Midnight Madness: Georgia
We’ll be boarding the train to Georgia every midnight in July 1–31, 2021 from 11:57pm – 12am with Up Until Now Collective a new artist collective creating interdisciplinary content that is radically empathetic, accessible, diverse and inclusive. The collective’s American Sign Language (ASL) cover of Gladys Knight & The Pips’ ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ is performed by Deaf actor and dancer Mervin Primeaux-O’Bryant and Brandon Kazen-Maddox, a hearing Grandchild of Deaf Adults (GODA), dancer, choreographer and third-generation native signer of ASL. Elevating sign language from supporting role to center stage, Georgia makes music visible nightly in Times Square, synchronized across more than 75 screens in the moments leading up to midnight.
In their moving and animated rendition of the 1973 classic, Primeaux-O’Bryant signs the role of a heartbroken Gladys Knight, and The Pips are personified by Kazen-Maddox — Knight’s confidant as she rallies herself to join her lover who’s decided to leave her for a ‘simpler place and time.’ The duo incorporates Black ASL and elements of Visual Vernacular to embody an invisible train and bring to life the seductive and punchy lyrics of the original song.
Georgia is one of 10 covers of seminal musical works by Black female artists in a series by UP UNTIL NOW titled SOUL(SIGNS): An ASL Playlist, all commissioned by Broadstream Media, a new arts streaming platform.
Throughout the month of July, UP UNTIL NOW Collective will also be presenting weekly live performances in Times Square incorporating music, dance and ASL. Dates and details to be announced soon!
UP UNTIL NOW Collective was founded by Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Kevin Newbury, Marcus Shields and Jecca Barry in the summer of 2020 to gather artists who have never been brought together before. These artists, currently numbering two dozen and counting, come from multiple disciplines to create work that is joyful, challenging and necessary. Committed to inclusive, accessible, and equitable working environments, UP UNTIL NOW develops and produces new interdisciplinary work that explores empathy, intimacy, and community, and seeks to challenge the status quo by building new structures for artistic creation.
Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a BIPOC, LGBTQAI+, gender non-conforming third-generation native user of American Sign Language (ASL) and Grandchild of Deaf Adults (GODA). In 2010, Brandon received their undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, where they studied Spanish and French language and literature. After receiving their Bachelor of Arts, they moved to San Francisco, CA where they crafted a seven-year career as a professional circus acrobat. In May 2019, Brandon graduated with their Master’s degree in Dance and New Technology from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Brandon currently lives, works and creates art in New York City, collaborating with and providing opportunities for Deaf artists who share a passion for bringing artistic works of American Sign Language dance theater to the stage, screen and beyond.
A native of Lafayette, LA, Mervin Primeaux-O’Bryant graduated from Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) in 1995. He also attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he obtained his degree in Dance Performance & Choreography. He is an actor, director, producer, choreographer, international performer, and advocate. His creative journey has blessed him with many experiences; including with Quest Visual Theatre as an assistant director, and as a consultant for American Sign Language in theatre and music videos.
Image: Brandon Kazen-Maddox & Up Until Now Collective. Georgia video still. Courtesy of the artists.
The Glorious Corner
WES’ ASTEROID — (Via World of Reel) Last we heard about “Asteroid City,” it had been rated R for “Brief Graphic Nudity.” Of course, Focus decided to appeal the MPAA designation. The aim is PG-13, as they want this film seen by as many heads as possible, and rightfully so.
Last year, Focus Features bought “Asteroid City” for domestic distribution. They released an ambiguous synopsis in the process, but now we have a new, more-detailed synopsis:
Thousands of years ago an asteroid fell from the sky, creating a huge crater, in the centercentre of which a piece of asteroid rock remains. Once a year, a convention is held on the site, attracting astronomers, teachers, families with would-be teenage astronomers – as well as military personal personnel. As the stars begin to align, events occur which are startling, and completely unexpected. This is Anderson at his comic best; it is also suffused with the grief caused by the death of the mother of one of the families – giving the film a profound emotional impact.
Some on-set photos had also been revealed (before being taken down by Focus Features). They all contained the meticulous attention to detail that we expect from Anderson, but set in the 1950’s.
The star-studded cast features Tom Hanks and Margot Robbie in their Anderson film debuts, plus Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Tony Revolori, Jake Ryan, Grace Edwards, Aristou Meehan, Sophia Lillis, Ethan Lee, Jeff Goldblum and Rita Wilson.
How many of these are we thinking will be cameos? Oh, and where’s Bill Murray? Did his scenes get snipped after last year’s #MeToo incident? They claim it’s because he had COVID and got recast.
Even stranger, Murray was livestreamed at the last NYFF alongside Anderson, Adrian Brody, and others from the set of “Asteroid City”. Not only that, he’s the one who revealed the title of the film during a BFI Q&A last November.
