Friday, June 26, 2015

Remembering Patrick Macnee: Hear a BBC Radio documentary on "The Avengers"

BBC Radio 3 is representing documentary on 1960s spy TV series "The Avengers" in remembrance of actor Patrick Macnee (a.k.a. John Steed), who died this week:
Matthew Sweet dons his kinky boots to investigate the phenomenon of The Avengers, 50 years after its first transmission. As well as its regular cavalcade of cyborgs, spies and megalomaniacs, The Avengers seemed to present the world of British television with a new action figure - the liberated single female who, week after week, proved to be deadlier than the male. But how progressive was its sexual politics ? Was Diana Rigg in her all leather cat suit a male fantasy or a feminist icon and did Honor Blackman always play second fiddle to Patrick Macnee ?
Matthew has assembled a crack team of thinkers to ponder these mind-bending questions - teenage fans Bea Campbell and Sarah Dunant, historian Dominic Sandbrook and one of the masterminds of The Avengers, the screenwriter Brian Clemens.
Stream it here.

Trailer for upcoming "Supergirl" TV series

Pop Culture Roundup: Brian Wilson; ZBS Media; Julius Schwartz; Rolling Stones

Rolling Stone has a fresh interview with Beach Boys genius Brian Wilson.
"I call myself Brian Willpower Wilson," he says. "I tell myself that, and it helps me push through the tough stuff. You know, I feel like I've got about 15 years left, so I want to make the most of it. So I'm taking things a little easier lately. Like, when I wake up in the morning, instead of going, 'Oh, no, not another day,' I'm going, 'Oh, God, thank you for another day!' "

I can't plug ZBS Media strongly enough. I've been a fan of their audio adventures since I first hear "The Fourth Tower of Inverness" on my college radio station back in 1975. Check out their latest series, the steam punk-inspired "Lady Windermere’s Brass Fantabulous" here.


13th Dimension pays tribute to DC Comics editorial mind Julius Schwartz with a selection of 100 classic covers.


A historical plaque marking the spot where Mick Jagger met Keith Richards is being replaced after former Rolling Stones' bassist Bill Wyman objected to the wording.
The blue plaque, unveiled at Dartford station in February, says the pair "went on to form The Rolling Stones".
But Wyman complained, saying guitarist Brian Jones created The Rolling Stones and enlisted the other members.

Fab Friday: Vintage Beatles pics

See more fab posts at the Glass Onion Beatles Journal.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie posters

So long, Patrick Macnee

The star of the 1960s spy series "The Avengers" has died at age 93, the BBC reports.

Take a look back at our "Avengers" posts here.

Coming Up: Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Toy Story

Out July 10.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection is an exclusive line of musical releases that celebrate the anniversaries of some of Disney's most cherished properties featuring beloved original soundtracks, plus valuable content that tells the story behind the music.

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Toy Story celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the film. This 2 disc collectible edition includes over 50 songs! Featuring: the original soundtrack, 7 bonus tracks and 3 instrumental songs. Plus liner notes by Randy Newman and John Lasseter, enchanting illustrations and original concept art by Lorelay Bove.

Disc: 1
1. Opening
2. You've Got a Friend in Me (Randy Newman)
3. Andy's Birthday Is Today
4. They're Alive!
5. "Staff Meeting Everybody!"
6. "You Too, Bo Peep"
7. Andy's Birthday Party
8. Code Red
9. A Good Soldier Never Leaves a Man Behind
10. Presents: Who Invited That Kid?
11. Surprise Present
12. What Are You Doing Under the Bed?
13. Buzz Revealed
14. Buzz Flies
15. Strange Things (Randy Newman)
16. Woody/Bo Peep
17. Sid
18. Virtual Realty
19. Woody Plots
20. Rube Globeburg
21. Woody Did It!
22. Rescue Attempt
23. Buzz, You re Alive!
24. Buzz and Woody Fight
25. Buzz's Mission
26. It's a Spaceship, Buzz
27. Pizza Planet Rock
28. What? Hello? A Space Port!
29. The Claw
30. Dr. Sid
31. Mutant Toys
32. Woody's Gone
33. "Sorry Guys, Dinner's Canceled
34. Scud
35. Buzz Lightyear Commercial
36. I Will Go Sailing No More (Randy Newman)
37. Out the Window
38. Sid's Toys Fix Buzz
39. The Big One
40. Sad Andy
41. Buzz, I Need Your Help
42. Working Together (Leads to Failure)
43. The Rescue Pt. 1
44. Sid Counts Down
45. The Rescue Pt. 2: Play Nice, Sid
46. Chasing the Van
47. RC to the Rescue
48. To Infinity and Beyond
49. Together Again and a Very Merry Christmas
50. You've Got a Friend in Me (Lyle Lovett and Randy Newman)
51. End Credits
Disc: 2
1. Strange Things PIANO/VOCAL Demo (Randy Newman)
2. Plastic Spaceman PIANO/VOCAL Demo (Randy Newman)
3. I Will Go Sailing No More PIANO/VOCAL Demo (Randy Newman)
4. The Fool PIANO/VOCAL Demo (Randy Newman)
5. You've Got a Friend in Me Instrumental Version
6. Strange Things Instrumental Version
7. I Will Go Sailing No More Instrumental Version
8. Thanking the Orchestra Spoken

