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This week, Indeed, the world’s number one job site, in partnership with Emmy-winner Lena Waithe and her company, Hillman Grad Productions celebrated Season Two of the Rising Voices filmmaker initiative at Tribeca Festival in NYC. The festival hosted the world premiere of the 10 Rising Voices Season Two short films created by BIPOC filmmakers about the power and impact a job can have on someone’s life.

Lena Waithe was in attendance as well as Hillman Grad Productions President of Film/ TV Rishi Rajani, actress Cynthia Erivo, filmmaker, Stacy Pascal Gaspard, Ventureland and PRETTYBIRD. Joining them for the premiere were all 10 filmmakers and program mentors Calmatic, Destin Daniel Cretton, Justin Chon, Rayka Zehtabchi, and Melina Matsoukas.

Inspired by the belief that talent is universal, but opportunity is not, Rising Voices was created to uncover, invest in and share stories created by BIPOC filmmakers. Indeed’s goal with the Rising Voices initiative, is to expand the creation of sustainable job opportunities for talented underrepresented creatives and through their partnership with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad Productions, they have been able to accomplish that with over 1,000 jobs created through the program since its inception.

Indeed and Variety also hosted a panel discussion moderated by Clayton Davis, Senior Award Editor at Variety. At the panel, Clayton held a thought-provoking conversation with all 10 Rising Voices Season Two filmmakers.

Each filmmaker was awarded a $10,000 writing fee, received a $100,000 production budget, a dedicated line production crew through Hillman Grad and 271 Films and had access to an additional $25,000 COVID budget to ensure the safety of the cast and crew. In the coming weeks, Indeed will select the filmmaker who profoundly showcased the power and meaning of work in their film, and they will receive an additional $100,000 to create new work for Indeed as a non-exclusive filmmaker in-residence.

ElizaBeth Taylor is a journalist for Times Square Chronicles and is a frequent guest at film, fashion and art events throughout New York City and Los Angeles due to her stature as The Sensible Socialite.Passionate about people ElizaBeth spent many years working as a travel reporter and television producer after graduating with high honors from University of Southern California. The work has afforded her the opportunity to explore Europe, Russia, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. It has greatly influenced the way in which ElizaBeth sees a story and has created a heightened awareness for the way people around the world live today.


The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

DIAMOND IS FOREVER — When Beautiful Noise opened on Broadway (on December 4, 2022), if memory serves, the initial  reviews were not great. I didn’t read them all, but the fact that it opened with Neil Diamond-now and kept-back pedaling to a Neil Diamond-then sort of confused several critics.

Neil Diamond

I finally caught the show Saturday night and for the most part loved it. I’ve always loved his music, with “Solitary Man” being my favorite. His songs always evidenced a devil-may-care attitude, thought his lyrics were haunting and biting merged with his dynamic voice. The show more or less follows his career; meeting the legendary Ellie Greenwich who encouraged him to be a solo act; writing “I’m A Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You” which were major hits for The Monkees; signing to Bert Berns’ Bang Records and scoring a succession of hits; leaving them and signing to Uni Records, where he really made his bones.

Interestingly enough, Uni was never really mentioned; opting rather for the fact that Bang may have been controlled by the mob and he was threatened at one point that if he left the label, his career was over.
Interesting footnote: Van Morrison was also originally signed to Bang as well and claims he was never, ever received royalties for his “Brown Eyed Girl” release.
At Uni, Diamond released a succession of hits and album, including the live Hot August Night -recorded at LA’s Greek Theater- which really propelled him into the stratosphere. He toured non-stop; scoring hit after hit; and even introduced a fellow-label artist at Doug Weston’s Troubadour club in L.A. – a new singer called Elton John. Wonder whatever happened to him? I actually found that fact not being in the play rather odd as it was a viable and notable sign of his fame at that point.
In the fall of 1972, Diamond performed for 20 consecutive nights at the  Winter Garden Theater in New York City.
A personal note from Diamond himself in the program states that Bob Gaudio -whose show Jersey Boys, was and is and continues to be a major hit- was summoned for his assistance in putting the show together and the result is a jukebox musical, with a great story and great performances by Will Swenson as Diamond and Robyn Hurder as Marcia Murphey, Diamond’s second wife. Swenson is literally onstage throughout and does an outstanding job.
The two are absolutely stunning and the music score runs the gamut from “A Beautiful Noise” to “America,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Holly Holy,” “I Am … I Said” “Love On The Rocks” and “Song Sung Blue.” Certainly his “Sweet Caroline,” is the crowd favorite. One of my favorite Diamond hits was his terrific “Heartlight” – written after he, Carol Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach saw the movie ET. Inexplicably, it wasn’t in the show. Here’s the video:

It was a holiday weekend and a fabulous time. If you haven’t seen it, go!

