Category Archives: CDs

Here’s Lucie! Lucie Arnaz on her one-woman show, gay icons, Michael Bennett and, of course, her mom

Lucie Arnaz can precisely remember the moment she wanted to be in show business. It had nothing to do with her mom, Lucille Ball, stomping around in a huge vat of grapes.  It had nothing to do with watching her dad, Desi Arnaz, bang out “Babalu on the bongos. It had to do with loving another lady: Mame. It was in 1966 and Lucie, then 15 and in New York City, caught Angela Lansbury in the Jerry Herman musical.
“I remember watching Angela having all this fun, getting to sing all these great songs and dance all these wonderful numbers,” Lucie recalls. “I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s what I’m going to do with my life. I’m going to sing and dance!’”
And she did. And then some.
Her career began with occasional appearances on her mother’s’ 60s  TV series The Lucy Show; Lucie was also a regular (along with her brother Desi Jr.) on Ball’s third series, Here’s Lucy. Regional tours followed; in 1979, Lucie won awards and accolades for her splashy Broadway debut in They’re Playing Our Song. On the day she left the show, Lucie flew to Los Angeles to begin work on the 1980 musical remake of The Jazz Singer starring Neil Diamond and Sir Laurence OIivier.
Other stage and screen work followed. In 1993,  Lucie produced the small-screen documentary Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie, for which she won an Emmy. In 2000, she starred in the London musical The Witches of Eastwick.  Since then, her resume has bulged and broken its seams. There were TV appearances (including the highly-regarded guest starring role in the 2003 episode of Law & Order, Bitch); the CD Latin Roots, the 2010 homage to her father; and various Broadway and national tours, including the 2014 revival of Pippin, in which Lucie jaw-droppingly performed on a trapeze .
All this while maintaining a life with actor Laurence Luckinbill, 16 years her senior, to whom she has been married since June 1980. (The couple have five children.) During the COVID self-isolation years, Lucie edited her husband’s autobiography Effective Memories: How Chance  and the Theatre Saved My Life (Sunbury Press, $34.95) being released next April. She learned to cut her own hair; chronicled the growing years of her grandchildren; dabbled with Facebook and listened to “lots” of audible books.
This month, Lucie returns to New York City with I Got the Job! Songs From My Musical Past. She’s bringing the show back after four years of cancelling because of COVID and last year’s knee replacement surgery.
But that was then. On July 19, 2023, two days after her 72nd birthday, Lucie returns to Below 54 for four nights of proving life is a cabaret, accompanied by her good friend, musical director/pianist Ron Abel.  Call 646.476.3551 for reservations.
Here, Lucie proves she’s still on the ball as she chats about her one-woman show, her new hairdo, imitating Cher, working with Sir Laurence Olivier and Michael Bennett, and gay icons.
Before we go into any hair-raising topics, let’s chat about your gorgeous hair! It’s snow white!
This is my COVID cut and color do. What can I say? I couldn’t go anywhere to get it cut or colored, so when the roots got too long, I cut it all off down to the nubbies. I wore a hat for a few weeks and  thought , ‘Let me see what I look like.’ I’ve been able to cut it myself, and for two years, I have kept it cropped.  It’s white, my dad’s color, but sometimes it shocks me in the morning because I expect a brunette to pop up.  But I like it a lot.  It looks cute, doesn’t it?

Lucie now and with her mom, then

Tease us a bit about I Got the Job! 
This is the first show I’ve done that has a theme. I talk about what I learned from working with people. I remember mistakes I made. I sing songs— whether I sang them or someone else did—and tell stories from my musical theater career.  I’ve been indeed fortunate to have the opportunity being in shows written by some great composers.

One reviewer said you sound like a meld of Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand and a shot of Eydie Gorme. What think?
Oh my God! Kill me now! I’m so happy l’ll never have to sing again! It never occurs to me to sound like anybody else. With Liza, it must have to do with energy and tone and song interpretation. I certainly don’t sing like Streisand. I don’t have her notes at all. Maybe there’s a nasal quality. And Eydie! I love her. She and Rosemary Clooney are the kind of singers I listen to.

Speaking of Cher . . . you did a smash-on imitation of her (with Frankie Avalon doing Sonny) singing “I Got You Babe” on Here’s Lucy. Was that fun?
Oh yes! The writers knew Frankie could do Sonny and figured I could do Cher. We went to see Sonny and Cher doing their show to get some ideas. We watched the show and Cher—who I did not know—said, ‘C’mon to my dressing room.’ She asked, ‘Do you have a wig?’ I told her I did, but she handed me one and said, ‘Here, take this. It’s mine and it’s better.’ She also gave me the pair of earrings I wear. Everything that was Cher she gave me. I loved her for doing that. And I loved doing that song. It’s a favorite.

Frankie Avalon as Sonny and Lucie as Cher on “Here’s Lucy”

Any recollections of working with Sir Laurence Olivier on The Jazz Singer?
He was so ill making the movie. His cancer was not in remission and he was in terrible pain. He was always sitting in his dressing room with his head in his hands. When he heard his call—‘Sir Larry, we’re ready for you’—he’d get right up and get to the set.  I had only one scene with him, about two words. I would look at the call sheet to find out whenever he was going to be working and I’d make sure I was also on the set, watching his work. [Pauses] I think the film is underrated. The critics didn’t like it. It was as if they were thinking, ‘You’re Sir Laurence Olivier. How dare you be in a movie with a singer who can’t act [Neil Diamond].’ So they cut him and the film down a few notches.

