Saturday, May 24, 2008

THE RETURN OF THE SWEENEY!

THE RETURN OF THE SWEENEY!

The Sweeney was the quintessential ‘70s British cop show – think Starsky & Hutch on steroids. The Sweeney was a nickname via Cockney rhyming slang for an elite unit within the London Metropolitan police, the Flying Squad. In Cockney rhyming slang, the Flying Squad became the Sweeney Todd, and then (in the habit of keeping the non-rhyming word) the Sweeney (a suit is a whistle – whistle and flute = suit).

I still have good memories of The Sweeney charging around London streets in underpowered cars, shooting at anything that moved, with hardboiled dialogue so filled with accented slang and common argot, it was almost impossible to decifer. It had as much to do with the real workings of the Flying Squad as Starsky & Hutch did to detectives on the LAPD.


Recently, during a taping of Jonathan Ross's chat show on UK TV, actor Ray Winstone (currently co-starring in Indy 4) confirmed the news he will be reviving the legendary TV series The Sweeney as a feature film.

The show, which ran in the 1970s, became "much-see TV" in England because it was the first crime drama to present the London police force in a gritty manner. The heroes were flawed men who tried to cope with violent crime on a day-to-day basis. John Thaw starred as Inspector Jack Regan, the role to be taken on by Winstone. His fellow detective was played by Dennis Waterman. Although the series had not been imported to the USA, its popularity in Great Britain was such that it spawned two successful feature films. For more on the history of the series,
click here.




BOND GIRL 007 PERFUME!

BOND GIRL 007 PERFUME!

Bond girl Gemma Arterton was forced to pass on a campaign with Rimmel because of contractual commitments with Avon. Now, it's revealed exactly what those commitments are...

The stunning actress is fronting the newest fragrance campaign from Avon - Bond Girl 007 - a partnership with James Bond entertainment, and what is said to be the biggest global fragrance launch of the year.

Due to launch in October to coincide with the release of the latest Bond blockbuster, Quantum of Solace, Arterton will appear in print and television advertising, as well as on the cover of Avon's brochure. Samples will also be available a select movie theatres worldwide to promote the perfume.

"I am proud to be a part of the Bond girl legacy and Avon's Bond Girl 007 fragrance embodies the qualities of what a Bond girl represents - it's sexy, empowering and iconic," said Arterton.


ALL OF THIS MAKES ME NOSTALGIC FOR THE DAYS OF 007 COLOGNE AND HAI KARATE!

RUMOR: BEYONCE REPLACING WINEHOUSE!

BEYONCE TO REPLACE AMY WINEHOUSE FOR THE JAMES BOND THEME!

The rumor mill regarding the theme song for the next Bond film, Quantum of Solace, is in full bloom again.


Now that Amy Winehouse has pulled out from recording the soundtrack for the latest "James Bond" movie, reports suggest that Beyonce has been tapped to sing for the spy.

The London Paper reports that the newlywed "Crazy in Love" singer is in talks with the "Quantum of Solace" producers about performing a new song written by Amanda Ghost. She would be collaborating with Bond composer John Barry for the theme.

Winehouse has scrapped plans to sing the theme, three weeks after a disagreement with music producer Mark Ronson.

Ronson said the "Rehab" singer was too out of control and it would be "a miracle of science" if she recorded the soundtrack.

Her spokesman confirmed that she will no longer be doing the soundtrack.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR BRINGING BACK BOND THEME GIRL SHIRLEY BASSIE (GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER), WHO AT 71 CAN STILL TAKE ON THESE VOCAL WANNA-BEES WITH ONE TONSIL TIED BEHIND HER BACK!

YOU KNOW MY NAME!

YOU KNOW MY NAME!

Jeffrey Bunzendahl and Robert von Dassanowsky have a facinating article on Daniel Craig as Bond’s son.

“From the very inception of the James Bond film series in 1962, it was apparent to audiences that 007 was a space-age knight, allowing us the frisson of Cold War nuclear apocalypse with the reassurance of the ultimate victory of good over evil. Replacing the white horse and armour with martinis and Q-Branch’s fantasy-tech did not alter the crucial alpha-male quality of the hero, as Bond’s life has always been defined by dalliances with a multitude of maidens – some in trouble and some often causing it. This may have provided mainstream film the first cinematic females who managed sexual independence, but their end would too often recall the simplistic femme fatale (or fragile) more than offer breakthroughs in gender role representation. Nevertheless, Bond’s attention refocused when he recalled his service for queen and country. (1) As the film series advanced and rewrote Ian Fleming’s original novels, 007’s literary-based timeline would fall out of sequence or be ignored altogether. For example: a vastly different looking Blofeld (Telly Savalas) does not recognize Bond (Sean Connery) in Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Peter Hunt, 1969), although Blofeld (Donald Pleasance) just battled him face-to-scarred-face in Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice (Lewis Gilbert, 1967); but there may be more here that meets the eye. The series becomes even more temporally elastic over the next decades, with different actors reinventing the role of 007, and with audience reception willing to compress this scope to “believe” the same Bond and his adventures took place in feasible narrative parameters.”


