The season of summer blockbusters is upon us, with “The Great Gatsby,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and “The Lone Ranger” making it to the top of many movie-goers must-see lists.
Those films are likely to rake in tens of millions of dollars. But the true test of a summer epic is its capacity to remain in the popular consciousness years after its release, to leapfrog from one generation to the next.
Films such as “E.T.” and “Jaws” have more than passed that test, which makes them the ideal selections for the summer outdoor movie series at Mill River Park.
Presented by the Mill River Collaborative and the Avon Theatre, “Spielberg at Sunset” features films either directed, written or produced by Steven Spielberg: “E.T.” (June 4), “Gremlins” (July 2), “Jaws” (Aug. 6) and “Goonies” (Sept. 3). The series kicked off last Friday with “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
A deejay will play music before each screening at 6:30 p.m. and the movie will play at sunset. Spectators are encouraged to bring warm clothes, blankets and snacks.
Mill River Park opened with a ribbon-cutting Thursday night at a private fundraising gala at the park on Washington Boulevard. More events are slated to take place there in the future.
Elsas last appeared at the Avon on Nov. 7, drawing a crowd despite an early season snowstorm and the after-effects of Superstorm Sandy. Organizers said interest that evening merited a return engagement. The May 7 event will include classic interviews, photographs and recollections of historic moments in radio. Elsas also will conduct a question-and-answer session.
As one of New York’s enduring and well-known radio personalities, Elsas has interviewed many rock greats during his more than 35-year career, including John Lennon, Elton John, Levon Helm, Pete Townshend and Jerry Garcia. Elsas said recently these music greats are just some of the people that he had a chance to meet and interview. Audio and video highlights from those sessions are a major part of the show, he added.
The heart of the show reflects Elsas’ own history and his memories of growing up in the 60′s with Top 40 radio and the personalities that he listened to, “that unknowingly at the time were shaping my future.”
As he progresses through his college years and the early days of progressive FM radio, he eventually arrives at his long tenure at NYC’s WNEW-FM in the early 1970s.
Elsas, a Queens, N.Y., native, grew up in the 1960s listening to such Top 40 AM radio stations as WABC, WMCA and WINS. By the time he entered college, FM radio was increasingly adopting free-form progressive rock formats and other original programming.
After leaving Queens College, where he helped to establish the campus radio station WQMC, he found work at WVOX in New Rochelle, N.Y., and then, later, set up camp at WNEW-FM, where he would spend 25 years, eventually becoming the station’s music director. For the past 13 years or so, he has anchored the afternoon (2 to 6 p.m.) show at WFUV (90.7). He said the station’s “eclectic format and programming freedom recalls the best features of those early FM days.”
“Rock ‘N’ Roll Never Forgets” will feature a multimedia presentation of classic interviews, photographs and recollections of historic moments. It has been about six years since he started compiling this history of radio and his career on his website, and about a year since he has taken it on the road.
“When I set up the archives, I found a way to put the information out there,” he said. However, the live shows have given Elsas a way to meet fans and friends who have shared this musical history.
Tickets for the May 7 event are $6 for members (carte blanche members are free), $8 for students and seniors, and $11 for nonmembers. The Avon Theatre is located at 272 Bedford St., Stamford. For more information, call 203-967-3660 or visit avontheatre.org.
Above, the Stamford Museum and Nature Center’s Model Ts to Mustangs outdoor antique and classic car display will take place Saturday, May 4, 2013, and feature many makes and models. However, special attention will be given to Fords this year. For more information, call 203-322-1646 or visit http://www.stamfordmuseum.org. Contributed photo
With the spring blooms having sprung and nice weather on tap for the weekend, it appears to be the time to check out a number of outdoor events planned over the next few days.
Car fans can see how the Model T eventually gave rise to the Mustang, and later Ford models, during the 10th annual classic and antique car show at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. About 70 cars are expected to roll their way onto the meadow on Saturday, and perhaps pick up a few honors in the process. Flora will be the focus in Fairfield when the 78th annual Dogwood Festival gets under way. There will be music, blossoms, outdoor items to purchase and food to enjoy. KidsFest will bring vendors, activities and inflatables to Ridgefield’ Ballard Park. And Wilton will enjoy a Go Green festival in this season of green.
