Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas died Friday at age 75, after suffering from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He began the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1978 and taught acting classes there to noted actors including George Clooney and Gene Hackman. Katselas is survived by a sister and two brothers.

Katselas directed an off-Broadway production of Edward Albee‘s The Zoo Story, and received a Tony Award nomination for his 1969 direction of Butterflies are Free. Actress Blythe Danner won a Tony Award for her role in Butterflies are Free under Katselas’ direction. He moved to California to direct the film version of that play, and went on to direct films and television movies. Actress Eileen Heckart received an Academy Award for her role in the film version of Butterflies are Free.

Katselas directed the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions of the play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! by playwright James Kirkwood, Jr. In his author’s notes in the publication of the script, Kirkwood acknowledged Katselas, and wrote that the plays were “directed with incredible energy and enthusiasm by Milton Katselas, to whom I am extremely indebted”.

Katselas directed the television movie Strangers: Story of a Mother and Daughter, and actress Bette Davis received an Emmy Award for her role in the movie. Katselas taught many famous actors including Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Robert Duvall, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Walken, Burt Reynolds, George C. Scott, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Patrick Swayze. Katselas was credited with being able to nurture actors with raw talent so that they could develop strong Hollywood careers. He utilized innovative techniques in his courses – one course called “Terrorist Theatre” had a simple premise: successfully get an acting role within six weeks or leave the course.

He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents who had immigrated from Greece, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York at the Actors Studio, and received advice from directors Joshua Logan and Elia Kazan.

Katselas was a prominent Scientologist, and a July 2007 profile on Katselas in The New York Times Magazine observed that some of his students stopped taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse because they felt they had been pressured to join the Church of Scientology. According to the article, Katselas credited Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard “for much of his success in life”, and one of his students works at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. The article commented that some in Los Angeles view the Beverly Hills Playhouse as “a recruitment center for Scientology”.

Katselas met L. Ron Hubbard after moving to California, and began studying Scientology in 1965. The New York Times Magazine reported that he had reached the level of “Operating Thetan, Level 5, or O.T. V.” in 2007. According to The New York Times Magazine when Scientologists proceed up the “The Bridge to Total Freedom” they learn the story of Xenu, and that: “75 million years ago the evil alien Xenu solved galactic overpopulation by dumping 13.5 trillion beings in volcanoes on Earth, where they were vaporized, scattering their souls.” A Church of Scientology publication, Source, lists Katselas as reaching O.T. V. in 1989.

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He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.

Though some actors felt pressured to join the Church of Scientology after taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, at least one individual felt Katselas was not active enough with the organization. Actress Jenna Elfman left the Beverly Hills Playhouse because she felt Katselas was not committed enough to Scientology. Katselas had previously directed Elfman in half of Visions and Lovers: Variations on a Theme, two one-act plays about relationships that he had written himself. In 1999 Katselas had planned to adapt the script of Visions and Lovers to a film version, and Elfman was set to reprise her role from the play. In an article in Variety about the project, Elfman commented on her experience working with Katselas: “He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.”

Other prominent Scientologist actors who have studied under Katselas include Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee, and Leah Remini. According to Rolling Stone, Katselas also recruited actress Kelly Preston to Scientology. Actress Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), told Scientology publication Celebrity that Katselas motivated her to get more active in Scientology, and she stated she took the organization’s “Purification Rundown” and her life “took off completely”.

Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.

Anne Archer was introduced to Scientology while studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, as was former Scientologist and now outspoken critic actor Jason Beghe. Beghe told Roger Friedman of FOX News in April 2008 that “He [Katselas] gets kickbacks”, and that he was brought to a Scientology center by fellow Beverly Hills Playhouse classmate Bodhi Elfman, Jenna Elfman’s husband. In a 1998 article for Buzz Magazine, Randye Hoder wrote “In his class, Katselas is careful not to label anything as a tenet of Scientology, but there is no question that the church’s influence seeps into the playhouse.”

Anne Archer’s husband and fellow Scientologist, producer Terry Jastrow, commented to The New York Times Magazine that Katselas changed the way he experiences life on a day-to-day basis: “I go out in the world and look at human behavior now. I see a woman or man interacting with a saleslady, and I see the artistry in it. Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.”

Actor Anthony Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoke highly of Katselas in a 2002 interview with San Francisco Chronicle: “He’s this wonderfully intuitive teacher and his premise is basically: The only real barriers are the ones we put in front of ourselves. If you say, ‘My character wouldn’t do that’ — bollocks! Ultimately it’s you who wouldn’t say that. Who knows what your character might do.” In the acknowledgements of her 2004 autobiography Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna, actress Doris Roberts wrote: “I thank my friend and acting teacher, the incredible Milton Katselas, for his insights, wisdom, and inspiration, which have helped make me the actress that I am.”

