BOWIE’S MOONAGE DAYDREAM —Director Brett Morgan’s much-anticipated David Bowie doc MoonageDaydream, was screened in Cannes the other day and Matthew Carey’s review in Deadline is pretty awesome. Morgan’s past docs on Kurt Cobain and The Rolling Stones were revealing and terrifically well done, so I’m expecting the same with his Bowie film; thew first sanctioned by his estate.
I’m a huge Bowie-fan (always have been) and have found the docs on him thus far good, but not great. Morgan’s work, which will be on HBO and HBO Max early next year, at least from this review, seems pretty sumptuous. Check it out here: https://deadline.com/2022/05/moonage-daydream-review-cannes-midnight-screenings-david-bowie-documentary-director-brett-morgen-news-1235031236/
One definitive Bowie (and addressed in the doc) moment occurred when he appeared on the Dick Cavett talk-show in the 70’s. Bowie, clearly addled from the start, was intro’d by Cavett with these words: “Who is he, what is he, where did he come from? Is he dangerous, smart, dumb… crazy, sane, man, woman, robot, what is this?”
A great TV moment I’ve never forgotten. Also, the performance (with David Sanborn on sax and Luther Vandross singing) of “Young Americans” is a classic., Check it out here:
Also, another quote from the review immediately resonated with me: “He didn’t reach out to the audience like an ingratiating performer—he drew them into his orbit with the gravitational force of his presence.”
No wonder John Lennon called him the last of the originals. Bowie lives!
PHONE FOMO — (Via W42 St.) Put away your quarters Midtown’s last remaining public phone booth has made its last call as city leaders gathered on Monday to commemorate the removal of the iconic symbol of New York life and the implementation of additional stumpy LinkNYC kiosks.
The payphone, located at 745 7th Avenue and W49th Street, was given a hero’s salute by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and the LinkNYC C-suite before being sent to the Museum of the City of New York to be displayed as part of their “Analog City” exhibition — an exploration of “NY B.C. (before computers)” that is increasingly hard to find outside of a museum.
“As a native New Yorker, saying goodbye to the last street payphone is bittersweet because of the prominent place they’ve held in the city’s physical landscape for decades. Just like we transitioned from the horse and buggy to the automobile and from the automobile to the airplane, the digital evolution has progressed from payphones to high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks to meet the demands of our rapidly changing daily communications needs,” said Matthew Fraser, Commissioner of the Office of Technology and Innovation.
Once a constant presence not only on the city’s streets but also in its depiction in TV and movies (notably in American Psycho and Scarface), the humble payphone — once found at over 13,000 locations citywide — was pushed aside in 2014 when the de Blasio administration implemented a citywide proposal to replace the analog booths with high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks able to make calls, charge devices, display maps and pertinent neighborhood information, and call 911. CityBridge, a consortium of tech experts won the bid and began the process of replacing the booths with the kiosks in 2015.
While intended as a means to increase digital connectivity to small businesses, visitors, and New Yorkers out on the town, LinkNYC kiosks have caused almost as much drama as Superman himself emerging from a payphone booth. As of summer 2021, more than 70 percent of zip codes in Queens and Staten Island were without a single kiosk, an inspection of 225 kiosks around town over a 24-hour span found that two-thirds of them were found to be damaged or dirty, and CityBridge owed the city over $70 million due to a lack of ad-generated revenue.
While a revised contract with the city encouraged CityBridge to eventually pay up $26 million, other larger questions remained about the use of the kiosks. Not only are they equipped with surveillance cameras (hello CCTV!), but, perhaps more troublingly by connecting with their Wi-Fi networks, your devices are tapped into LinkNYC’s user data collection.
Does all of this have you desperately looking for a regular-shmegular-degular old payphone? Good news — if you’re determined to remain offline, there are a few remaining phone booths left in our fair city.
