Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anthony J. Resta: A Retrospective with a Progressive Producer

Anthony J. Resta in his element at Bopnique Musique Studio.

Anthony J. Resta: A Retrospective with a Progressive Producer
By Marshall Terrill  

         Music producer Anthony J. Resta is the kind of person who naturally inspires superlatives.
         Iconoclastic, innovative, gifted, and perfectionist are but a few that come to mind. In addition to his duties as a producer, he's also a composer, soundscape artist, holistic music creator and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, flute) not to mention a devoted father and spouse, a hardcore fisherman and a very cool guy.
         He has earned twelve RIAA certified gold and multi-platinum awards, and his discography is somewhere in the neighborhood of 300. His collaborations with artists reads like a Who’s Who of the industry. They include Duran Duran, Elton John, Collective Soul, Megadeth, Perry Farrell, Vinny Vincent, Sarah Mclaughlin, Missing Persons, Peter Wolf, Shawn Mullins, Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters, Green River Ordinance, Sarah Evans, Blondie, actor Michael Chiklis and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.
         In a massive five-part interview Resta discusses his musical roots, rise to stardom, experimentation with vintage machines, working with icons, his new foray into Hollywood and how he brings music to life a former textile mill in Boston.
         Ladies and gentlemen, Anthony J. Resta...  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Q & A with Stage 32 owner Curt Blakeney

Every day, there are thousands of talented individuals searching for like minded souls with which they can collaborate. They join writing or acting classes, theater groups, and on line forums. They act in student films, direct and submit short subject films to festivals, and enter screenplay contests. They take the first step and fight for the second. They search for answers to the never ending "hows" and "whys." Some take pride in bucking the relentless frustrations and challenges, many more succumb to them. Almost all wonder: "How can I make my dream a reality? How can I increase my odds and give myself the greatest chance to succeed?"

Welcome to Stage 32 – a community for people working in or with a desire to work in film or theater. It’s a place to gather, to discuss and develop projects, to join actor with director, director with producer, producer with cast and crew. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Let's get to know Curt Blakeney, the co-founder of Stage 32

Q: Curt, you're a well-known sports personality in Phoenix, tell me about your love for cinema as a kid?

CB: I’ve always been a film buff. I really enjoyed watching movies as a kid; especially summer matinees. Nothing like the thrill of a movie doubleheader with a tub of popcorn and a box of M&Ms. I was also a fan of the drive-in … many good memories there. My awareness of film was heightened by my brother Eric, who is a writer and director in Hollywood.

Q: Who were some of your favorite actors, directors and movies?

CB: I’ve always been a big fan of Spielberg movies: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Saving Private Ryan. He’s one of the great storytellers in the business. As far as actors, certainly on my top 10 list all-time are Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Day-Lewis. There are so many…too many to list. More recently, I think Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr. and Brad Pitt are exceptional.

Q: Your family is no stranger to Hollywood success. Your brother wrote the screenplay for Gunshy, a successful feature film starring Liam Neeson and was a producer/show runner for "21 Jump Street, the TV series that put Johnny Depp on the map.What did you learn about the movie industry through his eyes?

CB: Just how important it is to work tirelessly and network, network, network. It’s so important to build those relationships in the industry. It’s no industry to be shy.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Stage 32?
CB: Two years ago, my business partner, Richard Botto, and I were in Los Angeles for the American Film Market (AFM). At the time, we had our own film production company, Fair Warning Productions, and had a few projects in development. AFM is a gathering place for filmmakers, sales reps, distributors, financiers and others from around the globe. Everyone is in town for one week pitching their projects, pitching their craft, trying to find funding, etc. The most vibrant place was the bar at the Loews Santa Monica Hotel. There we witnessed so many projects being discussed and so many filmmakers with completed films begging to be heard. And once AFM was over, those people went back to their respective cities and waited another 12 months for the next AFM. On the flight back from LA, a light bulb went off. We thought it would be great to create a virtual meeting place so that people could discuss film projects and connect year round, anywhere in the world.

