HEARD SWITCHING TEAMS — (Via New York Post) Amber Heard is so upset over the coverage she’s been getting in her court battle with Johnny Depp that she abruptly switched to a new PR team ahead of her highly anticipated testimony this week, The Post has learned.
The “Aquaman” actress ditched crisis PR firm Precision Strategies on Thursday after getting frustrated with the press she’s received since her bombshell defamation trial kicked off last month, sources said.
“She doesn’t like bad headlines,” a source noted.
Another source said Heard, 36, is “frustrated with her story not being told effectively.”
Depp, 58, is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming his ex-wife defamed him in a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post where she discussed being a victim of domestic violence.
Heard’s lawyers argue that Depp abused the actress physically and sexually.
The actress — who is expected to take the stand in Fairfax, Va., as soon as Tuesday — now has consulting firm Shane Communications on retainer to help her get across her side better in the court of public opinion, sources said.
The sudden PR switch came after several brutal days of court testimony from Depp witnesses and a fiery social-media mob that turned against Heard.
Her new PR team, led by CEO David Shane, has worked against Depp before.
The firm helped highlight allegations lodged by Depp’s former business managers, The Management Group, alleging that the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star needed to hire a shrink for his “compulsive spending” habit of $2 million per month.
Still, communications experts told The Post that Heard’s new flacks have an uphill battle ahead of them.
“After years of narrative building, you can’t change the public’s opinion in the three weeks when someone is suing you in a case,” said a crisis management PR insider.
Ex-Pete Buttigieg campaign maven Lis Smith said, “It’s crazy to change teams in the middle of a trial like this because you don’t like the headlines.”
She said Heard’s former PR firm, Precision Strategies, which was co-founded by ex-Obama adviser and deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, is “one of the best crisis firms” — “but they can’t rewrite the history of what’s happened.”
The actress never wanted cameras in the courtroom in the first place, but Depp’s team won the fight to have the entirety of the trial testimony livestreamed, meaning neither team could cherry-pick what information made its way out of the courtroom.
To date, the trial has featured photos of feces, severed digits and melted ice cream — as well as a discussion about Depp’s penis.
Interest in the sensational case has led to the courthouse in Virginia turning into a circus, with scores of Depp fans — some of whom have traveled from as far as Australia — packing the gallery.
Precision Strategies, Shane Communications and reps for Depp declined to comment to The Post on Heard’s PR switch.
The actor was not named in the Washington Post essay at the center of the Virginia trial, but he claims it clearly referenced him and ruined his career, damaged his reputation and cost him tens of millions of dollars.
Depp, who has denied the abuse allegations, told the jury he brought the suit to clear his name.
Heard’s lawyers claim that his denials are not credible because he was often too drunk or high to recall what happened.
Depp lost a similar lawsuit in the UK against the Sun over an article that called him a “wife beater.”
The pair met on the set of the 2011 flick “The Rum Diary’’ and wed in 2016 before divorcing the next year.
With the firing of Disney’s Geoff Morrell last week, it seems like it’s open season on PR-people! We asked PR-maven David Salidor for his take: “Crisis PR is a double-edged sword; if things go according to your plan, it’s a win-win. If it doesn’t, and there’s really no sure-fire way to predict, you’re going to be out. I’ve followed this trial somewhat and it’s a mess from start to finish, but for Heard to change her team literally a week before she’s on the stand evidences some real fears. Depp’s PR-people are probably celebrating already. I think the one take away from this whole trial is how both careers have been irrevocably damaged. It’s tragic all around.”
