SNYDER’S JLA —Here are just three quick headlines (from the New York Times; Vulture; and, San Francisco Chronicle) on Zach Snyder’s 4-hour (!!!) revision on his Justice League of America re-deux: ‘The Snyder Cut has its share of problems – when you get the best of Snyder, you also get the worst – but it’s an undeniably passionate and moving work ‘; ‘Snyder’s marathon cut of his film for HBO Max doesn’t add much to be happy about’ and, ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ turns a bad movie into an epic piece of art.’
Snyder’s first cut –which we will call from here on out- was kind of outlandish and entertaining, though, for me, the cartoon-ish character of Steppenwolf was a bit hard to fathom. That’s said, it was rather spectacular; and, to see the coterie of heroes (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg) was certainly fun – almost like an Avengers movie!
Did I like the first-cut? I did and when news first-broke of this 4-hour opus, I began to seriously wonder, what else could he throw in there. Again, for the record, Snyder’s 2009 Watchmen movie remains a huge favorite for me.
When Heaven’s Gate was released in 1980, its running time was 5 hours and 25 minutes. That movie also undid a film studio and was a running joke for decades. Years later, it was cut down, re-released and at last, gained some credibility. My motto for decades: less is more!
I will see Snyder’s new work …. and, I’ll pack a lunch!
MARY WILSON — We told you that celebrity-scribe Mark Bego attended Monday’s invitation-only funeral for Mary Wilson. Here’s the dispatch: Due to Covid restrictions, the funeral of late Supremes diva Mary Wilson was postponed until this week in Los Angeles. On Monday a gathering of family and close personal friends gathered to say their goodbyes at an “invitation only” viewing. The notable attendees included singer Freda Payne, record producer Eddie Holland, Claudette Robinson of The Miracles, songwriter Janie Bradford, actress Marla Gibbs, and author Mark Bego who co-wrote Mary’s recent Number One book “Supreme Glamour.” Motown Records’ Berry Gordy Jr. was represented by a huge arrangement of flowers. At the end of the final event her friends gathered in an arc in front of Mary and gave her a fitting champagne toast, which were her pre-arranged wishes. What a way to go!
NEW CAPTAIN —(Via Hollywood Reporter) Marvel Comics has unveiled a first look at a new Captain America.
The new character, Aaron Fischer, represents the first LGBTQ character to pick up Cap’s shield in the comic’s 80-year history.
Fischer is described as “the Captain America of the Railways — a fearless teen who stepped up to protect fellow runaways and the unhoused. Marvel Comics is proud to honor Pride Month with the rise of this new LGBTQ+ hero.”
The limited series is titled The United States of Captain America and follows “Steve Rogers teaming up with Captain Americas of the past — Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson and John Walker — on a road trip across America to find his stolen shield. Throughout the group’s journey, they’ll discover everyday people from all walks of life who’ve taken up the mantle of Captain America to defend their communities.” The series is written by Christopher Cantwell with art by Dale Eaglesham.
Here are a few more looks at the character:
“Aaron is inspired by heroes of the queer community: activists, leaders and everyday folks pushing for a better life,” said writer Joshua Trujillo, who pens the debut issue introducing Fischer. “He stands for the oppressed and the forgotten. I hope his debut story resonates with readers and helps inspire the next generation of heroes.”
“I want to thank Editor Alanna Smith and Joshua Trujillo very much for asking me to create Aaron,” added Jan Bazaldua, who draws the issue. “I really enjoyed designing him and as a transgender person, I am happy to be able to present an openly gay person who admires Captain America and fights against evil to help those who are almost invisible to society. While I was drawing him, I thought, well, Cap fights against super-powerful beings and saves the world almost always, but Aaron helps those who walk alone in the street with problems that they face every day. I hope people like the end result!”
The other new Captains will be introduced at a later date. The United States of Captain America hits stores June 2.
SHORT TAKES — Now, I’m looking forward to the return of Christopher Meloni to the Law & Order: SVU show as much as anyone, but, my God, I’ve must have seen that teaser at least three dozen times in the past week. I’m sure Meloni got this extra-promo push firmly inkedn his contract, but, OK, we get it. Believe me, this will be the highest TV rating event of the year on April 1 …
I just watched an almost 10-minute trailer for the new/old James Bond-movie No Time To Die. This trailer even showed some behind-the-scenes work with director Cary Joji Fukunaga – a big favorite of mine. If memory serves, this movie was originally supposed to come out last April and is now tentatively set for a release later this year. The trailer contained scenes from a past, present and future oeuvre; which was very compelling. I told you a few columns back that they had to go back and re-shoot some scenes as some of the technology depicted in the first-run, is now outdated. Ouch! … Interesting report on the Today Show about brain fog; I think there’s a lot of that going around …
Robert Miller’s podcast (Follow YourDream) with Michael ‘Eppy’ Epstein from the legendary My Father’s Place is superb. It goes live March 29 … A colleague of mine commented – when told we were still waiting for that Richard Perry book – that Perry himself must be livid over the distribution. There indeed was a delay, but it came out in February and it’s almost April … And Happy BDay Larry Yasgur!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Thomas Silverman; Monica Lynch; John Benitez; Tom& Lisa Cuddy; Anthony Noto; Robert Funaro; Sergio Kardenas; Nick Ware; Brad LeBeau; Melissa Davis; Deb Caponetta; Glenn Friscia; Vito Bruno; Billy Amendola; Bruce Goldberg; 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.