Q: What are some of the success stories that have emerged from Stage 32?

CB: There are so many examples of success stories, that we created a forum for it: But a couple that stand out. Matt E. Hudson, a director, producer and screenwriter from London, became the first of several to shoot a film (called “Reduction”) using crew found entirely from Stage 32. And Persephone Vandegrift, a screenwriter from Seattle who has been tirelessly networking through Stage 32 since she joined, was hired to write the pilot for a historical miniseries “The Vanquished.” The numbers keep growing as directors find actors, filmmakers find screen writers, producers find crew.  

Q: What is your goal for yourself and the participants who network on Stage 32?

CB: The goal of the site is to bring together like-minded individuals who collaborate to promote creative growth in film… and television and theater as well. So members can upload their projects, resumes, loglines, scripts, photos and videos – anything that shows off their skills and talents. People can private message other members, post on their walls, chat live or post on our message board – called the Stage 32 Lounge. It’s a very open and friendly community. Film students can get advice from seasoned professionals, screenwriters can get tips from other screenwriters, people can share their experiences. We’ve also had guest blogs from award-winning writers such as Danny Rubin (Groundhog Day), Rex Pickett (Sideways) and Doug Richardson (Bad Boys), whose “tales from the trenches” have really resonated with Stage 32 members.
It’s a social network to not only communicate with others, but learn, teach, share and foster.

We have a saying, that sums ups the site. Stage 32 is the social network uniquely populated with the most creative people on Earth. That’s our mantra…we’re trying to build this amazing global network of incredibly talented people and let the sparks fly.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Juber closes out tour in SoCal

Two-time Grammy-Award winning guitar artist Laurence Juber will close his latest tour with a homecoming concert in Southern California.

Juber will play 8 p.m. Saturday, June 16, 2012, at Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. Tickets are $17.50. Juber will also host a two-hour guitar workshop preceding the concert from 4 to 6 p.m. The cost is $40.

The workshop and concert appearance closes out a six-month tour, which started in January.

Known for playing lead guitar in Wings from 1978 to 1981, Juber, known as ‘LJ’, has since had a distinguished career as a solo finger-style guitarist. A world-class guitar virtuoso solo artist, composer and arranger, LJ fuses folk, jazz, and pop styles and creates a dynamic multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument. 

Laurence has released 20 acclaimed solo albums since Wings folded, including two volumes on The Beatles and one on his former group with McCartney. His latest, Soul of Light, is a retrospective collection of original compositions that span over 30 years of creative work on solo guitar. All newly recorded, some of these tunes may be familiar from being heard on TV and radio, while others have been touchstones of the solo guitar. 

“I started out as a composer for solo guitar and I’ve written well over a hundred tunes. The compositions on Soul of Light reflect a particular mood – one of romance,” Juber says. “Not only pure love songs, but also in the sense of using imagination and narrative to expand and transcend the traditional solo guitar genre. It also serves as a complement to the blues/jazz direction that my current composing and arranging is taking me.”

As a studio musician, he can be heard on recent albums from artists as diverse as Barry Manilow, Al Stewart and Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks. He is also featured on the soundtracks to hundreds of TV shows and movies including the Academy Award-winning Good Will Hunting and Dirty Dancing, the James Bond thriller The Spy Who Love Me and 2011's The Muppets.

For more information visit:

What: Laurence Juber 
Where: Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, June 16
Cost: $17.50
Information: 310-398-2583 or