BIG MAL — (Via Forgotten Hits) Mal Evans, longtime roadie and companion of The Fab Four kept diaries of all their comings and goings … which are now going to be released in book form! (Talk about a unique, fly on the wall perspective!!!) Mal was their sidekick and confidant throughout Beatlemania, serving as both roadie and road manager beginning in 1963 and carrying on right up thru the Apple Records years, working as their personal assistant. (He even produced Badfinger’s “No Matter What” single for the label!) He remained close with the Fabs right up until his untimely death in 1976 when he was shot dead by California Police after pointing a rifle at them (reportedly while on Valium and confused)
Noise 11 is reporting that the estate of Mal Evans has teamed with Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack, PhD, to publish the biography of Mal Evans sourced from his diaries, manuscripts and photographs.
Mal Evans diaries were discovered in a publisher’s basement in New York in 1986 and returned to his family. The Estate of Mal Evans has now teamed up with Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack, PhD, to see these memoirs published. (Under the HarperCollins Dey Street Books banner, Womack is expected to develop the diaries into two volumes for release in 2023 and 2024.
(Womack has already authored other books on The Beatles, including “Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road” and the “End of the Beatles and John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life.”)
“What I’ve discovered in this archive is more than I could have ever truly imagined,” says Womack. “I am honored and thrilled to present this biography and accompanying materials with the historical integrity that they deserve.”
The first volume of the book, which will feature the full-length biography, will be published in 2023. A second volume, with the Evans’ diaries, manuscripts, and numerous other artifacts, to be published in 2024. (kk)
I’ve often wondered what happened to these so-called diaries from Evans and even if it was just a rumor. Mal was much more than a roadie – I believe he was a bouncer at the Cavern Club where he meet the future Fab Four. His death was a major blow to Beatle-aficionados everywhere. Sure, he was addled when he was shot, but the rifle he waved at police was an air rifle.
The other main “roadie” was Neil Aspinall who eventually rose to running Apple and continued too right up until his death in 2008. Their stories would make for a great read. I’ll be most curious to see this happen.
SHORT TAKES — Great piece from The Aquarian’s Mike Greenblatt on Micky Dolenz in advance of his upcoming date at the Count Basie Center (5-12) in Red Bank, NJ. Check it out: https://www.theaquarian.com/2022/05/02/rant-n-roll-last-monkee-standing/ … Speaking of Dolenz, he and Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future) were the big hits at last weekend’s Chiller Theatre in New Jersey. Our spy JR said that both stars had lines literally out the door. here’s Dolenz with TV’s Heather Thomas: The Fall Guy, remember? Congrats! … Last column we erred on referencing Dawn Wells at Chiller Theatre last weekend. Apologies all around … Robert Miller, apparently on-leave from his terrific Project Grand Slam aggregation had bassist Chuck Rainey on his podcast. Now, that’s a great guest …
Got to hand it to Carrie Underwood, who brought on of all people, Axl Rose, to sing “Sweet Child o’ Mine” at her Stagecoach appearance this past weekend. It was great to see Axl, looking years younger and a lot like Mike Myers! He sounded great, though he didn’t have the voice he had when Gun ‘n Roses began eons ago. Apparently Underwood’s a huge fan and has also been performing “Paradise City.” Go Carrie! … Keith Girard’s brilliant New York Independent infotainment-zine interviews Jazzheads prexy Randy Klein. We’ll have it for you shortly here too … Walked by one of my favorite spots last week, NYC’s Bowery Electric, still there and surviving. Good deal … Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman posited whether the after-party for this week’s Met Gala would be at Mt. Sinai. Great line. Bravo Roger! …
The Guardian in the UK has an absolutely riveting interview with one of my big favorites, Graham Nash. Just utterly brilliant. Check it out here: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/may/03/graham-nash-on-families-joni-mitchell-and-toxic-masculinity-if-you-could-kill-putin-would-you-i-would … RIP photographer Ron Gallela: probably the first and last of his kind. These days with outlets like TMZ, he would have been a king. I got to know him over the years and he was a gentle-soul for sure. When today’s stars show up an event, they want every photographer there. Gallela- a stone-cold classic for sure … Hard to believe there are only 3 episodes left of NBC’s This Is Us. What a show; and they’re finishing up stronger than ever… Happy Cinco de Mayo!