The rest of You Know My Name: On Beginnings and Replications in the New Bond can be read here:


http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/08/47/james-bond.html

Friday, May 23, 2008

THE ESSENTIALS JR.!

THE ESSENTIALS JR.!

Another tip of the fedora to www.cinemaretro.com for the lowdown on this story…

Three cheers for Turner Classic Movies! In an age in which young people are over-exposed to brainless video games and music videos, the network is launching The Essentials Jr. - a spin-off of their popular The Essentials classic movie series that features in-depth discussion of a specific film. The new series, which premieres Sunday, June 1 at 8 PM (EST), is hosted by Chris O'Donnell and Abigail Breslin.

The shows will run throughout the summer on Sunday evenings. Among the movies designed to introduce younger viewers to classic cinema are: National Velvet, Sherlock Jr., The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939), On the Town and Roman Holiday. If you really want to do kids a favor, drag them away from their Snoop Dogg videos and introduce them to the joys of classic filmmaking.

Click here to view promo.

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

IRON MAN SCRIBES TACKLE HIGHLANDER!

1986 original featured Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery

Summit Entertainment is plotting a remake of the 1986 cult favorite "Highlander."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company has acquired remake rights from Davis/Panzer Prods. and hired "Iron Man" co-writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway to write the film.

The 1986 original was directed by Russell Mulcahy and featured the tagline "There can be only one." It was followed, naturally, by four sequels and a trio of TV efforts.

The original film starred Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, an immortal Scottish swordsman battling a time-traveling barbarian in the present day. The trade paper says that Summit plans to keep the basic plot of the original, which also starred Sean Connery and Clancy Brown, while expanding the backstory.

"I would hate to think that people viewed 'Highlander' as a sword fighting movie because it's much more than that," Davis tells the HR. "The issues of an immortal falling in love with a woman and knowing she's going to grow old and die in your arms, those are very romantic issues to deal with."

Don't worry, we suspect there will still be plenty of beheadings.

GET SMARTER!

GET SMARTER!

www.cinemaretro.com turns us on today to author Wes Britton, who runs the great spy movie web site www.spywise.net, which has a revealing interview with Whitey Mitchell, a prominent sit-com writer who worked on some of the best episodes of the Get Smart TV series. Among the "top secrets" revealed is why Don Adams didn't star in the show's pardoy of Ice Station Zebra and why Bill Dana had to take over for him. To read the interview click here

THE BOXER AND THE SPY!

THE BOXER AND THE SPY!

We’ve been treated in the past to the adventures of Young Indiana Jones, and currently the hottest 007 capers are the adventures of Young Bond. In Robert Parker’s latest young adult outing, The Boxer and The Spy (an appropriate, but terrible title), we get treated top the adventures of Young Spenser – sure, he’s using the pseudonym Terry Novak, but there is no doubt about his true identity.

Don’t get me wrong – I think Parker is a writing god. I early await every new Parker title. I am constantly in awe of the apparent simplicity of his prose, which actually hides complex layers of literary style and accomplishment. There is no writer who can match the rhythm, wit, and naturalism of his dialogue.

Still, as you read each book in his numerous series, the hero differs only in name and the setting against which the adventure is played out – the character essentially remains the same. Spenser and Hawk are obviously the archetypal model for all of Parkers other main characters: Jesse Stone is the alcoholic Spenser with Crow filling the Hawk role; Sunny Randall is Spenser in drag with Spike putting a gay twist on Hawk; Virgil Cole, Everett Hitch, and Wyatt Earp (from Parker’s westerns) are all Spenser/Hawk in cowboy boots; and so, Terry Novak is simply Spenser as a high school student.

The Boxer And The Spy pits Novak, coming into his own as a young boxer, against an assortment of high school bullies and corrupt adults in positions of power.

Terry doesn’t believe the death of an artistic, possibly gay, classmate was a steroid related suicide. When he begins asking questions, he becomes even more convinced of foul play when those adults who should be providing help begin throwing up intimidating roadblocks. For help, he turns to his fifteen-year-old girlfriend, Abby (Susan Silverman, anyone?), and George, his boxing mentor (let me hear you shout, “Hawk!”).

Terry and Abby's amateur investigation soon attracts attention-and threats-from the high school quarterback and the principal. Scared, but sure they've uncovered criminal activity, they organize a spy network of classmates. What they find goes far beyond steroids – all the way to the race for governor.

