Posted by: Regina Castillo | July 18, 2014

Disney ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ In Theaters Today

Planes Fire and Rescue title LR

Last week we gave you a sneak peek of ‘The Purge,’ which opens in theaters today. For those seeking a more family-friendly film this weekend, Disney’s new animated film, ‘Planes Fire and Rescue’ also soars into theaters today.

This high-flying adventure has our favorite sky racer Dusty (voice by Dane Cook) joining forces with an elite firefighting crew to protect Piston Peak National Park from wildfires. The film introduces us to whole new cast of characters who will be sure to melt your hearts. The courageous team includes Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) a fire and rescue helicopter, the fun spirited Dripper (Julie Bowen), heavy-life chopper Windlifter (Wes Studi), and an adorable pack all-terrain vehicles known as the Smokejumpers, led by the spunky Dynamite (Regina King).

The voice cast also includes a cameo appearance from country singer Brad Paisley as a flirty pick-up truck. Brad also lends his vocal talent to the film’s soundtrack with two songs “All In” and “Runway Romance.” Take flight this weekend to your nearest theater and check out “Planes: Fire & Rescue.”

Posted by: Linda Obele | July 16, 2014

In Focus: Meet Lisa Nicita

Lisa Pic  Astute Arizona Republic readers may recognize Lisa Nicita’s name from her former life as one of the newspaper’s staff writers. Or, perhaps you know her from her bylines in USA Today’s travel magazine, Bite Magazine, Us Weekly and other publications. Or, her public relations work as a local PR manager and one of the founders of the Positively Gilbert movement.

Whatever the case, this well-rounded, quick-quipping pro is our newest Olsonista, and we couldn’t be more tickled to share with you her charming wit and insight into her creative mind. What’s that? You had no idea she apparently has mad karaoke skills. Neither did we.

Intrigued? Read on.

Q:  If you weren’t in PR, you’d be…

A:  Writing the never-ending stories that pop into my wacky brain daily.  That, while trying to keep my three kids from tearing the house apart.  And, I’d have much more time to exercise.

Q:  Must-have phone app:

A:  USA Today.  Makes me sound super dorky, but I feel naked without it.

Q:  Something life-related you’d tell your younger self:

A:  Live a little.  I was a pretty cautious teenager, which carried over for a few years into adulthood.  Taking risks and experimenting is more fun.

Q:  What you’d spend $1 million on:

A:   If I had a million dollars, I would buy a green dress, but not a real green dress.  That’s cruel.  You probably want a serious answer, not lyrics from the Barenaked Ladies.  I’d probably move my family to the beach and buy expensive flip flops and tiny umbrellas.

Q:  Can’t kick-it addiction:

A:   A Mountain Dew for breakfast.  On ice.

Q:  What’s on your iPod?

A:  A whole mix of things. But, right now I’m slightly obsessed with the Avett Brothers, Passenger (when the mood is right) and Justin Timberlake’s “Drink You Away.”  My favorite?  Queen.

Q:  A fun fact about you:

A:  I love hip hop and rap music.  Old school, sure.  90s, definitely.  Jay-Z, yes.  And, I can’t make it through a karaoke outing without killing “Baby Got Back,” with choreography.

Q:  Your favorite part of your PR job:

A:  An occupational obligation to follow the news, socialize, check social media and generally be up on current events.  I also love that moment when an idea hits, and you know even though it sounds crazy, it could actually happen.

Q:  Favorite part of being part of the O-squad, so far:

A:  Besides the peanut M&M’s? Coming from a solo, freelance career, it’s nice to have co-workers again.  And, it’s nice that they’re normal.  Or, at least they present that way so far.

Q:  Craziest pitch you ever received while working as a reporter:

A:  I don’t remember any crazy pitches.  And, now I feel left out.  I do remember cursing about a source not picking up the phone after I left a million voice mail messages, only to realize I had never properly hung up the phone.  Ouch.

LeBron. King James. The Chosen One. The L-Train. The Akron Hammer. I vote we ad PR Wizard to that long list of nicknames for LeBron James, following Friday’s announcement that he will return to Cleveland in what was the most highly-anticipated free agency announcement for the NBA this season. Sorry, Carmelo, but it was. And, you know it.

Yes we are.

Yes we are.

Where LeBron James will play next season, while not a pressing matter for millions of people who don’t care about the NBA, dominated sports media and owned a solid chunk of mainstream news media without James doing anything.

His silence was literally PR gold. By saying nothing, he fueled even more interest.

The first day free agents could sign, last Thursday, stories about LeBron James could be found on news sites such as USA Today and CNN, as analysts dissected the pros and cons, recalled years-old run-ins with the superstar, and even tried to decipher meaning from tweets. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Cavaliers fans, hoping James would opt out of Miami and return home, had flocked to his Ohio home awaiting some kind of news, which prompted a live Twitter feed from the scene.

And, in an emotional and creative play for Cleveland’s lost hero, a Cavs fan produced a chills-inducing and ultimately prophetic video to the soundtrack of “I’m Coming Home,” woven with an original rap and quotes from James, set against the backdrop of a highlight reel.

A photo from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

A photo from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

LeBron James had millions of people in the palm of his hand.

The world waited for his decision, as it had four years earlier, when he decided to sign with Miami and simultaneously break thousands of hearts with one swift signature. Paul Coro, Phoenix Suns beat writer for the Arizona Republic, thought there was only one way his silence could backfire and ultimately become another PR nightmare.

“To me, the only image danger he can do is to build up Cleveland’s hopes and devastate the city again,” Coro told me the night before James announced his return to Cleveland. “If he is going to stay in Miami, ending this soon with a slow leak to lighten the blow in Cleveland might help avoid another scene like pulling murals off buildings and burning jerseys. But, overall, returning to his home state to try to deliver a title, rectify ‘The Decision’ damage and show he can maturely rise above the offense of Dan Gilbert’s letter would be gold for his image.”

Double-fisted gold, at that.

His announcement, made Friday morning through a classy unveil with Sports Illustrated magazine, was obviously a welcome one to Cavaliers fans. It absolutely hijacked Twitter, pushing phrases such as #SportsIllustrated, #Cavs, #LeBron, and #Cleveland to the top of the most trending hashtags, ahead of #Gaza, where rockets are falling out of the sky and families are huddling in bomb shelters. I’ll admit, I followed @KingJames a few days earlier…just to see.

All that media love came only a week or so after the Cavaliers reportedly removed from its website the letter that Cav’s owner Dan Gilbert wrote following LeBron’s decision to go to Miami. The one that called him a “coward” and basically ripped him to shreds.

Bygones. Or, at least without saying so specifically, that’s what James is saying. And what a powerful message that is.

Besides, who can argue with someone who is “coming home?”

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