This Is Outstanding

If you haven’t seen it. I mean even if you have, it’s still outstanding.

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.

Summer of Soul premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. It will stream on Hulu in conjunction with Disney’s new BIPOC Creator Initiative; Searchlight Pictures will release it theatrically.

Sopranos Prequel?

Yes, please!

Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities—and whose influence over his impressionable nephew will help make the teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know: Tony Soprano.

With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?

June 10th! According to Louder Than War

When we lost one of the UK’s most remarkable singer/songwriters Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks in 2018, we also lost the chance to hear him tell the stories behind some of the songs we love so well, or so it appeared.

However, in 2020, recordings surfaced of a series of long, personal and in-depth interviews between Pete and close friend Louie Shelley. The two had spent hours discussing details of Pete’s life, moving song-by-song through Buzzcocks’ output to reveal his memories of the punk explosion and how he came to write songs such as ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’ and ‘What Do I Get?’.

Now, to be published in print for the first time and with the blessing of Pete’s estate, these conversations offer us the chance to hear one of the finest songwriters of a generation in his own words at last.

FUN FACT: That cover is based on the 45’s cover art, which is based on Duchamp’s Fluttering Hearts, as described over the phone to the art director!

The Sound Of Midas

“There would be no offer that would tempt me… I actually really resent it.”

– Paul Simon, at about 5:00 in the video, on giving his song rights away

I remember that interview from back in the day (1986). Now, that he’s sold the catalogue:

“I’m pleased to have Sony Music Publishing be the custodian of my songs for the coming decades. I began my career at Columbia/Sony Records and it feels like a natural extension to be working with the Publishing side as well.”

Fine. Just don’t give the songs out to anyone. Don’t let Mrs. Robinson, Scarborough Fair, April Come She Will, and the Sound of Silence ever appear in anything except The Graduate.

I heard “Back In Black” on an Applebee’s commercial this weekend. I’m not hopeful.

Ready To Discuss! Anyone? Buehler?

We just watched the season finale Sunday and I want to talk about it, goddammit! And if any of you bastards are on the fence, I can say without hesitation that WandaVision was a very pleasant surprise. Disney may have fucked up the Star Wars movies, but Kevin Feige is running a tight ship.

Hey! I Can Last Four Seconds

New developments in How Little Can I Exercise: if you crank the above heavy flywheel – zero resistance bike at max effort for FOUR SECONDS at one-minute intervals, you see:

– increased overall fitness
– increased muscle mass and leg strength
– reduced stiffness of your arteries

The HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts have gone berserk. Fifteen four-second bursts, three days a week for several weeks, gets you the benefit. They’ve finally studied it in old schlubs like us.

JUST LOOK AT THESE HAPPY FOOLS!

It’s like, one minute of actual exercise per day. Story here.

How much does this surely overly-expensive proprietary bike cost? They won’t say on their website. Makerbot build me one!

Monorail!

Production-wise, the show hadn’t worked out how to achieve these bigger, more spectacular episodes. The writers loved them and the producers loved them. We all loved them. But there were people at the animation studio who were like, “We have to tell them to cut back. These are too complex.” Part of me is thinking, ‘We’re asking for a lot.’ But the artist, or even the kid, in me is thinking, ‘No, these are fucking awesome and we just have to figure out how to do them.’ I always leaned more that way, because I liked the ambitiousness of the episodes and where it took the show. From just a family comedy to these big, overwhelming animated pieces. They were like little movies.

– from An Oral History of ‘Marge Vs. The Monorail’, a great read. Season 4 is now regarded as peak Simpsons, but at the time there were already complaints that the show had lost its way.

My own town has toyed with the idea of a monorail as a solution to the mass transit problems that will only get worse.

The Virgin Hyperloop seems to have everone’s attention now.

But as I learned in a fantastic article here, we are basically re-inventing technology that already exists and not doing it well. Lemme transposplain to ya:

In a vacuum (a figurative one: an alternate universe in which the rest of the post-industrial world were not absolutely goddamn bursting with operating networks of authentic high-speed rail; where high-speed rail were not already such a well-developed form of transit that the TGV system, which routinely moves huge numbers of day-to-day commuters across large distances of France at speeds well more than twice that achieved by this sad two-person billion-dollar pod going from nowhere to nowhere across a tiny patch of worthless desert, were not both infinitely better and more sophisticated than any presently available commercial rail in the United States and fairly outmoded in comparison to newer [yet still not all that new!] systems in China and Japan and elsewhere) the Virgin Hyperloop could almost look like an impressive accomplishment.

It’s Back

As of October 4, we have five new episodes of Genndy Tartakovsky’s (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars) Primal. On HBO Max.

Also, fuck Monday.

Fuck Fuckity Fuck Yeah

BRING IT.

The new season of The Mandalorian starts streaming Friday, October 30, only on Disney+.

The Mandalorian and the Child continue their journey, facing enemies and rallying allies as they make their way through a dangerous galaxy in the tumultuous era after the collapse of the Galactic Empire. “The Mandalorian” stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito. Directors for the new season include Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, Carl Weathers, Peyton Reed and Robert Rodriguez. Showrunner Jon Favreau serves as executive producer along with Dave Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson, with Karen Gilchrist serving as co-executive producer.