Celeb Watch

Here you will find either acts of bravery where a celebrity or notable (in the broadest sense of those words) has taken a stand, made a gesture on behalf of or echoing workers’ voices.  You will also find those moments where same folks do something detrimental or outright idiotic with respect to the treatment of workers.

Dear Leaders for the People: a Video Letter from SEIU UHW on Vimeo.

As part of a 10 Day of escalation by home care workers, seniors and the disabled to fight proposed cuts to CA’s in-home care services program, an outdoor video projection was mapped and displayed onto the State Capitol Building itself.  Using basic 2-D mapping software, it conformed to the facade of the building and offered a powerful amplification of home care workers voices.   PopWork’s own Wyatt Closs, wearing his hat at SEIU ULTCW, took the thesis from this site and applied it in a real-time, campaign-based, got-to-get-it-done-in-a-hurry way.  The whole project was conceived, written, sourced, rendered and projected in 6 days. \”Dear Leaders for the People:\” outdoor video projection

Mark Wahlberg
Creative Commons License photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

Mark Wahlberg, who has had quite the run of successes as a producer in TV and film with shows like “Entourage”, “Boardwalk Empire”, and “How to Make It in America”, not to mention the Oscar-nominated “The Fighter” is about to tackle the true gritty life of unions.  He’s looking to do a reality show based on a Teamsters local in his hometown of Boston.  Its to happen on A&E(no slouches at Reality TV themselves) but details are still getting worked out.  The question of course, is how real will it be?  And what will America learn as a result?  This is definitely one of those “hit or miss” moments for amplifying workers’ voices in pop culture so watch closely. But it starts out with a fighting chance given Wahlberg’s own history, previous depictions(see prior post here about an “Entourage” episode), and successes.Here’s an article about it here in Vulture online  And another depiction of the situation in the Boston Business Journal

The talk about this performance just keeps piling up. Featured today in cover story for CBS Sunday Morning show here,  Having started at Berkeley Rep and then Washington’s Wooly Mammoth, monologist Mike Daisey’s brilliant, funny, disturbing report on working conditions in the Shenzhen factories where most of Apple’s products are assembled is now running at New York’s Public Theater but radio host Ira Glass has taken it one step further.  He aired a one-hour audio version of The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs last Friday on This American Life and has now made it available as a podcast. This is a great opportunity for all to get this poignant theatrical insight into Chinese factory worklife…and its American connections to it.


One struggle (of sorts) for those in the pop culture world these days (well, wealthy celebs anyway) is how best to carry themselves in the context of being progressive and for economic justice in the midst of a down economy.  Finding themselves in that odd place called Sundance Film Festival where consciousness and commerce have always been commonly experienced, this year seems uniquely uncomfortable. For some.  Check out this LA Times article that lays it out.  http://www.latimes.com/news/la-et-sundance-glitz-20120124,0,4690873.story

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