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The Glorious Corner




BIRDLAND HOPES — (via Yet another one of New York’s most beloved venues is in danger of closing for good. Birdland Jazz Club, a staple of the New York City jazz community since 1949, needs help with the debt it has found itself in due to the health crisis.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched by Tom D’Angora, who also spearheaded the efforts to save the West Bank Cafe in December 2020.

“Shortly after the community pulled off the West Bank miracle, my longtime friends, Jim Caruso and Susie Mosher, reached out and let me know that Birdland, was also in danger of closing its doors for good in just a few weeks if something isn’t done,” D’Angora wrote in the campaign’s description.

At press time, the campaign has raised over $16,000. To learn more or to donate, click here.

Birdland is a jazz club started in New York City on December 15, 1949. The original Birdland, which was located at 1678 Broadway, just north of West 52nd Street in Manhattan, was closed in 1965 due to increased rents, but it re-opened for one night in 1979. A revival began in 1986 with the opening of the second nightclub by the same name that is now located in Manhattan’s Theater District, not far from the original nightclub’s location. The current location is in the same building as the previous headquarters of The New York Observer.

The club has hosted memorable sets by such musicians as Oscar Peterson, Pat Metheny, Diana Krall, Roy Haynes, Michel Legrand, Dave Brubeck, Pat Martino, Tony Williams, Hank Jones, Michel Petrucciani, Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Marian McPartland, John Pizzarelli, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Jon Hendricks, George Shearing, James Moody, Yellowjackets, John Scofield, Phoebe Snow, Dave Holland, and Tito Puente, as well as the big bands of Chico O’Farrill, Duke Ellington, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Maria Schneider. In addition, Birdland is home to such popular musical events as the Umbria Jazz Festival in NYC and the Annual Django Reinhardt NY Festival. The club has established itself as an essential part of New York jazz history.

I know for a fact that at least a dozen other clubs in NYC are contemplating their futures right now.

February will be a year since many first-closed up in the hopes that it would be just for several months. Any of these clubs closing will further alter nightlife in NYC. 

Restaurants, clubs, Broadway, music venues … all gone.

VINYL RULES — For the second time in a month, weekly vinyl album sales in the U.S. hit a new record high.

A total of 1.445 million vinyl albums were sold in the week ending Dec. 17 (up 9% compared to the previous week) – the biggest week yet for vinyl LP sales since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991. The previous record week was set only two weeks earlier, when 1.253 million were sold in the week ending Dec. 3.

The top-selling vinyl album in the week ending Dec. 17 was Taylor Swift’s Folklore, with 23,000 copies sold (up 543%). Folklore got a big boost from sale pricing and promotion in Swift’s official webstore, where it’s available in assorted color variants.

The industry could hit another record high in the week ending Thursday, Dec. 24, as that tracking week will capture a full seven shopping days leading up to the Christmas Day holiday on Friday, Dec. 25.

Vinyl album sales have surpassed 1 million in a single week four times, and three of those have occurred in the last month: 1.445 million (week ending Dec. 17), 1.253 million (week ending Dec. 3) and 1.195 million (week ending Dec. 10). The other million-selling week came in 2019, when 1.243 million were sold in the week ending Dec. 26, 2019.

SHORT TAKES — Wonder Woman fell off 67% in its second week of release. It sure looked great, but lacked any cohesive story line. Kristen Wiig’s character, supposedly Cheetah (from the comics) wasn’t once  called that in the movie. And, Pedro Passcal, a big favorite of ours, was somewhat miscast. Liam Neeson, rumored as the baddie for the next will definitely bring some much needed gravitas to the narrative … but, Patti, please get some decent writers (call me!) … RIP Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers)! … Fans of NYC’s Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhousecan guardedly look forward to hoisting seltzer and schmaltz again, as owner David Zimmerman says he intends to reopen the restaurant “in the future,” though he acknowledged he will likely have to relocate the establishment from its iconic-yet-grim basement dwelling on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side to a new location. “Without question it has been the toughest year for all of us and everyone in our industry,” Zimmerman said in a text message Sunday. “We can’t wait and hope to see everyone enjoying latkes, vodka, chopped liver and steaks once again. We need this horrible time to pass and bring Sammy’s back so we can celebrate again. ”There’s no set date for reopening: “We got to be somewhat back to normal,” Zimmerman said. A decision on where to move the restaurant will be made “at a later date,” he said. The restaurant’s Instagram account also posted a message Sunday afternoon saying, “It is with great sadness that we announce that the rumors are true and we have had to shut the doors to the infamous basement… We may be closed now, but when all this is over and we feel safe enough to hold hands during the hora, we will be back stronger, louder, and tastier than ever before” …

