June 26, 2008

"Visions of Lucy" Original Art

Since 1999, Lucille Ball's hometown has offered an annual art exhibit featuring original one-of-a-kind artwork of the Queen of Comedy.

Appropriately titled "Visions of Lucy," this unique exhibit showcases the talents of local, regional, and national artists!

Rick Carl, famed Lucy artist whose artwork appears on the cover of The "I Love Lucy" Book and fills the pages of The Official "I Love Lucy" Paper Dolls, is among the talented folks who have offered submissions to this year's exhibit.

On Saturday, August 2, in conjunction with Lucy's Birthday Celebration, all artwork will be incorporated into the Lucy-Desi Memorabilia Auction (preview: 12:45 pm, auction: 1:37 pm).

For art connoisseurs and Lucy fans alike, we're offering a special art preview online.

If you're unable to be a part of the festival weekend (August 1-3) but would like to participate in the auction, you'll find complete details on how you can place an absentee auction bid online.

For complete details and an online preview, click here.

June 25, 2008

Lucille Ball Scholarship Award Winner Announced

Gallager Bobseine is the first recipient of the newly reestablished Lucille Ball Scholarship at Jamestown Community College.

Following an aircraft accident two years ago in Mayville, New York, the then 17-year-old Bobseine was airlifted to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. The flight instructor he was sitting beside was killed on impact.

Recovering from 42 broken bones and other injuries delayed the Cattaraugus, New York, resident’s plans for attending Jamestown Community College (JCC) by a year. But it didn’t deter him from receiving certification for his private pilot’s rating and his intention to complete his Business Administration degree at JCC before transferring to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University for his B.A. in Professional Aeronautics.

Bobseine comes by his love of flying naturally, as his father is also a pilot. His dream is to create his own business around his passion, eventually opening a flight school and offering transportation services in helicopters and light jets. His determination and overcoming of obstacles were the traits that led to his selection as the winner of the Lucille Ball Scholarship.

In keeping with the character of its namesake, the scholarship is to assist a Jamestown Community College student pursuing an Associates Degree in performing arts or business, with special consideration given to students who show exceptional drive and determination and/or who have overcome unusual challenges.

Fifteen-year-old Lucille Ball was sent home from drama school in New York City with a message to her mother that she had no talent. It was through persistence and hard work that she came to receive international accolades as The Queen of Comedy. Her business acumen as the first woman to head a major studio, Desilu Productions - the largest production studio in Hollywood at the time - led her to personally champion the creation of Star Trek and Mission Impossible.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz originally announced their creation of a scholarship at Jamestown Community College when they visited Jamestown in 1956 for the world premiere of their MGM film, Forever, Darling. The scholarship continued until Desilu Studios was sold to Gulf & Western in 1967.

In reflecting on his award, Bobseine noted, "I am immensely thankful to be selected for this award. I understand we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. I could not agree more with Lucille’s philosophy that persistence and determination are the keys to succeeding."

This spring, ten initial funders from across the country each provided $1,000 to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) to launch the endowment for the Lucille Ball Scholarship. They are Ford and Jane Blaney, Wanda Clark, Chris and Tricia Olsen, William Peck, Melody Thomas Scott, Todd and Alexis Singleton, Ken Souza, William and Barbara Stubbs, Darrell Vail, and Lou Weiss. William Peck made an additional contribution so that the first scholarship could be awarded this year.

Randy Sweeney, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, commented, "The Community Foundation has had the opportunity to help support a number of the activities of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center since its start several years ago. We are thrilled to continue this relationship with the administration of the Lucille Ball Scholarship Fund, which will award a student from Jamestown Community College. We are delighted that Gallager Bobseine has been selected as the first recipient, as he certainly depicts the characteristics of hard work, drive and a CAN DO spirit."

Online gifts to the Lucille Ball Scholarship Fund can be made through CRCF’s website.

June 18, 2008

Lucie Arnaz to Moderate Legacy of Laughter at Humore Project Conference

Jamestown, NY – Lucie Arnaz will be moderating a Legacy of Laughter panel and receiving a Laughtime Achievement Award on behalf of her parents, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, at the HUMOR Project’s 52nd international conference on “The Positive Power of Humor & Creativity” this weekend (June 20-22) in Silver Bay, New York. She will also offer a conference session “Ask Lucie: Up Close and Personal with Lucie Arnaz.”

The Legacy of Laughter event is being sponsored by TV Land. Mary Jane Price, Education/Outreach Director for the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Lucy’s hometown, Jamestown, New York, will be attending the conference.