A vintage 1980 promo ad for “The Jazz Singer”

What was it like working with Michael Bennett on Seesaw?
I was the luckiest girl on the planet.  I got my first legit equity tour working with him and Tommy Tune. He had a tough reputation and he wasn’t diplomatic.  If he didn’t like something he would hurt my feelings and make me cry all night long. We’d come in the next morning and fix what was wrong. It was usually a simple fix. And I’d think, ‘Michael, couldn’t you have been more tactful so I could have gotten some sleep?’ He was a complicated little character. One day he invited me to his apartment, made dinner and said, ‘You could be one of the great ladies of the American theater if you take it seriously.’ So I did exactly what he told me to do: I moved to New York, took acting classes with Herbert Berghof and made people know I was serious about my career. [Laughs] That changed my life. If I didn’t listen to Michael, I would have gotten back into a TV series  . . . and been much wealthier than I am today!

Michael Bennett and Lucie Arnaz

Let’s talk about your creepiest role . . . Elizabeth Short.
Oh, The Black Dahlia. I was surprised I got the role because I hardly had any credits. A friend took me to [executive producer] Doug Cramer who had newspaper clippings of her death on his desk. He took a look at them and me and said, ‘Oh my God! You look just like her!’ I think that’s why I got the role.  It was a great film to make; the movie had lots of famous, amazing cameos. Mercedes McCambridge played my grandmother. But everything was so fast. I was asked to choose between two black stretch wigs and two black dresses and we began filming. The first scene was the one in the coffee shop in which I am named The Black Dahlia. There was no rehearsal period. We did a take, adjusted the lighting, did the take again and that was it. Thank God I had training from summer stock where I learned things fast. I am pleased with that movie and I get asked a lot about her, who wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box.

Lucie as Elizabeth Short
Lucy and Lucie

I’ve heard your mom lowered her voice through an unusual way of driving. Do you know what I am talking about?
Yes. When she was starting out, someone at the studio told her that her voice was too tinny, that it had no tone or presence.  My mother asked, ‘What the hell am I going to do about that?’ She was told to drive her car down the middle of the road, screaming at the top of her lungs into the wind. I’ve heard my mother say this many times, but she may have exaggerated the story since she’s been known to exaggerate. I don’t know if she actually drove at 90 miles-per-hour or how long she did this. It’s suicide for any singer or actor who tries this today.

We’ve already mentioned Liza and Cher and Barbra. Let’s toss in Dolly and Bette . Are you a gay icon?
I don’t see myself as a gay icon—Minnelli, Cher and Dolly are significant arena fillers. I  think I have a respectable gay following. Let’s put it this way: We like each other.  I have lots of gay friends. They like fun. They like laughter. They like dressing up and having a good time. That’s what it’s all about, no?

.
A triumvirate of gay icons: Liza, Lucie and Joan

 

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme’s son, David, resurrects their recording career

They were the greatest interpreters of the Great American Songbook. And then some. Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme—more often and most lovingly known in one fell swoop as SteveandEydie—entertained generations with pitch-perfect harmonies and playful banter for more than 50 years. Steve and Eydie cumulatively recorded 1,000 songs. According to executive producer/music guru Jim Pierson, “Eydie as a solo artist recorded more than 400 songs with Steve responsible for well over 300 on his own and together they duetted on approximately 200 masters.”

Their first album recorded together? The aptly-titled We Got Us, winning them a Best Vocal Group Grammy in 1960. They also kept the musical gems alive on the small screen; they were frequent guests on TV shows, winning Emmys for their television salutes to George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

In 2000, the couple announced plans to reduce touring; in 2008 Eydie retired and Lawrence embarked on a solo music tour. Even recording was no longer begin done—with one important exception. In 2014, during the seventh decade of his career, Lawrence recorded what has become his last CD, When You Come Back to Me, dedicated to his beloved wife who died in 2013. (They married in 1957.)

As Steve says: “Eydie has been my partner on stage and in my life for more than 55 years. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing. While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.”

And now, with the support and guidance and love of their son, David, Steve and Eydie are making a comeback. Think of it as two stars being born. Again.

In conjunction with Gordon Anderson, Co-President of Real Gone Music, Lawrence plans to remix and remaster the best of his parents’ multi-track recordings and reissuing them over the next two years. The first CD of this collaboration, the critically-acclaimed That Holiday Feeling, has been remastered from the original 1965 two-track master and was released on November 11, 2022.

Considered by many fans and music professionals as one of the best holiday recordings ever made, the CD was loaded with eight additional bonus tracks that were never part of the original 1964 release. these bonus tracks are from various recordings during their years at Columbia Records that Lawrence promises, “are sure to enchance that ‘holiday feeling as you listen.'”

Lawrence knows and understands the importance of his parents’ career; there’s no ego or conceit when he calls his mother “one of the top five vocalists of the 20th century.” (The others include Barbara Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Billie Holiday.)

Steve and Eydie’s main office has all of the original 24-track masters from their recordings with Columbia Records. Los Angeles home is filled with his parents’ two-track master recordings. “When my parents signed a contract with Columbia [in 1962], part of the deal was that they got the masters back after 25 years,” Lawrence explains. So in the early 1990s, Steve and Eydie digitally transferred those recordings to CD and began selling them on their website through their label, GL Music.  Years later Real Gone Music entered the picture “on and off” until the company’s Co-President Gordon Anderson and Lawrence committed to properly remaster and remix (if possible) their recordings with Columbia.

