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G.H. HARDING

THE OLD MAN ROARS — Clint Eastwood once told Broadway’s Donnie Kehr on his birthday; don’t let the old man in. That moment roared through my mind watching the first three episodes of Jeff Bridges’ long-delayed The Old Man – based on the  2017 book by Thomas Perry.

Bridges is ex-CIA operative Dan Chase whose been living off the grid for three decades after a possible go-wrong deal in Afghanistan. Someone at the CIA wants to finally bring him in … for reasons yet to be revealed. And, the person who he seemingly dealt with in the CIA, John Lithgow (Harold Harper) is the one charged with doing it.

Bridges is just outstanding delivering just the right amount of grit and pathos. At first, he discovers that certain things are indeed a lot harder to pull off three decades later. Yet, he is a force of nature and during an intricately filmed fight scene in the debut episode, Bridges shows he’s still got what it takes.

Joel Grey

In episode two some clues are dropped about his activities in Afghanistan and he meets Amy Brenneman, playing a role like she did in Heat. Also in episode two is Joel Grey, of all people and is is simply astonishingly good as some no-named operative who Lithgow goes to see first, before checking in at the CIA. Grey gives Lithgow a number of an assassin and both agree to quickly dispose of Chase might indeed be the best plan of all.

The action moves at a snails pace; in Episode 3, Bridges is hardly in it. Most of the episode is with Lithgow and his staff, growing somewhat suspicious for his conflicted actions.

Bridges is just a terrific actor; from Starman to Crazy Heart, True Grit, The Big Lebowski and The Fisher King, he is miraculous to watch.

A must see epic for sure.

STILLS SOLD — *(Via Billboard) Those who came of age in the 1960’s and 1970’s know that rock pioneer Stephen Stills helped define the sound of the Woodstock generation. What they may not know is the depth and breadth of his 58-year musical career. A new, multifaceted partnership with Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group assets management firm aims to burnish that legacy with the 77-year-old singer-songwriter’s current fans and attract new ones by getting his songs and albums on the playlists of the streaming set.

The deal includes IAG’s purchase of a controlling interest in Stills’ intellectual property, including his music publishing catalog of 1,000-plus songs from his stints in Buffalo Springfield; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY); Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN); Manassas; The Rides and The Stills-Young Band, as well as his solo career. Among the classics the deal covers are “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Southern Cross” and “Love the One You’re With.” Additionally, IAG has acquired Stills’ recorded-music assets from his solo work, his interests in the aforementioned groups and an interest in Stills’ band trademarks, as well as his name, image and likeness.

Stills joins an elite roster of acts at IAG, which Azoff co-founded in January 2020: The Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Nat “King” Cole and Stills’ former bandmate David Crosby.

Sitting with Stills in the spacious, tree-lined backyard of the artist’s Hollywood Hills home, Azoff says that not only have Stills’ musical contributions left an indelible imprint on American culture, they’ve had “a huge personal impact on me” — as have all of IAG’s roster: California artists Azoff “grew up loving, and people that I worked with and became friends with.” Even Cole — a pioneer of Los Angeles’ Central Avenue jazz scene before he became a Capitol Records signature artist — qualifies as such, though Azoff says, “I didn’t know him.”

Azoff and Stills’ friendship spans over 50 years. They met when Azoff, now 74, was a young upstart at Geffen-Roberts, the Sunset Boulevard management company run by David Geffen and Elliot Roberts, who handled, among other acts, CSN.

“I was the young kid in the office, and Stephen was the big rock star roaming the halls,” Azoff recalls. Their relationship deepened when he was put in charge of booking Stills’ first arena tour as a solo artist in 1975.

Stills says he doesn’t remember that initial meeting, but he certainly remembers as they booked the 1975 tour that Geffen told him to meet with Chicago promoter Frank Fried to describe the tour so they could figure out how much to charge. “In those days, the guarantees were ten grand, 15 grand, 20 grand,” Azoff jumps in. “So, the first show I booked was in Chicago at the Chicago Stadium and it was Triangle Productions/Frank Fried Presents. I charged him $50,000 and he paid it after having this meeting [with Stills]. That’s why David wanted him to talk to him, because he was the guy we figured we could get to pay the most.”