Thanks to the advocacy of phone booth enthusiast and Upper West Sider Alan Flacks, four “Superman-style” vintage phone booths are stationed on West End Avenue at W101st, W100th, W99th, and W66th Streets. Thanks to Flack and the support of City Council Member Gale Brewer, the four booths were written into the LinkNYC contract as protected entities for nostalgic New Yorkers to make calls (and take photoshoots) for the foreseeable future. One payphone at W100th Street even inspired a children’s book entitled The Lonely Phone Booth by UWS resident Peter Ackerman — ensuring that future generations be told about the magic machine that could make calls the old fashioned way, B.C.
SHORT TAKES — We caught Tuesday’s last-ever This Is Us. Face it, this was a show like none other. Heartfelt at every turn; terrifically well-acted and written. It was just sensational …
SIGHTING: Jazzheads’ Randy Klein and PR-pasha David Salidor at the Laurie Beecham Theater catching Ann Kittredge. She has an album due on the label next month …Siobhan Synnot, in Glasgow’s Sunday Post, dubbed Tom Cruise the last action hero, and she just may be right. Stallone’s gone; Schwarzenegger too, and Willis has retired. Those lads were the last ones. Check out her article: https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/tom-cruise-60/ …
Micky Dolenz’s “Some Of Shelley’s Blues” is #3 on Mike Read’s Heritage chart in the U.K. Will it go to #1? Dolenz speaks to Gray Graff next week about 7a Records’ re-issue of the classic Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart album next month … Stay tuned …
Per Deadline: Everyone but the King himself seemed to turn out for the premiere of director Baz Luhrmann’s long-awaited Elvis biopic, Elvis, in Cannes. Among those walking the red carpet were stars Austin Butler, Tom Hanks and Olivia DeJonge as well as Luhrmann, Priscilla Presley, Kaia Gerber, Shakira, Sharon Stone, Conor McGregor and even Elon Musk’s mom … Took a tour of NYC’s new Chelsea Table & Stage (courtesy of their Pablo Rossil) on West 26th Street. Beautiful space and stage. Guitarist Sean Harkness performs there Saturday, June 18 with his Unusual Suspects … The final episode of Ellen ran yesterday. As I’ve said, I was never a fan and the so-called allegations that ultimately scuttled the show, I had heard for years. We speak to a bunch of PR people in preparing this column and I have to say, there were terrible negative comments from Day One on her. Karma’s a bitch for sure. She had a good run (19 years) and while an ending like this is terrifically embarrassing and will forever haunt her, she’ll be back for sure … With the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard circus winding up today in court, I feel compelled to weigh in: What a mess from start to finish. I think the only question left to answer is how just how much damage have they both done to their careers? Honestly, I do feel that Depp could well rehabilitate his career from here, while Heard’s may never recover. I wasn’t there, so I’m only hearing what is being said. Who’s right? God only knows. Stay tuned! … GUESS WHO DON’T SUE: What newbie artist literally on the edge of stardom had his managers turn down a request from a third party who could have brought him to a major satellite radio station and major label? Crazy, right? … Justin Timberlake is the latest artist (and youngest) to sell his catalog. The always-prescient Roger Friedman perfectly detailed the deal in his column. Take a read: https://www.showbiz411.com/2022/05/26/justin-timberlake-sells-music-catalog-rights-youngest-so-far-of-songwriters-to-cash-in … Happy Bday Buddy Blanch of Romeo Delight and Robert Watman!
JUST IN — As we go to press two deaths just literally rocked us: Actor-extraordinaire Ray Liotta and drummer Alan White. More next time.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — ALeighton; Ian Anderson; Tony King; Mike Read; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Melissa Davis; Freddie Bastone; Anthony Noto; Anne Leighton; Wayne Robbins; Eppy; Mark Bego; Freda Payne; Randy Alexander; Gary Graff; Glenn Gretlund; Donnie Kehr; Cori Gardner; Dina Pitenis; Markos Papadatos; and ZIGGY!