By Nate Bloom
Echoes in La-La Land
The documentary “Echo in the Canyon” opened in theaters in many cities in the last two weeks and may play a theater near you soon. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the explosion of new rock music that was created by musicians then living in, or frequently visiting, the Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. Rock musician JAKOB DYLAN, 48 (the son of BOB DYLAN, 78) interviews many of the still-living musicians associated with Laurel Canyon. One of his first interviews is with Roger McGuinn, the leader of the Byrds, one of the first big Laurel Canyon bands. McGuinn helped invent what came to be called folk rock when he took Bob Dylan’s acoustic song “Mr. Tambourine Man” and re-orchestrated it as a hit rock song played with electric guitars. The sound he helped create was echoed in the music style of many others, including documentary interviewees Michelle Phillips of “The Mamas and Papas” (which included the late CASS ELLIOT), John Sebastian, Stephen Stills, Jackson Browne, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Interspersed with the interviews are iconic Laurel Canyon songs performed by more recent music stars, including REGINA SPEKTOR., 39, and Jakob Dylan. The film’s director is ANDREW SLATER, 50ish, a decades-long friend of Jakob Dylan and a former president of Capitol Records. (Make a mental note to see this film if it isn’t in a theater near you. Reviews are very good).
Josh Charles Fest
“The Loudest Voice” is a limited (seven-episode) Showtime series that premieres on June 30. It stars Russell Crowe as the late Roger Ailes, the creator and head of the Fox News Network. He was ousted from Fox in 2016 (a year before his death) amid a cascade of accusations that he had sexually harassed many Fox female employees, including former anchor Gretchen Carlson (played by Naomi Watts). JOSH CHARLES, 47, plays Bill Shine, Ailes’ long-time top aide at Fox. He took over Ailes’ job only to be ousted in 2017 when several lawsuits claimed he abetted Ailes’ sexual harassment. Shine became the White House communications director in June, 2018, but only lasted ten months in that job.
The documentary “Framing Delorean,” has been playing in just a smattering of theaters nationwide. It’s likely it won’t play near you. But it’s available, now, on most pay-per view streaming services. As you might have guessed, the film is about John Delorean (1925-2005) the famous auto executive who headed-up the short-lived Delorean car company. There are many dramatic re-enactments in the film. Alec Baldwin plays Delorean and Josh Charles plays Bill Collins, an engineer who designed the Delorean car. Also dramatized is (real life) attorney HOWARD WEITZMAN, now 77, who lead the legal team that successfully defended Delorean on charges of cocaine trafficking.
Six Degrees of Gloria Vanderbilt
Kevin Bacon may be connected by six jumps to just about every actor. But, I believe that Gloria Vanderbilt, who died last week, age 95, was probably connected, via her ultra-rich ancestors or by herself, to just about every famous American since 1776. In 1940, she and her pals Oona O’Neill (the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill) and CAROL MARCUS (1924-2003) were the toast of New York café society. These three friends were beautiful, charming, and even though all were too young to legally drink (15 or 16 in 1940), no café owner would deny them a cocktail. Oona would elope (1943) with Charlie Chaplin at 18 and become the mother of actress Geraldine Chaplin and grandmother of Oona Castile Chaplin (who played Robb Stark’s wife in "Game of Thrones"). Marcus, who was born poor, and became rich at age 8, when her mother wed a Jewish millionaire, married famous playwright William Saroyan in 1943. It was a bad marriage. After it ended in 1951, she tried acting and met WALTER MATTHAU. They wed in 1959 and were happy until his death in 2000. Marcus and Matthau often socialized with Vanderbilt and her third husband, soon-to-be famous director SIDNEY LUMET (1924-2011). When Gloria married him in 1955, she thought he could help her with her budding acting career. He couldn’t (Gloria wasn’t a good actor). The marriage broke up in 1963. Even before the break-up, Marcus felt Vanderbilt had become “too phony” and their friendship ended for good when Marcus expressed sympathy for Lumet during the break-up. Lumet quickly re-married Lena Horne’s daughter and Gloria quickly re-married Wyatt Cooper, Anderson Cooper’s father. If you go six jumps or less from just the people named above, you would probably find a line to every famous American.