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G.H. HARDING

MO OSTIN Imagine working for a place that you actually liked and looked forward to going to each day. That was company line I always heard during the Warner Brothers Records Mo Ostin-regime. Mo passed last week at 95 and though I never met the man, his track record is just legendary.

Mo Ostin

From championing Prince through his WB-years to signing Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, Randy Newman; Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, R.E.M., Neil Young, Tower of Power,the Traveling Wilburys and so many more, Ostin has left an indelible a mark on the music business. He may not have gotten the headlines of Clive Davis, but he was perhaps the most gifted of them all. Clive’s best creation of all was Clive Davis; Mo’s was Warner Brothers Records.

He never really gave an interview until one with Hits Magzine. Here’s Part 1: MO OSTIN: THE 2017 INTERVIEW, PART ONE : HITS Daily Double
Nothing lasts forever and when Ostin and his team were forced out in a corporate power struggle, the golden years of Warner Brothers Records was clearly over. But what a moment it was. Fellow industry leaders like David Geffen, Joe Smith, Irving Azoff, Bob Krasnow were all mentored by Ostin.
This one hurt for sure.

Leslie Grace

BATGIRL SHAKEN & STIRRED — The news that really rocked the entertainment world this week was the newly christened Warner Brothers Discovery shuttering the totally completed Batgirl movie (starring In The Heights’ Leslie Grace). Yes, you read that right; the movie is done (with a reported 90 million dollar -budget), editing is ongoing, and it will not come out.

And this was the one that brought Michael Keaton out of Bat-retirement to appear again as Batman. Ironically, Keaton’s camp has been oddly silent; but they must be infuriated.
Interestingly enough, they announced it right after the wedding of one of its directors, Adil El Arbi.
I don’t know if that was their wedding gift, but it brought Hollywood to a standstill and a realization of things to come.
Deadline said it the best: The filmmakers were told that it came down to a “purchase accounting” maneuver available to Warner Brothers Discovery because the company has changed hands, and also changed strategy from the previous regime. This opportunity expires in mid-August, said sources, and it allows WBD to not have to carry the losses on its books at a time when the studio is trying to pare down $3 billion in debt across its divisions.
 
What that basically came down to be was the fact that the movie has screened -sans some special effects- and the results were good… not great.

David Zaslav

Of course, at the end of the day, one must ask: Is this just a publicity stunt angling to generate more heat for the movie? And, if it was just so-so, why not just screen it on HBO Max. The new head of WBD David Zaslav -from Discovery– seems to be enduring his own Bob Chapek moment – Chapek being the new head of Disney.

It was a harbinger of things to come.
Zas the Butcher, as he is now called in many Hollywood-circles, doesn’t seem to be done yet as by the end of the week there were rumors that HBO Max is now on the chopping block. And that might mean HBO-prime as well. As noted earlier, when Mo Ostin left Warner Brothers Records everything changed. When Bob Daly and Terry Semel left Warner Brothers movies on July 15, 199, the studio would never ever be the same. Again, a corporate maneuver that threw everything into disarray.
On paper, these moves probably make some sense; but the reality is that this is a creative business and when you have the wrong people running things … they do fall apart.
SHORT TAKES — Years ago at a Sopranos premiere party, newsman Maurice Dubois, who had just moved from NBC to CBS, urged me to make the switch. Well, I did this week and though the CBS Mornings show is good, it appears that they’re overdoing it just a bit. From the relentless instructions to download their mobile app to the commercials, it all seems a bit much. Gayle King wasn’t on when I made my switch, but she will return. Kind of like they’re trying a bit too hard. No question Anthony Mason is the draw here.