“I am basically going through which masters are most important to their careers and are in the best physical shape with which to work,” Lawrence says.  The next remix and remaster will most likely be “Don’t Go to Strangers, Gorme’s 1966 seminal album that features her Grammy-winning single “If He Walked Into My Life”.

Another goal: A Legacy series box set of Eydie’s Spanish recordings with the Trio Los Panchos, and a “best of” series for both of them, together and individually. Vinyl collectors take note: There may also be limited-edition vinyl pressings. Anderson and Lawrence promise feedback from fans is important and will help shape future releases. “Real Good Music and I want to make sure that fans will be able to hear these magnificent recordings as pristinely as possible.”

Lawrence pauses. “My Mom and Dad were the first duo to introduce American Popular Music with amazing swing arrangements by the greatest arrangers and orchestrators of the time,” he says. “In that respect, they continued the legacy of this genre that began with Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle, only as a Duo. My hope is that these remasters will reach new audiences and continue to thrill their existing audience.”

For more information: realgonemusic.com

I tell Dolly we are “bosom buddies”. She coos, “and my breast friend”. Dolly’s life busts out on 19 DVDs!!

My next book is entitled Dolly Parton’s Boob in My Hands . . . and Other True, Titillating Stories From My 35 years of Hollywood Hobknobbing.

Let me explain.

I knew Dolly Rebecca Parton and I would become fast friends when she let me hold her left breast. Before you start calling the tabloids or TMZ, let me explain. It was 1987, and we were in a photographer’s studio on the Upper East Side where Dolly was being photographed for the cover of Redbook.

She was dressed in a handmade denim blouse (size 0), the wig was perfectly placed, the makeup flawless. She eyed the catered buffet and picked up a piece of chicken with her two fire-engine red (fake) fingernails, brought it to her mouth and, plop!, the sliver landed on her blouse, smack-dab on her left . . . well, you get the picture.

The adrenaline kicked in. “Quick, Dolly!” I said. “You hold and I’ll wipe.” I poured water on a paper towel and begin to very gently dab the spot. Dolly grabbed a portable hair-dryer and with that infectious giggle cooed, “Now quick! You hold and I’ll dry.”

With those seven simple words, my entry into the dizzy, delightful world of Dolly Parton—40DD-17-36—had begun. “One day,” I thought to myself, “I will live to write about this.”

The shoot was a success, and as Dolly climbed into her limo, I whispered, “I feel like your bosom buddy.” Without missing a beat, she said, “And my breast friend.”

Oh! The stories I can tell.

It’s the sassy and self-effacing side of Dolly that has always made her look better than a body has a right to. “I’m not a natural beauty, so when I started out, I needed to be as flamboyant and outrageous as possible,” she recalls. “My trashy look started from a sincere place — a country girl’s idea of glamour. I always wanted to be sexy even before I knew what the word meant. I thought that town tramps were beautiful. They had more hair, more color, more of everything. And they had men always hanging ’round them. So I copied those girls. And I owe them a lot.”

She giggles. “When I realized my trashy look was working, I kept it. It’s cost me a lot to look so cheap,” she adds. “I wear the fake hair because it’s so tacky. I wear high heels because I have short legs. And I wear fake fingernails because I have short, fat arms. I have no taste and no style and I love it! When I am 90, I’m going to look like Mae West. I may be in a wheelchair, but I’ll still have the big hair, big boobs and big fingernails. I’ll probably end up this way in my coffin. But I won’t be a fat hog!”

You can call her the Queen of Country, an award-winning songwriter, actress, TV star, philanthropist, business mogul, gay icon and American treasure, but to her millions of fans, she’s known simply as Dolly. From her start out of Nashville in the ’60s to her Hollywood debut and beyond Dolly has done it all . . . and in 6 inch heels!

Now, for the first time ever, the incredible highlights of Dolly’s remarkable career are together in a one-of-a-kind 19-DVD set DOLLY: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION. From her early appearances in the ’60s through her own star-studded variety shows in the ’70s and ’80s, to concerts, interviews, TV appearances and blockbuster collaborations with her closest friends, she’s still going strong and lookin’ spectacular!
“It’s been an amazing journey and you’ll find some of my most precious highlights included here in this collection,” says Dolly. “Thank you to the wonderful folks at Time Life for putting this together. What a delightful trip down memory lane….just the hair styles and outfits alone are worth a look and I’m surprised there are still any rhinestones left in this world! I hope you enjoy these moments as much as I did.”
Time Life cordially invites Dolly Parton fans everywhere to come along on the journey of a lifetime. Available now exclusively at TimeLife.com/DollyParton, this dazzling, carefully curated 19-DVD deluxe collection includes:
  • 22 star-studded episodes of Dolly’s variety shows from the ’70s & ’80s with guest appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, Freddy Fender, Burt Reynolds, Miss Piggy, Merle Haggard, Smokey Robinson & The Temptations, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and more!
  • 7 episodes of The Porter Wagoner Show, from 1967 – 1974 featuring historic Dolly Parton performances including Jolene, I Will Always Love You, Coat of Many Colors, Mule Skinner Blues, and her very first appearance where she sang Dumb Blonde.
  • A special Christmas disc featuring A Down Home Country Christmas with Mac Davis and Burl Ives, and Bob Hope’s Jolly Christmas Show
  • Dolly’s spectacular Live and Well concert from 2002
  • Dolly’s unforgettable Live from London concert from 2009 plus bonus features
  • Rare TV appearances of Dolly throughout her career from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonThe Oprah Winfrey Show, and Crook & Chase
  • The entire Song by Song: Dolly Parton series, highlighting Dolly’s most iconic songs and how they came to be
  • Bonus features include Dolly’s University of Tennessee Commencement Address and Imagination Library Dedication Ceremony at The Library of Congress
  • Classic duets with Dolly & Porter Wagoner taped live at the Grand Ole Opry
  • Unforgettable Dolly Parton performances from the CMA Awards in the ’70s
  • New bonus features created just for this collection featuring Dolly Parton reminiscing about memorable moments from throughout her career
  • Exclusive, complete, and never before seen interviews with Brandi Carlile, Miley Cyrus, Vince Gill, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Kenny Rogers, Marty Stuart, Lily Tomlin, and Carrie Underwood!
  • Plus your FREE Bonus DVD with the complete authorized BBC documentary Dolly Parton: Here I Am
  • An Exclusive Collector’s Book filled with photos, Dolly in her own words, and loving tributes from her famous friends.
  • And it all comes in a beautiful Collector’s Box!
Dolly Parton remains as vibrant and relevant as ever. Her songs have captured the hearts of generations. Her electric smile has brightened the lives of millions. And her trademark style is recognized across the globe. Join Time Life for a celebration of her iconic, unforgettable career with DOLLY: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, only available via direct response or online at TimeLife.com/DollyParton.
 

