The Glorious Corner: Cannes Film Festival, Classic Rock Musican Dave Mason, Jimmy Fallon and More

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G. H. Harding

CANNES CANNES — (Via DeadlineKorean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho scooped the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or Saturday night with Parasite, a powerful dramedy about the collision of two families from very different classes. This is Bong’s first major prize in Cannes and was not a surprise given the great reception and momentum it enjoyed on the ground. In his remarks onstage inside the Lumière, he noted to the French audience that one of his inspirations has been Claude Chabrol.

The prizes overall followed expectations, although there were no gongs for Quentin Tarantino’s roundly lauded Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – perhaps noting how this year’s jury went for more contemporary stories of issues the world is facing today. Before bestowing the Palme d’Or, Jury President Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu said the panel had watched films from iconic directors and veterans who mixed genres, while adding that in “the time we live today, democracy is losing itself.” This jury, he said, “was totally democratic” and the decision to award Parasite was “unanimous.”

Other major winners include Antonio Banderas who plays a sort of alter ego to Pedro Almodovar in the Spanish director’s Pain And Glory. Banderas said on stage, “You have no idea how much I’d like to be able to speak French and at the same time I want to speak Spanish so I’m going to try to do a paella of both… When I walked up the red carpet I was asked how much time it took me to get here… it took 40 years.” He added, “There is no mystery” that the character he plays is Almodovar who he met 40 years ago. “We did eight films together. I respect him, I love him. He is my mentor. He gave me so much that this prize is dedicated to him.” Banderas concluded with, “There is pain and glory but the best is yet to come.”

Annually, the outcome here in Cannes is anything but predictable, though some of the biggest buzz has also been on been on Quentin Tarantino’s lauded reflection on 1969 Los Angeles, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The film premiered earlier this week, 25 years to the day after Pulp Fiction which went on to the Palme d’Or in 1994.

Dave Mason “Future’s Past”

MASON’S FUTURE PAST — Frequent readers know full well that I still hold singer/songwriter Dave Mason in the highest regard. His early-work with Traffic and his first solo album Alone Together are works of art as far as I’m concerned. After his 70’s heyday, Mason even joined an iteration of Fleetwood Mac with Bekka Bramlett and put out with them, one terrific, but way overlooked album Time (1995).

He’s not on a  major label any longer and tours (Mike Finnigan and Dr. Rick Jaeger are long gone) most of the year but several years ago he released on album called Future’s Past in which he re-boots several of his hits, including vintage Traffic numbers. For some reason I never heard the CD till now, but I have now and its really terrific.

The package comes with a cover illustration of Mason, circa 1974, from none other than Graham Nash. Inside, Mason re-boots his “World In Changes” and “As Sad And Deep As You,” two of my favorite Dave-tracks.

His current band is sparse, but they do an incredible job, especially on the Traffic-chestnut “Dear Mr. Fantasy,”  where none other than Joe Bonamassa contributes a terrific guitar lead. It’s not surprising it’s so good, but that Mason, a superlative guitarist on his own, would bring in someone else to do the lead.

Mason, a great guitarist himself, is an economical one and while maybe not as flashy as say, Clapton, is terrifically competent.

There are only 9 tracks on this album –economical too- but it proves that even in this day and age, Mason is as strong as ever. There’s not even a record label logo on the album, meaning it was probably self-distributed, but then, it’s something to sell during the shows.

Mason’s an old pirate for sure, but his vocal capabilities have not changed at all. He’s still sensational.

JIMMY FALLON — Amid Jimmy Fallon’s stunning loss in the ratings, we hear that there’s turmoil at the top of the Tonight Show with one exec suddenly and mysteriously out and another tearing into boss Lorne Michaels as they struggle to fix the faltering show.

Fallon’s Tonight Show has been steadily falling behind newcomer Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, and on Wednesday it was revealed that Colbert has topped Fallon for a full season for the first time. 

As Fallon’s famously fluffy show began to fall behind Colbert’s politically charged material, Fallon tried to ape Colbert by bringing in Today show vet Jim Bell as showrunner to inject some topical heat to the show.

But we’re told that — as the ratings continue to suffer in spite of that gambit — an anguished Bell is sniping at executive producer and NBC royalty Michaels, who heads up Saturday Night Liveand a glut of NBC comedies.

30 Rock insiders say Bell is frustrated because he thinks that Michaels — who championed Fallon’s rise from SNL to his stint at Late Night and finally to Tonight — is “stuck in the past,” and believes Fallon has to reinvent himself to compete.

