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Interview with Lucie and Journey: 'It's more than loving Lucy'


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Here is an interesting article quoting both Lucie and Journey on the Center's plans looking ahead, as well as their plans for Lucy's 100th Birthday Celebration. I don't know about you, but Journey seems to be trivializing matters just a little bit. It makes it sound like the Lucy fans want no change in the programming whatsoever... and that is far from what I have been seeing in the reactions here and on their Facebook page. It doesn't appear that the fans have any particular problem with re-constituting the Festival of New Comedy but can't see why it can't be a hybrid of both. I know I'm in that camp. I'm all for bringing in a bigger crowd of people, but there should be a 50/50 split in offering things that would appeal to those coming for the comedians and those coming to celebrate the legacies of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. For the regular Jamestown festival goer, one of the last things they would want to do -- except if you are that one girl and her mother -- is dress up like Lucy to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. By the way, where DOES the record of most people dressed as Lucy stand anyway? And where did they set the existing record?! :marionstrong:

 

 

Running a museum dedicated to Lucille Ball sounds like a pretty good job. A tough job, especially in the funding sense, given that the museum is a nonprofit and located the small Upstate New York city of Jamestown.

 

But I wouldn’t have guessed that when 28-year-old Journey Gunderson took over in January as executive director of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center, one of her most sensitive tasks would be public relations.

 

I mean, everyone loves Lucy, right?

 

Yeah, they do — and that’s exactly the point.

 

Gunderson, along with the board that hired her, is overseeing a four-part plan that will expand the center’s annual “Lucy Days” summer celebration into a festival of comedy. The first one will happen Aug. 3-7 and feature comedy legend Joan Rivers, among others. (For tickets and information, visit the center’s website.)

 

In coming years, the center also plans to offer comedic arts education, a comedy film festival and, most notably, open a national comedy hall of Fame.

 

The plan, in essence, would make Jamestown the Cooperstown of Comedy.

 

Which brings us back to the PR problem. Most people love this plan. But hard-core Lucy fans? The ones who congregate in Jamestown each summer to hold Lucy-style pizza-throwing competitions, stomp on grapes and sing happy birthday to the late comedienne on Aug. 6?

 

Some of them aren’t loving this plan at all.

 

Gunderson, to her credit, pointed this out to me when I asked how people are reacting to the ambitious plan.

 

“It’s but overwhelmingly positive,” she said, “but I should say that the hard-core Lucy fan base is understandably reluctant … They see it as a way to move away from honoring Lucy and Desi as people.”

 

As Gunderson points out, it isn’t that at all. In fact, as part of the festival this summer, there will be an attempt to break the Guinness world record for the largest number of people dressed as Lucille Ball.

 

But still, there seems to be reluctance by some ardent fans to turn Lucy’s hometown into a stage for the comedy world.

 

That narrow view doesn’t sit well with Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz. When I talked to Arnaz this week, she was blunt.

 

“When this year’s festival was announced,” she said, “I got the prerequisite emails from the five or six people that represent that small group that come in every year. They were testy: ‘This is Lucy’s 100th birthday, and we want to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.’ “Now, come on. No it’s not. She died 22 years ago. This is the 100th anniversary of her birth … We don’t sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to people who aren’t here anymore. And you’ve been doing the ‘Happy Birthday’ thing for 20 years.

 

“This is so much bigger, so much more important. And the bottom line is, this is what my mother wanted.”

 

That’s quite literally true. In 1988, the Arts Council of Jamestown asked Ball if she would be willing to endorse of a festival of comedy in her honor. The comedienne thought it was a great idea. But soon after she fell ill, and died the next year.

 

What happened instead was the museum.

 

“There can always be a museum,” Arnaz said, “but this is looking to the future. That was my parents — they were always looking to the future.”

 

Now, the plans are coming full circle. The day-to-day task of transforming them from idea into reality belongs to Gunderson, a native of nearby Bemus Point who spent the first six years of her career working for the Women’s Sports Foundation in New York City, then three years running her own Web consulting firm.

