“A Bronx Tale” and “Sugar Cane Alley” Top Cannes Classics list

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Two films with prominent roles by Black women have made the exclusive Cannes Classics –a program introduced in 2004 to re-introduce extraordinary and outstanding films to the international Cannes audience. The films are “A Bronx Tale” and “Sugarcane Alley.”

Sugarcane Alley (1983)

“Sugarcane Alley” (originally titled Rue cases nègres) was written and directed by Martinque-born filmmaker Euzhan Palcy. The film centers around a young boy and his grandmother who live and work on a Martinique sugarcane plantation in the 1930’s. The young boy listens to stories of Africa from the elders and enters an essay contest at

Film still from the film Sugarcane Alley

school where he details what he’s heard. He’s accused of plagiarism and the future of his academic career are threatened. “Sugarcane Alley” went on to win over 17 awards, including the César Award (the French equivalent to Academy Award). Ms. Palcy’s remarkable filmmaking talents were also used for apartheid-era film “A Dry White Season” based on a novel by South African writer André Brink. Ms. Palcy also credits her career growth to her mentor, the renowned French director François Truffaut.

A Bronx Tale (1993)

“A Bronx Tale” was based on a one-man stage show by actor Chazz Palminteri, who also starred in the film as neighborhood gangster Sonny. The original play –and movie– is a coming of age story based on Palminteri’s childhood in the Bronx, including the story of him growing up as an Italian teenager who falls in love with an African American teenage girl in from a neighboring school. The young man must choose between the path his jazz-loving, working class father is hoping for him and the fast money and fast life his other father-figure –the mob boss Sonny– is offering to him.

“A Bronx Tale” was directed by actor Robert Deniro who also stars as the young boy’s father. The young actress who played the main character’s girlfriend, was Taral Hicks who went on to star in “Belly” with rappers Nas and DMX, “The Preacher’s Wife” with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston, and the television series “Soul Food,” based on the film with the same name. Main actor Lilo Brancato went on star in other roles, including to hit HBO series “The Sopranos,” but had his career upended when he was involved and convicted in a botched robbery attempt that result in manslaughter.

The full Cannes Classics list is as follows:

  • A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune) by Georges Melies (France, 1902, 16′)
  • Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick (USA, 1971, 137′)
  • The Machine to Kill Bad People (La Macchina Ammazzacattivi) by Roberto Rossellini (Italy, 1952, 80′)
  • A Bronx Tale by Robert De Niro (USA, 1993, 121′).
  • The Conformist (Il Conformista) by Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy, 1970, 118′)
  • Sugar Cane Alley (Rue Cases Négres) by Euzhan Palcy (France, 1983, 106′)
  • Puzzle of a Downfall Child by Jerry Schatzberg (USA, 1970, 105′)
  • The Law of the Border (Hudutlarin Kanunu) by Lufti O. Akad (Turkey, 1966, 74′)
  • No Man’s Land (Niemandsland) by Victor Trivas (Germany, 1931, 81′).
  • The Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du paradis) by Marcel Carné (France, 1945, 190′)
  • Despair by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Germany, 1978, 115′)
  • The Savage (Le Sauvage) by Jean-Paul Rappeneau (France, 1975, 106′)
  • Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un été) by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin (France, 1966, 91′)
  • The Assassin (L’Assassino) by Elio Petri (Italy, 1961, 100′)

And the following documentaries:

  • The Look by Angelica Maccarone (Germany / France, 2011, 95′)
  • Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel by Alex Stapleton (USA, 2011, 125′)
  • Belmondo … Itineraire by Vincent Perrot and Jeff Domenech (France, 2011, 86′)
  • Kurosawa’s Way (Kurosawa, la Voie) by Catherine Cadou (France, 2011, 52′)
  • Once Upon a Time … A Clockwork Orange (Il était une fois… Orange mécanique) by Antoine de Gaudemar and Michel Ciment (France, 2011, 52′)

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/robert-de-niro-s-a-182239

More about the Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes):
www.festival-cannes.com/en.html

Cathy Hughes Tells Us How She Really Feels…

TVOne media titan Cathy Hughes shared her thoughts with Ms. Drama TV at the TVOne 2011 programming showcase at Cipriani’s in New York City. The event –which occurred earlier this February– highlighted the new faces to the TVOne family Tatyana Ali, LisaRaye, Toccarra, and others. In the on-the-spot interview, Cathy Hughes –who has created a media giant in offering an urban television entertainment alternative to the increasingly tired BET– goes on to share her thoughts about the two Oscars® that went to actresses Halle Berry and Mo’Nique, likening the roles to, “(L)ower than dirt.”