TAP 2 — (Via Rock Cellar) Doubling down after a May 2022 report that indicated everything was a go for a sequel to 1984’s classic comedy/music industry satire This Is Spinal Tap, filmmaker Rob Reiner has now confirmed that plans are taking shape in a big way.
Not only is the sequel on tap (pun intended) to begin filming in early 2024, but Reiner recently told comedian/podcast host Richard Herring that “everybody’s back” for the sequel. This no doubt refers to principal cast members Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest, though Tony Hendra (who portrayed the band’s manager, Ian Faith, passed away in 2021).
The U.K.’s Guardian notes that the plot will reportedly center on Faith’s death, after which his widow inherits a contract that requires the band to do one last concert. Reiner is also due to return in the character of film-maker Marty DiBergi, a figure supposedly based on Martin Scorsese, who had directed celebrated music documentary The Last Waltz in 1976.
What’s more, Reiner also spilled the beans that appearances from Sirs Paul McCartney and Elton John and Garth Brooks are in the works too, among what one must assume will be a million other amusing cameos. After all, a film as beloved and influential as the original This Is Spinal Tap counts pretty much every living musician as a fan (give or take), so you know the sequel will hold nothing back when it comes to the entertainment factor.
In the podcast, Reiner also talked about This Is Spinal Tap’s remarkable afterlife, culminating in selection for the National Film Registry in 2002, after its initially unfavourable reception on its first release. “To wind up in the National Film Registry, that’s bizarre,” Reiner said. “We previewed it in a theatre in Dallas, Texas, and the people didn’t know what the heck they were looking at. They came up to me afterwards and said, ‘I don’t understand, why would you make a movie about a band that no one has ever heard of, and they are so bad? Why would you ever do that? Why don’t you make a movie about the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?’ I would say, ‘It’s satire,’ and I tried to explain. But over the years people got it, and started to like it.”
Personally, I found the 1984 original movie just hilarious. Aside from a great send-up of the music biz, the cameos were just fascinating: Paul Shaffer as PR-man Artie Fufkin; Dana Carvey and Billy Crystal as ‘mime’ waiters; Fred Willard; Anjelica Houston; Russ Kunkel; Danny Kortchmar and Fran Drescher as promo-gal Bobbi Fleckman … all just inspired.
Reiner’s on a roll – his Albert Brooks doc Defending My Life is sensational. A must-see.
Maybe an update of The Monkees’ HEAD next?
SHORT TAKES — Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker tome hit #4 on theAmazon charts this week. Here’s a great review from Goldmine on the book by their Lee Zimmerman: https://l.messenger.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goldminemag.com%2Freviews%2Fjoe-cocker-book-shines-light-on-unfortunate-undercurrents-of-a-stars-career&h=AT2zaG2QKuxuHdpJO1nPHKaiO7IWkbAHCBRAeq3m4-J45axSc_wBott7ABve8Wcd7GpQC13gybDWb2Hale6D809pTdtqqmpDoxC4u6FLA7SNNJ2jHbVKKpSaH1kxX4Ide1AyXDJXSZL2idNWvOch4A
… Micky Dolenz sang “Silly Love Songs” at Monday’s Troubadour benefit for Denny Laine and our spy said he really rocked it. Maybe a Dolenz Sings McCartney album is next? … So, Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is authentic? Interesting choice for sure …
Writer and reporter Pablo Guzman passed this last weekend. An original member of The Young Lords, Guzman was a fierce fighter and brilliant writer. On Fox 5/Good Day NY for decades, he most recently was a reporter at WCBS. Here’s the Daily News take: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12799071/Legendary-NYC-news-anchor-Pablo-Guzman-dies-aged-73-Big-Apple-veteran-reporter-dubbed-son-Bronx-founded-Puerto-Rican-activist-group-Young-Lords-journalist.html …
And it’s official, the NY-launch for the Mark Bego Joe Cocker book will be Tuesday, January 9 at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Sara Gore; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Daryl Estrea; Tony King; Ace Shortly; Kjersti and Jeremy Long; Debbie Gibson; Van Dean; Liz Skollar; Maude Adams; Robert Vaughn; Steve McQueen; Zach Martin; Coati Mundi; Avery Sharp; Steve Walter; Gary Gershoff; Jane Blunkell; Kimberly Cornell; Paul Iorio; Lee Jeske; MArt Ostrow; Peter Shendell; Sharon White; and ZIGGY!
