Category Archives: Music

Springsteen’s autobiography is a bestselling boss . . . it’s sent people racing in the streets

I’ve never been a Bruce Springsteen fan. It hasn’t to do with him, it has to do with my lack of interested in rock music. Give me show tunes, film soundtracks, easy listening, vintage pop and, of course, anything by the world’s greatest entertainer, the Boss Bassey.

Since Springsteen has written his autobiography,  he seems hotter than ever. His publisher, Simon & Schuster, didn’t even have to issue an official press release . . . when word got out, his fans simple pre-ordered or bought tickets to his selected appearances in which he appeared and attendees received a pre-signed book. (We hope this means he really did sign them. We’ve know Shore Fire, his PR firm, too long to think otherwise.)  Born to Run was released internationally on September 27.

We understand he draws large crowds, very much the way Dame Shirley or Babs draws them. Someone counted that fans (2,000) packing the Barnes & Noble near Highway 9 in Freehold, N.J., on the book’s release day. He greeted more than 1,000 fans at N.Y.’s Union Square Barnes & Noble. Tickets for Springsteen’s meet-and-greet at the Philadelphia Free Library sold out in nine minutes. In Los Angeles, fans began lining up outside The Grove shopping center three days early. Ticket demand for his appearance at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, crashed the store’s website. Such mass appeal is to end: Springsteen wraps his U.S. series of appearances with a stop at The Harvard Coop in Boston on Monday, October 10.

The book is so hot it saddles the top spot on various bestselling lists and various editions (hardcover, ebook and audio editions) have been unleashed in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and India; rights have already been sold to publishers in nine countries.  Our fave review is from the Irish Times, who coos that the book is “darkness on the edge of genius … Bruce Springsteen is one of the great short story writers. At his wildest he’s Damon Runyon. At his best he’s Raymond Carver.”

According to Bruce, he has been privately writing the autobiography over the past seven years. He began work in 2009, after performing with the E Street Band at the Super Bowl’s halftime show.

In Born To Run, Mr. Springsteen describes growing up in Freehold, New Jersey amid the “poetry, danger, and darkness” that fueled his imagination. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.btr_331_500_s

“Writing about yourself is a funny business,” Springsteen notes in his book. “But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.”

“This is the book we’ve been hoping for,” adds Jonathan Karp, publisher of Simon & Schuster, who paid BS oodles of six-figure cash. “Readers will see their own lives in Bruce Springsteen’s extraordinary story, just as we recognize ourselves in his songs.”

Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor and originality found in his songs.

He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: Seeing Elvis’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

But the book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.

Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs, Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.

We have one question: Why no mention of Dame Shirley?

“Hip Hop Raised Me” is the soundtrack chronicling 40 years of music culture

It might be a bit too corny to announce the event with a “Hip Hop Hooray”. Then again, ears of corn may be ringing with “Hip Hop Hooray,” a song by the hip hop group Naughty By Nature. Mark your calendars: Coming November 15 from Thames & Hudson is Hip Hop Raised Me, the definitive book on 40 years of the music culture,  its the essence, experience and energy, that revolutionized the world.  FYI:  The word “hip hop” is, like most music genres, not capitalized nor hyphenated.hip-hop-raised-me-611x784

Written by DJ Semtex, host of the UK’s top hip hop show on BBC Radio 1Xtra, this unique volume traces the characteristics and influence of hip hop, from its origins in the early ’70s, through its breakthrough into the mainstream and the advent of gangsta rap in the late ’80s, to the impact of contemporary artists and the global industry that is hip hop today. Semtex’s encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and his personal relationships with many of the most significant names in hip hop lends the book authority and the ultimate insider’s perspective.

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Grandmaster Flash

From its origins in the block parties of da Bronx in the ’70s to its status today as a global multi-billion dollar industry, from the voice of disaffected urban America to a President-electing powerbase, from Grandmaster Flash to Jay-Z, hip hop is nothing less than a phenomenon. Not just the most important musical genre of the past four decades, hip hop has transcended its origins to impact on every aspect of 21st century culture: Today Dr. Dre is at the vanguard of the music industry’s digital revolution, Kanye West is courted by the fashion industry and makes front page news, while Kendrick Lamar maintains hip hop’s legacy as a voice for the voiceless (today for the Ferguson riots generation) in the seething socio-political commentary contained within his lyrics.

