Check out Diane Namm’s interview on Woman Around Town here!
Archive for the ‘PR’ Category
Posted by Levine Communications Office on June 8, 2013
By: Suzi Parker
Historically black colleges and universities are about to have a mess on their hands. Because of a sharp change to a student loan policy, enrollment has dramatically dropped. This is not good for the schools—or hopeful high school graduates.
Founded primarily after the Civil War, these higher institutions served the black community when white colleges didn’t allow them to attend.
Currently, there are 105 historically black colleges and universities in the United States, and these include public and private, two-year and four-year institutions, medical schools and community colleges. They educate about 374,000 students, including white students.
The enrollment is declining at these schools because in 2011, the PLUS loans disqualified borrowers with unpaid debts that had been referred to collection agencies over the past five years.
PLUS loans have long been popular because, unlike many student loans, they have no limit and can cover an array of needs, including tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Parents apply for the loans, some upwards of $50,000, to cover the amount of money needed to bridge financial gaps for their children’s education.
“Historically, loans, fellowships, and scholarships have been critical for students at these colleges,” said Rolonda Watts, a radio personality and alumna of Spelman University in Atlanta. “I got through there [college] with work studies, scholarships and loans.”
Watts’ great, great grandfather was a founder of Bennett College in North Carolina.
Nathan Ober, a student at Villanova University, has done extensive research on the student debt crisis and notes that black students “are the most likely among all racial or ethnic groups to graduate with high debt.”
According to the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an umbrella organization for black colleges known as NAFEO, 15,000 parents were denied loans in the fall of 2011. Many students were not aware of the denials until they reached campus. Parents can appeal, and many are.
Still, that doesn’t solve the alarming crisis.
A group led by William R. Harvey, president of Hampton University and chairman of the president’s Board of Advisors on HBCU, sent a letter last fall to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The group wrote:
This is having a devastating impact on enrollment at our institutions and our institutions’ ability to serve their students. It is having an even more devastating impact on the students who have worked hard to get to college and have had to cut short their college careers, as well as on their families who have dreamed of and sacrificed for their sons and daughters going to college. And, it is in direct opposition to President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Fewer students mean higher tuition costs as HBCUs try to make up the financial disparities that, in turn, make it harder for poorer students to attend.
Read the rest of the article at Take Part
Posted by Levine Communications Office on May 1, 2013
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Tim Holmes, a Lansing, Michigan-born, action-suspense actor and stuntman and father of three-year-old twin boys, has successfully transformed his career as a firefighter into becoming a Hollywood actor.
Holmes began his career in entertainment by successfully pursuing music and was able to parlay his contacts into a thriving acting career, appearing in afternoon soap operas, B films and various other TV pilot projects.
In 2011 Tim was seen in multiple feature films, including DreamWorks Pictures’ ‘Real Steel,’ Raw Nerve’s ‘Hostel 3,’ Sony Pictures’ ‘S.W.A.T.: Firefight’ and in 2012 he appeared in QED Internationals’ ‘Alex Cross.’
And with the just-released ‘Oz the Great and Powerful,’ Holmes in the role of The Strongman has just become a break-out star!
‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is a 2013 American fantasy adventure film directed by Sam Raimi, produced by Joe Roth, and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and Mitchell Kapner. The film stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, and Michelle Williams as Glinda.
Chatting recently with the Strongman himself Tim Holmes, taking it from the top, I first wondered (being that he is actually a Fireman by trade) when he had first gotten the firefighting bug? “I became a fireman in the late 90`s in Los Angeles CA. I was freaking out a bit because I did not make a career yet in the entertainment business. So I decided I better get a back up gig and a fireman was my choice.”
Born here in Lansing, MI do you still live and work here or have you moved to Hollywood? “I live in the house I grew up in, in Michigan from April to October and travel in and out alot to California for auditions, meetings and acting work throughout that period. From November to March I live full time in Los Angeles. We have a place there in Woodland Hills, CA. Depending on where this acting career takes me will depend on where we live full time.”
“If I hopefully keep working in film I can keep the same schedule. Yet if I get a gig as a series regular on a TV series I would have to relocate with me and my family to that area for the run of the show.”
And the same question applies to your acting bug? When did that first bite you? “I got the bug in junior high school when I was in jazz band. We used to play alot of events and I would have to go out front of the jazz band and do my trumpet solos. The thrill of being on the spot in front of people was a great rush for me. I then took drama class the next semester and got the the same rush. And so the acting/performing bug bite me, baby!”