Time Life chers the life and legacy with the super special 9-DVD set, “The Best of Cher”

Two days before my birthday, the pros at Time Life issues a most welcome  birthday present. I promised to cher the news.

For the first time ever, all the spectacular highlights of Cher’s remarkable career are together in one electrifying collection: The Best of Cher.

 Cher initially rose to stardom as part of a singing act with then husband Sonny Bono in the ’60s, hitting No. 1 with the single “I Got You Babe” before they starred together on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Following a parting of ways, the incredibly talented artist spread her wings, established a chart-topping solo career of her own, starred in her own variety show, and sold out music venues across the globe. The inimitable multi-hyphenate continues to shine brightly and  this collection brings together the stunning scope of her sensational life in the spotlight like never before across two loaded volumes and 9 DVDs, as well as a collectible look book featuring Bob Mackie’s original wardrobe sketches.                    
In a new interview included in the set, Cher said, “I love looking back at these shows. They’re so much fun to watch and they were so much fun to make. While I’m not done yet, it’s great that Time Life has put this set together.”
THE BEST OF CHER VOLUME 1: 5 DVDS
When America’s favorite musical couple parted ways in 1974, effectively ending The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, CBS quickly decided to give Cher her own variety show. Simply titled Cher, the new series starring the soon-to-be superstar aired its first episode in February 1975. In the opening, Cher told the audience: “My future is in your hands. I am really happy to be back. No, I am thrilled to be back.” Now 10 episodes of Cher’s very own show are available for the first time in over 40 years! Home audiences will thrill to have front row seats to see Cher flying solo with a nonstop cavalcade of the hottest stars including Charo, Ray Charles, Elton John, The Muppets, Linda Ronstadt, Raquel Welch and more! Also included:
  • Exclusive new interviews with Cher, Designer Bob Mackie, comedy icon Lily Tomlin and Cher executive producer George Schlatter
  • TV appearances on The Dick Cavett Show and Dinah (1975)
  • Cher CBS Promo
  • Newly produced featurette, Cher: Then & Now
THE BEST OF CHER VOLUME 2: 4 DVDS
Cher is one of a kind and her legendary TV specials hit our screens as family-friendly, psychedelic, counterculture kaleidoscopes. Whether playing all the parts in West Side Story, a roller-skating goddess, the snake in the Garden of Eden, a synchronized secretary, or simply Laverne—no one puts on a show like Cher. Her Vegas shows (and outfits!) were even more spectacular, and they’re all on incredible display in VOLUME 2, which features:
  • Both of Cher’s legendary TV Specials from the ’70s: Cher…Special (1978), Cher…and Other Fantasies (1979)
  • Two unforgettable concerts in Vegas, live from the Mirage (1991) and MGM Grand (1999), as well as exclusive extras including backstage home movies, rehearsal songs and more
  • The full-length documentary Dear Mom, Love Cher offering a rare peek into Cher’s fascinating family history
  • Plus bonus features including a 2018 appearance on The Late, Late Show with James Corden
As a young girl, Cher’s mom promised her that she was special and that one day she would believe it. Audiences around the world have been believing since she burst onto the scene in the ’60s, and we haven’t stopped—The Best of Cher captures Cher’s incredible, undeniable talents to enjoy again and again.

“The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert-The Blu-Ray Collection” is the biggest and best video music collection. Ever.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll. We’ll focus on the last of life’s lessons.
For more than 30 years, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has honored rock music’s greats during annual prestigious black-tie ceremonies which have become nearly as epic as the artists they celebrate. Featuring the biggest names in classic rock from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, as well as once-in-a-lifetime collaborations that can only happen at these very special events, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert-The Blu-Ray Collection is the biggest and best video music collection Time Life has ever produced.
Giving home audiences front row seats to the greatest performances from the historic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concerts, this Blu-ray collector’s set, never before available at retail in one comprehensive collection, features nearly 30 hours of entertainment and more than 150 unforgettable performances from 2009-2017, as well as historic, irreverent and emotional induction speeches across six discs. Among the iconic acts featured are Alice Cooper, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Electric Light Orchestra, Heart, James Taylor, Journey, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Ringo Starr, Simon and Garfunkel, Sting, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks, Glenn Frey, Green Day, Yes, Bill Withers, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Beastie Boys, Genesis, N.W.A., Randy Newman, Public Enemy and U2. Simply put, if you’re a fan of live classic rock, this is the collection to own.
Housed in one handsome collector’s case are three distinct Blu-ray collections: Rock Hall In Concert-EncoreRock Hall in Concert and The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert-Encore features 44 iconic performances from the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 induction ceremonies. Among the highlights:
  • The legendary Canadian power trio Rush performing fiery classics Tom Sawyer and The Spirit of Radio for their fervent fans.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers leading a searing all-star jam session of Higher Ground anchored by Slash and Ron Wood.
  • Heart going Crazy on You before being joined onstage by fellow members of Seattle rock royalty from Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
  • Alice Cooper ripping into ferocious versions of Eighteen and Under My Wheels before closing the set with Rob Zombie on School’s Out.
  • The Hurdy Gurdy Man Donovan is joined onstage by John Mellencamp for a chilling performance of Season of the Witch.
  • Hall of Fame induction speeches including Don Henley inducting Randy Newman and Neil Young inducting Tom Waits.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert features 53 iconic performances from the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 induction ceremonies. Among the highlights:
  • Bruce Springsteen joining inductees the E Street Band for the deep-cut classic The E Street Shuffle from the Boss’s second album, from 1973.
  • Legendary grunge-rock group Pearl Jam delivering thundering performances of AliveGiven to Fly and Better Man.
  • The two surviving members of Nirvana joined on stage by Lorde, Annie Clark, Kim Gordon and Joan Jett for emotional renderings of the group’s biggest hits.
  • Cat Stevens performing a spine-tingling version of Father & Son that rendered the massive Barclays Center quiet as a church.
  • Journey performing three classic cuts: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)Lights and Don’t Stop Believin’.
  • Hall of Fame induction speeches including Coldplay’s Chris Martin inducting Peter Gabriel and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich inducting Deep Purple
The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts  On October 29th and 30th, 2009, rock n’ roll royalty held court at Madison Square Garden for what has been called “the mother of all concerts.” Featuring a who’s who of rock from the ’50s to the ’90s, the concerts, as always, included artists performing together in unprecedented combinations that will most likely never be witnessed again. Highlights include:
  • Mick Jagger and Fergie in a blistering version of the Stones’ classic Gimme Shelter, with U2
  • Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel on-stage for a rollicking rendition of Born to Run.
    Sting joins Jeff Beck for the Curtis Mayfeld classic People Get Ready.
  • Paul Simon, David Crosby and Graham Nash join together for a spine-tingling Here Comes the Sun.
  • Ozzy Osbourne sings with Metallica on the Black Sabbath classics Iron Man and Paranoid.
  • John Fogerty & Bruce Springsteen share vocals on Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman.

PETRUCELLI PICKS: GIFT GUIDE 2019: THE BEST DVDS/BLU-RAYS OF THE YEAR

Before making Hollywood epics such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, director Richard Fleischer started his career with a series of low-budget B-features, often taking ripped-from-the-headlines tales of crime stories and spinning them into noir gold,  of which an exquisite example is 1949’s endlessly entertaining Trapped.

A young Lloyd Bridges stars as hard-boiled hood Tris Stewart, a convicted counterfeiter doing time in the Atlanta pen. When a fresh batch of fake bills starts circulating, treasury agents bail Stewart out to help lead them to the maker of the fake plates. But Tris double-crosses the Feds, hooking up with his gun-moll sweetie (22-year-old Barbara Payton in her breakout role). They plan to heist the plates and hightail it across the border. With the Feds closing in and the double-crosses piling up, Stewart finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Will he trapped for good?

https://youtu.be/d_jPu77cvLA

Although long sought by the Film Noir Foundation, Trapped was believed to have suffered the unfortunate fate of many B-films of the era—oblivion. But when a private collector deposited a 35mm acetate print at the Harvard Film Archive, the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA Film & Television Archive (with support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Charitable Trust [The HFPA Trust]) sprang into action, restoring the film. The result, presented in a Blu-ray/DVD dual-format edition by Flicker Alley, honors the pitch-perfect performances, assured direction, and gorgeous cinematography of this edge-of-your-seat, noir classic.


Olive Signature line has released  a Blu-ray edition of Bells of St. Mary’s that is a significant improvement over the DVD released by Republic Pictures 100 years ago. The lack of specks and soot and and scratches leads us to believe the film has been (greatly) restored, though why Olive doesn’t use this bragging point is beyond us.
The Bells of St. Marys (Olive Signature) [Blu-ray]This is not a true “Christmas film”, but the warmth and heart and humor and luminous Ingrid Bergman make it worth a few viewings. We are still a bit surprised when we admit that she and co-star Bing Crosby (as a nun and a pastor at odds with each other) have appealing chemistry together.


