Hollywood Dollars to Democrats May Shrink

Tuesday, 16 Feb 2010 03:08 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

A Newsmax Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Hollywood Dollars to Democrats May Shrink
2. 3-D Mania Hits Hollywood
3. Goldie Hawn a U.K. Education Expert?
4. Director Kevin Smith’s Unfriendly Skies Experience
5. Heavy Metal Rocker: 'Christianity Saved Me'
 

1. Hollywood Dollars to Democrats May Shrink

For decades Democrats have depended on the cash provided by Hollywood’s political backers.

But as Bob Dylan’s old warbling warns, “The times they are a changin’.”

In the past, entertainment industry campaign finance flowed like a river in the direction of liberal Washington wannabes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in the 2009 election cycle, Hollywood backers coughed up cash to those with a “D” rather than “R” after their names to the tune of 76 percent to 23 percent.

In the post-Scott Brown era, though, even tried and true Tinseltowners aren’t as enthusiastic about opening up their wallets for Dem candidates.

Variety reporter Ted Johnson writes that “a prominent Hollywood liberal activist/fundraiser offered a blunt assessment what Republican Scott Brown's win in true blue Massachusetts means for Democrats in the midterm elections — ‘Disaster.’”

According to Johnson, in the upcoming year “there are questions as to whether showbiz donors, one of the most reliable and loyal sources of campaign dollars for Democrats, will come through in the same way that they have in previous cycles.”

High-powered agent Mitch Kaplan, a go-to guy for candidates needing Hollywood contributions in the last cycle, told Variety, “The candidates still have to come here, it has just been tradition. But I do think it is going to be much tougher.”

Sim Farar, another big left coast fundraiser, said that raising cash at this time is “twice as hard and we are collecting half the money.”

Because of her low standing in the polls and a well-heeled challenge from former Hewlett Packard chief, Carly Fiorina, Sen. “Nervous Nellie” Boxer of California is trying to shake the Hollywood money tree with a bunch of fundraisers.

Boxer's latest event occurred last weekend at the home of Laurie David and featured former Vice President Al Gore.

Andy Spahn, perhaps the best known of Hollywood’s political consultants having directed the contributions of Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, is trying his best to put a positive spin on the situation by resorting to a political cliché, saying, “I always say 10 months is a lifetime in politics, and the midterms are 10 months away.”


2. 3-D Mania Hits Hollywood

As expected, the box-office success of the “Avatar” film has Hollywood execs embracing 3-D technology as a potential panacea for the movie biz's spate of problems.

Not only are the suits behind some of the upcoming summer films eyeing the possibility of getting 3-D goggles into movie-goers hands, sequels and remakes of every stripe are being looked at as potential 3-D makeover candidates.

Columbia Pictures has announced that the fourth installment of the “Spider-Man” franchise will be filmed in 3-D.

Since the movie will have none of the familiar faces that were seen in prior “Spider-Man” flicks, new technology may provide the marketing boost execs are longing for.

The reboot will also have a new yet-to-be-cast lead actor and a new director, Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”), so some “Spidey” glasses to magnify the visual experience make sense.

Fans will have to be patient, though. "Spider-Man" 3-D won't be jumping off movie screens until July 2012.


3. Goldie Hawn a U.K. Education Expert?

With the goal in mind of improving education, conservatives in the U.K. are seeking the sage advice of Goldie Hawn.

The Tories are asking the actress to bring her expertise across the pond to help raise the academic performance of British school children.

Aside from being the mom of movie star in her own right, Kate Hudson, Goldie is a self-described Jewish-Buddhist who also heads up a charity dedicated to children's education.

Goldie’s charity has developed some simple breathing exercises that purportedly improve young people’s ability to absorb information.

The Hawn Foundation promotes a teaching program called MindUp, which also purportedly improves concentration and even makes children less aggressive.

The learning and behavioral enhancement technique is being used in some U.S. schools.

Goldie has met with Michael Gove, Britain’s shadow secretary of state for children, schools, and families, to talk over details of a new school that would use the above-described techniques, just in case the Tories win the upcoming general election, which at this point they are expected to do.

“Some parents would want a rigorous traditional academic education for their children with desks neatly marshalled and traditional football,” Gove told the U.K. Sunday Times. “Others will want something that is more flexible, more imaginative.”

Gove’s education reform allows charities, churches and parents’ groups the freedom to set up schools in the state sector.

The new schools will receive financial assistance from the government and a premium for students from low-income families.

In a comment that a lot of parents in the U.S. would find refreshing, Gove said, “We need more new schools outside local authority control to challenge the bureaucratic monopoly.”


4. Director Kevin Smith’s Unfriendly Skies Experience

Director Kevin Smith, better known as the comical movie character “Silent Bob,” is miffed — in a big way.

He was recently forced to leave a Southwest Airlines plane because of a supposed weight issue.

Smith let off some steam on his Twitter account, writing, “I know I'm fat. But was [the captain] really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”

He recounted that a flight attendant suggested that he was a “safety risk” after he boarded a flight from Oakland to Burbank.

“I'm way fat,” Smith humbly posted. “But I'm not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I'm seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who'd already I.d.ed me as 'Silent Bob'."

Smith shares that he was offered a $100 voucher by the airline, and ended up flying Southwest on another flight.

The airline evidently uses the armrests to measure whether a passenger should be charged for an extra seat. According to the Southwest Web site, the armrests serve “as the boundary between seats and measures 17 inches in width.” It requires customers “who are unable to lower both armrests” to “proactively book the number of seats needed prior to travel.”

I'm sure this is not the last Southwest Airlines will hear of this weighty issue.


5. Heavy Metal Rocker: 'Christianity Saved Me'

Dave Mustaine may be the ultimate hero of heavy metal head bangers.

Prior to taking the gig as lead and rhythm guitarist, chief songwriter, and vocalist for the heavy metal band Megadeth, Mustaine served as first lead guitarist and co-songwriter for Metallica.

Rockers of all ages consider him to be one of the best metal musicians ever.

Several years ago, though, Mustaine shocked a whole lot of folks both inside and outside the heavy metal world when he became a serious, committed Christian.

It turns out that his faith would have a huge effect on his personal, as well as his professional life.

At one point he pulled his group out of an Athens concert where a Greek group called “Rotting Christ” had been scheduled to be the opening act.

Sakis Tolis, front man of the would-be opening act, told Decibel Magazine, “I didn't expect something like that from Dave Mustaine, because, you know, he's supposed to be metal — you know, 'metal band,' all metal . . . I just feel sorry for him and for every new Christian with new ideas, because we think Christianity is the worst thing to happen in human history.”

Mustaine gave a response on the official Megadeth Web site: “Yes, I did say I would prefer not to play on concerts with Satanic bands. That doesn't mean I won't, it doesn't mean I would not talk with the bands . . . but to make a life-altering change and then not have some kind of effect would not have been a change at all, would it? It's not much different from staying away from booze if you have made a decision to be sober.

“If I don't feel it is right for me to do something, then [I] would just respectfully decline . . . I have to draw the line and stand for my beliefs or they aren't beliefs at all, are they?”

The heavy metal rocker continues to stand strong for his beliefs. He recently said that the reason he turned his life around was because of his faith.

He told the World Entertainment News Network: “Once I changed my life I thought, 'If anybody needed to become a Christian it was me because I was so bad. I really am enjoying who I'm discovering myself to be. I don't really know what the future has in store for me, but it's a hell of a lot different than it was.”

“I'm sure glad I didn't give up because there were some years where I just felt like the entire world was just disgusted with me."

Mustaine inspires fans and others to take a closer look at their own spiritual state of well-being.

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