Hmmmm. Though I didn’t hear any backlash against Denzel Washington’s drug-dealing, Sherm smoking, murder-thug-rollin, illegal drug harboring role in Training Day, she does offer some interesting viewpoints on why film doesn’t focus on portrayals of some positive Black women such as the 44th First Lady Michelle Obama. I also don’t agree with all of her gushing accolades for the work of Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry –i.e., I don’t ignore the impact of image just because of the subject’s ability to hire a wide swath of Black people… like “Flavor of Love”– but she has some good points.

Listen/view for yourself:

Oscars revert back to old ways

Not that I need validation, but guess what? CNN.com is asking the same questions about diversity and the Oscars. There were high hopes –well, sort of– when Hattie McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammie” in the big screen version of Gone with the Wind… then it took 62 years for a Black woman to get another Oscar®. Then there was a breath of fresh air as Mo’Nique won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie Precious, and Geoffrey Fletcher won for Best Adapted Screenplay. As the years between Oscar-wins for African Americans got shorter, there were many people in the film industry who assumed that would indicate that Black actors were now just being considered “actors” and not “Black actors” who are relegated to straight-to-video “urban” gangsta films.

Wrong!

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Regardless of the slew of Blacks in front of and behind the camera at last year’s Academy Awards, apparently 2010 just couldn’t cut it. Even though there were some brilliant Black actresses in leading films (Rashida Jones, The Social Network and Yaya DaCosta, The Kids Are Alright) a sister (or a brother) just couldn’t get any recognition.

According to CNN.com:

This year there was a decided dearth of diversity in the Oscar nominations. There are no women or people of color among the director nominees, and the acting nominees are all white. Javier Bardem, who is up for best actor for his role in “Biutiful,’ is a Spaniard and therefore European.

So what does it take for Black actors and filmmakers to get any real recognition at the Oscars? I have no clue. And apparently neither does the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science.

Read the entire article at CNN.com.

Halle Berry’s Frankie & Alice Set for Wider Release in 2011

If some of you were wondering how Oscar®-winner Halle Berry got into the running for an Oscar-bid and a Golden Globe nomination with a film no one really saw, then you’re not alone. Apparently television director Geoffrey Sax (“Dr. Who”, “The Van Helsing Chronicles” and “Killer Net”) and film backers thought it would be a great idea to release it in limited run just to get Ms. Berry into the running.

Judging from her Golden Globe nomination, it worked.

As IBWFF reported last year, Frankie & Alice is about a Black woman who has a split-personality disorder where her “other” personality is a racist, Southern, white woman. When she’s not channeling Miss Daisy, she is a chain-smoking, exotic dancer. Huh? I guess it worked because it’s getting a lot of buzz. Along with Halle Berry, Phylicia Rashad and Chandra Wilson also star.

Frankie & Alice is set for wide release in February 4, 2011.

Rashida Jones and Yaya DaCosta Snubbed at SAG Awards?

Black Talent News picked up an AOL Black Voices story that ran during the start of the award season: Rashida Jones and Yaya DaCosta were apparently snubbed when it came time for nominations for the Screen Actors Guild (“SAG”) Award. What makes this oversight sting so much is the fact that many in the actor’s branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences also vote in the SAG Awards.

Coming off a year when the movie Precious seemed to be the only hope for a Black actor or director to even be considered, it seems that the movie industry is sending a message that they could care less about Blacks in front of the camera or behind it.

Yaya DaCosta in the Kids Are Alright

The film award season is sparked by a series of awards to reward the past year of film. A part of that season involves the announcement of nominations, including the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the culmination of all of these in the Academy Awards. The Film Experience blog goes even deeper to outline who and where actors were omitted!

According to AOL Black Voices:
While Halle Berry received a Golden Globe nomination for her work in ‘Frankie and Alice,’ she was left off the list when nominations for the 17th SAG Awards were announced.

Berry was one of many actors who were snubbed, but one of the biggest omissions, as noted by The Film Experience’s Nathaniel Rogers, is among the films nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Yaya DaCosta and Rashida Jones were left off the ensemble list from their respected films, ‘The Social Network’ and ‘The Kids Are All Right.’

“Yaya DaCosta, who so deliciously handles her role of Ruffalo’s lover and employee. Seriously now, she delivers fantastic line readings in this movie and underlines some of the movie’s more subtle points about Ruffalo’s character as well as contributing to its randy high spirits. I consider it an egregious omission,” states Rogers.

