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Barack Obama's Tinseltown Trip

By    |   Wednesday, 11 June 2008 01:11 AM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Barack Obama's Tinseltown Trip
2. Clint Eastwood Spars with Spike Lee
3. Hollywood Unions: No Match Made in Heaven
4. A 'Brokeback' Opera?
5. Charlize Theron's First U.S. Vote

1. Barack Obama's Tinseltown Trip

Come late June, Barack Obama will be traveling to Tinseltown.

This time he'll arrive as the presumptive Democrat nominee.

Now that the primary is over, Hillary's Hollywood contingent is expected to open up its coffers for Obama.

A fundraiser is set to be held at the Los Angeles Music Center, with invites going out to the wealthiest Dem donors in So Cal.

In all probability, the H-bash will add megabucks to Obama's already sizable war chest.

During the 2004 presidential campaign season, dreary John Kerry was able to raise $5 mill at a celebrity-laden event, which was held at one LA Music Center venue, the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Although John McCain has more buddies in Hollywood than any Republican since Ronald Reagan, any attempts to match or even come close to what Obama will tap from Tinseltown are likely to fail miserably.

As Chad Griffen, veteran political advisor to Rob Reiner, told the Los Angeles Times, "I can't imagine anyone in the entertainment industry going from Hillary Clinton to John McCain."

Some Operation Chaos devotees might beg to differ.

2. Clint Eastwood Spars with Spike Lee

A verbal fisticuffs between Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee has erupted.

It's a war of words over war movies.

While out promoting his own war flick, "Miracle at St. Anna," which features a WWII unit comprised of African-American soldiers, Lee complained about the absence of African-American actors in Eastwood's films, "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima."

Lee told the press, "That was his [Eastwood's] version. The negro version did not exist."

Eastwood gave a "Dirty Harry"-type response. He told Lee to "shut his face."

The steely actor-director told the U.K. Guardian that, in the "Flags of Our Fathers" storyline and famed flag-raising picture, "they [African-American GIs] didn't do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people go 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate."

Lee pulled out all the stops in his response to Eastwood.

"First of all, the man is not my father and we're not on a plantation either," he told ABC News. "I didn't personally attack him, and a comment like 'a guy like that should shut his face...' come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry old man."

Spike went on to say that he could get together a group of African-American soldiers who fought at Iwo Jima, and that Clint could tell them "what they did was insignificant and they did not exist."

"I'm not making this up. I know history. I'm a student of history. And I know the history of Hollywood and its omission of the one million African-American men and women who contributed to World War II," Lee noted.

3. Hollywood Unions: No Match Made in Heaven

Things were already tense between the two unions that represent Hollywood actors.

But now the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) will lobby members who also belong to the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), to try and get them to vote "no" on the deal that AFTRA has negotiated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

It appears as though SAG is attempting to sabotage AFTRA's deal because SAG claims that the proposed agreement isn't good enough for actors.

The pressure is on because SAG is facing a fast approaching deadline involving its present contract with the studios. The current agreement expires June 30, 2008.

SAG plans to launch what it calls an "educational campaign" to oppose the AFTRA deal.

AFTRA has fired back at SAG, calling its actions "unprecedented interference in the internal affairs of another union."

SAG is the bigger union, with 122,000 members to AFTRA's 70,000.

Plenty of screen actors look down on recording artists, radio and television announcers and actors who work on daytime soaps and cable television news shows.

Forty-four thousand actors carry membership cards for both unions. These are the folks SAG is trying to persuade to vote down the AFTRA deal.

Personally, I'm a member of AFTRA, but I can sympathize with SAG's hoity-toity, overbearing and puffed up point of view.

4. A 'Brokeback' Opera?

The New York City Opera is planning an adaptation of "Brokeback Mountain," based on the story of the same name and 2005 movie.

Composer Charles Wuorinen has been hired to write the opera.

Wuorinen previously created an operatic version of a Salman Rushdie novel, "Haroun and the Sea of Stories."

The same-sex cowboy saga was originally penned by Annie Proulx in 1997 and was the basis for the film to which Hollywood awarded three Oscars in 2006.

"Ever since encountering Annie Proulx's extraordinary story I have wanted to make an opera on it," Wuorinen said in a statement.

The operatic cowboys are set to begin singing in 2013.

5. Charlize Theron's First U.S. Vote

Although she was born in South Africa, Charlize Theron recently became an American citizen.

Will Smith's co-star in the upcoming movie, "Hancock," is excited about her first chance to participate in a presidential election.

"I'm very happy to be voting for the first time," the Oscar winning actress tells the U.K. Daily Telegraph. "I think everybody knows I'm backing Barack Obama."

Theron gushes about the presumptive Dem nominee's ability to arouse strong emotions, saying, "I'm very much active in letting my friends know how I feel, because there are things about him which I find inspiring."

She adds that after Obama's speech on race, she wrote emails to a few people she knew who "were going to vote Republican, and just kind of said, 'Listen to that speech. Just really listen to it.'"

Theron's last movie, "In The Valley Of Elah," was one of the anti-war flicks that tanked at the box office.

But Theron claims it doesn't matter to her how well her movies do in terms of public acceptance.

"I don't make movies because I think they're going to do well at the box office," she alleges.

Still, aside from what she says, Theron has chosen to do a summer superhero movie that stars today's top drawing actor, Smith.

"Hancock" isn't likely to bring Theron another Oscar, but it will probably bring her more box office success than she never dreamed of.

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Barack Obama's Tinseltown Trip2. Clint Eastwood Spars with Spike Lee3. Hollywood Unions: No Match Made in Heaven4. A 'Brokeback' Opera?5. Charlize Theron's First U.S. Vote 1. Barack Obama's Tinseltown TripCome late June,...
Wednesday, 11 June 2008 01:11 AM
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