Amanda Shires

He had a profile on singer Amanda Shires that was just sensational. I was not all the familiar with her but looked her up afterwards. Kind of like country-goth? Is that even a term? I was surprised during the interview when she teared up and took 2 heavy puffs from her 2 vapes. That was something I hadn’t seen on a morning news show before. Again, Mason is just a sensational interviewer … On my way to Sony Hall last week, I saw that the Paramount Hotel is now closed. Great spot. Stayed there often when they first opened. I loved everything about the hotel and especially that each of its three elevators were bathed in a different color. Coming in later after a show, that was a most welcomed touch. We also learned today that the Hudson Hotel on 58th has closed as well. This was also a great, great spot with a tremendous reception area and two sumptuous bars. Sad they’re both gone, but as my midtown friends keep reminding me, midtown is totally different now … ZE Records’ Michael Zilkha’s book on the much-missed Cristina is now available. Can’t wait to see it. Not available for the public, but as a tribute edition … Can you believe that MTV turned 41 last week? Names like Rick Krim, John Sykes, Steve Leeds and The Buggles come to mind. The Buggles’ “Radio Killed The Radio Star” was the first video played and it certainly sounded the clarion call of what was to come. As one of the former VJs Mark Goodman recalled, “There was no script, we were riding by the seat of our pants.” Yet somehow it all worked and names like Martha Quinn; Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, J.J. Jackson and Goodman became our news friends. Sometimes the videos made sense, but mostly they never did. Even Daryl Hall in a recent interview said, “most of the time they had absolutely nothing to do with the song.” Yet, we watched and a good video made all the difference. Suddenly we were watching the video more than listening to the song.

I mention SiriusXM’s Steve Leeds as he was a pioneer in the early days of videos on TV. Trust me, he had a lot more to do with MTV than everyone was led to believe. I have absolutely no idea of what’s on MTV these days, yet it goes on. I assume they still air the videos, but I think their time has certainly passed … A 1990 Billy Joel concert at the old Yankee Stadium is being released … Amber Heard bankruptcy? Shocking … Here’s SPIN’s 5 Albums I Can’t Live without from Micky Dolenz. Inspired choices: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.spin.com/2022/08/5-albums-i-cant-live-without-mickey-dolenz-of-the-monkees/&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTMzk3NDQ5NDUwODMyNDYyOTUzNTIaMzY1MmUyODNjNWY2MDQ0ODpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AOvVaw0koN3xl_a8HQOMMjZkrq6S …Happy Bday Bill Deutsch and Tony Bennett!!!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Richard Johnson; Terry Jastrow; George Rush; Joanna Malloy; Gayle King; Jane Blunkell; Rebecca Castagna; Lush Ice; Beth Wernick; Bill McCuddy; Dan Mapp; Alex Salzman; Beth Wernick; Anthony Mason; Tom & Lisa Cuddy;

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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G.H. Harding

LET IT BE AGAIN — (Via SHOWBIZ 411) I told you yesterday the Beatles are releasing a restored version of “Let it Be,” the film, on Disney Plus. Peter Jackson, who made the “Get Back” series, did the work with his lab of mad scientists. “Let it Be” will begin streaming on May 8th.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot all the footage in 1969 and then made the final film. It played in theaters briefly, then disappeared. The rumor always was that Paul McCartney didn’t like the film. But when Jackson released “Get Back,” those reasons didn’t make sense.

Now the general public will see the film. (I saw it back in the day.) It should be exciting.

“Let It Be” contains footage not featured in the “Get Back” docuseries, bringing viewers into the studio and onto Apple Corps’ London rooftop in January 1969 as The Beatles, joined by Billy Preston, write and record their GRAMMY Award®-winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award®-winning title song, and perform live for the final time as a group.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Michael Lindsay-Hogg says, “’How often do you get to see artists of this stature working together to make what they hear in their heads into songs. And then you get to the roof and you see their excitement, camaraderie and sheer joy in playing together again as a group” …“I was knocked out by what Peter was able to do with ‘Get Back,’ using all the footage I’d shot 50 years previously.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Michael’s movie, ‘Let It Be,’ has been restored and is finally being re-released after being unavailable for decades,” says Peter Jackson. “Over three parts, we showed Michael and The Beatles filming a groundbreaking new documentary, and ‘Let It Be’ is that documentary – the movie they released in 1970.”…“I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades. The two projects support and enhance each other: ‘Let It Be’ is the climax of ‘Get Back,’ while ‘Get Back’ provides a vital missing context for ‘Let It Be.’

