Category Archives: Music

Beach Blanket Babylon Closing in San Francisco After a 45-Year Run

Those hats! Those huge, wonderful, silly hats, each larger than the last.

Beach Blanket Babylon, the world’s longest-running musical review, is as much a part of the San Francisco mythos as cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, and beautifully painted Victorian houses. But after 45 years and 17,216 performances, the show will close with 2019’s New Year’s Eve finale.

The ever-evolving show uses modified lyrics from popular songs to poke mildly racy fun at celebrities and politicians, many of whom, like Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in the picture below, turn up in the audience sooner or later. (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had already seen an abbreviated performance of the review in 1983.)

The show could probably have run forever, since it had become a sure-fire way for San Franciscans to entertain out-of-town visitors.

Every performance ended with the audience joining the cast in singing a rousing and joyous rendition of “San Francisco”—the real, Jeanette MacDonald “San Francisco”, from the 1936 movie of the same name.


New Year’s Eve at Beach Blanket Babylon

The Beach Blanket Babylon website has an excellent collection of pictures from the show, including one gallery dedicated exclusively to those giant hats. It also includes videos of selections from the show’s New Year’s Eve performances. Here’s the one from 2018:

(All photos found on the Web.)

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Little Big — New and Improved Video for “Skibidi”

Inspired silliness.

Little Big is a Russian band known for bizarre and sometimes NSFW videos, and “Skibidi” is their best-known song. This new video, which they call the “Romantic Edition”, was released last month. It has about 21 million views.

The band, which describes itself as “a satirical art collaboration”, has just finished the American leg of its current tour, and will be playing to sold-out shows in Europe for the next six weeks.

“Skibidi” went viral when it was released last Fall. Here’s the earlier official video of the song. This one has 206 million views.

I like the new one better.


An Unavoidable Comparison

You can’t listen to “Skibidi” without being reminded of YouTube’s top trending video of 2013, that glorious Norwegian masterpiece, “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)”.

It’s unlikely that “Skibidi” will ever beat the Fox’s 838 million views.

The Dead Don’t Die — First Trailer

So, is the slogan correct? Does The Dead Don’t Die really have “The Greatest Zombie Cast Ever Disassembled”?

It may well be. Look who’s in it:

Chloë Sevigny, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez, Bill Murray, Austin Butler, Tom Waits, Caleb Landry Jones, Carol Kane, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, and Iggy Pop. Tilda Swinton* or Steve Buscemi alone would be enough to get me out of the kitchen and into a theatre.

And even if the presence of some of my favourite actors wasn’t enough, there’s also this: During the trailer, I heard a brief segment from a song, and it stopped me dead, so to speak. I immediately recognized it as “Seven and Seven Is”, by the 1960s band Love, creators of the achingly beautiful Forever Changes album. Love + Iggy Pop + Tom Waits — I’d see this one just for the soundtrack.

I’ve never been a huge fan of writer/director Jim Jarmusch, although I did like Only Lovers Left Alive, his lush 2013 vampire film with Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin, and, of course, the divine Tilda. (Hmmm. First vampires, now zombies. Can a Jim Jarmusch werewolf movie be far away?)

The Dead Don’t Die is scheduled for a 14 June 2019 release.


*In a description of the movie for Esquire, Tyler Coates wrote that “Driver, Murray, and Sevigny play a trio of befuddled police officers who must prepare to do battle against the undead, while Swinton is an inexplicably Scottish and sword-wielding mortician who joins the cause.”

Inexplicably? Of course she plays a Scottish sword-wielding mortician. This is Tilda Swinton he’s writing about. What else would he expect?

Duet: Elton John and Taron Egerton Perform Together

For 27 years, Elton John has hosted an Academy Awards viewing party* to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. This year, the party and auction brought in 6.3 million dollars.

This happened last night’s party:

So yet more proof that Taron Egerton, better known for his acting than for his singing, can really deliver the goods in the upcoming film, Rocketman.

I see, btw, that Rocketman is being described as “an epic musical fantasy” rather than a musical biography. I also see, btw, that the 92nd Academy Awards show will take place on 9 Feb 2020. Save the date.

The movie will be released on 24 May 2019 in the UK and on 31 May 2019 in the US.


*A gay man hosting an Oscars party! Who’da thunk it?

Rocketman — Official Trailer

Here’s the official trailer for Rocketman, the new Elton John bio.

The movie is directed by Dexter Fletcher, who was called in to finish directing the hugely successful (and hugely mediocre) Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was fired.*

Taron Egerton plays Elton John, and if the teaser below is any indication, he absolutely nails the look and the sound. Rocketman has the potential to give him a Rami Malek-level breakout.

A couple of It’s-a-Small-World-after-All notes about the casting, and I’m so sorry if you now have that awful song rattling around in your brain, but not really.

Bernie Taupin is played by Jamie Bell—looking mighty fine here, with his 1970s long hair—whose original claim to fame was that he played the title character in the movie Billy Elliot, which was later brought to the stage as a musical by…Elton John.

John Reid, who you may remember was The Bad Guy in Bohemian Rhapsody shows up again in Rocketman. Reid, John’s early lover and long-time manager, also managed Queen from 1975 to 1978.

Same person, different actor. In Bohemian Rhapsody he was played by Aidan Gillen, best known for his role in Game of Thrones. In Rocketman he’s played by Richard Madden, best known for his role in Game of Thrones.

Reid also managed Irish dancer Michael Flatley. I look forward to the soon-to-be-announced filming of Riverdance, in which Reid will be played by either Peter Dinklage or Lena Headey.

I never got around to posting the original teaser from lat October, so here it is now:

Rocketman will be released on 24 May 2019 in the UK** and on 31 May 2019 in the US.


Bonus Track

Blackadder (and Mr Bean) himself, aka Rowan Atkinson, Interviews Elton John


*I’m biased here. I’ve always detested Queen’s dumb, ugly product.

**Assuming the UK still exists on 24 May 2019.

Celebrity Time Travelers

I know nothing about Ard Gelinck except that he lives in the Netherlands and he creates these wonderful collages of well-known people at various stages of their lives.

Read the images any way you want. Is Gelinck just showing the inevitable results of time and gravity and living, or is he illustrating the fantasy of being able to go back in time and teach your younger self all the life lessons you’ve learned over the years?

He’s charitable in his selection of subjects. There are no Dorian Greys in his gallery. Gelinck avoids the easy but cruel choice of pairing a picture of, say, the young Jan Michael Vincent with a contemporary photo, for instance.

I found these images on Bored Panda, where you can find many more.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

Madonna

Madonna

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks

Sting

Sting

George Michael

George Michael