John & Yoko — A&E will premiere the two-hour Biography documentary John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky on Monday, March 11 at 9:00 pm ET/PT. The special traces the untold story of the making of Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine, and recounts a story of hope for a world divided yet still desperately in need of peace, justice, empathy and love. The album, and its iconic title track, exemplify the extraordinary genius behind the music that defined a movement and marked an era.
Utilizing never-before-seen footage of Lennon and Ono from their private archive, the special delves into the depth of the creative collaboration between the couple and explores how the art, politics and music of the pair are intrinsically entwined. Ultimately, the documentary draws parallels from the past to the present using the couple’s underlying message of radical engagement.
The special features interviews with the people who witnessed the period first hand including Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, David Bailey (photographer), John Dunbar (Gallerist, who introduced the couple), Dan Richter (Yoko’s neighbor and John’s former personal assistant) and Eddie Veale (studio designer), some of whom have never spoken publicly on camera before.
Biography’s John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky is directed by Michael Epstein and produced in association with A&E Network by Eagle Rock FILMS with Peter Worsley as Producer and Geoff Kempin and Terry Shand serving as executive producers.
This follows the re-release of Imagine last August; there was a tremendous amount of hype, but the film was basically the same version of the film that came out in 1972 as a TV special. It was remastered and the sound was digitally re-done, but essentially it was the same. The publicist handling the film didn’t even have a review copy to send to us. Shoddy for sure.
Not to say buyer beware; but how many times can you release the same thing? The anticipation was great, but sales were just so-so. Maybe you can’t keep fooling the people after all!
THE LOU PEARLMAN CON — The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story is an upcoming American documentary film that is scheduled to premiere on March 13, 2019 at SXSW. Produced by Lance Bass, the film will explore the career and legacy of record producer and convicted criminal Lou Pearlman.
The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story features “the story of Lou Pearlman, his remarkable successes and offenses, and his tragic end while serving a 25-year prison sentence for multiple felony convictions. It also reveals the dark side of stardom and the music industry as members of multi-platinum-selling bands like *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, O-Town and Take 5 tell all about working with Pearlman.”
The documentary is set to feature interviews with AJ McLean, Ashley Parker Angel, Aaron Carter, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Lance Bass, Diane Bass, and Lynn Bomar Harless.
The film is scheduled to hold its world premiere at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2019 during the SXSW film festival as part of the “24 Beats Per Second” series of screenings.
Lou Pearlman was an enigma. From humble beginning running a blimp company, he built a company (Trans Continental) that actively scoured new talent. His efforts spawned talent from *NSYNC to the Backstreet Boys. We asked PR-man David Salidor, who handled the media for Debbie Gibson during those halcyon times, for his thoughts: “I ran into Lou Pearlman at the Beverly Center in California, of all places and we sat and had a brilliant conversation for over an hour. Debbie was the reigning female-teen at the time and I got the distinct feeling he was pumping me for information and I freely gave him some choice tidbits During that talk, I never, ever got the feeling that Pearlman was doing anything untoward. At that time he was the most successful entrepreneur of them all. He had all the successful boy bands; a winning track record.”
Our spies at SXSW will report back to us when the film is unspools.
SHORT TAKES — In anticipation of their summer Mix Tape Tour, New Kids On the Block released a new music video “Boys In the Band,” featuring some of their touring partners in the video as well. It’s actually a great song; a take on boy bands … check it out https://mol.im/a/6763141 … and, best of all, it’s dedicated to their mentor and original producer Maurice Starr …Richard Plepler, who’s been with HBO for three decades is leaving the company. Pleper was responsible for most of the quality programming on the network; including The Sopranos; VEEP and Game Of Thrones. Time Warner, now known as Warner Media, has been bought by AT&T. Could Pleper be the new president of CBS, formally replacing Les Moonves? I’d bet money on it … and, Tyrese Gibson will star as singer-songwriter Teddy Pendergrass in a biopic set up with Warner Bros., which has acquired the life rights to the late singer. Pendergrass broke out in the early 1970’s as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, and became a massive success as an R&B solo artist with five consecutive platinum albums. He suffered a spinal cord injury in a 1982 traffic accident that left him a quadriplegic, learned how to sing again and returned to perform at the Live Aid Concert in Philadelphia at JFK Stadium in 1985. Pendergrass continued his solo career until announcing his retirement in 2007. He died of cancer in 2010.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dina Pitenis; Jason Elzy; Bill Murray; Curtis Urbina; Heather Moore; Diane Gibson; Angela Tarantino; Tobe Becker; Robert Funaro; William Schill; Anthony Pomes; Howie Dorough;