Organized thematically, Hip Hop Raised Me features the many extensive interviews DJ Semtex has conducted from the ’90s to today, conveying the authentic voices of a huge roster of artists including Eminem, the Wu-Tang Clan,Jay-Z, Public Enemy, Kanye West, Nas, 50 Cent, Nicky Minaj, Pharrell, Odd Future, Drake and many, many more. Numerous infographic treatments track the four pillars of hip hop–MCing, Turntableism, B-boying, Graffiti–as well as the genre’s many fashion trends. These sit alongside specially commissioned photography of hip hop ephemera and vinyl, as well as contact sheets, outtakes and glory shots from key photographers in the movement. The depth and breadth of the book is visually matched by the rich and plentiful illustrations to make this the complete hip hop survey.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY / NO MERCHANDISING Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brian J Ritchie/Hotsauce/REX/Shutterstock (4453302ce) Kanye West 'The Jonathan Ross Show' TV Programme, London, Britain. - 28 Feb 2015
Kanye West

The publication of Hip Hop Raised Me coincides with multiple key dates in hip hop history–40 years since Grandmaster Flash broke out of da Bronx; 30 years since the release of the Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill”; and 20 years since the release of Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt.” To mark these occasions and celebrate the publication of this landmark volume, DJ Semtex will host an incredible concert in London this October with a multi-generational line up of hip hop artists appearing on the same UK bill for the first time. Featuring some of the biggest names in the Hip Hop game, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

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DJ Semtex

October also sees the release of “Hip Hop Raised Me,” the soundtrack. Released by Sony Music and selected by DJ Semtex, this multi-artist album will reflect the breadth and scope of the book and feature only the most ground-breaking, epoch-making tracks of the genre.

Ahead of the book’s publication, DJ Semtex has launched the Hip Hop Raised Me podcast, a weekly series of conversations with some of the most creative people in hip hop culture. Download and subscribe to future episodes of the podcast @ itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/hip-hop-raised-me/

Yes, we can say “Hip Hop Hooray”!

 

 

Something so strong: Crowded House celebrates their 30th anniversary with reissues of their entire catalog

A reason to put up with crowds: Crowded House will be celebrating their 30th anniversary by reissuing their entire catalog in two-disc CD packages and 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, unlocking a wealth of rare material that has been personally selected by Neil Finn and the band. They will be released on Friday,  November 18 through Universal Catalog, and are available to pre-order at the official Crowded House Store.  Digital versions will also be available on November 4.

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The two-CD packages will feature the original album with a bonus disc of rarities, B-sides and previously unreleased home demos and outtakes unearthing more than 100 unreleased tracks across the campaign. Each CD package will be delivered in high quality fan-deluxe packaging, with extended notes featuring new interviews with the band and memorabilia from personal and fan archives in a 36 page book. Exclusive CD bundles will also be available here.

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That’s Finn on the left

True to the original releases, there will also be classic reissues of each album on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl. These are all cut from the original analogue tapes at Abbey Road Studios. The LPs will not include bonus tracks.

Says Finn: “We are thrilled all seven of our albums are about to be reissued in all formats including vinyl, each one accompanied by a rich trove of rarities including writing demos and other unreleased musical curiosities, as well as new original artwork from my dear friend Nick Seymour. This has been many years in the making with much of the exhaustive listening, editing and remixing being done by the keeper of knowledge Jeremy Ansell in Auckland. It has been a labor of love for us and our mission all along was making a superlative quality, definitive document of Crowded House’s unique history for all the fans who have given us their affection over the years.”

 

 

 

This November, almost 20 years to the day when Crowded House said Farewell to the World with a celebrated concert held on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House, they return to that iconic space to celebrate their induction into the ARIA Hall Of Fame at the 2016 ARIA Awards.

Crowded House will perform two very special Encore shows exclusive to Sydney and Australia, their only appearances worldwide during 2016, on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26.

The Black Eyes Peas (not the legumes, but the band) ready for a stunning vinyl collection

For the record: Originally formed in Los Angeles in the late ’80s by rap partners will.i.am and apl.de.ap., The Black Eyed Peas were signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records, then joined Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope in 1998 for their critically acclaimed major label debut album, Behind the Front.  Since then, The Black Eyed Peas have gone on to sell more than 35 million albums around the world, emerging from the West Coast rap underground to become Grammy-winning, multi-platinum superstars who have stormed the pop charts after adding pop diva Fergie to their ranks for 2003’s breakthrough album, Elephunk, which produced their first hit single, “Where Is the Love,” “Shut Up,” “Hey Mama” and “Let’s Get It Started.”unnamed

UMe will now bring all six Interscope studio albums in The Black Eyed Peas’ hit-packed catalog together for the first time in The Complete Vinyl Collection, a limited edition vinyl box set that includes 180-gram double-LPs of each (for a total of 12 discs) in a black rigid lift top box, with gold foil band logo, to be released September 30. All six individual vinyl LPs will also be released separately in a limited edition run. 

