Category Archives: Film & TV

Fun facts in Twin Peaks FAQ

Authors of Twin Peaks FAQ, David Bushman and Arthur Smith, have written a jam packed book full of facts for both veterans and new comers of the show Twin Peaks. With Twin Peaks return to television slowly approaching, now is the perfect time to catch up on all things Twin Peaks related with Twin Peaks FAQ. Courtesy of io9 Gizmodo, below are some facts that diehards of the show may not have been aware of, such as…


Twinpeaks_cover1) The Twin Peaks actually have names

According to a Lynch-drawn map, they are White Tail Mountain and Blue Pine Mountain—though the actual peaks glimpsed in the show comprise Mount Si in North Bend, Washington, where many of the exteriors were filmed.

2) Twin Peaks, Washington was almost Twin Peaks, North Dakota

Lynch and his Twin Peaks co-creator, Mark Frost, first intended their mystery to unfold amid the isolation of the Great Plains, but abandoned that idea after realizing evergreen forests would offer a more mysterious visual backdrop than barren prairies.

3) David Patrick Kelly (Jerry Horne) played Luther in The Warriors

How have I never noticed this before?

4) The part of Josie Packard was originally conceived for a different foreign actress

And one who’d worked with David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan before: Isabella Rossellini. Joan Chen ended up playing the femme fatale role instead. (Page 83)

5) David Lynch never liked Windom Earle

Agent Cooper’s former partner arrives in town late in Season Two, and he was modeled by Arthur Conan Doyle fan Mark Frost after Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis, Professor Moriarty. But Lynch “reportedly found the character unsubtle and uninteresting,” and rewrote a lot of the finale to replace Earle with Bob in the final clash with Cooper.

6) This is David Lynch’s favorite song

It’s “Song to the Siren,” by Tim Buckley. It’s mentioned by the authors because when Lynch was unable to secure the song’s use in Blue Velvet, he collaborated with composer Angelo Badalamenti on a different tune that’s sung by Julee Cruise in that movie. A few years later, Badalamenti penned Twin Peaks’ now-iconic themes, while Cruise popped up as the ethereal bar chanteuse at the Roadhouse.


Read all 11 facts over at io9 or by clicking HERE

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Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group Launches Backwing

backwing_screenshot

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, long the reader’s first choice for books on music, film, theater, television, and popular culture, is proud to announce the launch of backwing, a new digital community for creatives and fans.

Backwing will provide visitors with a vast array of information curated by and for aspiring and established actors, artists, authors, gurus, musicians, songwriters, producers, luminaries, entertainers, and, most broadly, fans. Every article on the site also serves as an open forum for those interested in a sustained discussion of any given topic.

“For nearly seven decades, Hal Leonard has provided consumers with the highest quality information available,” said Group Publisher John Cerullo. “We know who our readers are and what knowledge they crave. Backwing offers us a dynamic new means of reaching them, responding to their feedback, and cultivating conversations around our content in real time.”

Backwing is comprised of three main components. The first two—exclusive content pertaining to or drawn from HLPAPG products and a resource database populated with all manner of performing arts-related materials—will feature, in tandem with a vivacious comment section, multimedia created by and for HLPAPG authors and the publisher’s myriad industry associates.

“Since we reside at an intersection frequented by all manner of clientele, from nonprofits, educational organizations, and professional coalitions to gear, equipment, software, and instrument manufacturers, our contacts quite literally run the gamut of the performing arts world,” Cerullo explained. “We now aim to bring these brands together at backwing for the exclusive benefit of visitors to the site.

The third component, a direct-to-consumer sales portal featuring daily deals, giveaways, contests, and a slew of weekly/monthly special offers (many of which are also available to third-party vendors), can be found at backwingstore.com—an entirely separate domain.

Why two distinct websites? For the sake of every visitor’s experience, according to Cerullo: “Since backwing was designed with the end user foremost in mind, we’ve decided against tangling content and commerce. As such, multimedia content and resources are hosted at the deliberately noncommercial domain backwing.com while consumer products and services are restricted to the backwing Store.”

Thus, while backwing.com visitors may elect to peruse the site unencumbered by crass commercialism, backwingstore.com is always available to those who wish to explore HLPAPG’s catalog of more than 2,000 titles, take advantage of promotions featuring new releases and backlist titles, and enter contests to win fantastic prizes.