As much as I liked the Peter Jackson-version, the original still burns in my head. I well remember when it came out – with a greatphoto book I still have on my shelf. When all the chatter began about how much fun they really had come out; I sort of didn’t believe it. Face it, if the Fab Four didn’t like Hogg’s version back then … it never would have come out.

I think there was a backlash of sorts and that’s why the original is finally coming out again, though Jackson ‘s involvement is curious. The first time in 50 years no less!  If you want to see it unvarnished and how it really was … watch it.

DON IS BACK — (Via Deadline) Don Johnson is set to star opposite Joshua Jackson in Dr. Odyssey, a new ABC drama series from Ryan Murphy, which is targeting a fall launch. It hails from 20th Television in association with Ryan Murphy Television.

As is the case with any Ryan Murphy series, no details about the premise are being revealed. As the title suggests, Dr. Odyssey is believed to be a medical procedural. According to sources, it is set on a cruise ship.

Details about Johnson’s character are being kept under wraps.

Dr. Odyssey is written, and executive produced by Murphy, Jon Robin Baitz and Joe Baken. Paris Barclay is directing and executive producing. Eric Paquette, Alexis Martin Woodall, Eric Kovtun, Scott Robertson and Nissa Diederich also executive produce alongside Jackson.

Johnson is known for his roles as Det. Sonny Crockett on the classic 1980s NBC series Miami Vice and as the title character in the 1996 CBS series Nash Bridges, which he also reprised in the 2021 Nash Bridges movie for USA. Recent credits include the Emmy-winning HBO limited series Watchmen, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and the Book Club feature franchise. He has coming up Book Club 2: The Next Chapter and Rebel Ridge.

Tokyo Vice

SHORT TAKES — Watched the second season of MAX’s Tokyo Vice-toplining Ansel Elgort; Ken Watanabe and Rachel Keller. Was a great run, though the ending seemed somewhat somber. Sure the bad-guy was offed, but it was his wife who did the most damage. Great show. Michael Mann is one of the Executive Producers and you can see his hands on everything … Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17 …

(Via Deadline) Financier and producer Participant is shuttering after 20 years. Founder Jeff Skoll alerted staff at 10:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Deadline has confirmed. Sources say Skoll did an audit of the company and wanted to pivot from entertainment. We understand that most of the 100-person staff is being let go except for core employees who will settle out remaining productions and oversee outstanding commitments to the catalog. Participant’s m.o. was to bring content to the world that was socially conscious, read its Oscar Best Picture winners Spotlight from Open Road and Universal’s Green Book, as well as DreamWorks’ Oscar winner Lincoln. All in, Participant counts 135 films, five series, 21 Oscars — including the two Best Pictures, four Best Documentaries and two Best International Features — 18 Primetime Emmys and north of $3.3 billion in global box office

Pam Anderson joins Liam Neeson in a Naked Gun re-boot? Yes indeed …

Ripley

Steve Zaillian’s Ripley on Netflix is a staggeringly spellbinding take on Ripley; the novel by Patricia Highsmith. Not quite the often comedic-romp that was Matt Damon’s take, but rather a very stylish re-construction. Michael Scott as Ripley is pretty awesome and shot in black-and-white, the images are stunning. After the first few episodes that meandered a bit, I’m definitely into it. Very much recommended.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — John Boulos; Manny’s; Al Roker; Roger Friedman; Roy Trakin; Alec Baldwin; Ken Sharp; Surf Ballroom; My Father’s Place; Eppy; Chuck Pulin; Joel Diamond; Billy Amato; Ray Free; Al Teller; Joel Diamond; Robey; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Glenn Friscia; and SADIE!