I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.

Katselas authored two books: Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want, first published in 1996 by Dove Books, and Acting Class: Take a Seat, which came out earlier this month. Dreams Into Action, a New York Times Bestseller, sought to modify motivational acting exercises to the field of business.

In an interview in the 2007 book Acting Teachers of America, Katselas commented on his experiences as an acting teacher over the years: “I have very special teachers here at the Beverly Hills Playhouse—some have been with me for over twenty-five years. I believe that to make a difference over the long haul, we need to train teachers. I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.”

German BND claims U.S. exaggerated Iraq WMD claims

Sunday, November 20, 2005

One of the most important arguments in the run-up to the Iraq war made by Colin Powell in his United Nations speech and President Bush in his State of the Union address was that Iraq had an active biological weapons program and possessed mobile biological weapons labs. According to an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the main source for this information was an Iraqi defector codenamed Curveball who was a source for the German central intelligence agency BND.

Several German intelligence officials responsible for Curveball have now told the LA Times that the Bush administration and the CIA have repeatedly exaggerated his claims and ignored warnings of the BND that the source was unreliable. Recounting his reaction after seeing Powell’s United Nations speech one German intelligence officer said: “We were shocked. Mein Gott! We had always told them it was not proven…. It was not hard intelligence.” This corroborates reporting by the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit from 2003 and 2004 based on statements of unnamed senior German intelligence officials.

Nine months earlier, in May 2002, a fabricator warning was posted in Curveball’s file in U.S. intelligence databases. Powell was never warned that his United Nations speech contained material that both the DIA and CIA had determined was false, even though several people present at Powell’s CIA meetings were fully aware of this.

At this time German intelligence officers would not let the CIA meet directly with Curveball, but allowed a CIA doctor to draw blood samples. Questioning the validity of Curveball’s information in front of his CIA supervisor, the doctor was advised to “Keep in mind that this war is going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn’t say and the Powers That Be probably aren’t terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he’s talking about.”

Shortly after Powell’s UN speech and several days before the invasion, United Nations weapons inspectors attempted to directly verify several key claims made by Curveball, but concluded that they were unsustainable. The White House insisted on its WMD claims based on Curveball’s information.

Even after the invasion, when more and more of Curveball’s accounts were shown to be pure fabrication, the CIA and the Bush administration relied on Curveball’s information. When U.S. forces discovered trucks with lab equipment and Curveball claimed that these were identical to the ones he has been reporting about, the CIA rushed to publish a White Paper claiming that these trucks were part of Saddam Hussein’s secret biological weapons program and Bush claimed publicly that “We found the weapons of mass destruction.” Several days later, twelve of the thirteen WMD experts who analyzed the trucks agreed that the equipment was not suited for biological weapons production, with the only dissenting voice coming from the author of the original White Paper.

The White Paper remains posted on the CIA website to this date, and President Bush has not yet retracted his statement that Iraq produced “germ warfare agents” made in his State of the Union address or his postwar assertions that “we found the weapons of mass destruction.”

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Disease outbreak feared after mass hysteria over “sweet” water in Mumbai

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

“18 hours of mass hysteria” (according to the Sunday Times of India) broke out last Friday in Mumbai as hundreds of residents flocked to Mahim Creek, one of the most polluted creeks in India that receives thousands of tonnes of raw sewage and industrial waste every day after reports that the salt water had suddenly turned “sweet”.

Television reports showed people drinking water on the spot with their hands, and others bathing, apparently to wash away their sins with the “holy” water.

At the height of the hysteria, bottled mineral water was selling for Rs 50 (RM4.50), with people buying the mineral water simply for the bottles, pouring away the mineral water and filling the bottles with water from the creek.

News reports of the Mahim Creek incident sparked further mass hysteria at Gujarat within hours, with residents there claiming that seawater at Teethal beach in Valsad had also turned sweet. About 400 people had gathered by the beach in the evening.

In the aftermath of the incident, local authorities stated that they were being were extra vigilant because of the possibility of a severe outbreak of water-borne diseases, such as gastroenteritis as a result of so many people drinking contaminated water. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had warned people not to drink the water, but despite this many people had collected it in bottles, even as plastic and rubbish had drifted by on the current. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai had ordered a bacteriological report into the “sweet” water, but suspected that “contamination in the water might have been reduced due to the waters from Mithi River flowing into the mouth of Mahim Bay“.

By Saturday morning, the hysteria had died down, as the taste of the water had returned to normal.