This world-class weekend includes over 30 sessions focusing on the use of humor in business, health care, education, therapy, parenting, and life. Showing that humor is a universal language, over the years, these programs have attracted more than 21,000 people from all 50 states, throughout Canada, six continents, and The Moon (Apollo Moonwalking astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell).

“This learning-filled, laughter-fueled conference is designed to be positively productive for organizations, personally enriching, and professionally practical,” comments Dr. Joel Goodman, founder and Director of The HUMOR Project, which will celebrate its 31st anniversary at the conference. Goodman goes on to say, “In this challenge-filled world, we need humor, hope, healing, and creativity more than ever to survive and thrive. This conference is a great way to celebrate humor and to help people get more smileage out of their lives and jobs.”

The HUMOR Project has provided grants to more than 450 schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations in the past. Recipients have used their funding to establish Humor Rooms and Comedy Carts in hospitals, develop a Geriantics program in a nursing home, publish a booklet on using humor in parenting special needs children, establish a Comedy Corps to telephone a joke-of-the-day for homebound elderly, provide humor resources for a shelter for the homeless, and much more.

According to Ms. Price, “I am excited to be participating in this conference, and to represent our Center at the most recent Legacy of Laughter presentation. The opportunities offered at the conference are sure to benefit our Education and Outreach Department as we continue our initiative to enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter.”

For more information on the HUMOR Project and the conference, call 518-587-8770 or visit www.HumorProject.com. For more information about the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center’s Education and Outreach, call (716) 484-0800 (toll-free: 1-877-LUCY-FAN), ext. 211, or visit www.lucy-desi.com.

June 17, 2008

"Queer Eye" Host Rodriguez Will Be Desi Arnaz in Dance With Me

From Playbill and Theatermania:

Four concert stagings of the new musical Dance With Me will be presented in West Hollywood July 10-13 as part of the Festival of New American Musicals.

The musical about the lives of the late Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz will cast "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" host Jai Rodriguez as the Cuban bandleader. Jim J. Bullock, the "Too Close for Comfort" star seen on Broadway in Hairspray, will also be part of the cast. Complete casting will be announced shortly.

Dance With Me features a book and score by Robert Bartley and Danny Whitman. The musical, according to press notes, is described as such: "Escaping the bloodshed of his native Island, a young Cuban boy sets sail on a turbulent journey that leads him all the way to Hollywood and into the arms of a fiery, redheaded movie star named Lucille Ball. At the climax of Dance With Me, Desi and Lucy put their money, their trust and their dreams on the line in a gamble to save one thing — their marriage. They risk it all on an untested medium called television. Can these two star crossed lovers blaze a path that defies Hollywood and history to be together?"

Jai Rodriguez has been seen on Broadway as Carmen Ghia in The Producers and as Angel in Rent. He also starred in Off-Broadway's Zanna, Don't! (which spawned a cast album), performed in Lincoln Center Theater's Spinning Into Butter and appeared in the acclaimed concert benefit version of Hair (also on recording). For his work on "Queer Eye," he received a 2004 Emmy Award as creative consultant/host.

Dance With Me was recently part of the York Theatre Company's Developmental Reading Series and is a finalist for both the 2008 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival and the 2008 Eugene O'Neill Music Theatre Conference.

Dance With Me will be presented July 10-12 at 8 PM and July 13 at 4 PM at 916 North Formosa Avenue in West Hollywood, CA. Tickets, priced $15, are available by visiting www.DanceWithMeTheMusical.com.

June 16, 2008

Alert: Fake Lucy Items on Ebay

Although I always have suspected items such as jewelry or "prop" items sold on Ebay and claimed to be owned by Lucille Ball have been fakes, one reader has alerted me to two sellers who hock these fake items.

He states, "For the past 7-9 months or so, countless alleged Lucille Ball owned and "I Love Lucy" props authenticated by a company known as Global Antiques have been sold on eBay. Unfortunately, it has been determined that all of these items are suspect for fraud. I personally, have been in contact with Lucille Ball's family who claimed not a single item reviewed was recognized as being from their mother's estate. Furthermore, a number of pieces have been found to post-date the "I Love Lucy" show, thereby disputing the claim that the items are original and authentic. You can review some of these findings below. I thought you might want to make your readers aware of this situation, in the event that they purchased any of these items. The two sellers involved were Auction Depot LA (auctiondepotla1) and Auction Shop USA (auctionshopusa). eBay has recently suspended the auctiondepotla1 account after numerous complaints about the illegitimacy of the items. auctionshopusa voluntarily closed their account prior to that."