Despite the parallels to his other characters, or perhaps because of them, I quite enjoyed The Boxer And The Spy. It reads as smoothly as any of Parker’s other novels, and it was fun to see Parker aim his prodigious skills at a younger audience.

ALTHENA VOLTAIRE!

ALTHENA VOLTAIR!

For those digging the new Indiana Jones movie and want more of the same, check out Althena Voltair at www.comicspace.com/athena_voltaire_comic

As tensions between world powers escalate to the inevitability of World War II, another war already rages: between the forces of white and black magic. As Nazi occultists race to unlock the secrets of the Hollow Earth and a lost race of super-mortals, can globetrotting aviatrix Athena Voltaire foil the Third Reich and their insidious plan to conquer the free world?

Athena Voltaire—by Steve Bryant (writer/artist), Chad Fidler (color artist), Jason Millet (color artist) and Molly McBride (editor) —is published by Ape Entertainment.

In 2002, Athena Voltaire launched online. AV ran on the web for a couple of years at various sites in the ModernTales.com family, and was honored with an Eisner Award nomination (Best Digital Comic, 2004) and by being included in St. Martin's "The Year's Best Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga" (2004 edition).

In early 2006, AV debuted in print at Speakeasy Comics. 30 days later, Speakeasy Comics folded up shop.

These two events are not—I repeat *NOT*— related.

Now, Althena Voltaire is thrilled to make her home at Ape Entertainment! The Collected Webcomics is in stores now. The initial print miniseries, Flight of the Falcon, for which Steve Bryant received a Russ Manning "Most Promising Newcomer" nomination at the 2007 Eisner Awards, will be released as a trade paperback this summer.

Both The Collected Webcomics and the Flight of the Falcon trade were solicited in the May 2008 issue of Diamond Distributors' Previews catalog.
Here's all the ordering info you need to get copies of these in your hands:

Athena Voltaire, volume 1: The Collected Webcomics is 96 pages and retails for $13.95 Order code MAY083589
Athena Voltaire, volume 2: Flight of the Falcon is 120 pages and retails for $16.95 Order code MAY083588

AthenaVoltaire.com is back up and running, and you can read previews of The Collected Webcomics and Flight of the Falcon in the ComicSpace gallery.

You can also check out Steve's blog, read Chad's blog, and check out Jason's work.

And, for the latest up-to-the-minute news about our favorite globetrotting aviatrix (as well as sketches and deleted pages, rarities, etc), be sure to check out the official Athena Voltaire Blog!

In late 2008, Ape Comics will release Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess, a standalone graphic novella featuring the writing debut of Steve Bryant, replacing departing writer Paul Daly. Bryant, Fidler and Millet all return on the art chores.

HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY, ROSEMARY CLOONEY!

HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY, ROSEMARY CLOONEY!

‘Girl singer’ Rosemary Clooney made me fall in infatuation with her the first time I saw her in White Christmas. A song from the film (Sung by Bing Crosby in the film and later made into a hit by Clooney), Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep), remains one of my favorites.

Moving from novelty songs such as Botch-a-Me, to standards, to hevaily jazz influenced arrangements, Clooney’s voice was pure quality. Beginning in 1977, during the latter part of her career, she recorded an album a year for Concord Records, which continued until her death in 2002. This made her something of an anomaly, because most of her generation of singers had long since stopped recording regularly.

MOST POPULAR SONGS:

"Botch-a-Me"
"Come On-a My House" (#1 on the Billboard chart, 1951)
"Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)"
"From This Moment On"
"Half as Much" (#1 on the Billboard chart, 1952)
"Hey There" (#1 on the Billboard chart, 1954)
"Mambo Italiano"
"Blue Skies"
"You're Just in Love" (duet with Guy Mitchell)
"Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'"
"Sophisticated Lady"
"Sisters"
"It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"
"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"
"Tenderly"
"Mangos"
"Memories of You"
"This Ole House" (#1 on the Billboard chart, 1954)
"You'll Never Know"
"Sway"
"Suzy Snowflake"

TRANSPARENT HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES!

TRANSPARENT HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES!

Can't take your eyes off your dirty dishes? Watch them get clean . . . Watch your dirty laundry rotate around . . . or watch your toast toast! National Electronics of Japan (you’d guess that, right?) is producing these transparent appliances – however, it’s not ‘clear’ why.

INDY QUIZ!

INDY QUIZ!

www.mentalfloss.com is the source for this fun quiz testing our Indiana Jones knowledge. The wait is finally over. But if you’re waiting for the weekend to see the fourth installment of the franchise, you can take this quiz to satiate your Indiana jones. Watch out for snakes!

ROBERT ASPRIN, R.I.P.

ROBERT ASPRIN, R.I.P.

