Author Archives: Jamie Ball

Salon with Actor & Artist Christopher Darga

Safe to say, you have never met a talent quite like Chris Darga. Actor, Fine Artist, Sculptor Extraordinaire. He’ll be making a return to the Salon after more than 20 years, and boy does he have some stories for us.

Christopher Darga is a face you have seen countless times over the last 20 years. On television in HERE & NOW, SHAMELESS, THE MIDDLE, MODERN FAMILY, DEADWOOD, CHEERS and SEINFELD. This guy works so much his IMDb page goes on for-frickin-ever. (Frankly, it would be far easier to list the handful of shows he has NOT appeared on!) He’s also in a ton of features like CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE and BRUCE ALMIGHTY and DUDE WHERE’S MY CAR? and HUDSUCKER PROXY.

 

You get the idea. He’s a working actor. Rare breed, making a living doing what he loves.

But that’s not all. For the last dozen years or so, Chris also has made a name for himself as a fine artist and sculptor.

Portraits in oil and bronze are his specialties, but after JURASSIC PARK he began exploring paleo and now his model dinosaurs grace museums around the world.

Here’s just a sampling of his art, in oil, in bronze, in resin and other media:


Chris grew up in Detroit, where he caught the acting bug and never looked back. He got his Masters in Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the mid-1980, where he honed his craft on the boards of Howell Theatre and taught acting classes. While at UNL he played Hamlet and Dracula (NCC’s own Todd Nelson played Van Helsing and got to stab him through the heart with a wooden stake nightly!), along with leading roles in American Buffalo and many other plays. A move to Hollywood followed soon after, and film and television has never been without his talents ever since. Painting and sculpture became a way to stay busy between roles, and well, the rest is (art) history.

Chris was a guest at one of the first Salons ever, and now he will be returning in our 25th Anniversary year. Monday will be a real treat that you won’t want to miss, whether you love his acting work or his art. Come and be inspired. Hope to see you tomorrow at the Culver!

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Monday’s NCC Salon with Actor & Artist Christopher Darga

Safe to say, you have never met a talent quite like Chris Darga. Actor, Fine Artist, Sculptor Extraordinaire. He’ll be making a return to the Salon after more than 20 years, and boy does he have some stories for us.

Christopher Darga is a face you have seen countless times over the last 20 years. On television in HERE & NOW, SHAMELESS, THE MIDDLE, MODERN FAMILY, DEADWOOD, CHEERS and SEINFELD. This guy works so much his IMDb page goes on for-frickin-ever. (Frankly, it would be far easier to list the handful of shows he has NOT appeared on!) He’s also in a ton of features like CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE and BRUCE ALMIGHTY and DUDE WHERE’S MY CAR? and HUDSUCKER PROXY.

 

You get the idea. He’s a working actor. Rare breed, making a living doing what he loves.

But that’s not all. For the last dozen years or so, Chris also has made a name for himself as a fine artist and sculptor. Portraits in oil and bronze are his specialties, but after JURASSIC PARK he began exploring paleo and now his model dinosaurs grace museums around the world.

Here’s just a sampling of his art, in oil, in bronze, in resin and other media:

 

Chris grew up in Detroit, where he caught the acting bug and never looked back. He got his Masters in Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the mid-1980, where he honed his craft on the boards of Howell Theatre and taught acting classes. While at UNL he played Hamlet and Dracula (NCC’s own Todd Nelson played Van Helsing and got to stab him through the heart with a wooden stake nightly!), along with leading roles in American Buffalo and many other plays. A move to Hollywood followed soon after, and film and television has never been without his talents ever since. Painting and sculpture became a way to stay busy between roles, and well, the rest is (art) history.

Chris was a guest at one of the first Salons ever, and now he will be returning in our 25th Anniversary year. Monday will be a real treat that you won’t want to miss, whether you love his acting work or his art. Come and be inspired. Hope to see you Monday at the Culver!

Salons are a great way to network, catch up with old friends and new ones, and have a taste of home in Hollywood.

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NCC’s DOWNSIZING Screening with Alexander Payne Q&A and our 25th Anniversary Holiday Reception at Paramount Studios

The NCC is turning 25. To celebrate, for the December Salon Paramount Pictures invites you to a screening of DOWNSIZING with Director Alexander Payne.