The pair laugh as they fall into an easy rapport, trading stories from those days: Stills recalling Geffen telling CSN&Y “don’t go to that stupid thing in the farmyard,” meaning Woodstock, in what turned out to be their second gig together in 1969, or the multiple splits and reconciliations CSN and CSN&Y endured. “They taught the Eagles how to break up,” Azoff jokes, referencing the band he has managed for decades. “The Eagles, all they wanted to do was be better than us. And they did so in every category, particularly business. Nobody ever got inside the Eagles circle,” Stills says. “We were prey to every grifter on Sunset Boulevard.”

The trusting, collaborative relationship that Stills and Azoff built over the decades—they remained friends even when they were no longer working together– was a determining factor when Stills decided to sell his catalog. Other buyers were interested, but “I waited for an Irving, someone that I knew and knew would cherish it,” he says. “I got another contract from another company, and it was jail.”

Azoff adds, “He actually got offered more money [elsewhere]. This is about a partnership and growing it forward.”

Stills, who has seven children, says the time was also right to plan for the future: “I got to these advanced years, and I decided I would circumvent the estate fight.”

“You look at [the Petty girls] and some of that,” Azoff says, referring to the infighting between Tom Petty’s wife and his two daughters following his death. “But in our case, what we’re trying to help is for the proper estate planning, but also growing it.”

Stills owned his compositions aside from a handful of Buffalo Springfield songs (like the protest classic — and the band’s only hit — “For What It’s Worth”) that will revert to him at the end of this year. With the IAG move, he has shifted administration of his catalog from Wixen Music Publishing to Universal Music Publishing Group and his music rights management from BMI to Azoff’s Global Music Rights. And while Warner Music Group owns the masters to CSN and CSNY releases, the bands’ members own their unreleased music, and Stills owns the master recordings of a significant amount of his unreleased solo material.

Asked what he wants out of his partnership with IAG, Stills replies: “A profit.” He’s half-kidding, but Azoff is dead serious when he talks about promoting and marketing Stills’ work better. “Nobody has focused on him for years and years,” he says. “Buffalo Springfield; Crosby, Stills, Nash; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Manassas; and Stephen Stills — I mean, he has had more than five careers.”

Stills and IAG are already teeing up projects that will appeal to longtime fans and expose new generations to his music. First is a previously unreleased live album captured from two shows at California’s Berkeley Community Theater in 1971 to support Stills’ sophomore solo album, Stephen Stills 2.

“We were deep-diving in my vault and we discovered this thing,” says Stills. “We thought, ‘This is sloppy but great.’ I couldn’t hit those notes with a cattle prod these days.” The release is expected later this year on a label yet to be named. (Stills hints that the vault is “full of tapes” still to be explored.) Also planned: an expanded 50th-anniversary version of Manassas’ self-titled 1972 double album, a lineup that featured former Byrds member Chris Hillman, former Flying Burrito Brothers member Al Perkins and Dallas Taylor, studio drummer for Young and CSN.

Azoff adds that people are also “circling” potential CSN and CSNY film projects. While Graham Nash and Neil Young have both fallen out with Crosby, Stills says he remains on good terms with all three. When Azoff asks him how long it has been since he has spoken to Crosby, Stills replies, “Not that long. Same with Graham. And Neil, I can get on the phone any time. Neil’s my son’s godfather.” He adds, “they’re great guys and we had a great career as long as we didn’t spend too much time in close proximity.”

There is also potential for a documentary on Stills, who was one of rock’s most compelling and tempestuous artists of the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s. “Stephen, separate from the band, is a story that has to be told,” Azoff says. And what stories there are: At the 1969 Big Sur Festival in California, Stills was famously captured on film trading punches with a heckler in the crowd. He is the only member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to be inducted twice in one night, he unsuccessfully auditioned for The Monkees, and Jimi Hendrix, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton played on his debut solo album. He’s playing bass on Clapton’s “Let It Rain,” guitar on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” and percussion on the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing.” In addition to his rock success, his blues supergroup with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Rides, took two albums to the top of Billboard’s Blues Albums chart.

That so much of his backstory remains widely unknown was “all part of a carefully devised plan,” Stills says with a smirk. “We’re going to change that,” says Azoff.Stills has for me always remained a vibrant and creative force. His early work is just amazing. Manassas for me remains a classic album even all these years later (especially the track “Witching Hour” available on the Manassas Pieces album) and his work with The Rides is just amazing.  “Don”t Want Lies” is one of his best works ever; “Dark Star” a close second.

Rhino in 2013 put out a great Stills-classics album entitled Carry On. It was, for a Stills fan like me, absolutely needed. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Carry-Stephen-Stills/dp/B00AWQEKIK/ref=sr_1_14?crid=HW7FCLOX4AJ9&keywords=stephen+stills&qid=1656272202&s=music&sprefix=stephen+stills+%2Cpopular%2C47&sr=1-14

He may not have the spark hat he did in the 70’s and 80’s, but who does?  An icon for sure.

Nicky Blair’s

 SHORT TAKES — One of L.A.’s classic restaurant was Nicky Blair’s on the Sunset Strip. In its day it was a spot to be seen and this story about Frank Sinatra speaks volumes: A black waiter accidentally spilled a tray of glasses on the floor. Nikki Blair, the restaurant owner, fired the man on the spot for having disturbed Mr. Sinatra. Frank, however, had other ideas. He called Blair over to the poker table, grabbed him by the shirt and asked Blair, “Nikki, how much is one of those glasses worth?” “About 5 dollars,” replied Blair. Sinatra then told the waiter to break every glass he could find in the kitchen. After several hundred glasses were broken, Sinatra motioned one of his bodyguards to give him (Sinatra) a thick roll of $100 bills. Frank then handed the roll to Blair and gave the now terrified restaurateur some chilling advice: “Nikki, this guy can now break as many glasses as he wants for the rest of his life. And every time I come here, I want to see that he’s still working for you. Is that clear?” …

Conan Gray

I watched new teen-heartthrob Conan Grey on NBC’s Today Friday perform and he had some trouble hitting most of the notes. The crowd, mostly female swooned at his every move. More astonishing was the fact that during the interview, he gave some offbeat answers and actually seemed to have a problem properly responding. All I can say is that if this is the new taste of the month, I suggest his fans go back and re-visit music from Kate Bush; Steely Dan; Bob Dylan; Bruce Springsteen and many other-so-called legacy acts. I was, really shocked …

jann wenner

Jann Wenner’s memoir is due in September (Like A Rolling Stone). If he’s forthcoming, this could well be the music book of the year. Face it, in its earliest incarnation Rolling Stone was the formative voice of a generation. Can’t wait for this one … Does Nonstop To Cairo still exist? Email me here if you hear

Kjertsi Long

We’ve heard that teen-prodigy  Kjertsi Long beginning work on another album. Her debut album (Stronger Than You Think I Am), released in 2019, was a stone-cold gem. The album was on Van Dean’s BroadwayRecords. Stray tuned … And, both The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney performed in the U.K. this past weekend and Micky Dolenz arrives there on July 7. Seems the U.K. is the place to be.NAMES IN THE NEWS — Brad Balfour; Steve Walter; Roger Friedman; Lush Ice; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Race Taylor; Vinny Rich; Peter Abraham; Bob Merlis; Len Berman; Matt Lauer; Alan Rothstein; Anne Leighton; Rich Dart; Anthony Mason; Peter Robertson; and, SADIE!

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.