On May 22, 2008, Robert Asprin, science fiction writer and anthologist, passed away quietly in his home in New Orleans, LA. Author and editor of over 50 books, he was best known for his Thieves’ World stories and his MythAdventures series.

Reportedly, he had been in good spirits and working on several new projects, and was set to be the Guest of Honor at a major science fiction convention that very weekend. He is survived by his mother, his sister, his daughter and his son, and his cat, Princess, not to mention countless friends and fans and numerous legendary fictional characters.

He will be greatly ‘mythed.’

Thursday, May 22, 2008

THE BOOKSELLER/DIAGRAM PRIZE FOR ODDEST TITLE OF THE YEAR!

THE BOOKSELLER/DIAGRAM PRIZE FOR ODDEST TITLE OF THE YEAR!

AKA the Diagram Prize is awarded every year to the book with the strangest title. The contest has been running since 1978, when it was first created by the British magazine Bookseller. Librarians, publishers and booksellers are invited to send entries in, but the final winner is selected by the general public. Here’s a sampling of the winners: The Joy of Chickens, The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling, Highlights in the History of Concrete, Living With Crazy Buttocks, Bombproof your Horse (yes, horse) and 2007’s winner, If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.

A tip of the fedora to
www.neatorama.com

JUNE 2008 AT THE JAZZ BAKERY !!

JUNE 2008 AT THE JAZZ BAKERY !!

BE AMONG THE FIRST TO MAKE A RESERVATION ON LINE !

Click the performer's name to order tickets on line, call Brown Paper Tickets at: 800-838-3006 or, as always, the Jazz Bakery Information line: 310 271-9039 - and you can still come down to the JB

May 26: guitarist Bruce Forman's Cow Bop Jazz Out West $25


May 27: Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band $35 / $20 for students 21 and under

May 28 - 31: vibraphonist Steve Nelson Quartet feat. Mulgrew Miller pno John Clayton ba Karriem Riggins dr $35 on Saturday night/$30 all other nights

June 1: vocalist Dina Humble w/ guitarist Peter Curtis $25matinee 3 PM

June 1: George Kahn & Santa Monica HS Jazz Ensembles $25 7:30 PM

June 2: Monk Institute Beyond the Bell FREE End of Year Concert !

June 3 - 6: Cedar Walton Quartet w/ David Williams ba Lewis Nash dr & Vincent Herring alto $35 on Friday night/$30 all other nights8:30 PM

June 7: Jazz Bakery Summer Fund-Raiser !! an evening of music, wine and sweets feat. the Ernie Andrews Quartet, Sue Raney & the Alan Broadbent Trio $80 Tax Deductible ! 7:30 PM

June 8: Steven James Band feat. Art Gilbert & Lulee Fisher $25matinee

June 8: Hamilton High School vocal jazz ensemble $25June 9: pianist Bill Cunliffe plays Richard Rodgers $25


June 11 - 14: Venezuelan pianist Edward Simon Trio w/ Ben Street ba & Adam Cruz dr $30


June 15: drummer Jonathan Pinson Quartet $255matinee June 15: Martin Nevin Group$25

June 16: pianist Jon Mayer w/ Tony Dumas ba & Roy McCurdy dr $25

June 17: vocalist Kate McGarry w/ Keith Ganz ba & Clarence Penn dr $25

June 18 - 21: percussionist Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio w/ Ari Brown sax/pno & Sharay Reed ba $30

June 22: vocalist Kalil Wilson w/ the Berkeley Everett Trio $25matinee

June 22: Judy Wolman's Sing ! Sing ! Sing ! Rodgers & Hammerstein with Heart $25

June 23: pianist/vocalist Aimee Nolte w/ Hideaki Tokunaga gt $25

June 24: Dale Fielder Quartet feat. Jane Getz The Music of Pepper Adams $25

June 25 - 28: pianist Taylor Eigsti Quartet w/ Julian Lage gt Harish Raghavan ba Jamire Williams dr $30


June 29: vocalist Amber Weekes $25

MOVIE SPORTS QUIZ!

MOVIE SPORTS QUIZ!

Sports movies can be great, but when featuring a real-life team, sometimes they can awkwardly rewrite history. So sometimes it's just easier to make up a team.
www.mentalfloss.com found 10 great fictional teams from the movies. Can you match the fictional athlete to their fictional team?

Take the quiz.

5 MEMORABLE TONIGHT SHOW MOMENTS!

5 MEMORABLE TONIGHT SHOW MOMENTS!

For many years The Tonight Show with Jonny Carson was my late night viewing. Sixteen years ago today, Johnny ended his 30-year run as the King of Late Night Television.
www.mentalfloss.com tips us off to ther resident TV-Holic, Kara Kovalchik, sharing a few of her favorite Tonight Show moments.

continue reading ...

