June 17, 2011

Lucy Banner Flies High At City Hall

From The Post Journal, Jamestown, NY - by Jason Rodriguez

Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy, stands with Council President Greg Rabb and Mayor Sam Teresi at the ceremony to raise the Lucy Fest flag over City Hall.

Some local ambassadors of Lucy Nation raised her banner over the streets of Jamestown on Thursday.
With this gesture, the summer festival to honor the centennial of Lucille Ball gets started.
"The raising of the flag over City Hall demonstrates how committed the city, mayor and the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy are to making this celebration of worthy magnitude for Lucille Ball's 100th birthday," said Journey Gunderson, executive director of the museum.

She said the entire local community is "full steam ahead and all hands on deck" in anticipation of the upcoming summer schedule.

Mrs. Gunderson said the Lucille Ball Hometown Wedding takes place July 30 in the museum's Tropicana Room. The first week in August is Lucy Fest, and tickets are selling fast for the headlining comedy acts.

She added that Lucy herself would be thrilled to see the widespread buzz in her hometown.
Said Mrs. Gunderson: "Lucie Arnaz told me that in one of her final conversations with her mother before she passed away, Lucy was so excited at the prospect of returning to Jamestown."

While her keynote address at Jamestown Community College was not to be, each year her presence lives on in those that congregate to Jamestown in honor of her birthday. And with talent recruited from Hollywood and comedy circuits around the country, her centennial celebration in 2011 promises to memorable.

Museum Board Member Bill Stevenson said he approached the city with the idea to fly the Lucy flag from City Hall. The city was eager to accommodate the request, said executive assistant Matt Hanley, because the city traditionally raises a national flag that corresponds whenever its Swedish, Italian or other cultural festival is held.

The flag features the centennial icon created by Gary Peters Jr. which is visible on two dozen other flags and about 45 streets banners already displayed throughout the city.

June 10, 2011

New Comic Book To Celebrate Lucille Ball's Centennial

Here's some fun news for a Friday afternoon: Bluewater Productions just announced that it will be releasing a "special comic book project" featuring Lucille Ball, "one of the most beloved and widely known figures in the history of American culture," to celebrate her centennial.

"COMICS: Lucille Ball" will be released in August 2011, for the late comedian's 100th birthday. It is written by Jaymes Reed and drawn by Patricio Carbajal, said Bluewater, which produces comic books, young adult books and graphic novels. It has offices in Vancouver, Washington and Miami, Florida.

"This comic will focus on her humble beginnings and the incredible events that led to her eventually becoming a household name at a time when that meant virtually every American household as the star of the classic" I Love Lucy" program," a press release says. "Though she would pave the way for many female comediennes that came after her, she towers over the rest. There is still only one Lucy."

The 32-page comic book will have a cover price of $3.99. "Our goal is to show the little-known events and influences that resulted in Lucille Ball becoming the phenomenon she remains to this day, 100 years after her birth and years after her death," Publisher Darren G. Davis said.

Lucille Ball is arguably the most influential figure in the history of American television. This comic will focus on her humble beginnings and the incredible events that led to her eventually becoming a household name at a time when that meant virtually every American household as the star of the classic" I Love Lucy" program. Though she would pave the way for many female comediennes that came after her, she towers over the rest. There is still only one Lucy. This book shows the influences on her comedy that still influence every person who tries to make a living making others laugh.

"The series as a whole was created to help me laugh during terrible times following my mother's death on New Year's Eve 2009. When preparing the initial line-up for the COMICS series, I knew right away a Lucille Ball book would be near the top. Besides for being the Queen of Comedy, she was my mother's favorite television personality, nearly to the point of serious addiction. I grew up on corn flakes, Texas sunshine... and each episode of everything Lucy ever starred in! "COMICS: Lucille Ball" will partly feature my mom as a little girl and will also be dedicated to her memory."

Publisher Darren G. Davis said, " Our goal is to show the little-known events and influences that resulted in Lucille Ball becoming the phenomenon she remains to this day, 100 years after her birth and years after her death. A visual medium provides perspective that is not only accessible but more relatable to the average person without losing any of the information involved".

This 32-page comic book will be chronicling this saga, "COMICS: Lucille Ball" will explore all sides of this amazing talent, from her positive contribution to her fans' lives and society at large and how she is one of the few celebrities hardly anyone says a bad word about. Through it all, she always remained true to herself and appeared to be genuine. What you saw is what you got with her. There didn't appear to be a phony bone in her body. That - and her remarkable talent - is what has made her an enduring legend. Interest is still strong and steadfast for one of the most powerful women in the history of entertainment.

Join Bluewater Productions as we examine the life-affirming journey of Lucille Ball and how she became the ultimate American story and forever remembered as the Queen of Comedy.

I Love Lucy Full Episodes on CBS.com

Now you can watch full episodes of "I Love Lucy" on CBS.


Great - now I'll never be able to get away from the computer!

