Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Heaven Knows..." RIP Donna Summer

More Falling Stars:
News reports state that 70s Disco songstress aka "the Queen of Disco", Donna Summer,  has died from lung and possibly breast cancer at age 63. Ms. Summer early hits like McArthur Park, Hot Stuff and the moan-filled, Love To Love You, Baby" were the rage of the 70s night clubs, record stores and radio stations.  Despite the erotic nature of some of her songs, Ms. Summer was still my favorite singer of that era along with Gloria Gaynor, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan and way before Whitney Houston and Anita Baker. Summer's songs, "Dim All The Lights", On The Radio and Enough Is Enough (her duet with Barbara Streisand),  were among my favorites and I remember dancing and singing to her LPs for hours. I love to dance and Summer's songs always had a great dance beat that evolved beyond disco. In fact, Summer is often credited for starting the electronic dance craze that is so hot today.

Ms. Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines and grew up in a Christian family. She began singing in the church as a child then she moved on to sing in musicals like Hair, Show Boat and Godspell in the U.S. and Europe. Summer's career continued pass the disco era into the 80s and 90s with hits like the woman's empowering, "She Works Hard For The Money" and a Christmas album. She won a total of 5 Grammy Awards, garned a star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame and was also inducted into the Dance Music Hall Of Fame

Summer tried her hand at acting and had a role in the film, Thank God It's Friday. She appeared as a guest star on many TV shows and TV specials and televised events including MTV and President Ronal Reagan inaugural in the 80s. She appeared on the X Factor as recently as last season.

Summer had talked openly about her struggles with depression and suicide but she had had a spiritual conversion in the 90s and became a born-again Christian. Summer returned to her greatest hits tour and she often toured with many greats like the Bee-Gees. Summer was said to have been in the studio recording around the time of her death and reports said that she was due to go back on tour again soon.

Donner Summers will be greatly missed but her music lives on. Our prayers go out to Donna Summer's husband and daughters at this sad time. Rest in peace, Donna Summer.

"Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Staying Alive..."
Update:  Ah, the words to this song seems so sad now as I just heard that Robin Gibb of the Bee-Gees/Gibbs Brothers fame has lost his battle with liver against liver cancer in the U.K. The Gibbs, a trio from England /Australia known for their falsetto sound rose to fame after singing the award winning 70s disco sound track for Saturday Night Live.

Funny, they Bee-Gees had toured with Donna Summer and they were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame together and now both past away so close together. The Bee-Gees have certainly had their share of tragedies. They. lost youngest brother, Andy Gibb due to a drug habit and myocarditis in the 90s and Robin's fraternal twin, Morris died from twisted intestines in 2003.

Robin himself fought courageously to beat his cancer but reports had said that his health had taken a recent turn for the worse. Older brother, Barry Gibb is now the only surviving Gibbs brother so we send prayers to him and Robin's family.  It is unclear what faith Robin Gibb followed while living but I pray that his family may be comforted and that he rests in peace.

Friday, June 1, 2012

National Day of Prayer HOLLYWOOD

The National Day of Prayer HOLLYWOOD was held at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City on May 3rd and Christians from different churches and different walks of life were well represented at the event though there were many many entertainment industry people there, too.

We had a glorious time giving God praise and praying for God's blessings. Opening Prayers were said by Karen Covell, Director of Hollywood Prayer Network(HPN), and Kim Dorr-Tilley, Associate Pastor of Bel-Air Presbyterian ChurchPrayers for our Nation was lead by Jack Kerr, a war Veteran then prayer for the Government was lead by Gary Montecuollo, Chief of Police at Glendale City College. Cheryl Allen, Director of the Pasadena International House of Praise PIHOP, lead prayer for the City followed by Eric Hannah, President of Lift Up America, who lead prayer for  Relationships & Families. Kim Dorr-Tilley lead the prayers for the Churches followed by Mark Joseph, a producer at MJM Entertainment Group, who lead prayers for Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry.

There was also strong prayers for the Youth lead by actress, Avrielle Corti and prayers for a local and a world-wide Revival lead by Jimmy Fisher, Pastor of Worship at Faithful Central Church. Fisher also lead us to pray for Christians around the world especially the persecuted church in China, Nigeria and Egypt. There was great corporal prayer and beautiful praise music including "How Great Is Our God", "Be Exalted", "Alleluia", "worthy of It All", "Amazing Grace" and "All My Worship" performed by David Brymer, the Worships/Arts Director at PIHOP. Plus, a stirring "stomp and parise" rendition of "Great is Thou Faithfullness" perfomed by Contagious Praise of Faithful Central and written by Jimmy Fisher to close out the evening.

There were also Personal Prayer Stations so that indiviuals could receive prayer for any personal short comings or need. They also had various stations set up espousing godly characteristics (like LOVE, HOPE, PURITY, CHARACTER, SALVATION) with the applicable Bible verses. We ended the night with a final Prayer then we were able to meet and greet friends or new acquaintences after. I met .... ., the Pastor of PIHOP and a few of his friends then I talked with some friends from Ecclesia who were also there.