We’ve been hosting many of the team behind Downsizing at recent Salons, and we’ll have more coming in 2018, but at the December 11th Salon — along with a special screening of the film — we will welcome back our old friend and Nebraska favorite son, Director Alexander Payne.

This is the biggest film of his career to date, and the first to use a multitude of visual effects. Come see what they raved about at festivals from Venice to Toronto — and what the country will get to see at Christmastime and right through Oscar season.


Written by Alexander Payne and his longtime
writing partner Jim Taylor, the film stars Matt Damon,
Christoph WaltzHong Chau, and Kristen Wiig.
<watch the trailer here

 

Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small.  People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world, and with the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life changing adventures.


Come see the film, join the Q&A with Alexander, and toast your Coast Connection friends at holiday time. We can’t wait to see you on Monday night December 11th at Paramount Studios!

Nebraska Coast Connection presents The Hollywood Salon…
 Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

THIS MONTH ONLY at Paramount Studios:


Paramount Theater

Paramount Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue

Hollywood, CA 90038
(enter Melrose Gate)

 

This invitation is non-transferable — ID required to enter studio

This event is free, but RSVPS REQUIRED by Mon 12/11 at noon. Seating is limited, so please let us know if your plans change. For Paramount Security, all guests must provide full name.

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Monday’s Nov 13th NCC Salon welcomes back Paramount VP Jim White

Jim White grew up in Carter Lake, Iowa, just across the way from Omaha. After studying at Bellevue University and University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, he has built a career focused on human resources and organizational development for the entertainment industry. His career path took him to live & work in 22 countries, and companies like Blockbuster, Universal Music Group, Video game company Activision Blizzard, and music tech company Napster.
 
For over ten years, he has been Vice President of Human Resources at Paramount Pictures. There have been lots of changes at Paramount recently, and Jim will give us an update on all the latest happenings, including the eagerly-awaited Alexander Payne film, DOWNSIZING, coming from Paramount in December.
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Jim has a long-time commitment to community involvement and philanthropic development. He’s on the board of
Beyond Shelter, a non-profit that combats poverty and homelessness.
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He’ll also be filling us in on his work for United Way’s HOMEWALK, a fundraising walk to support efforts to end homelessness, coming up in downtown LA on Saturday, November 18th.
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Jim is the author of the book, The World Is a Safe Place, another part of his making a difference in the world.
  
Hope to see you at the November Hollywood Salon Monday night, November 13th at the Culver Hotel!
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Nebraska Coast Connection
presents The Hollywood Salon…
Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

Salons are always on the Second Monday of every month.  7:30 to 10:30.
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

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Sept 11th NCC Salon with DOWNSIZING Post Supervisor Heidi Vogel

Alexander Payne’s new film DOWNSIZING just premiered at the prestigious Venice and Telluride Film Festivals to great reviews. Over the coming months, the Hollywood Salon will be hosting members of the team who made the film.

Our September Salon guest on Monday night will be DOWNSIZING’s Post Production Supervisor, who–like Director Alexander Payne–just happens to be from Omaha!

Heidi Vogel has worked as Post Production Supervisor on feature films for more than twenty years. Her credits include PULP FICTION, JACKIE BROWN, GOOD WILL HUNTING, KILL BILL: Vol 1 & 2, PETE’S DRAGON and THE INTERN. 

Most recently Heidi worked on the much anticipated DOWNSIZING with Matt Damon and Kirstin Wiig for Alexander Payne, whom she has known since seventh grade in Omaha at Lewis & Clark Jr. High.

After graduating Boston University, Heidi began her career in post production as John Sayles’s assistant and Post Production Coordinator on MATEWAN, EIGHT MEN OUT and CITY OF HOPE.

Later moving to Los Angeles, Heidi did a brief stint at the Sundance Institute, where she met producer Lawrence Benderwho invited her to work on several A Band Apart Productions, including FRESH, FOUR ROOMS and PULP FICTION.

Come meet another Omaha to Hollywood success story, who is working at the highest levels of filmmaking with some of the best in the business.

It’s going to be another great night at the Hollywood Salon TOMORROW Monday, August, 11th. Hope to see you there!

