In most cities around the world, Brian De Palma’s 1974 rock opera-ish The Phantom Of The Paradise is a cult classic, appreciated mostly by self-proclaimed cinephiles with a taste for over-the-top strangeness. (As our own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky describes it in a piece recommending the film: “[Phantom Of The Paradise] represented the pinnacle of Brian De Palma’s undisciplined early excess: a smorgasbord of camp, Grand Guignol, and bird imagery that thumbed its metal beak at commercial considerations.”) In Winnipeg, Manitoba, however, it was a box-office sensation, and is still a pop-cultural touchstone on par with Star Wars.
This documentary premieres on July 12, and you can bet your bastard ass I’ll be seeing it as soon as possible.
‘Still Ill: 25 Years of the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication’ features Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz diving deep into the making of the band’s epic 1994 album – and, arguably, one of their high points as artists and generational touchstones. The 15-minute documentary tracks the Beastie Boys’ rejuvenation in the years after the release of 1989’s Paul’s Boutique – now considered a masterpiece but at the time a commercial flop – first with 1992’s Check Your Head and ultimately with Ill Communication, which produced the epic single and music video “Sabotage” and returned them to playing arenas.
Featuring interviews with Diamond and Horovitz from this March in Austin, Texas — as well as new interviews with keyboardist Mark “Money Mark” Nishita and producer Mario Caldato and rarely-seen 1990s footage of the band – Still Ill focuses heavily on late Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch and his contributions to Ill Communication. Through footage and the words of his friends, the documentary captures Yauch’s journey into activism, which would blossom with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts later in the decade, as well as his famous denunciation of misogyny in hip-hop on the single “Sure Shot”: “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has got to be through / To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect to the end.”
This one may not be around long, but definitely worth a look.
It occurs to me that one of my earliest childhood memories is going to the Summer Twin Drive-In with my parents. (It’s still around, one of the few drive-ins left in the United States.) Of course, being from the South, we had a pickup truck. My mom and dad watched The Sting. I got in the truck bed, and unbeknownst to them, watched The Exorcist.
A massive treasure trove of vintage Star Wars and pop culture toys and collectible ephemera are going on auction at the end of this month, and the folks at Prop Store bring a few of the rarities to our studio. We learn about prototype mockups, international figures, and even retail display pieces that would be the prize pieces for toy collectors.
All those toys you lost or destroyed that are now worth thousands of dollars? Look for ’em here.