Sasha Prendes

SHORT TAKES — Rising Latino-star Sasha Prendes had a major event last week in NYC Here’s her new single “Shake This” and the video:

Sasha is working with Coconut-Adrian Kaegi …

Harrison Ford

Caught the final Indiana Jones-episode The Dial of Destiny this weekend and really enjoyed it. There’s been so much pro and con about this movie, I was most curious about it. I love Harrison Ford  and at 81 he delivers a sensational performance. Sure it’s an older Indy, but so is the audience. The only problem I had was a tacked on ending which, while sentimental, certainly doesn’t belong in a Indiana Jones-movie.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) is great and if she indeed continues the franchise, I think it’s in pretty good hands … Whatever became of singer Ashley Suppa? Her debut CD, produced by Alex Salzman, was terrific. She’s the bassist in the all girl group Plush, but certainly deserves her solo career …

David Zaslav

On Monday an very negative article appeared on the GQ-web site (by Jason Bailey) about Warner/Discovery’s David Zaslav – which re-counted his failures with HBOCNN’s Chris Licht; the attempted suicide of TCM; and the killing of the Batgirl movie. It essentially called him the most hated man in Hollywood. By Monday night, it was gone. Guess power does have its benefits. The article compared Zaslav to the Richard Gere-character in Pretty Woman, who basically bought businesses, only to tear them apart. Sad but true … Happy Bday Robbie Robertson and Ringo Starr.NAMES IN THE NEWS –— Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Bob Shannon; Dick Biondi; Mark Bego; Danny Goldberg; Judd Bernard; Norby Walters; Sara Gore; Jane Blunkell; Art Moore; Regis Philbin; Michael Gelman; Tony Danza; Donnie Kehr; Andrew Sandoval; Kent and Laura Denmark; Scott Shannon; Race Taylor; Joe Bonadonna; Randy Alexander; Lee Jeske; Roger Friedman; Benny Harrison; and ZIGGY!

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Films Opening In July



Barbie, Oppenheimer and Mission: Impossible 7 are all being released this month! Here are the anticipated films.

7/7: Insidious: The Red Door is a direct sequel to the foundations of this film series – Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2. The original cast will be returning “to end the haunting and to put the demons to rest once and for all.” Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Dalton (Ty Simpkins), now a college student, will be venturing deep into The Further to face their dark past and unravel the secrets of The Red Door.

7/7: Joy Ride is the directorial debut of Adele Lim, who wrote Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon. The film follows a group of four friends Audrey (Ashley Park), Lolo (Sherry Cola), Kat (Stephanie Hsu), and Deadeye (Sabrina Wu) who go on an international adventure across China to find Audrey’s birth mother.

7/7: Biosphere is a comedy film set in a dystopian future where only two male best friends – Billy (Mark Duplass) and Ray (Sterling K. Brown) – have survived, thanks to a domed scientific structure capable of supporting life.

7/7: The Out-Laws is produced by Adam Sandler and directed by Tyler Spindel, to berelease on Netflix. The film follows Owen Browning (Adam DeVine), a prim and proper bank manager, as he is about to get engaged to Parker McDermott (Nina Dobrev). But, Browning’s bank is held up by a group of criminals called “Ghost Bandits,” and he suspects that his future in-laws are behind the robbery.

7/12: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One with Tom Cruise Joining Ethan Hunt (Cruise), Grace (Hayley Atwell), and the rest of the team go on a mission to track down a highly dangerous weapon before it falls into the hands of Ethan’s old enemies. Christopher McQuarrie is at the helm of the film.

7/14: Theater Camp revolves around a group of theater students and teachers in upstate New York. The founder of the theater, Joan (Amy Sedaris), falls into a coma, due to which her son, Troy (Jimmy Tatro), must band together with Amos (Ben Platt) and Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon) to keep the theater running during the summers. Based on a 2020 short film of the same name.

7/14: Set in 1967, The Miracle Club is a heartwarming film that follows the story of three generations of close friends, Lily (Maggie Smith), Eileen (Kathy Bates), and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) of Ballygar, a hard-knocks community in Dublin, who have one tantalizing dream: to win a pilgrimage to the sacred French town of Lourdes, that place of miracles that draws millions of visitors each year. When the chance to win presents itself, the women seize it.