Lucy Fest performer Whitney Cummings Replaced

Networks Pull Cummings from Lucy Fest; Poundstone, Updated Line-Up Announced

In a perfect storm of career success, comedienne and Lucy Fest performer Whitney Cummings has landed two sitcoms simultaneously with network giants NBC and CBS that prevent her from performing in the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Aug 3-7.  Cummings will write both shows, and will also star in the series for NBC, called Whitney.

Performing in Lucy Fest on Saturday, Aug. 6 on Ball’s 100th birthday will be well-known comedienne and 1995 Lucy Fest headliner Paula Poundstone.  Poundstone joins a new line-up that includes Joan Rivers Aug. 4 (8 pm), critically-acclaimed kids comedy show Story Pirates Aug. 6 (11:30am), and a showcase of rising comics Nate Bargatze, Christina Pazsitzky and others Aug. 5 (8 pm).  Bargatze is the winner of the New York Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival in 2010, and Paszitsky is a regular guest and writer of E!’s Chelsea Lately, as well as a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.  Kids comedy troop Story Pirates have been seen on CNN’s Larry King for their unique shows based on stories written by children, and are now accepting submissions from local kids 5-12. Tickets are on sale now at LucyComedyFest.com.

“For a comedian to get a pilot picked up by a network is a very big deal, but to get two pilots picked up, by two major networks at the same time, is unprecedented,” said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy.  “We sought to catch someone on the way up, whose career was on the rise, and in that sense could not have been more spot-on in our selection of Cummings.  We gave Cummings the green light just before NBC and CBS did the same.  Unfortunately their traffic lights are a bit bigger than ours.”

“I was heartbroken to get the call, but Poundstone and Rivers are legends. The schedule is so strong.  People have the opportunity to be part of the Guinness World Record for most Lucys, be in the live studio audience of a 1940s-style radio show airing on SiriusXM satellite’s Radio Classics, and see some of the best comedians in the nation right from Tracy Plaza and the Reg Lenna Civic Center that weekend.  There’s something for everyone.”

While ticket prices for Rivers and Poundstone are typically higher elsewhere, Lucy Fest has kept prices low to aim for sell-out of the intimate vaudeville theater.  Rivers’ tickets range from $30-$60 (all $70 rows have already sold out), and Poundstone tickets will be $15-$30.  Buyers of tickets to both shows receive a complimentary ticket to the $15 Fri., Aug. 5 Rooftop Comic Showcase featuring Bargatze, Pazsitzky and others, as well as a complimentary admission pass to the Desilu Playhouse and Museum dual attractions.

Cummings expressed particular regret at the cancellation of the date, citing Lucille Ball as a hero of hers and a main reason she got into comedy.  NBC has put Cummings on a rigorous promotional schedule throughout August that requires she spend every weekend writing scripts between now and the launch of each series.  August dates were cancelled in major markets Atlantic City and Las Vegas in addition to Jamestown.

Ticket holders for Cummings’ cancelled show have the option for refund or exchange and should contact the Lucy Desi Center at 716.484.0800 or the Reg Lenna box office at 716.484.7070.

All proceeds from ticket sales support the mission of the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  The Aug. 3-7 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival commemorates what would be the star’s 100th birthday, August 6.  Festival schedule highlights include:
  • Lucy-Desi Night at the Jamestown Jammers (7pm, Wed, Aug. 3)
  • Joan Rivers (8pm, Thurs, Aug. 4. Warning: Adult material and language)
  • Party on the Plaza: Live Comedy, Live Music, Crafts, Food and Drink (12-9pm, Fri, Aug. 5 and Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Parade & Historical Re-enactment of Forever, Darling World Premiere (6:30pm, Fri, Aug. 5)
  • Stand-Up Showcase Presented by Rooftop Comedy (8pm, Fri, Aug. 5)
  • Junior Guilders Lucy Show at Lucille Ball Little Theater (8pm, Fri, Aug. 5)
  • Late Night Comedy in The Tropicana Room (10:30pm, Fri & Sat, Aug. 5-6)
  • KIDS Comedy Show: Story Pirates (11:30am, Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Guinness World Record: Be A Lucy! (12:30pm registration, Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Live Radio Show performance: My Favorite Husband, and I Love Lucy: The Untold Story, written and directed by Gregg Oppenheimer, son of I Love Lucy creator Jess Oppenheimer (3pm, Sat, Aug 6)
  • Paula Poundstone (8pm, Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Museum Exhibit Unveilings (Times TBA)
  • Silent Auction: Memorabilia from the archives and estates of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (Noon, Wed, Aug. 3 – Sat, Aug. 6)
  • Lucy Lake View Cemetery Tours on horse-drawn trolley (daily Wed – Sat)
  • Lucy Town Bus Tours (daily Wed – Sat)
  • Picnic in Lucille Ball Memorial Celoron Park (11am, Sun, Aug. 7)
For tickets, full schedule and updates: www.LucyComedyFest.com