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Lucy Fest 2012!

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Today's Jamestown Post-Journal has an interesting article on what's ahead at the Lucy-Desi Centre in the year ahead:

 

Lucy-Desi Center Plans A Lot To Love In 2012 And Beyond

January 4, 2012

By Jason Rodriguez (jrodriguez@post-journal.com) , The Post-Journal

 

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center returned to the center stage with Lucy Fest this past summer, breezing through the first of its four strategic objectives.

 

Next year, the center is pushing for an even bigger festival and a closer realization of the ultimate goal - recognizing Jamestown as the capital of comedy.

 

"In 2011, I would say we accomplished what we needed to," said Executive Director Journey Gunderson. "Our primary benchmark was to establish credibility within the comedy industry, which is national, and as a fortunate result of the quality of the programming and the attraction of the Guinness world record, we got the national spotlight that we hoped for."

 

She noted how media outlets from even worldwide markets arrived for the first few days of August, culminating in the world record for the most costumed Lucys gathered in one location. Recently, that number has been confirmed by the Guinness World Records as 916.

 

Meanwhile, Gunderson said a private firm from Buffalo has been hired to complete an assessment of the downtown impact as a result of the multi-day Lucy Fest. A survey has been put out to all festival participants and even as the center waits for concrete data, she said its reports of between 12,000 and 13,000 attendees has already put new ideas on the table for the next year.

 

"We just finished collecting the data and handing it over to them so that they can get back to us and report the economic impact that the festival had," she said. "We couldn't do what we intend to do in 2012 without having seen the numbers we put up in 2011 - the attendance of the festival exceeded our expectations."

 

PILLARS FOR LUCY

 

Gunderson said the "Legacy of Laughter" vision at the center is set to be further unveiled in the summer of 2012.

 

"Pillar One was to re-establish the annual comedy festival in the way that Lucille Ball envisioned it herself," she said, "... that Jamestown would be a hub of humor and that annually we would celebrate the new voices of comedy."

 

The next Lucy Fest will be complemented by Pillar Two: the Comedic Arts education program.

 

"We are planning a comedy college in conjunction with JCC," she said, which will offer five days of classes for youth and adults. Slated headlining instructors are Bill Chott, a writer for the Dana Carvey Show and Saturday Night Live, and T. Faye Griffin, director of the nonprofit Kids in the Spotlight organization.

 

Gunderson said classes will be a "mix of the comedic arts," including basic fundamental joke construction, sitcom writing improvisational and stand-up comedy.

 

On the horizon are pillars three and four.

 

Another companion to the ongoing Lucy Fest would the Comedy Film Festival.

 

"Such a festival requires a lot of lead time: people need to make the films, enter them locally and have them be reviewed," said Gunderson, adding that such an event is not likely until 2013.

 

In possible years to come, all future programming would coordinate around a grander bricks-and-mortar home located in Jamestown. The final pillar in the Legacy of Laughter scheme is the National Comedy Museum and Hall of Fame.

 

An unveiling of a possibility was held last April, with Gunderson and others making the comparison to Cooperstown and its namesake sport.

 

''Like Cooperstown to baseball, Jamestown will induct and honor the comedic artists who most embody the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz for their impact on the world through the comedic arts,'' Gunderson said.

 

She said in the coming year one step toward the ultimate goal is a planned summit of the "minds and moguls of the comedy world ... people who are engrossed in that world and have made careers out of it." She added she is currently planning with boards members if this could take place during Lucy Fest 2012.

 

LUCY-DESI ATTRACTION

 

Business has flourished at the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center, and Gunderson said visitors can expect to find some newly added features.

 

"We are going to be reinvesting in the attraction," Gunderson said. "We have acquired some new items and received donations so some really unique memorabilia."

 

A new exhibit will document the annual Lucy festival since its inception. Interestingly, 2011 signified the 20th anniversary since the premiere, but Gunderson said this fact was absent from the already crowded marquee.

 

"One of our challenges has been to be of interest to people of Jamestown right here in the community - it is time for people in Jamestown to be proud of and recognize the amazing talent that has played here," she said. "There are not many towns of our size that can point to a track record and show alumni like us, and so would like to showcase that in the museum."

 

Gunderson said the exhibit makes a connection between the early performances of Louis Black, Ellen Degeneres and Paula Poundstone in the 1990s with the latest crop of up-and-coming performers to arrive in Jamestown, courtesy of the Rooftop Comedy Stand-up Showcase.

 

The agency has been signed up for another round in 2012, and Gunderson said their appreciation of the experience is well documented on the Lucy Fest Facebook page.

 

"They loved being in Jamestown and they were treated very well here," she said. "All of the comedians that came here, they reiterated to us that Lucille Ball was it: she was one of the icons that they looked up to, and for a few of them, the reason they went in to comedy. They said it was an honor to play Lucy Fest, and we were honored to have them here."