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ALEC BALDWIN — I’ve had my own issues with Alec Baldwin for years; then, literally on a dime, it all turned around and I found him to be pretty compassionate, intelligent and a nice guy. What happened in Santa Fe on the Rust set was an unspeakable tragedy, and his trial was halted yesterday and the case was dismissed due to evidence not being given to the Baldwin-team. The Santa Fe prosecutor Kari Morrisey seemingly told two different stories on the stand and outside the court room. She is, without a doubt, toast.

Baldwin is still liable for civil suits, but this case is gone and he cannot be tried again. A win for sure, but the questions still remain: who brought live ammo onto the Rust-set. Clearly that may never, ever be determined.

Baldwin’s a good guy with a short fuse, but this situation, once and for all, is done.

Mirage

SHORT TAKES — Hard to believe the Las Vegas Mirage is closing … after 35 years. Opened in 1983 it was a great hotel and hosted The Beatles’ Love show. I have stayed there numerous times and loved it. The new owner will build a Hard Rock hotel there, with a HUGE guitar in front. Yet again changing the skyline of that town. It’ll open in 2027 …

Lyndsey Parker

Lyndsey Parker is a terrific writer. Her new site, Lyndsanity just posted a great interview with Micky Dolenz about his direction of the video “Love Is Dangerous” from Noel – masterminded by the Mael Brothers in 1979. Great piece, check it out here:  https://www.lyndsanity.com/music/micky-dolenz-on-directing-long-lost-dancing-is-dangerous-video-for-sparks-protege-noel-its-pretty-weird-huh/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2W-9c0OfpLdT3WVy52ZWliQu7XTVoVjaYREbiUMSAUcdgJatcsL547X8c_aem_8St7LVBDI_U5Qp-ZJ5lxQA

… Hard to believe there are only 8 episodes left of CBS’ Blue Bloods. Salary concerns killed this show and it’s a shame as it was really superb for 15 years. Bad move on CBS’ part …

Zach Martin

Veteran-broadcaster Denny Somach joins Zach Martin’s NEW HD radio – https://newhdmedia.com/rock-and-roll-for-grownups-debut-denny-somach/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR1j_BeyvWnRksk6pRN7IUtWK-kzu5G35zKqcjBUjVJOJ3w_b4IVFjDE6UI_aem_hW0aEBIVaHEwpJXVTItulA

Benny Harrison

Whatever happened to Benny Harrison’s album Pages? It was a great one. Heard an early advance and loved it …And, (via Deadline)

Stevie Nicks

There are special guest stars, and then there’s extra-special guest stars. Which is what Harry Styles what is as he joined Stevie Nicks at her July 12 concert in the UK for versions of her hits “Stop Draggin’ My heart Around” and “Landslide.” Styles played guitar on stage and held up on the Tom Petty/Lindsey Buckingham vocal parts. It was familiar turf, as Styles has joined Nicks on stage several times in the past. Nicks was appearing at the BST Hyde Park concert series on Friday. Nicks told the audience in London that she asked Styles to help her in commemorating what would have been her late Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie’s 81st birthday … RIP Dr. Ruth!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Nancy Ruth; Mark Bego; Freda Payne; Jerry Brandt; Kent & Laura Denmark; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Kramer; Terry Jastrow; Steve Immerman; Jordan Immerman; Tony Seidl; Roy Trakin; Markos Papadatos; Sparks; Pat Prince; Cindy Adams; Tony LoBianco; Tone Scott; David Adelson; Joel Denver; Pat Prince; and SADIE!

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JON BON HISTORY —- (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Bon Jovi’s new album Forever certainly didn’t live up to its name on the charts. As noted by Forbes, after debuting at No. 5 in its first week of release, the album fell all the way out of the Billboard 200 album sales chart the following week. Unless it returns in the future, Forever will be the first Bon Jovi studio album to only last one week in the Top 200.The band’s previous album, 2020’s pandemic-delayed 2020, only notched two weeks on the chart. It debuted at No. 19, then fell 126 spots the following week before departing for good.

