“Ocean’s Thirteen” premieres here June 7

SPINNING HUNK POWER INTO RELIEF AID, “Ocean’s Thirteen” will have a June 7 Chicago premiere to support relief efforts in war-torn Darfur. Producer Jerry Weintraub and “Ocean’s Thirteen” stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle will hit Chicago on a three-city tour — L.A. on June 5 and Las Vegas on June 6.

Vanity Fair will host the Chicago premiere. It will include the screening at AMC River East 21, followed by a glitzy party at the new Room 21 restaurant and night club due to open at 2100 S. Wabash. Tickets for the after party start at $500.

STUART BASS, A.C.E. of a recent ACE Eddy winner for his work on “Arrested Development,” and editor of such hit shows as “The Wonder Years” and “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose,” will address the May 23 Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group.

The L.A. editor will discuss editing techniques used to control the emotional flow, subtext and tone of a story. The meeting starts at 6:15 p.m. at the Adler Planetarium.

SENIOR PRODUCER NATHAN BROWN returns to Chicago to join Critical Mass after a stint at Crispin Porter in Miami. Earlier he’d been at DDB.

DAVE McGOWAN’S 18-year old Ravenswood Media production company has moved into an 800 sq. ft. office in the Fine Arts building to take advantage of “the good synergy downtown.” Working with him are IT expert Mike Brockway and cameraman Jacet Lupina.

Ravenswood Media specializes in nature docs. Current project: A half-hour show for client EnviroVet, an organization that brings veterinary medicine to wild life issues. It will premiere in New York, McGowan says.

PRODUCER RITA LEWIS is hosting a May 25 “Jazz & Blues: Under One Roof” concert at the Tavern Club, featuring jazz vocalist Pippi and Harmonica Master Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues. Ticket is $60 and includes hors d’oeuvres and wine.

WHERE IS CHICAGO on the American marketing landscape, ask Adweek writers Aaron Baar and Noreen O’Leary in a provocative article in the current issue.

They write:

New York is the center of the global advertising world. Los Angeles boasts world-class production capabilities. Outposts like San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and Miami lay claim to some of the industry’s best talent.

But Chicago’s historic ability to tap into the heartland values of Middle America, most typified in Burnett’s whimsical doughboy fetishism, now seems like an anachronistic throwback.

Agency executives within and outside the city dismiss assertions that it has lost its mojo, noting that the entire industry is going though an upheaval.

“I think the Chicago blahs are just that. This business is always cyclical. San Francisco was dead for almost 10 years, and now it’s hot again,” said consultant Linda Fidelman, ADvice & ADvisors, New York.

“The only real disadvantage I see in Chicago is that there does not seem to be any hot indies, and with the big boys down, there is no talent in development to help turn things around.”

With characteristic Midwestern optimism, Chicago practitioners say all the city needs is some high-profile new business wins and the kind of work capable of generating a “Whassup” beer buzz.

But agency execs admit the city needs to better define, and raise, its profile in the U.S. ad scene, showcasing what the Chicago shops do that others can’t, or won’t. Failing that, even homegrown powerhouses risk marginalization.

With the exception of DDB, “the ideas of Chicago, innovation and creativity are mutually exclusive,” said one New York source at a DDB rival. “The market perception is that the work is dull and workmanlike.”

DDB CCO Bob Scarpelli, a 29-year veteran of the Chicago market, allowed that its reputation is a bit “diminished” at the moment, but believes it’s just a temporary case of doldrums.

“There’s some excellent work being done in Chicago, but just not enough of it. [The community] has to make the commitment to reinvent itself and bring in talent.”

HD EXPO coming up June 6-7 at Navy Pier snagged ASC president Steven Poster to talk about what’s in store for cinematographers and cineimatography on June 7. His topic is “The Collision of Creativity and Technology” as the future unfolds.

FIRST TIME AUTHOR JOSHUA FERRIS’ “Then We Came to the End,” a satirical narrative of office life in a Chicago advertising agency (hmmm, wonder which one it’s modeled on), received universal acclaim from book critics, but ironically it’s hard to find in bookstores.

COMMENTS