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Morphing Michael

You might remember the MJ video for "Black and White," where faces of different races and genders morph into each other. Well, even stranger than that is this, which McMahon forwarded to me: all the different versions of Michael Jackson morphing in a sequence. Awesome.

posted by Anon. 11:02 AM
Somewhere beyond the sea

Here's this interesting tidbit from the wires. If you saw Spacey's debut, Albino Alligator, you then know it's time to worry.
Spacey to direct, star in Bobby Darin biopic
Feb 20 2003 2:56AM
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - After five years of planning, Kevin Spacey is darin' to play Darin.

The actor will star in, direct and produce "Beyond the Sea," a movie about the life of singer Bobby Darin, set to begin shooting in June.

Producer Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide has come aboard to fully finance and produce with Spacey's production shingle, Trigger Street. MGM is in negotiations to acquire North American distribution rights to the film, though no deal has yet been inked.

"Sea" had once been planned as a Warner Bros. release, but Spacey bought the rights from Warner two years ago. Among the executive producers on the film is Arthur Friedman, who has worked on the project for 12 years.

Spacey told Daily Variety on Wednesday that the budget will be "considerable."

The film covers the 1940s through the 1970s, but as described by Spacey, "it's not a linear story. And not a docudrama."

Details of the film's soundtrack must still be worked out, as must rights issues surrounding Darin's original recordings. But Spacey will sing songs including "Dream Lover," "Mack the Knife," "Splish Splash" and the title tune.

"Kevin's passion for 'Beyond the Sea' is overwhelming and has consumed us as well," Damon said.

It's been five years since Spacey first expressed an interest in bringing Darin's life to the big screen.

"They say I'm too old," he lamented at that time -- Spacey was then 38. Darin died at age 37 when his heart gave out following heart surgery.

Asked if he's too old now, Spacey laughed, "Bobby always looked a little older -- but if I waited any more I might be too old."

Spacey proved his ability to imitate Darin on the "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" album, singing "That Old Black Magic" as a tribute to the performer. Spacey repeated when he sang during his hosting stint on "Saturday Night Live."

Three years ago, Spacey said he planned to take six months off to devote to singing ahead of the Darin biopic, but added he would do the film "only when it can be done the right way" (Daily Variety, March 14, 2000).

On Oct. 24, 2000, Spacey brought down the house when he sang two songs a la Darin before an all-industry party created to involve young Hollywood in the Motion Picture and Television Country House & Hospital.

Since then, the actor has continued to work with Darin's conductor, Roger Kellaway.

Spacey has continually emphasized that he wanted the Darin family to know he would treat the project "with respect." He sent letters to that effect to Darin's wife, Sandra Dee, and their son, Dodd. They will be portrayed in the film, which will have "many other good roles as well," Spacey said.
There's a theory that all movie stars secretly wish to be rock idols. This has resulted in some unfortunate film choices -- Dennis Quaid hamming his way through Great Balls of Fire comes to mind. We'll see how it turns out for Kevin.

posted by Anon. 6:56 AM


Shove it

Country singer Johnny Paycheck ("Take This Job and Shove It") has died, at 64 years old.

posted by Anon. 3:07 PM



My stats program often lets me know exactly how people get to these pages. And that includes exactly what they were searching for on search engine pages like Yahoo and Google. Today offered this priceless gem:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=my favorite band is belle and sebastian%2C and yes%2C I am a guy

Amen, brother. Amen.

posted by Anon. 3:43 PM
I get the news I need from the weather report

Rented Tadpole, the Sigourney Weaver-John Ritter movie, and I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. It was light piffle, but I did laugh a good amount, so take that for what it's worth.

On the soundtrack was a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York" by Everything But the Girl. This song is one of the very few S&G songs I can listen to anymore, since so much of their material sounds either dated or far too limp. And Everything But the Girl's cover was melodic, with strong strumming. No surprise there -- EBtG is a fairly lightweight band, but they've always done nice work with covers.

Back in my days as a college music critic, I remember getting a free copy of their Acoustic record, with its covers of Elvis Costello's "Alison," Tom Waits' "Downtown Train," and Bruce Springsteen's "Tougher Than the Rest."

