Quick Hits: May 8

  • Pink Floyd has written its first new material since 1994, a single titled “Hey Hey, Rise Up”. The lyrics are based on the Ukrainian protest anthem “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow”. Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk, who took a break from touring the US with his band BoomBox to join the resistance to the Russian invasion, recorded himself singing the song in Sophia Square in Kyiv and posted the video to Instagram. David Gilmour’s Ukrainian daughter-in-law shared the post with Gilmour, who obtained permission from Khlyvnyuk to use his vocals. Gilmour collaborated with Floyd drummer Nick Mason to create the music. All proceeds from the single are going to Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief.
  • The charming, delightful, colorfully-blazered Mattea Roach has ended her run on Jeopardy! after winning twenty-three games and more than $560,000 dollars. She is ranked fifth all-time in both total wins and total earnings. Roach will obviously return for the Tournament of Champions, where she’ll face off against Amy Schneider.
  • Mike Hagerty, best known as Mr. Treeger on Friends, has passed away at the age of sixty-seven.
  • Paramount Pictures was founded on this day in 1912 as Famous Players Film Company. Paramount is the second-oldest American film studio after Universal. Among the most well-known Paramount productions are The Greatest Show on Earth, Vertigo, Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Beverly Hills Cop, Forrest Gump, Titanic, and the Mission Impossible series.
  • Dr. No, the first film in the James Bond series, was released in the US on this day in 1963.
Dr. No‘s iconic opening credits were created by Maurice Binder, who worked on a total of sixteen Bond films
  • Roberto Rossellini, Italian film director and father of Isabella Rossellini, was born on this day in 1906. Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman fell in love with each other on the set of Stromboli; since both were married to other people, the affair caused quite a stir in the US, especially after Bergman gave birth to a baby boy the same month that the movie was released (twins Isabella and Ingrid came along a few years later). Stromboli tanked at the box office in the States (though it fared better in Europe, where the affair wasn’t quite as scandalous) but it won the Rome Prize for Cinema as the year’s best film and is generally regarded as a masterpiece of Italian cinema.
  • Phyllida Law, Scottish actor and mum to Sophie and Emma Thompson, is celebrating her 90th birthday today.
  • Robert Johnson, blues musician, songwriter, and founding member of the 27 Club (https://peanut-butter-and-julie.com/2021/04/05/the-27-club/), was born on this day in 1911. A master of the Delta Blues, Johnson is one of the most influential musicians of all time (I won’t get into boring music theory here, but there’s a direct line from Johnson to Chuck Berry to Keith Richards to Eric Clapton). Johnson’s death in 1938 remains a mystery, though there are plenty of theories: he likely had congenital syphilis, he may have been poisoned, or maybe he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical talents. Even Johnson’s gravesite is unknown; markers have been put up in three different Mississippi cemeteries where his body could be buried.
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opened at the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre). With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (who later created the M*A*S*H television series and wrote the Oscar-nominated Tootsie screenplay), A Funny Thing… really came alive when Jerome Robbins was brought in to consult after a disappointing preview. Robbins suggested a new opening number, one that would herald the bawdy comedy ahead. Sondheim wrote a new song – the iconic “Comedy Tonight” – and the rest is history. The original Broadway production racked up eight Tony nominations and six wins, including Best Musical, Best Director for George Abbott, and Best Actor for Zero Mostel (Nathan Lane also won a Tony for a 1996 revival). Mostel reprised his role in the delightful 1966 film adaptation, which you can stream on Tubi or Hoopla.
  • Three Imaginary Boys, The Cure’s UK debut, was released on this day in 1979. The album was later repackaged as Boys Don’t Cry (and given a different track order) for its release in the States. I much prefer the original cover.
  • After a more than two-year delay due to COVID, Top Gun: Maverick is finally set to be released later this month. Lady Gaga has released the first single off the film’s soundtrack, “Hold My Hand”. The clip includes snippets from the movie; Maverick, still haunted by Goose’s death, is now the flight instructor for Goose’s son, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller). Oh, and Maverick gets another chance to hook up with Penny Benjamin, played by Jennifer Connelly.

4 thoughts on “Quick Hits: May 8

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Mattea on Jeopardy. She was a breath of fresh air, such a god player, and so knowledgable at only 23. Looking forward to seeing her on the Tournament of Champions.

    Liked by 2 people

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