Read the rest of the interview at Anne Carlini
Posted by Levine Communications Office on April 10, 2013
Robert Nagle studied mechanical engineering and racecar design before becoming a professional race driver. But when he found out that some of the other drivers were working in the film industry, it piqued his interest. Said Nagle, “What I found was that it fulfilled a creative side of me that I didn’t really realize was there.” He left the racing world and hasn’t looked back, doing stunt driving for a number of films, including The Dark Knight Rises and Drive.
One piece of equipment he’s been driving lately is the Biscuit Rig Jr., a driveable platform developed by Allan Padelford Camera Cars. In this interview he describes the origins of the vehicle and its operation and uses.
Filmmaker: What is the Biscuit Rig?
Nagle: Allen Padelford originally built a rig for the movie Sea Biscuit, and it was a giant driveable platform they put mechanical horses on to film the actors up close.
The vehicle was also used on Aviator, and they mounted an aircraft fuselage on it for Leo [DiCaprio] to sit in for a crash sequence. During that time there was a huge brush fire in Southern California and the rig was caught up in the brush fire and was lost.
Fast forward a few years later, Allen and I got together and started collaborating on some projects and we decided to build a different version of what he was calling the Biscuit Rig, and we came up with the Biscuit Jr.
We engineered this thing from the ground up; it’s powered by a V8 Cadillac Northstar that’s about 400 horsepower. It’s front wheel drive and there’s a pair of wheels at the back. Six wheels in total.
There’s a pod that is the driver position that is moveable around the rig. If the cameras are looking towards the back it can sit toward the front of the rig, or if the cameras want to face forward we can move the driving pod to the rear of the vehicle to be out of frame. That’s what makes this design unique.
Filmmaker: It can be modified?
Nagle: The whole thing is modular so we can really play around with what the bed looks like and how many axels we have. ForTotal Recall, we added another set of axels because of the amount of load that was on it.
Filmmaker: What’s the advantage of this over a typical trailer?
Nagle: You can drive over 100 miles an hour with it, we can high-speed through traffic, we can slide it, we can spin it. It’s heavy. Not super responsive, but it handles extremely well. It’s very fast.
Filmmaker: How do you slide it if it’s not very responsive?
Nagle: Well when I say it’s not very responsive, it’s not like a sports car. It is heavy, but most people walk away quite amazed at how well it gets around.
Filmmaker: It must be a very odd feeling to be driving from the back?
Nagle: It really is because all the sensation and everything you feel is completely off from what you are used to. I acclimate to it pretty quickly because I have done it so much, but it’s definitely an odd sensation.
Filmmaker: What’s the most amazing bit of driving that you’ve done with this?
Nagle: One would be in Drive. Almost all of the sequences where Ryan Gosling is driving, he’s on the Biscuit Rig. We did a chase sequence where……..
Click here to read the rest of the interview.
Posted by Levine Communications Office on April 9, 2013
By Victoria Lynn Weston
Today I am on the telephone with stunt woman Gaëlle Cohen, one of the most in-demand stunt performers in Hollywood. She has worked on over sixty film and television productions including; Rush Hour 3, Babylon A.D., Brotherhood of the Wolf, most recently Zero Dark Thirty.
Born and raised in France, Gaëlle Cohen started out her career as a lawyer, “but I really didn’t fit in,” she tells me.
Maybe it was fate, one day she got a call from a friend who was a movie agent and asked her to fill in for an actress. “I arrived on set and saw other actors practicing fencing and since I was on the French National Fencing team and a champion fencer, I helped them. They liked my work and I met stunt performers who invited me to audition.”
Gaëlle launched a new career as a stunt performer for the Highlander show in 1995.
“I started out doing sword fights and performed all the bad girl stunts on the show. It was like a flash – this is what I want to do!
Cohen has a beautiful French accent and it takes me a few seconds to take in all that she is saying; “This is me – combining athleticism and artistic creation. I did extensive research and trained full-time……
Read the rest of the interview here.
Posted by Levine Communications Office on March 27, 2013
By: Kathy Portie
Rick Bassman’s life reads like a parable of reinvention and resiliency. And if the Sugarloaf resident has his way, you’ll be reading all about it, too.