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Real black-eyes peas
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The other The Black Eyed Peas

We end with a bit of interesting piece of minutiae, no bigger than a black-eyed pea. Bridging The Gap, which came out in 2000, is the last album recorded as Black Eyed Peas before the band added a “The” to their name.  They never added the hyphen . . . afraid to be confused with those yummy  legumes?

Frank Zappa Family Trust and UMe team for a frankly incredible genre-leaping Zappa canon

In his trailblazing and incredibly prolific career, artist, composer and all-around musical pioneer Frank Zappa released more than 60 albums in his lifetime, as a solo artist and with his bands the Mothers of Invention and the Mothers. Coupled with more than 40 posthumous releases since his death in 1993 at 52, figuring out where to start in Zappa’s vast, genre-leaping catalog can be daunting. ZAPPAtite–Frank Zappa’s Tastiest Tracks, due September 23 on Zappa Records/UMe and available for pre-order now, collects some of Zappa’s best known and beloved compositions, from his early psychedelic rock beginnings to his avant-garde experimentation, jazz-rock explorations, symphonic suites and satirical send-ups, compiling them into one easily digestible collection and offering key entryways into the many musical worlds of the visionary musician.
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Available on CD and digitally, with vinyl to come at a later date, the album is divided into three courses–Appetizers, Entrees and Desserts–and the food-centric theme oozes throughout the album art, which features Zappa in a diner on the cover, a track list that resembles a menu and some of Zappa’s favorite eats.

The 18 compositions that make up ZAPPAtite were compiled by Zappa’s son Ahmet Zappa and encyclopedic Zappa archivist, VaultmeisterJoe Travers.

“This isn’t a greatest hits album as Frank didn’t really have ‘hits,’ per se, nor is it a ‘best of’ since that would be an impossibility to fit so much awesome onto one disc,” says Ahmet. “It’s a veritable smorgasbord of musicality for the curious and a buffet of favorites for the fans, ZAPPAtite collects a cross section of my favorite songs composed by my dad, that lean more towards the rock side of his expansive repertoire. I hope you’re hungry because this meal for your ears rocks!”

Kicking off with the one-two punch of “I’m The Slime” and “Dirty Love” from Zappa’s 1973 watershed Gold album, Over-Nite Sensation, the collection quickly introduces Zappa’s eclecticism and salacious tongue as the songs meld polyrhythmic psychedelic rock and heavy funk with his trademark innuendo-filled lyrics. From there, the album travels through Zappa’s sprawling musical universe, highlighting vital songs and important eras of his career.frank-zappa-mona-lisa-poster

The Appetizers portion also includes the Grammy-nominated disco satire “Dancin’ Fool” and the controversial European smash “Bobby Brown Goes Down” from Zappa’s popular 1979 album, Sheik Yerbouti; and “Trouble Every Day” from Zappa’s embryonic rock band the Mothers of Invention’s groundbreaking 1966 debut, Freak Out!.

Entrees includes one of Zappa’s best known works, the universally loved instrumental “Peaches En Regalia from his classic 1969 solo sophomore record, Hot Rats; ubiquitous Top 40 hit Valley Girl, featuring his then 14-year-old daughter Moon Unit affecting a valley girl “gag-me-with-a-spoon” patois, from 1982’s Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch; to the possible autobiographical track from a parallel dimension “Joe’s Garage” of 1979’s LP of the same name; and the waggish blues rocker Cosmik Debris and the humorous Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, two standouts from one of Zappa’s most commercial and accessible albums, 1974’s Apostrophe (‘).