I remember it being a good record, and if I ever stumble upon it in the used bins, I may very well pick up a CD copy to replace my long-ago misplaced cassette version.

posted by Anon. 3:38 PM

I used to go on "kicks," where I'd discover an artist and suddenly buy a ton of their records, going crazy for them and making up for lost time. That happened to me three times in '96-'97, when, living in Seattle, I finally got into Prince, Elvis Costello, and Joni MItchell. It's been a while since that's happened to me again, but it might be about to happen with Loudon Wainwright III.

I always found LWIII a little too shticky for my tastes, in terms of novelty songs like "Dead Skunk" and the political songs he does for NPR, like "Jesse Don't Like It." But a few years ago, I picked up his Career Moves live record -- in fact, I posted about it last year. I was moved most by Wainwright's songs about relationships and family, which could be funny and sad and wry without ever being sentimental. That takes quite a songwriter to accomplish that.

Recently, a co-worker lent me Last Man on Earth, from 2001, and it is superb. It was an album prompted by the death of Loudon's mother and the dissolution of a relationship. If you think this would result in some heart-wrenching stuff, well, you're right. But even in tough territory, Loudon brings his humor along with him. His "Out of Reach" explores an awkward phonecall between exes drifting apart; his "White Winos" describes how he bonded with his mother over white wine.

The instrumentation all along is spare, acoustic, avoiding gloss or shine. Wainwright has a sweet voice, lacking the textures of a Prine or Hiatt, but also possessing a warmth.

I picked up a couple more records of his at Aron's on Saturday. I bought new his BBC Sessions, a compilation of live recordings from his appearances on Nick Kershaw and John Peel shows. And I found used his Little Ship, from '97 or so. I've listened to both, and neither are up to the wonderful standard of Last Man on Earth. But there's some good stuff there, anyway.

posted by Anon. 9:32 AM
Where it began

You ever feel like your favorite record by a band is everyone's least favorite? I'm not saying that I like Street Legal, or that I think Steel Wheels is a classic record. (Though I do confess, if pressed, I'll admit that Use Your Illusion II is my favorite Guns N' Roses album, but don't expect me to confess that without several orders of alcohol in my system.)

I will, however, walk out onto that limb and say that my two favorite records by one of my favorite all-time bands, the Replacements, are the glossy, slick Don't Tell a Soul and All Shook Down. Yes, the records with which the band closed its career, allowing Paul Westerberg to go off and make mediocre solo records, Tommy Stinson to go through a couple passable bands before landing with, hey, GNR, Chris Mars to paint and record a couple of surprisingly decent solo albums (go figure), and Slim Dunlap to ... I don't know where Slim Dunlap went, sorry.

Everyone always worships Let It Be, the band's last album for a small label, or Pleased to Meet Me, their second major label record. And though I like many songs from those records -- "Can't Hardly Wait" in particular is probably on my all-time top 50 favorite songs list, with that riff that's a strange bastardization of the Temptations' "My Girl" -- I still prefer the last two albums. For their crisp guitars, perfect melodies, and masterful production -- Matt Wallace on "Soul," Scott Litt on "Shook."

"I'll Be You," the single which Westerberg once joked was the band's "Aqualung," is a nearly perfect pop song. But "Achin' to Be" is a terrific lyric, and "Talent Show," "Attitude," "Nobody," "Someone Take the Wheel" and many others are just enormously well-crafted pieces of pop. Me likey.

Not that I don't like other Mats records -- "Tim," I think, has some terrific songsmithing going on, too. But in terms of consistent albums, the Replacements' two swan songs might have lacked the drunken abandon of their earliest efforts, but made up for that in stripped down song concoction. And the fact that All Shook Down was basically a Westerberg with session musicians project might explain why I've been willing to give the guy so much of my milk money over the years for sub-par solo efforts.

(By the way, if you don't own ASD and DTAS, if you hit one of the above links for the albums, Amazon will give you a deal to buy the two of 'em together for $23. Not a bad deal at all.)

posted by Anon. 9:26 AM