Robert Funaro

WEB GOSSIP --- You may have started seeing the posters around town trumpeting HBO's Cinema Verite movie debuting this Saturday, April 23. You see the names James Gandolfini, Diane Lane, and Tim Robbins, but, unless you're somewhat clued in, do you even know what this film is about? Last May, the cable-net announced that this film was underway and that the film, written by David Selzter, is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the ground breaking 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family. Still confused? That PBS series was produced by Oscar-winning doc filmmakers Alan and Suzan Raymond and was centered on the Santa Barbara couple Pat and Bill Loud who split up during the filming, and their children, the eldest, Lance, who became TV's first openly gay character. In the HBO-telecast, which is centered on the Pat Loud (Diane Lane) Gandolfini plays the documentary’s producer Craig Gilbert. Actor Thomas Dekker plays Lance; and, Robbins essays Bill. I well remember this series and though it was on the down-low somewhat at the time; it was a fascinating and accurate look at this family's travails and of Lance. I think it's fascinating now to see this family dogged by cameras 24/7; sort of like all the so-called reality shows we have now. I don't work for HBO, but there is virtually no mention of the Loud name, or story on the poster, and I don't know if it was intentional or not? It sure was some lifetimes ago, but for the ones (like myself) who remember, it seems a bit of an oversight. Gandolfini, who has David Chase's forthcoming Twylight Zones (with Robert Funaro, Brad Garrett, and Christopher MacDonald) done and ready for release, is a simply sensational actor. Everything he's been in has been spot-on perfect. My favorite is The Castle with Robert Redford; though I understand that he doesn't consider it one of his best; but, I assure you, it is. Says Lane, "The (Louds didn't know that they were going to get burned in the town square ... for being themselves. That we're so unforgiving is the big discovery here." They were ... the first reality show. Me, I can't wait to see this as I followed the original PBS show and found it nothing short of fantastically compelling. And, what a cast!


Jolene Matthews

IT'S ALL ABOUT JOLENE --- The official trainer to Housewife's of New Jersey’s Teresa Guidance and Jacqueline Laurita, Jolene Matthews, will be making the scenes at several Tribeca Film Festival events when the fete opens this week with a showing of director Cameron Crowe's docu-movie, The Union which chronicles the writing and recording of the album of the same name by Elton John and Leon Russell, produced by T Bone Burnett. John will be on hand to perform following the free outdoor screening at the North Cove of the World Financial Plaza in NYC. “It's a special opportunity to open our 10th festival in this distinct and unique way,” says festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal. “Not only are we inviting the community to join us for the world premiere of Cameron's film, but to have Elton, whose music transcends generations, perform after is an extraordinary gift to our festival and more specifically the downtown community.” The festival runs through May 1. btw: Matthews is also participating in the Mother's Day Charitybuzz auction, with a session of her Fitness Addiction. Check it out here...


Reeve Carney

COME BACK SPIDEY --- Spider Man:Turn Off The Dark played its last preview the other day, after more than a 100 such shows, without ever officially opening. Its now closed for three weeks while it re-tools and hopefully, re-boots itself without its touchstone Julie Taymor. According to our sources, the theater was full and notables, such as composer The Edge (aka David Evans), with Bono, sat in the audience along with producer Michael Cohl. Plans call for previews to start up again on May 12th, with a real opening on June 14th … but, I wouldn't make plans just yet. Ironically, I caught Spider Man 3 (the movie!) on f/x this weekend and marveled at the fact that all three movies were huge, and in a way, so has this play been, as all of the previews were SRO. Yet with Broadway, you don't want to open too early, triggering the real reviews that could (and, have) killed many a show. Again, the thinking was, if all the previews were this big … why open at all? As I have said previously, we've yet to hear from Stan Lee, who actually did have something to do with the creation of the character. Will we? He's got Thor, a re-boot of X-Men, and, Captain America opening this summer … so, his dance-card may well be filled. But, I wouldn't count him out just yet. Also, he's working on a new comic-adventure with Arnold Schwarzenegger!


CONCERT BIZ DOWNTURN --- Read an interesting post to a story posted on Deadline Hollywood about the rather outrageous compensation packages to the key players at Live Nation which controls the tickets to most of the major concert attractions these days. The point of the story was with these high salaries, will ticket prices ever come down to a reasonable fee again for the all-consuming public? From Maggie: “Now that every last classic act has toured to death for the last 25 years, what’s next? Live Nation exists on the fumes of a 30 year old blue-print that has been in freefall since the mid ’90s when Robert Sillerman rolled up the regional arenas. Trying to fill white elephant venues built for a climate that no longer exists is a fool’s errand. This industry has been coasting on profits generated by aging stars who have not been replaced, and at this point it doesn't look like they ever will be. Gouging customers on $12 drinks and $30 parking is not the answer. Does LN really think ‘fans’ will be paying $250 a ticket in 30 years to see today’s manufactured crop of pop frauds and electro-tuned samplers? It’s over.” Most legacy acts tour because no one wants to release a new CD from them … and, when they do perform, it's usually their signature hits … nothing new because that not what the audience wants to hear. Interesting … right?


FRINGE BURNS BRIGHT --- This past Friday night, the episode of Fringe, titled "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" was a rollicking episode that featured a lengthy stretch where all the characters were animated. The animation of the characters, William Bell, Olivia, and, Peter and Walter Bishop, were fun and certainly drove home the continual innovation and brilliance of this show. It harked back to A Scanner Darkly and last year's Inception … and, was spot-on terrific. If you haven't given this show a shot, do yourself a favor and make it happen.