The Glorious Corner: Sirius XM Raises Rates, Thanksgiving Day Parade and RIP Nicolas Roeg and Bernardo Bertolucci

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G.H. Harding 

SIRIUS/XM RAISES RATES — SiriusXM radio is raising subscription rates on a number of its pricing plans, including a 5% monthly price hike on its all-inclusive All Access package, which includes in-car, Internet streaming and smart speaker access. That tier moves from $19.99 to $20.99. Royalty fees are also going up 5%, as of Nov. 15, from $2.78 to $2.92.

The satellite service’s second most expensive plan, Select, remains unchanged at $15.99 a month, and Mostly Music stays at $10.99 monthly. The company says that those three plans are its most popular.

Also higher is the SiriusXM Internet Streaming add-on, which moves from an extra $4 per month to an extra $5 per month. In addition, some changes to content are coming based on subscriber plans: All Access subscribers have access to three add-on channels, but they have changed: to Major League Baseball, the NBA and PGA Tour, instead of NASCAR, Howard Stern and the NFL. Those latter three are now included in Select.

David Salidor with Scott Shannon and Steve Leeds

For those interested only in music, the Mostly Music package is now a less expensive alternative at $10.99, although it excludes specialty channels The Beatles, E Street Radio, Grateful Dead, Garth Brooks and Tom Petty.

In all, SiriusXM has 40 different packages available to subscribers.

Says Inside Radio: “Since Sirius does not disclose the breakdown of its subscribers by payment plan, there is no way of knowing, even approximately, how much additional revenue could be generated from the latest price increases.” It adds that the price increase is unlikely to have a noticeable impact in Q4, and even in 2018 since it will take time for the increase to roll through self-pay subscribers as they come up for renewal.

SiriusXM is being transparent about what the changes mean for subscribers, offering a Q&A on its website about the rate hikes.

I remember when satellite radio, as opposed to terrestrial radio, first came into play. I, and others, wondered whether it would succeed and what would be its lasting impact. They’re not really playing anything new … yet, re-purposing existing music. It did succeed and is today a staple for sure.

It made Stern many, many millions, yet most people I know have it because they bought a new car with it, with a workable pay plan. Many of those choose not to renew it when it expires.

Me, I still like to hear my Scott Shannons and Jim Kerrs. Long live the DJ.

“Last Tango in Paris”

ROEG & BERTOLUCCI PASS — We lost two major directors this weekend as Nicolas Reog and Bernardo Bertolucci passed. Roeg directed two of my all-time favorite movies, The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) with David Bowie; and, Insignificance (1985), with Tony Curtis and Theresa Russell (who the director later married).

The Man who Feel To Earth remains a major, milestone pic, not only for Bowie’s antics, but for the fantastic visuals Roeg put together. I watched some it over the weekend and its as strong now, as it was then.

When he made his directorial debut in 1970, Roeg was already a 23-year veteran of the British film industry, starting out in 1947 as an editing apprentice and working his way up to cinematographer twelve years later. His eye for detail never failed him. Insignificance, on the other hand, in 1985, was a fable that was proposed a meeting one night between ac actress, a ball player, a scientist and a senator. Brilliant movie. Treat yourself to this one.

Bertolucci will forever be known for his Last Tango In Paris starring Marlon Brando, Putting aide that infamous butter-scene, which will forever be talker about, it was a brilliant movie. Brando’s performance was breathtaking. He also directed the brilliant The Last Emperor.

He was a key figure in the extraordinary Italian cinema of the 1960’s and early 1970’s but also made a successful transition to big canvas Hollywood film making with 1987’s The Last Emperor, whose Oscars included Best Picture and Best Director for him.

Last Tango In Paris, with Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, became an international and U.S. art-house sensation and a lightning rod for controversy. The film, about an American businessman who begins a sexually charged relationship with a young Frenchwoman, was banned in several countries and Bertolucci was brought up on charges of obscenity in his homeland. The experience of actress Schneider on the film would also become the source of controversy, with her saying the film’s infamous scene in which butter is used during an anal rape made her feel “humiliated.”

Two giants of cinema gone … sad!

Mary Wilson


Celebrity author Mark Bego (right) at Barnes and Noble book signing. (Photo): Alan LaFever

SHORT TAKES— Author Mark Bego was front-and-center at a Black Friday book signing Friday at the Barnes & Noblein Tucson. He’s seen in this pic with store manager Brett Christopherson. He later celebrated with friends at Tucson’s top-flight steak-pub Sullivan’s … The famed Carnegie Deli, shuttered inn 2016, makes a brief return –a pop up of sorts- in Lower Manhattan next week to celebrate the return of Netflix’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Of course, the Deli will feature a new sandwich, called The Maisel … After a somewhat less than satisfying screening of Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate, we headed to a new restaurant at 19 West 24th. As we entered, I immediately realized that this was the old address of Steve Walter’s Cutting Room. Now, a sumptuous restaurant called Trattoria Italienne. Imagine my surprise when the owner came over to introduce himself and said that he was fan of the old Cutting Room and after dinner, gave us a tour of the new spot. I kept looking at the kitchen, which was once the stage, and the bar, which are now tables. The food was excellent, though the portions were somewhat on the smaller side. The gut-renovation they did is miraculous … one of the most striking restaurants I’ve seen in years. I’ll be back for sure and can’t recommend it enough … Did you know that Supreme-Mary Wilson played the Carlyle Hotel last week in NY? She was there for four days and I don’t think I saw a review or ad about it. Broadway Records’ chieftain Van Dean was there and loved it, but nothing else. You would think that to hype a series of shows at that most prestigious venue would be the thing to do … right? Diana Ross, looking better than I ever remember seeing her, closed the Thanksgiving Day parade. Funnily enough, she didn’t even try to lip-synch … rather, doing her own thing. Diva? Definitely … The parade was as good as ever, though an added segment, tagged celebrity moments, was a tad cheesy. Memories of each star’s best Thanksgiving … but, they were all NBC-stars only. The Broadway-presentations were as good as ever … especially The Prom’s same-sex kiss at the end of their song which caused a minor kerfuffle. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to their ticket sales this week … and, we finished up Netflix’s The Kominsky Method, which started strong, but petered out (no pun intended!). The final two episodes were almost re-treads of earlier segments. There were only 8 and most critics said that was enough. I thought Michael Douglas was sensational and Alan Arkin, just terrific. Chuck Lorre, who produced and wrote most of the show, showed a real grasp of the aging-experience. With this and Grace and Frankie, now I know getting old ain’t pretty!

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