The Glorious Corner: The Oscars, Peter Frampton, Monkees Peter Tork Passes and More

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By G.H. Harding

OSCARS — The 91st Oscars was a pretty good affair. Queen opened the show, which we predicated, and was a definite high point of the show. With Adam Lambert handling vocals, they sounded as strong as ever. It was also pretty impressive seeing the bold-faced names in the audience rocking out to the music: from Mike Myers to Allison Janney and Jennifer Lopez.   

The show was three-hours plus, so it was shorter than usual, but not by much. Regina King took honors as Best Supporting Actress; as did Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor in Green Book. Green Book also won for Best Original Screenplay and BlacKkKlansman for Best Adapted Screenplay and Rami Malek scored for Best ActorGreen Book won for Best Picture despite all the controversy.

Personally, Green Book for me was the perfect choice. A delightful movie that worked mostly because of the brilliant acting of Ali and Viggo Mortensen.

Green Book

The live performance of “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper was pretty spot-on. It took home the prize for Best Song and the two performed a rather intimate, miraculous performance. The other performances by Jennifer Hudson, Bette Midler and Gilliam Welch fell a bit flat.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

The politics were kept to a minimum and the pace of the show was quick. A good one for sure.

TORK PASSES — Surviving Monkees Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith have both issued statements about the passing of their friend and bandmate Peter Tork who passed away last week

Micky said in a statement, “There are no words right now…heartbroken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork.” The message was accompanied by a black-and-white photo of Peter smiling.

“Peter Tork will be a part of me forever,” said Mike Nesmith. “As I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken. Even though I am clinging to the idea that we all continue, the pain that attends these passings has no cure. I share with all Monkees fans this change, this “loss”, even so. A band no more, and yet the music plays on. As for Pete, I can only pray his songs reach the heights that can lift us and that our childhood lives forever — that special sparkle that was the Monkees. I will miss him – a brother in arms.”

Micky and Peter toured Australia as The Monkees in 2016. Promoter David Williams said, “Peter toured Australia numerous times, most recently with The Monkees 50th Anniversary show in 2016. His immense joy in performing was self-evident to all who were so fortunate to attend one of those concerts. We, and all Australian Monkees fans, will miss Peter greatly.”

The postponed Mike & Micky tour resumeds this week, hitting New York, Long Island, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Yesterday was the first rehearsal for the tour.

On a personal note, I first met Peter about 10 years ago and found him quirky for sure. I followed up with him on several of the Monkee-tours and found him to be much more affable. 

He seemed a complicated person with many issues. Sad for sure. Dolenz was right, there are no words.

FRAMPTON — Peter Frampton, who has just announced his farewell tour, revealed today on CBS This Morning: Saturday that he has had to stop touring because of a rare degenerative muscular disease.

The musician announced his final tour yesterday and told co-host Anthony Mason that he has been doing as much recording as possible since he was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, a rare and incurable inflammatory condition that causes muscles to weaken slowly.

“Between October and two days ago, we’ve done like 33 new tracks,” he said. “I just want to record as much as I can, you know, now, for obvious reasons.”

“Going upstairs and downstairs is the hardest thing for me,” he said. “I’m going to have to get a cane … and then the other thing I noticed, I can’t put things up over my head.”

Frampton said he was diagnosed three years ago after he fell from a stage and, although the disease progresses slowly, he felt its effects speed up last fall. He decided to do his farewell tour after a bad fall while on vacation in Maui.

“What will happen, unfortunately, is that it affects the finger flexors,” he said. “That’s the first telltale sign is the flexors, you know. So for a guitar player, it’s not very good.”

Frampton added that he can still play guitar just fine.

“But in a year’s time, maybe not so good … I’m a perfectionist and I do not want to go out there and feel like, ‘Oh I can’t, this isn’t good.’ That would be a nightmare for me,” he said. “I’ve been playing guitar for 60 years. Started when I was eight and now I’m 68. So, I’ve had a very good run.”

The tour this summer includes some of the venues that were part of his history, back when he was one of the top live touring acts of the 70’s, like the Forum and Madison Square Garden.

“The reason I’m calling it the ‘farewell tour,’ again, is because I know that I will be at the top of my game for this tour and I will make it through this and people won’t be saying, ‘Oh you know, he can’t play as good.’ I can. But we just don’t know for how long.”

Meanwhile he is participating in a new drug trial at John Hopkins.

“If this is the farewell tour, then maybe if the drug trial works, there’ll be the miracle tour … I wish but I’m realistic, too, so that’s why we’re really – this really is the farewell tour.”

Webster Hall

SHORT TAKES — We finally saw The Wife this weekend and just adored Glenn Close’s performance. Jonathan Pryce, as her husband, was pretty spectacular too. Close, and Richard E. Grant, took honors this weekend at the Spirit Awards, held in Santa Monica … Webster Hall in NYC, formerly The Ritz, has officially announced the first scheduled performances of its grand re-opening in 2019. The four-level venue located in the East Village of Manhattan closed its doors for some serious renovations starting back in August 2017 following its acquisition by AEG Live and BSE Global. Now, BSE Global and The Bowery Presents, AEG Presents’ regional partner, are responsible for booking Webster Hall’s artist lineup, and they’ve revealed their initial plans for 2019. Webster Hall will open up its doors in late-April with an unannounced show and date. Then, on May 1st, singer/songwriter/poet Patti Smith and Her Band will kick off the venue’s first month back in action, representing the origins of New York City punk rock movement in the 1970’s. The month of May will also feature performances from Troyboi, Sharon Van Etten, FKJ, Lawrence, Royal Trux, Broken Social Scene (x2), Old Dominion, Chromeo with a Live Band, JohnnySwim, MGMT, The Japanese House, and Aaron Tveit. The rest of the summer months will see performances from Empire Of The Sun, Real Estate, City of the Sun, and Emo Nite LA presents Emo Nite at Webster Hall. In the fall, Webster Hall has confirmed shows with HVOB, Tinariwen, Pinegrove, Built To Spill, Mt. Joy, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Thief, and Mumiy Troll. Welcome back ….Author Mark Bego with Mary Wilson and Lorna Luift as last night’s Elton John Oscar event.

Mary Wilson, Mark Bego and Lorna Luft

NAMES IN THE NEWS — David Furnish; Tony King; Tony Moran; Robert Funaro; Sandy Hicks; May Pang; Steve Walter; Keith Girard; Joanna Bonaro; Markos Papadatos; Eppy; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Race Taylor; Scott Shannon; and, CFS.

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