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Kjersti Long (David Kaptein)

G.H. Harding

GO LONG —- We’ve spoken before of 17-year-old Kjersti Long – on Origin Entertainment/ModSquad (ADA) Records. Her latest single “Sad Song” has become a digital-hit and a new album (her second) is in the works.

She’ll also be in NYC for June’s Tribeca Festival and a prominent agency is stepping up to rep her and her play Relative Space is prepping for an opening in the West End.

Said NEW HD’s Zach Martin: “Kjersti Long, at just 17, stands as a beacon of talent and ambition in the music industry. Her journey from a prodigious debut at the tender age of 11 with the album “Stronger Than You Think I Am” on Broadway Records to becoming a significant influencer on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Kjersti’s career trajectory is nothing short of remarkable​​. Her engagement with her fans and the music community through platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where she has garnered over 50 million views and more than 160,000 new followers, underscores her magnetic appeal and the resonant connection she forges through her music​​.”

She also has a song on the new Vanessa Williams album, “Legs.” Williams’ official video will be out April 26, but here’s an update on her from LifeMinute TV:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD-Okb_T8CM

www.kjerstilong.com


RASCAL-ING AROUND —
(Via Forgotten Hits) Look for a new Rascals box set coming out May 31st.

The 7-disc set encompasses their entire recorded output with Atlantic Records, 1965 – 1971, including mono and stereo copies of their albums, special singles mixes and some previously unreleased tracks.  (I remember shelling out big bucks for an earlier CD edition of this set … but I’ve gotta tell you, this one has got the COOLEST looking cover!!!).

“The Rascals:  It’s Wonderful: The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings features 152 remastered songs, including 14 previously unreleased tracks. The first four albums are presented in both stereo and mono, along with significant single edits and foreign language versions. The collection includes a 60-page booklet with detailed notes and rare illustrations from The Rascals archives.

Amazon’s got it for $69.99 (I paid 2 ½ times that much way back when for the original!) so pre-order now.  This is quite the collection!

Interesting that this box set is from the UK-based Cherry Red Records. Founded by Iain McNay in 1978, Cherry Red Records has continued to uphold the same fiercely independent values since day one. Check them out here: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/about

And don’t forget about Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17.

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Atlantic-Recordings-Rascals/dp/B0CZ3NHLGG?crid=3S8UG8TZCIC3M&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.fcz-QxVsrVNGCoS-EbSPkg.htVhtZLFLUN8n9NrR1H-6rJi5fsjLvQexjIPS6c2Ges&dib_tag=se&keywords=B0CZ3NHLGG&qid=1712320481&s=music&

Micky Dolenz at Troubadour (Stevo Rood)

SHORT TAKES — Check out Tone Scott’s review of Micky Dolenz at LA’s Troubadour in Goldmine: https://www.goldminemag.com/columns/micky-dolenz-songs-and-stories-raises-the-roof-off-the-troubadour-all-for-make-a-wish#gid=ci02dac725a00025c5&pid=thumbnail-3

RIP Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola at 87. Years ago, I was at a screening of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan with Charlie Sheen. I loved the movie and at a post-screening event, I met Francis Ford Coppola, who could not have been more approachable.

He invited me to sit at his table with his wife Eleanor. Both were terrific. She’ll be much-missed by the film community as well. From Deadline: https://deadline.com/2024/04/eleanor-coppola-dead-hearts-of-darkness-francis-coppola-wife-1235883537/Happy Bday Brit Brashear.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Melinda Newman; Barry Fisch; Toby Rasmussen; Roy Trakin; Joel Diamond; Fred Armisen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Richie Kaczor; Jim Burgess; Tom Scott; Steve Walter; Dan Zelinski; Herb Alpert; Hubert Laws; Eppy; Craig Newman; Jane Blunkell; John Billings; Lora Evans; Andrew Sandoval; Chris Carter; Wen Fernandez; and ZIGGY!