I left CBS Studios so filled up with hope and the Holy Spirit that I was not feeling any pain anywhere and my friend T.H. and I praised the Lord all the way home. Wow, when God called me to Hollywood, I never ever could imagine that I would be at a major Hollywood studio praising the Lord with a room full of other Christians and praising Him as mightily and as beautifully as we did. NEVER, EVER, EVER!!! God is amazing!!!

May God bless CBS Studios for allowing us to have our National Day of Prayer on their property and may they continue to be open to being used by the Lord for His glory. May more of the CBS TV shows reflect a love for the Lord and His people and may the Bible be extolled as the very Word of God that it is. I have been praying for the CBS Studios, Charlie Sheen, Chuck Lorre and the two Lorre sit-coms Two and a half Men and Big Bang Theory since the Charlie Sheen/Men fall out last year but I will try to pray even more now.

Update: CBS Comedies
Sat May 5th: Speaking of CBS comedies, I got some old shooting scripts for the TV show, Two and a Half Men when I was at the Alameda Writers Group. I had written about 1 page for a "clean" Two and Half Men spec in 2010 but abandned it because I felt the show was at the end of its run. Now I can use this old shooting script and compare it with how they are writing for the show with Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie.

Sun May 6th:
I was with friends after church on Sunday and just happened to run into Simon Helberg aka Howard Wolowitz of The Big Bang fame at the Farmer's Market between Sunset and Hollywood. He was walking through the crowd unrecognized in a cap when I saw him and did a double take. He looked real cool and he was sporting a beard and holding hands with a cute 20 something girl(his wife?). I just had to tug him and tell him how much I love his portrayal of his character on the show etc. but I did it quietly so no one else would recognize him and spoil his privacy. Helberg just smiled happily at my response and he seemed truly surprised and humbled to be recognized amidst the thick throng.
I even managed to hug him and whisper to him that I actual pray for him and for his success and I really do! Weirdly, Helberg's Howard character (though fictional) has really given me some insights to Jewish-Christian relations. It's like he is the walking breathing version of the "Jewish Book Of Why" that I often read.

The Avengers Are Box Office Champs!

After 2 weeks of international release, The Avengers movie was released in the US( finally) to record earnings of 200 million for the opening day numbers! This number smashes ("Hulk SMASH!") the previous numbers set by the last installment of the Harry Potter films. Boy, the trailer looks sweet and the tension between the team looks good with convincing dialog. I still don't like the way the Hulk is done but it is better than the previous two.

I have only seen the first Iron Man (unimaginable as a fan of comic book heroes) so I'm off to rent Captain America and Iron Man 2, I may or may not watch Thor then I can watch the Avengers and be a part of this history making Box Office Hit!

Super Heores Rock!
Talk about just in time - it was FREE Comic Book Day at the Glendale Public Library last Saturday and I got 2 FREE comics! I couldn't decide between the DC Superheroes cover with Superman, Wonder Woman and the Dark Knight or the Marvel Comic Superhero cover with The Avengers (Iron Man, Captain Amarica, Thor etc.) plus Wolverine and Spidey ( see above). The Library even had a Superman comic drawn and written for those 6 and under and a Mousegaurd book (yipee)!

The Free Comic Book Day is a project of DC and Marvel Comics in conjunction with local comic book stores to promote reading among children. The comics for the Glendale Public Library are provided by Legacy Comics located at 123 W. Wilson Avenue in Glendale. Give them a call at 818-247-8803

Update: May 8th
Saw glimpses of the trailer for the new Spider-Man remake today during the finale of The Voice. Spidey's trailer looks tight so far especially the web-swinging part... Wait! Is that Iggie as the villian played by my fav Welshman, Rhys Ifans? I think so. Wait... are there any Americans in Spiderman? There's none in the new Superman remake either I heard. Yikes!

Back To The Future Fundraiser

The Kenya Team 2012 (KT12) at Ecclesia Church is throwing a Back To The Future Fundraiser next Sunday, June 10th at 6 pm for all the Sci-Fi loving comedy geeks like you and me. The KT12 team will be showing the first film of the BTTF franchise on the church's large movie screen and there will be a BTTF costume contest with prizes, too. There will also be food and snacks for sale at the concession. Best yet, an actual DeLorean car will be on display at the event! It's not the one from the film but I'm beyond stoked. The BTTF event is FREE but generous donations are welcomed so give 'til it hurts (in a good way :D ). Remember, this BTTF event is how the KT12 Team is kicking off it's fundraising for their July trip to the Kiberia slums in Kenya.

Ecclesia Church and the KT12 Team has a heart for God's people in Africa but it takes money to cover the cost for each Kenyas Team member's trip including the cost for their flight, room and board, ground transportation etc. Not to mention the large cost of the arts, craft, medical, food and Christian teaching supplies for the children in their programs. Each KT12 member is responsible for raising $3,500 for the trip and last year's fund-faising ranged from a musical concert for Kenya with bands affiliated with Ecclesia to indiviuals passing around donation sheets at their jobs.

Kiberia is among the largest slums in Africa and the children are in great need there. So come on out in BTTF gear as McFly, Doc Brown or even as the tower clock (lol)! Or dress in any 50s or 80s Rock-n-Roll costume and come have "a ton of fun" as we raise "a ton of cash" for Kenya !