and the original LP tracks alongside a revelatory cavalcade of newly-discovered alternate versions, outtakes and vocal takes that put you in the studio with Janis Joplin.

A limited edition double 10" high fidelity vinyl gatefold release, Highlights from The Pearl Sessions will be available exclusively for Record Store Day (April 21, 2012). A companion to the newly curated two CD edition of Joplin's farewell masterpiece, Pearl, this vinyl release presents previously unreleased and seldom heard takes and early versions of classic songs, culled from the recently discovered tapes used to create The Pearl Sessions .

A limited edition 12" vinyl edition of Pearl will also be available on Tuesday, April 17. A breakout from the Classic LP Collection box, the album is pressed at RTI on 180-gram audiophile vinyl.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

South Fla. Author of New Espionage Thriller Novel Offers $10,000 Scholarship

A new espionage thriller novel by Geoff Hammond was released this week and will offer college students nationwide the opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship by participating in an essay contest about the intriguing "what if" concept woven throughout the novel



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 23, 2012 -- Successful entrepreneur-turned-novelist, Geoff Hammond, released his first espionage novel The Last Khan this week online and is hosting a $10,000 essay scholarship contest for college students nationwide through Horizon Publishing.

"Horizon Publishing is committed to attracting young, aspiring and talented writers and editors into the world of publishing, so in addition to the scholarship award, we will offer a summer apprenticeship opportunity to the winner following the completion of the academic year," said Mark Blackburn, one of the publishers at Horizon Publishing.
College students nationwide can purchase the book online on Amazon and may submit their essay at www.TheLastKhan.com by the deadline of March 31, 2012, in order to participate. The winner and the essay will be posted on the book's website on May 31st.

About The Last Khan
The Last Khan is an espionage novel set in the near future, where the world's oil supplies have dwindled, the balance of power has shifted, and the search for alternative fuel sources – and world control – has become dangerous and deadly. The novel has been critically acclaimed by a White House and Congress National Columnist, as well as members of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs.

About Geoff Hammond
Geoff Hammond is a successful entrepreneur. Although he has been writing for many years, The Last Khan is his first novel. Inexplicably, his extensive treatises related to business ventures and strategic misadventures somehow became the precursors for this seemingly ripped-from-the-headlines fictitious work. He and his wife, Jayne, divide their time between South Florida and Tennessee.

SOURCE Horizon Publishing

Suzanne DeLaurentiis Teams With Clay Sharman for New Thriller "Stone Marker"

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Feb. 23, 2012 -- Veteran Producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis (President of Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions) and Clay Sharman (President of Promethean Light Media) will begin shooting the new found footage suspense thriller "Stone Marker." Production will begin in mid-March.

Slated for a fall release, this movie/television series follows the adventures of the Sherman brothers, two fifteen-year old fraternal twins who have discovered a strange stone marker in the woods. While attempting to uncover information about the mysterious object, the boys and four of their misfit friends discover it is linked to the disappearance of seven children over thirty years ago. As the pieces begin to fall into place, they find themselves at the mercy of a madman willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the past buried.

Dale Fabrigar ("Tape 407" and "Soul Fire Rising") and Tony Canonico ("Mulberry Park") are slated to direct, with Jeff DeMeo as Executive Producer and Ivan Kavalsky as Co-Producer. The story was developed by Clay Sharman and the screenplay was written by Brian Herzlinger and Jay Black.

For more information about this film go to http://www.stonemarkermovie.com/.

Written by Chris Hlad.

Contact: Suzanne DeLaurentiis, 323-956-7899, DeLaurentiisllc@gmail.com .

SOURCE Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SAG Members File Lawsuit Against Screen Actors Guild

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Feb. 22, 2012 -- A significant number of Screen Actors Guild members filed a lawsuit today asking the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop SAG from calling for a vote on the proposed merger of SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Actors. The suit asserts that SAG Board has breached its fiduciary duties to conduct an actuarial impact study detailing the effects of the proposed merger on SAG membership pension and health benefits.

Martin Sheen, Edward Asner, Ed Harris, Valerie Harper, Clancy Brown, James Remar, George Coe, Diane Ladd, Lainie Kazan, Nichelle Nichols, Renee Aubry, Jane Austin, Erick Avari, Steve Barr, Sara Barrett, Terrance Beason, Michael Bell, Warren Berlinger, Joe Bologna, Ralph Brennen, Alexandra Castro, Jude Ciccolella, Cynthia Lea Clark, David Clennon, Joe D'Angerio, Patricia D'Arbanville, Dick Gautier, Dorothy Goulah, Marty Grey, Sumi Haru, Angel Harper, Basil Hoffman, David Huddleston, Anne-Marie Johnson, David Jolliffe, Kerrie Keane, Peter Kwong, Kurt Lott, Barbara Luna, Eric Lutes, Stephen Mach, Michael McConnohie, Peter Antico, Susan McNabb, Phyllis Timbes, Marguerite Moreau, Traci Murray, Nicole Mandich, Larry Newman, Barbara Niven, Kathleen Nolan, Jack Ong, Peggy Lane O'Rourke, Leslie Parrish, Scott Pierce, Robin Riker, Stephanie Rose, Alan Rosenberg, Alan Ruck, Wendy Schaal, Tascha Schaal, Nancy Sinatra, Cynthia Steele, Renee Taylor, Malachi Throne, Beverly Todd, Jessica Wright, Momo Yashimo Plaintiffs vs. Screen Actors Guild, a Labor Union; David White, an Individual; Ken Howard, an Individual; Amy Aquino, an Individual; Ned Vaughn, an Individual; Mike Hodge, an Individual; David Hartley-Margolin, an Individual; and Does 1 – 10, Defendants (Case # CV12-1468), was filed today in United States District Court, Central District of California.

"We have spent almost two months negotiating with SAG in an effort to get them to present the truth regarding this merger plan. Member are entitled to full disclosure, not half truths and misleading and unsupported promises," said David B. Casselman of the Los Angeles law firm Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Esensten, LLP. "They have done nothing of substance to support their claims that the proposed merger will protect SAG member benefits. The average SAG member makes less than $10,000 per year.

They need to know that all necessary due diligence was done to protect them."
Since Sept. 15, 1981, the SAG Constitution has recognized that careful study of any SAG-AFTRA merger plan would be necessary "to satisfy the requirements of law and the protection of all eligible members against the loss of benefits, presently or in the future" (Appendix 1).

The SAG board voted on Jan. 28, 2012 to approve the proposed merger plan and to submit it to a vote of the membership. On Jan. 29, 2012, the presidents of SAG and AFTRA announced on national television at the SAG Awards that the "historic step" of merger was about to be realized.

"We believe the defendants made this announcement in order to thoroughly saturate the media with pro-merger propaganda, avoiding any balancing information which would allow SAG members to intelligently evaluate the issues prior to voting," says Casselman.

"If an uninformed membership approves this merger, and then we all learn that it will have crippling, negative effects, it will be too late for anything to be done to return SAG or its current pension and health plans back to their current status," says Casselman.

SOURCE Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Esensten, LLP