David Salidor/My Father’s Place 

Some exciting news coming shortly from My Father’s Place in Long Island. Michael “Eppy’ Epstein has brought in PR-man David Salidor to spread the word. As we’ve noted before, Salidor worked for the club when he was in college and just starting what has become a pretty stellar career. A homecoming for sure. Stay tuned on this one … 

Larry Flick

SiriusXM’s Larry Flick taking a pause in his star-studded career. I first got to know Larry when he was at Billboard doing the weekly disco column – yes, when there was disco- and he transitional successfully to an on-air talent at the webcaster. Good man, excellent taste, he will be missed … but, plans are already in the works for him to return at some point. All the best! … And, Happy Bday Andrew Sandoval!

RANDY ALEXANDER ZOOM-FUNERAL — Unfortunately I’ve done more than my share of Zoom-funerals in 2020. Sunday was the funeral for PR-pasha Randy Alexander. Tastefully done and I saw a few of his past clients there, which was so well-deserved. Somewhat surprised there weren’t more (Gamble & Huff; Kal Rudman’ Lee Shapiro; Kreskin). Again, a fierce PR-force to reckon with, the media loved working with him as did some terrific clients. RIP my friend; rest easy!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Gary Graff; Tud Zurkowski; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Steve Walter; Cary Baker; Susan Jacobs; Steve Leeds; Lush Ice; Paul Undersinger; Jane Blunkell; Joel Diamond; Robey; Brad LeBeau; Phillip Goldstein; Phyllis Nelson; Denise Lopez; and, CHIP!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.


The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

WENNER TAKES A DOWN —Jann Wenner always speaks his mind and this week he may have overstepped just a bit. In an interview that ran in the New York Times about his new book called Masters, he quite openly said that there were no black or R&B artists in it, because they were not able to articulate properly. I know, I felt the same way reading that. Minutes later, he was let go by the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which he helped start with Ahmet Ertegun way back in 1983.

Ahmet Ertegun

His Like A Rolling Stone autobiography book was quite an indulgent read last year, but Wenner has in the last several years suffered several health set backs and it was pointed out that he may not be in his right mind. Still, he should have spoken way more carefully. I’ve known Wenner for decades and trust me, he feels he’s way entitled, and that said, you can rest assured that there were dozens and dozens of people (and former employees) waiting to take him down.

The sad fact is that most of the accusations are true. That said, let’s face it Rolling Stone magazine in it’s heyday was a miraculous outlet for so much music and terrific journalism – from Ben Fong-Torres to Hunter Thompson and Jann himself .. it was distinguished. Now, he may have killed it all.

Rolling Stine magazine Monday posted this – essentially disowning his from the magazine: “Jann Wenner’s recent statements to the New York Times do not represent the values and practices of today’s Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner has not been directly involved in our operations since 2019. Our purpose, especially since his departure, has been to tell stories that reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that shape our world. At Rolling Stone’s core is the understanding that music above all can bring us together, not divide us.”

Here’s the report from Deadline:

FILE – Drew Barrymore attends the Time100 Gala, celebrating the 100 most influential people in the world, at Frederick P. Rose Hall, April 26, 2023, in New York. The National Book Awards dropped Barrymore as the host for this year’s ceremony, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, a day after her talk show taped its first episode since the Hollywood writers strike began. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

DREW’S BLUES — Boy, what did Drew Barrymore ever do to deserve the treatment she’s been through with the media. Sure, her ideas to bring back her daily-chat fest was a good one, for the right reasons, but everyone from Rosie O;’Donnell to the trade papers have bounced on her like madmen. I never met her, don’t hate her, but really … let’s get back to something real, like these Russell Brand-accusations!