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OJ DOA — Perhaps the Drudge Report (yes, the Drudge Report) had the most fitting headline: Cancer Murders OJ.

Yesterday’s news came as a huge surprise at 11:00 AM. For me, firstly, I couldn’t quite believe it was almost 30 years since that trial. When the verdict came in, I was at The Conservatory restaurant in the long-gone, much missed Mayflower Hotel. It was packed and when the verdict was announced there was a minute or two of dead-silence, then gasps. One of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced.

I wasn’t a huge sports fan -never have been- but I knew a lot about OJ. Face it, he was an icon And when the murders happened; the Bronco-chase; and trial … it was just extraordinary. His rise and fall was an amazing tale. It was also a major story for all the entertainment outlets. Journalists essentially moved to LA for the 9-month trial. It was, to my mind, the first trial of its kind.

CNN showed some of the reactions from then: then audience reaction at the Oprah Winfrey show was a mixed bag. Some cheered as Winfrey stood stone-faced. The reaction of OJ’s lawyers were interesting too; Robert Khardashian looked shell-shocked, while Cochran and Robert Shapiro  hugged OJ.

As Wolf Bltizer just said: these are moments one will never forget.

We think we know what happened … but now, we’ll never know for sure. An american tragedy for sure.

YES Photo by Gottlieb Bros

YES’ PURPLE — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Deep Purple and Yes will team up for a North American summer tour.

The trek begins on Aug. 14 in Hollywood, Florida, and concludes on Sept. 8 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday.

Deep Purple is in the midst of their 1 More Time tour and simultaneously celebrating 50 years of “Smoke on the Water” (52 years now, to be exact). The band recently released a super deluxe edition of its landmark album Machine Head, which includes classics such as “Smoke on the Water,” “Highway Star” and “Space Truckin’.”

Yes, meanwhile, will deliver a career-spanning set comprising material through their latest album, 2023’s Mirror to the Sky. The prog legends are also releasing an expanded anniversary box set of their 1994 album Talk next month.

52 years of “Smoke On The Water.” A classic if there ever was one. Every time I hear it on the radio, I start singing along. Talk about staying power! I saw Yes years ago and it was quite the show; with Chris Squire too.

There are a slew of legacy artists out for the summer and deservedly so. They may not generate the ink of a Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez, but their impact is still there.

Hubert Laws

SHORT TAKES — CTI Records. Remember them? It was producer Creed Taylor’s boutique label which released some of the most dynamic and interesting jazz-records in the 70’s and 80’s (SONY owns them now). From Airto to Milt Jackson; Deodato; Bob James; Jim Hall and Hubert Laws, the music was just terrific. Originally distributed by Herb Alpert’s A&M Records, they went independent and continued with some of the best jazz recordings ever. Even before you listened to the music, all the albums had a deluxe-cover; with some startling images. Check this piece out about their album covers from Medium: https://medium.com/@slishpogodi/cti-records-the-best-album-covers-cdac2e16c534 … 50 years of People Magazine. Rumors spread last year that the weekly was on its last legs.

Mia Farrow

Their first issue was in 1974 with Mia Farrow on the cover …

David Kramer

Director David Kramer won for ‘Best Documentary’ at last week’s NYFF event for his Jimi Hendrix: The Documentary. Congratulations

