Story By: G. H. HARDING
Aretha Franklin

MACCA SESSIONS --- Aerosmith's Joe Perry's been talking about a recording project involving himself and Paul McCartney: “I did a [recording] session with Paul McCartney a month and a half ago for a private thing,” Perry told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He just happens to be a mother——g huge talent! Everyone’s in the room at once. You play until you get a good take.” Perry says also in the studio were Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp. “The three of us are looking at each other like, hey, we're sitting here with Paul McCartney!”

JESUS AND SPIDEY IN COURT --- While rock promoter Michael Cohl let the New York Times bullhorn his vague plans for two new live-theater projects earlier this week, Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Really Useful Group has confirmed its own plan to sue the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark producer for the stunning (and, sudden) cancellation of a North American Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar that had been planned for this summer.

RUG “Is taking legal action against Michael Cohl’s Options Clause Entertainment following his cancellation of the 2014 North American Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar,” Lloyd Webber announced through their U. K. spokeswoman Janine Shalom. “The Really Useful Group (RUG) has no option but to proceed with legal action to recover its costs associated with the project and in turn, satisfy outstanding payments to suppliers and contractors.”

Cohl and producing partner Jeremiah Harris took over the foundering production of Spider-Man at the request of U2 superstars Bono and The Edge, who wrote the score for the Julie Taymor-helmed show. By the time they were done, Taymor had been fired, half a dozen openings had been postponed, several people had been seriously injured, and the show had become the butt of jokes ranging from Late Night With David Letterman to the cover of the New Yorker magazine — Spidey had ballooned to an $85 million disaster, the biggest flop in Broadway history.

At its closing, Cohl and Harris promised a revamped version of the show for Las Vegas. In the Monday Times fluff-piece, they said, “Oh, never mind,” about Vegas, but that maybe Spider-Man would tour arenas. Please focus attention, Cohl pleaded, on my two new ventures: a musical adaptation of the animated comedy Rio and “a live stage show” based on the film Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

First, however, he'll have to deal with Lloyd Webber, who is no slouch when it comes to protecting his products. The Superstar tour had been cast, sets built and aggressively promoted when it was abruptly canceled in May. It was also an immediate sell-out at many of its dates.

“Cohl through, Options Clause Entertainment LLC, had agreed to be the promoter of this tour and under the terms of the agreement was responsible for all of the costs associated with the U.S. dates,” the RUG statement said. “Since Mr Cohl’s unilateral decision to cancel the tour, The Really Useful Group has been tirelessly working to find an out of court settlement of the costs incurred by cancellation at such a late stage.”

Barney Wragg CEO of RUG said “The Really Useful Group is hugely disappointed to be let down in this way particularly taking into account the impact (both personal and financial) that it has had on the many people who have put so much hard work into this project. We had a sell-out UK Arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012 and, in 2013, the same production toured Australia also playing to capacity audiences with unprecedented success.”

We wrote back on May 21 of this year in this column, about the show returning to the stage. It is a huge, terrific property – and, it was eagerly anticipated.

Stay tuned … this will be interesting.

FRANKLIN ROCKETS --- Aretha Franklin had some harsh words for a New York server who showed D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T by telling the Queen of Soul she wasn't allowed to eat her takeout inside the restaurant.

A spokesman for Franklin says the situation unfolded Tuesday at a Johnny Rockets restaurant in Lewiston near Buffalo.

The spokesman said Franklin ordered a hamburger after performing a sold-out show. But he says the server screamed at Franklin, saying she couldn't sit down to eat because she had ordered takeout.

Franklin says in a statement that the restaurant worker was “very rude, unprofessional and nasty.”

A Johnny Rockets spokeswoman says the franchise owner is sorry for the actions of “a new and very young employee.”

She says the owner has spoken with the employee and has clarified his takeout policies.


CLOSING NOTES --- Did we hear this right? After his PR-firm resigned his account, the client (a writer) called a local Pizza Hut near the firm's office and ordered 5 pies in his name? Didn't a prank like this usually work in high school? ...

Monday we mentioned how former Brooklyn Boro-president Marty Markowitz was going to be front and center at tonight's Micky Dolenz show at B. B. King's ... and, we thought, Markowitz should be our next Mayor. I'd certainly vote for that one ...

This year's Comic Con in San Diego brought out more names than ever before and screened footage from several upcoming movies. Best moments included; Josh Brolin's appearance at Thanos in several forthcoming Marvel movies; The Blacklist's James Spader, who is the voice of Ultron in the next Avengers movie; Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory; Jim Caviezel from CBS' Elementary; Robert Downey, Jr., touting a huge, big announcement in the next seven days about him possibly returning to the Iron Man franchise; original Mad Max-director George Miller, talking about his new Max-entry, Fury Road, with Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Zoe Kravitz; Matthew McConaughey and director Christopher Nolan talking about heir new movie Interstellar.

Director Zach Snyder hyping his forthcoming Batman/Superman epic -with a brief montage of footage- and unveiling Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman ... and, a panel, TV's Batman, with Adam West, Burt Ward (Robin) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar) promoting the forthcoming DVD set of their series - when Batman was a classic, camp 60's TV show ...and, rumors floated about the possible casting of Joaquin Phoenix as Marvel Comic's Dr. Strange.

All said this year's Comic Con was the best one yet.