Photograph: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.
Join the Judy Garland and Fred Astaire tradition with the Easter Bonnet Parade on Fifth Avenue. There is also the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden or right at home the flower show at Macy’s. On select Fridays every month, you can enjoy Free Admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum between 5 pm and 9 pm.
Until 4/9: Macy’s Flower Show. The show includes beautiful, bright floral arrangements, special events including live music, and kids’ activities.
until 4/23: This is The Orchid Show‘s 20th year. Reconnect with nature while experiencing the picture-perfect beauty of the orchids. On select nights, adults can experience the exhibition through Orchid Nights, with music, cash bars, and food available for purchase.
4/1-30: Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival, hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, celebrates Japanese culture and the arrival of spring. It features a variety of cultural performances and activities, as well as a small flea market, tea ceremonies, and crafts. The highlight is the magnificent display of cherry blossom trees, with over 200 trees in full bloom. Visitors can admire the pink and white blooms and enjoy a traditional Japanese atmosphere. Tickets are usually around $40 for adults, though seniors and students get a reduced rate of $35.
4/7-16th: The New York International Auto Show. The first new york Auto Show took place in 1900, for over 120 years now they have been sharing what’s new and interesting in the auto industry.
4/9: The Easter Parade starts near St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 10am. The tradition dates back to the 1870s, where elaborate bonnets and fashion galore is full frontal.
4/15: The Tartan Day Parade is an NYC tradition that offers attendees a unique way to celebrate and honor Scottish culture. For the 25th year, there will be bagpipes, dancers, and even Scottish dogs marching in the parade. Attendance is free and open to the public. In addition to the parade, expect a whole week of Scottish-themed events and festivities.
4/15: The New York Restoration Project is giving out 3,500 free trees to New Yorkers across all five boroughs. To get one of the 3,500 free trees that will be given away, register in advance on this website, where you’ll also get to browse through the current list of distribution dates, times and locations.
4/15 and 29: f the likes of udon, yakitori, ramen, and taiyaki make your mouth water, then mark your calendar for Japan Fes in Chelsea. The event will be held from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and is considered a paradise for Japanese foodies and cultural enthusiasts.
4/16: Holi in The City demands food, music, dance, and fun while embracing people and organizations from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
4/22: Earth Daycelebrated in NYC with a festive, family-friendly outdoor fair in Union Square. There will be dozens of exhibitors, interactive displays, a green-vehicle show, family activities, music, and entertainment. 12-6pm.
4/27- 30: Antiquarian Book Fairnow in its 63rd year, this festival for book collectors at Park Avenue Armory for a full weekend of first editions, maps, manuscripts and other treasures from literary epochs past from nearly 200 exhibitors.
On Sunday, March 19, 2023, Hadestowncelebrated the first day of spring and the show’s recently-achieved milestone of 1,000 performances at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre.
The handsome artist with Anais Mitchell
On hand were songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin, Tony Award winner Lillias White, original Broadway cast member Jewelle Blackman as Persephone, Grammy Award winner Reeve Carney as Orpheus, Tony Award nominee Tom Hewitt as Hades, and two-time Tony Award nominee Eva Noblezada as Eurydice. were joined by Amelia Cormack, Shea Renne, and Soara-Joye Ross as the Fates. The chorus of Workers is played by Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Alex Puette, Trent Saunders, and Grace Yoo.
The winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards including Best New Musical and the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, Hadestown is the most honored show of the 2018-2019 Broadway season. In addition to the Tony and Grammy Awards, it has been honored with four Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical.
Following two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers, Hadestown delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience.
In the summer of 1941, Walt Disney’s top animator led hundreds of Disney artists out on strike, nearly breaking the studio. This is the true story of those two creative geniuses, plus a corrupt advisor and a mafia gangster, who collided to cause the greatest battle in Hollywood history.
An essential piece of Disney history has been unreported for eighty years.
Soon after the birth of Mickey Mouse, one animator raised the Disney Studio far beyond Walt’s expectations. That animator also led a union war that almost destroyed it. Art Babbitt animated for the Disney studio throughout the 1930s and through 1941, years in which he and Walt were jointly driven to elevate animation as an art form, up through Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia.
But as America prepared for World War II, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of animation artists went out on strike. Adding fuel to the fire was Willie Bioff, one of Al Capone’s wise guys who was seizing control of Hollywood workers and vied for the animators’ union.
Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcriptions from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.
Join a book talk with the author Jake S. Friedman on March 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, at The Lambs, 3 West 51st, 5th floor. RSVP@The-Lambs.org. The book will be available to be purchased and signed by the author.
Jake S. Friedman is a New York–based writer, teacher, and artist. He is a longtime contributor to Animation Magazine, and has also written for American History Magazine, The Huffington Post, Animation World Network, Animation Mentor, and The Philadelphia Daily News. For ten years he was an animation artist for films and television as seen on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Saturday Night Live. He currently teaches History of Animation at the Fashion Institute of Technology and at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The rest of his time he specializes in mental health for the creative psyche.
The moderator will be honorary Lamb Foster Hirsch, aprofessor film at Brooklyn College and the author of 16 books on film and theater, including The Dark Side of the Screen:Film Noir, A Method to Their Madness: The History of the Actors Studio, and Kurt Weill on Stage: From Berlin to Broadway.