Up & Down the Avenue – 6/24/04

Local 476 is taking action against Paramount to lift its hiring ban against the two white union members who allegedly perpetrated racial harassment against an African-American set decorator. Paramount said the two men would not be hired on a Paramount movie for a period of 18 months. Paramount also sent a two- page “sensitivity training” letter along with paychecks to the union crew that worked on the studio’s movie, “The Weatherman,” that filmed here last winter.

Burrell president Mike DiMeo and creative director Mike Faems left the agency when agency chairman/CEO Tom Burrell stepped down and turned his 33 year old agency over to the team of Fay Ferguson, management, Steve Conner, creative and McGhee Williams, planning.

Mike Czerniuk joined Bazooka as creative director, a new position, and will help the Swell division transition into a new stand-alone entity. Czerniuk, who directs a staff of five, spent nearly four years at Flux, where his clients included L&M cigarettes, Gatorade, McDonald’s. A heads up: Watch for two other post houses to do some reinventing.

The “Ocean’s Twelve” film crew and stars, now shooting in Italy, will return to Winnetka next month to shoot more scenes. As everyone knows by now, star < b>Julia Roberts is pregnant with twins.

Total Living Network’s new general manager is Shirley Hill, moving up from director of cable relations and account management. Earlier, she was VP of the Central and Western regions for Christian Broadcasting Network/Family Channel.

DDB named Paul Tilley to lead creative on McDonald’s, which, incidentally, spent $577 million on media in 2003 compared with $572 million in 2002.

Another Golden Spur award from the Western Writers of America goes on director/executive producer Gary Foreman’s mantel alongside the two others he’s won in six years for Outstanding Documentary. His two-hour TV special, “Carson & Cody: The Hunter Heroes,” produced by his Native Sun Productions, ran on the History Channel.

Usually it’s book to movie, but director Shuli Eshel and producer Roger Schatz reversed the process. They wrote the book, “Jewish Maxwell Street Stories,” based on their “Maxwell Street” documentary. The filmmakers/authors appear June 27 at Barnes & Noble in Old Orchard to read from the book and sign copies.

After seven years living in L.A., composer Steve Sperry has returned to the area and lives in Lake Geneva.

The Chicago TV Academy’s Silver Circle for outstanding contributions to Chicago television inducted producer Tom Weinberg, meteorologist Tom Skilling, reporter Frank Mathie, news editor John Martin, producer/ director Don Norton and host Rich Koz, who last weekend celebrated his 25th anniversary as horror movie host “Svengoolie.”

Entertainment attorney Gwen Joyner left Lawyers for the Creative Arts after a three-year stint. Manhattan is her next stop.

Former Orbis employees are still steaming mad over money owed them by Texas-based Mark Bunting, who amid noisy fanfare bought the company last fall and barely two months later packed a truck with equipment and rode away in the dark of night.

Talent booked by McBlaine continues to beef about no payment for jobs done a year or more ago, despite promises to lawyers to clear up much of the debt. One woman got tired of the run-around and reported the problems to the Illinois Consumer Fraud Division.

Videographer Marc Miller has relocated to L.A. and can be reached at 630/980-8343 and also 818/ 206-2482. He’s on a job in Togo, West Africa and thereafter will be in his new Woodland Hills home.