To get backwing off to a rousing start, HLPAPG is giving away great prizes for devotees of the performing arts, including an Epiphone guitar for music fans; a Rodgers + Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music package along with gift certificates to digitaltheatre.com for theater lovers; subscriptions to online streaming services for film and television buffs; and Met Opera on Demand Gift Subscriptions for classical music and opera enthusiasts.

HLPAPG encourages all performing arts enthusiasts, regardless of their skill level, industry status, or background, to join the creative conversation at its new digital hub. Welcome to backwing!

Dave Thompson speaks with Mr. Media

Author of The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Campy Cult Classic, Dave Thompson, spoke with Bob Andelman host of Mr. Media. They spoke in great length about The Rocky Horror Picture show, it’s impact on pop culture, and its many many fans. Click on the link below to hear the full interview!

>>Listen<<

00139671When assessing the cultural impact of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, author Dave Thompson does not pull his punches: “Forty-plus years on from its debut in a tiny London theater; four decades, too, from its transition to the silver screen, Rocky Horror stands among the 1970s’ most lasting, and successful, contributions to modern culture.”

Thompson’s latest contribution to the Applause Books FAQ series, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ (April 2016, Applause Books, $19.99) is the in-depth story of not only the legendary stage show and movie, but of a unique period in theatrical history, in both the movie’s UK homeland and overseas.

Inside these pages, we see Rocky Horror as sexual cabaret and political subversion, as modern mega-hit and Broadway disaster. At the movie house, we learn when to shout, what to throw, and why people even do those things. Here is the full story of the play’s original creation; its forebears and its influences are laid out in loving detail, together with both the triumphs and tragedies that attended it across the next 40 years.

Packed with anecdotes, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ is the story of dozens of worldwide performances and the myriad stars who have been featured in them. From Tim Curry to Anthony Head, from Reg Livermore to Gary Glitter, from Daniel Abineri to Tom Hewitt, the lives and careers of the greatest ever Frank N. Furters stalk the pages, joined by the Riff-Raffs, Magentas, Columbias, and all the rest.

The book also includes the largest and most in-depth Rocky Horror discography ever published, plus a unique timeline – The Ultimate Rocky Horror Chronology – detailing the who, what, where, and when of absolute pleasure.

Your chance to win MASH FAQ!

Another contest courtesy of Erie Gay News and Applause Books has begun! You could be the lucky winner of Dale Sherman’s book, MASH FAQ Everything Left to Know About the Best Care Anywhere. The contest runs from April 26 through May 17 so be quick and enter before time runs out! Click on the link below to enter the contest and learn more about it.

>>Enter Here<<

00122480Here’s the lowdown on the unforgettable show about the Forgotten War. M*A*S*H began as a novel written by a surgeon who had been in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. After being rejected multiple times, the novel would go on to become a bestseller, leading to 14 sequels, an Oscar-winning movie that propelled its director and actors to stardom, and a multiple-Emmy-winning television series that lasted nearly four times the length of the war.

MASH FAQ looks at how the novel came to be, its follow-ups in literary form, the creation of the popular movie, and – most importantly – the television series that transformed comedy and television in the 1970s. Included are chapters on the top-20 pranks of M*A*S*H, the cast members’ careers before and after the television show, famous guest appearances, and movies shown in the mess hall.

Beyond the fiction, MASH FAQ also features a brief chapter to put the war into perspective for easy referral – and looks at what led to the Korean War, how such medical units functioned, and how M*A*S*H shaped our perception of the era.

Dave Thompson on Lincoln Live!

Dave Thompson, author of The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ,spoke with Dale Johnson of Lincoln Live. They spoke about the writer of the play Richard O’Brien, what drew Dave Thompson to writing the book, and more! Listen to what they had to say in the podcast below!

>>LISTEN<<

00139671When assessing the cultural impact of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, author Dave Thompson does not pull his punches: “Forty-plus years on from its debut in a tiny London theater; four decades, too, from its transition to the silver screen, Rocky Horror stands among the 1970s’ most lasting, and successful, contributions to modern culture.”

Thompson’s latest contribution to the Applause Books FAQ series, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ (April 2016, Applause Books, $19.99) is the in-depth story of not only the legendary stage show and movie, but of a unique period in theatrical history, in both the movie’s UK homeland and overseas.

Inside these pages, we see Rocky Horror as sexual cabaret and political subversion, as modern mega-hit and Broadway disaster. At the movie house, we learn when to shout, what to throw, and why people even do those things. Here is the full story of the play’s original creation; its forebears and its influences are laid out in loving detail, together with both the triumphs and tragedies that attended it across the next 40 years.

Packed with anecdotes, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ is the story of dozens of worldwide performances and the myriad stars who have been featured in them. From Tim Curry to Anthony Head, from Reg Livermore to Gary Glitter, from Daniel Abineri to Tom Hewitt, the lives and careers of the greatest ever Frank N. Furters stalk the pages, joined by the Riff-Raffs, Magentas, Columbias, and all the rest.

The book also includes the largest and most in-depth Rocky Horror discography ever published, plus a unique timeline – The Ultimate Rocky Horror Chronology – detailing the who, what, where, and when of absolute pleasure.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ will have you doing the Time Warp again!

Michael White, Rocky Horror Producer, Dies at 80

Michael White, who produced the first stage version on The Rocky Horror Show, has passed away at age 80. Dave Thompson discusses White’s vital contributions to show and, indirectly, to the movie that followed in The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ. Below is an excerpt.


00139671Born in Glasgow, educated at the Sorbonne, and a Wall Street runner in the New York of the 1950s, Michael White entered the world of theater following his return to the UK in the late 1950s. Pursuing a long-held interest in theater, he became assistant to Sir Peter Lauderdale Daubeny, as he launched the renowned World Theatre Season at the Aldwych Theatre in London (home to the Royal Shakespeare Company), with the cosmopolitan goal of introducing British audiences to new plays from around the world.
In 1962, White made his own debut as a West End producer, overseeing Jack Gelber’s The Connection; since that time, he had handled works as disparate as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1966); the long-running Sleuth (1969); and, most notoriously, Hair, Oh! Calcutta! and The Dirtiest Show in Town.
He was instrumental, in 1967, in plans to bring Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground to London, for a week long engagement at the Chalk Farm Roundhouse, beginning May 21, 1967—a significant venture in that it would have marked the first and only time the original incarnation of that so legendary band, featuring Lou Reed, John Cale and Nico, made it to European shores. Sadly, events conspired to stymie the shows, among them White’s own schedule calling him to New York, at precisely the time Warhol would be in London, to oversee the launch of his production of Joe Orton’s Loot.
White was introduced to The Rocky Horror Show by Nicholas Wright. He detailed that phone call in the booklet accompanying the show’s fifteenth anniversary CD box set.
“I received a phone call from [Wright], who said they were doing a new musical in the Theatre Upstairs and were looking for a producer to put up £3,000 towards the cost of production, in return for the West End rights.” And later, in his autobiography, he described it as a career high point he never tired of.
“Many of my productions I have admired objectively, abstractly. I loved every minute of Rocky Horror . . . it is the only show I have ever done that I can watch time and time again—I must have seen it a hundred times. It is snappy; only an hour and twenty minutes; non-stop, no interval. Every three minutes you are being socked with another song or event. Everything about it works. The Rocky Horror Show is critic proof.”
In later years, White would work with some of the greatest comics of the British 1970s and 1980s, both as producer of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail and then as co-creator of The Comic Strip Presents, an early 1980s TV series starring (among others) Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Ade Edmondson and Nigel Planer.
White published his autobiography, Empty Seats, in 1985, and was the subject, in 2013, of Gracie Otto’s documentary The Last Impresario. It was a fine portrait of, and a fitting tribute to, a man who had seemingly dedicated his career to confronting the British theatergoing public with the unusual, the risqué and the controversial.

Love, Peace, and Soul

In her book,  Love, Peace, and Soul Behind the Scenes of America’s Favorite Dance Show Soul Train: Classic Moments, Ericka Blount Danois tells the story of Don Cornelius and the television juggernaut he created.  Watch the video below to learn more about the book and and the show that inspired it!

Love, Peace, and Soul tells the story of the television phenomenon known as Soul Train, a show created in the land of bell bottoms, afros, and soul power; a show that became the touchstone of the Baby Boomer generation. Don Cornelius, host and owner of the show, was one of the coolest cats on television. With his platform shoes, wide neckties, and mellifluous voice, he showed the world just how corny American Bandstand was in comparison. In 2012, fans were shocked to hear one of the most powerful men in the music and television business took his own life.

Love, Peace, and Soul is a celebratory, behind-the-scenes collection of anecdotes, stories, and reflections, from the people who were there, about the host, the show, and the power of black music and dance on television.

Music and television connoisseurs will enjoy the history of not just Soul Train, but of other shows, including Shindig!Don Kirshner’s Rock ConcertHullabalooAmerican Bandstand, and Graffiti Rock. Entrepreneurs will be interested in Cornelius’ humble beginnings with the local version of the show in Chicago, created with his own money. Fans will delight in the lively images and the quirky details. The first mass market book on Soul Train since Cornelius’s passing, this volume has something for everyone. Includes afterword by Gary Harris.

Dave Thompson on After Hours AM

Dave Thompson, author of Haunted America FAQ, spoke with Eric Olsen and Joel Sturgis of After Hours AM. They spoke about his current book and how he manged to write over 100 books! Click on the link below to hear the entire interview!

>>Listen<<

00128461Asked if she was believed in ghosts, Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand (1697-1780) replied, “No, but I am afraid of them.”

Whether you share the Marquise’s position or not, there is no doubt that the idea visitors from the afterlife has gripped humankind since time began. Ancient cultures East and West took spirits for granted, and reported sightings continue to this day—many of them close to home in every corner of the United States.

In Haunted America FAQ, Dave Thompson has created a fast-paced survey of the ghosts, ghouls, and associated denizens of the country’s haunted history. Tracing local ghost stories back to Native American legends and then forward through horror tales both ancient and modern, the book revisits some of the best-known haunted locales, as well as some of the most obscure creepy places, in America.

Delving deep into the cultural history of American hauntings, Haunted America FAQ features chapters on ghosts in cemeteries, amusement parks, government buildings, hospitals, and more, as well as ghostly books, movies, and television. Also included are a roundup of reality-TV ghost hunts and a state-by-state gazetteer of haunted spots.

Haunted America FAQ will amaze believers and skeptics alike with the history and range of spectral sightings it uncovers from around the country and, maybe, just around the corner.

Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story

 Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story, written by Michael Seth Starr this book tells the story of the veteran comedian and “overnight sensation” at the age of 49 whose early life was defined by adversity. Featured below is an interview with Michael Seth Starr on St. Louis Public Radio, where he talk about the book and the life of a true comic genius —  Jon Sanford a.k.a Redd Foxx.

>>LISTEN<<

00314800Black and Blue: The Redd Foxx Story tells the remarkable story of Foxx, a veteran comedian and “overnight sensation” at the age of 49 whose early life was defined by adversity – and his post-Sanford and Son years by a blur of women, cocaine, endless lawsuits, financial chaos, and a losing battle with the IRS.

Foxx’s frank, trailblazing style as the “King of the Party Records” opened the door for a generation of African-American comedians including Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock.

Foxx took the country by storm in January 1972 as crotchety, bow-legged Watts junk dealer Fred Sanford in Sanford and Son, one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history. Fred’s histrionic “heart attacks” (“It’s the big one, Elizabeth! I’m comin’ to join ya, honey!”) and catchphrases (“You big dummy!”) turned Fred Sanford into a cultural icon and Redd Foxx into a millionaire. Sanford and Son took Foxx to the pinnacle of television success – but would also prove to be his downfall.

Interviews with friends, confidantes, and colleagues provide a unique insight into this generous, brash, vulnerable performer – a man who Norman Lear described as “inherently, innately funny in every part of his being.”

Kit O’Toole writes about what made ‘Off the Wall’ timeless

With the Michael Jackson documentary making its way this month to Showtime, author of Michael Jackson FAQ Kit O’Toole, tells us 5 integral elements that made Off the Wall a modern classic. Read below!


Michael Jackson’s landmark solo record Off the Wall is receiving the royal treatment this month, with Spike Lee’s documentary Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall debuting this month on Showtime. The original album will be reissued as part of a package bundling the CD with the DVD or Blu ray of the film. Lee’s movie serves as a reminder of the importance of the album, a sophisticated blend of R&B, funk, disco, and jazz that sounds as fresh today as it did in 1979. Artists such as Justin Timberlake, Usher, and Beyoncé still emulate its genre-spanning sound, winning crossover appeal with polished dance grooves.

What makes Off the Wall so effective and timeless that it inspires musicians in 2016? Five integral elements contributed to the making of a modern classic.