The weekend continues into next week, with a melding of film and music when the Fairfield Theatre Company hosts a screening of “Stop Making Sense,” the 1984 Talking Heads concert movie. It will help to raise funds for the theater company and WPKn 89.5.
Tomorrow also marks Free Comic Book Day. Several shops around the area will be hosting the day with special events, including Stamford’s A Timeless Journey. At Heroes Comics & Cards in Norwalk, Jeff Marsick and Kirk Manley will be there signing their books (“Dead Man’s Party” and “Z-Girl and the 4 Tigers”), making art and giving away items. Rogue Comics of Bridgeport will be involved, as will Alternate Universe of Milford and New Haven.
Tickets go on sale to the public today, either through the center’s website, phone at 203-325-4466 or at the center’s box office in downtown Stamford.
The evening will likely include some of her greatest hits from a career that has stretched from the early 1960s, when she was in her teens, to the present day. Starting out as a member of The Supremes, she went on to a successful solo career by the late 1960s. An Academy Award-nominated actress, some of her notable roles include Billie Holiday in the film “Lady Sings the Blues,” the lead in the 1975 film “Mahogany” and Dorothy in the 1978′s “The Wiz.” The Stamford concert also will likely put a spotlight on her glamorous style and fashion sense.
Ross, a longtime Greenwich resident, has performed in the area in the past. In 2004, she took to the stage at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich for a benefit concert for the Arch Street Teen Center.
Last week saw the release of Robert De Niro’s highly-anticipated area-filmed flick, “The Big Wedding.”
And, despite its star-studded cast (De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams) and decently funny premise (more on that later), a lot of movie-goers left the film at the altar.
Shot in Greenwich and directed by Greenwich native Justin Zackham (screenwriter for “The Bucket List”), the movie centers on a long-divorced couple (played by De Niro and Keaton) who fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding. In reality, De Niro’s character is dating another woman (played by Sarandon) — a painfully awkward situation with the potential for hilarity.
However, “The Big Wedding” hardly delivers on that potential: not only was it a box office flop, taking in just $7.5 million on a $35 million budget in its first week, it was widely panned by critics (the film currently holds an abysmal 8 percent rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes).
“To say that Justin Zackham’s farce ‘The Big Wedding’ takes the low road doesn’t begin to do justice to the sheer awfulness of this star-stuffed, potty-mouthed fiasco,” critic Stephen Holden wrote in a scathing review for The New York Times.
On the surface, the news of another sub-par romantic comedy bombing at the box office isn’t particularly noteworthy — until you examine De Niro’s Fairfield County filmography. There’s a disappointing trend: any time the actor films in the region, the resulting flick turns out to be a critical and commercial bust.
Take the last four movies De Niro made in Fairfield County (Source/IMDB):
“What Just Happened,” a comedy/drama in which De Niro plays a fading Hollywood producer struggling to get his latest picture made, grossed a mere $1.1 million (U.S.) on a $25 million budget. The film received mixed reviews, and holds a 51 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Filmed in: Stamford, Fairfield, Danbury
“Everybody’s Fine,” a drama in which De Niro plays a widower who sets off on an impromptu road trip to reunite with each of his adult children, grossed just $8.8 million (U.S.) on a $21 million budget. The film received mixed reviews, and holds a 46 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Filmed in: Stamford, Bridgeport, Ridgefield
“Righteous Kill,” a thriller about two veteran New York City detectives (played by De Niro and Al Pacino) who work on a case of serial executions of criminals who escaped justice, grossed $40 million (U.S.) on a $60 million budget. The film received mixed to negative reviews, and holds a 36 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Filmed in: Norwalk, Bridgeport, Milford
“The Good Shepherd,”which De Niro both directed and starred in, grossed $60 million (U.S.) on a $90 million budget. The film received mixed reviews, and holds a 54 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Filmed in: Greenwich, Tarrytown, N.Y.