You can read more about prop items on Ebay from Orginal Prop Blog, a non-profit that publishes articles and features on original prop items and other pop culture artifacts from film and television.

Several articles that featured Lucy items are:

I Love Lucy, Global Antiques, and Auction Depot LA

I Love Lucy, Global Antiques, and Auction Depot LA - Silver Creamer

Auction Depot LA & Global Antiques: I Love Lucy, Harmony Rose, and T.J. Maxx - Part 2

So if you decide to purchase something that someone has claimed as from the Estate of Lucille Ball or owned by Lucy or was used on the set of "I Love Lucy", please do your research and find out as much as possible as there are alot of scams out there ready to defraud you of your money.

If you may have purchased and of these items, PayPal has been issuing a number of buyers refunds providing that they paid via PayPal and no more than 45 days has passed since the auction closed.

June 10, 2008

Justin Timberlake Presents Lucille Ball LOL Award

Justin Timberlake presented Mike Meyers with the Lucille Ball Legacy of Laughter Award at the 2008 TV Land Awards Sunday, June 8th in Santa Monica, California.

The two buddies clowned around on stage a bit and then Myers talked for a moment and plugged his sure-fire summer bomb.

June 03, 2008

Desilu Playhouse Building Donated to Center

As reported by Buffalo Business First, the building that houses Jamestown's Desilu Playhouse has been donated to the organization that pays homage to the late, famed comedic couple.

Gary and Helen Lynn, residents of the Chautauqua County city who own the building, donated the structure to the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center. The two-story, early 1900s building has housed the Desilu Playhouse, a central part of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, for the past three years.

"This becomes another asset on our books," said Ric Wyman, Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center Inc. executive director. "It is a major asset."

The building is anchored by a replica of the Tropicana Room, the fictional New York City nightclub where Arnaz worked when episodes of "I Love Lucy" aired on CBS-TV. Also housed in the building is additional Ball and Arnaz memorabilia and a gift shop.

The replica Tropicana Room is not only used as a major stop on the Ball tours in Jamestown, but is also rented out for private parties and receptions.

Ball, who was born in nearby Celeron, called Jamestown her native home.

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center has several buildings in Jamestown that house memorabilia related to the fabled couple and Ball's post-"I Love Lucy" career.

The center is attracting international attention, hosting more than 35,000 visitors on an annual basis, making it a leading Jamestown tourist attraction. The center hosts two Ball-related festivals each year.

"It certainly creates a wholesome family atmosphere and helps put Jamestown on the world map," said Gary Lynn.

Lucille Ball's Grandaughter in Comedy 'Alexandros'

Pictured are Kevin Symons, left, Katharine Luckinbill (daughter of Lucie Arnaz and grandaughter of Lucille Ball) and Chaz Mena star in the Laguna Playhouse presentation of Melinda Lopez's comedy 'Alexandros,' a gathering of a Cuban American clan doesn't go as planned.

From LA Times, this ensemble piece, having its world premiere at the Laguna Playhouse, is a family-reunion comedy that uses ethnic spice to enliven its reheated premise. A Cuban family living in Miami reunites to celebrate the 75th birthday of its matriarch (Maria Cellario). The party brings three generations together under one tempestuous (and pink-tiled) roof.

Directed by David Ellenstein, "Alexandros" is pitched as a screwball comedy, but the production's aim is slightly askew. The play teeters indecisively between outright frivolity and moments of psychological gravitas. "He was a lot of sad with his happy," says one character, and that line sums up the play's rather unbalanced tone of tragicomedy.

The Orange County Register interviewed Katharine Luckinbill. Luckinbill is playing a teenage girl, Marty, who's just beginning to discover the spirit of rebellion in the summer of 1974. As the play begins, Marty has just been dragged from her Texas home to Florida to celebrate the 75th birthday of her Cuban-born grandmother, whom she hasn't seen in years.

Lucie Arnaz Attends Film Fest

Lucie Arnaz and her co-star in "The Pack," Ryan Homchick, attend the Connecticut Film Festival in Danbury, where "The Pack" was shown Sunday, May 25th. The actress, daughter of iconic comedian Lucille Ball and actor-musician Desi Arnaz, attended the festival at the Palace Theater to watch "The Pack," a drama she stars in with Ryan Homchick.

The movie is about an ambitious district attorney who prosecutes a woman on three counts of murder after her 47-year-old husband dies of lung cancer from allegedly breathing her secondhand smoke for 30 years.

Arnaz, whose father died of lung cancer, showed her support for her latest film's anti-smoking message and attended an after-party reception to benefit the American Cancer Society.