A spokesperson for NBC told us, “We are really pleased with the innovation of ‘The Puerto Rico Show’ and ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ under Jim’s leadership. We are excited for some new elements coming this summer and fall. Jimmy continues to share signature segments like slow jam the news, most recently with Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.”

Meanwhile, we’re told there’s a snarl because of an odd arrangement at the top of the ladder.

While Michaels is technically senior as the executive producer, Bell runs the show day-to-day as “executive in charge.”

In his seven-month reign, Bell has brought about changes, producing a number of outside-the-studio specials, even taking Fallon to Puerto Rico for a Hamilton special with Lin-Manuel Miranda.

And, we’ve learned that Fallon’s longtime producer Katie Hockmeyer has now left — shortly after her return from maternity leave.

She started off as an NBC page before moving to SNL and working in Michaels’ office. She had been with Fallon since he launched Late Night in 2009.

“Katie is still an employee,” an NBC executive confirmed, while a source familiar with the situation said that “Katie has always been a valued leader in this company. She’s been with Jimmy for 10 years and is beloved by the staff.” It’s not clear what her new role at the network is.

Hockmeyer’s departure also comes just months after the “Tonight” show’s other longtime showrunner, Mike DiCenzo, quit.

DiCenzo cited burnout after 10 years on late-night TV and left as Bell — the executive producer of the Today show from 2005 until 2012 — took over.

The move mirrored one at insurgent CBS, in which executive producer Chris Licht moved from CBS This Morning to late night — with blockbuster results.

Johnny Carson

I like Fallon, but the reality is that his comedic talents just go so far. He’s from SNL, so he really can’t do any more than that … and, he was really, really good with that. The Tonight Show has become –and has been for quite some time- just a sketch show.

I started watching clips from Johnny Carson when he was on The Tonight Show. That’s the real deal … no question. I pfredict that after Fallon, Colbert and Kimmel … that type of interview show will return.

Mark Bego & Debbie Gibson in Phoenix 
“Between The Lines”

SHORT TAKES — Author Mark Bego caught NKOTB’s Mix Tape Tour last week in Phoenix. And, he talked with Debbie Gibson before the show. Gibson is featured in Bego’s Eat Like A Rock Star book and he actually did a biography on her in 1989, called Between The Lines. He said the show was sensational with a stage at each end of the area; confetti cannons and fabulous lights.Here’s the shot … CBS’ Elementary, which returned last Thursday, was just superb. This is their last season and now, based in the U.K., the episode was just phenomenal. For me, Jonny Lee Miller is the best actor on TV right now. Loved it … The Sixties Sound, a nostalgic night of vintage pop and rock tunes, is heading to The Theatre at Grand Prairie (in Dallas) on Sept. 27. Headlined by The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz and Mark Lindsay, the performance will also feature a set from The Fab Four, one of the leading Beatles interpreters. We’ll have the complete itinerary shortly. This should be excellent … Brad Balfour’s interview with social-media influencer Wendy Stuart Kaplan is out in Film Festival Traveler. Check it out here: http://filmfestivaltraveler.com/film-arts/film-arts-interviews/3964-wendy-stuart-kaplan-s-endless-conversation-with-new-york-and-the-world … At Eric Clapton ‘s yearly residency at The Royal Albert Hall in the U.K., his first encore was Prince’s “Purple Rain.” EC was and is a huge Prince-fan. I heard he interpretation and it was superb … Growing up, the Canadian-group The Guess Who (Burton Cummings; Randy Bachman) were one of my favorites, with an astonishing string of #1 records: “These Eyes,” “Undun,” “No Time,” “American Woman” and “Laughing.” I came across a video of the two performing as Bachman/Cummings, and was just blown away. Cummings voice remains virtually unchanged and with Bachman, performed all of their hits, with a brilliant commentary. Simply amazing. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLw-6A7Uwvo … Watched Eye In The Sky (2015), Alan Rickman’s final movie with Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul. Not a great one; more of a theater-play, as it unfolds with great dialogue. Still, Rickman was sensational. A great actor. Much missed. When I turned on the TV later the same night, Die Hard (the original) was on with Rickman in a most memorable role as Hans Gruber … Bat Out Of Hell, the musical … starting August 1. It opened in England to glamorous reviews, but there’s just been barrage of commercials here. It’ll be interesting for sure.

Alan Rickman
Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Greg Messel; Julia Machover; Dan Zelinski; Jay Cassell; Sarah Clarke; Ida Langsam; Jacqueline Boyd; Wendy Stuart Kaplan; Michael Musto; Rob Doherty; Dina Pitenis; William Schill; Jordan Runtaugh; Bill Murray; Paul Undersinger; and, CHIP.

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