Have an appetite for a dark, delectable comedy in the tradition of cannibal classics Eating Raoul and Delicatessen? Look no further than A Feast of Man (IndiePix Films), certain to satisfy your hunger (and funny bone).
A Feast of ManWhen a wealthy and eccentric New York playboy prone to mischief dies unexpectedly, his four closest socialite friends  are summoned to the late aristocrat’s country home overlooking the Hudson for a viewing of his video will. Only things don’t go quite as Wolf, the executor of the estate, had planne: Gallagher’s posthumous wish is to put his dearly beloved to the test—each will become a millionaire overnight if they can unanimously agree to consume his dead body and the group, has until the end of the weekend to reach a decision.  Funny food for thought!

Say hello to the ultimate Tony Montana experience with the Scarface “The World Is Yours” Edition Gift Set (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment). This gem is chockfull of goodies: The 1983 film is 4K UHD; experience the unforgettable film like never before with HDR for brighter, deeper, more lifelike color.
There’s also more than 2 and a half hours of bonuses, including the brand-new Scarface 35th Anniversary Reunion Feature, with an all-new conversation with director Brian De Palma and actors Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer and Steven Bauer. Another Blu-ray bonus: Both the original theatrical and alternate censored versions of Howard Hawks’ newly restored 1932 version Scarface. Perhaps best of all is the limited edition, individually-numbered replica of one of the most iconic props from the film.


After a 30-year-old bachelor, leaves his corporate job to pursue his dreams as an artist, he embarks on a new life as an Uber driver while working on a graphic novel titled Pixelia, which just happens to also be the name of this IndiePix Films release. One day, a transgender woman gets into his car and changes his life forever; they spend the whole day together, opening each other’s minds: she shares her desire to adopt a child, while he narrates the story of his graphic novel.
After a special bond quickly forms, he realizes his own queer identity, and the couple start to make their way in a culture that is not always friendly to alternative ways of life.
This LGBTQ festival favorite, made on a show string budget, is a prime example of India’s budding queer cinema movement.

The Broad City Complete Series(Paramount) has everything a queen or two could ever need. In addition to every single freakin’ episode, there are special features including outtakes, deleted/extended scenes, and every episode of Hack into Broad City and Behind Broad CitysPlus, a special features only disc with more than 30 minutes of additional extras. Yaaaas!


Frank Capra’s heart-warming masterpiece is the best-known and most-loved holiday film.  Now you can watch It’s a Wonderful Life (Paramount)  holiday classic like never before, newly remastered from the original film negatives and more vibrant than ever with stunning clarity.
With the endearing message that “no one is a failure who has friends”, Capra’s heartwarming masterpiece continues to endure, and after more than 70 years, this beloved classic still remains as powerful and moving as the day it was made.


Not to be catty, but little heroes can romp to the rescue with the PAW Patrol pups, as the canine crew use their tools, tech, vehicles and problem-solving skills to save Adventure Bay.
Each pup has a unique job and skills, but the pack must always come together as a team to save the day. The 3-DVD set PAW Patrol: Best in Snow Collection (Nickelodeon) deserves a spot in each kid’s stocking.


For the young and young-at-heart: Bumblebee & Transformers Ultimate 6-Movie Collection,
including Bumblebee and all five Transformers films, from visionary director Michael Bay and legendary producer Steven Spielberg.


Baby Boomer boom! The Toys That Made Us (Screen Media) is an American television series created by Brian Volk-Weiss. The first four episodes of the series began streaming on Netflix on December 22, 2017, and the next four were released on May 25, 2018.
The eight-episode documentary series, as it was originally touted, focused on the history of important toy lines. The first four episodes focus on the Star Wars, He-Man and G.I. Joe toy lines with subsequent episodes featuring LEGO, Transformers, Hello Kitty and Star Trek. The Bu-ray set includes a free collectible!


Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphee & Eurydice in one of opera’s most beautiful masterpieces; his exquisite drama introduces us to Orpheus, the poet and musician whose every word and note communicate the most overwhelming love for his Eurydice.
Gluck: Orphee et Eurydice [Blu-ray]This production features Gluck’s reworking of the original German opera into a French-language production which contains thrilling ballet sequences that will come to vivid life under the direction and choreography of the legendary John Neumeier. This production stars Dmitry Korchak as Orphée with Andriana Chuchman as Eurydice and Lauren Snouffer as Amour.  Oui!


Democracies should protect their citizens, especially the most vulnerable among them, but the United States is increasingly failing to do so especially in areas like the Rust Belt, the manufacturing heartland of the nation that includes Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The investigative documentary The Corporate Coup d’Etat (First Run features) shows how corporations and billionaires have taken control of the American political process, and in doing so have brought economic hardship and ruin to vast swaths of the country. It combines insights from political thinkers and journalists with the experiences of citizens from the Rust Belt, where factory closures and outsourcing have left it desolate and people hopeless.
Corporate Coup d'Etat, TheThe film argues that the crisis predates Adolph Freak’s election by many years: Decades ago, U.S. democracy began selling its soul to big corporations; lobbyists and business-friendly politicians took control in Washington, gradually undermining the will of the people. Provocative and revealing, The Corporate Coup d État exposes what happened and where we are now.

Other First Run features topping the list:
Tattoo Uprising reveals the artistic and historical roots of today s tattoo explosion. This sweeping overview explores how tattoos were used in early Christian practices, how they were discovered halfway around the world during the voyages of Captain James Cook, and how they exploded in popularity in America beginning with artists like Ed Hardy.
Tattoo UprisingThere’s an unforgettable appearance by  Werner Herzog, who allows a rare glimpse at his Ed Hardy tattoo.

Spanning three generations, Chasing Portraits is a deeply moving narrative of the richness of one man’s art, the devastation of war, and an unexpected path to healing. Moshe Rynecki was a prolific artist who painted scenes of the Polish-Jewish community until he was murdered during the Holocaust. Chasing PortraitsFor more than a decade his great-granddaughter, Elizabeth, has searched for the missing art.

An elderly man, Octav Petrescu (portrayed by the brilliant Marcel Iures), returns to his childhood villa in Romania to sell it. Arriving there after a decades-long absence, Octav wanders through the atmospheric house and undulating grounds that surround it and is confronted and transformed Octavby the memories and spectres of his youth, eventually finding answers to questions that have cast a shadow over his adult life.

From Oscar-nominated Josh Aronson and featuring a new song from Jon Bon Jovi, To Be Of Service is a documentary about veterans suffering from PTSD who are paired with a service dog to help them regain their lives.
To Be of ServiceThe film follows these warriors with their dogs as this deeply bonded friendship restores independence and feeling for the men and women who so courageously served our country.


Inherited from Maria Montessori in 1907, the Montessori Method is a child-centered educational philosophy that celebrates and nurtures each child’s desire to learn, an approach valuing the human spirit and full development: physical, social, emotional and cognitive. The Montessori Method is increasing in popularity both in the U.S. and abroad.
Curious to see how the Method works first hand, filmmaker Alexandre Mourot sets his camera up in the oldest Montessori school in France (with kids from 3 to 6) and observes. He meets happy children, free to move around, working alone or in small groups. Some read, others make bread, do divisions, laugh or sleep. The teacher remains discreet.
Children guide the filmmaker through the whole school year, helping him understand the magic of their autonomy and self-esteem–the seeds of a new society of peace and freedom, which Maria Montessori dedicated her life work to.
Such is the wonder and joy of Montessori: Let the Child be the Guide.


Holy high notes! Melody Makers (Cleopatra Entertainment/MVD Visual), a chronicle of the birth of music journalism from the world’s oldest and longest standing seminal music magazine, Melody Makersis not just another music documentary; through a series of interviews from artists and journalists of the time, the film tells the true story of the rise and fall of the world’s most influential music publication and uncovers an era of tremendous creative freedom.


Who says the holidays can’t be a horror . . . and we don’t just mean when the in-laws come. George Roy Hill’s landmark science-fiction classic, Slaughterhouse-Five, tells the tale of World War II soldier Billy Pilgrim and how he was abducted by aliens. The flick took home the Jury Prize at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival and has been a favorite of sci-fi fans ever since.  Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote the novel the book is based on, famously claimed, “I drool and cackle every time I watch that film.”
Slaughterhouse-Five [Blu-ray] Not only is Arrow bringing this to Blu-ray for the first time in North America, but it comes with a brand new 4K restoration and a spaceship-load of special features. Yippee!


He was a true genius. And Kurt Weill’s Street Scene is an amazing mélange of show tunes, arias, jazz numbers, folk songs and spirituals, a true musical melting pot that aptly underlines the rich variety of characters that populate the New York City tenement block in the ’30s that’s the focus of this exceptionally vital and criminally undervalued work.
It was meant meant to be a truly American opera, half-way between his The Threepenny Opera and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story and drawing from the famous play by Elmer Rice (recipient of the Pulitzer Prize when it was published in 1928).
Kurt Weill's Street Scene [Blu-ray]Weill wrote Street Scene shortly after fleeing Nazi Germany. When he discovered the vitality of the American musical scene, his focus became to reconcile the Broadway musical with European traditional opera, jazzy and North-American tunes with an almost Puccinian-like lyricism. Under Tim Murray’s vivid and precise baton, the superb production by John Fulljames perfectly renders the vitality and energy released by the streets of New York that proved to be a great inspiration to the theatrical mind of the composer.
Released by BelAir Classiques, the staging generously evokes a bygone era of American history, simultaneously looking rundown and part of a dreamscape worth longing for.


 

 

 

Paul Stanley gives fans a KISS and a tour of his life, from the kitchen to the stage

Wanna go backstage at a KISS concert? We cab guarantee fans one thing: In Backstage Pass, (HarperOne, $27.99) Paul Stanley, legendary frontman and rhythm guitarist of the group, offers grants fans an all-access backstage pass to his personal life, and shows them how to pursue a royal rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of their own offering hard-won advice and rules to live by from a rock n’ roll legend.

Backstage PassIn this follow-up to his popular bestseller Face the Music, Paul takes us deeper into his personal life and his home life on and off the stage, revealing what he eats, drinks, and does with his friends and family, he’s learned from a lifetime at the frontman of the iconic band KISS, and how he brings his unique sensibility not only to his superstar music career but to every area of his life—from the business to parenting to health and happiness, to the kitchen and the bar to the gym and the office.

Showcasing his unique lifestyle, Backstage Pass is a rare look at the man beneath the modern rock god persona. Paul shares fascinating details about his life—his fitness routine, philosophy, business principles, how he finds inspiration, passion, and joy after nearly 50 years filling arenas and selling out shows, and even his favorite meals, and includes recipes from friends such as Anthony Bourdain, Rocco DiSpirito and Mario Batali.

Backstage Pass divulges more true stories of the rock legend’s relationships, hardships, and wild nights, contains intimate four-color never-before-seen photos from Paul’s personal collection, and offers surprising lessons on the discipline and hard work that have made him one of the healthiest and most successful rock n’ roll frontmen in history—and a model superstar for the modern age.
This is the book for fans who love living large, but also want to kick ass at everyday life. From doing shots at the bar to enjoying a glass of red on the patio, Paul shows you how you can rock n’ roll all night and party every day—without missing a beat or looking like you do.