“Asteroid City,” which wrapped production last October, and will be released June 23rd. A Cannes premiere is practically sealed for this one.
Here’s the trailer:
GENERATION SEX — Sex Pistols and Generation X supergroup Generation Sex will play their first ever headline UK show in Wolverhampton this summer.
Singer Billy Idol and bassist Tony James, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook will play The Civic at The Halls in Wolverhampton on Monday 10th July 2023.
The one-off headline UK show follows Generation Sex’s eagerly awaited performance at the Iggy Pop headlined Dog Day Afternoon at London’s Crystal Palace Park on Saturday 1st July.
The Dog Day Afternoon line-up also boasts Blondie, Buzzcocks and Lambrini Girls. Tickets are on sale from Planet Rock Tickets now.
Generation Sex made their live debut at The Roxy in West Hollywood in October 2018 where they performed a setlist of Sex Pistols and Generation X songs, plus a spitting cover of ‘My Way.’
The band also play European festival shows this summer at France’s Hellfest, Belgium’s Graspop, Norway’s Tons of Rock, and Kaisaniemen Puisto in Finland.
SHORT TAKES — Celebrity-scribe Mark Bego’s next book is indeed on legendary rocker Joe Cocker and will be out for the holidays via Yorkshire Publishing …
Keith Reid, who co-wrote the lyrics for most of Procol Harum’s original songs, died March 23 of cancer … The Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkesstour opens tonight in Orlando, Florida …
Somehow we missed it, but Ricki Lee Jones is at NYC’s Birdland next week in support of her new Russ Titelman-produced new album Pieces of Treasure. The pair worked together on the classic album Pirates in 1982. A gem of a performer, the album documented her break-up with Tom Waits and was simply stunning. I listened to it for hours on end. I hope I can catch one of the performances. Check out this interview with Jones on WBGO: https://www.wbgo.org/music/2023-03-29/with-pieces-of-treasure-rickie-lee-jones-makes-her-grown-up-record?fbclid=IwAR3bTtPMicueDycZTg5CW_rHUzpMEMMNkZG79GXQuK4MyOp56zMPfShdiSg…
SIGHTING: WOR’s Tom Cuddy and PR-maven David Salidor at Ruth’s Chris Steak House for a farewell meal. The hallowed NY-eatery closes next week … Just saw a great TV-segment on NBC’s Todayon Gold Rush Vinyl and their Caren Kelleher who spoke quite specifically and eloquently about her hand in returning vinyl to a prominent force in the record biz. Those in the know will certainly agree about the merits of vinyl, as opposed to digital, but the one element seriously missing from the piece to me, was about the creative process. Face it, even before one decides to go vinyl, or not, the song, the creative material has got to be there. As industry-seer Steve Leeds always says (and he’s damn right) A good song … is a good song. It starts from there … I was listening to a very recent Eric Clapton podcast and he revealed that in June he was going to be recording with Tom Jones! He also said that he and Jones used to pal around in the 60’s. Wow, who knew that? … HBO premieres White House Plumbers on Monday, May 1. I’ve seen the trailer a bunch of times and it’s priceless; especially if you lived through it as I have. Also, bravo to 10 Years After’s “I Love To Change The World” which fits in so, so perfectly. Here’s the trailer:
Happy Bday Susan Hathaway; Warren Beatty and Mr. Clapton!
Did you Know Andrea Bocelli and Hauser Performed Live In Times Square?
Celebrating the release The Journey: A Music Special from Andrea Bocelli, Andrea Bocelli and Hauser performed Melodramma Live in Times Square.
Combining world-class musical performances with intimate conversations across the awe-inspiring Italian countryside, The Journey: A Music Special from Andrea Bocelli is an exploration of the moments that define us, the songs that inspire us, and the relationships that connect us to what matters most. You can see this film produced by Fantom events April 2 – 9. You can get tickets here.
Watch Bocelli and his wife Veronica travel on horseback along Italy’s Via Francigena, an ancient road traveled by pilgrims for centuries in the footsteps of the apostles and saints. Along the way, they are joined by friends Michael W. Smith, Tori Kelly, Tauren Wells, and TAYA for world-class musical performances in some of Italy’s most magnificent venues and majestic locations.
Following a blessing from the Pope, Bocelli’s children Matteo and Virginia make appearances in this amazing adventure, as well as musicians and singers Katherine Jenkins, Clara Barbier Serrano, 2Cellos, 40 Fingers, and many others.
The Glorious Corner
HERE’S BEKKA — (from Rolling Stone) Bekka Bramlett grew up around John Lennon and George Harrison, but nothing could prepare her for joining Fleetwood Mac in 1994, during one of the rockiest periods in the band’s history.