  1. Michael Jackson’s voice. Producer Quincy Jones encouraged Jackson to explore the full range of his voice, particular the lower register. Renowned vocal coach Seth Riggs was hired to work with the singer, and their partnership would continue for the rest of Jackson’s career. From the moment a deeper voice utters “You know, I was wondering” at the beginning of the kickoff track “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” a more mature Jackson has made his entrance, announcing a new era in his artistry. His sensual voice wraps around the words in “Rock with You,” seducing a woman through music and dance. When he half-whispers “Love to run my fingers / Softly while you sigh,” Jackson demonstrates his skills as an interpreter, his phrasing perfectly suiting the mood of the romantic “I Can’t Help It.” If anyone doubted his skills as a vocalist before, Off the Wall immediately put those fears to rest.
  2. Quincy Jones’ production. When Jones met Jackson on the set of The Wiz, they quickly formed a personal and professional bond. Toward the end of filming, Jackson asked for recommendations for possible producers for an upcoming solo album. Jones subsequently suggested himself, a controversial idea at the time. Epic Records doubted Jones, a jazz composer and producer, could successfully oversee a crossover R&B/pop album. Instead, he used his jazz background to create a sophisticated album, drawing upon his vast musical connections to recruit the best musicians available. Artists such as George Duke (keyboards), Larry Carlton (guitar), Louis Johnson (bass, best known as a member of the Brothers Johnson), and Jerry Hey (trumpet) shaped the sound, while Jones protégé Patti Austin provided backing vocals and sang on the duet “It’s the Falling in Love.” Jones surrounded Jackson with seasoned singers and musicians, resulting in a cosmopolitan, polished sound that elevated disco to new realms.
  3. Rod Temperton’s songs. A member of the group Heatwave, Temperton penned hits such as “Always and Forever,” “Boogie Nights,” and “The Groove Line.” Recognizing his talent for blending jazz and R&B, Jones recruited the composer/keyboardist to write songs for Jackson’s new project. He submitted three tracks for consideration: “Rock with You,” “Off the Wall,” and “Burn This Disco Out.” To Temperton’s amazement, Jones selected all three compositions. The first two would largely shape the album, allowing Jackson to fully explore his range as well as his “percussive singing” ability. “Off the Wall” contains unusual, jazz-tinged chord changes in the chorus, and “Rock with You” includes lyrics that perfectly capture the romance (if temporary) of disco. After proving his hit making capabilities, Temperton would go on to write classics such as “Yah Mo B There” by James Ingram and Michael McDonald; “Sweet Freedom” by McDonald; “Give Me the Night” by George Benson: and, most famously, “Thriller,” “The Lady in My Life,” and “Baby Be Mine” by Jackson.
  4. Michael Jackson’s songs. During his time with his brothers as The Jacksons, Jackson had rapidly developed as a songwriter. His first solo composition, “Blues Away,” had appeared on the group’s self-titled 1976 LP; however, he proved his talent for writing catchy songs with “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” from the 1978 Jacksons album Destiny. When it came time to begin work on Off the Wall, Jackson recorded three demos: “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough,” “Working Day and Night,” and “Get on the Floor” (co-written with Louis Johnson). The first two tracks reveal Jackson’s love of heavy rhythm, with “Working Day and Night” allowing him to use his voice as a percussive instrument. “Get on the Floor” demonstrates how much Jackson enjoyed recording the album—his laugh and “woo!” toward the end of the song radiates infectious joy. “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” became a massive hit, foreshadowing future masterpieces such as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” Jackson clearly had a knack for writing R&B and dance tracks with pop appeal, a technique that would win over fans of various genres.
  5. Paulinho da Costa’s percussion. An unsung hero of the album, da Costa provided the intricate percussion heard on Off the Wall. Originally from Brazil, da Costa was an in-demand musician, appearing on thousands of albums as well as recording soundtracks for movies and television. His style mixes jazz, Cuban, and Brazilian influences, making him a frequent Jones collaborator. In his autobiography Moonwalk, Jackson names da Costa as an essential ingredient of “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough.” Indeed, that track as well as “Working Day and Night,” “Get on the Floor,” the title track, and “Burn This Disco Out” would simply not work without da Costa’s complicated, driving rhythms. He was capable of more subtle work, too, particularly on the Stevie Wonder composition “I Can’t Help It.” Listen to Off the Wall through headphones to fully experience da Costa’s masterful percussive work.

Off the Wall remains a classic because it sounds timeless, a remarkable feat considering it dates from the last days of disco. Jackson proved that dance music could be sophisticated and incorporate various genres. His willingness to cross boundaries and transcend simple musical labels would serve him well, the ultimate example being the crossover success of Thriller. Not stopping there, Jackson would continue experimenting with classical, rock, hip hop, R&B, funk, and pop throughout his career. The 1979 album would mark a turning point in Jackson’s life, one that officially established him as an adult artist with a unique voice. Off the Wall would provide a template for future artists to follow, challenging them to reach fans through intelligent, multi-genre tracks. When Jackson sings, “I sure would like just to groove with you,” listeners cannot help but obey.