A CHER STEAL — This year’s 97th edition of the Macy’s Day Parade was a rather underwhelming one, save for Chicago – inexplicably singing “Your My Inspiration” – and the always, indefatigable Cher, singing a track “DJ Play a Christmas Song” off her new holiday-themed album. The first few bars will terribly auto-tuned, but that seemed to disappear and Cher’s vocals rang full and bold.
She was, typically, a pro. Mixing effortlessly and emotionally with the dancers in a terrific set. Some pundits reported the clip was shot days earlier, but she was live and, just sensational. I wish more of today’s performers possessed her vigor and skills. That’s why most of the current acts, here today, will be gone tomorrow.
As we went to press, we learned that this parade was Macy’s most-watched edition ever! Congrats.
HALL VS. OATES — Some terrible news appeared in Wednesday’s media that Daryl Hall had taken out a TRO against partner-John Oates. I’ve loved what these two have done for decades and I loved Hall’s solo albums; especially the one he did with Robert Fripp in 1977 Sacred Songs. His record company at the time (RCA) hated it so much, they held up its release for three years.
I also well remember them in the 80’s when it seemed you could’t turn on a radio without hearing their music. 29 of their 33 singles were major chart hits on Billboard. But I do go back to them even in the 70’s, with their terrific “She’s Gone” which basically launched them. And, my favorite album of their War Babies, produced by Todd Rundgren. Quick note: That album sounds as good and relevant as it did when it came out in 1974.
The problem seems to arise from Oates wanting to sell his portion of certain songs to Primary Wave Artists – which ironically owns several of their songs already. It’s a small point, but that seems to be the issue. In all actuality, it’s another case of a classic-rocker selling his music.
In Oates’ book several years ago (Change of Seasons: A Memoir), he hardly mentioned Hall and regrettably that animus has apparently reared its angry head. They’re Philly boys, I’m from Philly and it’s just an awful coda to what was one of music’s major success stories. Sad all around.
SHORT TAKES — Terrific article in this week’s Closer on Micky Dolenz. Check it out here: https://www.closerweekly.com/posts/micky-dolenz-on-telling-stories-on-stage-and-in-his-book/
btw: Dolenz tapes KTLA’s Countdown To 2024 this week in LA …
I first met Phil Quartararo in the lobby of the old Mondrian Hotel in LA with John Sykes and we struck up a friendship that lasted until he passed last week. He was at Virgin for a time and worked with the artists there including The Spice Girls and Paul Abdul. In these fast-changing-times in the music business, he remained somewhat behind the scenes of late, but admitted he missed working with the artists. Phil was a guy you never ever heard a bad word about. Huge loss. Here’s Billboard’s take on Phil:
… As you’ve not doubt read, there is trouble in the Marvel-comic kingdom. The latest Captain Marvel movie (The Marvels) didn’t perform nearly as well as everyone hoped for and their newest star, Jonathan Majors as Kang, is tied up in several court matters.
So, we hear that Kang is out and Doctor Doom is in. Stay tuned …
And Forbes’ James M. Clash has released Amplified; culled from his terrific interviews with the icons of rock ‘n roll; including Grace Slick; Art Garfunkel; Ginger Baker; Micky Dolenz; and Roger Daltry. Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNJZYW2J?ref_=cm_sw_r_apan_dp_WKCSH7AC0ZTK18RZF4ED&language=en-US NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Leeds; Kate Hyman; Bono; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Bobby Bank; Dina Pitenis; Frank DiLella; Donnie Kehr; Steve Leber; Don Wardell; Anne Adams; Billy Smith; John Boulos; Kimberly Cornell; Sam Rubin; Nexstar; and ZIGGY!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Michael Urie and Ethan Slater
With the holidays, my caricature of Spamalot is taking time, so I decided to highlight the two performers who for me stood out.
I have drawn Michael Urie several times, but I love this picture with him and my drawing of him in Buyer and Seller. Urie as Sir Robin, shows a new side of him that is truly funny.
Ethan Slater should have won a Tony for Sponge Bob Square Pants. My guess is he will be nominated again for his multiple roles in Spamalot.
Up next my caricature of Spamalot
NINA CHASE LIVES! — (Via Deadline) Shantal VanSanten is moving from FBI to FBI: Most Wanted for the latter show’s fifth season. She will reprise the role of Special Agent Nina Chase.
Nina is a well-seasoned FBI agent who is strong-willed, sharp and used to working undercover. The character was first introduced on the mothership series toward the end of Season 4 and she continued her recurring role in various episodes of Season 5 which concluded in May. Nina remains in a relationship with FBI’s Stuart Scola (John Boyd) as they raise their infant son Douglas together.
VanSanten is joining the cast following Alexa Davalos’ exit from FBI: Most Wanted, which Deadline reported exclusively in August. Their new season will debut on Tuesday, February 13.
The show is part of the massive Dick Wolff-empire and is actually a rather brilliant move; as the character has established itself on the other show and should fit nicely with Dylan McDermott and cast. The Wolff-machine just lost Jeffrey Donovan from Law & Order and recently installed their fifth showrunner on the much-troubled Law & Order: Organized Crime with Christopher Meloni; which is due to start their fourth season next year.
VanSanten also portrayed Karen Baldwin in the Apple TV+ show For All Mankind and was just terrific. Never heard of her before that show, but just a stunningly good performance, Nina Chase.
SHORT TAKES — Always read the posts. Loved this one: I was so confused! In Australia the show is called Morning Wars. And, yes, they were talking about Apple TV+’s Morning Show. That would be a more apt title … Looks like the NYC-launch for Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker-tome will be Tuesday, January 9 at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room. And Bego does an 11-city radio tour next week for Premiere Radio … Micky Dolenz’s R.E.M. cover of “Shiny Happy People hit #5 of the Heritage Chart in the U.K. … Every six months or so I read something about how The Starship’s “We Built This City” is the worst record of all time. Being home-bound for a time, I began hearing it regularly on my iHeart Hits of the 80’s and began to like it. Here’s a terrific summary of the song by Rob Tannenbaum. It’s actually hilarious: https://www.gq.com/story/oral-history-we-built-this-city-worst-song-of-all-time …
Deadline reported that NBC’s La Brea will end with a six-episode season next year. This is the show about a massive sinkhole in Hollywood that tuns into a time-travel escapade. Crazy writing, but somehow addictive. I found it a guilty-pleasure. Here’s the story: https://deadline.com/2023/11/la-brea-canceled-season-3-1235630123/ …
Sad that CBS’ Blue Bloods is ending after a spectacular 14-season run. I watched it when it started, then was out for a few seasons, but came back after Steve Schirripa joined the cast. Costs indeed did the show in, but you have to admit those family dinners which closed out each episode were sensational. Selleck, an icon. There’s not another show like this on TV right now; smart writing and brilliant acting. Treat Williams had a re-occurring role as an old mate of Selleck’s. Hope they do a proper tribute to him as he was stellar. Will be missed for sure … A 16-date Rolling Stones tour was announced Tuesday. Sponsored by AARP no less. Stones Tour 24 …
NY-Nightlife-Mayor Eric Adams seems to walking a tightrope – what with the ongoing FBI probe and city budget-cuts … Wintercon’s Frank Patz is interviewed for Medium today. It’s December 2 and 3 … Happy Thanksgiving!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Richard Johnson; Ian Mohr; Harvey Levin; Kimberly Cornell; Plastic EP; Jane Blunkell; Tony King; Dave Mason; Michael McDonald; Kenny Loggins; Fortune Benatar; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Race Taylor; Jim Kerr; Ken Dashow; Plastic EP; Brad Balfour; Frank Patz; and ZIGGY!