The Bekka Bramlett incarnation of Fleetwood Mac released a single album, 1995’s Time, before dissolving the next year to make way for a lucrative Hells Freezes Over-style reunion album and tour by the classic Rumours lineup. This period of the band may seem like little more than a footnote to some rock fans, but it was a pivotal time for Bramlett, and she looks back on it without any regrets.
“I knew my job was to get Stevie back,” she tells Rolling Stone from her home in Nashville. “I wasn’t a moron. I also knew this was a dangerous job when I took it. I knew I was facing tomatoes. But I didn’t want to wear a top hat. I didn’t want to twirl around. I wanted to be me. I even dyed my hair brown just so people in the cheap seats would know that Stevie wasn’t going to be here. I didn’t want anyone to be discouraged or let down.”
Joining Fleetwood Mac at 26 would have been a shock to the system of most singers, but Bramlett had been living in close proximity to rock stars her entire life. When she was very young, her parents toured and recorded with George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and many other A-list rock stars, winning renown as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Those artists also spent a lot of time at her mansion in the Hollywood Hills.
Bramlett didn’t realize any of this was unusual until she boarded the school bus one morning gripping her Disney Princess lunchbox. “This other little girl had a Beatles lunchbox,” she says. “I said to her, ‘I know him. He’s on our couch right now.’ I pointed to George Harrison. ‘I know him too.’ I pointed to John. She started hitting me since she thought I was lying. I was petrified and confused. I thought they were just Daddy’s friends that had accents.”
When she was just four years old, her father recruited Bekka and her sister Suzanne to sing background vocals on his song “California Rain.” “My mom had to get some gaffer tape to keep the headphones on my head since I was so little,” she says. “I used to hate the way it sounds, and now I love it so much. It’s so endearing.”
Right around this time, her parents split up, and she went to live with her father and grandmother. “It was weird, since mostly the moms got the babies back then,” she says. “But my parents were alcoholics. My grandmother never even smoked cigarettes or said cuss words. She brought us to church every Sunday, Wednesday, and Monday. We were in safe hands with our grandmother. I think both of my parents trusted that.”
Delaney and Bonnie both struggled to find solo success in the Seventies, and they dealt with significant substance abuse issues, but Bekka inherited their talents, and she knew from a young age that she’d devote her life to music. “I briefly thought I’d be a lawyer, but I thought I’d be a singing lawyer,” she says. “Then I wanted to be a jockey since I love horses, but I thought I’d be a singing jockey. Music is just what I’m good at.”
As a teenager with a fake ID in the early Eighties, Bramlett spent many nights checking out bands on the Sunset Strip. “I remember standing on the side of the stage as Guns N’ Roses played,” she says. “Seeing it up close, I was like, ‘This is why you never try heroin.’ But then I’d go into the audience and be like, ‘This is why you join a rock & roll band!’”
SUCCESSION — (via Deadline) The Roys are back with a vengeance. The Season 4 premiere of Succession drew an audience of 2.3M on Sunday across HBO Max and linear telecasts, which is a series high for same-day viewers. Total viewing for Sunday night was up 62% compared to Season 3’s premiere viewership of 1.4M in October 2021. At the time, that marked the best premiere night performance of any HBO original series since HBO Max launched in May 2020. Sunday’s viewership is also up about 33% from the Season 3 finale’s 1.7M. Season 3 averaged about 7.2M viewers per episode, according to HBO.HBO also says that all previous seasons of succession saw a 4x increase in viewership in the week leading up to the Season 4 premiere, compared to the week prior.
The Roy family saga picks up as the sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) looms. The prospect of the seismic sale provokes existential angst and familial division among the Roys: patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his four grown children, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Siobhan (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck). A hopefully Roy-esque power struggle will ensue as the family weighs up a future where their cultural and political weight is threatened.
Succession has 13 Emmys including Best Drama Series wins for its Season 2 and Season 3, the latter of which premiered in 2021.
We had mentioned earlier that most of the advance reviews said the writing was the star of the premiere episode and I definitely agree. Creator Jesse Armstrong wrote it and delivered just a stellar job. The episode began with a grumpy-Brian Cox at his birthday and took a few moments to develop into the powerhouse it has become, but it was very, very enjoyable.
Sure some of the dialogue and plot harked back to earlier episodes, but it’s so good, you hardly noticed. And the ending with Shiv and Tom, alone at at home and contemplating their futures, was just splendid and reeked of the amazing emotion the show almost always conjures up. A class act all around.
Variety confirmed this week, that the locale of the next White Lotus, from Mike White, will be Thailand. Now, if we could only get Jennifer Coolidge back … Congrats to New York Independenteditor Keith F. Girard on his second novel –
just out: The Curse of Northam Bay …PR-pasha David Salidor was interviewed by Charles Rosenay for Monkee Mania Radio … Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer open July 21 and it is indeed 3 hours.
It stars Cillian Murphy and the trailer looks rather stupendous. Check it out here:
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