 

"Those growing relationships can only be a good thing," Gunderson added.

 

SOURCE: http://post-journal.com/page/content.detail/id/596983/Lucy-Desi-Center-Plans-A-Lot-To-Love-In-2012-And-Beyond.html?nav=5192

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I'm glad the Center seems to have some vigor again, and I did have a fantastic time at Lucy Fest this past summer, but I still say they need to be careful and maintain an appropriate balance between Lucy and comedy. I mentioned this in my comments on the survey the Center sent out last month. I understand that the Center needs to branch out, but if they move totally in the direction of comedy I have a feeling they'll lose some loyal festival attendees like you and me. This summer was my tenth trip to Jamestown, and over those years I've really come to love and appreciate western NY. But if it weren't for LUCY, I'm not sure I ever would've gotten out there. I admire the LDC for it's big ideas, but I doubt if Jamestown is ever going to become the national capitol of comedy. Jamestown is a 6 hour trip for me. I could hop on a train and be at a comedy club in NYC in less than an hour.

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I'm glad the Center seems to have some vigor again, and I did have a fantastic time at Lucy Fest this past summer, but I still say they need to be careful and maintain an appropriate balance between Lucy and comedy. I mentioned this in my comments on the survey the Center sent out last month. I understand that the Center needs to branch out, but if they move totally in the direction of comedy I have a feeling they'll lose some loyal festival attendees like you and me. This summer was my tenth trip to Jamestown, and over those years I've really come to love and appreciate western NY. But if it weren't for LUCY, I'm not sure I ever would've gotten out there. I admire the LDC for it's big ideas, but I doubt if Jamestown is ever going to become the national capitol of comedy. Jamestown is a 6 hour trip for me. I could hop on a train and be at a comedy club in NYC in less than an hour.

Well said and so true. They have to remember that it's all about L U C Y ! People don't make that trek to find out what the new comedians are up to, they go there to honor Lucy, the greatest female clown the world has ever known. Even the guest stars for the festivals, what do people ask, they ask the star what Lucy was like to work with, they don't go there to listen to a Lisa Lampenelli comedy routine.

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Who came up with the idea to make it more of a comedy festival instead of a LUCY festival? I tell you what, the LDC is run by a bunch of dee-da-dees. :lucydisgust:

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Who came up with the idea to make it more of a comedy festival instead of a LUCY festival? I tell you what, the LDC is run by a bunch of dee-da-dees. :lucydisgust:

Yeah, with all this crap about a comedy festival and Lucie pushing to honor dad more than Lucy, or so it seems, then people will go there eventually and ask Lucy who?

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Kinda stupid. When I think of Jamestown, NY, I don't think major comedy mecca, I think of Lucy. And that's the way it should be left IMO. And who can afford to see all these big comics there anyway? I'd love me some Joan Rivers, but not for $1000! :lucydisgust:

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Kinda stupid. When I think of Jamestown, NY, I don't think major comedy mecca, I think of Lucy. And that's the way it should be left IMO. And who can afford to see all these big comics there anyway? I'd love me some Joan Rivers, but not for $1000! :lucydisgust:

True, although i MIGHT have paid that for Joan, had i been able to go i mean, cause that grand also means you get to meet her afterwards, right?

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True, although i MIGHT have paid that for Joan, had i been able to go i mean, cause that grand also means you get to meet her afterwards, right?

 

Yeah, I guess, but is a handshake and a picture for 2 minutes worth a grand? I'd expect to spend the weekend with her hanging out for that kind of money. LOL

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Yeah, I guess, but is a handshake and a picture for 2 minutes worth a grand? I'd expect to spend the weekend with her hanging out for that kind of money. LOL

Oh trust me, i'd have gotten more than a friggin handshake for that kind of moolah, Joan has always been so nice in heeping praise on Lucy that i would have gotten some great quotes from her or stories about Lucy. She was a guest on her show and had her on late night talk fest three times.

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The $1,000 fee was for Joan's show, to meet her afterwards, and join the Center's acquisition society, I believe. I almost felt bad for the people that paid the fee since Joan worked the crowd at the stage door afterwards. Almost, but not quite. :lucythrill:

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The $1,000 fee was for Joan's show, to meet her afterwards, and join the Center's acquisition society, I believe. I almost felt bad for the people that paid the fee since Joan worked the crowd at the stage door afterwards. Almost, but not quite. :lucythrill:

 

See?? I would've been so mad if I'd saved 1000 sheckels to see Joan and that's all you got was a few minutes before they kicked your arse out the door. LOL

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See?? I would've been so mad if I'd saved 1000 sheckels to see Joan and that's all you got was a few minutes before they kicked your arse out the door. LOL

Have you learned nothing from watching all those Lucy shows luv? I'd have brought her back to the hotel for lox and cream cheese and would not have taken NO for an answer.

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Have you learned nothing from watching all those Lucy shows luv? I'd have brought her back to the hotel for lox and cream cheese and would not have taken NO for an answer.

 

I see. Well I would've "kidnapped" her with you just to get my money's worth. LOL

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I see. Well I would've "kidnapped" her with you just to get my money's worth. LOL

You and I would have to get FINGERS' ok though, to do this JOB on our own. :lucythrill:

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True, although i MIGHT have paid that for Joan, had i been able to go i mean, cause that grand also means you get to meet her afterwards, right?

 

 

Yes, and I believe it also gets you a 'special membership'.... not sure about that; I'm not affiliated, in any way, with the Center, and it breaks my heart. The present ED has been told, apparently, I am affiliated with 'persons' who, for personal reasons, tried to bring the place down. I'm not and never have been. I was just part of the group that tried to get out to the public; and others, what was happening internally at the center under an 'other' ED! There was HARM done; but, not by volunteers, or employees. You can take that to the bank! I was witness....for 5 years .....never 'knew' what was going on until the final 6 months of my volunteerism. You can take THAT to the bank, too. Trying to right a wrong after so many years of 'trouble' was an awesome task. Too many 'folks' with their fingers in the pot; and the waters much too murky to stir.... So, instead of stirring; we had to CHURN....

 

Who really can KNOW where the COMEDY CLUB idea came from; I agree totally, it should be about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz....

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Yes, and I believe it also gets you a 'special membership'.... not sure about that; I'm not affiliated, in any way, with the Center, and it breaks my heart. The present ED has been told, apparently, I am affiliated with 'persons' who, for personal reasons, tried to bring the place down. I'm not and never have been. I was just part of the group that tried to get out to the public; and others, what was happening internally at the center under an 'other' ED! There was HARM done; but, not by volunteers, or employees. You can take that to the bank! I was witness....for 5 years .....never 'knew' what was going on until the final 6 months of my volunteerism. You can take THAT to the bank, too. Trying to right a wrong after so many years of 'trouble' was an awesome task. Too many 'folks' with their fingers in the pot; and the waters much too murky to stir.... So, instead of stirring; we had to CHURN....

 

Who really can KNOW where the COMEDY CLUB idea came from; I agree totally, it should be about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz....

Well said honey, Lucille Ball especially as it H E R hometown!

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Well said honey, Lucille Ball especially as it H E R hometown!

 

I totally agree. My family and I started going to Jamestown 8 years ago because of Lucy and if it weren't for her we may not have gone in the first place or would we probably have gone back as many times as we have.

 

Lucie wants a festival of new comedy and to help aspiring new comedians. I think I heard something that Lucy herself wanted something like that, too. I have to agree, though, with the previous comments...current event (festivals, holiday events, etc.) attendees are LUCY fans and come to see stuff pertaining to Lucy. Granted, many people who knew and/or worked with Lucy are aging or are deceased, so it's making for a smaller pool of people, but I think Lucy fans will still go to Lucy events as long as there's Lucy stuff. The Center will need to find a balance between Lucy stuff and new comedy, which they seemed to have attempted with the festival in August 2011, and I too left this feedback on the Center's festival survey. Hopefully, they'll keep this balance.

 

MaryJane(Croft)Fan

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I totally agree. My family and I started going to Jamestown 8 years ago because of Lucy and if it weren't for her we may not have gone in the first place or would we probably have gone back as many times as we have.

 

Lucie wants a festival of new comedy and to help aspiring new comedians. I think I heard something that Lucy herself wanted something like that, too. I have to agree, though, with the previous comments...current event (festivals, holiday events, etc.) attendees are LUCY fans and come to see stuff pertaining to Lucy. Granted, many people who knew and/or worked with Lucy are aging or are deceased, so it's making for a smaller pool of people, but I think Lucy fans will still go to Lucy events as long as there's Lucy stuff. The Center will need to find a balance between Lucy stuff and new comedy, which they seemed to have attempted with the festival in August 2011, and I too left this feedback on the Center's festival survey. Hopefully, they'll keep this balance.

 

MaryJane(Croft)Fan

Balance my left foot, it is called LUCY days, not COMEDY days, LOL!

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I mean, is Jamestown even big enough for the festivals to grow significantly larger than what they are?

 

LARGE enough, YES . . . for 'other' comedyfolk than Lucille, I'm not so sure; in league, with major emphasis on Lucille, YES; loner comedy, I doubt it.

 

We have a comedy group here, and have had for a long time; more than 8 years. Don't know what kind of audiences they have; I've never been so much impressed that I would pay huge amounts to see them, that's for sure.

 

Respectfully, JK

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I mean, is Jamestown even big enough for the festivals to grow significantly larger than what they are?

Yes, the Holiday Inn just added a President's Suite out in the cellar and the MacDonalds' just put in a drive through. THE PLACE IS JUST BOOMING I TELL YA! :marionstrong:

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