Saturday, December 22, 2012

News Round Up: Zone, Kit, Spock, Ravi, and ‘The Who FAQ’

Many apologies for the lack of new stuff on Psychobabble this past month, but my absence here has allowed me to make great progress with The Who FAQ. I am now more than halfway through the first draft of my book, and if I continue working at this rate, I should have it finished before the spring. That means regular Psychobabble posts may resume sometime in March. I do, however, have a couple of decent-sized features on the way for late December/early January.

Until then, I need to get caught up with some news items that have slipped past this site since the beginning of December…

1. Actor Carey Elwes is gearing up to make his directorial debut with a bio-pic about the late Who-manager Kit Lambert next spring. Elwes is working closely with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend to make his profile of The Who’s troubled mentor as authentic as possible. Former Mojo editor Pat Gilbert supplied the script. Elwes has also been developing a comedic depiction of the meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon called Elvis & Nixon starring Eric Bana as the former and Danny Huston as the latter for a while, but it looks like the Kit flick might beat it into production.

2. Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer is currently at work on yet another “Twilight Zone” revival. This will be the fourth time someone thought they could do what Rod Serling did (and that’s not even including the 1983 feature film or the Leonardo DiCaprio helped TZ feature that’s been in development for the past four years). Like the original series, Singer’s “Twilight Zone” will air on CBS… assuming it doesn’t suffer the same fate as “Mockingbird Lane,” the dodgy “Munsters” remake he directed for NBC that didn’t go further than a pilot.

3. On December 11, Visual Entertainment Inc. released a massive 21-disc “In Search Of…” box set. Included are all 146 episodes of the creepy, Moog-synthesizer-smothered documentary series hosted by Leonard Nimoy, as well as a bonus disc featuring an adaptation of Brave New World starring Nimoy, Daniel Dae Kim, and Peter Gallagher. I’m trying to get my hands on a review copy of the set, but I’m not holding my breath. You can order In Search Of… The Complete Series on Amazon.com here

4. Finally, a quick mention of the recent death of Ravi Shankar. I’m sure you’ve already read plenty of tributes to the genius, but I’ve been feeling terribly remiss about not tossing in my respects. Most relevant to Psychobabble, Ravi Shankar helped spark the short-lived raga-Rock craze that gave us all those mesmeric numbers George Harrison created in the mid-sixties, as well as similarly enthralling pieces by the Stones, Donovan, Tomorrow, Traffic, The Cyrkle, Procol Harum, and every other pop band that navigated their ways around the sitar’s 20-something strings. But let’s not forget the man’s own music: blindingly virtuosic, but also subtle and pastoral. Side A of his Portrait of Genius is surprisingly lacking in showy displays of skill, and Shankar’s sitar often plays backup to the percussion and woodwinds. Then on Side B, he lets it rip on the dazzling twenty-minute “Raga Multani”, which says more about his brilliance than any amount of words could. So, here it is (somewhat edited, unfortunately):
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