Entertainment News You Can Use

Today’s Rosh Hashanah news chum brings some entertainment related articles:

  • Bringing Back the 1950s. A couple of years ago, a dear friend, Stuart Schaeffer, introduced me to a group called “Big Daddy“. Big Daddy’s conceit was that they went to sleep in 1959… and just woke up. Their albums of versions of modern songs (the songs from “Sgt. Peppers”, “Like a Virgin”, “Star Wars Theme”) done in a late 1950s style. Really good stuff. They haven’t recorded for a number of years. I recently learned that Big Daddy has a Kickstarter project to fund an album of stage and screen songs. I recently became a backer of the “Now. Hear. This.” CD being done by the folks behind “[title of show]“, so I’m seriously thinking about doing this.
  • Musical on Internment. I’m sure everyone is aware of the awesome George Takei. George’s latest project was just written up in the LA Times, and it sounds fascinating. George is involved with a new musical — potentially Broadway bound — called Allegiance — A New American Musical”. It is currently at the Old Globe in San Diego. In it, George portrays Sam Kimura, an elderly U.S. Army vet who looks back at the internment and how it changed his life and those of his father, grandfather and sister, Kei. The show, which also stars Tony winner Lea Salonga and Telly Leung, follows the Kimuras as they leave their Salinas farm for the barracks and barbed wire of Heart Mountain in Wyoming. Young Sammy (Leung) fights in Europe with the celebrated Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Kei (Salonga) falls in love and sides with internees who resist being drafted. When Sammy returns home and finds out about his sister, he feels he must choose between his devotion to his family and to his country. This sounds like a fascinating story, and given the people involved, is likely to be done well (it would be interesting to see an East-West production of it).  The musical does have a web site, but no cast album yet.
  • Closing of a Legend. I read today in the San Francisco Chronicle that the famed “Purple Onion” club in San Francisco is closing. The club was the starting ground of many famous comedy acts — Phyllis Diller, Richard Pryor, Smothers Brothers &c — as well as musical groups such as the Kingston Trio. We’ve already lost the “Hungry i”; the club closed many years ago and the name was leased to a topless joint. Hopefully those in the Bay Area can do a last visit and remember the Onion’s glory. Alas, I don’t think there are clubs today that have the same impact. Instead, we’re reduced to TV Reality competition programs. It is nowhere near the same thing.

Music: What a Wonderful World (Willie Nelson): Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive