Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NY Times: USOC Works to Combat Athlete Abuse

Found an interesting sports brief in today's New York Times, noting the U.S. Olympic Committee will help NGBs tackle the issue of abusive coaches.

Though Lynn Zinser's report was just a couple of paragraphs in print, it's worth a read of the full article.

The U.S.O.C. announcement also includes details on this program, with additional team news also archived here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ... But Audience Members Do Sleep!

Earlier this year I wrote a preview post regarding "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (now in theatres and the No. 1 film of the weekend).

The May 2010 prediction that the film "might suck" unfortunately came true, though it was not as bad as this blogger expected when purchasing my ticket.

Add this film to the pile of sequels that failed to live up to the original.

A few highlights on the "disappointed" side:

  • David Byrne, Brian Eno and the Talking Heads tunes return to the soundtrack. Sadly, the songs went overplayed (one tune in particular seemed to crop up over and over, with no instrumentals of the first film; instead, a lackluster Craig Armstrong mix played in some scenes, prompting the question, "does this theatre sell No-Doz?"
  • Though the motorcycle "chase" of the trailer proves to be more of a "competitive ride" for boss and employee, the whole scene was unnecessary and, ultimately, another in a series of poorly written dialogue punctuated by a predictable and forgettable "F*ck You!" (c'mon, in the original, the dialogue had much more clever angry exchanges ... for instance, "When I get a hold of the son of a bitch who leaked this, I'm gonna tear his eyeballs out and I'm gonna suck his f*cking skull!"-- now, that is some dialogue!)
  • The set-up for the motorcycle scene begins with a Manhattan helicopter ride for Shia LaBeouf that is reminiscent of those ridiculous Scottrade chopper ads that subtly showcase that "with every spin of this rotor, we're burning your investment money in the form of jet fuel."
  • No Daryl Hannah. They dug up the 100+ year old Manhattan realtor from the first film, but could not find a way to bring back Daryl Hannah.
  • Whoever the actress is playing Gordon Gekko's daughter = poor man's Katie Holmes, with bad hair. Future viewers may consider drinking games built around the volume of crying scenes for this performance. "She's crying again -- take another shot!"
  • What in the world were they thinking, writing in two (lame) scenes for Susan Sarandon? Hello -- she is an Oscar winner, and like Sigourney Weaver in "Avatar," Sarandon's talent was totally wasted.
  • No Terence Stamp. I got hopeful of a cameo by Stamp when Gekko set up shop in London for the sequel. Alas, no Stamp.
  • Little or no actual footage of Wall Street (the geographic location).

During the course of the film, an on-screen graphic sequence pops up from time to time, taking a panoramic skyline shot and converting it into a graph of declining stocks. This might as well have been a flat line or a heart monitor -- I found myself squirming in my seat several times, shaking my head, asking why "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" was so drawn out and downright boring.

Photo via this MSN link and 20th Century Fox

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chicago, Don't Tease Me

Catching up on weekend Olympic headlines, came across a UPI.com story noting that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley shared advice for future administrations (since he will not seek reelection) regarding a possible 2020 Olympic bid.

It hasn't yet been a year since Rio de Janiero won the Games for 2016 (with Chicago out in early voting by the International Olympic Committee -- that was a long and gray day in The Windy City).

According to the article, Daley's caution was that the IOC is likely to continue selection of host cities based on geographic locations where the Games did not yet visit: Africa, the Middle East, India.

While I tend to agree with this assessment, the Olympics have not been to the Midwest U.S. since St. Louis in 1904 -- only a state away from Chicago. Could this be a shimmer of hope for Chicago that Mayor Daley inadvertently planted?

Given the Commonwealth Games fiasco in India, that does perhaps move that nation way down the "next for the Olympics" target list. Africa could indeed be a contender. Not sure about the Middle East.
Whatever the case, Chicago, please don't tease! Will the city jump into another bid? That would be something!
Photo via UPI.com

Atlanta's New Midtown Festival of the Arts Arrives!

After two years of planning, Atlanta's new Midtown Festival of the Arts (a client) finally arrived on Peachtree Street yesterday.

It's awesome to witness the throngs of residents and visitors shopping, dining and strolling between 10th Street and 5th Street, just a few blocks from my Midtown residence.

I first learned about plans for the Midtown Festival of the Arts on a call during June 2009. A small group of Midtowners was working hard to secure sponsors and permits to set a very high standard for future event planners seeking to close Peachtree Street. By all indicators on Friday and Saturday, the work of this core group, as well as hundreds of additional volunteers who came on board during the last year, has paid off big time.

One of the best things about Midtown Festival of the Arts is the food. My girlfriend and I shared a break on Saturday to dine at "Plates On Peachtree," where we were treated to gourmet samples from Bacchanalia, Ra Sushi, Gordon Biersch, South City Kitchen, Ecco and other culinary arts establishments across Atlanta. I highly recommend the sweet corn ice cream and lobster corn dogs, courtesy of Park 75.

Several media outlets previewed or reviewed the Festival this week. Today's weather is bound to cooperate, making for a pleasant afternoon in Midtown Atlanta.

We're heading back to the Festival on Sunday to pick up some hand-made pottery art from a couple of the artists along Peachtree Street. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Olympian Interview: Gail Devers

Shared a fun phone conversation this week with Gail Devers, Olympic champion in athletics.

An Atlanta resident, Devers was on site at the Carver School of Health Sciences & Research for an appearance to speak about the importance of balance, exercise and eating well. We also chatted briefly about her role with the GE BEE Healthy program (disclosure: GE is a client of Edelman, my employer).

On the same day in Atlanta, the GE Foundation announced selection of two Atlanta area non-profit community health centers -- West End Medical Center and Southside Medical Center -- will split $1 million in grants.
Devers impressed me for her positive outlook at the points she made about doing things with a high standard of excellence and thoughtful approach. We started the conversation going way back to her own school days in California, where she graduated high school a Class of '84 member, just in time for the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

"I went up to L.A. [as a spectator] ... for the Olympics," said Devers, responding to questions about the extent to which the Los Angeles Olympic competition inspired her career. "Sitting in the stands, looking at the best runners, seeing Florence [Griffith-Joyner] get silver ... this all made me strive the best I could be.
"Before 1984, to me the Olympics as 'history' in that I was a fan of famous runners, like Wilma Rudolph," said Devers. "L.A. put it in my head, 'I will compete for as long as I can."

We also talked about the five Olympiads at which Devers competed: Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.
Devers is now the mother of a two year old and kindergartner.
"I always regarded myself as health conscious, but it is important to be fit 'for life' not just an athletic career," said Devers. "I want to stay fit and hang out with my two- and five-year olds!"
Staying in shape was among the key messages Devers sought to share with the young adult audience in Atlanta.
"It is important to set goals, but if you are not living right, it's lost potential," said Devers.
Devers also shared detail about her former role with Chicago 2016 and the U.S. Olympic bid, noting her location for the Oct. 2 announcement of Rio's successful bid.
"I was home [in Atlanta] watching CNN," said Devers. "Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be for Chicago."

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