Desserts explores Zappa’s musical virtuosity and singular live performances and includes the comedic“Titties & Beer” from the 1978 live album, Zappa In New York; the frenetic Synclavier-fueled “G-Spot Tornado” from 1986’s Jazz From Hell; the anti-drug screed, “Cocaine Decisions” from 1983’s The Man From Utopia; and “Zoot Allures,” the heady instrumental featuring some of Zappa’s electrifying guitar playing, from 1976’s Zoot Allures. The album culminates with a performance of “Strictly Genteel” with the London Symphony Orchestra. The epic, orchestral-rock piece originally served as the grand finale to Zappa’s surrealist 1971 film, “200 Motels.”

As this year marks 50 years since the release of the Mothers of Invention’s seminal debut album, Freak Out!, hailed as one of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time by Rolling Stone, Zappa’s music and enduring legacy has been experiencing a renaissance as younger generations discover his music. A pair of documentaries has also brought about a renewed interest and focus on the forward-thinking iconoclast’s lasting impact. In June, Sony Pictures Classics released the feature documentary, “Eat That Question – Frank Zappa In His Own Words” to widespread acclaim. Comprised of TV interviews, performances and rare archival footage, the film reveals a provocative 20th century musical genius, rock legend and intellectual firebrand whose worldview reverberates into the present day and beyond. In April, filmmaker Alex Winter announced his plans for a documentary entitled, Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa, and it quickly pushed past its goal of $500,000 to became the highest-funded documentary film in Kickstarter’s history by collecting just over $1.1 million by offering t-shirts, posters, inclusion in the film’s credits, access to never-released audio recordings, video footage, visual materials from the vault, and even the chance to purchase Zappa’s 8,000 sq. ft. Hollywood home.

Since the Zappa Family Trust and UMe entered into a global partnership for a long-term, licensing agreement encompassing Zappa’s entire recorded catalog, as well as rights management participation across the rest of the cultural icon’s creative canon, together they have been steadily reissuing the catalog on CD, LP and digitally. They have also been digging deep into Zappa’s famed vault to make available a bevy of unreleased material, live concerts and other assorted rarities.

Continuing the reissues, Zappa’s classic Hot Rats was just released on 180-gram vinyl on August 26. Recorded in 1969, his second solo album is widely known for its pioneering fusion of jazz and rock and contains one of his best known songs, “Peaches En Regalia.” Mostly an instrumental album, sans “Willie The Pimp” which features Captain Beefheart’s craggy vocals, the six-song LP is filled with complex musical passages, breathtaking playing and some beautifully melodic moments.

Enjoy a listen here UMe.lnk.to/ZappaHotRatsStream.

“The American Side” pays homage to Hitchcock, film noir and forgotten genius Nikola Tesla

My mother used to say that there are three sides to every story: His, hers and the truth. The power that behind the riveting film The American Side (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) insist that “there are three sides to every story…the truth, the lie and the American Side.”

American side, as opposed to the Canadian side. This gem was filmed at the falls. And then some.

When Charlie Paczynski’s raven-haired partner is caught in the crossfire of a blackmail scheme gone bad, he trails the prime suspect to the brink of Niagara, only to receive a cryptic warning: “what’s happening here you can’t begin to comprehend”… Thrust into a world populated by a whiskey-swilling raconteur (Robert Forster), strangely bonded siblings (Matthew Broderick and Camilla Belle), and a dubious government agent (Janeane Garofalo), Paczynski joins the quest for a long-lost design by enigmatic genius, Nikola Tesla. From the eccentric eavesdropper who gives him his first clue (yes! that’s Robert Vaughn, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) every door Paczynski forces open raises the stakes.

Reminiscent of the conspiracy thrillers of the ’70s, complete with a score by David Shire and packed with nods to Hitchcock and classic film noir, The American Side is a jigsaw puzzle mystery, climaxing under the roar of the Falls as the final piece snaps into place.The acclaimed neo-noir thriller stars Greg Stuhr as private detective Paczynski, whose investigation into a mysterious suicide leads him to unravel a conspiracy involving a long-lost design by forgotten scientist Nikola Tesla.  (Hint: In 1893, Edward Dean Adams headed up the Niagara Falls Cataract Construction Company, and he sought Tesla’s opinion on what system would be best to transmit power generated at the falls.)unnamed

At the heart of the story is the mysterious nature of science and the scientific mind. The plot revolves around a lost design by the man many consider the greatest inventor of any age–the tragically overlooked Serbian-American scientist, Nikola Tesla.Nikola_Tesla_on_Time_Magazine_1931

At the heart of the story is the mysterious nature of science and the scientific mind. The plot revolves around a lost design by the man many consider the greatest inventor of any age–the tragically overlooked Serbian-American scientist, Nikola Tesla.
Released by The Orchard digitally and on demand earlier this year, this entertaining homage to the detective stories of yesteryear is the perfect film for suspense fans of today.

 

Do we dare suggest you will take a fall?

A chat with Barbara Cook: “If someone reads my book with an open mind, he or she can come back from dark places”

The tastiest cookbook this season? Make that Cook book, as in Barbara Cook’s autobiography Then and Now: A Memoir  (Harper, $28.99). The 88-year-old icon shares her life and career, the highs and lows, some of which are quite painful to read. There are warm memories of her golden years as Broadway’s newest ingénue and Broadway’s favorite soprano in the original productions of Plain and Fancy (1955), Candide (1956), The Music Man (1957) and She Loves Me (1963) and later into a sophisticated cabaret and concert artist . . . as well as much sadder, deeply painful memories.barbaracook01_1320848280
At the lowest point of her career, she was drunk and desperate, sleeping through the day and “I didn’t shower or brush my teeth for days at a time.” She confesses that she was “so broke I was stealing food from the supermarket by slipping sandwich meat into my coat pocket.”

Today, Cook suffers from polymyalgia rheumatica, a disease that forces her to use a wheelchair. She may be slower, her voice much softer, but she refuses to give in.  As a recovering alcoholic she still attends her AA meetings. (She quit drinking in 1977.) For that we continue to applaud her. We caught up with Cook one summer afternoon at her Upper West Side apartment and had a lovely conversation, fraught with lots of coughing and short sentences, of the good and bad and both acts—before and after sobriety—of her life. Read her story, and enjoy performances we share.2016-06-27-1467056258-9031733-Cover_BarbaraCook-thumb

First things first: You have been asked to write a book for years. Why did you finally write an autobiography?
Yes, people have wanted me to write a book for some time. I kept saying, ‘Why? Who the hell cares?’ Then it occurred to me that I have had this up and down life, and if someone reads my book with an open mind he or she can come back from dark places and have a successful career. I wrote every word, mostly by hand, on white-lined paper.

And what dark places!
They were things I have lived with for so long. They were a huge part of my life. It’s the first time I am talking about them publicly . . . it was time to talk about the things I had held inside for a long time. It had always been easier not to discuss mother, my sister’s death, the shame and blame I had felt. I spent decades often thinking that I didn’t deserve the nice things that have happened for me. I drank and I ate. I found myself mad at my mother since she blamed me for my sister’s death from double pneumonia. I thought I could help people who have gone through or who are going through what I did. [Barbara’s sister died at 18 months; Barbara was three years old]

No wonder we didn’t like your mother after reading the book. She blamed you, as a child, for your sister’s death!
Yes. My sister had pneumonia, and then I got pneumonia and whooping cough. I gave her whooping cough on top of the pneumonia. (Pauses) When I was in therapy, my first therapist said something that was so smart ‘Did it ever occur to you that she caught it and that you didn’t give it to her?’ Wow. That really helped me because I grew up thinking I was responsible for my sister’s death. I started to think, well, if my sister hadn’t died father wouldn’t have left. I was five. (Pauses, quietly) I became responsible for my sister’s death and his leaving as well.

When I interviewed Liza Minnelli, she told me even recovering alcoholics must always refer themselves as alcoholics. Did Liza break rules by talking about AA? 
AA does not have rules. It has suggestions. They don’t call them rules. I supposed one can break one’s own anonymity which I don’t do.

What did you think went wrong with Liza?
I know Liza and have sat around talking with her. But I don’t think I know her well enough to talk about that.

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Cook with Leonard Bernstein, during the recording of the cast album of “Candide,” the comic operetta, based on Voltaire’s satirical novel

It’s sad seeing you in a wheelchair. Do you believe you will get out of that chair one day?
Well I guess if the condition gets good I will. My spirits are mostly okay, but nobody likes to be like this. There are days when I get down, but I don’t seem to stay down for long.

Many of your fans are gay. Your only child, Adam LeGrant, is gay. You and I are talking less than a month after the tragic massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando. When I say ‘homophobia’ . . .
(Interrupts) It affects me like everyone else. Homophobia is a stupid, horrible way of thinking. It’s getting better, but it’s still, oh God! awful.