Read more at AOL Black Voices

Given the slight, it should be no surprise that the International Black Women’s Film Festival exists or that we try to push our own awards…

Kennedy Center Honors Oprah

The 33rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors will honor talk show queen, actress, and media mogul Oprah Winfrey on December 5, 2010!

Ms. Winfrey will end her talk show in 2011, and is re-focusing her empire building on media and her own television network named (you got it) OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

[picappgallerysingle id=”9082218″]According to CNN.com’s Marquee Blog:

“For more than 25 years, Oprah Winfrey has established one of the most innovative careers in the entertainment world, with distinctive accomplishments in television and film,” the Kennedy Center’s Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement.

Oprah has accomplished what many have tried, but many have not achieved. She’s an accomplished actress (remember “The Color Purple,” “Beloved” and “The Women of Brewster Place”?), producer with her own production company, television executive and media magazine (“O Magazine”).

Many have compared her to Martha Stewart, but Martha Stewart can’t act.

Ms. Winfrey will get her due alongside such luminaries as dancer and Tony Award-winning choreographer (“FELA!” and “Spring Awakening”) Bill T. Jones (brother of San Francisco performing artist Rhodessa Jones), and others.
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 10: Oprah Winfrey in the audience during the 38th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Mike Nichols held at Sony Pictures Studios on June 10, 2010 in Culver City, California. The AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Mike Nichols will premiere on TV Land on Saturday, June 25 at 9PM ET/PST. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI)NEW YORK - JUNE 13: Actor Bill T. Jones attends the 64th Annual Tony Awards at The Sports Club/LA on June 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Gala will be broadcast on CBS on December 28, 2010 at 9:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT

Whitney Performs; Fences Opens; Tribeca Premieres; and More!

April has been a busy month for film premieres, events and glam gatherings! From the opening of the late-August Wilson’s drama “Fences,” starring Viola Davis and Denzel Washington, to Whitney’s shaky comeback, we have the latest photos of the latest glam gatherings!

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Madea is the Only Black “Woman” That Can Open a Film?

“…when you think about a black woman who can open a film, I mean they will green-light the film because of her presence in the film — you know there’s only one person, and that’s Madea.”

Atlanta, Georgia’s, online publication “Rolling Out” wrote an insightful article about the dearth of roles for Black women in film. Of course the article was highlighting the Black Women in Film (formerly, Black Women Film Project) luncheon featuring some of Hollywood’s leading Black actresses in film and television. The article outlined a number of concerns with the roles of Black women –something the IBWFF has also been highlighting for years.

The rub was to promote how much work there is in Atlanta, as well as how much Tyler Perry’s films and studio have impacted roles for African Americans. Personally, my mother’s family has been in Atlanta for over four generations, so I always took for Black achievement and success for granted –i.e., it was something you did, not something you undermined, like in many urban centers.

For many African Americans, Atlanta is a burgeoning, Black metropolis for actors and performers. Tyler Perry’s studio is another example of ingenuity, need fulfillment and entrepreneurship, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Sadly, the strength, purpose and vision of the luncheon was cut short by the closing statement by Roger Bobb, executive vice president of Tyler Perry Studios. After actress Terri Vaughn’s impassioned plea about roles for Black women in Hollywood, and after outlining the impact of such a worthy luncheon, one small statement seemed to dismiss and undermine everything that was just presented.

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The statement?

“…(W)hen you think about a black woman who can open a film, I mean they will green-light the film because of her presence in the film — you know there’s only one person, and that’s Madea.”

Wow. Did he just state that a Black man dressed as a Black woman is the only “Black woman” who can open a film?

Tyler Perry as Madea

Oh, but he did add, “Now you do have some exceptions — Halle Berry and Queen Latifah. But after that, the list goes way down.” Goes down? Goes down to what? Zoe Saldana? Angela Bassett? Gabrielle Union? Alicia Keys? Beyonce? Mo’Nique?

I respect the work (and jobs) that Tyler Perry Studios provides; however, I wish that Mr. Bobb had edited his words more carefully, especially considering that he just attended a luncheon where Black women in film were discussed for over an hour and a half.

Maybe he was taken out of context, who knows? But please, Black women in film are “dissed” enough… we don’t need to be dissed at our own events.

Read the article: http://www.rollingout.com/insiderohome/ro-today/8882-are-black-women-blackballed-in-hollywood-insiders-sound-off.html

Who Rocked the Oscars? Take the Poll!

There’s something to be said for Oscar(tm) fashions… the competition is usually fiercer than the actual award ceremony!