Nebraska Coast Connection
presents The Hollywood Salon…
Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

Salons are always on the Second Monday of every month.
7:30 to 10:30.
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

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June Salon with UNL Dean of Journalism (and a chance to tell YOUR story in Nebraska publications!)

In addition to our esteemed Journalism guest this month, we will also be visited by the UNL Marketing Director, who wants to interview YOU for his article on the NCC. Yes, you could be featured in this fall’s magazines and websites! Please come and share your stories of your coast-connecting. All you have to do is show up at the Salon on Monday. See below for details…

Every so often the Salon welcomes visitors from the University of Nebraska to give us an update what’s happening at the schools back home. On June 12th, we will host Dean Maria Marron from the College of Journalism.

Come hear what great things are going on at UNL and in the world of Journalism.Dr. Maria Marron has headed the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at UNL since 2014. A native of Ireland, she worked as a journalist, editor and public relations professional in Ireland and the United States. She chaired the Journalism Dept at Central Michigan University as well as holding faculty positions at Ohio State, Texas State and Zayed University in Dubai before coming to Nebraska.

She edited Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, one of the premier journals in journalism and was president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Since her appointment in the CoJMC, the college has made big progress including plans for a new major in sports media and communication; created a new digital and social media hub, an innovation/makers’ hub and a new student lounge; remodeled classrooms and revised curriculum.

The college also has won prestigious national awards such as the Grand Prize in the RF Kennedy Awards for Reporting on Social Justice, the Hearst Intercollegiate Journalism Awards, and the Society of Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards, among many others.

This will be Dean Marron’s first visit to a Salon – she wants to get to know us at the Hollywood Coast and help her students find their way into careers here. Let’s give her a great NCC welcome and show her what we are all about!


Also attending the June Salon will be Andrew Swenson, Director of Marketing & Communications at UNL. He’s doing a big article on the NCC for their fall publications, and he wants to interview YOU! Wouldn’t you (and your folks back home) like to see your quote and photo in print and online? All you have to do is show up at the Salon. Here’s Andrew’s pitch:

One of the most important considerations high school students have in evaluating colleges is how well they will be prepared for a great career. Students want to know how alumni have gone on to make it in their chosen fields. As you know, there’s so much more to learn about how the real world operates after you graduate, even if you’ve honed your creative and technical skills. The Nebraska Coast Connection shows our values of community, humility and hard work don’t end at the state line. You are helping Nebraskans make their dreams real. We want to share that story—your story—to inspire students and show them that living their passion is possible. The Nebraska Coast Connection story will be distributed to all prospective students (more than 100,000) and featured in a magazine and online.

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Hey Nebraska Coast Connection I would love to see all of you at my show EVEN IF IT’S WRONG at the Hollywood Fringe Festival that takes place in Nebraska…you’ll recognize it. I also want to offer you $8 tickets for the June 4 Preview by entering code “preview“. For all other shows if you use the code “Cornhusker” you get a $10 ticket instead of a $15 dollar ticket. You can save that 5 bucks to buy me a beer afterwards at Fringe Central which is just half a block away from the theatre. For show times, dates and more info go to http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4625

Monday 3/13: Disney Studios Manager Manie Ellis

How’d you like to have a career at the same major studio for over a quarter of a century? A job where you get to work on entertainment magic with feature films and tv shows, rubbing elbows with legends like Carol Burnett, Tim Allen and Jimmy Kimmel every day? And have a free pass to Disneyland? Our March Salon guest has done just that, as a longtime manager at The Walt Disney Studios. Come and meet him at the Hollywood Salon on Monday, March 13th.

MANIE ELLIS came out to Hollywood from Philadelphia in the late 1980s, and after a gig working for The Complex studio with the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Robin Williams and Jerry Seinfeld, he landed at the Disney Studios in Burbank in 1990. He has been a support to production activity on many projects such as The Carol Burnett Show, Home Improvement, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Grey’s Anatomy, Muppets and General Hospital.

Last year, Manie celebrated his 25th year with the same studio. His current role is Manager of Production Facilities and Services for Walt Disney Studios. In addition to working regularly with Disney CEO Bob Iger and corporate headquarters, he interfaces with all production groups including ABC Studios, Marvel, Time Square Studios, Prospect Studios, ABC News and Walt Disney Archives.

