Monthly Archives: June 2009

So Long Ed, Farrah and Michael

Jeez, a guy can’t take a few days off without the all-time great sidekick, one of Charlie’s Angels and The King of Pop all checking out.

Well, they say stars go out in threes.

In this particular trio, there’s not a lightweight. All three were cultural icons, in their own way.

Ed McMahon might’ve been just Johnny Carson‘s sidekick, but he hung in there for 33 years, chortling and “Hi-Yo”-ing and “You are correct, sir”-ing himself into the very fabric of American TV culture.

Farrah Fawcett might’ve been just one season on an Aaron Spelling jiggle show and a poster … but oh, what a poster. I’ll bet there are millions of ’em up in workshops and garages around the world, to this very day. (Not mine … I was a Cheryl Ladd guy, myself.)

And Michael Jackson. Wow, what a last publicity stunt. The first thing I thought of when I heard he was gone was the old Warner Brothers cartoon with Bugs and Daffy competing for the audience’s affections in some Vaudeville-type stage show, and Bugs always coming out with the loudest applause as Daffy’s frustration mounted. Finally, the Duck strapped himself to a heapin’ helpin’ of TNT and blew himself up. As his ghost floated upward, Bugs pointed to the cheering crowd and said, “Daffy! They loved it! They want an encore!” And all Ghost-Daffy could do was shrug and say, “Unfortunately, it’s the kind of thing you can only do once.”

I don’t mean to make light of Michael’s demise with that cartoon recollection; it really was just the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news on the radio Thursday afternoon.

I’ve spent more time than I care to admit over the last decade feeling sorry for Michael. For all his fame and fortune, the man had issues; King of Pop-sized issues.

I do think he was running out of ways to keep our attention. And the stress of mounting his comeback tour — well, that and all the painkillers and other abuses his body had suffered, his financial woes and tarnished reputation — finally did him in.

When I remember McMahon, it won’t be as the desperate old guy struggling to keep from having his house repossessed — it’ll be handing envelopes to Carnac the Magnificent, and guffawing away at all the punch lines.

When I remember Farrah, it won’t be as the cancer-ridden tabloid target — it’ll be staring quizzically, grinning that toothy grin and shaking that immense mane of hair, at the intercom from which Charlie’s voice emanated every week.

And when I remember Michael, it won’t be the long, painful, freak-show decline. It’ll be the insanely talented little guy fronting the Jackson 5, the showman, the philanthopist (he did have a little something to do with “We Are The World,” remember), the star who created and inspired a wave of hype so huge that it finally crushed him.

More later … — MM

‘Local Color’ Coming to Cinema Screens

Local Color ,” the excellent, independently made film by director-writer George Gallo that screened at the Lynwood and Orchard theaters back in the spring of 2008, will get a theatrical release.

According to an e-mail from Alex Kirkwood , a former Bainbridge Island resident who was instrumental in bringing Gallo’s film to Kitsap, “Local Color” will open July 3 in New York, with other bookings to follow.

The film is Gallo’s semi-autobiographical account of a young artist who’s inspired by, and in turn inspires, a jaded old painter who thinks his life has passed him by. It includes excellent acting performances by Armin Mueller-Stahl , Trevor Morgan , Ray Liotta , Samantha Mathis and others, including Gallo’s real-life wife, Julie Lott . It also features breathtaking cinematography. In our review (which ran in the April 11, 2008 edition of Kitsap A&E), we called it “a feast for the eyes, a tonic for the heart and a salve for the pain we all feel, one way or another, for the loss of teh old in the rush to the new.”

We’ll keep you appraised of the film’s progress, and let you know when and if we get to see it on local big screens.

More later … — MM

Zombie Love for Port Gamble at SIFF

The 35th Seattle International Film Festival ended June 14, and there was some love for “ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction ,” which was filmed last year in Port Gamble .

The film, by director Kevin Hamedani and including a number of local actors and extras in its cast, tied for third runner-up in the audience voting for Best Film.