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Sisters came out in glamorous and fabulous dresses that were sophisticated, tasteful, and beautifully structured. When it comes to the Oscars(tm), Black actresses seemed to have a more flavorful flair than some of their peers –good or bad.

In 2002, Halle Berry set the standard for dreamy, higher end couture that made all of the press notice that we are gorgeous, too!

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This year was a standout year, and curvy sisters ruled the runway!

Unlike the unflattering, shapeless, and drab plus-size dresses of the past, these actresses found a happy medium in the plus-size realm.

What was the trend?

Flowing trains! It seemed like almost every actress had a clueless actor stepping all over her dress, including the gorgeous George Clooney fumbling over her royal highness’ train, Queen Latifah. During the Red Carpet event, E! Channel’s Ryan Seacrest pulled Queen over for an impromptu interview. Less than 30-seconds into the interview, George Clooney stepped and tugged on her train like some tipsy frat boy. All ended well when Clooney profusely apologized and was genuinely clueless to the latest Oscar(tm) dress trend.

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The other trends ranged from soft, muted pastels and ombres, to an on-going favorite of bright, rich, jewel-tones –which look fabulous on darker skin tones!

Judge for yourself! Who rocked it?

Congratulations to Mo’Nique

It was a long and arduous road for comedienne and actress Mo’Nique. Many in Hollywood dismissed her as a comedic actress in “low-budget” movies that only appealed to a small, niche audience.

Even when she won the Golden Globes, the only thing the media could talk about were her unshaven legs –which is not so unusually in the Black community, but apparently it’s close to patricide in other communities.

[picappgallerysingle id=”8198416″] Facebook and Twitter have been all a flutter about the Best Supporting Actress race. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences even acquiesced to the masses and dropped last year’s Best Supporting Actrtess winner, Penelope Cruz, into the race for the awful “Nine”! Nine? Really?

Industry insiders were positive that Mo’Nique wouldn’t get the award, even though the Golden Globes are a good indicator of Oscar(tm) wins –and losses.

What was the fallout about?

Some speculate that it was the celebrity backing of the film that turned some people off. However, if it hadn’t been for the backing of multi-gazillionaires Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, according to Tyler Perry at last night’s Oscars(tm), “…they thought it would go straight to DVD.”

Mo’Nique said it best during her acceptance speech: “First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics. ”

[picappgallerysingle id=”7787866″] Mo’Nique, in an usually appearance of understatement, was royal, regal and classy, in addressing her peers and the detractors.

Will her win translate to new, non-comedic roles? Will she find more leading actor doors opened for her in Hollywood. The future will determine how Hollywood handles her unconventional earthiness and authenticity, especially in such a plastic-focused industry.

[picappgallerysingle id=”8198011″] Is Hollywood ready to return to the rawness of reality, and to shirk the glossy, Stepford Wife look of their leading ladies? Hopefully so.

But it is Mo’Nique’s decision to figure out how she will work her new found fame and success. She will determine what is best for herself, her family and her future.

All that to say, Congratulations, Mo’Nique!

Mo’Nique’s Acceptance Speech:

First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics.

I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to.

Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey because you touched it, the whole world saw it.

Ricky Anderson, our attorney of Anderson & Smith, thank you for your hard work.

My entire BET family, my Precious family, thank you so much.

To my amazing husband Sidney, thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forego doing what’s popular in order to do what’s right.

And baby, you were so right.

God bless us all.

Mo’Nique at the Paramount in Oakland April 3rd

For all of you fans of Golden Globe-winning actress and comedienne Mo’Nique, she is scheduled to appear at the Oakland Paramount on (my birthday!) April 3, 2010!

[picappgallerysingle id=”7635814″] Tickets go on sale February 26, 2010, and everyone’s buzzing about buying tickets early because she’s a favorite for an Oscar(r) at this year’s Academy Awards for her caustic role in the Oscar-nominated film “Precious.”

Stay tuned as more information comes in!

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Janet Jackson’s American Music Awards After Party

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Miss Jackson –Janet, if you’re nasty– is back! After the stunning and untimely passing of her closest brother, Michael “King of Pop” Jackson, she’s been the sane and professional face of the Jackson Family.

Her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards stunned audience members who may have forgotten why she reigned the top of the charts and dance floor for many years, and proved herself as a consummate professional.

Many have tried to dethrone her while her rival Madonna gets skinnier and crazier, only to become Lady Gaga. Miss Janet is an incredible performer with real women curves, and a talent that leaves Britney-wannabes in the dust.

Well, Miss Jackson threw herself an “I’m Back!” party after the American Music Awards called “The Number Ones.”

Check out the blinding bling and beauty of some of the best performers and actors around today!

Alicia Keys’ Black Ball brings out the stars

Singer, activist, and actress brought out the stars to shine for a worthy cause. She hosted the 6th Annual Black Ball to benefit the AIDS organization Keep a Child Alive. No star was left unseen. Check out the gorgeous pics, especially of the ravishing Halle Berry –replete with her signature pixie cut! (Thank you, Halle, for returning to the cut that set you apart from everyone else!)

The 2009 MTV VMAs take a hard left to crazy town

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Janet Jackson performs onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City

If anyone missed MTV’s Video Music Awards, it was just as squirrely and nutty as 2009 has been, so far. For some reason, people are acting as if the planets are aligned, or if the sky is turning red with blood… and the VMAs didn’t disappoint in the fruitcake department.

Remember When MTV Told Billie Jean to Beat It?

Always a beacon of cutting edge, rock n’ roll antics, the VMAs finally paid tribute to Michael Jackson beyond the past press stunts. (And, lest we forget, they originally refused to play any videos from Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album
because MTV thought of themselves as a “rock” station, and MJ was just a little too r&b… I guess the “M” in MTV wasn’t for Music.) As usual, Michael’s little sister –and closest sibling– classed up the awards show with an amazing virtual “dance off” from their J-Pop, hyper-stylized duet video “Scream.”

Where Are the 12 Year Old Dancers?

Aside from Russell Brand’s randy and risque hosting, the show took a decidedly Fellini-esque turn into BET territory with their tepid, oddly lip-synched performances –though Pink was good– and straight to the bizarre antics of nominee Kanye “I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob g’goo goo g’joob” West. (I’d show you a video in this section, but MTV –i.e., the Anti-Christ Justice League– only wants you to view the outburst on their site and 500 more times in their reruns.)

Singer Pink performs onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City

Wu-Tang is for the Children

When singer Taylor Swift (no, I have no clue who she is other than hearing her name fifty times on each TMZ show) won a Moon Man for Best Female Video Award, she graciously came on stage to accept her award and to give her speech.

Well, Mr. West pulled an O.D.B (“Wu-Tang is for the children”) and bum

rushed her speech with a rant about how Beyonce “Rump Shaker” Knowles-Z should have won for “Single Ladies.” Um, either way, just why?

Beyonce accepts an award onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City

Poor Taylor stood their stunned and humiliated. Again, lest we forget, this is not Kanye’s first go-round on the crazy carousel, nor his first time taking us with him.

Crazy ass Kanye West takes the microphone from Taylor Swift and speaks onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City

Does no one remember the 2006 MTV Europe Awards when Kanye felt he should’ve won the award because, you know, he spent, “…(O)ver a million dollars”?

Aside from all that, he and Janet actually made the awards show worth watching, and his date was Grace Jones cool sexy. He did 2009 proud…

Catch it 500 more times on MTV: www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/2009/

Crazy ass Singer Kanye West and Amber Rose attend the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City

Make Common’s Day

(from CurrentTV)

Current is teaming up with hip-hop icon Common to give you the opportunity to direct your own music video with his track ‘Make My Day.’

On September 14th, go to current.com/common to get the song and some video assets you can use. Then, get creative and make a music video that really stands out. Use our assets or make your own but be sure you’re using footage that you own or that we provided you. Then upload your final work by September 28th at midnight PDT.

Common will hand pick his favorite video and we will feature it on current.com and on Common’s website: thinkcommon.com. If Current decides to air your submission on TV, we’ll pay you a cool $2,500 to acquire the rights to do so.

A helluva bullet point for your resume, dontcha think?

Check out current.com/common for more information and details.

Email vc2outreach@nullcurrent.com with any questions. See you on the 14th!

Want to Attend the People’s Choice Awards?

The People’s Choice Awards got a bum rap last year, and had to present a much lowered-key show than usual. Next year promises to bring the glam, and bright and shiny celebrities usually in attendance!

Brought to you by Audiences Unlimited, follow the instructions below to score your own tickets and sit in the audience to observe the glitterati at their best. (Most of the categories are closed for voting, but you can still vote on other categories! Find out more at the People’s Choice Awards.)

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 6:00pm
Los Angeles, CA

Complimentary tickets will be distributed by mail order only. Please send your request for tickets (6 max.) along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Audiences Unlimited, 801 South Main St, Burbank, CA 91506
Envelopes will be filed in the order received and requests will be processed accordingly. Tickets will be mailed out in mid-late December. (Minimum Age 16)