Bassman is writing his memoir, “Been There, Done That” while living in Big Bear. The former Emmy-award winner and pro wrestling mogul wants to share his topsy-turvy life as a tale of inspiration. The tagline for his book is “How many chances at life can one man have?” Bassman has identified eight times he’s reached the lows in life only to lift himself up.
According to Bassman’s bio, he’s a Disney executive, been a film and NFL agent, pro wrestling mogul and mixed martial arts pioneer. But it hasn’t all been rosy. Bassman is a stage four cancer survivor, a gunshot and stabbing victim, and a criminal. He’s been homeless and battled addiction. “It’s the ultra dichotomy between winner and loser,” Bassman says.
For the full story click here
Posted by Levine Communications Office on March 26, 2013
By: Jay Nanda
When Randy Rhoads died in a small-plane crash at age 25 on March 19, 1982, he left behind a legacy of guitar playing that was cut prematurely short in his prime. And when it comes to Rhoads’ skills, most metalheads think of his tenure in Ozzy Osbourne’s band.
But before that took place, Rhoads was the original guitarist in Quiet Riot. Thanks to Ron Sobol and the help of many others, Rhoads’ time in that band from 1975-80 is now available for fans to truly appreciate.
Sobol, who was Quiet Riot’s photographer and best friend of late original singer Kevin DuBrow, has directed and written “Randy Rhoads: The Quiet Riot Years.” Available in DVD and book form through Red Match Productions, the documentary features never-before-seen video and photographic footage of how Rhoads, DuBrow, and original drummer Drew Forsyth and bassist Kelly Garni endured through friendship and hard times in their never-ending quest to obtain a record deal. It also includes the band recounting in a radio interview what they were known as before Quiet Riot. But let’s not give everything away.
Interviews with the likes of DuBrow’s mother, Rhoads’ guitar tech, fan club president Lori Hollen, the ex-girlfriend of DuBrow and later Rhoads — Jodi Vigier — and others give a fascinating insight into the life and times of those involved. The DVD has bonus footage that features an approximately 10-minute segment on Rhoads giving a guitar lesson that shows him somewhat reluctantly, yet graciously, teaching his student songs by a band with whom Quiet Riot had a rivalry — Van Halen. Click on the video box at the bottom for a trailer of the DVD and here for a look at who showed up and spoke at the film’s recent premiere.
Last week marked the 31-year anniversary of Rhoads’ death. The day after that milestone, I phoned Sobol:
Q: Randy died 31 years ago yesterday. Most of us tend to think of his guitar playing when it comes to his legacy. As someone who knew him the way you did, what’s his largest lasting impression to you?
A: We lost a true body of work for his massive talent. He was a great guy that was very humble. At the same time, he was really funny and an overall fantastic person. There’s not a lot of people with that much talent that are so humble. He didn’t even know how good he was.
Q: How long of a process was it for you to compile photographs, video footage and interviews for the DVD?
A: Well, I’ve had all the stuff. All the material I had, I just had to put them in a pile, you know what I mean? It took about two years.
Q: On the DVD it is said that the fact Jodi dated Randy after having dated Kevin may have hurt Kevin’s ego, but it didn’t affect him musically. Then on Randy’s final night with the group, it showed how everyone was truly friends again at the party and having a great time. Can you give me some insight as to how unusual, awkward and tense that period might have been for the three of them and the band?
A: There wasn’t any awkwardness (laughs). It was like, kind of a natural thing. Kevin was friends with Jodi. Kevin had the ability to remain friends with someone he broke up with. That wasn’t the first time he had broken up with her. Before Jodi went out with Randy, her and Kevin would get in a fight, but they were both still professional enough to keep the job going. It wasn’t like a job where she got paid, but, she was still doing her thing. Everything was on a professional level. That wasn’t brought into rehearsals or the show. There wasn’t really any tension, I’m sorry to say (chuckles). I know it would make a good story, but there just wasn’t. Unusual for people that age, in their early 20s.
Q: Was there anything said by the interview subjects that surprised you?
A: I was never sure exactly how Lori became the fan club president. Her telling that story about seeing (the band) in the car and them saying, “Hey, come on over to my house,” I didn’t know that exactly. I kind of knew everything. I’ll tell you what was surprising — Drew. I didn’t know Drew had those feelings. I did not know he was that angry about the whole thing.
Read the rest of the interview in The Examiner