With their touring future in doubt due to singer Jon Bon Jovi’s medical issues, the band promoted Forever with a multi-pronged media campaign that included the release of the documentary series Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi story. The series showed Bon Jovi being diagnosed with loose vocal cords after he was unable to perform up to his usual standards on the band’s most recent tour, then undergoing surgery and a rigorous recovery program.

Last month, Bon Jovi confirmed that he was still unable to mount a full-scale tour in support of Forever. “It’s a work in progress,” he told The Guardian. “There’s no miracle. I just wish there was a fucking light switch. I’m more than capable of singing again. The bar is now: can I do two and half hours a night, four nights a week? The answer is no.”

The band did play a surprise five-song set to celebrate the opening of their frontman’s new Nashville bar and restaurant JBJ’s on June 7, performing Forever’s debut single “Legendary” in addition to classics such as “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Born to Be My Baby.”

With all the media on their Hulu-doc series, new album and almost incessant one-on-one interviews, the new album was either going to be a hit … or a miss. Sad for sure … I hope they don’t blame this on Richard Sambora!

Melrose Place

SHORT TAKES — 32 years since Melrose Place? I was never a fan but some of the original cast have reunited for – what else?

Micky Dolenz

A podcast … From Gold Radio in the UK:  https://www.goldradiouk.com/artists/the-monkees/micky-dolenz-age-wife-children-songs/ … Spent a few days in Waterbury, Connecticut and watched a lot of tennis. Beautiful up there. Stunning in fact …

Race

Congrats to radio-personality Race Taylor on inking a new contract-extension with WCBS-FM. Well deserved …

F1

Here’s the trailer for Brad Pitt’s next film F1


Looks good, but didn’t we just see this covered in James Mangold’s terrific Ford vs. Ferrari? It’ll be out in June 2025 …  

Billy Bob Thornton

Boy, I could have predicted this: Via Deadline – Paramount + has announced the premiere date for its latest Taylor Sheridan drama, Landman, starring Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, will premiere Sunday, November 17. The series will launch with two episodes, and subsequent episodes of the 10-episode long first season will be available weekly on Sundays. Set in the proverbial boomtowns of West Texas, – the show is a tale of fortune seeking in the world of oil rigs. Based on the 11-part podcast “Boomtown,” the series is an upstairs/downstairs story of roughnecks and wildcat billionaires fueling a boom so big, it’s reshaping our climate, our economy and our geopolitics … Finished watching The Veil on Hulu with Elizabeth Moss. Sort of an on-the-road mystery. Moss is great, but the plot is a tad murky. B + … And for all you Papaya King fans (me included) in NYC: https://gothamist.com/news/beloved-hot-dog-hotspot-papaya-king-reopens-on-upper-east-side … 

RIP Joe Egan from Stealers Wheel.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steven J. Immerman; Tony Seidl; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Pat Walsh; Mark Bego; Lamar Fike; Feda Payne; Kent & Laura Denmark; Nancy Ruth; The Church; Teresa Knox; Myles Smith; Chuck Scarborough; Joe Scarborough; Alison Steele; Carol Miller; Dan Ingram; Anthony Pomes; Brad Balfour; and ZIGGY!

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TOWNE GONE — A few months back I watched the Robert Towne-written movie Chinatown and had exactly the same reaction as when I first watched it in 1974 – simply the best movie of all-time. Well, I still feel that way, although there are a dozen or so other movies that I would now put in that hallowed category.

Version 1.0.0

Towne passed on Friday and leaves just a splendid treasury of his work. Be it Tequila Sunrise or Without Limits or The Firm or Days of Thunder, Towne’s unique perspective and writing-style was pretty awesome.

Robert Towne

Check out Deadline’s take on Towne: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/robert-towne-dead-chinatown-1236059676/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR3I2OAHgnXtKBODQUzXpIr-YzCHJYvPFDW6wrOp6HdEJUx-PQ5JfntN-Hk_aem_Rb9xsnahLuGqZLfRjIpyzA

Dave Mason

SHORT TAKES — Interesting review of the long-delayed Dave Mason bio, Only You and I Know, by Goldmine’s Lee Zimmerman. Check it out here: https://www.goldminemag.com/reviews/dave-mason-memoir-reveals-a-talented-artist-with-a-strong-willed-personality Still wondering if Mason’s former-manager, and Svengali, Jason Cooper (aka The Moke) is discussed at all.