SHORT TAKES — We finally caught David Bryne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love and absolutely loved it. I remember it well when it premiered at the Public Theater way back when and knew they were trying to get it to Broadway. Honestly, I never thought twice about the Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos story, but the play was riveting then and it remains now. They’ve outfitted NYC’s magnificent Broadway Theater with disco-balls galore and club-lighting and the immersive experience is terrific. Here’s a great re-cap of the play’s evolution from Theatre Guide:

Chris Carter and Micky Dolenz – Breakfast With The Beatles

Micky Dolenz appeared on Sunday’s Breakfast With The Beatles with Chris Carter (on KLOS) and talked about his new Dolenz Sings R.E.M. on Glenn Gretlund’s 7a Records. He also talked about his time with The Beatles and John Lennon. Carter also played a mash-up of Monkees and Beatle-songs which was done in England and it was superb. Here’s a shot from the event at LA’s Hard Rock Cafe on Highland and Hollywood Blvd. … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor and Benny Harrison at Monday’s Cutting Room tribute to Burt Bacharach … RIP Sammy Ash …

Jimmy Buffet

I’ve been thinking the best way to describe Jimmy Buffet and I saw this headline in LA Magazine: leisure evangelist– and it fits perfectly …

Happy Bday Donnie Kehr and Richard Branciforte.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash: Robbie Robertson; Carol Ruth Weber; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Andrew Gans; Kathy Brown; Roger Clark; Chris Boneau; Tricia Daniels; Dan Zelinski; Benny Harrison; Steve Walter; Gil Friesen; Donna Dolenz; Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash; and ZIGGY!

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The Glorious Corner



STRIKE UPDATE— (Via TV Line) “9-1-1, what’s your TV emergency?” The dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes need to be resolved by the end of this month if scripted primetime fare such as 9-1-1: Lone Star and The Cleaning Lady are to return with new episodes in the 2023-24 TV season, says Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn.

When last we tuned in, 29 days ago, the WGA had countered the AMPTP’s latest offer; no next meeting has been scheduled. Things are proceeding even slower on the SAG-AFTRA front. Sources tell TVLine that it will take scripted shows roughly eight weeks to get back into production once the strikes are resolved.

 “You’re going get to a point in the fall, in the late fall, where it’s going to be very hard to launch [scripted shows] within the traditional TV viewing season,” Thorn told our sister site Deadline.

If the strikes are resolved later than October 1, that’s where difficult scheduling decisions will have to be made.

“If that means the [delayed scripted] show could work and succeed in the summer [of 2024], great,” Thorn said. Or, “If it’s better to wait for the fall and use football and sports” to promote/launch scripted seasons, “we’ll do that.

“You could use October 1 as the date” by which the writer and actor strikes need to be settled,” Thorn added. “Every show is different but sometimes when you’re staring at a May launch date, you always wonder, ‘Is that the best time?’” to premiere a season/series

Fox’s fall TV slate features one full night of scripted animated fare (on Sundays), while the rest of the week is rife with multiple Gordon Ramsay cooking competitions, new seasons of Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, Name That Tune and The Masked Singer, 9-1-1: Lone Star reruns, the new, David Spade-hosted Snake Oil game show, and, of course, Friday Night SmackDown.

But whenever the magical day comes for live-action scripted fare to return to our screens, “we’re going to return those shows with vigor,” Thorn avowed. “We really pride ourselves on ‘less is more’ and we were fortunate to be able to really put our money where our mouth is in that regard. When we return, Animal Control is going to get the full backing of this far-reaching platform [as will] John Wells’ new show, Rescue: Hi-Surf, when we launch it.”

Several columns back we posited that the strike might just be settled by Labor Day .. and we were lambasted with emails from a scattering of actors, writers and below-the-line talent that it would not be. They were right. As Gordon Gekko said, greed is good. Is it? Let’s all make nice and good back to work.

SHORT TAKES — As you may know the Toronto Film Festival has been going on and the two films that have received the most buzz are the Paul-Simon/Alex Gibey doc,

Michael Keaton

In Restless Dreams and Knox Goes Away starring Michael Keaton, who also directs, with Al Pacino, can’t wait to see both. Bravo! …The latest episode of Hulu’s Only Murders In The Building was just OK. So far, this third season has totally underwhelmed us. We said a few columns back it was most likely due to the fact that Martin hasn’t written any of the episodes so far. Why? I have no idea. Matthew Broderick played himself, but with a little more anxiety than usual, but the real highlight of this episode was a video-phone call between Martin Short and Mel Brooks. Irresistibly funny … Hard to believe that it’s the 25th anniversary of MTV’s ground-breaking TRL Live (Total Request Live).