 

She already has earned an important endorsement — that of Lucie Arnaz.

 

“She’s extremely smart,” Arnaz said of Gunderson. “She’s wiser than her age. I thought she was a good choice. She’s really serious. She showed her smarts immediately by not letting the old corps come in and manipulate things. Nobody could manipulate her.

 

“She seems to be very diplomatic, and that’s not easy. Tactful and diplomatic. Those are very important qualities in an executive director.”

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/blog/gen-work/2011/04/its-about-more-than-loving-lucy.html

 

I'm a firm believer that Jamestown needs to attract a larger and more varied crowd, but if they limit the 2012 Lucy theme just to how many people can put on a Lucy wig, they are going to alientate a lot of people. As Madelyn's death sadly underscored, let's celebrate and honour the hell out of all the people who are still with us that helped create and maintain, as well as made their individual mark on the body of work we celebrate today. When that just isn't feasible anymore, by all means, go on with phase two of all comedy, all the time.

 

I invited Journey to join the Lounge several weeks ago to interact with Lucy Fans and to respond to some concerns, but I haven't heard anything back.

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Here is an interesting article quoting both Lucie and Journey on the Center's plans looking ahead, as well as their plans for Lucy's 100th Birthday Celebration. I don't know about you, but Journey seems to be trivializing matters just a little bit. It makes it sound like the Lucy fans want no change in the programming whatsoever... and that is far from what I have been seeing in the reactions here and on their Facebook page. It doesn't appear that the fans have any particular problem with re-constituting the Festival of New Comedy but can't see why it can't be a hybrid of both. I know I'm in that camp. I'm all for bringing in a bigger crowd of people, but there should be a 50/50 split in offering things that would appeal to those coming for the comedians and those coming to celebrate the legacies of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. For the regular Jamestown festival goer, one of the last things they would want to do -- except if you are that one girl and her mother -- is dress up like Lucy to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. By the way, where DOES the record of most people dressed as Lucy stand anyway? And where did they set the existing record?! :marionstrong:

 

 

 

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/blog/gen-work/2011/04/its-about-more-than-loving-lucy.html

 

I'm a firm believer that Jamestown needs to attract a larger and more varied crowd, but if they limit the 2012 Lucy theme just to how many people can put on a Lucy wig, they are going to alientate a lot of people. As Madelyn's death sadly underscored, let's celebrate and honour the hell out of all the people who are still with us that helped create and maintain, as well as made their individual mark on the body of work we celebrate today. When that just isn't feasible anymore, by all means, go on with phase two of all comedy, all the time.

 

I invited Journey to join the Lounge several weeks ago to interact with Lucy Fans and to respond to some concerns, but I haven't heard anything back.

 

Brock: A MILLION thanks for this item; I don't use FACEBOOK (no time); and I really appreciate your taking the time to do so (don't know how YOU HAVE THE TIME, either); keep 'em coming. See May 1, The Sunday Post-Journal, I've added to the chronology, this week's entries. She hasn't returned MY REQUEST to put my chronology back on the Center's website either!!!!

 

Love, JK

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the festival will be a success this year because of lucy's 100th bday but beyond this year if they continue in this direction the center and fesitval will fail. People will not travel to jamestown for a comedy festival. Lucy is the attraction. People want to attended lucy related events. They have a lucy marathon on hallmark almost every month so it is clear lucy is still very popular.many people don't even know the center in jamestown exists!!! Maybe I am wrong but I think the comedy hall of fame will fail jamestown has no ties to comedy except for lucille ball

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also I find lucie arnaz's comments to be very interesting. She wrote and directed an evening with lucille ball thank you for asking which tours the country. I guess when it's her show she thinks it should be lucille ball related. Who are the peole attending that show the lucy fans!!! Which she seems to be insulting with her comments in this article

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also I find lucie arnaz's comments to be very interesting. She wrote and directed an evening with lucille ball thank you for asking which tours the country. I guess when it's her show she thinks it should be lucille ball related. Who are the peole attending that show the lucy fans!!! Which she seems to be insulting with her comments in this article

When it comes to anything to do with LUCY, Lucie is a regular Don Rickles. I'm surprised she's not unveiling a Desi statue on August 6th. I'm sure that deep down, she DOES want us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth, anything, as long as the cheques keep coming.

