Saturday, November 21, 2020

Around the Tubes: November 21, 2020

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on 1917, Mary J. Blige, Eddie Vedder, The Offspring, The Go-Go’s, Metallica, Noël Wells, Evie Irie, Paris Jackson, Verve Records, Fill The Stadium, Macho, Game Show Network marathon, Woke, and I Love You For This.

The television premiere of the acclaimed, award-winning film 1917, directed and produced by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty), will air on SHOWTIME on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The movie will also be available for network subscribers across SHOWTIME platforms and distributor platforms.  Taking audiences and critics alike by storm when it opened in 2019, 1917 ultimately earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and three Golden Globe® nominations. It went on to win three Academy Awards and two Golden Globes, including Best Picture – Drama and Best Director. The film tells the story of two young British soldiers at the height of World War I, Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) as they are given a seemingly impossible task. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow soldiers – Blake’s own brother among them. In addition to MacKay and Chapman, 1917 also stars Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.

UMe’s Urban Legends, the label imprint and cross-platform initiative devoted to the curation and celebration of over three decades of urban catalog music and culture, and Soul In The Horn, an innovative digital movement that seeks to bridge cultural gaps by bringing together a diverse cross-section of creative talents, have teamed up to create an extraordinary one-of-a-kind 3-D experience for ardent Mary J. Blige fans that celebrates the November 29 anniversary of My Life, one of the most critically acclaimed and important R&B albums of all time.

Following the global broadcast of Venture Into Cures, last night Eddie Vedder released a pair of singles—“Matter of Time” and “Say Hi.”  Check out the two new tracks available at all digital streaming partners HERE via Monkeywrench/Republic Records.  Additionally, he shared an animated music video for the powerful, passionate, and poetic “Matter of Time” and live video for “Say Hi,” an oft-sought after live favorite now officially available for the first time. Plus, a special pre-order just went live for the limited-edition “Matter of Time”“Say Hi” 7-inch vinyl, releasing soon.

To commemorate its 20th anniversary, Conspiracy of One, the sixth album by punk rock trailblazers the Offspring, will once again be available on vinyl - the first time since its release in 2000. On December 11, Round Hill Records/UMe will release a deluxe version of Conspiracy of One pressed to yellow and red splatter vinyl, which includes spot gloss on the cover and a custom turntable slipmat featuring the Offspring's flaming skull silhouette logo. A non-deluxe, limited-edition canary yellow vinyl variant will be available on uDiscover & The Sound of Vinyl. A standard black vinyl version will be released in early 2021. Listen or pre-order Conspiracy of One HERE.  All editions will feature the bonus track "Huck It." The anthemic, sub-three-minute blast was featured on their 2000 VHS/DVD Huck It and used to soundtrack various skateboard stunts, including longtime Offspring drummer Ron Welty doing a successful board-to-board leap over two of his bandmates. "Huck It" will be released as a stand-alone digital single on November 13. A lyric video featuring footage from the Huck It VHS/DVD will also be released on November 13. In addition, the official videos for Conspiracy's first two singles - "Original Prankster" and "Want You Bad" - will be available on the Offspring's Official YouTube channel in newly remastered HD.

On December 4, The Collection, a 5CD collection featuring the albums Frank, Back To Black and Lioness: Hidden Treasures, will be released via Island/UMe. Frank was Amy's debut album, originally released on October 20, 2003, and features the hit single "Stronger Than Me" for which Amy won an Ivor Novello Award in 2004. Back To Black, widely regarded as a masterpiece by fans and critics alike, was originally released on October 27, 2006, and has sold over 16 million copies worldwide to date. It features the singles "Rehab," "You Know I'm No Good," "Back To Black," "Tears Dry On Their Own" and "Love Is A Losing Game." Lioness: Hidden Treasures is a posthumous compilation album, first released on December 2, 2011, and notably features the Grammy® Award- winning duet "Body and Soul" with Tony Bennett.  In addition to these three albums, the set contains Live In London, a concert recorded at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, London in 2007 and a collection of remixes from Frank and Back To Black, such as a Hot Chip remix of "Rehab," and a Kardinal Beats remix of "Love Is A Losing Game." These two discs appear on CD for the first time as part of this set. Preorder The Collection here:

Multi-platinum Los Angeles rock band The Go-Go’s, featuring Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin, will see the release of their universally acclaimed, 2020 Critics Choice Award winning documentary THE GO-GO’S on DVD and Blu-ray formats (Polygram/UMe) and through digital download & rental services (Eagle Rock Entertainment) on February 5, 2021. Pre order the DVD and Blu-ray here.  The Alison Ellwood-directed THE GO-GO’S documentary, which first premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, aired over the summer on Showtime to rave reviews, achieved a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won a 2020 Critics Choice Award for “Best Music Documentary” in addition to receiving the honor of “Most Compelling Living Subjects in a Documentary.” 