Carson Daly

Carson Daly did a nice remembrance on Thursday’s Today Show, even citing John Norris and Kurt Loder, who were key correspondents. They taped many of the shows at NYC’s long-gone Palladium (now an NYU dorm), but many, many memories come to mind; Hall & Oates rehearsing in their dressing room

Debbie Gibson at Z100 on The Morning Zoo

and running into Debbie Gibson is one. Daly pointed out -and rightly so- TRL was a fan-driven show, where viewers had to request what to hear. These days I guess it’s just a download. Much missed for sure …

Carrie Underwood

Funny watching Carrie Underwood this morning; as she she reminded me so much of Shania Twain. from the music, to her visuals. As always, her “Before He Cheats” is tremendous and a big crowd pleaser … It’s a funny world for sure.

RL Stine

When RL Stine’s Goosebumpsfirst debuted in 1992, it was heralded as refreshingly new, both for the kid-demo and its brilliance. There were a few attempts at a series (even with Stine introducing them) and even a movie in 2015 that did just so-so. Now, with Netflix’s Stranger Things having hit a home run, Disney+ is starting a series, with Justin Long, that appears to veer dangerously close to Stranger Things. Also, oddly enough, Stine does not appear to be involved with it. He says: “I wish I knew something about it. I’m not in the loop. It looked to me like they weren’t going to do an anthology show. They were going to do something different that was some kind of continuing story. That’s what it appeared. But I have no information about it.” It begins on October 31. Have a look at the trailer:

Seeing Here Lies Love Saturday night, can’t wait …

Mary Wilson and Bernie Taupin

Great Bernie Taupin interview on NY Live with Sara Gore. They’re friends, so the interview as sensational. Check it out:

Love Bernie and Sara! …Happy Bday Randy Jones and Amy Billings!

NAMES IN THE NEWS —Andrew Sandoval; Jacqueline Boyd; Alison Martino; Robert Funaro; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Roy Trakin; Daryl Estrea; Glenn Gretlund; Jane Blunkell; Roger Friedman; Felix Cavaliere; Dan Mapp; Jim Kerr; Sam Rubin; Liz White; Grace Mendoza; Roy Trakin; and ZIGGY!

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The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

SAJAK’S WHEEL –— (Via TV Insider) Pat Sajak returned Monday, September 11, for what is sure to be a momentous and emotional season, as long-time host Pat Sajak takes center stage for one last time.

Sajak announced his retirement back in June, stating that the upcoming 41st season would be his last, with his final episode set to air in June 2024. He will be replaced by American Idol’s  Ryan Seacrest, who will take over hosting duties from Season 42 onward.

The future of Sajak’s long-time co-host, Vanna White, is still up in the air. While she will be part of Season 41, there have been reports of contract disputes in recent months, with White said to be looking for her first pay raise in 18 years. Whether she sticks with the show after Sajak’s departure remains to be seen.

We do know that White will miss an entire week’s worth of episodes next month. The famous letter-turner missed the Teachers Week block of tapings in late July after she caught COVID-19. Instead of postponing, the show continued with California-based “Teacher of the Year” recipient Bridgette Donald-Blue filling in as letter-turner.

Regardless of what happens next, it has been a heck of a ride over the past 40 years with Sajak and White at the helm.

Sajak took over Wheel from Chuck Woolery in 1981, and White came on board a year later. Things got off to an awkward start, with the pair not yet having the fantastic chemistry they would develop in later years.

“My knees were shaking, my mouth was quivering, I could barely talk,” White told the  Grand Forks Herald in a 2007 interview.

Sajak thought White’s nerves would doom the show, saying in a 2020 interview with  CBS News Sunday Morning, “I didn’t recommend Vanna, and Vanna knows this. Not that she wasn’t lovely and wonderful and personable and all that, but she was the most nervous, by far, of any of [the auditonees].”

Once the initial nerves faded, the duo developed an incredible rapport that viewers loved. In fact, the pair’s on-screen chemistry led to plenty of rumors that they were a romantic couple, something that both White and Sajak have poked fun at over the years.

The iconic game show duo even pulled off a prank, pretending they’d gotten into a relationship together.

“Years and years ago, we did an April Fool’s joke, I don’t know if we said we were married, but we said something about being together, and we received toasters,” White recalled in a 2007 interview with the Television Academy Foundation.

As for Sajak, he shared his thoughts on whether they could have made it as a real-life couple.

“I don’t know how we would’ve done as a couple,” he shared. “We’re together a lot when we are together, and even if you did get on each other’s nerves, and I don’t know that we do, but even if you did, we go our separate ways, and we don’t see each other for two weeks. Every marriage in America would be successful if it were lived that way.”

