Robert Funaro

VAN EATON AT PALM WEST – Last week we spotted Apple Records’ Lon Van Eaton at the Palm West on 50th street, dining with Robert Funaro from HBO’s The Sopranos. Lon’s song (with his brother Derek) “Sweet Music” appears on the just-out Apple compilation Come And Get It. Apple Records of course, was the record label started in the early 70’s by The Beatles. All their releases (45’s and albums) were original available only on vinyl, so this set is the first ever collection available on CD. It’s great to hear such tracks as “Those Were The Days” from Mary Hopkin; “Day After Day” from Badfinger; and, the terrific “That’s The Way God Planned It” from Billy Preston. He’s also represented by the song “My Sweet Lord” that shows him to be a terrific stylist and performer; check out his riveting performance on the live-DVD version of The Concert For Bangla Desh (August 1, 1971). Sad that Preston, who passed away in 2006 at age 59, achieved some notoriety, but never the degree he should have; he’s positively terrific here. Our colleague Roger Friedman had a fabulous take on Preston earlier this week in his column. Van Eaton, who hails from Trenton, New Jersey, was in town for the David Lynch event, as well as several interviews and preparation for a series of auditions for his forthcoming presentation, titled Livies. The concept is a new multi-media venture presentation. Says Van Eaton about the concept: “Imagine a theater of breathtaking high definition images immersed in surround sound. The performances are projected onto awe-inspiring high definition realities. You don’t have to imagine it … it is here!” Check out his site here. He also had a live performance at The Record Collector in Jersey; ironically his first gig in more than a decade and his first solo show ever. At the Palm, with his PR-man David Salidor hovering nearby, he also said he’d love to do a new record as well. “I’ve got what I feel is some terrific material. The business is certainly a lot different these days for sure, but the opportunities are fantastic too.” He had the album Brother on Apple, and, a follow up on A&M Records called Who Do You Outdo.


Stan Lee

SPIDEY SENSE – It seems to this comic-book-inspired writer that this Spider Man show, Turn Off The Dark … is, despite being mired in some rather precarious situations, getting some spectacular press. Actually, the caliber of press that a producer would pay dearly for! You know the old adage: Any press is good press as long as they spell your name right! Besides the Julie Taymor; Bono; and, The Edge connections; there’s also producer Michael Cohl, who for years was a master concert promoter bar none. He promoted many, many tours for the likes of The Rolling Stones and, U2, using tremendously creative strategies for the press and general promotion. I think it’s safe to say: he generated visibility and promotional like never before for his acts. In other words: he’s sold tickets! Now, I don't mean to say he’s taken advantage of any of these accident-situations, but, let’s just say, he’s done his best to publicize it in every way possible; from getting the theater community involved in a major way, to even getting several government agencies involved. Also, there’s theater-sage Michael Riedel from the New York Post. Another media critic has gone on the record as saying that Riedel’s current-mission is to close this show. Why I don't think that’s particularly true (Riedel’s a fair and reasonable guy!); he’s taken every opportunity to get the word out. In this media-savvy age … one has got to do what one can do! As a Spidey-fan from way back (anyone remember Johnny Romita?) I loved the three movies on him, featuring Tobey MacGuire and Kirsten Dunst, and really appreciated how close the movie makers stayed true to the source material in each one; always a point of contention with the modern day comic-con audience. The play, which I've not yet seen, features several new characters and from what I'm gathering does change the Spidey-bible somewhat by introducing several new characters. One person we've yet to hear from (and, I'm quite sure we will be the play’s opening on February 7) is creator Stan Lee. Rest assured he’s already been contacted, been somewhat muzzled, and is prepping his comments for opening night. Actually, I'm a big fan of Taymor’s and can't wait to see it. Bring on The Green Lantern!


Ben Affleck

AFFLECK, AFFLECK – One more movie-thought before this year runs out is the fact that Ben Affleck’s movie this year The Town was pretty perfect is every way. From the taut directing; the tight, tight script by Affleck and Peter Craig; and the sensational casting choices, including Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, and Blake Lively … it fired on all cylinders. In fact, I'd rate Hamm’s performance as his best yet! It’s rather shocking that the movie was pretty much ignored in many of the year-end award nominations; but, let me say right now, this definitely deserves to be in the Top Five; it was that good.

Photos By: RD/Bergman/Kirkland/Gershoff/Kabik/Retna