Up & Down the Avenue – 06/14/04

It took Leah Elder less than a New York minute to land a job in L.A. as assistant to the producer of a new TV show, “LAX.” Elder, daughter of Luminair’s Beth and George Elder, spent five years as assistant to Crossroads’ Joanne Bittmann . She moved to L.A. two weeks ago.

Producer Allison Gerlach, formerly in sales for Outsider, joined Crossroads. (She’s now on vacation in Istanbul) … After more than 20 years with Burrell, ECD Alma Hopkins left the agency … You can catch DDB exec producer Greg Popp’s band Critical Mass July 1 at Wise Fools Pub … The sudden illness of actress Irma P. Hall prevented her from making it to the Cannes Film Festival. But the best medicine she could’ve had was winning the Jury Prize at Cannes for her role in “The Ladykillers” … Sorry to report that among DDB’s large batch of lay-offs were producer Kent Kwiatt of the famous Bud Lite “Whassup” campaign, creatives Paul Gregor and Bill Fogerty.

Bob Hudecek has sold 90% of the equipment owned by his RAH Producers Center ? inventory valued at a discounted $900,000. Hudecek, who’d worked as a DP on features and the TV series “Sliders,” says he wants to get out of the equipment business and concentrate on movie production.

Chicago Dramatists’ celebrates its 25th anniversary June 21 with a party (6 p.m. drinks and food buffet from Cullen’s Bar & Grill) and performance (7:30 past, present and future plays, MC’d by actress Rondi Reed) at the Mercury Theatre, 3745 N. Southport. Call 312/633-0630 to reserve; tickets, $45.

Chicago Screenwriters Network’s Sonny Wareham conducts a two-day, 12-hour crash screenwriting course June 19-20 in Libertyville. His tips on how to make that first sale to Hollywood should be worth the $195 alone. Wareham has written for “Stargate SG-1” TV series and “Star Trek” shows. To register, call 847/968-4529.

FOCUS ON… Composer/producer Frayne Lewis, son of jazz great Ramsey Lewis, has been writing admusic since 1998 for such clients as McDonald’s, Verizon and Adidas at Burrell, and Chrysler, Miller and American Airlines for Global Hue of Detroit.

Now the versatile musician ? he plays bass and keyboard ? has a new R&B album titled “Frayne,” of songs he wrote and produced on Virgin’s Narada label. It features Christiana Sanchez on vocals, his brother Bobby Lewis on vocals and drums, Kevin Randolph on keyboard, and Lewis on bass.

“Music is like a second language to him,” says his business manager Nancy Reid. She calls him “a successful recording artist who brings so much to advertising by offering a unique blend of urban, R&B and hip hop. He says writing for commercials, having to think on his feet and tell a story in a short time has actually helped improved his writing and producing for album music.” Reid’s phone is 312/560-0542.

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