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Cook with her son Adam at the opening night of “Sondheim on Sondheim” at Studio 54 on April 22, 2010. Photo by Bruce Glikas

Were you disappointed when you learned your son Adam was gay?
When Adam told me he had something to tell me, I had no idea he was going to tell me he was gay. I thought he was going to tell me he broke up with his girlfriend and was never going to marry her. When he said he was gay, I knew I would never have grandchildren—that entered my psyche immediately. I thought there’s something wrong. I have a son I don’t know. I was really upset and I screamed and cried like crazy for about five days. It occurred to me that  all my life I felt like a little girl with her nose pressed against the glass of a candy shop. I didn’t feel part of real life. But when I bore a son I felt more connected to the world. When Adam told me was gay, I didn’t feel connected anymore.   After crying, I thought, ‘Wait a minute. What on earth is going on with you? What the hell is wrong with you? He is your son!’

I asked Liza about why she has such a gay following. She told me her fans relate to her pain, just as they related to her mother’s pain. You are aware you have a large gay following?
Oh sure. I talked about it with friends a couple of times. But I don’t know what it’s about. Could I be they relate to my problems? Who knows? We all have problems.

You made your Broadway debut in the 1951 musical Flahooley; you won a Tony for The Music Man. A far cry from growing up in Atlanta in such poverty you used to eat dinners of white bread and ketchup. You are a legend! A special survivor!
(Long laugh ) Oh God,  I don’t think of it as way. We all think we’re special. I know I am very, very grateful of the gift I have given. Singing is a wonderful way to move and touch people. I feel that I must sing because it feels so good to get all that out! I suppose it’s a gift from a  higher power.

Where do you keep your Tony?
I have a dining room and it’s kept in a bookcase in there.

After reading your book, I still cannot figure out if you liked Elaine Stritch.
(Laughs) I liked her, but not always what she did. Her behavior sometimes. Somewhere inside her was a very nice person.

Barbara+Cook+Roundabout+Theatre+Company+2016+Ligbg69Xb9flI am going to push you in a corner. What’s your favorite song?
(Laughs) Oh my goodness! The answer is no. I have no favorite.

How about a song you never sang?
I don’t think of things that way; I think of shows I wished I had done. I wanted to do The Most Happy Fella. I auditioned again and again for that and I really wanted to do it. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t have been able to do Candide.

You will be 89 on October 25. Ever think how you want to be remembered? What will be on your gravestone?
Oh gee. Wow. No one ever asked me that. (Pauses) SHE DID HER BEST.

 

 

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition” on Blu-ray and DVD: May the force be with you.

It will happen, in a galaxy not so far, far away. It will happen in the Milky Way, right here on Earth. It will first happen on Halloween in Sweden and Holland  . . . and happen in the United States and Canada on November 15.

Save the date. This is important. Those are the dates Star Wars devotees will experience—up close and in eye-popping 3D—the highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition. May the force be with you.AVCO_3D_pack_shot

For the first time—and just in time for the holidays (make note!)—viewers can bring home Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 3D, encased in stunning, collectible packaging. The exclusive four-disc 3D Collector’s Edition contains the original theatrical release on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, Digital HD and DVD, along with originally released bonus features and brand-new bonus material, including additional deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes conversations with cast and crew and revealing, never-before released audio commentary by director J.J. Abrams.

Yes, this is important news. Upon its debut last December, Star Wars: The Force Awakens received rave reviews from both critics and audiences, and shattered box office records with over $936 million domestic and $2 billion worldwide. The film has since been nominated for five Academy Awards and took home the BAFTA Award for Special Visual Effects. The Force Awakens re-ignited the Star Wars franchise and fans eagerly await the next installment, arriving in theaters December 2017, as well as the first in a series of standalone films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, premiering this December 16.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw the eagerly anticipated reteaming of original Star Wars stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, along with Anthony Daniels (the only actor to have been in all seven Star Wars films) and Peter Mayhew. The returning cast was joined by newcomer Daisy Ridley, who beat out fierce competition to take the principal role of Rey; BAFTA Rising Star Award winner John Boyega as reluctant stormtrooper Finn; Emmy nominee Adam Driver as the villainous Kylo Ren, and Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac as Resistance pilot Poe Dameron.

Having established a musical legacy with his iconic scores for the previous six films in the Star Wars saga, acclaimed composer John Williams returned to score“Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ultimately garnering his 50th Oscar nomination for it. Nothing but music to our ears!