The Mayor of Times Square Interviews actress Sean Young on The Motivation Show Podcast
Sean Young was one of Hollywood’s leading actresses in the 1980’s. She starred in iconic movies like Blade Runner, No Way Out, Wall Street, Fatal Instinct and showed her comedic chops in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
She is now starring in the four act Play Ode to the Wasp Woman playing at the Actor’s Temple Theatre at 339 West 47 Street. Here are some excerpts from The Mayor of Times Square’s interview with Sean on The Motivation Show podcast:
Eli Marcus: When did you decide you actually wanted to be an actress and why?
Sean Young: I grew up primarily in Ohio, in Cleveland Heights, and we had this Black and White TV and after school they used to screen all the MGM musicals and I fell in love with Singin’ in the Rain and I had a massive crush on Gene Kelly like a lot of people. I became a bit of a retro movie buff. I even actually wrote to Gene Kelly and I have a signed autograph. I wanted to be the female version of Gene Kelly. That’s what started it. The number in Singin’ in the Rain called Moses Supposes, oh man, that used to blow my mind. Every time I saw it, I was just like…oh my god! And then I went to Interlochen Academy for my last two years in high school and then right after high school I came to New York City.
Eli Marcus: Why did you think you could make it in a profession where most people don’t? Is it self-confidence or something else that drove you?
Sean Young: I really don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that I have a lot of energy, at certain times quite bit of courage. You do need those two things. I’d probably be great in the army if I was wanting to be in the army, which I’m not.
Eli Marcus: What motivates you and drives you TODAY to continue to do what you do?
Sean Young: I’m not as motivated today because I love being at home and petting my cat and all of of that kind of thing. When my agent brought that to me it is pretty true that most actors like to work and I read it and I thought I would be a good fit for the Susan Cabot character. It’s a challenge, it’s a big challenge, but I am having a lot of fun with it. I always liked being in a group with other actors which is the case here. We cover four different tragic ends. One is Alfalfa, Carl Switzer, another is George Reeves, the Superman on TV. Then Susan Cabot. I guess you would call her a B movie actress and didn’t have a pleasant end in life. Then Barbara Payton who was also an actress and had a rough road. These are the four characters that are covered in the four acts.
Eli Marcus: What really intrigued you about this Play, what made you really sold on this, what really sung to you?
Sean Young: I felt I could do a really good job with it, let’s call it I felt like I could be of service to the director.
Eli Marcus: That’s another kind of twist. Most people are self-centered and you are like you could be of service to the Director, wow!
Sean Young: Self-centeredness is one of those qualities that show up quite a lot in show business. I have reached some enlightenment in life. I have a pretty much blissful life every single day I wake up. I appreciate things. I learned a lot. I’ve become very wise. I am capable of humility. I really like people in general unless they prove to me I shouldn’t. So it’s a good group, and I am having a lot of fun and I am enjoying working.
Eli Marcus is the host of The Motivation Show podcast. Listen to his full interview with Sean Young on any podcast platform like Apple Podcasts, Amazon Radio, Google Podcast, IHeart or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0NeDa0PqwteXf0UnfinyEU?si=3d286784e1154b2c. Contact Eli at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Eli on Facebook at TheMotivationShow, Instagram at EliMarcusPodcast and Twitter at TheEliMarcus.
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