MAGNUM FORCE -- MAGNUM OPUS!

MAGNUM FORCE -- MAGNUM OPUS!

www.cinemaretro.com has the scoop on the new Dirty Harry DVD release from Warner Brothers. The complete package is very impressive.

Here is a summary of what you'll find inside:

Digitally remastered editions of Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool.

Dirty Harry special features including commentary track by noted film critic and Clint Eastwood official biographer Richard Schickel, the featurettes The Long Shadow of Dirty Harry, Dirty Harry: The Original, and Dirty Harry's Way; interview gallery with Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, John Milius, Ted Post, Andy Robinson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Urich; the TV special Clint Eastwood:The Man From Malpaso; trailer gallery for all five films.

Magnum Force special features including commentary by writer John Milius; the featurettes A Moral Right: The Politics of Dirty Harry and Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films

The Enforcer special features including commentary by director James Fargo; featurette The Business End: Violence in Cinema

Sudden Impact special features including commentary by Richard Schickel and the featurette The Evolution of Dirty Harry

The Dead Pool special features including commentary by producer David Valdes and cinematographer Jack N. Green plus the featurette The Craft of Dirty Harry

(All of the DVDs include the trailer gallery and certain featurettes appear on multiple DVDs because they are also sold individually.)

There are a boat load of other features and extras. To check them all out pop over to
www.cinemaretro.com/

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

10 AWESOME INDIANA JONES FACTS!

10 AWESOME INDIANA JONES FACTS!

Twenty-seven years after the first installment of the Indiana Jones series, the fourth movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens nationwide tomorrow. In honor of the occasion, Mental Floss takes a look at all the movies and tells you some stories you may not know about the Indy franchise.

continue reading ...


PIRATE BOOTY!

PIRATE BOOTY!

There’s a facinating article over at the Los Angeles magazine web site with an ex-Disney Jack Sparrow character dishing on his time in costume.

“Like everyone, I grew up going to Disneyland. Even as an adult I loved it there and went at least once a month. I was an annual pass holder, though not like the freaky ones you may have heard of. I’d see the park’s characters and think, “It’d be so cool to work here.” But there was never a character I really wanted to play. I had a role on the television show Veronica Mars and was working at Coco’s when a friend told me Disneyland was casting a Jack Sparrow character. I had already played Jack as a hobby at San Diego’s Comic-Con and the Renaissance Faire.

Thirty-seven actors showed up that day, four of us in costume. Only eight were chosen for the next round. We were told we would be auditioning the next day at Disneyland. When I showed up, there were now 23 guys—15 that had been pulled from in-house auditions. There was this assistant who would come in and pull people one by one—“Steve, can you come with me?” Then you’d never see Steve again. Finally I was sitting all alone in the room. After 15 minutes they pulled me into another room where two other guys were sitting. They told us we were going to be Disneyland’s first Jack Sparrows.”

It quickly becomes obvious the biggest problem Jack faces at Disnyland is adult women – not unlike his cinimatic incarnation! Working for Disney clearly isn’t easy, but hey, it’s show business!

To read the rest of the article go to:
Link

TYPICAL!

TYPICAL!

From the Associated Press

House members have declared "Frank Sinatra Day," but did it their way.
Lawmakers didn't get around to voting until Tuesday on a resolution supporting May 13, 2008 — last Tuesday — as the day honoring the late singer and Academy-Award-winning actor. Making up for lost time, the House voted 402-3 to do just that.

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., sponsor of the non-binding resolution and ostensibly the House's biggest Sinatra fan, told the House how he was introduced to the English language by listening to Sinatra records after his father returned from World War II.

The Puerto Rico-born lawmaker said his father, speaking in Spanish, said English "takes a bad rap" when people say it is not a romantic language. "He said, if you listen to the way this man sings the English language, you'll realize that indeed it is a romantic language if sung properly."

Serrano, 64, said he has 2,000 Sinatra songs on his iPod and owns all his records and movies.

On May 13, Serrano joined Sinatra's daughter and son, Nancy and Frank, Jr., and U.S. Postal Service officials in New York to unveil a new 42-cent commemorative Sinatra stamp.

Sinatra was also honored in 1997 when President Clinton signed into law legislation awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his accomplishments as an entertainer and humanitarian. The internationally known singer, who had a popular rendering of the song "My Way," died on May 14, 1998, at age 82.

Serrano said that "nothing more than scheduling" was responsible for the late vote.

"May 13 came up on us a little sooner than expected," the congressman said.

The resolution is H.Res. 1144.

REMEMBERING FLEMING, IAN FLEMING!

REMEMBERING FLEMING, IAN FLEMING!

There was a nice piece by John Burns on Ian Fleming and the “For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond,” an exhibition currently at the Imperial War Museum in London through March 2009. in the NY Times yesterday. Nothing particularly new, but a pleasant overview.

Fleming, who saw 40 million copies of his books sold in his lifetime but died before the Bond franchise went stratospheric, had no literary pretensions. He described his first Bond book, “Casino Royale,” as “an oafish opus,” and offered further disparagement in a 1963 BBC radio interview. “If I wait for the genius to come, it just doesn’t arrive,” he said. Asked if Bond had kept him from more serious writing, of the kind achieved by his older brother, Peter, a renowned explorer and travel writer, he replied: “I’m not in the Shakespeare stakes. I have no ambition.”

To read the entire article go to:

www.nytimes.com/2008/05/19/books/19bond.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

HURRICANE GOLD HITS THE UK!


HURRICANE GOLD HITS THE UK!

As usual, the splendid
Young Bond Dossier web site has all the scoop on all things Young Bond. Be sure to head over to the Young Bond Dossier for exclusive coverage of the unique 24-carate publicity stunt promoting the UK release of the latest Young Bond adventure, Hurricane Gold. Below is the official Puffin press release.

The new Charlie Higson paperback, Hurricane Gold, will be launched with all the style and action you might expect from James Bond: the unveiling of a dazzling 24-carat gold book, a unique programme of activity events in bookstores, an exciting preview of the next book in the series and an extensive signing tour for the bestselling author.

In a first in publishing history, a unique 24-carat Gold Book has been specially commissioned by Puffin to mark publication. The artefact, made by renowned British ‘jeweller to the stars’ Theo Fennell, will become an attraction in the Imperial War Museum’s sell-out exhibition For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond, and will also be the star of Puffin’s advertising campaign for the paperback. It will be unveiled at the Imperial War Museum on the 20th May at a photocall with Charlie Higson and Theo Fennell.

Hurricane Gold is the fourth book in the ‘Young Bond’ series aimed at 10-14 year olds, which has sold nearly three-quarters of a million copies to date. Following a young James Bond through a series of adventures, the series was commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications, and the paperback is published on the 100th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birth. The paperback features an extract from the hotly anticipated next Young Bond book, By Royal Command, and artwork from the forthcoming graphic novel of the first book SilverFin.

Hurricane Gold is the first Young Bond adventure set entirely away from Eton, on the island of Lagrimas Negras in Mexico. It features young James battling against evil criminals and on the trail of ancient Mayan treasure. The gold book takes its inspirations from the rumoured treasure in the story and was designed, hand-made and crafted in Theo Fennell’s studios in London. The book opens up to reveal an inner compartment with an inlay of ebonised wood, containing a very special secret note from Charlie Higson.

Puffin also announces a series of signing sessions, talks and quizzes with Charlie Higson in bookstores and literary festivals across the UK.

‘Young Bond Mini Adventures’ will also be available in four Waterstone’s stores across the country. Young Bond Mini Adventures give the opportunity for Young Bond fans to take part in a range of exciting in-store activities befitting would-be secret agents, from experiencing alpine skiing via high-tech simulators, training for the rockface on a climbing wall, learning sleight of hand from one of the UK’s leading magicians, and even having a go at a casino roulette table!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'LIVE AND LET DRAW' JAMES BOND COMPETITION!

'LIVE AND LET DRAW' JAMES BOND COMPETITION!

Winning artwork to go on display at Mississippi Arts Center

A competition mixing 007 and drawing is being held in order to fill main gallery of the Mississippi Arts Center.

The
Clarion Ledger reports that winning entries in the Greater Jackson Arts Council’s Live and Let Draw Competition: James Bond Invitational will go on display this August.

Juried entries will go on display in an exhibition at the Mississippi Arts Center and also be featured at the arts council’s annual Storytellers Ball (to be held 21 August—with the equally Bondian theme, ‘Shaken, Not Stirred’), kicking off the 2008-2009 arts season.

The top prize is $1,000 with additional prizes of $300, $200 as well as some honorable mentions for a total value of $2,100 in cash and gift certificates. The hope is to make this first-time contest an annual tradition.
In addition to the above awards, a $500 people’s choice award will be voted on and announced at the Storytellers Ball.

The deadline for entries is 30 June for two-dimensional works—paintings, drawings, mixed media, photography or more—in the spirit of the James Bond theme. Entries can have three-dimensional qualities, but must hang on the wall for display. Artists can submit photos, digital prints or digital files (no slides or original artwork); there’s a $10 entry fee per piece.

‘My thought was, what could we do in the gallery during that time? Being an artist myself, I thought, what a wonderful excuse to give back to the artists of Mississippi and have a competition,’ said Sylvia Hale Pooley, development and special events manager for the Greater Jackson Arts Council.

