SIEGAL SIREN — Today we speak of high wire-event-planner Peggy Siegal. For years, she has delivered top notch media events for music events; TV; cable; and movies. She’s a tough nut to crack … in every way. If she calls you and you’re not there; that’s it. She’s virtually impossible to get on the phone either.
She’s hung with the greats; a party with Travolta; dating Michael Douglas; hanging with Sir Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. She was in many ways, untouchable.
If you were worthy enough to be invited to one of her events, that’s one thing. To even get close to the talent at that event, that was another story. Feared for sure … but, she delivered every time. Me? I liked her tremendously and every time I was invited to one of her events … I was sure to go and had a great time. Sure, she played the game, but she played it very well. She was always terrifically impressive.
Monday came reports that a frequent guest at many of her events was one Jeffrey Epstein. She knew him, worked with and for him and that was it. Almost every single entertainment firm immediately distanced themselves from her. Why? The next time her name was mentioned … it would be followed by her Epstein connection. Guilt by association I believe they call it.
It was a sudden and unexpected fall from grace. Pretty immediate too. I’m not saying that some sort of karma wasn’t deserved, but after a series of calls to several entertainment sources, no one is exactly sad at the turn of events. The endless list of ex-employees contacted had nothing good to say, with one even admitting Siegal said stay away from Epstein.
One wag said, “She was just the beginning.” Stay tuned.
ART NEVILLE PASSES — Singer, songwriter, bandleader, pianist, keyboard player and all-round master of funk, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville, has passed away at the age of 81, his manager has confirmed.
Born in New Orleans, Art’s early career was influenced by such R&B artists as James Booker, Booker T. Jones and Bill Doggett, and at the age of 16 joined The Hawketts, who released Mardi Gras Mambo with Neville on vocals.
He then formed the Neville Sounds, with brothers Aaron and Cyril. However, a while after their departure from the band, the Sounds renamed themselves The Meters who released such seminal funk classics as Cissy Strut.
In the late 70’s, after the dissolution of The Meters, Art teamed up with brothers Aaron, Cyril and Charlie to form the Neville Brothers, who released the star-studded Uptown and 1989’s Yellow Moon, produced by Daniel Lanois.
The Meters later reformed with a slightly different line-up renamed the Funky Meters, and performed with Art until his retirement in 2018.
Neville is survived by his wife and three children, Lorraine, Arthel, Ian and Amelia, and siblings Aaron, Cyril and Athelgra. Huge loss.
BIG LITTLE LIES — HBO’s Big Little Lies ended their 7-episode second season last weekend with a solid, if confusing episode. If you watched the first cycle of the show, then you know just how satisfying it was. Watching Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz work (plus Meryl Streep this season), was like manna from heaven.
There wasn’t supposed to be a second season at all, but producer David E. Kelly and author-Liane Moriarty worked on one. After all the shock and awe, it turned out that almost every show of the second season was about the crime committed and would they or wouldn’t they confess. It was downright frustrating.
Then came the story that director Andrea Arnold (who supposedly did every episode of the second season) was assisted by original Jean-Marc Vallee, who did that brilliant first season. And, what Valle crafted, was just sensational. In a way, he re-set the standards for episodic-TV. Just brilliant. Truth to told, whatever happened between Arnold and Vallee, it certainly dampened the sheen.
The finale addressed almost everything and certainly left the door open for a third season. The Monterey 5, as they were called, walked towards the police station.
Nonetheless, great acting.
SHORT TAKES — Social-influencer Wendy Stuart Kaplan hung with singer Alicia Myers (“I Want To Thank You”) at The Brooklyn Mirage last weekend … Seen at the recently concluded NAMM event in Nashville: Micky Dolenz-band members Wayne Avers and John Billings … Went to see Disney’s The Lion King and loved it. Having attended the opening night of the Broadway production years back and a big fan of the animated movie, the genie was somewhat out of the bottle. Still, it was spectacular. James Earl Jones still rules … Seen in Tribeca: WOR’s Tom Cuddy … Race Taylor’s first show on CBS FM Monday, started off with Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love.” Brilliant! Glad to have him back on the air … Been watching Showtime’s The Loudest Voice and am loving it. Maybe it’s because I knew most of those people (yes, even Ailes), but Russell Crowe is nothing short of brilliant. Based on Gabriel Sherman’s book, I think it’s must-see TV … And, am off for a long summer weekend get-a-way; back Wednesday.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Roger Friedman; Richard Johnson; Claudia Cohen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Vinny Rich; Adam Pollack; Craig Newman; Luanne Nast; Jane Blunkell; Virginia Loehle; Ebet Roberts; Howard Bloom; Andrew Saffir; Paul Chase; Chuck Pulin; Jeff Smith; and CFS.