The winner in the category was an American film titled “Black Dynamite,” directed by Scott Sanders.

The other film with strong Kitsap ties, “The Spy and the Sparrow ” — directed by Bainbridge Island’s Garrett Bennett and shot entirely in and around Seattle — didn’t receive any mentions in the awards announced during the festival’s closing ceremonies. The film was finished just prior to its first screening, and its two showings — June 10 and 13 — might’ve been too late in the festival to generate much audience buzz. This was, however, its first festival, and it’ll be interesting to see how it fares elsewhere around the country. (Read the review posted June 13 at kitsapsun.com/entertainment .

“ZMD,” meanwhile, is headed to the Los Angeles Film Festival later this month. The film has been well received and is building up some buzz, so hopefully there’ll be a distribution deal to announce soon — not to mention a special Kitsap screening. Watch this space.

Anyway, congrats to Hamedani, producer John Sinno and everybody else involved in the making of the film, including all you proud Port Gamblers.

More later … — MM

Alan White Turns 60 with the Seattle Symphony

One thing we know for sure about the Seattle Symphony ‘s June 14 performance of Stravinsky’s “Firebird :” It’ll rock.

This from the Symphony:

Alan White , drummer for progressive rock band Yes , will join Seattle Symphony’s percussion section onstage for a performance of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” a work which has famously opened YES concerts for decades and is among the drummer’s all-time favorite pieces. The Benaroya Hall performance will take place this Sunday, June 14 at 2 p.m. June 14 is White’s 60th birthday.

The program, led by guest conductor David Robertson , will also include Mussorgsky’s symphonic fantasy, “A Night on Bald Mountain ,” and violinist Leila Josefowicz performing Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto, one of the violinist’s signature pieces.

White, a native of England, and his family have lived east of Seattle for more than 20 years. White’s wife, Gigi , is from Auburn. Both are involved in a number of charitable concerns in and around Seattle.

The drummer begins a worldwide tour with other members of Yes — bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Steve Howe , reinforced by keyboardist Oliver Wakeman (son of legendary Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman ) and vocalist Benoit David — in late June, including a show with Asia June 30 at the Snoqualmie Casino.

Ticket Information

Tickets from $17 to $95 can be purchased by calling the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at (206) 215-4747 or toll-free at (866) 833-4747, faxing the Symphony at (206) 215-4748, ordering online at www.seattlesymphony.org with the Select Your Own Seat option, or visiting the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office in Benaroya Hall at Third Avenue & Union Street, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m.

More later … — MM

Reunions of Bands We Didn’t Need in the First Place

I get a kick out of typing up the schedules for the local nightspots — mainly the Seattle ones — because I love good band names.

But it struck me this week how many of these shows over in Seattle are labeled as “Reunion” shows. Some band I never heard of, which means they never did anything worth hearing about, is reuniting.

Like: “Meat and the Gristle (Reunion Show)”.

I never noticed when Meat and the Gristle broke up. I never noticed when they did anything. Neither did you. Neither did anybody else. So why are they reuniting?

The listing should be more like: “WARNING: Meat and the Gristle (Needless Reunion Show)”

On the other hand, if Drive It Like You Stole It ever reunites, let me know …

Sorry for ranting.

More later … — MM

More ‘Sweeney Todd’ Auditions at BPA

Bainbridge Performing Arts will conduct an extra audition for “Sweeney Todd (School Edition) ” for males ages 13 to 20 from 5 to 6 p.m. June 11.

The auditon is at BPA, 200 Madison Ave. N on Bainbridge Island. Auditioners are asked to prepare one Broadway song NOT from “Sweeney Todd” (go figure), BYOSM (Bring Your Own Sheet Music) and a two-minute memorized monologue, plus a current photo.

Rehearsal classes are Mondays through Fridays fro 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 29 to July 29, and the class tuition is $395.

Information and appointments: Deirdre McCollom, (206) 842-1464, dmccollom@bainbridgeperformingarts.org

More later … — MM

Performance dates are July 30 to Aug. 2.