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Castnet Files Chapter 11

With all the news of struggling or shuttered dot-com companies, it was only a matter of time before one of Hollywood's startup Internet services felt the pinch. The Entertainment Internet Inc., which operates the casting database Castnet.com, has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization to eliminate millions of dollars of debt, according to a press release sent to investors. The Castnet.com site, which links casting directors and agents to actors and available work and is financed by actors' subscription fees, will remain up and running with "continued but reduced funding" from its principal lender, which now owns the site.

Said Rick LaFond, strategic marketing vp, "We will continue to serve the production, casting, and acting communities while outside counsel assists us in shedding the debt amassed by prior management. While our detractors and competitors may make contrary statements, it will be business as usual for Castnet.com."

SAG Sends Out Scab Reels

The Screen Actors Guild has begun sending video reels of non-union commercials to agents for the purpose of identifying actors who worked on struck shoots during the recent six-month commercial actors strike. According to SAG board member Steve Barr, who acted as the union's unofficial "scab-buster" throughout the strike, this will not be a mass mailing, but rather a response to numerous requests for these reels. "There have been personal requests made by agents who honored the strike," said Barr in a recent interview with Back Stage West. "They said, 'We'll be glad to help you identify people.'"

The reels have been prepared by several of the union branches, including New York and Chicago. These will be exchanging the tapes to help speed the process, which, Barr estimated, could take months. Said Barr, "The prosecution process and the judicial process are essentially what they would be in a court of law. The prosecutors would be people involved in the scab hunt. We have no direct say as to what the punishment will be. That will be as a result of a trial board."

The trial board will be made up of high-profile or esteemed members, board members, or past board members. SAG members who did scab work could face suspension, fines, and expulsion. In October, SAG's national board also voted to impose a permanent ban on membership for non-union actors who performed struck work. Last week, the national executive committee also voted to create membership application review committees for each branch to prevent non-union strike breakers from joining.

Barr has estimated that 70 percent to 80 percent of the national TV ads now running were non-union spots shot during the strike. SAG will also contact the Canadian actors union to supply names of Canadian performers who appeared in struck work that was shot in Canada.

—Laura Weinert

Off the Wire…

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA—San José Repertory Theatre has rescheduled the American premiere of By the Bog of Cats, to open the 2001-'02 season in September 2001, and will present August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, Mar. 24-Apr. 22, 2001. Academy Award-winning actor Holly Hunter will star in By the Bog of Cats, and Atlanta's Alliance Theatre artistic director Kenny Leon will direct The Piano Lesson. (408) 367-7255…

The pivotal role of the ballet toe shoe is the subject of What's the Pointe? a new exhibit in the main gallery at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum, on display Tuesdays through Saturdays until Dec. 29. Curated by New York City Ballet alumna Catherine Ryan Slavonia, the show provides an insider's look at the uses (and abuses) of this classic dance footwear and examines three centuries of dance history with costumes, photographs, artifacts, and an explanation of toe shoe construction. Admission is free. (415) 255-4800…

Golden Gate Performing Arts and AT&T will present the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus in Gentle Merrymen, Dec. 2-3 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. (415) 863-4472.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA—Indecent Exposure Theater Company will present readings of a new work-in-progress, Susan Rubin's The Trial of Persephone, Dec. 4, 11 and 16 at the Road Theatre Company at the Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood. Laural Meade will direct, and Anne Bogart, artistic director of the Saratoga International Theatre Institute, will lead a private developmental workshop of the piece during the reading process. A contemporary adaptation of the Greek myth set in the subway tunnels, tony brownstones, and Wall Street environs of New York City, the show features Bill Camp, Alice Dodd, Kaitlin Hopkins, Nancy Hower, Daniel T. Parker, and Chris Wells. (323) 469-8932…

The third annual Method Fest Independent Film Festival, June 15-22, 2001, at Laemmle Playhouse 7 Theaters in Pasadena is seeking feature films and short film entries. Early deadline is Feb. 20, 2001, and the late entry deadline is Apr. 1, 2001. The Method Fest, dedicated to discovering unique independent films showcasing breakout acting performances, focuses on the actor. Presented by Charter Communications, the festival is named after "The Method" school of acting. For entry forms, call (310) 535-9230 or www.methodfest.com

East West Players has received an endowment from ABC to fund a scholarship from EWP's playwright development program, the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute. The 20-week program, which includes 16 weeks of workshop/writing time, culminates in public readings of the writers' works. Applications are available at the David Henry Hwang Theatre in the Union Center for the Arts, or online at www.eastwestplayers.org

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is currently accepting film entries to screen and compete in its 16th festival set for Mar. 1-11, 2001. All entries must be submitted in 1/2" VHS by Dec. 15, 2000. An entry fee of $40 is required. (805) 963-0023 or www.sbfilmfestival.org

Elaine Gingery has joined Sledgehammer Theatre as managing director. A native of San Diego, Gingery has been active in local theatre for the past seven years, most recently at the Old Globe Theatre, where she acted as public relations associate…

Theatre West officials have announced a partnership with SeatAdvisor, Inc. to launch online sales of Theatre West's event tickets. Subscriptions to the 2000-'01 season are also available online. Consumers can view the service and Theatre West info at www.theatrewest.orgor www.seatadvisor.com

Lamb's Players Theatre in San Diego has announced its 2001 season: Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, Feb. 9-Mar. 18; Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek's Quilters, Apr. 6-May 20; Lamb Players Theatre Ensemble's The Survivor, June 15-July 22; Ian Taylor's Tarantara! Tarantara!, Aug. 17-Sept. 23, and Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, Oct. 12-Nov. 18. (619) 437-0600…

The California Institute of the Arts School of Theater will present Bertolt Brecht's Baal, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 and Dec. 7-9 in Ensemble Theater II at CalArts in Valencia. (661) 253-7800…

The University of Southern California's School of Theatre will present George Bernard Shaw's Getting Married, Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at the Scene Dock Theatre, USC. (213) 740-7111…

Spilt Milk Productions will present Live! Live! News! News! Dec. 2 and 9 at the Jewel Box Theatre Center in Hollywood. (323) 469-4434…

Ka Ching! and Mirage, two one-acts written and directed by Craig Paulsen, will be presented Dec. 1-3 at Two Roads Theatre in Studio City. (818) 848-5410…

Written in Stone, a compilation of five emotionally charged scenes exploring women's relationships with one another, men, and motherhood, will open Dec. 3 at the Lucy Florence Coffeehouse in Leimert Park. Between scenes, the audience will be entertained by music, poetry, and song. (323) 293-2395…

Tori King will present her one-woman show The More Men Weigh, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, and 14-15 at Gallery SevenZerosix in Hollywood. (323) 661-0786…

The Actors' Fund of America will host the second Auction of 1000 Stars with committee chair and two-time Tony winner Bebe Neuwirth. Joining with Yahoo! Auctions, the free auction site on the Internet, and Christie's, the leading fine art auctioneers, Auction of 1000 Stars kicks off on Dec. 1. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on packages that will allow the winners to interact with celebrities and entertainers in various settings. The items are available until Dec. 15. The Actors' Fund of America is a national human service organization that provides for the welfare of all individuals who make their living in the entertainment industry. Anyone can bid by visiting http://auctions.yahoo.com See http://www. actorsfund.orgfor photos and details…

The Sacred Fools Theater Company will present After Fool Special, a late-night comedy show Dec. 1 and 8 at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood. (310) 281-8337…

Junk, Stains and Other Necessities of Life, a youth-theatre cross-country collaboration, will premiere on Dec. 1 at the Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica. (310) 394-9779…

The American Renegade Theatre will present its first annual Holiday Vaudeville Revue, an evening of holiday entertainment for the whole family, Dec. 1-17 at the American Renegade Theatre in North Hollywood. (818) 763-1834…

Award-winning composer Charles Fox will perform The Charles Fox Songbook with a 25-piece orchestra. Guest performers include Hal Linden and B.J. Ward. The event, directed and choreographed by Paula Abdul, will take place Dec. 2-3 at the Gindi Auditorium at the University of Judaism in L.A. (310) 476-9777 x 201…

A Holiday Cabaret, an annual event that raises awareness and funds for a youth-oriented organization, will take place on Dec. 3 at El Portal Center for the Arts in North Hollywood. This event will raise money for YouthVision. The performance will combine warmly loved traditional songs with humor, wit, and the unexpected from L.A.'s premiere cabaret artists. (818) 508-4200…

Celebrities will gather at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles to participate in the third annual A Cracked Christmas on Dec. 3. The special evening of comic relief benefits the Trevor Project, a nonprofit established to promote tolerance for gay and questioning teenagers, and to aid in suicide prevention. Emmy Award-winning actress Gillian Anderson is returning as honorary chair. Celebrities who are scheduled to appear this year include Drew Carey, Kathy Kinney, Ryan Stiles, Teri Garr, Bob Koherr, Kathleen Madigan, Gina Gershon, Kathy Najimy, Margaret Smith, Scott Kennedy and the Dan Band. (818) 980-7336 or at www.trevorproject.com

Center Theatre Group will present I'm A Stranger Here Myself, an intimate evening of song, verse and reminiscences celebrating Kurt Weill's centenary, on Dec. 4 at the Mark Taper Forum. This year's event is CTG's ninth annual benefit honoring the great lyricists and composers of the American musical theatre and popular song. The evening will be hosted by Michael Feinstein and will feature a roster of stellar artists. (213) 972-7368…

On Dec. 4, Two by Two, the comic tale of Noah, his family, and a certain ark, will be presented by the Musical Theatre Guild in its Broadway in Concert series at the Pasadena Playhouse. (818) 848-6844…

The Actors' Work Program will hold a seminar for those wanting to learn more about jobs and careers in information technology by computers, dot-com companies, and e-commerce. The event will take place on Dec. 6 in the AFTRA Boardroom on Wilshire Blvd. The evening is free of charge to current union members. (323) 933-9244, ext. 50.

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