Coopstock

Coopstock is this weekend in Mesa, Arizona. Guests include Micky Dolenz; REO’s Kevin Cronin; Orianthi; Patrick Warburton; and of course, Alice Cooper himself … Hard to believe that director Todd Phillips, who directed The Hangover, did the first Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix. It was just startling in every way and now the follow-up is about to come out with Phoenix and Lady Gaga; introduced as Harley Quinn. One trade already termed it a jukebox musical. Stylish for sure it looks just sensational and is one of the best trailers I’ve seen in quite some time. Here’s it is: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/joker-2-trailer-joaquin-phoenix-lady-gaga-1235957692/
… Here’s the trailer of Disney+’s Beach Boys doc.  Directed by Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_Rspu3Xoi4 …  And, this week’s New York Magazine cover heralds the history of NYC through its restaurants. I was ready to see Tortilla Flats; La Cote Basque; Schraffts; Mortimers; Trader Vic’s; and Fontana Di Trevi. Turns out, it’s memories from people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who worked at The Coffee Shop and Keith McNally, who shucked oysters at One Fifth. Honestly, I expected a bit more depth. Great idea; lousy execution.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Toni Basil; Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mitch Dolan; Barry Nolan; Robert Lamm; Jacqueline Boyd; Wayne Avers; Tyorne Biljan; Michelle Toscas; Fred Zarr; Abbe Rosenfeld; Shep Pettibone; Tony Darrow; Robert Funaro; Angel Mastrogiorgio; Ellen Smith; Howard Bloom; Jane Berk; Jack Cunningham; and CHIP.

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RINGO’S COUNTRY — (Via Forbes) Ringo Starr had a very busy 2023. He released a new EP, toured, and even reunited with Paul McCartney to produce one last Beatles single, “Now and Then.” One might assume that after so much activity, the 83-year-old might take some time off, but according to the musician himself, he’s still hard at work–and trying something new.

In a video he posted to X (formerly Twitter), Starr shared some very exciting news for his fans. It seems that he’s back in the studio working on new music. That would be enough to tantalize his still-massive following, but the kind of music he’s making is what caught the attention of many.

Starr shared in his video that he was “gonna do a country EP, but as things are unfolding, it’s probably going to be like a real CD—ten tracks.” He then laughed a bit to himself, adding, “Can you believe it? I haven’t done one of them in a long time.”

The beloved drummer last released a full-length album of original material in 2019 when What’s My Name arrived. That set was a minor commercial success, peaking at No. 99 in his home country of the U.K. and No. 127 in the U.S., where he remains very popular to this day.

Since his last album, Starr has been on a streak, releasing a number of EPs, or shorter collections. In the five years since What’s My Name, the drummer has dropped four EPs, as well as a number of singles, live collections, and more. He most recently returned with Rewind Forward, which even saw him collaborating with McCartney again.

For the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a timetable for when fans may get to hear Starr’s take on country. While he may be working on the material, there’s no telling what exactly it will sound like or when he’ll decide to release something.

In addition to a country collection, Starr also detailed yet another project he’s working on. The former Beatle and songwriter and producer Linda Perry have collaborated on another EP, titled Crooked Boy. That set seems to be his focus at the moment, and it will likely be released before any country tunes. About his friend and producer, Starr commented, “She wrote the songs for me. She produced them. She’s a beauty, so musical,” and said that she “has a great vibe.”

Jackie Chan

CHAN ALERT — (Via Deadline) Jackie Chan has reassured fans that he is in good health after a picture of him with gray hair and a beard sparked concerns for his well-being.

The Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, and Tuxedo star turned 70 over the weekend and marked the occasion with a post on Instagram in which he addressed health fears.

“Not so long ago, a lot of friends saw some recent photos of me on the internet, and they were all concerned about my health,” Chan said.

“I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know, don’t worry! It’s just a character appearance for my latest movie. The character requires me to have white hair, white beard and look old.”

The viral photos were from an event where Chan was on stage with a microphone. He was wearing glasses and clutching papers.

Last November, Chan was cast in a new Karate Kid movie. He will play Mr. Han, the kung fu master who helped Jaden Smith fend off bullies in Sony’s 2010 Karate Kid remake.

In his Instagram message, the Hong Kong actor said he has cherished every moment of his 62 years in the entertainment industry. “All I can say is: I love making movies and I love you all,” Chan said.