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lee Marvin: Point Blank is the first full-length, authoritative and detailed story of the iconic actor's life to go beyond the Hollywood scandal sheet reporting from earlier books, and provide an appreciation for the man and his acting career and the classic films he starred in, whether it's his chilling titular villain in "Who Shot Liberty Valance" to the paternal yet brutally realistic platoon leader in "The Big Red One." And, while Marvin is best known for his icy tough guy roles, veteran Hollywood writer Epstein provides us with a portrait of a much, deeper, more complex individual who took great risks in his acting and career, often joining forces with relative unknown directors of the time like John Boorman and Sam Fuller. Yet, although voted the leading male action star in 1967, and winner of an Academy Award (Cat Ballou), very little is known of his personal life, his family background, his experiences in WWII, his relationship with his father, family, friends, wives, and his ongoing battles with alcoholism, rage and depression, occasioned by his postwar PTSD. Now, after years of research, interviews with family members, friends and colleagues, and complete with rare photographs and illustrative material, LEE MARVIN: Point Blank will provide a full understanding and appreciation of this acting titan's place in the Hollywood pantheon in spite of (or perhaps because of) his very real and human struggles. Moreover, this biography provides a penetrating psychological and sociological analysis of Lee Marvin and his role in shaping the image of the violent male in modern film. By exploring Marvin's family history and his formative years as well as the harrowing combat that Marvin was involved in the Pacific campaign in WWII, Epstein gives us a portrait of a man shaped and shattered by violence, yet one who, having been intimately acquainted with it, could bring it home to the film audience with an intensity and realism previously unseen in modern cinema.

Lee Marvin: Point Blank will be released February 2013. For more information visit

Reviews and Comments

“I have known Dwayne Epstein for more than 20 years and he is without a doubt the most knowledgeable person I know on the subject of Hollywood and film history. And he is flat out a great writer. His style of writing will attract the attention of film critics and buffs alike. The information he has culled on Lee Marvin over a 20- year-period is deep and most likely will never be repeated. The market is also ripe for an in-depth look at Marvin's life and filmography. Dwayne's book will be the most definitive look at this underrated superstar and most likely kick-off a rediscovery of Marvin's work, which is long overdue.”

MARSHALL TERRILL, author of STEVE McQUEEN: Portrait of an American Rebel
“I looked over Dwayne's shoulder while he was working on early chapters of his Lee Marvin biography, and I know it will be a great book. He had already done unique, unduplicated research into Marvin's early life, his war experience and the relationship between that and his decision to pursue acting. Lee Marvin: Point Blank will also be the definitive book on its subject: the rare star biography that substitutes passion for pandering, which always makes for gripping reading.”

BILL KROHN, LA Correspondent since 1978 of Cahiers du Cinema and author of HITCHCOCK AT WORK
“Dwayne has a broad knowledge of film and pop culture that comes through in his well-researched articles. His work requires no rewriting, making my job that much easier. Many of the articles he has submitted have garnered sincere praise in letters to the editor from our readers. We at Filmfax are very proud that Dwayne's initial research on Lee Marvin first saw the light of the day in our publication. I can not say enough about his ability...”

MIKE STEIN, founder and publisher, FilmFax Magazine

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Michael Dante set to release memoirs in 2012

Michael Dante will add another distinguished title to his list of credits: celebrity author.
The athlete turned actor recently penned From Hollywood to Michael Dante Way, and will be released later this year.
Dante appeared in more than 50 movies and 150 television episodes. His tall, dark, leading-man good looks got him his break in Hollywood, but his ability to adapt to a wide variety of roles kept him busy in show biz for more than three decades.
The actor known as Michael Dante was born Ralph Vitti in 1931, in Stamford, Conn. He played ball and began studying acting at the University of Miami. In 1949, the Boston Braves discovered him playing semi-pro ball in a fast New England league and signed him to a pro contract at the age of 18.

After injuring his arm, he sat out the 1952 season, and left pro ball for good a few years later.
His first acting job came in the 1956 movie Somebody Up There Likes Me. For the 30 years he had guest roles in many of the TV Westerns of the time, along with soap operas, cop shows, etc.
You can view his "filmography" at the Internet Movie Database, and his minor league baseball career at Be sure to search under Michael Dante on the former site, and Ralph Vitti on the latter.

An Evening with Collective Soul in Tempe, Ariz.

Collective Soul comes to Tempe, Arizona, Wednesday, June 6 at The Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave.