RARWRITER PUBLISHING GROUP PRESENTS

CREATIVE CULTURE JOURNAL

at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 1-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

                                 

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.

 

ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

 

Cinema Cinema

 

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STAGE 32

CURRENT PROJECTS - Looking for talent,
fans, money, lightning

Listed below are a variety of film projects that are in various stages of development. Many seek the involvement of outside collaborators and venture partners for funding, production, editing, distribution and marketing. Use the links provided to go to the Stage 32 Website to learn more about each project, as well as others.

Sylvia Sylvia Short 35mm 16mm film

Sylvia sits with herself in front of a mirror. Her reflection leads her into the mirror and deep inside herself and her mind. Sylvia Emakhet Sylvia #2 Camila Magrane 35mm, 16mm currently in postproduction
Seeking film/theatre journalists in San Francisco, California
View Project »

Catchy Name Theatre

Experimental theatre company dedicated to exploring the work of new playwrights.
Seeking playwrights in San Francisco, California
View Project »

Amiable Amber

TRIPLE HOMICIDE: INNOCENT GIRL GONE BAD “What could have hapened?” What changed this quiet small town girl. Her name is Amber as we know her today, formally, Marie Amber Robinson, born to Charles and...
Seeking editors in San Francisco, California
View Project »

Seeking Screenplay - Human Slavery -
Human Trafficking

We are currently in search of feature length scripts about Human Trafficking or Human Slavery. Non-Fiction Narrative, Documentary, or Based on Real Stories are preferred. However, if you have somethin...
Seeking screenwriters in San Francisco, California
View Project »

"Coach" - Fictional Character, Viral Video Project

(Lead Writer Needed) We are developing an "A.I. avatar" fictional “Coach” character and viral sensation. We plan to produce 3-4 viral videos (1.5-2 min long) to be launched on YouTube – which serve to set up an interactiv...
Seeking screenwriters in San Francisco, California
View Project »

 


compARTmental LIVES

Screenplay is written, need re-write with another scifi obssessed screenwriter (will get 2nd writer credit -- or better) and then assemble a force of talent/crew and $$$ to create a small scifi featur...
Seeking screenwriters in San Francisco, California
View Project »


Personality Driven Reality Show in San Francisco

Looking to brainstorm with people who have worked on a reality based TV show - docu-series/perspnality driven. Have a solid concept, budget, and know which networks to pitch. Would love to gain furthe...
Seeking editors in San Francisco, California
View Project »


My Girlfriend's a Zombi

A freshman college student at Medicore has successfully, accidentally, turned his entire town into Zombi's! There's just one thing, these zombi's don't know they're zombi's! They go to work, school, a...
Seeking editors in Sacramento, California
View Project »


Capps Crossing

Capps Crossing is a feature horror/thriller. We are now casting at http://www.cappscrossing.com please spread the word about our campaign and see the teaser at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mike...
Seeking editors, and music composers in Sacramento, California
View Project »


Suicide or Murder?

Thriller about a murder that happened years ago and David tries to uncover the truth. The question is was it Suicide or Murder?
Seeking editors in San Francisco, California
View Project »

 

 

Stage 32 Scores Great Interview

Terrence Stamp

Stage 32, the film industry-focused, Web-based community (link to their homepage) referenced occasionally at RARWRITER.com as one of our favorites, is currently running the final installment of their excellent interview with British actor Terrence Stamp" (shown here). Stamp drilled his image and theatrical presence into the hearts, minds and souls of the Baby Boomer generation through an extraordinary series of characters - Billy Budd (1962), Freddie Clegg in The Collector (1965), Sgt. Troy in Far From the Madding Crowd (1967), Blue (1968) - and has continued to be a major theatrical force in current cinema. As happens, he is a man of many talents and interests, and it was for the purpose of promoting his micro-publishing house Escargot Books, through which he has recently published Rare Stamps: Reflections on Living, Breathing & Acting, that he granted the interview with Stage 32. The book is described as "a must read not only for all actors, but any creative hoping to make a living in the film industry".  (There is that word "creative", small "c" used once again as a noun! When did this happen?) Stamp's interest in interviewing on this subject makes him a natural for Stage 32, a site that offers extraordinary insight into the inner workings of the American film industry. Terrence Stamp feels like one of those important theatrical presences who has accompanied us through our lives, and he never disappoints. In fact, part of his lasting appeal has been that he often surprises (the character Bernadette, for instance, from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). There are only a handful of such actors in the world, and it is really cool for Stage 32 to have the opportunity, done so well, to present this wonderful feature. Check it out!

A helping hand: Stage 32's site organization on this feature is a little confounding, but here are the links you want: Introduction, Interview Part 1, Interview Part 2, Interview Part 3.       9-10-12

 

2012 SXSW

SXSW Film Festival Winners

Feature Film Jury Awards

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Grand Jury Winner: Beware of Mr. Baker
Director: Jay Bulger

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Grand Jury Winner: Gimme The Loot
Director: Adam Leon

 
 

Ginger Baker Documentary

Top Documentary at SXSW Film Festival

Beware of Mr. Baker, the Jay Bulger-directed documentary on legendary jazz-rock drummer Ginger Baker (Creem, Blind Faith, Air Force) has been awarded the Grand Jury Winner in the Documentary category at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival.

Former rhythm mate Jack Bruce was once quoted as saying that Ginger Baker was a great drummer, but not someone you wanted to have over to the house. So this documentary details the life of a difficult musical genius, whose African-styled poundings were, in retrospect, the thing that separated Creem, and the other bands he performed with, from the other jam-oriented progressive blues-rock bands of the latter '60s and early '70s.

First-time director Bulger spent four years on this hilarious and harrowing piece, after first publishing a story on Baker in Rolling Stone, which led him to believe there was more story to tell. So Beware of Mr. Baker was born. You can see the trailer below. Go to the Cinema page for additional information on the 2012 SXSW Film Festival.

 

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Eden - Jamie Chung's Human Trafficking Film

Jamie Chung received a Special Jury Recognition for Performance for her film Eden, about the trafficking of human beings. A few months back, while Eden was still in development, this video below was posted on YouTube. Things, since then, have been working out well for this labor of love film, and for Jamie Chung.

 

 

Booster - Nico Stone Honored for Crime Flick

"When Simon's brother is arrested for armed robbery, he is asked to commit a string of similar crimes in an attempt to get his brother acquitted. Caught between loyalty to his brother and his own will, Simon is forced to examine his life." So goes the setup for this trailer for Booster, honored at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival for the performance of Nico Stone. Booster is another of the successful "Kickstarter" projects, which has become a popular model for fundraising for creative projects.

 

Special Jury Recognition for Performance:
Jamie Chung – Eden
Besedka Johnson – Starlet
Nico Stone – Booster

Feature Film Audience Awards

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Winner: Bay of All Saints
Director: Annie Eastman

NARRATIVE FEATURE
Winner: Eden
Director: Megan Griffiths

Short Film Jury Awards

NARRATIVE SHORTS
Winner: The Chair
Director: Grainger David

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
Winner: CatCam
Director: Seth Keal

MIDNIGHT SHORTS
Winner: Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared
Directors: Rebecca Sloan & Joseph Pelling

SXGLOBAL SHORTS
Winner: The Perfect Fit
Director: Tali Yankelevich

ANIMATED SHORTS
Winner: (notes on) biology
Director: Danny Madden

MUSIC VIDEOS
Winner: Battles, “My Machines”
Director: DANIELS

TEXAS SHORTS
Winner: Spark
Director: Annie Silverstein

TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS
Winner: Boom
Director: Daniel Matyas & Brian Broder

SXSW Film Design Awards presented by iStockphoto

EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN
Winner: Man & Gun
Designer: Justin Cox

Special Jury Recognition: Pitch Black Heist
Designer: Andrew Cranston

Audience Award Winner: The Maker
Designer: Christopher Kezelos

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN

Winner: Les Bleus de Ramville
Designer: Jay Bond, Oily Film Company Inc.

Special Jury Recognition: X-Men: First Class
Designer: Simon Clowes, Prologue Films

Audience Award Winner: Bunraku
Designer: Guilherme Marcondes, Hornet Inc.

SXSW Special Awards

SXSW WHOLPHIN AWARD
Winner: The Black Balloon
Director: Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie

SXSW CHICKEN & EGG EMERGENT NARRATIVE WOMAN DIRECTOR AWARD
Winners: Megan Griffiths for Eden and Amy Seimetz for Sun Don’t Shine

LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD
Winner: Bernie
Director: Richard Linklater

Special Jury Recognition: Trash Dance
Director: Andrew Garrison

KAREN SCHMEER FILM EDITING FELLOWSHIP
Presented to: Lindsay Utz

Corey Landis New Material and a Film Nomination

Singer-songwriter and RARWRITER.com favorite Corey Landis routinely releases new original material, all of which is clever and entertaining. His current release comes with a tie-in to his movie career.

"My new song, 'Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things', is now available for preview and download. It's a weird little a capella number about the obscure B horror film of the same same. You can take a listen at www.Soundcloud.com and if you like it head on over to www.coreylandis.com and download it. You can also check it out in video form on YouTube.

"I've been nominated once again for a Golden Cob Award--sponsored by the B-Movie Celebration--for my work as Jonathan Harker in Dracula: Reborn. Even though it's not out yet, if you believe I probably did an OK job, please vote for me for best actor at www.goldencobawards.com. "

Corey is well known for appearing in films on the SyFy Channel, and one of his films from last summer, Dinocroc Vs. Supergator, is now available for pre-order on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.

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Kyle Jarrow's Armless on DVD

New York City - Armless, which was a selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and written by experimental playright Kyle Jarrow, featured frequently on this site, is available on DVD on February 22nd. Directed by Habib Azar, starring Janel Maloney and Daniel London, Armless is a comedy about a guy who wishes only to have his arms removed, for all sorts of reasons that are detailed in the course of the film. Wrote film reviewer Scott Weinberg, "It all sounds like the set-up for a silly, gory joke, but hats off to director Habib Azar and screenwriter Kyle Jarrow for setting up an outlandish premise (sad man wants his arms taken off) and delivering a fascinating little handful of thoughts, themes, and ideas that might actually make one feel better about THEIR own 'creepy little secrets."' That's a pretty impressive feat for a weird little micro-budgeted dark comedy."

   

TCM - Classic Movie Channel

The images used in the piece above are all selected from films I happened to see over the past few days on TCM - The Classic Movie Channel, which is available through most cable services. I was on a "cargo" kick. A few notes on those films:

Strange Cargo (1940) is the first film Clark Gable made after Gone With the Wind,released in 1939 (a huge color extravaganza). This film was notable in other ways. It has a strange story line involving the escape of "criminals" from a French penal colony in Central America. The escapees are joined by Joan Crawford, portraying a local entertainer who loses her gig (working for Peter Lorre, playing the character "Pig") for communing with prisoners, most notably Gable, whom she met while he was on a dock work detail. Among the escapees is a Christ-like figure played by Ian Hunter, whose purpose in the film seems to be to remind these thugs, some much "thuggier" than others, of their humanity. He seems, in particular, to shadow Gable, who is part alpha thug and part romantic hero. He is Rhett Butler without money. The spiritual overtones got this film blacklisted by the Catholic Legion of Decency, unfathomable as that now seems. While the story is notable for its trippy religious qualities, the real attraction is Joan Crawford, who after a decade of MGM films, including 7 with Gable, made this one sans makeup and the histrionics that were her staples. She is so special in this film, in which she was trying to convince people that she was a real actress, that it makes one wonder why the painted cartoon character that most of us remember as Joan Crawford was ever allowed to exist. This is not a great film but it is way worth watching. Gable and Crawford spend much of it being buffeted by wind, rain and sea water and resting in mud, and it is a great example of what black & white cinematography does to "EQ" the telling of a story. You will need to see it to understand.

Of Mice and Men (1939) is the first film adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1937 novella, which was structured along the lines of a play. Like Steinbeck's other work, this focuses on marginally employed workers during the 1930s Depression, the setting here being a "ranch" near Salinas where friends (George says they are cousins) George Milton (Burgess Meredith) and Lenny Smalls (Lon Chaney, Jr.) find work as field hands. They encounter a work place in which every character present is "wounded" in one way or another, none worse than the ill-fated Lenny whose intellect is no match for his physical strength. Burgess Meredith gives a weird performance as George, his motivations for protecting Lenny being so confused as to make one wonder if there isn't some subtle homosexual subtext between them. That was not among the criticisms of the work, which included anti-business sentiment, pro-euthanasia philosophy, racial slurs and offensive language. Chaney dropped his given name, Creighton, and became Lon Chaney, Jr. in 1935, following the death of his famous acting father, the "Man of a Thousand Faces". Most of us would come to know Lon Chaney, Jr. for his work in horror films, most notably as "The Wolfman", but he was aspiring to be a real actor in Of Mice and Men and seems to grow, in that regard, as the film plays out. He is a clumsy oaf, but then so is the character he is playing. There are great performances from Betty Field (Mae), Charles Bickford (Slim), Roman Bohnen (Candy), Bob Steele (Curley), Noah Beery Jr. (Whit) and Leigh Whipper (Crooks), and from the others in the cast, as well. In some respects, the two leads are the weakest of the bunch, but it doesn't make any difference. The production is riveting, a little like a train wreck in slow motion if such could tug at heart strings. The story contains some of the most iconic or archetypal characters in modern fiction, though was it fiction? Steinbeck, pre-fame, worked on such ranches and always said Of Mice and Men was based on a real experience with a simple man, like Lenny, who killed a ranch foreman with a pitchfork and ended up in an asylum for the criminally insane. One could see how Steinbeck created the ranch foreman Curly as a guy who could embolden that kind of action.

Sealed Cargo (1951) is a World War II yarn perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Dana Andrews plays a Gloucester, Massacusetts fisher boat captain struggling to crew his vessel with all the most capable workers gone off to the war. He takes aboard a Danish fisherman who becomes more mysterious as the story develops. Another Dane aboard the ship questions the new man's authenticity. He speaks a Danish dialogue unfamiliar to the Dane Andrews knows, and he seems not to know things about the ports in Denmark that a Danish fisherman should know. The first night out, Andrews radio equipment is mysteriously destroyed, and suspicions mount. Also on board is a mysterious woman who Andrews had reluctantly agreed to transport to the port at Trabo, but the trip involves braving German U-Boat attacks, which have been steady along the shipping lanes to Great Britain. Things get weirder and more complicated when, during a thick fog, Andrews trawler hears the sounds of a naval assault and comes upon a schooner that has been riddled with holes, but all above the water line, odd if the intent of the attackers was to sink the ship. On board Andrews and his search party find Claude Rains, the ship's captain, who insists that Andrews pull his tattered schooner to port at Trabo. Once there, the increasingly nervous Andrews starts to sniff around the ghostly schooner a little more, and he discovers that besides the regular ship's hold, there is a second sealed compartment. This is a great story and a wonderful example of the particular qualities of black & white photography. During the foggy night when Andrews' crew first hears the distant gun fire, there is a wonderful sequence in which the fog lights up before them from time to time, as explosions go off in the un-seeable distance. It is totally cool and probably a scene that would not have benefited from the additional information that might have been provided by color, the lack thereof emphasizing the crew's fear and uncertainty about what they were sailing into.

A FACE IN THE CROWD
 

Director Elia Kazan's A Face In the Crowd (1957) is one of the most important cultural artifacts in all of United States film history. (In 2008, A Face in the Crowd was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".) Written by Bud Schulberg (it was adapted from his short story "Your Arkansas Traveler"), it is a brilliant call to attention that America, and therefore the world, was being sold a bill of goods by the kind of "K Street" product packagers that would eventually come to own U.S. politics and therefore U.S. public policy. Schulberg tells the story of "Lonesome" Rhodes, an Arkansas grifter who parlays a gift for singing and story telling into a radio program that launches him to national prominence. Portrayed by Andy Griffith, who was born to play the part, Rhodes is a volatile and dangerous blend of right-wing ideology and populist manipulation, as insincere and amoral a man as has ever been splashed across the big screen. Grinning, growling, screaming and revving up the energy, it is an electric and unforgetable performance. Add to that the extraordinary Patricia Neal, who plays the radio producer who launches Rhodes on his radio career and falls for him only to see him become a "monster"; Walter Matthau, who scripts Rhodes' media performances, sees through Rhodes and acts as the film's conscious; Tony Franciosa, an amoral and opportunistic office boy who molds himself into Rhodes' agent and rides his coat tails to prominence; and Lee Remick, who made her film debut as a baton twirling vixen who marries Rhodes only to become intoxicated with the New York City high life and is eventually jettisoned back to Arkansas. Schulberg pre-dated Paddy Chayefsky's explorations into the growing menace of the American media as ours evolved from a radio to a television culture. His wicked characterization of the homespun, and essentially nasty, Lonesome Rhodes was based, to varying degrees on other less malevolent homespun media heroes including Arthur Godfrey, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Will Rogers. - RAR

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Beatle-Head In Praise of Julie Taymor's

by RAR

As an avowed "Beatle-Head" - i.e., a guy who is pretty convinced that The Beatles are the only band of the "rock age" that ever really mattered in any ongoing way, as have Mozart, Bach and Beethoven - I tend to be pretty slow to warm to "Beatles projects". Some, like Robert Stigwood's 1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band starring the brothers Gibb (and other "natural" Beatle interpreters, like the late George Burns) was just so awful that it hurt. The movie, that is, but never the music.

In fact, The Beatles songbook is so extraordinary that it tends to elevate everyone it touches, if not everyone who touches it.

We didn't get to hear The Beatles play their music live after 1966; didn't get the thrill of the kind of concert hall productions that were later afforded to other bands, like the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd.

When I have heard The Beatles catalog played live and with special care, it has been an extraordinary thing to hear. Paul McCartney has an excellent band that does the songbook with the authenticity one might expect from the most successful songwriter in the history of recorded music. It is the music of his life, and the one guy left standing who can do the sound as it was born. Still, because McCartney wasn't the entirety of The Beatles, and because he has toured the catalog he plays for decades, as if he needs the money, and probably because he is 67 years old, his performances tend to feel the influences. It is near perfect, almost the real deal, but casual in that way that Golden Oldies shows are. It is a credit to McCartney the musician that his current act is as great as it is. Kudos to his band, too, which is dynamite.

CBS Orchestra bassist Will Lee plays in a Beatles tribute band called The Fab Faux that faithfully reproduce the sound, including that of the band's later complex arrangements and vocal harmonies. They do an extraordinary job, about as good as a cover band can get. I once saw a performance of the much derided "Beatlemania", the long-running Broadway tribute to The Beatles, that was extraordinarily impressive as a musical presentation, however clumsy its exploitations. And there are some really fine Beatles Tribute bands around the country, all endeavoring to do faithful reproductions of the The Beatles' catalog and sound.

Beatles songs have been licensed for reinterpretation, in various forms, to varying degrees of success. The original recordings are so engrained in the DNA of the world population that most modern renditions by current rock singers reveal the degree to which the new falls short of measuring up to the original.

There was a period of schmaltzy exploitations by old crooners, like Frank Sinatra, trying to interpret Beatles tunes to "modernize" their catalogs in hopes of appealing to a generation younger than their own, and those were as awful as the instrumental versions produced as white sound for elevators and shopping malls.

RECOGNIZING MAGIC: Julie Taymor's Across the Universe achieved something truly special in the way the film uses 33 Beatles tunes to create something like operatic narrative, in the process revealing fresh and exciting insights into these songs that have been the soundtrack of our cross-generational lives from 1963 to the present.

Listening to "All My Loving" performed by Londoner Jim Sturgess, a University of Salford's School of Media, Music and Performance alumni who does a spot-on Liverpool accent, has one hearing anew some mystical thread that runs through The Beatles songbook in ways that are immediately apparent and yet difficult to fully grasp or comprehend.

In fact, this magical aspect of The Beatles is clearly the muse that set Taymor off on her romantically visionary exploration of the revolutionary '60s and "all their meaning".

There was an extraordinary convergence of social-political, psychic, spiritual, intellectual, creative and moral-ethical energy in the 1960s, that some talked about in terms of a new age, the dawning of the "Age of Aquarius", though the exact timing of that planetary alignment, that astrologers expect to deliver a long period of elevated human sensitivity and response, is open to interpretation and debate. Whatever it was, the 1960s were a period of explosive change, and amid it all were The Beatles, whose songs and personalities both reflected and transcended their times. The Fab Four seemed to know that, for reasons that made no sense whatsoever, they were positioned to guide us all through turbulent times, and it was done through their music.

Perhaps their was a shaman influence there, as Jim Morrison of the Doors claimed was at work in the inspiration for his creations.

There was a consistent message in The Beatles music that was present from "Please Please Me" through "Let It Be", some indefinable, indescribable vein of something like truth that came through as a feeling that was exclusively theirs. One could attempt to sound like The Beatles, to write songs that suggested things done by The Beatles, but The Beatles were somehow in touch with some vibration that came to the world exclusively through them, and could not be duplicated. This, I believe, is the thing that fans of the music responded to as spirituality, and its power was that it could be shared however impossible it was to describe. It made young girls explode into uncomprehending screams and made older listeners break into broad smiles.

It is this that Julie Taymor, working with screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, channeled into this extraordinary film. All of the visual tricks that Taymor developed through her Off-Broadway and Broadway successes (she directed and later filmed Shakespeare's 'Titus Andronicus', brought "The Lion King" to Broadway, and won Oscars for her film Frida), and earlier as a puppet master in Japan, are on display in this wildly inventive film.

The music, however, is the big treat. There is an instrumental version of "A Day In the Life" that is one of the most beautiful pieces you will ever hear played. It sent me scrambling to find out who the guitarist was. It was Jeff Beck, playing with remarkable beauty and sensitivity, providing with his singular performance a symbol of the quality that undergirds this entire film effort.

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From September 2008 Edition:

 

JOEY NEWMAN

www.joeynewman.com

Joey Newman is a third generation film composer of the famed Hollywood musical Newman dynasty. A drummer and pianist, he began serious composition studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, earning his Bacheloer of Music Degree in 1998. He returned to Los Angeles where he began working in television with Emmy-winning composer W.G. "Snuffy" Walden, having co-composed the final seasons of ABC's Once and Again and NBC's Providence while providing orchestrations for NBC's The West Wing and a number of other prime-time dramas and sitcoms.

Joey's feature credits include Pursued starring Christian Slater, Michael Clarke Duncan and Gil Bellows and Stealing Time starring Peter Facinelli, Ethan Embry, and Scott Foley. Recent TV credits include the CBS drama "Clubhouse" starring Dean Cain and Christopher Lloyd and the docu-reality hit "Little People, Big World" for TLC. Joey has also composed the music to many short films, including the award-winning festival favorite The Vest starring Sky McCole Bartusiak, Enrico Colantoni and Kellie Waymire. Joey continues to compose the music to "Lineage," the world's largest online game, from NCsoft. In addition to composing, Joey has orchestrated, arranged and/or conducted the scores to a number of features including Disney/Pixar's Cars, Universal's Seabiscuit, MGM's Sleepover, and Miramax's An Unfinished Life. - from his website (©2006 Infusion Studios Inc.)

ON COREY LANDIS...

Joey Newman contacted RARWRITER after the review of the Corey Landis album was published and had this to say - "I think that Corey is a talent that's truly undiscovered. He has this "rough-around-the-edges" way about his performance and music, but as I listen to his material I feel the longevity in it. I can put this record on 10 years from now and still love it the same way I do now. It's all because the guy knows how to write a good song - bottom line. Corey can write the quirky tune to the beautiful ballad and it feels seamless. I knew that if Corey could get a hand to help him polish his sound up enough (from arrangements to mixing) to compete with the rest, he would wind up with something unique and amazing - and that's what I feel we've put out."

...AND THE "NEWMAN FAMILY DYNASTY"

RAR has been messing up the Newman family tree, not through incursion but through misreporting (a specialty here at RARWRITER.com). Here is how Joe Newman explains his branch of the famous family's "tree."