‘Since this building is now under the watchful eye of the Arts Council and we’re in the process of the master plan for the rehabilitation and transformation of the arts center of Mississippi into a community arts center, we definitely want to try to start showcasing the building,’ said Janet Scott, arts council executive director.

‘Our moniker is, “Be part of the story,” and … we try to incorporate everything we do to be a part of the cultural story in Jackson and Hinds County.’

The Live and Let Draw 007 exhibition will be on display from 4-30 August. An artists reception for the show will be open to the public from 2:00 to 4:00pm on 7 August. Awards will be presented then.

For further information on this James Bond-themed art competition, phone Sylvia Pooley at 601-960-1557. Entry forms may be downloaded at
jacksonartscouncil.org.

-- Devin Zydel

A TOUCH OF BUBLE!

A TOUCH OF BUBLE!

Currently, Walmart (aka: The Evil Empire) is touting an exclusive mini-Buble CD featuring four songs, three or which have not been previously released. There is a strong possibility that all three of the new songs on this CD will be part of whatever mainstream CD Buble produces next. However, if you can’t wait for your next Buble fix, you might want to sneak into you local Walmart and snag yourself a copy.

Track Listings

1. Stuck In The Middle With You

2. I've Got A Crush On You

3. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)

4. Everything (I-Soul Remix)

Monday, May 19, 2008

SINATRA DOES STAR WARS!

SINATRA & THE MODAL NODES – HIS BITH SECRET!

Okay, this is bizarre – From the If Star Wars Was Real web site (
www.ifstarwarswasreal.com) comes this little ditty tying ‘Ol Blue Eyes to Star Wars aliens.

ISWWR investigators have come across several photgraphs linking Frank Sinatra to the Bith music group, The Modal Nodes!

Bith were a peaceful, craniopod species native to the planet Clak'dor VII. Fully adapted to a civilized, high-technology lifestyle, Bith were found Galaxy-wide at all levels of society, most notably as engineers, scientists, intellectuals, consultants, and musicians.

The Modal Nodes were members of the Intergalactic Federation of Musicians (IFM), and maintained a reputable standing within the trade guild. The band's matching stage costumes were somber in tone and reflected the moody aesthetics attributed to their preferred style of music. Although the Modal Nodes enjoyed success on the Intergalactic circuit, they never rose to great prominence beyond the Outer Rim Territories worlds, owed largely in part to the fact that they incorporated no vocalists into their act. This is where, possibly, an alliance wth Frank Sinatra came into play.

Apparently, Sinatra made a point of studying Lirin Car'n (member of the Modal Nodes) kloo horn playing as a means of cultivating a more free-flowing vocal style — he noticed that Car'n used a tiny airhole at the side of his mouth to sneak breaths when playing. Sinatra would employ a similar technique, and so be able to hold notes for incredibly long durations. In addition to this, Sinatra started to jog and swim underwater to develop his lung capacity — which enabled him to continue a musical phrase through a stanza without pausing, or breaking the note, for breath. Sinatra's legato-style of singing/phrasing took pop singing in new directions when most singers of the 1940s were keen to emulate Bing Crosby.

The bandleader of the Modal Nodes, "Fiery" Figrin D'an, was extremely demanding. He was highly critical of every performance and criticized the band heavily if they were to miss even a single note. With the exception of Dorenian Beshniquel-player Doikk Na'ts, Figrin owned all of the band-members instruments and equipment. Figrin was never shy when it came to doling out orders to the others. Many times D'an would bring the Modal Nodes into financial difficulties with his sabacc gambling habits. In order to supplement their earnings & losses the rest of The Modal Nodes may have formed an alliance with Sinatra. They would teach Sinatra galactic music and techniques and Sinatra would pay them highly for it! From time to time members of the Modal Nodes would appear with Sinatra during performances, according to rumors, mostly, in Las Vegas. Sinatra would refer to them as his "bald friends". Audiences simply thought it was part of the act with humans in alien costumes (movies & television shows featuring outer-space aliens were popular at the time). Sinatra probably spent the most time with Car'n, shown below, as he gives his mentor a look during a performance.

Sinatra's galactic musical education was a wise investment. His early recordings found him singing in near-tenor range, hitting a high F on "All or Nothing At All" (1939) or "Where's My Bess", whilst being equally adept in the lower register, the low E on his 1962 recording of "Ol' Man River" being a prime example of such. His phrasing was also impeccable, getting to the heart of a song by emphasizing words and lines in ways that made a song more personal, whilst his ability to hold notes, sing above or behind the beat and rest on a note were hallmarks of a singer fully in command of his instrument.

The duration of Sinatra's involvement with his Bith friends is uncertain. Have Bith musicians influenced other recording artists of the time? The investigation continues...

