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Phil Brock, Alive and Managing

As if the controversy over casting director workshops could not heat up any further, last Friday it reached a new nadir. That evening, Jack Turnbull, owner of the popular website and workshop company Actorsite, posted a brief but spurious "In Memoriam" for talent manager Phil Brock, who runs Studio Talent Group, as part of a regular e-newsletter to hundreds of Actorsite members--which took Brock himself, and dozens of friends and contacts, by surprise. The very much still alive Brock spent the weekend fielding and making calls to correct this disinformation. Turnbull soon posted a vague retraction, then, on Sunday, a self-flagellating apology titled "I'm an idiot."

"Phil Brock is a great guy, and I'm an idiot," Turnbull later told Back Stage West. "It was gallows humor, making a joke--somehow I thought people would get it. I regret the rash action that I took. It's the dumbest thing I've ever done."

Though Turnbull wouldn't address the reasons for his "joke," he has been at odds lately with Brock, a longtime colleague and sometime supporter of Actorsite's workshops, because Brock has allied himself with casting director Billy DaMota's crusade against casting-director workshops, centered at the website donotpay.org. Brock had just e-mailed to his clients a copy of DaMota's donotpay.org newsletter, in fact, when Turnbull apparently "lost [his] patience," he wrote.

For his part, Brock has asked his clients to withdraw from Actorsite membership and is contemplating legal action. "It's not much fun being dead," he told Back Stage West, only half-joking.

For the record, Back Stage West has also been the target of some of Turnbull's e-mailed rants, also apparently because he believed our recent coverage of the CD workshop controversy (BSW, 6/28/01) somehow favored DaMota's side.

--Rob Kendt

Off the Wire...

PACIFIC NORTHWEST--Seattle Repertory Theatre in Seattle, Wash., has announced its 2001-'02 season. In the Leo K. Theatre: Marc Wolf's Another American: Asking and Telling, Sept. 19-Oct. 28; Amy Freed's The Beard of Avon, Nov. 5-Dec. 16; Robert William Sherwood's The Last True Believer, Feb. 11-Mar. 24, 2002, and Ping Chong's Obon: Tales of Rain and Moonlight, Apt. 8-May 18, 2002. In the Bagley Wright Theatre: David Auburn's Proof, Oct. 8-Nov. 10; Daniel Sullivan and the Seattle Repertory Theatre Company's Inspecting Carol, Nov. 19-Dec. 30; August Wilson's Jitney, Jan. 23-Feb. 23, 2002; Moliere's Don Juan, Mar. 11-Apr. 14, 2002, and TBA, Apr. 22-May 26, 2002. (206) 443-2222.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA--The 7th Annual Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films will take place Aug. 7-13 at the Festival of Arts Cinema in Palm Springs. With more than 250 films from over 30 countries screened annually, this, the largest short film festival in North America, exposes audiences to the best in short films, live action, documentaries, and animation entries. This year's selection of films for screening and competition features star-studded casts, including the late Jack Lemmon in the biographic film The Living Century: Three Miracles, Kate Hudson in The Cutting Room, Kenneth Branagh in Schneider's 2nd Stage, and Sally Kirkland in The Audit, among others. Competing films that receive a first-place prize will receive a cash award and automatically become eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a possible Academy Award nomination. For a complete list of screenings, call (760) 322-2930...

A Noise Within Theatre Company in Glendale has announced its 2001-'02 season: Arthur Wing Pinero's Trelawny of the Wells, Sept. 21-Nov. 25; William Shakespeare's Pericles, Oct. 5-Nov. 30; Sabin Epstein's adaptation of Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid, Oct. 26-Dec. 2; Oscar Wilde's A Wilde Holiday, Dec. 14-16; Noel Coward's Hay Fever, Jan. 19-27, 2002; William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, May 1-11, 2002; William Inge's Bus Stop, Mar. 15-May 18, 2002, and Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck, Apr. 5-May 19, 2002. (818) 240-0910...

Theatre of NOTE will host a fundraising party commemorating its 21st year in Equity Waiver theatre on Aug. 4 at Impolitic Cartoon Commentaries, a gallery of opinionated art in Santa Monica. Food and drink will be served, and there will be short presentations of theatre and music, as well as a silent auction. There is a $10 charge at the door. (310) 826-3282...

Sledgehammer Theatre will present the Bash at Bridgeworks, an annual charity event featuring a silent auction, live music, fine wine, and food from more than a dozen of the best San Diego restaurants, on Aug. 5 at Bridgeworks in San Diego. All proceeds benefit Sledgehammer Theatre. (619) 544-1484...

The All About Kids Performing Arts Conservatory will present its summer production of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Aug. 5 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown L.A. (213) 485-1681.

--Rosa Fernandez

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