April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: Paul Simon

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield in “Death of a Salesman”

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: The greatest American play? Quite possibly Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” set in 1949 and revived last night on Broadway in a production that is outstanding. Mike Nichols directed and reinvented Miller’s classic, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Andrew Garfield (the new movie Spider Man) as Biff, Linda Emonds as Willy’s wife Linda, and Finn Wittrock as Happy. This is a historic production, quite possibly the best ever (and there have been many great ones starring Dustin Hoffman, Brian Dennehy, Lee J. Cobb, George C. Scott). Thursday night’s star studded opening was the second time I’ve seen this production, and it’s only gotten more devastating, deep, emotional, and overwhelming. Philip Seymour Hoffman is our generation’s Jason Robards. He is perfection as Willy Loman in all aspects–from Willy’s wrestling with his past (the father and brother who left him) to his denial about more current events, and his increasing mental in capacities. PSH has an Oscar for “Capote” but this is his Tony Award. He cannot be missed.
The whole cast is spot on. Considering it’s a play about fathers and sons, I was particularly moved by Andrew Garfield’s father’s reaction to seeing his son as the angry ne’er do well, Biff. At the party following the opening night at Bryant Park Grill, Mr. Garfield and Andrew just kept hugging and crying. The cast is extremely worn out emotionally after each performance. Even last night Mike Nichols, who’s sat through every preview to give “notes,” told me he was overwhelmed. Arthur Miller’s famous actress sister, Joan Copeland, t0ld me it was the best production she’d seen since the original. Martin Short told me that Tom Hanks had seen it a few days ago and declared it “the best thing he’s ever seen, period.” Columbia Pictures’ Amy Pascal came to congratulate her upcoming Spider Man.
Scott Rudin produced this extravaganza, and it made for quite a glittering night. In the audience were Nichols and Diane Sawyer, Paul Simon, Barbara Walters (who came with David Geffen), Julianna Margulies, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Catherine Keener, Amy Ryan, Spike Lee, Anjelica Huston, Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, and Garfield’s actress gf Emma Stone, Julia Roberts, plus “Saturday Night Live” star Bill Hader, who said he almost fainted when Nichols complimented his “SNL” work. It was kind of funny at one point seeing Streep, Gummer, Nichols, Sawyer and Huston all dining [...]

“American Idol”: guilty of shameless product placement?

By Kim Palacios
hollywoodnews.com: At first I thought the “American Idol” contestants were simply too young to remember the origin of songs. But when Jacob Lusk announced during tonight’s episode that he’d be singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”, I got it. One clue was the “Pursuit of Happyness” movie poster that was edited in during Lusk’s opening montage. Looks like the show’s exploited every possible money-making venue.
The realization is somewhat encouraging. Hopefully a singer of Lusk’s caliber knows that “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was written by Paul Simon. What’s disappointing is that a movie soundtrack—not Simon—was credited for the song during the show.
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Carrie Fisher’s ‘Wishful Drinking’ hits HBO tonight

By Greg Hernandez
HollywoodNews.com: Carrie Fisher has had one helluva life.
She’s got a movie star for a mom (Debbie Reynolds) and a famous singer for a dad (Eddie Fisher) and Elizabeth Taylor and Connie Stevens among her stepmothers.
Among her ex-husbands is singer Paul Simon and her half-sister is actress Joely Fisher.
That’s just the family stuff.
Carrie herself became a huge movie star playing Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and went on to become an acclaimed novelist and screenwriter (‘Postcards From the Edge’).
Through it all, she has battled drug addiction and mental illness and developed a brilliant sense of humor and openness about it all.
That’s why you have got to watch her new HBO special ‘Wishful Drinking’ which premieres tonight. She is a 54-year-old poster child for the thrills and pitfalls of growing up in Hollywood.
When Carrie appeared last summer at the TV Critics Assn. Summer Press Tour, she talked about why she has been so candid about her life in this special based on her memoir of the same name:
“What I realized that when I got sober, overdosed, went to a mental hospital – all these things – it went in the paper. And my thing is: “Wait a second, if it’s going to be out there, please let my version be in it. ” Also, there is the saying, ‘You’re only as sick as your secrets. If you can claim it, it has very little power over you. I want to live on one side of the magnifying glass or the other – on the side that makes big things small or small things big. And I live on the side that makes big things small. You meet a better class of people there.”
To read more from this article go to Greg In Hollywood.
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Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey to receive Kennedy Center Honors

