June 30, 2006

Lucy-Desi Center and Jamestown Community College Join Forces

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center and Jamestown Community College are teaming up to provide three distinct learning adventures in Lucy’s hometown this summer.

The July 24-28 Kids College class “Have a ‘Ball’ with Lucy”, for children 8-12 years old, will be taught by Mary Jane Price, a Lucy-Desi Center associate who is a full-time teacher at Southwestern Central Middle School. Ms. Price will be combining her love of children and her love of the Queen of Comedy to explore the power of laughter and discover what tickles our funny bone and why. The class will include learning about famous comedians and will be topped off with tours of the Lucy-Desi Museum and the Desilu Playhouse.

In a July 5-August 15 Summer Arts Academy course, juniors and seniors in high school can learn improvisational comedy with instruction by Len Barry and Jane Fischer, members of The Unexpected Guests, the Center’s resident improv comedy troupe. The class’s Basic Technique section will explore stimulating warm-up exercises and activities to nurture creative expression and team-building skills. Performance Games will utilize Basic Technique while introducing games familiar to improv audiences. Preparing for and Performing a Live Show will teach students how to host a show, field suggestions from an audience, and transition between games.

A one-credit course on writing biographies offered August 1-7 is the final of these summer learning opportunities. Lucille Ball biographer Kathleen Brady is coming from New York City to teach this class and host an authors roundtable with four fellow Lucy-Desi authors as part of Lucy’s Birthday Celebration, August 4-6. The class will include the study of Lucy history at the Lucy-Desi Museum and Desilu Playhouse, the viewing of a Lucille Ball documentary in the Tropicana Room of the Rapaport Center, attending the authors roundtable, and a four-hour workshop with Ms. Brady.

For more information, call Jamestown Community College (716-665-5220) or The Lucy-Desi Center (716-484-0800, ext. 206) or go on-line to www.sunyjcc.edu.

June 29, 2006

Lucie Arnaz interviewed on Broadway

Lucie Arnaz in Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsBroadway.com interviewed Lucie Arnaz after her performance in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Lucie plays Muriel Eubanks in the new musical comedy. Her appearance is scheduled through July 23rd. During the interview, Lucie spoke about her new role, her 26-year marriage, motherhood and more ....

Lucie's career spans over 40 years with stage, film and television as well as producing, directing, recording and live concert tours. Lucie hasn't been back in New York for 14 years and is thrilled to be welcomed back into the same stage door where her father, Desi Arnaz, made his Broadway debut in 1939 in Too Many Girls, and where she made hers, forty years later in They're Playing Our Song!

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is based on the popular 1988 film by the same name that starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin. It is about two con men in the French Riviera that agree to a contest to swindle money from a young heiress with the last man who loses the contest, leaving town.

The musical comedy is now playing at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on 45th Street in New York City with 6 performances a week. For more information on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or to order tickets, visit their website!

June 28, 2006

Barbara Walters Gets e-Fied

Barbara WaltersBarbara Walters has become the latest high-profile media personality to snag a show with Sirius Satellite Radio, reports The Associated Press. In a deal announced yesterday, Sirius said it will air a weekly two-hour series, starting next year, that replays many interviews Walters has conducted since joining ABC in 1976. About four interviews will be featured in each program, with new introductions by Walters to place them into the context of the time. Walters said subjects range from Lucille Ball and John Wayne to Matthew McConaughey and Julia Roberts.

June 27, 2006

Aaron Spelling Dies at 83

Aaron SpellingThe man who brought so many hit TV shows to air, died at his Los Angeles estate this past Friday, June 23rd, five days after suffering a stroke. He was 83 years old.

Born April 22, 1923, in Dallas, Spelling was the fourth of five children in a family that lived "on the wrong side of the tracks," Spelling recalled in his 1996 autobiography, "A Prime Time Life." His father, David, worked as a tailor for Sears. As the lone Jew in his school, Spelling frequently was taunted and harassed by other students. He spent a year in bed at the age of eight after suffering a nervous breakdown from the constant pressure. The experience shaped his personality and spurred in him the creative storytelling impulse.

Among his many credits, he brought Lucille Ball's last series, Life With Lucy, to TV. Spelling's longtime friendship with Lucille Ball led to one of the few half-hour comedies he ever attempted, with the short-lived sitcom, Life With Lucy. The show was a high-profile flop for ABC in the fall of 1986. Spelling once said he knew the show would not make it during the first day of shooting for the pilot, when audience members gasped as Ball, then in her mid-70s, struggled to pull off the physical comedy that had been her trademark.

Funeral services will be private. Longtime Spelling publicist Kevin Sasaki said a memorial service is being planned for next month.

For a complete write-up on his career and his extraordinary life, visit E-online!

June 21, 2006

Lucy-Desi Center Receives Donations from Oppenheimer Family

The family of Jess Oppenheimer, "I Love Lucy" creator, producer and head writer of 153 episodes, recently made two significant donations to the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Lucille Ball's hometown, Jamestown, New York.

When a movie projector was needed as a prop for "Home Movies", episode 86 that first aired on March 1, 1954, Jess Oppenheimer came to the rescue by bringing his personal projector from home. "I Love Lucy" fans can’t help but smile when they recall Ricky’s anger at Lucy and the Mertzes for their bored response when he shows his home movies of the baby - and all the hilarious repercussions that follow!

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is honored that Estelle Oppenheimer, Jess’s widow, has given this historic Bell & Howell film projector to the Center to be part of its permanent collection. It was presented by their son Gregg at “More ‘I Love Lucy’ Behind The Scenes,” a special event during the recent Lucy-Desi Days 2006 Memorial Day Weekend Festival.

It was a bittersweet farewell when Oppenheimer bid adieu to the show in the spring of 1956. Lucy and Desi opened their Beverly Hills home for a gala party in his honor, complete with a musical comedy review performed by the show’s four stars. For his contribution, Oppenheimer created special “Oppy Awards” that he presented to the cast and staff. In Laughs, Luck…and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time, he described the bronze statuette as looking “a little bit like an Oscar but more like me – a little man with glasses, very little hair, and his hands discreetly positioned in front of his crotch.”

Gregg Oppenheimer, who completed Laughs, Luck…and Lucy after his father’s death, recently donated an original Oppy to the Lucy-Desi Center. It is on display in Jamestown’s new Desilu Playhouse, complete with a picture of Jess Oppenheimer presenting his Oppy to The Queen of Comedy.

June 09, 2006

Lucy Award goes to Geena Davis

Geena Davis wins Lucy AwardWomen in Film rolled out the red carpet Tuesday night, June 6th, to award Geena Davis with the Lucy Award, which celebrates talented women in film and TV.

Women in Film also honored Jennifer Lopez with the 2006 Crystal Award.

Geena Davis was bestowed the Lucy Award, named after Lucille Ball, which is given to recognize women and men who demonstrate the same extraordinary qualities as the redheaded comedienne. "This is really, really special for me," Davis said. "I've been to a lot of Women In Film events and luncheons and seen Meryl Streep and incredible people get an award, and it's incredibly thrilling to be included."

Past winners of the Lucy Award include Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, Carol Burnett, Barbara Walters, Sherry Lansing, Blythe Danner and Angela Lansbury.