It’s not as if other mediocre movies haven’t emerged from the region (take Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst’s botched thriller, “All Good Things”). But De Niro’s string of failures is simply unmatched. You might say he’s suffering from a Gold Coast Curse.
More likely, though, it’s his own doing; or, rather, it’s the films he’s choosing. De Niro’s reputation is ironclad (he has two Academy Awards, an American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honors under his belt); a few stinkers won’t soil his career, especially when he continues to dazzle in movies like “Silver Linings Playbook.” Still, the films in question are nothing more than in-flight snoozers. That, taken with the fact that De Niro is worth a whopping $185 million, begs the question: why does he even bother?
The silver lining is that every so often, we get a visit from an on-screen legend — the actor who played the hot-headed boxer Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull” and the mafia overlord Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II.” There’s an excitement surrounding De Niro’s appearances. But the excitement, unfortunately, rarely carries over to the movie theaters.
Back in February when a blizzard blasted Bridgeport, Cappadonna and Duece Bug, like thousands of other city residents, were left snowed in.
But the hip hop artists — the former, a Wu Tang Clan member who was rolling through Bridgeport on his latest tour; the latter, a Norwalk emcee who was hosting him — saw their bout of captivity as a chance to get some work done.
Holing themselves up in Bridgeport’s 24/7 Recordings, the artists collaborated on a song for Duece Bug’s upcoming studio album, “Mantis,” and recorded a music video to go with it.
“I put (Cappadonna) up at my boy Shane’s studio so he could work on his new project, at which time he blessed me with another verse for my album,” said Duece Bug, who previously collaborated with Cappadonna on “More Than You Ever Know,” a track off his debut LP, “F**k Duece Bug.”
“It was all love and words can’t describe how grateful I am to shoot darts with one of my favorite emcees of all time.”
Directed by Bridgeport-based Sympl and Tainted Designs, the stark, no frills video for “Only Human” captures the emcees — along with Full Blast Movement members White Cheddar and Chuck Nickels — in the midst of their impromptu, snowbound recording session.
After more than a decade of running restaurants in some of the world’s top hotels, Gordon Ramsay knows firsthand the importance of surpassing expectations.
The first season of Fox’s “Hotel Hell” was the biggest unscripted network hit of last summer, and now, Ramsay is coming back for a second season. He’s hitting the road to fix some of America’s most horrendous hotels, troubled inns and struggling resorts, many of which are on the brink of closure.
Ramsay will travel from coast to coast, with his first stop set for The Curtis House in Woodbury.
The hot-tempered celebrity chef and his team will be in town from Saturday, May 11 to Tuesday, May 14. If you want to book a room or dinner while the show is filming, email HotelShowCurtis@gmail.com.
The television air date has not yet been announced.
The Gathering of the Vibes 2013 lineup already boasts Phil Lesh & Friends, The Black Crowes, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Roots and James Murphy.
Now, more bands are being added to the annual four-day music festival at Bridgeport’s Seaside Park, including a yet-to-be-announced “huge artist addition.”
The new slate of acts includes Blues Traveler, Steve Kimock with Bernie Worrell, Jason Crosby Band, Twiddle and Von Grey. Festival organizers pointed to June 10 as the date for the next line-up reveal.
The daily schedule for the July 25-28 festival is now available, and all four nights are shaping up to be a blast. However, Saturday, which features The Roots, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, James Murphy (late night) and a mystery headliner, is likely to attract the biggest crowds.
Meanwhile, Phil Lesh & Friends are set to play Friday and Saturday, with Friday also bringing Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jimkata and Galactic to the Vibes stage. Sunday boasts the Black Crowes, Blues Traveler and Fishbone.
What’s more, the festival kicked off its annual “Road To The Vibes” contest, in which Facebook followers can vote for an up and coming act to play on Thursday.
The festival’s daily schedule is now available, with single day, VIP and weekend camping passes on sale.