I well remember a show at Long Island’s Calderone Concert Hall, where Cooper passed around a jar of party favors – twice in the dressing room. It was indeed a great show which I watched from the side of the stage! He bolstered Mason’s career to it’s highest degree ever. Can’t wait to read this one … Biden will now not do any work after 8:00 PM? I don’t know, but this sounds a tad crazy, right? And desperate … Remember The Singhs? Randy Alexander did the PR for them. They played a bunch of NY-gigs and then sort of disappeared.

Next thing we heard; their new album Science Fiction was produced by Tony Visconti. Then, nada. Here’s a press release from 2013 formally announcing the album. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/science-fiction-the-new-tony-visconti-produced-album-from-boston-area-based-band-the-singhs-is-set-for-release-june-4-via-redstar-entertainment-206756061.html

They actually released a great album in 2008, Supersaturated. Bad management? Dunno, but they were a sensational band. Creative, inventive, it seemed they had it all …

Watched Apple’s Dark Matters and sort of loved it, although as it went on it got way too confusing. Based on the Blake Crouch book, it was really pretty spectacular. Australia’s Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Connelly were fantastic. If you’re a sci-fi fan, I’d say  it’s a must see … Happy Bday Danny Goldberg; Ron Fleeger; and Perry Michael Simon.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — David Duchovny; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tone Scott; Paul Cooper; Tony Seidl; Brad Balfour; Matt Lauer; Harry Burton; Lainey Wilson; Lyndsey Parker; Tony King; Brett Summers; Jane Blunkell; Steven J. Immerman; Lora Evans; Dan Zelinski; Norena Barbella; Ken Dashow; Barry Fisch; Wayne Avers; Victor Kastel; and BELLA.

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ASIA CALLING — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Geoff Downes will lead a reformed lineup of Asia on a tour celebrating the group’s platinum 1982 debut. Also featured on the multi-act bill are Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash, Focus, Curved Air and emcee Roger Dean, the artist who created Asia’s album covers.

Geoff Downes

The Heat of the Moment Tour will hit 21 North American cities in July.

Downes says the idea for this tour emerged from the Extraordinary Life Memorial Concert, 2023’s tribute to his late Asia bandmate John Wetton. That “really reminded me how much Asia’s music belongs on the stage,” Downes said in an official statement. “The response to it all was literally spine-tingling.”

Among the featured musicians at the tribute show was guitarist John Mitchell, who worked with Wetton and Downes in Icon and the John Wetton Band. He’ll join Downes in a new Asia lineup that also includes drummer Virgil Donati and bassist and vocalist Harry Whitley. Donati was part of a memorable reunion of the prog-rock band UK with Wetton.

“With the addition of Virgil Donati and John Mitchell … this is almost going full circle bearing in mind their previous close collaborations with John,” Downes added. “Completing this circle is also the amazing Harry Whitley, who absolutely floored the audience with his incredible vocal interpretation of the Asia songs that John and I so lovingly wrote over the years.”

Focus is set to release a new album later this year. The band is still led by Thijs van Leer, and features ’70s-era drummer Pierre Van Der Linden. Sonja Kristina likewise remains with Curved Air, and will again be appearing with longtime guitarist Kirby Gregory. Turner has been touring as “Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash” for about a decade now.

Asia was co-founded by Downes, who’s appeared in every iteration of the group. Downes, Wetton and fellow original members Steve Howe and Carl Palmer were only initially together from 1981-83, when Wetton left. Howe departed a year later and the original four didn’t reunite until a final run between 2006-13.

Palmer now leads an Emerson Lake and Palmer offshoot band, while Howe has remained in Yes with Downes. Wetton died in 2017.

