Making a Spectacle on Sundance
Musicians getting into acting is always a sketchy proposition (the opposite is also true: Joaquin Phoenix, please give up Hip Hop and go back to film immediately). But who would have thought that a musician becoming a talk show host would turn out so wonderfully?
Elvis Costello’s new talk/variety show Spectacle is a fascinating slice of television airing now on the Sundance Channel (cable subscribers without Sundance can find episodes on their “On Demand” services). Costello proved he could run a show when he filled in for David Letterman one night when Dave was having heart surgery. But Spectacle is more than just Elvis being charming and talking to actors selling their latest projects.
Each hour-long episode has Costello and his band, The Imposters, performing songs of his own and with his guests. The chat segments are funny and insightful. The show’s guests include musicians like The Police, Tony Bennett and Herbie Hancock, as well as non-musicians like Bill Clinton and artist/filmmaker Julian Schnabel. Better than Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Carson Daly and Jimmy Kimmel’s shows combined.
Meet the New Boss?
Bruce Springsteen has had a hell of a start to 2009. He played Barack Obama’s inauguration in D.C., his new album went to No. 1 and he and the E Street Band did an incredible job rocking the Super Bowl halftime show. But even the most hardcore Boss fans had to wonder: What the hell was he thinking when he gave Wal-Mart the exclusive rights to sell a new greatest hits package?
Usually a bastion of integrity and a staunch supporter of the labor movement, the deal seemed akin to Obama letting the KKK handle secret service duties. Though his manager originally defended the decision, Springsteen told The New York Times recently that it was all a big mistake that just kind of slipped through the cracks. Seems like a pretty big mistake for someone who appears to run a very tight ship when it comes to his career. But we’ll take his word for it.
Still, wouldn’t it be better to give the money from CD sales to charity instead of just saying, “Whoops,” and pocketing all the dough?
Phishing for Tickets
In an effort to keep everything “in house” (and to keep all the money, passing the savings on to, well, themselves), Clear Channel offshoot Live Nation recently stopped using Ticketmaster in favor of its own new ticketing system. So far, not so good, if the experiences of Phish fans are any indication.
The Jam band is reuniting for its first tour in five years and, amongst the band’s legion of fans, tickets were in higher demand than The Sticky Icky. That demand apparently resulted in major problems with the new system when tickets went on sale, leaving many Phish fans infuriated. The fans put their bongs down long enough to leave angry messages all over the Internet. Which always results in swift action....