Friday, October 12, 2012

Pop culture roundup: Beatles; Beach Boys; Peanuts!

"Hey Jude" is reportedly the most frequently referenced song in modern literature.


In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Brian Wilson says he'd like the reunited Beach Boys lineup continue, contrary to cousin Mike Love's plans, which call for a Love-front version of the band, minus Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks, to play concert dates.'s my opinion that we should all go out together as the Beach Boys in support of all our new releases. We really weren't out on the road that long for an anniversary of this magnitude and I actually think we should make one last record together.


You can now buy a limited reproduction of the circus poster that inspired John Lennon's lyrics to "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" off the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album. I ordered my copy!


A new Peanuts animated film may be on the way for 2015.
Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios have acquired big-screen rights to the late Charles Schulz’s Peanuts franchise.

The untitled animated film has been scheduled for release on Nov. 25, 2015. That year will mark the 65th anniversary of the debut of the Peanuts comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Video: Pete Townshend talks up his new book, plays Wont' Get Fooled Again

Pete Townshend visits with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner about his new memoir, "Who I Am," and plays a Who classic on acoustic guitar.

Trailer for Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins, Scarlett Johansson, Ellen Mirren

Rare photographs of Batman artist Bob Kane with Bat-paintings

These must be from the 1960s Bat-craze, with Kane marketing paintings of Batman and related characters. Anyone have more context?

BBC Radio this week: Stream miusic documentaries, drama and comedy

Click the links to stream the following programs:

A Year in the Life: The Beatles 1962
Roger McGough narrates the pivotal breakthrough year for the mop-topped Fab Four.

How did Liverpool shape the Beatles, and what did they share of the city with the world?

Jarvis Cocker's Musical Map of Sheffield
Jarvis Cocker takes listeners on an intimate musical tour of Sheffield.

The Goon Show
Classic material from one of the all-time radio comedy greats

The Party, Party
Surreal political fantasy with Hugh Laurie

Why, Robot?
Series of stories inspired by Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics

William Gibson - Pattern Recognition
William Gibson's cult thriller

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fifth Beatle graphic novel and feature film in the works

"The Fifth Beatle" is the title of a new graphic novel and feature film on the way from writer/producer  Vivek J. Tiwary, reports Dark Horse Comics.

More info:
THE FIFTH BEATLE chronicles the life of The Beatles little-known manager, Brian Epstein. As Paul McCartney said, “If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian.” This groundbreaking project also marks the first time a feature film about the band has ever secured rights to include Beatles songs.

The story is written by Tiwary and drawn by fan-favorite artist Andrew Robinson (STAR WARS, BATMAN, SUPERMAN) with additional contributions by multiple Eisner and Harvey award-winning artist Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, WHY I HATE SATURN, NAT TURNER). It is slated to be published in 2013. Both Robinson and Tiwary will attend the upcoming New York Comic Con from October 10th-14th to present the graphic novel and meet fans. Artwork from the novel will be exclusively displayed online at

THE FIFTH BEATLE from M Press Books, a division of Dark Horse Comics, recounts the untold true story of Epstein, the brilliant visionary who discovered The Beatles and helped guide the band to international stardom as their manager, securing their first record deal at a time when no one else was interested, and successfully bringing them to the world stage with a scale and scope no music impresario had ever attempted.

Epstein’s boast—“The Beatles will be bigger than Elvis!”— seemed absurd in 1961, but proved humbly prophetic by 1967. When he died at the age of 32, he was an extremely successful artist manager and entertainment impresario, but a painfully lonely young man. The film will deal with Epstein’s struggles with his sexuality and religion, while desperately trying to fit into the “Fab Four’s” world.

“My interest in the Brian Epstein story began almost 20 years ago, when I decided that music management was the area of the entertainment industry that I first wanted to pursue,” says Vivek. “ I had been a lifelong Beatles fan, so I thought that it made sense to study the management of the band that had written the rules of the modern music industry. What I unearthed after much research (there is a paltry amount of information readily available on Brian, which is part of why I want to bring his story to the world) was not just an inspirational business story and a blueprint for what I wanted to accomplish with my career, but also a very human story. This is a true labor of love, passion project for me.”

Pop stuff: What I'm hearing, watching, reading, etc.

I'm trying something new: Reviews on the fly, so to speak, a weekly roundup on my recent brain  input. As you'll see, it's not all newly released books, albums or films, etc., but old stuff, too, that I'm rediscovering or checking out for the first time. Maybe it will help make this place  a little more personal.