Metallica, which is known for its energetic, all-encompassing live concerts,  raised the bar for virtual performances during their Helping Hands Concert and Auction charity event on Nov.14. The band used Virtual Crowd technology to get up close and personal with fans around the world. Virtual Crowd, a fully customizable and scalable multimedia technology, allows artists to interact with their fans in real-time while showcasing high-quality production value and design — something that Metallica took to the next level with their show as they rocked out while surrounded by walls of video screens displaying faces of their fans, some of whom they engaged with during breaks in the music.  Virtual Crowd technology, created by Fireplay in partnership with Production Resource Group (PRG) and Clair Global, has been a boon for behind-the-scenes live event masterminds like Dan Braun, Metallica’s Creative Director and Scenic Designer. He was absolutely dazzled by the stunning and seamless Virtual Crowd integration into the Helping Hands event. Braun had an idea of bringing live crowds into virtual event but wasn’t sure it was possible to execute. After PRG showed him a demo of Virtual Crowd and introduced him to the Fireplay team, he was blown away. 

Actress, filmmaker, comedian and singer-songwriter Noël Wells is excited to release her reimagined version of the Bill Withers classic “Lovely Day.” Produced by David Thomas Jones, Wells’ cover of the iconic R&B/soul song was born out of a vision of the world dancing, along with a much needed global exhale. “During this whole political season, I’ve been watching people’s roller skating videos on Instagram as a way of getting a little serotonin bump,” Wells says. “I wanted the track to feel like a glitter disco, something you can dance and skate to and feel really free.“  The track’s emotional and political expressions also continue to be universal in 2020, some 40+ years after the song’s original release. “I just love the message of the song,” she continues. “It’s pure love, and no matter what ‘out there’ might get you down, if you have someone you love and your friends and the things that matter around you, you can tune out that noise.” Stream “Lovely Day” over at Rolling Stone HERE and on YouTube HERE.

- Seventeen-year-old Sydney-born singer/songwriter Evie Irie releases the official music video for her new single “Misfit” from her recent The Pessimist EP, sister EP to The Optimist EP. Watch the music video HERE.

Following its release on November 13thParis Jackson’s debut album wilted [Republic Recordsreached #1 on the iTunes US Alternative Album Chart.  The album has been heralded by press with Rolling Stone declaring it "well-crafted indie-pop," and NME referring to it as a collection of "11 intimate songs that’ll fit like your favourite sweater." The New York Post described "a dreamy wooziness, a sultry torchiness, a haunting moodiness to 'wilted'," with People Magazine most importantly noting that "Paris Jackson is blazing her own path in the music industry."  Get wilted HERE.

This holiday season, Verve Records/UMe is boxing up some of the most classic jazz holiday titles and wrapping them in a new vinyl box set titled Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas. This lavish collection brings together Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960), Kenny Burrell’s Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966), Ramsey Lewis’s Sound of Christmas (1961) and Jimmy Smith’s Christmas ‘64 (1964) (also known as Christmas Cookin’) for the first time. With the holidays just around the corner, it’s the perfect swinging, syncopated backdrop to get you in the Yuletide spirit and soundtrack your festivities.  Purchase Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas now:

The year 2020 has been unlike any other due to the powerful coronavirus and its effect on those in need. But the virus cannot stop a determined community of athletes and influencers from advocating for the needs of children living in desperate poverty around the globe.  Fill The Stadium (www.FillTheStadium.comis an urgent effort with a unique goal. It seeks to help 70,000 children and their families through the critical next 12 months—roughly the same number of “seats” that typically occupy most pro-football stadiums in America. Fill The Stadium encourages those who would normally spend money to attend a pro-football game this year—but who cannot because of COVID-19—to choose instead to support struggling children who need essential food and medical care.  The Fill The Stadium lead team consists of standout professional athletes, business leaders, and pastors—and already they’ve attracted a strong assist to their God-focused cause. Steve Stenstrom is president of Pro Athletes Outreach—and as a former NFL quarterback, he knows all about getting the ball over the line for a winning purpose. Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado is CEO and president of Compassion International, a Christ-centered, church-driven ministry dedicated to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Together, they seek to Fill The Stadium.

 Showtime Sports Documentary Films has released the trailer and poster art for the upcoming documentary MACHO: THE HECTOR CAMACHO STORY, an unflinching look at the remarkable life, storied career and unsolved murder of one of boxing’s greatest showmen. Premiering Friday, December 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME, the documentary debuts eight years after Camacho’s fatal shooting in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. To watch and share the trailer, visit:  For the first time on film, MACHO: THE HECTOR CAMACHO STORY offers a thorough examination of the unlikely sports hero. The film celebrates Camacho’s sublime boxing skills and the unbridled charisma that brought Spanish Harlem and Puerto Rican culture to the center of the sports world. Through rare and revealing interviews with his mother, Maria Matias, sisters, wife Amy and son Hector Jr., the documentary also delves into the legendary fighter’s troubled mind and spirit, his battle with addiction and the inner turmoil that ultimately lead to his demise – a mysterious roadside double homicide in November 2012.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with a Game Show Network marathon! Gather the family ‘round to test your everyday know-how with COMMON KNOWLEDGE, fill in the blanks with AMERICA SAYS, and test your trivia prowess with MASTER MINDS while you're waiting for (or digesting) that delicious turkey.
Thanksgiving Day Marathon, Thursday November 26th:
8:00am - 11:00am – Common Knowledge
11:00am - 4:00pm – America Says
4:00pm - 6:30pm – Master Minds

Hulu has renewed live-action/animated hybrid Original comedy series Woke, inspired by the life of award-winning artist Keith Knight, for a second season (8 episodes). The first season debuted on Hulu, Wednesday, September 9 and is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.  Starring Lamorne Morris, Woke takes an absurdist look at identity and culture through the lens of Keef  – a Black cartoonist finally on the verge of mainstream success, when an unexpected incident changes everything. With a newfound consciousness, Keef must navigate the new voices and ideas challenging him, all without setting aflame to everything he’s already built. 

Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Cybill Shepherd (Cybill, Moonlighting) has signed on to star in the half-hour comedy pilot I LOVE THIS FOR YOU (fka BIG DEAL), starring and executive produced by Emmy nominee Vanessa Bayer (Saturday Night Live). Shepherd will play Patricia Kunken, the icy, enigmatic founder and CEO of a popular home shopping network. She joins the previously announced Molly Shannon (The Other Two).

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Previewing No Man's Land

No Man’s Land opens up with what may be the longest string of title cards I can remember.  Five pages lets the views in on what the show is going to focus on, basically giving you a quick rundown on the Syrian civil war and highlighting on a predominately female voluntary militia that is fighting ISIS.  Maybe this lengthy diatribe is just setting up Americans to read because I would guestimate that seventy percent of the dialogue is in a foreign language (the show is co-produced by ARTE France) and thus subtitled.  On a side note, those three years of French in high school did not help at all for me here.  But Americans may want to keep the closed captioning on because even when the Fresh and Syrian speak English, it is still sometimes hard to understand.

But I got to say, a female militia fighting ISIS sounds pretty cool.  Except if there is a lead on the show, it is a dude which is kind of a bad look.  Seriously, No Man’s Land is a great title for a show about an all-women’s militia if there were not any, you know, men around.  This would be like if the upcoming FX (possibly on Hulu) show Y, the Last Man ended up having a bunch of dudes.  But anyway.  The narrative starts when Antoine is watching a newscast of the Syrian Civil War and spots a woman putting her hair up just like his dead sister did and is convinced it is her.  Either this is a pretty absurd plot devise or I am a pretty horrible brother who has zero idea how his sister ties her hair.

So after seeing this video and being convinced that it is her, Antoine, a constructional engineer (which actually comes in handy at one point), heads to Syria to hunt down a person with the only lead of where she was a couple days ago on this broadcast and the belief that it is his sister who has been dead for two years and had not seen her for two years prior to that because of some family drama.  Since this is an eight episode season, this go horribly wrong in this search before ending up in the hand of the female militia that is very suspicious of this foreigner. 

Though if you put aside all the reading, the silly plot devise, and the show spends the most time on a dude for a show about females fighting ISIS, No Man’s Land is pretty compelling in late seasons of Homeland kind of way but without the political intrigue or the crazy people.   There is also a tinge of Lost with certain character’s getting flashback episode.  But one of the female militia members does not get a flashback episode until the back half of the season.  But there is one episode that is almost entirely flashback.  At least an actual female is the subject of that episode.

All episodes of No Man’s Land premiere today on Hulu.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

57 Channels and Only This Is On: November 15, 2020

The Good Lord Bird:  I have been waiting two episodes for a heist episode and it looks like it will never come because this seems very much like this will be John Brown’s last stand.  Granted we do know Onion escapes as we see him comment on Brown’s execution in the first episode.  But who else in the gang will get out of this alive.
Fear the Walking Dead:  There is getting to be too many antagonists.  Ginny was introduced last season.  Then the spray painters at the beginning of this season who Morgan may or may not have killed off all of them, and know we have the people in the Purge masks.  And why did Face Dude’s wife joining up with them?  Didn’t she runaway because of Negan?  And know is sticking around to take on Ginny?  That just does not make sense.  But these are people who think it is smart to make an enclosure over the deep end of a pool.  Have they yet to figure out that is where all the water is going to collect when it rains?  A swimming pool has to be the worst encampment in the history of this extended universe.
The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond:  So was the uncle playing dead all night just waiting for the nephew to show up with marks?  Seems like there would be a better way to con people than that.
Fargo:  Wait, and I really supposed to believe Rayan Givens would actually gotten the better of by some inept beat cop?  This season just gets worse.  And who attacked the Italians at the end?  Is there a new gang I town or did Chris Rock hire those white dudes?
You can download Fargo on iTunes.
A Teacher:  The concept seemed gross but I went in with an open mind because of Kate Mara and FX’s really good track record.  After watching the first three episodes I have to say… this show is really gross.  And the soundtrack is horrible too.
The Mandalorian:  Oh hey, more Mandalorians… and these ones take their helmets off.  Granted I have watched the animated series so I knew there were some out there that do that.  But now I need to know why our Mandalorian does not and others do?  It would be cool if we got a flashback to see the split in the Mandalorians but this show has yet to use that technique much except for flashes back to Mando’s childhood.  And then after Baby Yoda rudely ate some of the last of a species that his food actually fought back this week.