Below: An illustration of a Bith musician


SUPER-SPIES AND SECRET AGENTS!

SUPER-SPIES AND SECRET AGENTS!

Crikey is a new British magazine covering many of the British comics (Hospur, Victor, Tiger, etc. etc.), which were very different than the slick American comics from Marvel and DC (who must take responsibility for the demise almost all of their British counterparts).

PERSONAL ASIDE: In 1962, when I was eight, I immigrated from England to America with my parents. Every six weeks for the next four or five years, my London based grandmother would send me my Hotspur fix – six issues of the British comics Hotspur rolled into a tube and secured with a brown paper address wrapper. Every time a tube of Hotspurs arrived, I lost myself in the world I’d left behind. Good times.

One of the great publishing disservices of all time was the lack of attribution given to the writers and illustrators of these zines.

For years there was very little interest in collecting or documenting the thousands of issues of hundreds of British comics. Recently there has been a nitch movement to correct this as the baby boom generation has become nostalgic for things from their youth.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out:

www.britishcomics.20m.com

For those of you who do know what I’m talking about or want to learn more, check out Steve Holland’s (one of the people responsible for finally documenting the great British comics and the people who wrote and illustrated them) blog:

www.bearalley.blogspot.com

It appears Crikey, must be doing reasonably well as it now has a companion, Super-Spies and Secret Agents, with lots of TV coverage, a bit of movies and a bit of comics.

First issue covers The Prisoner, The Avengers, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., James Bond, The Champions, Stingray, Mr. Ed and Special Agent 21. The highlight is a previously unpublished interview with Dennis Spooner, the man behind many of the series that SS&SA loves to bits.

Hopefully the coverage will broaden in issues to come. The magazine needs to find its voice even more quickly than Crikey! because there are better and more comprehensive websites dedicated to the same TV shows SS&SA covers and the shows (unlike the comics covered by Crikey!) have been written about endlessly for the past forty years.

18 INSANE JOURNEYS!


18 OF THE MOST INSANE JOURNEYS IN RECENT HISTORY!

Running In Circles For 3,100 Miles: It's a little bit nutty to want to run 3,100 miles. It's just plain crazy to run it in a half-mile loop over and over. But that's exactly what people do when they compete in the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race which takes place around-and-around one city block in Queens, New York. The speed record for the race is held by Wolfgang Schwerk who completed it in just over 40 days. It makes your head spin just thinking about it.

This is only one of the insane endurance journeys profiled by Pro Travller. You’ll see the first man to run all the way around the world, the guy who swam the Atlantic, the woman who walked for 30 years to promote peace, the 19th century woman who rode around the world on a bicycle, and more!

They’re all worth checking out and shaking your head over:

BLOGGERS DRAW SELVES AS TEENAGER!

BLOGGERS DRAW SELVES AS TEENAGER!

This was facinating. Dave of Davario blog asked fellow bloggers to draw themselves as teenagers and post the drawings on their own blogs.


The result: 400 and counting people participated! It’s really kind of fun checking out peoples view of their younger selves.

Check it out:
Link

BROWN’S HOTEL IAN FLEMING CENTENARY PACKAGE!

BROWN’S HOTEL LAUNCHES EXCLUSIVE IAN FLEMING CENTENARY PACKAGE!

Thanks to
www.commanderbond.net for this story!

To celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birth and the launch of The Imperial War Museum’s new exhibition, ‘For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond’, Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel is offering a special package, The Ian Fleming Centenary stay.

There’s nowhere more appropriate that Brown’s Hotel in which to pay homage to one of literature’s great characters; John Gardner liked the hotel so much he included it in his Bond novel Icebreaker, and the sexy and stylish Donovan Bar offers a wide range of decadent Bond cocktails. Things have certainly been shaken, and perhaps a little stirred, since the recent £24 million renovation of Brown’s Hotel; its re-launch was a decidedly glamorous affair with even famed Bond actor Roger Moore in attendance.

Now guests can sample the Bond lifestyle for themselves with this stylish weekend get-away…

Highlights of the Ian Fleming Centenary package include:
Overnight accommodation in a luxurious room or suite
Full English breakfast (which is reputed to be Bond’s favourite meal of the day)
Two tickets to ‘For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond’ - the new exhibition at The Imperial War Museum, London*
Two Bond cocktails in The Donovan Bar
An exclusive, hardback copy of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale
Complimentary use of gymnasium to buff up those muscles

*Tickets to the ‘For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond’ exhibition are subject to availability and time restrictions may apply. To book these tickets, clients must contact the hotel directly to arrange.

Prices start from £315 per night, excluding VAT, for two people sharing. Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, from 18th April to 28th December 2008, subject to availability.

For further information on the Ian Fleming Centenary package, phone 0870 460 8040 or visit the
official website.