Robert Hays Hosts 2014 SAG Foundation Poker Classic FLYING ACES! to Benefit Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab Today
The SAG Foundation's annual Poker Classic fundraiser for the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab is back! Now in its 4th year, the Classic has moved to a new and exciting location inside the prestigious Museum of Flying in Santa Monica. That's why we're calling it Flying Aces, and who better to host such a stellar tournament than the man who made bad flying good fun - Robert Hays!
As the star of the smash comedy hit Airplane!, Mr. Hays gave disco-dancing and long-form storytelling a whole new (and hilarious) meaning, and as an actor who's excelled in a variety of film and television roles - including voicing Iron Man when the animated superhero debuted in his first television series in 1994 - Hays was honored to be selected as this year's host.
"I once went up to Don LaFontaine to say hello and he said, 'Oh! I did the Airplane! trailer.' So we had worked together and I didn't even know. Boy, he was remarkable," says Hays. "It's so wonderful to have the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab at the SAG Foundation, where voice artists can learn the craft, polish the craft, and make their own work. It's also remarkable."
The annual Poker Classic benefits the SAG Foundation's Don LaFontaine Voice-Over (VO) Lab, named in memory of one of the industries greatest voice-over artists, is a state-of-the-art recording studio and educational facility dedicated to the development and success of VO actors. Offering more than 300 free workshops, seminars and trainings to the VO community annually (recent workshops have included Neil Kaplan's: "Character Development for Video Games"), the SAG Foundation's DLF VO Lab relies entirely on gifts, grants and events like this to offer its programming free of charge.
The Poker Classic has become a staple of the acting outreach community in LA, where artists from every genre and industry professionals meet to network, greet fans (Instagram in a cockpit? Tweet a reenactment of Hay's infamous Airplane! "drinking problem" gag?), and, most of all - play poker! Tournament prizes donated by premiere travel, wine, and health and fitness sponsors are all up for grabs for the sharks, but even those who bust out at the table are guaranteed an evening of drinks, music, gourmet foods and revelry.
SAG Foundation President JoBeth Williams anticipates some serious card play and some serious fun: "It can get pretty heated at the tables!" she laughs. "The whole evening is just charged with competition and camaraderie - there's really nothing like it."
Paul Pape, SAG Foundation Board Member and Co-Founder of the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab, agrees and adds, "Don gave so much to this industry, and through events like this, and the coming together of artists from all mediums, he's able to keep on giving - I know he'd be pleased. Especially when we run the Airplane! trailer featuring his voice and Hays' hair!"
Joe Cipriano, Co-Founder of the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab, also anticipates a night of sharks and fishes - with a lot of swinging going on around the players, as well. "I'm so excited about having the Poker Classic at the Museum of Flying this year. It's going to be a 'First Class VIP experience' from the moment you come on board," says Cipriano. "It will be the single biggest gathering of voice-over artists ever assembled with a plethora of pundits, poker players, partiers and planes all in one place. So, get ready to go on an amazing journey without having to pack a bag and with Robert Hays in the cockpit, well, it's an entirely different kind of flying altogether. Your flight attendant will be sure you're buckled up for take-off because it's gonna be a non-stop party!"
VIP Poker and Party tickets are available to the public and on sale now at: sagfoundation.org/poker along with information on sponsorships and additional details about this year's festivities. Don't wait! Get your tickets now before they're sold out and stay tuned for celebrity poker player announcements and the all-star voiceover line-up.