However, just before their trip, their old friend Chrissie (Laura Linney) arrives in Ballygar for her Mother’s funeral, dampening their good mood and well-laid plans. The women secure tickets and set out on the journey that they hope will change their lives, with Chrissie joining in place of her mother. The glamor and sophistication of Chrissie, who has just returned from a nearly 40-year exile in the United States, are not her only difficult traits. Old wounds are reopened along the way, forcing the women to confront their pasts even as they travel in search of a miracle. Deep wounds from the past can only be healed by the curative power of love and friendship.

7/21: Oppenheimer is a biographical thriller that explores the controversial life of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). With an ensemble cast of A-listers like Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Rami Malek, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey Jr, Director Christopher Nolan received an Oscar nomination for  his historical drama, Dunkirk.

7/21: Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) with Kate McKinnon, Dua Lipa, Nicola Coughlan, Emma Mackey, Alexandra Shipp, Hari Nef, Simu Liu, Scot Evans and Ncuti Gatwa. Barbie enters the real world after getting expelled from Barbieland for being an imperfect doll.

The cast of They Cloned Tyrone

7/21: They Cloned Tyrone is a science fiction mystery comedy film helmed by Juel Taylor in his directorial debut. The cast includes; John Boyega as Fontaine, Teyonah Parris as Yo-Yo, and Jamie Foxx as Slick Charles. The plot revolves around the trio trying to unravel a government cloning conspiracy.

7/28: Haunted Mansion is the reboot of the 2003 film of the same name.  Justin Simien, directs his cast which stars LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chase W. Dillon, Rosario Dawson, and many others. Gabbie (Dawson) and Travis (W. Dillon) are the residents of the haunted mansion, and they hire a team to exorcise the mansion and eradicate the ghosts. Dan Levy and Winona Ryder also have undisclosed roles in the film.

7/28: Sympathy for the Devil is a psychological horror film written by Luke Paradise, directed by Yuval Adler. The film follows The Driver (Joel Kinnaman), who is forced to drive The Passenger (Nicolas Cage) at gunpoint.

Beanie Bubble (Non-Squashed Version)

7/28: The Beanie Bubble Beanie. The film explores how Ty Warner (played by Zach Galifianakis) was helped by three women – Robbie (Elizabeth Banks), Sheila Warner (Sarah Snook), and Maya (Geraldine Viswanathan) – to turn his stuffed animals into a popular ’90s trend and become the successful businessman that he is today.

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Dan Rather – The Radical Changemaker Radiates During Tribeca Festival



Ethan Goldman, Joe Plummer, Jennifer Dugan, Michael Koshkin, Jeff Hasler (Madison Voelkel/

Dan Rather is more than just a name. He is more than just a man. He is the radical changemaker that for us in media is the person we admire most in this industry.

For decades, he delivered the news with authenticity, integrity and courage. The new documentary “Rather” pays tribute to the legend.  The Tribeca Festival selection chronicles the legendary journalist’s rise to prominence, his sudden and dramatic public downfall, and his redemption and re-emergence as a voice of reason to a new generation.

During the premiere in New York City filmmakers and the icon himself gathered for the grand celebration. It was discussed on the red carpet by the crew how one of the most iconic figures in news has shown how the story has never been more important for a generation thirsting for legitimate journalism in the era of “fake news.”

Tony Rosenthal, Curtis McConnell, Joe Fenstermaker, Dan Crane, Jeff Beal, Taylor Wildenhaus, Hai-Li Kong, Jennifer Dugan, Michael Koshkin (Madison Voelkel/

The film is a candid, personal and urgent look at the world of journalism and the essential role it plays in preserving democracy. From the front lines of the Civil Rights movement to JFK’s assassination, from Watergate to Abu Ghraib, Dan Rather is who America turned to for the truth. For decades, his voice provided the steady drumbeat of reason for an entire nation. Rather remains the resounding voice of resistance, with millions reading and sharing his posts on social media.

The feature-length documentary event weaves the past, present and future of journalism as it delves into the hidden history of the man behind the news. Revisiting Rather’s 60 pus years as a journalist with full unrestricted access, and offer an unfiltered look at both his esteemed career and his present renaissance.

Photos Courtesy “Rather” Madison Voelkel/

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The WGA Strike: A Prelude to the Labor War Against AI



The labor battle against artificial intelligence (AI) has begun with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, spearheaded by Hollywood writers concerned about the potential replacement of human workers by AI tools like ChatGPT. However, this strike is just the tip of the iceberg in a broader labor war that will have far-reaching consequences.