But by all accounts, Sajak and White have never had a falling out or even a major argument. In an interview with Fox News Digital in 2019, White said, “Believe it or not, Pat Sajak and I have only had one argument in 36 years, and that was over putting ketchup on a hotdog,” adding that she likes ketchup and mustard while Sajak is a mustard only kind of guy.

Strange New Worlds

STRANGE NEW TREK –— The Tiffany-network CBS (and, am I the only one still calling it that I wonder?) pulled a fast one last week in celebration of Star Trek Day on September 8 – it being 57 years since the original series first launched on the network for two seasons – by showing the first two episodes of Paramount+’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on linear TV. It’s ironic that the TV-pundits cited two distinct reasons for the event, firstly, that the networks are running out of shows, and, it was akin to what CBS did several years back during the pandemic when they ran the full-series of Star Trek: Discovery – which was a pretty good show itself. The sudden crenelation of the show was abrupt and caused much speculation as to why. It was, for the record, never really answered.

As a true-Trekker (not Trekkie), there have been so many iterations of Star Trek and the various Star Trek universes, I’m even a bit confused by how they keep coming up with these shows. I guess it just goes to show… a good idea, is a good idea.

Worlds is suppose to occur even before the original series, but the look, the graphics, the CGI is quite amazing. Anson Mount essays Christopher Pike who we know was the original captain of The Enterprise, but was severely wounded. His character lived on in the series, and the character again has factored into several of the Trek-movies J.J .Abrams did. Mount is actually superb and embodies the spirit of Kirk. There’s a new Spock  too (Ethan Peck) and one by one, the characters we’ve known for decades come into play.

The pilot episode was quite good and the second one reminded me of the original Trek-episode in 1968, A Piece Of The Action. The two-shows actually captured the heart-and-soul of the original … and that ain’t an easy thing to do. I’m already overloaded with streaming channels and unfortunately won’t be getting Paramount+. I would have loved to have watched the rest of the shows.

Here’s what the Hollywood Reporter had to say:

Benny Harrison

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT BENNY — We’ve referenced keyboardist-extraordinaire Benny Harrison before in these pages, but we wanted to highlight his forthcoming solo effort, PAGES. We’ve heard it and it’s a terrific effort, rich in lyrical and musical content.

Benny, who’s performed with top caliber artists like Felix Cavaliere, Tommy James, Michael McDonald, Vernon Reid, and, Todd Rundgren, among others, just finished the album, co-produced by Mike Ciro (Alicia Keyes and Alejandro Sanz). The first single “Soon,” will be available shortly.

Benny, whose roots go back, played in The Spyders who had a regular run at the late-great and much-missed China Club. There he met bassist Will Lee, who introduced him to Paul Shaffer and things began to click. In fact, in-session-circles, Harrison is often referred to as “The Legend,” Not a bad nickname to have. One other good nickname is “The Boss.”

Felix Cavaliere said of Harrison: Benny Harrison is an amazing talent. His love for music , his energy and enthusiasm separates him from all the rest. He is not just a musician he is family.”

We’ll have an exclusive interview with Harrison coming up.

Micky Dolenz guests on Chris Carter’s Breakfast With The Beatles this Sunday, September 17, broadcast live from LA’s Hard Rock Cafe on Highland and Hollywood. He’ll talk about his new EP Dolenz Sings R.E.M. (via 7a Records); his forthcoming book I’m Told I Had A Good Time and his show at  L.A.’s  Ace Theatre on September 22. Chris’ show is broadcast on KLOS and SiriusXM … New Van Morrison album titled Accentuate The Positive. A collection of Van’s favorites. Here’s the first track: “Shakin’ All Over” –

Since I’ve been viewing The Band’s Last Waltz of late, no doubt one of the best highlights of the show is Morrison’s “Caravan.” Simply magnificent. Also, the last number of the show, Dylan’s “I Shall be Released” with The Band; Neil Young, Ronnie Wood; Ringo Starr; Eric Clapton; Dr. John; Ronnie Hawkins; Neil Diamond and Morrison. Amazing! … The Alex Gibney/Paul Simon doc In Restless Dreams, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this week to rave revives. It’s long – almost three hours – but Screen Daily said: On the one hand, In Restless Dreams benefits from not being forced to justify some laboured thematic conceit, but on the other, the straightforward career recounting can become pedestrian. Then again, this is where the catalogue of hits helps: audiences will be happily humming along from start to finish. I can’t wait to see it . Simon’s a master ...
RIP Ruschell Boone and Happy BDay Marsha Stern and Joyce Moore!

