United, Strength, AFTRA, Chicago

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I want to talk about Chicago. I want to talk about the AFTRA National Convention in Chicago (lots of uniting and electing). I want to shout about Ken Howard and Amy Aquino running for President and Secretary Treasurer in the upcoming SAG election!!! Unite for Strength…
Amy Aquino, one of the thousands of actors who are joint members of the American Feder-ation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild, was one of the L.A. members elected as a delegate to the 2009 AFTRA Convention. Amy is strong and bright (she graduated from Harvard with a degree in biology, and then graduated from the Yale School of Drama with an MFA), a forward thinking leader, besides being a talented and highly respected working actor. Give her a Google, and be astonished. I am grateful to her for running for SAG office, and she has my delighted vote. The SAG ballots will be in the mail shortly. Heads up, members.

Chicago

Amy Aquino, actor and activist, was a delegate to the AFTRA Convention and is running for the SAG Secretary-Treasurer on the Unite for Strength slate.

Amy Aquino, actor and activist, was a delegate to the AFTRA Convention and is running for the SAG Secretary-Treasurer on the Unite for Strength slate.

What a go-to town! It was my mother’s home (an orphan’s home, but home). David and I went a few days before the convention to see cousins, friends and Chicago. We loved it all. The weather was kind and we walked for miles en-countering surprising outdoor art that was as fun as it was beautiful. The city is generous to its po-pulation with free accessible activities involving music, dance, art and all combined. City planning and transport, A+. There are some big cultural pieces I’d love to highjack, like the majestically simple reflecting BEAN in the park, Chicago’s nickname for Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture. Millennium Park is an unprecedented center for world-class art, music, and architecture and landscape design. We were enchanted while enjoying a picnic at the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States. Free-for-all never had such elegant meaning. We couldn’t stop smiling at the towering pictorial water-falling fountains (known as the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa), which is a space where kids splash and play right next to Michigan Avenue.
Chicago is literally a garden city, with respectful and huge flower containers and parks that turn the city itself into outdoor art. Within a few blocks in “the loop”, our jaws dropped at a huge Picasso, a Miro maiden, a large rectangle Chagall mosaic block (it was symphonic), a Dubuffet’ (walk through) and the stupefying Calder. Food, food, food. Not enough said, but expect some TALK on this subject!

AFTRA National Convention ’09

Glorious. Productive. Full steam ahead! Chicago’s amazing AFTRA Local hosted the National Board, official guests and elected delegates from all over the country. This Union of members that entertains and informs, joined ranks at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, perfectly located on the Chicago River, overlooking Lake Michigan and steps away to the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park. The meetings were cool in this hot city. It was fun too. Chicago gave a social event at the Adler Planetarium. Right on the lake, Buddy Guy sang the Blues, and there was a lot of low down dancing. Wow, and then some! Local performers attending were Gabrielle Carteris, Morgan Fairchild, Robert Pine, Bobbie Bates, Patrika Darbo, Sally Stevens, Jon Joyce, Susan Boyd Joyce, John Harlan, Chuck Southcott, Jason Priestly, Paul Napier, Jay Gerber, plus those that my limp memory forgot.
L.A. Local’s Ron Morgan was elected 2nd Vice President and our Matt Kimbrough was elected Treasurer. Such responsible jobs, all volunteer work, no salaries, just passion for helping the member-ship.
Our community is chock full of performers of both unions. We, and the ancillary world, are deeply affected by their leadership. Even the dull hint of a strike can paralyze businesses, from prop houses (many have closed already) to the local cleaners. We need a positive change in the Screen Actors Guild, beginning at the top. We can have our SAG dignity returned with Ken Howard as President and Amy Aquino as Secretary Treasurer. We’ll talk…

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