While the WGA strike primarily focuses on streaming residuals and fair compensation for TV shows and movies on streaming platforms, it also includes a section on “Artificial Intelligence.” The WGA aims to pressure the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to regulate and potentially ban the use of AI as a substitute for human workers. As AI technology becomes more prevalent and advanced, this move by the WGA is likely to be replicated by unions across different industries.

The WGA’s proposal requests the ban of AI usage for writing and rewriting source material, as well as prohibiting AI from being trained on the work of WGA writers. However, the AMPTP has rejected this proposal, offering only annual meetings to discuss technological advancements. In response, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has voted unanimously to join the strike if negotiations fail.

The concerns of these unions about the potential replacement of human writers and actors by AI are not unfounded. Recent developments, such as Netflix reserving rights to simulations of actors’ voices, demonstrate that what was once considered science fiction is becoming a reality. This not only poses a threat to the entertainment industry but also to other sectors, potentially leading to widespread unemployment and the substitution of vital services with automated systems. It is crucial for workers to draw the line now while the technology is still in its early stages, as there might not be another opportunity to reclaim what has been lost. Hollywood serves as the frontline in this battle.

The impact of AI tools on TV shows and movies may raise the question of whether audiences would even notice the use of AI. According to technologist and activist Cory Doctorow, the consequences would become apparent rather quickly. He emphasizes the uncertainty of studios’ ability to create AI-generated content due to copyright regulations, highlighting the risk of unauthorized copying if AI-produced works are not protected.

To understand the potential of AI tools and their legal implications, it is necessary to grasp their underlying mechanisms. The current popular large language model, ChatGPT, operates based on generative AI, specifically a generative pretrained transformer (GPT). It utilizes extensive text data from the internet to respond in a manner that resembles human interaction. However, these AI models have limitations, including a knowledge cutoff and a tendency to generate nonsensical responses when faced with unfamiliar topics. Users often find ways to circumvent these limitations.

While GPT-4, the latest language model by OpenAI, excels at summarizing vast amounts of data, it struggles to create original content. Although it can generate ideas by reorganizing existing information, it cannot produce entirely new concepts. Thus, allowing chatbots in writers’ rooms or replacing human writers entirely would signify an industry that has exhausted its creative ideas.

The impact of generative AI extends beyond Hollywood. Other sectors, including technology companies like IBM and retail businesses like Wendy’s, are exploring AI’s potential to replace human employees. The growing influence of AI is predicted to affect at least a quarter of the American workforce within the next five years, leading to widespread job transformations.

Furthermore, non-unionized creative industries are already experimenting with AI in their writing processes. Some video game studios have expressed interest in utilizing AI to generate dialogue, raising concerns about the accessibility of opportunities for young creatives.

In conclusion, the WGA strike against AI tools represents the beginning of a broader labor conflict. If left unaddressed, the rise of AI could have significant ramifications for the workforce across various industries. As AI technology continues to advance, it is crucial for workers and unions to assert their rights and protect their jobs before it is too late.

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2023 Summer Movie Series Lineup at The Intrepid Museum



The Intrepid Summer Movie Series is back! Watch a movie on the dramatic flight deck of the historic aircraft carrier located at Pier 86 (46th Street and 12th Avenue). Members of the public are invited to bring lawn chairs, picnic baskets and blankets to the Museum to view classic films, free of charge, on a huge inflatable screen.

Celebrate the 80th anniversary of the ship’s commissioning, classic “ship” themed films are onboard, kicking off with Top Gun on Friday, May 26, Memorial Day weekend. Doors open at 7:00pm. The movie will begin at sunset.

The Museum’s also offers Free Fridays also take place on June 30, July 28 and August 25. Visitors can explore the Museum free of charge and enjoy after-hours programming. Doors open at 5:00pm and close at 8:30pm.

Lineup for the 2023 Intrepid Summer Movie Series:

Friday, May 26: Top Gun

Friday, June 30: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Friday, July 28: Crimson Tide

Friday, August 25: Top Gun: Maverick

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited. Light concessions will be sold onsite, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own food and beverages. Alcohol is not permitted. All exits are final; there is no reentry allowed. The Space Shuttle Pavilion will close at 8:00pm and the bridge will be closed during Free Fridays.

Intrepid Museum members will receive priority access to the screenings. The Museum strives to make all public programs accessible for people with disabilities. All films will be captioned for the hearing impaired.

For more information about the Museum or for up-to-date information on weather conditions, visit

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