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Book Reviews

Keith F. Girard’s The Curse Of Northam Bay



G.H. Harding

Author Keith Girard says, “The idea for this book, literally, came to me in a dream. I was anxious to write a horror story since I’ve long admired Stephen King’s work and wanted to challenge myself. Once I got the idea, I put aside a dystopian science fiction book I was writing and devoted myself to this project. But I have to confess, while it started out as a macabre tale, it morphed into something else. I quickly strayed from the standard horror genre. I was intrigued by the Salem witch trials, which were supposed to be the basis for this story. But the more I looked into it, the more I became fascinated by the political, sociological, and religious factors that gave rise to the hysteria.”

Keith F. Girard

Girard has a fascinating background as a writer: The Washington Post; Billboard; and this book, the follow-up to his Heidelberg Conundrum, is as richly rewarding as you’d want.

We sat with Keith for an exclusive T2C-interview:

G.H Harding: Give us a little bit on your background

Keith Girard: I grew up in a family with two brothers and a sister. My mother was English and met my father while he was stationed in England during World War II. After the war, they married and she came to the U.S. to live. My father was in the Air Force and after his military career ended, he worked for aerospace companies. I grew up as a military brat and we moved almost every two years. It was hard at times but also gave me a unique perspective on life, and having an international background also helped broaden my horizons. I’ve always had an interest in history, science and current events, because we lived them daily. Two of my siblings are, literally, rocket scientists. But I was drawn to writing at an early age. It came very naturally to me, and I decided to pursue it as a career, although it was against my father’s wishes. So, I guess I was a bit of a rebel, too.

G.H Harding: What was your first book The Heidelberg Conundrum about?

Keith Girard: The Heidelberg Conundrum contains all the elements that I mentioned above. At its root, it’s science fiction novel about time travel, but it’s also a historical novel that touches World War II, the atrocities that took place in Germany and their connections with the present day. It focuses on a young physicist who gets his “dream job” that turns out to be something quite different. He’s hired to solve the “Heidelberg Conundrum,” a 400-year-old mathematical equation that is thought to be the key to time travel. Think “The Da Vinci Code” meets “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with a science fiction twist.  The book is a dark journey that takes readers back to the last days of the war and Nazi decadence and into interstellar space.

G.H Harding: What do you think makes a good novel?

Keith Girard: I personally like science fiction because the limits are boundless and because it lends itself so easily to political and social commentary. The Heidelberg Conundrum has all three. For contemporary fiction, I think Tom Wolfe’s writing embodies what I mean. Also, writers like Joseph Heller; “Catch 22” is one of my favorite novels, and almost anything Wolfe has written. I love Hunter Thompson’s singular writing style and biting satire.  But I also admire the great science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert. I grew up reading them.

G.H Harding: Billboard was the music industry’s go-to trade paper; what did you discover about the music industry during your time there?

Keith Girard: Billboard was a fantastic publication with a long history, but it was failing because of demographic and technological changes in the music industry. I was hired to turn it around, because I had a successful track record turning around two previous publications. If it ever had a chance to succeed, Billboard had to leave behind its legacy past, embrace technological change sweeping the industry and broaden its reach. Billboard was always a trade newspaper. Its readership base was made up of thousands of independent music stores across the country. It was the most economical way for record labels to market to them. But record stores fell by the wayside as big box retailers moved into that space. The MP3 revolution and streaming was the death knell. Talk about disruptive technology! The record industry was thrown into turmoil because it lost two important segments of its business – production and distribution. Any kid with a computer could reproduce identical copies of a song, over and over, and distribute it over the Internet to thousands of other kids. I saw Billboard as a great opportunity to reinvent itself. But legacies, especially as strong as Billboard’s, die hard, and the resistance to change, in the end, was too great.

G.H Harding: What do you think about Billboard’s decision to become a more of a consumer book?