"The Price of Politics,"by Bob Woodward. See, it's not all comic books and rock'n'roll around here. I'm nearly finished with this: Woodward's latest inside skinny on what's happening, or not happening, in the White House. It's not exactly a roller-coaster ride of excitement. The focus is on the debt limit crisis and the financial apocalypse our nation continues to barely skirt. Lots of numbers and lots of people not getting anything done. But, with Woodward's access to all the key players and lots of fly-on-the-wall details of closed meetings and secretive deal-making, it's a good snapshot of our dyfunctional government and drives home why things are at such an impasse. I'm skeptical the upcoming election will change much, not matter who wins.

"The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson,"by Robert Caro. I finished this one a few weeks back and it's still very much in my mind as I read Woodward's book. Whether you agreed with his politics or not, or liked or disliked the man, LBJ was a guy who could get things done. This huge book looks at his vice-presidency, during which he was essentially sidelined by the Kennedy brothers, who disliked (and in the case of Bobby, hated) him and the first months of his presidency. LBJ was a deeply flawed and power-hungry man. But he rose to the occasion after JFK's assassination and helped the country move forward, achieving an amazing array of policy victories right from the start. This was a president who knew how to work with, around, and through Congress; a master politician who knew where all the bodies were buried and how to achieve what he wanted.

"Oh, God!". We watched this for family movie night this past weekend. I hadn't seen it since it was in the theaters back in 1977 and it holds up amazingly well, thanks mostly to the enduring charm of George Burns. It's a sweet and a funny film. Carl Reiner directed. John Denver, as a man appointed by the Almighty (Burns) to help spread a message of simple tolerance and compassion, is a pretty decent actor. The great Teri Garr is her usual wonderful self as his wife. Paul Sorvino is funny as a Falwell-ish evangelist.

Tempestby Bob Dylan. Speaking of the epic and Biblical: Dylan's most-recent LP has been playing in my home and in the car stereo for several weeks now. It's a grower. You've probably read about the 14-minute, Leo DiCaprio-mentioning tune about the Titanic and about the John Lennon tribute tune. Both are great, not as alarmingly bad as you might fear. The rest is very good, too. As with any Dylan album, the lyrics are dark and enigmatic and take time to absorb. The imagery in many songs is angry, violent, with characters making threats and even killing one another. There multiple references to blood and wounds and undercurrents of jealousy and vengeance. Dylan's voice is now reduced to gravel, and actually sounds pretty great over the rootsy, bluesy musical backdrop. One tune, "Early Roman Kings" is a surreal Chicago blues tune that sounds like something off one of his mid-60s albums. If you like Bob, you'll enjoy the album. It continues the long-roll of greatness he's been on since Time Out of Mind.

Star Trek photo novels

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

New Rolling Stones single out Thursday

"Doom and Gloom" a new single by the Rolling Stones will be available via download on iTunes this Thursday, Oct. 11, reports NME:
The song will receive its first airplay at 8.15am (BST) on BBC Radio 2 and will then be available to download.

The track is taken from the legendary band's forthcoming 'GRRR!' greatest hits album, and was recorded in Paris and produced by Don Was. The Paris session was the first time Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood had been in the studio together in seven years.

'GRRR!' comes out on November 12, and features one more new song, called 'One More Shot', alongside a host of the band's classic tracks.

The next Fantagraphics Carl Barks' collection is Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret

I just love Fantagraphics' new Carl Barks Library collections of classic Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics, so it's always fun to hear about what's coming up.

The next installment is "Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret." Here's the cover:

And here are the contents:

“The Old Castle’s Secret”
“In Darkest Africa”
“Wintertime Wager”
“Watching the Watchman”
“Going Ape”
“Spoil The Rod”
“Bird Watching”
“Horseshoe Luck”
“Bean Taken”
“Rocket Race to the Moon”
“Donald of the Coast Guard”
“Gladstone Returns”
“Links Hijinks”
“Sorry to be Safe”
“Sheriff of Bullet Valley”
“Best Laid Plans”
“The Genuine Article”
“Pearls of Wisdom”
“Foxy Relations”
“Wintertime Wager” first appearance of Gladstone Gander
“Watching the Watchman”
“Going Ape”
“Spoil The Rod” helloooo Pulpheart Clabberhead
“Donald of the Coast Guard”
“Pearls of Wisdom”
“Foxy Relations” 

Meanwhile, the next Barks Library book set for release is "Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown," out Nov. 22.

Poster for Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins, Scarlett Johansson

Marvel Comics hero stationary

New comics Oct. 10, 2012: Alan Davis Legends of the Dark Knight; Doctor Who Classics 8; Saga Vol. 1; Essential Thor 6; Sgt. Fury Masterworks 4; more!

New releases of note. Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Alan Davis

Doctor Who Classics Volume 8

Saga Volume 1 TP

Essential Thor - Volume 6

Marvel Masterworks: Sgt. Fury - Volume 4

Moomin Book Seven: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip

Buz Sawyer: Sultry's Tiger (Vol. 2)  (Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer)

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story