SHORT TAKES — Last week were several top-secret screenings for the new Francis Ford Coppola movie Megalopolis. Per an article in yesterday’s Hollywood Reporter, many attendees found it impossible to position. I haven’t seen it, but how can you deny the director’s importance? That said, I knew one person who went to one of the screenings and he has yet to render an opinion on it. Check out the Reporter piece: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/megalopolis-francis-ford-coppola-challenges-distribution-1235867556/

Benson Boone

Just caught Benson Boone on Tuesday’s Today Show, performing his song “Beautiful Things.” The 21-year-old reminded me of Tony Manero (Saturday Night Fever) during the short interview with Savannah, Hoda and Carson, but the song was pretty good. He gained prominence through his work on Tik Tok and Dan Reynolds’s acknowledgement – from Imagine Dragons. Check him out here: https://www.bensonboone.com/

Micky Dolenz at the Troubadour

Here’s one more great shot of Micky Dolenz’s from his triumphant show at LA’s Troubadour

People of a certain age will well recall John Hughes’ 1985 masterpiece The Breakfast Club. Certain things age well … others don’t. Check out Molly Ringwald’s take on that movie now from Deadline: https://deadline.com/2024/04/molly-ringwald-the-breakfast-club-elements-havent-aged-well-judd-nelson-character-1235877597/comment-page-2/#comments  … Anybody out there remember Lou O’Neill at the NewYork Post back in the day? …

Savannah Sellers

Can’t see to find Chloe Melas on Today anymore. Sad, but she clearly not the right move.; their Savannah Sellers is a much, much better fit …

Watched the Gershwin Awards honoring Elton John and Bernie Taupin on PBS. Brandi Carlisle performing “Madman Across The Water” is just amazing. Great show. Congratulations … More Sly Stallone news. All I can say is, I am NOT surprised: https://deadline.com/2024/04/tulsa-king-casting-director-quits-sylvester-stallone-accused-criticizing-background-actors-1235878860/ … Here’s the trailer for the biopic on Amy Winehouse from Focus Features. Looks pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYzIOBwyhIU  … Happy Bday Robin Platzer!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Terry Jastrow; Dina Pitenis; Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Roy Trakin; Len Berman; Felix Cavaliere; Jane Blunkell; Pete Bennett; May Pang; Ken Dashow; Craig Newman; Jeffrey Sherman; Stu Fine; Mitch Kanner; Eppy; Al Steckler; Dan Richter; Tony King; Derek Taylor; Tyrone Bijan; Michelle Toscas; and ZIGGY!

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Micky Dolenz and band onstage (photo by Tyrone Biljan)

G.H. Harding

DOLENZ AT THE TROUBADOUR — Doug Weston’s Troubadour club in LA is a most storied venue. Back in the day, that was the club to be at and to play at on Santa Monica Blvd. Elton John’s US debut occurred at the club in 1970 when he was a mere 23. Other acts such as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Joni Mitchell, Poco, Neil Young, James Taylor, Eagles, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Waylon Jennings, Tom Waits and so many more appeared at the club.

Troubadour (photo by Alison Martino)

Somehow The Monkees never played the club (though Micky Dolenz was in the audience for Elton’s debut back then). They hung out there and Mike Nesmith actually played there under the name of Mike Blessing during his Monkee-auditions.

That all changed Friday night when Micky Dolenz and his 6-piece band with his sister Coco, performed there. It was sold-out (a benefit for Make-A-Wish) and it was indeed history in the making.

The evening began with Dolenz’s sister Coco (it was her birthday) doing a short set with the band. Dolenz entered the stage and began with “That Was Then, This Is Now” and “Last Train To Clarksville.” Dolenz peppered the show with many personal reminiscences and his crack-band shined; especially guitarist Wayne Avers, drummer Rich Dart and bassist John Billings. Dolenz’s voice remains as strong as ever; it’s been said that his is a cross between Freddie Mercury and Roy Orbison, which is a spot-on description.

Dolenz and crew then did “Good Morning, Good Morning” and “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which was preceded by Dolenz’s memories about his time with The Beatles. “Johnny B. Goode” (his Monkees-audition song) and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” followed with the crowd singing along.

Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Elton’s “Your Song” followed, again peppered with Dolenz’s poignant memories.

Make no mistake, The Monkees had just terrific material to work with; songwriters like Neil Diamond, Harry Nilsson, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Sedaka, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, but the synthesis of the four of them was pure magic. Dolenz is carrying on that spirit in fine fashion.

Dolenz and band encored with “Gimme Some Lovin’,”No Time” and “I’m A Believer.”

Just a terrific show from start to finish. Bravo!

Seen in the SRO crowd, Alison Martino; Goldmine’s Ken Sharp and Tone Scott; Breakfast with The Beatles’ Chris Carter; Craig Newman from Paladin Artists; Art Rutter; Michelle Grant; Jane Blunkell; Micky’s daughter Ami Dolenz; and Roy Trakin from Variety.

Mario Van Peebles

HOLLY-DAY IS HERE  — (Via Variety) Mario Van Peebles has been tapped to direct “That’ll Be the Day,” the story of how Buddy Holly and other musicians of the late 50’s helped give birth to rock ‘n’ roll and influence the wider societal and cultural landscape, including the civil rights movement.

Music has been central to much of Van Peebles’ work, from his 1991 gangster movie “New Jack City” to his work on “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” which he co-executive produced for Hulu. Van Peebles is currently writing a musical stage tribute to his father Melvin Van Peebles, to be performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center later this year.

“America’s tumultuous cultural melting pot has produced transcendent musical talent, including Buddy Holly, who was our first bad ass rock ’n’ roll nerd,” Van Peebles said in a statement.

His 2003 docudrama “Baadasssss!” pays homage to his father’s groundbreaking film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” His latest film, “Outlaw Posse” – a Western starring Edward James Olmos, Whoopi Goldberg, Cedric the Entertainer and John Caroll Lynch – which Van Peebles wrote, directed and starred in – is out now in theaters.

The screenplay was written by Patrick Shanahan and Matthew Benjamin, with additional material written by Van Peebles. The script is based on a story by French and Stephen Easley, general counsel to the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation.

Mario has certainly established himself as a creative force, but still, this seems an odd choice. But so was Taylor Hackford for Ray and that was a masterpiece.

SHORT TAKES — Woody Allen says in Graydon Carter’s Airmail: “The whole business has changed, and not in an appealing way. All the romance of film-making is gone.” Sad if his next film Coup de Chance, his 50th feature, is his last. Mired in personal tribulations, Allen was indeed canceled. Me, I wasn’t there and still haven’t made up my mind. But, boy, what a filmmaker. Sad news for sure …

Steve Kmetko

Remember Steve Kmetko? One of the first major entertainment journalists. He was on E and Entertainment Tonight and then unceremoniously dropped. On a podcast (Still Here Hollywood) with Amy Yasbeck, he reveals all. I knew Steve and his canceling was not done the right way at all. Check it out here: https://podtail.com/en/podcast/still-here-hollywood/ … And, Colin Farrell’s new Apple TV+ show

Sugar

Sugar is a visual delight. The logline begins with “an enigmatic detective” Hey, aren’t they all? It’s a bit of Chinatown and Mad Men. Light on story, but a heavenly look.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Wayne Avers; Tyrone Bijan; Jane Blunkell; Tone Scott; Chris Carter; Barry Fisch; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jules Asner; Amanda Naylor; Michael DesBarres; Jacqueline Boyd; Jim Kerr; Maria Milito; Dan Zelinski; Eppy; Ken Kohl; Kent and Laura Denmark; Mitchell Coleman; Lush Ice; Barry Schiff; Tony King; Jodi Ritzen; and ZIGGY!

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