Keith Girard: By and large it was a pretty significant strategic mistake. Billboard had a unique niche as a business newspaper focused on music. There was a lot of discussion about turning it into a consumer publication while I was there, but I opposed it. The consumer market was already saturated, and Rolling Stone dominated. When I joined Billboard, it had a circulation of about 26,000; Rolling Stone had a circulation of 3 million. There’s no way, Billboard could ever dent that, and it made no sense to give up a niche that Billboard owned. So, my efforts turned to broadening its audience. There was plenty of fertile ground. Plus, it was a way to build circulation and attract new advertisers. So, I greatly expanded coverage of touring, music management, music technology and musical instruments, all from a business angle, not just records and the record industry. Because Billboard readers were mostly affluent music professionals, it was also an untapped sell-through for luxury goods, from BMW to Rolex watches. We also made great inroads with guitar makers like Gibson, which loved the idea we were writing about musical instruments. Under my tenure, our Music and Money conference expanded and we launched an East Coast touring conference. But I didn’t ignore the consumer market. Our outreach to consumers was through our main website ( We supplemented that with mini-sites focusing on business (billboardbiz), and the professions, agents, lawyers and managers. I think another big mistake was turning Billboard into a consumer magazine format. I spoke to dozens of music people at all levels and they wanted the kind of hard news Billboard was known for, and they liked seeing their artists on the front page. I could go on, but strategically that’s were Billboard went wrong in my opinion.

G.H Harding: The Salem Witch trials were always a hotbed of controversy; what did you discover in writing the new book?

Keith Girard: As you know, early Colonial America was a very dark period in our history, riven by superstition, fear and a belief in a literal God and Devil. But the more I looked into it, the more I discovered the period was marked by many of the same social and political undercurrents that exist today. That’s why I wrote the book in two parts, one focusing on 17th century New England and the other on contemporary society as it evolved in the same quaint fishing village over time. The Salem witch trials were fueled in large part by petty jealousies, religious differences, intolerance, greed and money. Often land disputes were at the root of witch craft allegations. Not surprisingly, those same forces are still embedded in our civic and political culture, today. That’s where I saw the parallels that make this story intriguing.

G.H Harding: How would you best describe Northam Bay?

Keith Girard: Northam Bay is a microcosm of everything that’s tearing at the seams of our society, today. There are class distinctions and disruption caused by new technology and new residents that have both a positive and negative affect on the town. I spent years as a reporter writing about small-town politics and graft, and Northam Bay is infected with schemers and grifters who will use everything, including murder, and stop at nothing to get their way. When you get down to it, it’s a tale about the growth of suburbia, and corruption in high places that shape our modern-day world. Plus, it’s generally a nice place to live, except, of course, for a curse that’s existed since the 1700s. And, it has a healthy dose of satire.

G.H Harding: What can you tell us about the Washington Post that would surprise us?

Keith Girard: Well, I worked as a reporter for The Washington Post in the mid-1980s. It was a decade after it rose to national prominence because of Watergate, and from the outside, it looked like this impenetrable colossus of infinitely brilliant people. I grew up reading the newspaper in high school. My father hated it, so I had to pay for my own subscription.  I literally dreamed, one day, of working there. The odd thing was, once I was a reporter, my whole perspective changed. Let me first say, the 1980s was the golden era of newspapers, before the Internet and social media. The paper was huge; 500 reporters, a newsroom as big as a shopping mall and a huge cross-section of people. But there was one thing, it didn’t lose when it became a national newspaper. It was still a family business and felt that way. Kay Graham was still running the company along with her son, Donnie, and they were totally accessible. I saw them often when I was in the newsroom. The legendary Ben Bradlee was still the executive editor. If there ever was an imposing figure, it was him, a Harvard educated Boston Brahmin who hung out with Jack Kennedy. But as a boss, he was the most down-to-earth, relatable human being I’ve ever worked for. The Post had its share of eccentric characters, effete editors and genuine jack-asses, but it truly felt like a family to me, even it was more like The Royal Tenenbaums than Leave it to Beaver.

G.H Harding: As an astute journalist and editor, what do you read on a daily basis?

Keith Girard: I still read The Post and The New York Times daily and have online subscriptions to both. I also subscribe to Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.  Otherwise, the nice thing about the Internet is that it gives you access to so many publications. I’m constantly surfing dozens of newspapers and magazines, looking for great reads. For some odd reason, I’m particularly drawn to British newspapers: The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Guardian, The Times of London, and so on. Maybe it’s just the British in me.

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The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

FALLON MATTERS — Rolling Stone magazine, once the prima-donna-domain of all things music, now a hopelessly out-of-date rag, posted an article about about the so-called goings-on at NBC’s Tonight Show this week. Damning evidence about host Jimmy Fallon followed and quotes from 16 people who did work there, but no longer do.

I was with a PR-friend at the show in late-February, he had a client on the Tonight Show and I have to say right off, I was totally impressed by how professional everyone was there. From the runners to producers to Jimmy himself who came over and spent some time with the client … everything was working well.