“I am convinced that John’s spirit is with us as we set out on this new adventure,” Downes said. “After all, it is the Year of the Dragon – just as it was in 1982, when we released our first Asia album. It’s as though it was meant to be.”

Prog-rock lives on for sure. Great music survives. Asia’s first album, in 1982, was an instant classic. I hope to catch this tour.

SHORT TAKES —- (via Deadline) Air Supply doc on its way – https://deadline.com/2024/07/air-supply-movie-all-out-of-love-1235998355/ … Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga did not have a great first weekend. It’ll go to Warners/MAX for sure … Wise words from today’s Showbiz 411/Roger Friedman: “It’s July 1st. The year is half over, and the Oscar prognosticators must be getting nervous. There is little on the docket so far that would qualify for Best Picture. So far, the only real nominee would be “Dune Part Two.” It’s a long shot, but Richard Linklater’s excellent “Hit Man” could well be be a qualifier. But “Challengers,” “Civil War,” “Fall Guy,” and so on are not the stuff of Best Picture. Think about: last year at this time, we knew about “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer,” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” at least. “Past Lives” was released on June 2, 2023. This summer brings a few maybe’s, but nothing anyone has raved about. A24 will make a push out of “Sing Sing,” but I’ve heard mixed things. July is otherwise a wasteland as we wait for “Deadpool vs. Wolverine” to be a financial hit. August isn’t much more promising, but I’m looking forward to Zoe Kravit’s “Blink Twice,” Nathan Silver’s “Between the Temples,” Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice,” Jon Watts’s “Wolfs,” and Ethan Berger’s “The Line.” But are these box office hits or actual Oscar movies? October 1st will kick off the big ten week period when we see what’s what. Those include Jesse Eisenberg’s well received Sundance film, “A Real Pain” and Sean Baker’s Cannes winner, “Anora.”

Megalopolis

On a larger scale, there’s the “Joker” sequel, and, of course, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis.” Everyone’s hoping for good things from “Gladiator II,” which has already started campaigning.

Tom hanks Here

Also already releasing PR materials: the major “Here,” reuniting “Forest Gump” players Tom Hanks, Robin Wright with director Robert Zemeckis.

Robert Zemeckis

And that’s when we make the turn into big studio films on the warpath for attention: “Wicked” is the front runner, as well as Best Actress possibilities with Nicole Kidman in “Babygirl” and Amy Adams in “Nightbitch.” And don’t count out June Squibb, very popular in “Thelma.” Any surprises coming? You never know. One studio publicist indicated to me that they had something up their sleeve. We can only hope! I’m curious about “Nickel Boys,” from Searchlight, and “The Piano Lesson,” and Cannes winner, “Emile Perez,” each from Netflix. What are hoping for? A Title hiding in plain sight that turns out to be a winner. Kate Winslet in “Lee”? An all star cast in “Concave,” directed by Edward Berger? Or maybe “The Apprentice” will get released and surprise everyone … And, we’re back in a week – HAPPY 4TH!

David Duchovny

ENQUOTE: On David Duchovny possibly discovering Angelina Jolie: David has one of the biggest egos in a profession with huge egos. Angela is the daughter of an Oscar-winning actor; everyone knew who she was. David thinks he’s a good singer too, BTW.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; D.C. LaRue; Mark Bego; Nancy Ruth; Dennis Wheeler; Jane Blunkell; John Billings; Wayne Avers; Tyrone Bijan;  Dan Zelinski; Carol Ross; Tommy James; Reid Scott; Elliot Mintz; Joe Loris; Don Wardell; Anne Adams; Billy Smith; Bruce Grakal; Harry Weinger; Andy Skurow; Ton Seidl; and SADIE!

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G.H. Harding

ALL THINGS BAT — Any regular reader of this column knows that we’re definitely into the world-of-all things Batman. In fact, in my office hangs a cover of one of the early editions. Neatly framed too. Not too keen on remembering where I got it, although I believe it was at a yard sale many, many years ago.

The Batman-films have been an odd journey for sure. The initial Keaton-one was great and surprisingly holds up very well considering it came out in 1989. I liked the Val Kilmer one and the George Clooney one was a bit too camp for me. Christian Bale’s run was excellent and the most recent one with Robert Pattinson, directed by Matt Reeves, was just sensational and a much-needed reset to what the original Batman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

Concurrent with most of the above films was a terrific animated series. Developed by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski, and produced by Warner animation. It originally aired on Fox Kids from September 5, 1992, to September 15, 1995, with a total of 85 episodes.

As of November 2023, Batman: The Animated Series (1992) is available to stream on Netflix in the UK and Ireland. It can also be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, Max Amazon Channel, and Max, and is available on Apple TV and Roku. The Emmy-winning series is also available on Blu-ray. Interestingly, HBO rejected the series.

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy who voiced Bruce Wayne and Batman (and Mark Hamill voiced the Joker) passed in 2022. This week a new trailer premiered with a new Batman/Bruce Wayne voiced by Hamish Linklater.

Here it is:

For me animation is a sometimes-mixed bag to me; sort of interesting, but the Batman series has been very compelling and I’ve always loved it. Enjoy!

SHORT TAKES — The latest iteration of Tommy on Broadway will close. I’m not so sure it was the production itself, but rather an early death-knell of the jukebox musical. Sure, Tommy had a story, but the music was the draw. Check out Deadline’s take on it: https://deadline.com/2024/06/the-whos-tommy-broadway-closing-date-1235983217/comment-page-2/#comments

Cher

… Check out this sensational article on the indomitable Cher. Just brilliant and so true: https://www.yahoo.com/news/cher-determination-inside-skill-scandal-050000870.html … A doc on the Average White Band? “Pick Up The Pieces” was a great track, then they sort of faded. Deadline had the exclusive: https://deadline.com/2024/06/average-white-band-feature-warner-music-entertainment-sky-1235982539/

Gracie Abrams

24-year old Gracie Abrams was Today’s Friday-music guest and amid an SRO crowd performed her music; including her “I Miss You, I’m Sorry.” Her music, like Taylor Swift’s, is more confessional than anything else. Truth be told Carly Simon’s been doing this type of music for decades. It was admirable, but sadly, nothing new. Still, the daughter of JJ Abrams, was impressive and ordered pizza for the early-morning denizens gathered on in the Plaza … Thursday’s debate was just brutal. Brutal and sad. It’ll be interesting to witness what the next 130 days will bring …

Keane

I’ve been a fan of the UK-band Keane for years. I remember a free-concert in the Time-Warner Bldg. on CPW. Great show. They’ve had their ups-and-downs, but are just a sensation outfit. Tom Keane has one of the sweetest voices I’ve ever heard. Here’s a great article from Mix on their live sound:
https://www.mixonline.com/live-sound/tours/keane-world-tour-thinks-big-with-macros?utm_term=2B400D4A-A644-43F4-980A-3A38D94AC1E6&utm_medium=email&utm_content=D52599B8-0845-4DE6-B840-1A9576C80E37&utm_source=SmartBrief

Sparks

Micky Dolenz was interviewed Friday by Lyndsey Parker on his long-ago directed video from Noel – a protégé of the Mael Brothers (Sparks). “Dancing Is Dangerous.” Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nmn_AQ6fE0 … Check out Kjersti Long’s updated web-site. very cool: www.kjerstilong.com

… Happy Bday Larry Flick and Michael Ellis RIP Martin Mull!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Ed Steinberg; Terry Jastrow; Steven Immerman; Richard Johnson;  Carl Betz;  Steve Walter; Ted Rothstein; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Ian Mohr; Tony Seidl; Chris Wallace; Eppy; Carol Bunzi; Chris Gilman; Chris Carter; Phil DiMauro; Radcliffe Joe; John Sippel; Melinda Newman; Mark Bego; Daryl Estrea; Dix Hills;  and BELLA!

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