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Dawson draws Cheers; Affleck's a material guy

TO THE POINT Several business leaders yesterday threw their support behind Robin Dawson and her nonprofit Massachusetts Film Bureau as the plot thickens over who should woo film and TV projects to the state. At a press conference outside the Beacon Street restaurant Cheers, the leaders called on Governor Mitt Romney to make Dawson the state's official representative. She and Mark Drago, who heads the nonprofit film and entertainment division of the Massachusetts Sports & Entertainment Commission, are engaged in a public spat over who should head up those efforts. Among those backing Dawson are Cheers owner Tom Kershaw and Dream Alley Pictures cofounder Glenn Kesner. Also there were lawyer Bob Sherman, who helped write legislation with state Senator Brian P. Lees to attract film projects to the state, and Tim Kirwan, managing director of the Hotel Commonwealth, which played host to most of the cast and crew of ''Fever Pitch" during its six-month shoot. Noticeably absent was Dawson, who spokesman James Borghesani said was in a production meeting. Reached for comment, Drago's boss, Don Stirling, the commission's president and CEO, said: ''We look forward to meeting with the Mass. Film Bureau to see how we can best work together to benefit the Massachusetts film industry."

RING 'EM UP The players got their rings before the season opener, but the team's limited partners had to wait until afterward. Not to worry, the Sox brass got their bling at Monday's Red Sox Foundation dinner. Rewarded with a World Series rock were partners David Ginsberg, Les Otten, Phillip Morse, George Mitchell, Michael Egan, Theodore and William Alfond, and Sam Tamposi Jr., among others. For the record, The New York Times Co., which owns the Boston Globe and a share of the Red Sox, was well represented on the stage. Globe publisher Richard Gilman and president Richard Daniels and New York Times Co. president Russ Lewis and Times VP Jim Lessersohn all received rings. Cracked MC Seth Meyers: ''You gotta really [stink] not to get a ring, I guess."

BEN IS SECOND BANANA Yes, he delivered a few funny lines at the dinner, but before you declare Ben Affleck a comic genius, be aware that Seth Meyers wrote some of his material. While the guests were eating, Meyers was furiously writing bits for Ben and working up jokes for this week's ''Saturday Night Live," which will be hosted by our boy Tom Brady.

JOKERMAN Comedian Steve Sweeney's routine at the foundation dinner was hit or miss. Judging from the blank expressions on the faces of Latin and black players and coaches, especially David Ortiz, they were not thrilled with Sweeney's impressions of Pedro Martinez and Jesse Jackson. But the comic got big laughs when he dissed Mayor Tom Menino and the Boston Herald. ''Good to see you, Tom," Sweeney said after Menino's brief remarks. ''I didn't understand a word you said, but it's good to see you." Of the tabloid newspaper, Sweeney said, ''If it takes you longer than seven minutes to read the Herald, you're retahded."

JOB DESCRIPTION Speaking of the Herald, columnist Mike Barnicle, who was hired amid much fanfare at the tab in March 2004, said yesterday that he recently met with publisher Patrick J. Purcell and ''I agreed to redefine and renegotiate my role." Barnicle, who has another year left on his contract, said he was not leaving the paper. But it is expected that he'll reduce the frequency of his twice-a-week column. The Herald's ''format is problematical for people like me," Barnicle said, noting that a number of columnists have been pushed to ''the back of the paper." Purcell declined to comment yesterday on any changes in Barnicle's role.

HO-HUM HOLLYWOOD All those long-suffering Sox fans who didn't score a ticket to Opening Day will be happy to hear that celebrity Scientologist Danny Masterson and his girlfriend, Bijou Phillips, did, and they were bored by the ballgame. While Masterson, the curly-haired one on ''That '70s Show," chatted with his pals, Phillips played a handheld video game. . . . And professional poker player Annie Duke, who was sitting nearby, won't talk about it, but she taught Affleck everything he knows about cards. ''Let's just say Ben's gotten a lot better after playing with her," said ''The Perfect Storm" actor Joe Reitman, a Brookline native and Duke's new beau. The couple flew back to the Left Coast yesterday on Ernie Boch's private jet.

WRITE ON Harvard's Lan Samantha Chang is the new director of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, which is widely considered the nation's most prestigious graduate writing program. How prestigious? Each year the workshop gets 750 applications for 25 openings. Chang, 40, a workshop graduate, is the author of ''Hunger: A Novella and Stories" and the novel ''Inheritance." She succeeds Frank Conroy, a longtime Nantucket resident who stepped down in February and died last week.

Mark Jurkowitz and Mark Feeney of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Names can be reached at or at 617-929-8253.

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