You ain’t seen nothing yet, until you catch the hot new doc “Bachman”

Guess who? Guess who is the subject of a hot new DVD? Randy Bachman. As a member of The Guess Who,  he was part of the first- ever No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 by a Canadian band with “American Woman/No Sugar Tonight,” and then topped the Hot 100 again in 1974 with another band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, with “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
“That’s a pretty rare thing for a recording artist who gets two No. 1s with two different bands,” notes John Einarson,” biographer and music historian, at the start of the new documentary, Bachman (FilmRise).
The documentary chronicling the life of this 74-year-old who is still regularly making music and performing. The film follows Bachman as he looks to the past for inspiration from rarely seen footage, pictures and documents that have been stored at the National Archives in Ottawa for decades.

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Among the other hits Bachman has written or co-written are “These Eyes,” “No Time,” “New Mother Nature,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Let It Ride,” and “Roll On Down The Highway.”

“He was like my biggest influence when I was a kid,” says Neil Young in the film. “Watching him play guitar, he had an amazing sense about the way he played. And the feeling that you got when you listened to him. It was more than just chops.”

Young, who has known Bachman for about 55 years, addsed, “I hear Randy – when I see him, I hear him, and I feel him.”

The documentary made its world premiere in Toronto at Hot Docs 2018 before a festival run, and eventual airing in Canada on CBC’s Documentary Channel. Incorporating numerous present-day interviews with family, management and fellow musicians, director John Barnard touches on everything from Bachman’s childhood to his various rock bands—The Guess Who, Brave Belt, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bachman-Turner—as well as his solo work.

The bottom line: Great films. The top line: More greatness from Arrow Films/Academy

Arrow Films and Arrow Academy sent a fiery arrow deep into our heaving bosom with these releases. Even Tums didn’t sooth the burning. And that’s a good thing. That’s how good these flicks are.
Two films are from legendary director Luigi Bazzoni. First up is The Possessed, co-directed by Bazzoni and Franco Rossellini.
The film follows a novelist that investigates the disappearance of an old lover and ends up unwrapping a mysterious web of murder, madness and perversion. This classic slice of Italian cinema, known for wonderfully combining film noir and giallo, features a new 2K restoration.

The second Bazzoni title is The Fifth Chord starring Franco Nero and Edmund Purdom. Following in the footsteps of Dario Argento, The Fifth Chord is a stunning giallo worthy of competing with the best the maestro has to offer.

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This release features a new 2K restoration and a number of special features including a new interview with Nero.
On February 12th, Arrow offers up to classics from different eras, starting with 1972’s Horror Express. Starring horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, this tale of terror takes horror fans on a first class trip that’s just as chilling today as it was forty plus years ago.
This new 2K restoration includes plenty of special features and has an intro from Horror Express super fan and horror journalist, Chris Alexander.
For something a bit more modern, Arrow is proud to release Takashi Miike’s Audition. This shocking J-horror entry exploded on the festival circuit nearly two decades ago and continues to be a favorite today.

Color Me Blood Red is from The Godfather of Gore,Herschell Gordon Lewis. This final chapter in the infamous “blood trilogy” features all the signature sleaze fans love Lewis for. Included in the multitude of bonus features is 1967’s Something Weird.
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The final two releases are a pair of mid-40s classics from director Joseph H. Lewis and come courtesy of Arrow Academy with My Name is Julia Ross and So Dark the Night. The former is a Hitchcockian film noir about mistaken identity, while the latter is about a Paris detective that finds love and then suddenly disappears.

Have no fear of the dark with “Iron Maiden: Album By Album”

Required reading for all Iron Maiden fans, Album By Album is a compendium of in-depth, entertaining and profusely illustrated conversations about all sixteen of the legendary metal band’s studio albums.

Now ready: Iron Maiden: Album By Album (Voyageur Press, $30), from prolific rock journalist Martin Popoff, pays tribute to the Iron Maiden’s studio discography through a series of in-depth, frank, and entertaining conversations about all 16 of the legendary heavy metal band’s studio albums. Inside, the author gathers together metal journalists, authors, and musicians, who offer insights, opinions and anecdotes about every release.

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Maiden’s fan base is large, diverse and enduring, and that goes for the line-up Popoff assembled to break down each Maiden studio release. Among those weighing in are musicians Marty Friedman, Mike Portnoy, Matt Heafy, Nita Strauss, Ahmet Zappa and former Maiden singer Blaze Bayley. Rocker and pro wrestler Chris Jericho is here, along with journalists “Metal” Tim Henderson, Rich Davenport, Jimmy Kay and other metal and Iron Maiden experts.

Together, the conversations comprise a unique historical overview of the band, covering everything from early albums with original lead singer Paul Di’Anno; the songwriting of founder and bassist Steve Harris; the impeccable talents of drummer Nicko McBrain and guitarists Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers; mega tours undertaken in support of the albumss; fights and drama within the band; and much more.

The resulting insights, opinions and anecdotes explore it all, starting with the band’s debut at the vanguard of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to breakthrough iconic releases like The Number of the Beast and Powerslave. Popoff also includes loads of sidebars that provide complete track listings, details on album personnel, and information on where and when the albums were recorded. Every page is illustrated with thoughtfully curated performance and offstage photography, as well as rare memorabilia.