New video: Brian Wilson performs "One Kind of Love"

A video for a tune of Brian's new No Pier Pressure video features footage from "Love and Mercy."

New Ant-Man TV spot

Pop Stuff: Love and Mercy

What I'm watching, hearing, reading, etc.

Love and Mercy is an imaginatively conceived and moving portrait of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson.

The film shifts back and forth through time, using two actors, Paul Dano and John Cusack, to portray Wilson both at his 1960s height and as a damaged, lost soul in the 1980s.

But, rather than being shown how Brian became what he became, we see that he's always been much the same: Musically brilliant, gentle and kindhearted, but assailed by depression, auditory hallucinations and other issues of mental illness.

From his youth into middle age, he is also consistently exploited by those around him. By his abusive stage dad Murray, by label bosses and his bandmates who want him to be "more commercial," and even by his own psychologist, Eugene Landy, who kept him trapped in a fog of medications for years while making money off Wilson's recordings and "autobiography."

It's a sad story that's constantly redeemed by Wilson's ability to stay positive and persevere. When he meets his future wife Melinda (played by Elizabeth Banks), he's a broken man. Landy, who keeps Wilson drugged and under surveillance by goonish assistants 24 hours a day, has shattered Wilson's creative spirit, his confidence and independence. Yet, there's still a glimmer there: a goofy sense of humor, flashes of musical brilliance, hints of Brian's true self. By reaching out to Melinda, he's reaching for a way out, and she helps pull him the rest of the way.

The film never loses focus despite the time shifts and despite using two actors that don't look much alike. Dano is bright, energetic and awkward as the young Brian -- excited by his musical discoveries and hurt and confused when his dad and bandmates don't understand them. Cusack's performance is quiet and understated, built on subtle body language that reflects the older Brian's lost and defeated state. It's a testament to both actors, and to the film's direction, that we consistently see them as the same man.

The film always seems real. Unlike most bio-pics, with their parade of bad wigs, period music and headlines to tell us "when" in the story we are, we feel genuinely in the 1960s when Dano is on-screen. The clothes, sets, cars and hair are all just right, not cheesy.

The studio scenes, which depict, mostly, the recording of Wilson's brilliant Pet Sounds album, are spot on. If you're a musician, or if you've seen the documentary "The Wrecking Crew" about the studio musicians Wilson worked with, you'll be amazed by the authentic details. All the gear -- amps, guitars, studio equipment -- is just right. The scenes convey the giddy excitement of creativity, as Wilson dictates his ideas to the musicians and they play music unlike any previously heard.

The other performances are all remarkably good. Banks isn't the crusading savior. She's just a normal woman trying to figure Brian out and unsure about how to help him. Paul Giamatti is both menacing and ridiculous as Dr. Landy: a dork who's managed to latch onto, and take control over, a much better and more-talented man's life. The smaller roles, including Jake Abel as Mike Love and Johnny Sneed as the great studio drummer Hal Blaine, are also well-played.

If you're a Wilson/Beach Boys fan, you'll be pleased by the authenticity of the film and its faithfulness to the facts. But even those unfamiliar with Wilson are likely to be moved and inspired by his story.

Vintage pics: Batman TV show

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie poster

Pop Artifact: Vintage Batman tin logo for comic book stand

Via Hake's Auctions:

Jack Kirby "Lord of Light" posters for sale

Heavy Metal magazine, which published a selection of Jack Kirby's artwork for the never-made sci-fi film "Lords of Light" in its latest issue is now selling limited-edition prints of several pieces.

"Lord of Light," an adaptation of a Roger Zelazny, was a movie production invented by the CIA as a ruse to get agents into Iran to smuggle out American hostages after the 1979 coup in that country. The story is the focus of the recent Ben Affleck film "Argo." Kirby, as did others working the film, thought they were working on a legitimate production at the time.

Kirby's art was colored in 1970s blacklight style by Mark Englert for publication in Heavy Metal and for the prints, which are being sold in editions of 50 each online at at the upcoming Comic-Con International in San Diego.

You can order them here. Here's a look: