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Posts Tagged ‘Elvis Presley’

Tuesday July 3rd, 2012

AUDIO: Steve Rowland on Subject of New Doc ‘Searching for Sugarman’

By Rhett Bartlett

Steve Rowland has had a full life: great-nephew of Louis B. Mayer, Hollywood actor from the 1950s and 1960s, partner of the late Judy Lewis, friend of James Dean and Elvis Presley, and career as one of the great record producers, discovering talents such as Peter Frampton and The Cure. In 1970 he produced an album called ‘Coming from Reality’ for the enigmatic rock ‘n’ roller Rodriguez, who is now the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary called Searching for Sugar Man. Here are three excerpts from a phone interview with Rowland that I conducted late last month.

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Sunday February 19th, 2012

FEINBERG FORECAST: Spotlighting The Three Oscar Shorts Categories

When it comes to predicting the winners of the three Oscars devoted to short films — animated, documentary, and live-action — most people just wing it and check off either a random or the most appealingly-titled nominee. Any serious awards buff, however, knows not to do that, for those three predictions can completely make or break one’s chances in an Oscar pool!

Instead, one should devote a — yes — short amount of time to actually seeing the nominees, which is easier to do these days than ever before thanks to a program sponsored by ShortsHD through which all 15 nominated films are shown at theaters across the country in the weeks leading up to the Oscars. This offering, now in its seventh year, is as popular as ever — indeed, just last weekend it brought in more money than in any other weekend yet.

If you absolutely cannot make it to the theater, though, you can still sleep easy, because I’ve checked all of the nominees for you and produced a tip-sheet. I can’t guarantee that I’ll nail all of these categories, but, if you employ my picks for your Oscar pool and only one or two of my three picks pan out, that’s still probably one or two more correct picks than you otherwise would have had, so… you’re welcome!

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Sunday February 19th, 2012

Whitney Houston’s Mother Cissy Houston – Who is she?

By Roger Friedman

Last night on either “ET” or its miserable sidekick “The Insider,” Cissy Houston–Whitney’s mother–was identified as a former Elvis Presley backup singer. Just so you know as you watch the funeral tomorrow, Cissy Houston is one of those great unheralded R&B stories.

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Monday July 25th, 2011


“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
Kurt Cobain, quoting lyrics by Neil Young, in his suicide note

I was saddened but frankly not all that surprised to receive word of the death of 27-year-old British singer Amy Winehouse on Saturday. Based on the sort of lifestyle that Winehouse had been leading, as documented relentlessly by the British tabloids over the nearly five years since “Back to Black” (2006) — her 1960’s soul/R&B-inspired second album that was highlighted by the hit single “Rehab,” which Rolling Stone recently named the 194th greatest song of all-time — made her a five-time Grammy winner and a household name, it was only a matter of time. Considering the fact that she hadn’t released any new material since “Back to Black,” and demonstrated little to no progress in overcoming the personal demons that as often as not kept her from performing her existing material, I regret to say that checking out early might well have been her best available career move.

What do I mean? Well, consider the following…

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Monday November 8th, 2010


Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of spending about 45-minutes on the telephone with Michelle Williams, who is not only one of America’s finest actresses — and, at 30, will probably remain one of them for decades to come — but who is also a deeply intelligent woman; a devoted single mother; and a real survivor. (She’s also not bad on the eyes!)

Williams became a star at the tender age of 17 on the hit TV show “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003) — I remember when it happened because I’m about the same age as her and often tuned in. She proved that she had the acting chops to match her looks in a number of early films, but especially “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), for which she received a best supporting actress Oscar nod. She attracted the interest of the tabloids when she first began dating her “Brokeback” co-star Heath Ledger, with whom she would eventually have a daughter, Matilda — and again in early 2008, when Ledger died suddenly. After a period of mourning and seclusion, Williams reemerged in a series of roles that brought her widespread acclaim — from the bare-bones indie “Wendy and Lucy” (2008) to the eccentric ensemble piece “Synecdoche, New York” (2008) to the Martin Scorsese-mystery “Shutter Island” (2010) — and, before long, she’ll be seen portraying another movie star who died far too young, Marilyn Monroe, in a biopic entitled “My Week with Marilyn.” Things have never looked better for her in terms of her career, but she’s not ruling out the possibility that she might wake up one day, decide that she’s had enough of it all, and call it quits. There’s more to life than being a movie star, she has learned.

Over the course of our conversation — a full transcript of which follows — Williams and I discussed virtually all of the above. We focused particularly, however, on the pinnacle achievement of her career up to this point: her remarkable performance in Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company, 12/31, NC-17, trailer), a gritty, honest, adult drama about the complexities of a relationship. (To me, at least, it’s somewhat reminiscent of a play and film that preceded it by half a century, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”) To play the part of a woman who falls in — and, six years later, out of — love with the same man (Ryan Gosling), a lot was asked of Williams — extensive emotional and physical nakedness, a quick weight gain, and even some tap-dancing — and, as anyone who has seen the film can attest, she certainly rose to the occasion.

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