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Monday, Jun 5, 2023

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

L.A. Stories


For the first time, the Hollywood Reporter has added a student competition to its Annual Key Art Awards movie marketing competition, now in its 31st year.

Students who create a poster or trailer for a film that has already been released will vie for $22,000 in prize money at the award ceremony held June 28 at The Wilshire Ebell Theatre.

While many film students may scoff at the idea of making trailers, American Film Institute graduate editing student Byron Smith, who contributed a trailer for “Almost Famous,” takes a more realistic approach.

“One day I’d like to be cutting features but I need to pay my dues,” Smith said.

Smith also found another reason to enter the competition. “The cash prize is really motivating,” he said. “I’ve got to pay back my student loans.”

BET of Times

If awards shows celebrate celebrities, who celebrates the awards shows?

Our city government, apparently.

The City Council and Mayor James Hahn have declared June 25 “BET Day” in honor of the second annual BET Awards show, set to take place in L.A. that day.

Last year’s show was held in Las Vegas, but BET, formerly Black Entertainment Television, has since signed a multi-year contract with the Kodak Theatre, according to Suzanne Lewis, a spokeswoman for the event. The Mayor will make the proclamation official in a ceremony at City Hall at 10:00 a.m. on the 25th.

Scoop of Attitude

Writer/director Kevin Smith has launched a new industry Web site, moviepoopshoot.com last week. Smith, whose movies include “Clerks,” “Dogma” and “Chasing Amy,” referred to the then-fictional site in his film “Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back.” to poke fun at another counter-pop-culture site, aint-it-cool-news.com.

Like Ain’t It Cool, contributors review movies before they premiere and report on deals and scripts still in development. “We’re trying to toe the line between good humor and good news,” says Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall.

Columnists, including comic book veteran Steve Leiber and the Village Voice’s Amy Tobin, will opine on Smith’s passions: comics and film. Others will report on music, DVDs, and television.

The site is based in Santa Monica. Smith, a New Jersey resident, will contribute regular articles and a diary based on the making of his current movie, “Jersey Girl.”

“We know entertainment news is nothing new,” says Ryall. “But our site has been fueled by Kevin’s sensibilities. “He kind of has a skewed view of things.”

Sockeye at Schmick’s

It’s called Chignik Red Sockeye, it’s larger and more muscular than most salmon, and it’s the latest specialty fish to make its lower 48 debut at McCormick & Schmick’s, according to the restaurant.

Five years ago, McCormick & Schmick’s introduced Copper River Salmon to U.S. diners. The next year Ralphs bought out the entire catch, says Elaine Doran, spokeswoman for the restaurant chain.

Now, under an exclusive deal with a fishing cooperative in the tiny Alaskan village of Chignik (400 miles from Anchorage on the Aleutian coast), McCormick & Schmick’s will sell the thinly-fished salmon at its restaurants nationwide, including five in Southern California.

“The fishermen call us all the time to let us know how good the catch was and to tell us how beautiful Alaska is,” says Janet Dominck, also a company spokeswoman.

Not Amused

MTV’s “The Osbournes” has been the surprise hit of the television season, earning rocker Ozzie Osbourne and family a multi-million dollar pact to live their odd lives on camera for at least one more year.

But one famous TV family man thinks the Osbourne’s profanity-laced lifestyle is not worth chronicling.

“This is sad family. The children are sad and the parents are sad,” Bill Cosby told NBC’s “Access Hollywood.”

“It’s like laughing at Tiny Tim.”

The Roving Eye

Read at Your Own Risk

Just what you’ve always wanted the ability to get motion sickness in the privacy of your own home.

Provision Interactive Technologies is set to hit the market with what it calls the Personal Simulator chair, which is said to match the thrills offered in ride simulators like those found in arcades and amusement parks.

The Chatsworth firm is targeting gamers willing to plunk down $1,000 to feel the sensations associated with the action on screen. Shoot and the chair recoils, get shot and it will vibrate, jump and it feels like the chair jumps with you.

A leather-cushioned seat, an 8-inch subwoofer and dual 60-watt speakers built into the headrest are part of the experience.

“It’s an immersive, interactive experience that lets the player become a part of the action,” said Curt Thornton, Provision’s chief executive.

Plugging into a video game console like Sony’s Play Station 2 or Microsoft’s xBox, the player controls a programmable joystick, which sends feedback to the chair, moving it in synchronous motion with what is happening onscreen.

Thornton said that while Personal Simulator works especially well with racing, flying or first-person shooter games, players can also use the chair for Internet and PC-based games. (The effect is probably wasted on computer chess matches.)

The electric chair comes in three models: two offer a range of motion that includes roll, pitch and heave, the other comes with real flight simulation software. “We’re targeting racing fanatics, pilots, and enthusiastic gamers,” Thornton said.

The company has been selling units overseas, where it is being marketed to Internet cafes. U.S. gamers will have to wait until December for the chair to hit stores.

Samantha Lee

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