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Seroma After Tummy Tuck: How Were You Treated?}

Submitted by: Rena Graham

Tummy tuck is an invasive procedure that helps to flatten the stomach by removing excess fat and skin. It has provided a lot of patients dealing with unrelenting rotund bellies a chance to get into better shape. But there are also some complications that are at stake if you choose to have this procedure done, and one common problem is a seroma.

Seroma is a pocket of fluid that came out from injured lymphatic vessels and capillaries after an injury or surgery. Some seromas go away on their own, while others needs treatment because it could lead to wound dehiscence, infection and delayed healing. So here are some of the ways to treat seroma.

Aspiration

One of the usual treatment for seroma formation is aspirating the fluid. The affected region is inserted with a needle attached to a syringe that will do the aspiration. In some clinics an ultrasound guided aspiration can also be done using an ultrasound guided aspiration. Sometimes aspiration would have to be done more than once due to the amount of fluid accumulating.

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A hot compress can also be applied over the area to aid in breaking up the blood clots so that when it is liquefied it will be much easier for the surgeon to aspirate. This also makes it easier for the body to reabsorb the fluid.

Drains

Drains would also be inserted which would have to be kept there for at least 2 weeks or up until the fluid accumulation subsides. The doctor will then decide when it is already safe to remove the draining tubes once the fluid has gone down to a reasonable level and remains that way. Those remaining small volume of fluid will eventually dissipate on its own.

Medications

In order to control the fluid accumulation, your physician can prescribe you with hemostatics. A hemostatic drug such as tranexamic acid can reduce the fluid buildup and it should be continually regulated because it can also have adverse effects.

Compression

A compression band or garment may also be used around the treated area. This will press gently on the site creating a very small space for fluid to accumulate. The compression may be a little limiting on your part, with some doctors requiring you to put it on for 72 hours. But it will certainly save you from any chances of building up seromas or the re-accumulation of fluid.

Excision

In some cases seroma formation can be unrelenting to drugs, aspiration and other treatments, which is why another option would be to excise it. These cases happen very rarely, but in the event that it does a reoperation but with minimal incisions would have to be done.

So if you want to prevent seroma formations after your tummy tuck, always remember to keep that compression binder on. Also make sure that you keep your abdomen as immobile as possible for the first few days after surgery, so make sure that you take ample time off from work to recuperate well.

About the Author:

Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty

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Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

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14,000-acre Southern California ‘Crown Fire’ at 82% containment, evacuation orders lifted

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Antelope Valley, California —The Crown Fire that has burned through 13,980 acres in the High Desert of Southern California since 2:32 pm (2232 UTC) Thursday was at 82% containment Saturday evening, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

On Friday high winds caused the fire to jump the California Aqueduct and spread into the city of Palmdale. Over 2,000 residents of Leona Valley, Ana Verde, and Rancho Vista were given mandatory evacuation orders. The sky was blanketed with thick orange pyrocumulus clouds and falling ash, making the air hard to breathe.

State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived in Palmdale on Friday to survey the burned areas. “We were very fortunate to not have fires for quite some time because the air temperature was cool and we didn’t have the experiencing of dry weather and all the winds and so on, but all of a sudden the fire season kicked in as if, ‘Here we are,'” Schwarzenegger said during a press conference. “But we are ready and we have luckily distributed resources all over the state of California, so we are ready at any given time.”

The fire has so far destroyed one house and three mobile homes, damaging the roof of another and burning car garages, horse stables, and other outbuildings. Most of the more seriously threatened homes were constructed recently from fire-proof materials, with walls coated in stucco, and fire-resistant plants in the yards. Although some roads are still closed to all traffic, all existing evacuation orders were lifted late Friday night and 500 residents of Rancho Vista were told to “shelter in place” until further notice. Despite the absence of mandatory evacuation orders, over 2,000 houses, 60 commercial buildings, and 100 outbuildings are still under threat.

Throughout the night, fire crews have been battling the wildfire, assisted by cooler temperatures and lighter-than-expected winds which have enabled them to establish containment lines. “Crews went out [Friday] night and did some great work trying to complete more lines and also trying to take care of what we call ‘cat eyes’ which are embers within the perimeter of the fire, so there will be much more work being done there today,” said LACFD Captain Roland Sprewell. “But of course we’re not going to rest on our laurels today…we’re going to be vigilantly watching the winds, especially in the ridge and down in the valleys.”

At the height of the fire, 1,700 firefighters from all over California were battling the flames, although as of 12:00 pm Saturday afternoon, it has been reduced to around 1,350 personnel. 16 fire camp crew have also assisted. 250 fire engines and four bulldozers have been used. In the air, 4 Boeing 747 supertankers, 1 McDonnell Douglas DC-10 tanker, and 6 modified Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters known as “Firehawks” have been dropping water and red Phos-Chek slurry. The Los Angeles Sheriffs Department also increased its presence in the Antelope Valley by bringing in response teams from stations outside the AV. This afternoon, the deployment has been scaled back to three teams as the fire stabilizes and further evacuation orders become unlikely.

Three firefighters have been injured battling the fire, although all injuries are minor. One sheriff deputy was also hospitalized for smoke inhalation but has since been released.

U.S. TV networks look to past for future programming

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Los Angeles, California — Four of six national television broadcast networks recently wooed potential advertisers for the 2005-2006 season with programming offerings in the new development phase. These included NBC, Fox, ABC and The WB. Two other networks, CBS and UPN, plan to preview their offerings March 24.

After four years of focusing on high-profile reality television, network executives are turning to the past for inspiration on scripted series. Some networks said they are “more consciously aggressive about developing shows” that recall such classics as Taxi and Barney Miller, Craig Erwich, a programming executive for Fox, told USA Today. In the same report, Kevin Reilly, NBC entertainment chief said, “I don’t think the answer has to be that it’s groundbreaking or something you’ve never seen before.”

But at least one ad buyer had reservations about the rear-view mirror technique. “Every network seems to be looking back rather than forward for programming ideas. The reminiscence factor may be good if you are looking for an older audience, but it may not be a way to bring in the younger audiences,” Laura Caraccioli-Davis, senior vice president and director of Starcom Entertainment told Mediaweek magazine.

  THE CONTENDERS: New series touted for possible inclusion in the 2005-2006 season
Network Development
ABC
Emily’s Reasons Why Not 
(Sitcom) – an unmotivated teacher in a class of Type-A students.
Life 
(Drama) – a group of young 20-somethings in Chicago facing life on their own.
Soccer Moms 
(Drama) – two suburban mothers become private investigators.
Fox
Briar & Graves 
(Drama) – a horror series in the vein of X-Files.
Hitched 
(Comedy drama) – a brother and sister run a Las Vegas wedding chapel.
Kitchen Confidential 
(Sitcom) – antics in an upscale New York restaurant.
The Loop 
(Comedy) – the travails of a young Chicago executive.
New Car Smell 
(Comedy) – a Brooke Shields star vehicle in a Las Vegas car dealership
Queen B 
(Sitcom) – Alicia Silverstone as a trendsetting columnist.
Reunion 
(Drama) – shows the lives of a group of friends over 20 years with each episode chronicling one year.
NBC
All In 
(Sitcom) – Janeane Garofalo as a single mom and professional poker player in Las Vegas.
Dante 
(Sitcom) – sports themed revolving around an NFL star.
Hot Property 
(Sitcom) – the competitive world of the real estate agent.
Lies and the Wives We Tell Them 
(Sitcom) – politically incorrect family comedy.
Notorious 
(Sitcom) – Tori Spelling stars in a mockumentary of her life.
WB
Nobody’s Watching 
(Sitcom) – two normal guys win a reality show where their lives become a sitcom.
Pepper Dennis 
(Drama) – Rebecca Romijn as a modern Mary Richards-type journalist in Chicago.
Sisters 
(Drama) – four sisters coping with life in the city.

8th case of mad cow disease found in Canada

Friday, August 25, 2006

An 8th case of mad cow disease was found in a cow in the province of Alberta. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did a test and found BSE. The agency found no part of the beef cow’s carcass entered either the human or animal feed chains. The CFIA said that, “the cow could have likely lived another 6 months or so, but died of complications of mastitis”.

“The animal’s age is between eight and 10 years”, said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The CFIA also traced 172 animals would likely ate feed out of that load.

“The cow’s exposure to BSE likely occurred before or during the introduction of new feed regulations in 1997 prohibiting use of cattle parts susceptible to the disease in certain animal feeds”, A release said yesterday.

An investigation is already underway to find the animal’s birth farm and potential sources of contaminated feed.

The United States has delayed lifting a ban on older cattle imports from Canada, pending investigation.

Building partially collapses in New York City’s Upper West Side

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A building being prepared for demolition collapsed this morning in New York‘s Upper West Side around 9 a.m. EDT. Five people are known to be injured from the accident, as well as one rescue worker who was injured in the aftermath. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

The building was a supermarket, which was being taken down to make room for a high-rise building, something that residents took issue with. The roof, front wall, and scaffolding all fell to the ground, as stated by Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.

Soon after the incident at least 100 police and fire department personnel combed the wreckage for more victims, using search and rescue dogs to find people by scent. They quickly accounted for the twenty-five construction workers who were working on the supermarket. Most of the victims’ injuries were broken bones, including one person who broke all four extremities.

Subway lines 1, 2, and 3 have been closed or redirected in response, along with the M104 bus.