If you’ve never been behind the stage at a TV show, it’s a rather fascinating turn as there are so many things, all going on at once, it’s a tad disorienting. That night at The Tonight Show, there was a rehearsal in progress; a sound check; jokes being re-written; and even Fallon himself joining in the rehearsal … but it all flowed perfectly.

Roger Friedman had an great column discussing these smash-and-grab pieces and how these so-called behind the scenes interviews are all the rage. There was one done in The Atlantic on Jeff Licht (CNN) and he was summarily dismissed the next day; those stories on actor Chris Noth were never proven and that Ellen Degeneres article essentially ended her show. And, off course, ones on Warners’ David Zaslav kind of come daily. Here Roger’s column:

In the Stone story there was a reference to when Jerry Seinfeld was on and asked Fallon to apologize to someone Fallon had yelled at. Per Seinfeld, that never happened. I don’t know the writer, but clearly there are many, many flaws there. If you’re not there, stories like these are a tease and supposedly a look behind the curtain, but how can you check the accuracy?

That said, I’m quite certain that there were serious matters at The Tonight Show that got out of hand, but the fact of the matter is that it’s his name Jimmy Fallon, on the marquee and if he’s not happy, then it should be fixed.

JIMMY BUFFET — (Via Deadline) The album Jimmy Buffet completed before the “Margaritaville” singer’s death on Sept. 1 will be released on the Sun label November 3, with three songs “Bubbles Up,” “My Gummie Just Kicked In” and “Like My Dog” available to hear now.

Equal Strain On All Parts marks Buffett’s first record of new music since 2020, and among its 14 songs are collaborations withPaul McCartney, Emmylou Harris, Angelique Kidjo and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Buffett died earlier this month of Merkel cell skin cancer.

The album’s tracks include a cover of Bob Dylan’s 1976 song “Mozambique,” with Emmylou Harris, who sang on the Dylan original, joining Buffett for the cover.

McCartney plays bass on “My Gummie Just Kicked In” and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band features on “University of Bourbon Street.” “Ti Punch Café” features Angelique Kidjo and “Portugul or PEI” features Lennie Gallant and Will Kimbrough.

The album was produced by Michael Utley and Mac McAnally of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band.

There’s no question that Buffet was an acquired taste, but how can you not love his attitude. “Bubbles Up” is a testament to a lifestyle has chose, made and lived. Rest easy Jimmy!

Check out “Bubbles Up”: 

Olivia Rodrigo

SHORT TAKES — Disney-princess Olivia Rodridgo was the Today Show’s musical guest on Friday; drawing a huge crowd. Her band, all female, were great, but she was somewhat underwhelming. Today’s female pop-stars seems to relish these confessional type of songs. Her “Get Him Back” sounded like a letter to a bestie. In my day it was “A Horse With No Name,” “Don’t Stop The Dance” or “Hotel California.” Things have indeed changed …

Painted From Memory

Steve Walter’s Cutting Room in NYC hosts a Burt Bacharach tribute on Monday , September 18. Both Walter and I agree that the album Burt did with Elvis Costello, Painted From Memory (1998) is a classic. The Cutting Room show, titled Love Burt, The Songs of Burt Bacharach, should be great. WOR’s Tom Cuddy; Benny Harrison; and PR-pasha David Salidor will most certainly be in the house … Bruce Springsteen, felled by a peptic ulcer canceled a slew of shows, but will resume in October. Of all the things to sideline The Boss, an ulcer would have been my last guess. Still, his shows in Jersey last week were tremendous. 3 hours-plus …

Bernie Taupin

The forthcoming autobiography from Bernie Taupin, Scattershot, is out next week and from an interview in New York Magazine by the great Jim Farber, sounds like a must-read. Taupin, to me, is a somewhat unheralded music superstar. Check this interview out:

Here’s the cover of The Rolling Stones’ new album Hackney Diamonds. Right on the cutting edge, we love it! …

SIGHTING: Micky Dolenz at Crabby Jack’s in Ocean City … Happy Bday Randy Klein; Stephaneie Simon Claffey;  and Vinny Rich!

Steve Walter

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Bobby Bank; Jeff Smith; Paul Undersinger; George Vargas; Andrew Sandoval; Steve Leeds; Steve Walter; Terry Jastrow; Suan Hathaway; Deb Caponetta; Ed Steinberg; Patti Smith; Ken Sharp; Mike Greenblatt; Kent and Laura Denmark; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Daryl Estrea; Jane Blunkell; James Clash; Carol Ross; and CHIP!

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