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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pho Nominal

Bistro B is my favorite Vietnamese food in North Texas.

Since the early 90's, when a coworker introduced the stuff to me in Austin, I've been on a quest for the best Pho in Texas. I've tried many through the years, traveled all over the state, introduced friends and family to it's greatness.
I'm still searching for perfection, but at the moment I've found pretty darn close.
Bistro B in Richardson is like being in Saigon.
Well I can only guess that part, but they make you feel that way with a festive atmosphere and fresh ingredients.
Eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Pho has become a huge hit with the foodie crowd--I, of course, take credit for all of that...
We like the shrimp spring rolls with a pot of hot tea for starters, then any of the variety of soups they offer (I like beef ball and rare steak pho, or chicken and fish soup).  I would be remiss not to inform you of the Lo Mein style egg noodles with your choice of protein, Asian veggies and especially their dessert drinks. The menu is large so don't be afraid to ask for help from any of the friendly staff.  Bistro B is a great lunch spot and impressive for a casual date as well. I love this place!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Texas talent agencies deregulated but watchdogs unite

It is my understanding that Sept. , 2011, talent agencies in Texas are to be deregulated. However, there are many legitimate, reputable talent agencies in Texas that are working together with Texas talent, coaches, and casting directors to keep artistic and business standards high in the Texas film and entertainment industries. They are uniting to protect Texans from scams, unscrupulous, and unethical people who seek to line their own pockets at the expense of talent. These self-serving people require fees to share information that is free elsewhere and fees to represent talent, when legitimate agencies do not ask for upfront fees because they work from commissions for work they find for talent. There are significant discussions on Facebook about these issues. See the discussion on Dolores Jackson Casting or  Cru Film '11 .
Good news of the legislative session summary from Texas Motion Picture Alliance President is that funding of $30 million for the Texas Moving Image Incentive Program was passed by the Texas Legislature on Memorial Day. An additional $2 million is evidently included in the budget for the Governor's Trusteed programs for film and music to cover administration and marketing. The TXMPA says that this is a tremendous victory because it is an increase of $20 million from the original $10 million dedicated to the program when the budget was filed in January.  
We are fortunate in Texas to have many work opportunities for film, visual media, and audio talent. Increasingly, more and more legitimate casting is happening online through reliable sources such as Facebook,  Casting NetworksActor's AccessNow CastingBeth Sepko Casting, Casting Works L.A., and Johnson Casting. With legitimate, reputable casting services such as these, talent does not pay for auditions or bookings. They can freely post profiles, resumes, and headshots on these sites. (In some cases extra services are offered for fees, but talent can use the free services to post their resumes, headshots, and profiles.)
On my Cru Film '11 Facebook site, I post information that is freely available through social networks for many jobs for professional talent and crew. On this site I am careful to post jobs by ethical producers.
Remember not to pay for auditions or bookings for talent work. For more detailed warnings, see this page you will find reputable sources for auditions and agents. If you do not yet have an agent, find a legitimate, licensed or franchised agent on this page and those to which it is linked. Look at the talent on the agent's site to see if the agent needs talent like you. Ask if the agency requires you to use, and worse to pay for, extra services. Shop around and ask questions. Learn what is legal and ethical (not necessarily what is common practice).  

The Better Business Bureau advises caution when dealing with talent/modeling agencies. Until Sept. 1, Texas has online databases for tracking agencies with legitimate licenses. You can also look online to see if any agency has a SAG or AFTRA franchise.  You can see other online resources to get information about legitimate businesses and  about modeling and talent scams. Until Sept. 1, you can search online for the license of a Texas Talent &/or Modeling Agency. For now and after Sept. 1, Texas complaints will go to the Attorney General's office under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Always be careful in working with talent and casting agencies. Don't give money or credit card numbers up-front. Do not pay to meet, read, or audition.  If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, you can file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission.The State Attorney General should also be notified. Mastercard has free information on Scams and Flim-Flams at 1-800-999-5156. Watchdog groups also keep track of illegal money-making schemes.
Remember that talent also has professional and ethical responsibilities to: use updated headshots, continue training, use professional etiquette, and represent their agency and entertainment industry well.

Continue reading on Texas talent agencies deregulated but watchdogs unite - Austin Movie |

Diane Howard, Ph.D.

Austin Movie Examiner

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates Japan for its hard-earned victory in the women's World Cup championship as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff wonders how big the next state deficit will be. Because we're surely going to have one.

McBlogger takes a look at the Republicans' most recent effort to give us RyanFraud.

As rumors of a Rick Perry presidential bid grow stronger, brace yourself for the Perry propaganda. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme has officially warned you.

With Ron Paul's declination to run again for Congress, a muddy scrum broke out for the vacancy he leaves in CD-14. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs collects the names of some of the rumored entrants.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows us that the GOP's governing scheme continues: preach fiscal conservatism all the while running up debt to historic levels. Texas' debt has exploded under Perry.

Neil at Texas Liberal notes that Republican Texas Agriculture Commissioner and lt. governor wannabe Todd Staples loves federal money. Neil also observed that Texas counties that voted strongly Republican in 2010 also love federal money.