By Greg Hernandez
HollywoodNews.com: It’s no surprise to see that Paul McCartney has been selected to receive the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors. A few years back, he was to be honored but had to turn down the opportunity because of an important family event so organizers honored Paul Simon instead!
Well, now Paul is back and apparently to show up!
This is one legendary performer and the honor is well-deserved. His history as one of The Beatles is one thing but the fact that he also sang lead on so many of the biggest hits and co-wrote them with John Lennon only adds to his legend.
Then there has been the post-Beatles career which has thrived for the last 40 years first with his band Wings then as a solo artist.
As a huge Broadway fan, I’m thrilled to see the inclusion of composer Jerry Herman as one of the five honorees. The man who won Tony Awards for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles made his Broadway debut in 1960. His other major hit was Mame which won Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur Tonys. Herman is one of only two composers/lyricists in history to have three musicals run more than 1500 consecutive performances on Broadway.
Rounding out the five 2010 honorees are choreographer Bill T. Jones, singer Merle Haggard and … wait for it … Oprah Winfrey!
C’mon! Oprah? The woman who has everything, including her own network! – is only 56 years old! This honor is for accomplishments in the arts and entertainment and there are so many people – a lot of less-sung heroes – who could have been included instead of Miss Winfrey.
To read more go to GregInHollywood.com.
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Carrie Fisher talks about her upcoming special ‘Wishful Drinking’

By Greg Hernandez
HollywoodNews.com: Carrie Fisher delighted us on the final day of the TV Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Saturday where she came to talk up the upcoming HBO special “Wishful Drinking.”
It’s a documentary of her successful stage show that has wowed audiences from coast-to-coast, most recently on Broadway. Wishful includes elements from a June 25 performance of the show at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, N.J. The HBO show also will feature archival footage and interviews with friends and family.
And what a family: Mother: Debbie Reynolds. Father: Eddie Fisher. Former stepmothers: Elizabeth Taylor and Connie Stevens. Half-sister: Joely Fisher. Ex-husband #1: Paul Simon.
Carrie’s singer father famously left her movie star mother, the star of Singing in the Rain, Tammy the Bachelor and many other films, for Miss Taylor in the late 50s. It was a situation that Carrie likens to Brad Pitt leaving Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie.
Her mother long ago learned to have a sense of humor about it: It is 52 years ago. She has a joke about it which is, ‘The last time I saw him, he went out to cigarettes and hasn’t come back since. I said, ‘Where did you go? down the Nile?” It’s not like she’s oblivious to the humor in the situation.”
Debbie, known to younger audiences as Grace Adler’s mother on “Will & Grace” and Albert Brooks’ mom in Mother, has remained America’s Sweetheart and starred in such classics as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and “How the West Was Won” and “Divorce American Style.”
But Eddie did not fair so well: “He didn’t have as big a career as Brad [Pitt's] to destroy but it was considerable. It is very similar and I did point that out to Brad once at a party and he pretended at least to know what I was talking about. It destroyed my father but it wasn’t simply that divorce that destroyed him. It was just kind of every choice after that. … My dad, he’s not the sort of bastion of good judgment.”
Throughout the years, Carrie has made peace with her early family life and come to understand her parents relationship and their 1950s image as America’s Sweethearts: “They were crippled by that. They were never really in love. They loved being loved in a way as a couple. My mother says the went onto Yankees Stadium once and [...]

Warner Music is destined to remain the industry joke

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: I’ve got to say, reading Peter Lauria’s account of Fred Goodman’s new book about Warner Music, even I thought I must have been wrong.
The book is “Fortune’s Fool,” and apparently, according to the usually astute Lauria, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. is the man who saved the record business. Lauria falls all over himself to endorse Goodman’s thesis: that Bronfman is a genius who should be apologized to now since he’s also a pioneer and seer.
As they say on the inter-web: OMG. That nothing could be farther from the truth is an understatement. That two journalists fell for it makes it all the worse.
Warner Music in its current incarnation is an industry joke. In the five and a half years that they’ve had the company, Bronfman and Lyor Cohen have developed no artists. They’ve relied solely on artists who were signed before they bought the company. The few one-off surprise hits they’ve had — no follow up. Take poor James Blunt, who will be singing “You’re Beautiful” for the rest of his life, or Gnarls Barkley, still “Crazy” after all these years.
WMG has also managed to lose Madonna, Nickelback, and Paul Simon–the latter not a bestseller anymore but a prestige act who should have been cultivated. Green Day, Linkin Park, Eric Clapton, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, and Michael Buble–all were there well before Bronfman and friends.
For five years the charts have reflected the truth about WMG: a few scattered hits from Craig Kallman at Atlantic Records. But the name Warner Records no longer appears on hits. I know this is very old school, but a successful record company is indicated by HITS-not by layoffs and cutting staff to the bone. Clive Davis and Doug Morris can turn on the radio and hear their HITS from, respectively, Arista/J and Universal Music groups. Edgar Bronfman cannot say that.
Every year for five years WMG stock price has dropped into the abyss. Each quarter, Bronfman gets on a conference call with analysts and answers questions about “possible changes in the digital market” or some such nonsense. He also promises that the “schedule is backloaded” so that the big hits are in the fourth quarter. As usual, we’re waiting:
Last week the charts were dominated by Universal/Interscope, Universal/A&M, Arista, Capitol, and Columbia. And the punchline there is that Capitol is, like, non functioning. Despite constantly teetering on the edge of EMI and Terra Firma’s collapse, [...]

Jack Nicholson Tells Mike Nichols: “Even Oysters Have Enemies”

By Roger Friedman
hollywoodnews.com: Jack Nicholson showed up very late for Mike Nichols’ big AFI tribute last week in Hollywood—he’d been watching the Lakers, of course. Then Nicholson made everyone including Robin Williams—who later riffed on this—scratch their heads with his comments.
Nicholson said: ”This is so wonderful about what every one is saying about you. Remember, though, Mike: even oysters have enemies.” Jack tried to explain himself by adding: “I know you like animals a lot , that’s why I told the oyster joke.”
The rest of the A List stars who came out for director Nichols (pictured here with wife Diane Sawyer) were a little obtuse. You can see it all on June 26 on TV Land, but our pal Leah Sydney was there and sent along some of the bon mots from the show.
Some of the tributes were odd, others poignant or funny. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel made a surprise appearance to kick things off and sang “Mrs. Robinson” from the “The Graduate.” That alone would have been worth the price of the evening. Then an avalanche of stars rolled through Stage 15 at Sony Studios (the same place where Judy Garland once skipped down the Yellow Brick Road.)
Among the speakers were all the greats Nichols has directed on film plus a few famous friends: Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty and sister Shirley MacLaine, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, Nora Ephron, Eric Idle, Emma Thompson, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, and Mary Louise Parker.
Nichols, by the way, counts Albert Einstein as a cousin, which of course was much fodder for jokes. Mike’s famous comedy partner Elaine May was the first to bring it up. She said: “Albert Einstein was a very sad man when he died because he hadn’t achieved a Combined Field Theory and that’s gotta be depressing. But if he’s watching tonight- he’s got to be immensely happy that he’s Mike Nichols’ cousin.” She added: “This is a very emotional night for me because 30 years ago I bought this dress for his first lifetime achievement award.”
Cher told the most revealing story of her own career, recalling that when she’d gone to see the trailer for “Silkwood” at a Westwood theater, the crowd clapped for Meryl Streep’s name, Kurt Russell’s name, but laughed when her own name appeaered on the screen. She left the theater crying, and called Nichols. [...]

Paul Simon moving solo catalog back to Sony

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Paul Simon is going back to Columbia Records.
After three decades with Warner Music, Simon tells me he’s moving his whole solo catalog back to Sony/Columbia Records. That’s everything from 1972’s “Paul Simon” album through his most recent, “Surprise” CD. As a solo artist Simon was with Columbia Records from 1972 until 1980’s “One Trick Pony.” But he’d also been at Columbia through his entire career as half of Simon & (Art) Garfunkel, from 1965 through 1970, ending with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
When I ran into Paul last Friday night at Yankee Stadium he told me, “I’ve been trying to get my catalog back in the same place as Simon & Garfunkel for a long time.” He is thrilled that it’s happening.
At the same time, Simon is finishing a new album with long time producer Phil Ramone. “It’s the best work I’ve done in 20 years,” be told me, which is a lot since Simon is not one for hyperbole.
To read more go to Showbiz411.com.

Sir Paul McCartney joins Jonas Brothers, Jerry Seinfeld for White House concert

Hollywoodnews.com: Paul McCartney’s long and winding road apparently will be bringing him to the White House.
The former Beatle has agreed to perform in a concert being held in his honor next week when he appears in Washington to accept an award from President Barrack Obama. McCartney, according to the BBC, will receive the third annual Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, then join the likes of Dave Grohl and Stevie Wonder in the East Room for a musical gig.
Paul Simon won the inaugural prize. Wonder won it last year, so McCartney is in great company.
The concert eventually will be televised on July 28, when audiences will be able to see McCartney, Wonder, Faith Hill, Elvis Costello, The Jonas Brothers, White Stripes singer Jack White and Jerry Seinfeld — all scheduled to perform.

Woody Allen digs up old feud with Warren Beatty

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Woody Allen rarely plays his cards so everyone can see them. But in this week’s New Yorker, Allen serves up a rare insight into his own personal slights. In “Will the Real Avatar Please Stand Up?” Woody dredges up his old feud with Warren Beatty.
In case you weren’t here in the early 1970s: Woody was with Diane Keaton, and lost her to Warren. The story is then told in 1977’s “Annie Hall” of how Alvy brings Annie to Hollywood and is trumped by the slimy Tony Lacey (played by Paul Simon) character.
There’s more: Warren then makes “Reds,” (1981) with all its “witnesses” in a documentary style. Woody retaliates by making “Zelig,” a sly parody of “Reds” and Warren that should have had “You’re So Vain” playing in the background. “Zelig” is full of–yes!–”witnesses” who parody Warren’s. Of course, “Zelig” is funnier than “Reds.”
To read more go to Showbiz411.com

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