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I'm already in a pissy mood, so this isn't something I really wanted to see today. Rather than posting an opus, I'll simply say that I am very disappointed in the rude, disrespectful comments made in that article. As someone who has vehemently supported both the center and Lucie, I feel very let down.

 

Re: this quote from Lucie:

This is Lucy’s 100th birthday, and we want to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.’ “Now, come on. No it’s not. She died 22 years ago. This is the 100th anniversary of her birth..."

 

The Center touts this festival as the "100th Birthday Celebration," guess they should change that to "100th Anniversary of Birth Celebration."

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remember the Lucille Ball Hometown Wedding Contest: there were 5 finalist couples that were trying win a wedding to celebrate Lucy's 100th birthday. The wedding will take place July 30th at the Tropicana. The 4 couples that did not win were to receive an "all expense paid trip to Jamestown" This is what they received:2 nights at the dunkirk clarion with a $50 credit to the hotel restaurant, 2 passes to the roger troy peterson institute, 2 passes to the Robert H. Jackson Center, 2 passes to the audubon center

 

The hotel is not even in Jamestown!!!! and no free passes to the museum or playhouse! The Lucy Desi Center was a sponser for this contest!

 

One couple is from LA and another is from Mississippi. The will have to pay for airfare and a $50 restaurant credit will not cover meals for a weekend. So I guess this is their idea of an all expense paid weekend. All the couples took time out of their lives to do tv, newspaper and radio interviews to promote the center and this is what the received in return!

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I'm already in a pissy mood, so this isn't something I really wanted to see today. Rather than posting an opus, I'll simply say that I am very disappointed in the rude, disrespectful comments made in that article. As someone who has vehemently supported both the center and Lucie, I feel very let down.

 

Re: this quote from Lucie:

 

The Center touts this festival as the "100th Birthday Celebration," guess they should change that to "100th Anniversary of Birth Celebration."

Well, i know MY comments were not loved by her many fans here, but i've been telling you about her for years now, lovely, ageless, very talented, but anything Lucy ish has to benefit HER i fear, the thing is Lucy's kids aren't even GOING there, are they? They should realize anything they have today comes from HER talent, her reputation, her beloved icon status, maybe if they told her they'd be honoring Mrs Desi Arnaz, then maybe she'd be more interested, LOL! Oh and remember to not have any Happy Birthday threads for Lucy this year, she does not approve of those either. Maybe she'll make an exception for her beloved daddy, you know, the womanizing drunk gambler.

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remember the Lucille Ball Hometown Wedding Contest: there were 5 finalist couples that were trying win a wedding to celebrate Lucy's 100th birthday. The wedding will take place July 30th at the Tropicana. The 4 couples that did not win were to receive an "all expense paid trip to Jamestown" This is what they received:2 nights at the dunkirk clarion with a $50 credit to the hotel restaurant, 2 passes to the roger troy peterson institute, 2 passes to the Robert H. Jackson Center, 2 passes to the audubon center

 

The hotel is not even in Jamestown!!!! and no free passes to the museum or playhouse! The Lucy Desi Center was a sponser for this contest!

 

One couple is from LA and another is from Mississippi. The will have to pay for airfare and a $50 restaurant credit will not cover meals for a weekend. So I guess this is their idea of an all expense paid weekend. All the couples took time out of their lives to do tv, newspaper and radio interviews to promote the center and this is what the received in return!

 

I think someone was running a sale on this comment...