Manie was one of the Coast Connection’s first guests almost 25 years ago – now we’ve got him coming back to fill us in on all his adventures since. Come to the Salon on Monday, March 13th to meet Manie and hear his many stories of a long successful career.

Salons are a great way to network, catch up with old friends and new ones, and have a taste of home in Hollywood.

Nebraska Coast Connection presents The Hollywood Salon…Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

 

Salons are always on the Second Monday of every month.
7:30 to 10:30.
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

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Monday’s NCC Salon with Director Dan Mirvish!

At the February Hollywood Salon, we welcome back our old friend Dan Mirvish!  It’ll be a TRIPLE TREAT:  Fresh from adventures at Slamdance (the festival he co-founded), he’ll be sharing about his latest film now underway, and he’ll be signing copies of his brand new book!

As one of the most independent of film directors working today, Dan is in post on his latest feature, BERNARD AND HUEY, written by the esteemed Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning Jules Feiffer (CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, POPEYE).  The film is a comedy about two old friends who reconnect after 30 years apart, and the women who complicate their lives.

Dan has some amazing stories about how he tracked down the nearly forgotten unproduced screenplay by the living legend Jules Feiffer and garnered his trust to make the film.  After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, Dan shot the film last fall in NY and LA starring Oscar-winner Jim Rash, David Koechner, Richard Kind, Lauren Miller, and Nancy Travis

Dan’s other baby of the moment is his brand-new book, The Cheerful Subversive’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking, a rich exploration of the process and culture of making low-budget, independent films. Once labelled a “cheerful subversive” by The New York Times, Mirvish shares his unfiltered pragmatic approach to every aspect of a career in filmmaking.  Check out the book trailer here.

The book draws on Dan’s own 25 years of experiences in the trenches of indie filmmaking, as well as lessons he’s learned personally from such luminaries as Robert Altman, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, Alexander Payne, John Carpenter, Jon Bokenkamp, and many more. Dan will have a stockpile of books to sell and sign, so be sure to come and get yours at the Salon!

He’ll also report on the latest doings at the just-completed 2017 Slamdance Film Festival, the festival that Dan co-founded in 1995 and where he continues to play host each year.  For more on Dan and all of his latest shenanigans, go here.  Hope you can make it on Monday, February 13th for a jam-packed Salon with one of our favorite guests.  See you there!

Salons are a great way to network, catch up with old friends and new ones, and have a taste of home in Hollywood.

Nebraska Coast Connection presents The Hollywood Salon…Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

 Salons are always on the Second Monday of every month.
7:30 to 10:30.
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

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Monday’s NCC Salon is our Three-Minute Festival!

Our Annual Three-Minute Festival: SALONFEST 2017!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from all your Coast Connection friends! Monday, January 9th will be the first Salon of 2017.  And it’s the one where YOU get to show us what you got…

Yep, it’s the return of SALONFEST: THE THREE MINUTE FILM FESTIVAL, our ever-popular NCC mini-film festival! This is where we will show three minutes of anything you want to showcase. Up on the Big Screen.

There’s a ton of talented folks in the NCC, and many of you have created some amazing work in the past year. This is our chance to see what you’ve been up to.

Cue up your latest short, or your reel, or anything you helped to create, and we’ll show 3 minutes of it at the January Salon. You’ll get a minute to tell us about it, before or after. (Got something longer? Barter with others to share your time…)  For format, DVD is preferred, but we can screen from most thumbdrives or internet streams, too.

It will be an eclectic and fast-paced evening…no telling what surprises we will be seeing. Webisodes. New acting reels. Kickstarter promos. All kinds of latest masterpieces. Whatever you want to share with the group — this is your chance to show off.

Come to share or come to see what your friends have been creating. It’s a great way to get to know all the talent in this group, and to participate by showing us what you got, in a safe and friendly environment. SALONFEST is always one of the most fun Salons of the year. We’ll have the popcorn ready.

See you Monday, January 9th, 2016!

Salons are a great way to network, catch up with old friends and new ones, and have a taste of home in Hollywood.

Nebraska Coast Connection presents The Hollywood Salon…Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

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