THE MORNING SHOW — When Apple TV’s The Morning Show debuted in November, somehow I missed it. Missed it, basically because I preferred not to trigger another pay channel. That said, I have paid (along with a HULU subscription) and watched the first two episodes and was simply blown away.
First off, the production is top-notch -with its own theme song and marvelous graphics, often bringing to mind the graphic work of Maurice Binder of the early-James Bond movies- second, the cast, Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Mark Duplas is just sensational, Crudup, whose been around for years is just mind-blowing; chewing up the scenery whenever he’s on screen. I’ve been a huge fan of his since the Zack Snyder Watchmen (the best presentation of that graphic novel IMO) and here he’s simply off the charts. Chewing the scenery with terrific dialogue. An career wining performance for sure.
The plot, which is eerily similar to the entire NBC/Today Show/Matt Lauer-episode (right down to the office-button that automatically closes his dressing room door), is about what happens when the male-host of a morning TV show (Steve Carell) is fired overnight due to several sexual activities that have come to light. Carell’s character admits them, but says they were fully consensual. Aniston, as his 15-year partner (and sometime romantic partner) is infuriated, as now her career, is in jeopardy.
Crudup plays the network chieftain whose job it is to massage this grievous situation and Witherspoon comes on board as the new co-host; but, with a sensational back-story to her character. I loved her in HBO’s Big little Lies, but this performance is breathtakingly good. Best work of her career IMO.
Last year several producers daily followed the exploits of the various AM talk fetes, including The Today Show, GMA, and Live with Ryan and Kelly and, by God, they got mostly everything right.
Also, just for the record, the original name of the Regis Philbin/Kathie Lee chatfest was The Morning Show.
When Reese Witherspoon’s character meets with the show’s EP (Duplas), for a possible job, it’s totally on point. The EP barely listens, then hustle her out of his office moments later. Yes, folks … that the way it goes.
At these morning shows, now more than ever, there’s a fine line of absurdity and fear. One day you’re in … another, you’re out.
Carell is typically brilliant in his portrayal as the fired Mitch Kessler. Admitting his guilt, but denying that it was anything not consensual. Also, Martin Short as a director who has been already accused and in a conversation with Carell about a possible solution, is just excellent.
You can sense that this entire production wants to be another Mad Men and its comes pretty damn close. The writing is just sensational and the production stellar.
Ever since the MeToo movement reared its head, it’s been a battle: a kiss is not just a kiss anymore and after this pandemic, neither will a handshake.
Some of the best work I’ve seen on TV in years. Superlative!
T. REX — An all-star group of musicians is gathering to pay tribute to the music of Marc Bolan and T. Rex.
T. Rex is part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 with Bolan being inducted posthumously. To celebrate their induction, a tribute album called AngelHeaded Hipster will be released on September 4 containing Bolan and T. Rex classics.
A star-studded list of artists appear on the record including U2, Elton John, Joan Jett, Nick Cave, Father John Misty, Kesha, Perry Farrell, and more.
Highlights of the album include Nick Cave performing “Cosmic Dancer,” U2 and Elton John teaming up for the T. Rex classic “Bang A Gong (Get It On),” and Kesha’s take on “Children Of The Revolution.
Those wanting to see T. Rex inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will be able to do so as the ceremony will air live on HBO on November 7th.
Marc Bolan and T. Rex (along with bassist Micki Finn) were the premieer glam-rock band of the 70’s. He was also quite the outspoken rock-star; handing withg Elton and Ringo Starr shooting a documentary on him. Also, for those in the know, he had the star-producer of the moment, Tony Visconti. ASlso, for me, David Johansen doing “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” … does it get any better?
AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T.Rex Tracklist:
1. “Children Of The Revolution” – Kesha
2. “Cosmic Dancer” – Nick Cave
3. “Jeepster” – Joan Jett
4. “Scenescof” – Devendra Banhart
5. “Life’s A Gas” – Lucinda Williams
6. “Solid Gold, Easy Action” – Peaches
7. “Dawn Storm” – BØRNS
8. “Hippy Gumbo” – Beth Orton
9. “I Love To Boogie” – King Khan
10. “Beltane Walk” – Gaby Moreno
11. “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” – U2 feat. Elton John
12. “Diamond Meadows” – John Cameron Mitchell
13. “Ballrooms Of Mars” – Emily Haines
1. “Main Man” – Father John Misty
2. “Rock On” – Perry Farrell
3. “The Street and Babe Shadow” – Elysian Fields
4. “The Leopards” – Gavin Friday
5. “Metal Guru” – Nena
6. “Teenage Dream” – Marc Almond
7. “Organ Blues” – Helga Davis
8. “Planet Queen” – Todd Rundgren
9. “Great Horse” – Jessie Harris
10. “Mambo Sun” – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
11. “Pilgrim’s Tale” – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
12. “Bang A Gong (Get It On) Reprise” – David Johansen
13. “She Was Born To Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan” – Maria McKee
SHORT TAKES — Great Scott Shannon/Micky Dolenz interview on CBS FM Friday. Thanks Louis Pulice … The All Together Now online-telethon last weekend, with Micky Dolenz; Jeff Bridges; Rob Morrow; Lisa Loeb; Venice; and Jesse Colin Young, raised over 100K … congrats …
And, Via Ultimate Classic Rock: Steve Howe reflected on the sudden success of Asia’s first single, “Heat of the Moment,” saying that front man John Wetton struggled with the demands that it placed on the supergroup. It was the last song they’d written for their 1982 self-titled debut album, and while Yes guitarist Howe and former Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer had experienced large-scale success, former King Crimson singer and bassist Wetton hadn’t to the same extent. “It was wonderful, of course,” Howe told Classic Rock. “It felt like vindication after the way Yes had fallen apart, really. But I’d already experienced highs like headlining sold-out arena tours of the States in Yes. As had Carl. But for John it was something else, I think. The pressure was really on, and I think the sheer scale of the success had an effect on him that made him quite introverted in a way. Very cut off.” Asked about the breakdown in the relationship between himself and Wetton – who passed in 2017 – Howe said, “I don’t like the stories you hear about us falling out. It was never that simple. The whole thing just got out of control. None of us were happy with the mix of the second album, Alpha. … The tour was crazy – too many champagne breakfasts, you might say. That’s when I started driving myself to shows rather than fly with the band. But we ended up pulling the final dates. It was a mess. People started forgetting parts, or running orders, or whether it was the single version or the album version we were playing.” The problems led to a backstage discussion. “That’s when we spoke to John,” Howe recalled. “He said, ‘It’s not all me.’ Yes, but if you’re singing and playing and you go somewhere we don’t know, we’re going to have problems. At that point it started to fizzle out.” Still, Howe has positive feelings about Asia’s debut LP. “The production was a bit Journey-esque,” he noted. “That was down to Mike Stone, who’d co-produced Escape, which was a huge album for Journey. But ‘Heat of the Moment’ was the last song we recorded for the Asia album. By then we’d already done stuff like ‘Time Again’ and ‘Wildest Dreams,’ which were very progressive. There was also this sweetness in ‘[Only] Time Will Tell.’ But as soon as I stacked up the guitar and John started singing, we knew we had something special in ‘Heat of the Moment’.”
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Rick Eberle; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; August Darnell; Alan Rothstein; Graydon Carter; Robert Evans; Peter Abraham; Hilary Gerrard; Fred Goodman; Samantha Ryan; Gil Friesen; Michael Leon; Jerry Love; Larry Yasgur; Marcel Albers; Mark Stein; and, CHIP!
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 email@example.com. Follow Eli on Facebook at TheMotivationShow, Instagram at EliMarcusPodcast and Twitter at TheEliMarcus.
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