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Darkness to light

Movie references continue to swirl around the events of Sept. 11. New Yorkers are now saying the lighting at Ground Zero, which burns eerily through the night for rescue and recovery teams, resembles the glow of a movie set. The carbon arc, Musco and Xenon lights that hang from tall cranes above the wreckage are indeed normally found dangling over actors and props on movie and commercial sets. They were donated by local film production suppliers and were set up by volunteer grips and electricians from Local 52 and Teamsters from Local 817.

"These are the guys we negotiate contracts with, arguing over technical union issues," says Jon Kamen, president of Radical Media, a commercial production house in New York. "It's so fantastic to see that a guy who wouldn't give up a meal penalty will give up a part of his life to help his brothers and sisters."

Meal penalties, by the way, are costly fees paid by production companies to union members when they aren't let off for lunch and dinner right on time (at six-hour intervals, to be exact).

"It was a spontaneous outpouring of help from our membership," says George DeTitta, Local 52 president, of the volunteering union members. "First the lighting equipment was donated and then everyone realized they needed people to operate it. There must be several million dollars of equipment down there, and not so much as one purchase order, I might add."

All that glitters

Gamblers were scarce in Vegas following the terrorist attacks, but according to reports, they're already back and hotels and casinos are bustling. It seems nothing can deter people who play games of chance, a fact obviously not overlooked by Bally Gaming Systems, which is back on track to introduce a unique gambling innovation at the World Gaming Congress and Exhibition this month: slot machines for the blind. "Visually impaired people have disposable income like everyone else," says a spokesman representing Jay Silverman, a director who shot spots for the new slots, which feature singer Ray Charles. "And there's never been a way for them to gamble before, so these new machines are Braille oriented with a special audio feedback system." How do players know they're not getting robbed? "Ray Charles' prerecorded voice tells you when you've won," says the spokesman.

Yellow kiwis?

Last week, Kevin Malloy, CEO of Starcom MediaVest International, was the lead item on the primetime newscast on New Zealand's No. 1 television network, TV One. He and a group of expatriate Kiwi businessmen confronted New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff with blistering questions about his half-hearted support of the U.S. following the Sept. 11 attacks. Apparently, New Zealand, which is about the size of the state of New Jersey, had not officially committed itself to helping the U.S. stop terrorism, while neighboring Australia has.

"It is ridiculous for New Zealand not to step up to the plate," says Kevin, a fully assimilated New Yorker and diehard Yankees fan. Kevin told TV One that his homeland should commit troops. "We should be prepared to give the U.S. both of our planes and our boat," he says. Is that all they have? "We don't really have planes anymore," Kevin confessed to Adages. "We've actually done away with our Air Force. And I'm not sure what we have in the way of boats." It's the thought that counts.

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