3D COLLECTOR’S EDITION BONUS FEATURES:

  • Audio Commentary with J.J. Abrams Enter the mind of visionary director J.J. Abrams as he reveals the creative and complex choices made while developing the first film in the new Star Wars
  • Foley: A Sonic Tale Foley artists, consisting of old pros and new talent, unite to bring the world of Star Wars: The Force Awakens alive through the matching of sound to action.
  • Sounds of the Resistance Hear how the epic sound design of Star Wars: The Force Awakens moves the Star Wars legacy forward.
  • Deleted Scenes View never-before-shared scenes that didn’t make the film’s final cut.
  • Dressing the Galaxy Costume Designer Michael Kaplan reveals how the costumes of the original Star Wars movies were re-envisioned for a new generation.
  • The Scavenger and the Stormtrooper: A Conversation with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega The two new stars share the thrill of working together on the adventure of a lifetime and becoming part of the Star Wars
  • Inside the Armory Take a fascinating tour through the design and creation of the weaponry in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • Classic Bonus Features These offerings from the April release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, include the complete story behind the making of the film, an unforgettable cast table read, insights from legendary composer John Williams and deleted scenes, as well as features that dig deeper into the creation of new characters such as BB-8, the design of the climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren, the film’s remarkable digital artistry and the Star Wars: Force for Change global aid initiative.

    The force will be with you.

 

Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker . . . sink your teeth (or dentures) into a masterful film

Some say Ethan Hawke was Born to Be Blue. Of sorts. Hawke portrays (quite wonderfully) jazz legend Chet Baker in Born to Be Blue (IFC Films). In the ’50s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool. By the ’60s, he was all but washed up, his life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction. In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker’s life at a key moment in the ’60s as the musician attempts a hard-fought comeback, spurred by a passionate romance with a new flame (portrayed by Carmen Ejogo).
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“I didn’t want some pretend jazz movie in a black turtleneck,” says Hawke. “To me, it’s about the music, the person, the period, the place. Look at the nineteen fifties–they have their own charisma and feel, from the cars to the music to the energy. I find it all tying together to create this special time.”

Time was not Baker’s friend.  Hooked on heroin in 1957, his career died after Baker was involved in a drug deal gone so wrong a brutal beating knocked his teeth out. He couldn’t play anymore,” adds Hawke, “until he learned to play with dentures.”

Sink your teeth into a great flick.

Time Life celebrates the legacy of Prince today with a purple pressing of vinyl

When Prince tragically passed away in April, he left behind a legacy as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor.  To commemorate the wildly talented icon, musical innovator and seven-time Grammy-winner behind such chart-topping hits as “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Purple Rain” and “Little Red Corvette,” Time Life has released a special, limited-edition of the recently released vinyl album, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live – Volume 1.
The initial pressing of the album, released on April 29, immediately sold out and rose to #13 on Billboard‘s Vinyl Album chart.  The new pressing, which features Prince’s blistering and unforgettable guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from his 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, will be highlighted by purple vinyl in honor of the influential star.  It went on sale today at a suggested retail price of $25.98 wherever vinyl albums are sold.
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“Following Prince’s passing, we recognized that we needed to do something truly special to   commemorate his incredible musical legacy,” says Jeff Peisch, SVP of New Product Development & Marketing for Time Life. “When the first run of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live sold out immediately, the opportunity presented itself to do a purple vinyl pressing that perfectly captures the ‘Purple One,’ and is sure to resonate with those who loved his music and style.”
Time Life and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have digitally released the filmed performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” from an evening featuring Prince’s own induction by a 23 year-old Alicia Keys. Prince’s three-minute-long blistering solo went viral following his death, and has now entered into legend.  Prince fans and music lovers searching to own the filmed performance can now go to iTunes to download the music video for just $1.99.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live – Volume 1  is a selection of the most memorable moments from induction ceremony history, featuring the biggest names in rock performing in combinations not seen anywhere else.  This 180 gram vinyl “ticket” is a front-row seat to the very best the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies have to offer.

Aside from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which also features Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood and Dhani Harrison, the release includes performances from legendary talents like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Cream, Steve Winwood, Metallica, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Green Day, James Taylor, Al Green, Chuck Berry and more.

Jam-filled performances of chart-busters like “Johnny Be Goode,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Train Kept a Rollin,'” “Ironman,” “Woodstock,” “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” make this volume a must-have for any LP library.