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Well, i know MY comments were not loved by her many fans here, but i've been telling you about her for years now, lovely, ageless, very talented, but anything Lucy ish has to benefit HER i fear, the thing is Lucy's kids aren't even GOING there, are they? They should realize anything they have today comes from HER talent, her reputation, her beloved icon status, maybe if they told her they'd be honoring Mrs Desi Arnaz, then maybe she'd be more interested, LOL! Oh and remember to not have any Happy Birthday threads for Lucy this year, she does not approve of those either. Maybe she'll make an exception for her beloved daddy, you know, the womanizing drunk gambler.

“She’s extremely smart,” Arnaz said of Gunderson. “She’s wiser than her age. I thought she was a good choice. She’s really serious. She showed her smarts immediately by not letting the old corps come in and manipulate things. Nobody could manipulate her.

 

HMMMM-STRANGE FOR LUCIE TO SAY THIS. IT'S THE OLD CORPS WHO GOT RID OF "THE UPSTAIRS" (AS JOYCE WOULD SAY). NOW THE REST OF US CAN JUST STAY AWAY. HMMMM, I GUESS I WILL KEEP MY DONATIONS TO MYSELF AS WELL.

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“She’s extremely smart,” Arnaz said of Gunderson. “She’s wiser than her age. I thought she was a good choice. She’s really serious. She showed her smarts immediately by not letting the old corps come in and manipulate things. Nobody could manipulate her.

 

HMMMM-STRANGE FOR LUCIE TO SAY THIS. IT'S THE OLD CORPS WHO GOT RID OF "THE UPSTAIRS" (AS JOYCE WOULD SAY). NOW THE REST OF US CAN JUST STAY AWAY. HMMMM, I GUESS I WILL KEEP MY DONATIONS TO MYSELF AS WELL.

I have NEVER supported the Center i any way as it did not truly honor LUCY in a proper way, i will buy from there and support it when they show that LUCY is their focus as it should be. I looked at what was available in their gift shop and there were more things available on E Bay then there were THERE, missing books and DVD's and focusing on Lucy and Desi salt and pepper shakers. We want the priceless material she made in her almost 60 year career, not crappy merchandise brought out at ridiculously high prices to line the pockets of a center that's not honoring her RIGHT!

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What in Sam Hill are you talking about? Who DID it honour, Pauline Lopus?!

Remember when it BECAME the Lucy/Desi center, this is HER hometown, not HIS, let him have his Babalu bandshell in downtown Santiago Cuba, ok? LOL! Actually i was referring to the fact that they were missing so much of HER material there, all these books on her and these dvds of her best work that weren't even available for sale there. Instead they featured this JUNK memorabilia destined for Mikey Stern's apartment.

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What in Sam Hill are you talking about? Who DID it honour, Pauline Lopus?!

Actually a Pauline WING might not be a bad idea, right next to Marion Van Vlack maybe? But they probably promised that to Desi's poker buddies or his ladies of perpetual LOVE! Hey, by the way, that's one of the best Avatars you've ever had, it's about Lucy, she's even featured IN IT and it's funny as hell!

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Remember when it BECAME the Lucy/Desi center, this is HER hometown, not HIS, let him have his Babalu bandshell in downtown Santiago Cuba, ok? LOL! Actually i was referring to the fact that they were missing so much of HER material there, all these books on her and these dvds of her best work that weren't even available for sale there. Instead they featured this JUNK memorabilia destined for Mikey Stern's apartment.

 

It never BECAME the Lucy-Desi Center, it's been the Lucy-Desi Museum/Center since it opened in 1996.

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It never BECAME the Lucy-Desi Center, it's been the Lucy-Desi Museum/Center since it opened in 1996.

Wow, what a difference from what i called it, IT'S STILL THE LUCY MUSEUM TO ME! :peachonthebeach::professor::lucy2::gasp::ill::hlLOL: I heard Lucie wanted to change the name to the Mrs Desi Arnaz Babalu Museum and Taco Palace. :hlLOL:

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