"There's one thing about your review I just wanted to point out and that would be my family connection. I am related as a 'cousin' and not a 'son' or 'nephew'. Here's how it works: 

"My grandfather is Lionel Newman1 - Alfred's2 youngest brother.

"Thomas Newman3 and David Newman4 are brothers and Alfred's sons.

"Randy Newman5 is Irving Newman's6 (Alfred's other brother - he had 6 brothers!) son.

"So, as you can see Randy is 1st cousin to Thomas and David and I am 1st cousin once-removed to all of them (as I am 3rd generation composer and 2nd cousin to all of their children). I only mention this because you were so specific about my relation. I must say, that is the first time anyone has thought that I was Thomas' son! If anything, I mostly get Randy's nephew...."

 

So, did you get that? No, I didn't either...but the notes below will help.-RAR

1Lionel Newman - Joey Newman's grandfather was piano accompanist for Mae West before scoring three dozen films and several TV series, adapting and conducting scores for hundreds of other films. His classic TV themes include "The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis," "Adventures in Paradise," and "Daniel Boone." He was Music Director for all of Marilyn Monroe's films at Fox (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There's No Business Like Show Business, River of No Return, and Let's Make Love). He received eleven Academy Award nominations, and won an Oscar for Hello Dolly! in 1969.

2Alfred Newman (1900-1970) - Major American composer of music for films. A musical prodigy, Alfred was conducting the Broadway musicals of George Gershwin, Richard Rogers, and Jerome Kern by the time he was 20 years old. He accompanied Irving Berlin to Hollywood, becoming the conductor for Samuel Goldwyn's United Artists films, then did a 21-year stint as Music Director for 20th Century-Fox Studios, composing the studio's familiar fanfare. Developed the means of synchronizing the performance and recording of a musical score to film. Dubbed "the Newman System," it remains in use to this day. He received 45 Academy Award nominations (a record in the music categories, now shared with John Williams), winning 9 times; in 1940 he was nominated for 4 different films.

3Thomas Newman - Yale educated film-scorer broke through in 1984 with the film Reckless. Earned two Academy Award nominations for his scores to Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption; the only double-nominee of 1994. Subsequent successes have included his scores for American Beauty (winner of the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media), Road to Perdition, Finding Nemo, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Good German. He composed the music for the television version of Angels in America, as well as for HBO's series "Six Feet Under," which won Grammy Awards in 2003 for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Instrumental Arrangement. At the 79th Academy Awards, Thomas Newman appeared in the opening segment by Errol Morris correcting a claim that he had been nominated for and not won an Academy Award eight times: "I've lost seven times; tonight it will be eight."

4David Newman - Son of  Alfred Newman, brother of Thomas Newman, and a cousin of composer Randy Newman. The USC product found film score success working with  actor/director Danny Devito, beginning with Throw Momma from the Train (1987) through The War of the Roses (1989), Hoffa (1992) and Matilda (1996). He received an Academy Award nomination for the score to the animated film Anastasia. In 1997, David Newman began a four year stint as the music director for the Sundance Institute.

5Randy - Nephew of Alfred Newman, son of Irving Newman, Randy became well-known to the general public as a pop commentary songwriter, penning such humorously acidic classics as "Sail Away," "Political Science," and "You Can Leave Your Hat On" and many others. L.A.-born and UCLA educated, Randy grew up in New Orleans and benefited from the musical culture of the place. He has been writing film scores since 1971 (Cold Turkey), has been nominated for Academy Awards 16 times, and won in 2001 for "If I Didn't Have You," written for Monsters Inc.

6Irving Newman - Father of Randy, brother of the family's grand patriarch Alfred Newman.

Joey Newman (born September 9, 1976) is a Los Angeles-based film composer, orchestrator, arranger and conductor.  He is the son of bassist/vocalist Joe Frank Carollo of the 1970's soft-rock group Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. He is also the grandson of Lionel Newman, the grandnephew of Alfred Newman and Emil Newman and the cousin of Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, and David Newman.  Joey was educated at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. - from Wikipedia

©Rick Alan Rice (RAR), July, 2016

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