In an unusual move, SAG-AFTRA’s national board has approved a studio bargaining package, the union announced Sunday, six months ahead of the organization’s usual schedule, signaling a possible challenge to the Directors Guild of America’s customary first position in studio talks as the 2019-2020 industry-wide negotiating cycle looms — and at the least, an attempt to help set the pattern on residuals and perhaps other aspects of the deal.
Coupled with Saturday's announcement that SAG-AFTRA had reached a separate three-year agreement with Netflix, the moves dramatically heighten the likelihood that SAG-AFTRA may seek to negotiate with the legacy studios as early as November, after the conclusion of the union’s elections and October convention, and that in any case it intends to exert significant leverage against Disney and other companies desperate to catch up with Netflix. The streaming service boasts 60 million domestic subscribers and 151 million worldwide, despite a recent slowdown in growth.
"The board … voted up the 2019-20 TV/Theatrical proposal package for contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers," the union said in a statement. "Details of the proposal package are confidential and per standard practice will not be released."
All three above-the-line unions' master agreements expire mid-2020, with the Writers Guild of America pact ending May 1 and the other two guilds having a June 30 expiration. Three years ago, the SAG-AFTRA board approved the union’s negotiating package on Jan. 21, 2017, and began negotiations that May, long after the DGA had concluded a deal (in December 2016) and days after nail-biter WGA talks ultimately resulted in a deal.
But this cycle might be different. A newly aggressive SAG-AFTRA could negotiate first, but in recent times that’s happened only in the 2010-11 cycle. It takes two to tango, and the likelier possibility is that the AMPTP will insist on starting with the DGA, viewed by management as easier to bargain with. However, the deal that union reaches may well take account of residuals gains that SAG-AFTRA has achieved in the Netflix deal.
In effect, even if SAG-AFTRA doesn’t negotiate first with the AMPTP, it may already have set the pattern for certain items of common interest to all three unions.
SAG-AFTRA might then negotiate second, in the January/February time frame, or it may not start talks until after likely March/April WGA talks. But regardless of schedule, the union will carry a big stick: the implicit and possibly overt threat of a strike against legacy media companies (and perhaps Apple and Amazon) while Netflix remains open for business under the new bilateral deal. A walkout could come no earlier than the June 30 expiration of the current agreement, but if prolonged could be devastating for such companies as Disney, WarnerMedia and Comcast, all of which are spending billions to bring new streaming services such as Disney+ and HBO Max online in coming months as they seek to topple Netflix.
And a strike in which a major employer, Netflix, continues operating means that the pain for actors would not be as great as a total walkout, as there would still be significant work available. Also, the union’s recent conclusion of a renewal of its massive commercials contract would provide another source of work for some thesps in the event of a TV/theatrical labor stoppage.
Meanwhile, the WGA is also likely to take an aggressive approach to bargaining, once again negotiating down to the wire — and potentially threatening a strike as well, adding to its existing talent agency walkout. That could even result in concurrent writers and actors strikes, which might lead the AMPTP, comprised primarily of the major studios, to rue the day in 2008 when it agreed to allow the WGA contract to expire essentially concurrently with the actors’.
In other business, the union board also approved an agreement with the National Association of Actors (ANDA), the Mexican actors union, that enhances cooperation between both unions, including collaboration on contract and rule enforcement, organizing and technology initiatives.
Story via: Jonathan Handel
Marvel refuses to leave a single Infinity Stone unturned.
Presenting at San Diego Comic-Con late Saturday night, Marvel boss Kevin Feige unveiled the next two years worth of superhero movies — they’ve already dubbed it Phase 4 of the MCU — a laundry list that includes a female Thor, the first openly LGBTQ superhero in a a Marvel film and an Asian lead.
Here’s everything we learned from Hall H:
Natalie Portman, who joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as love interest Jane Foster in the 2011 “Thor” movie, makes a surprise return, but with a bigger role this time: she’s playing Thor.
“Feels pretty good. I’ve always had a little hammer in me,” Portman told the crowd after being presented with the Mjolnir by returning director Taika Waititi.
Tessa Thompson will return as Valkyrie, this time with the lesbian narrative we’ve all been waiting for, and Chris Hemsworth is back, but it’s not quite clear how he plays into things now that Jane has taken control.
Mahershala Ali takes on Wesley Snipes' legendary character in "Blade." (CHRIS DELMAS / AFP/Getty Images)
Ali is here (again)
Oscar winner Mahershala Ali already snuck into the MCU as the villain in season 1 of “Luke Cage,” but we’re just pretending that never happened, because this is far better: he’s taking on “Blade.” There’s not a whole lot of information about the movie, which features the role originated by Wesley Snipes in the 1998 movie, but it’s hard to imagine how this won’t be perfect.
“The Eternals” is going old school
Who better to play a supergroup of immortal warriors than some of Hollywood’s finest? The heroes, originated by Jack Kirby in the 1970s, include Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Angelina Jolie as Thena.
“I’m going to work 10 times harder, because I know what it means to be an Eternal, to be part of this family," Jolie, who will be making her MCU debut, said Saturday. "We all know what the task ahead is and we know what you deserve.”
Chloe Zhao directs and Matthew and Ryan Firpo will write the script.
Simu Liu tweeted his way into a role
Okay, so there was probably a bit more to it than that, but the Chinese-Canadian actor did proposition Marvel online in December: “Are we gonna talk or what."
It worked, and now he’s faced with the first movie appearance of Shang-Chi, the first Asian lead in a Marvel movie so far. Awkwafina, in an unspecified role, will also star alongside Tony Leung’s villain Mandarin.
Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff is finally getting a standalone film. (Jay Maidment/ Marvel / XX)
That Black Widow movie is really happening, we promise
Sure, Marvel has been teasing a Black Widow standalone movie for what feels like centuries, but this time it’s for real!
Scarlett Johansson will reprise her role as Natasha Romanoff to just after “Civil War,” where she heads off to Budapest. David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle and Rachel Weisz will co-star and Cate Shortland has been tapped to direct.
Vision isn’t dead, somehow
Paul Bettany’s Vision was snapped out of existence in Thanos, but Marvel has a plan for that. He’s due to return in the Disney+ series “WandaVision,” led by Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch.
Captain America’s B-team is stepping up
Steve Rogers won’t be coming to Disney+, but his besties are. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) will lead the first Marvel series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which takes place post-"Endgame."
Daniel Brühl will return as the villain, Baron Zemo.
The multiverse is growing
Scott Derrickson, the returning director of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” promised Comic-Con that his will be the “first scary MCU film,” which will see Benedict Cumberbatch dust off his cloak. Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will also be around, but that’s about all we know.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has some catching up to do in his new Disney+ series. (Marvel / XX)
Loki’s going backwards
The Disney+ series “Loki” won’t be the Loki we know and love today (okay, just know), star Tom Hiddleston promised.
Instead, he’ll be the sneaky Loki who slipped away with the Tesseract in “Endgame,” which will place him several years behind any sort of character growth.
Hawkeye plays second fiddle
Jeremy Renner will pick up his bow and arrow again in “Hawkeye,” but the real prize is a starring role for Kate Bishop, the sharpshooter-in-training who starts out under the wing (no pun intended) of Clint Barton.
“She’ll be the better version of Hawkeye,” Renner said.
The most impressive part of the animated series is, by far, the cast, which will be led by Jeffrey Wright as the voice of The Watcher. The rest include (are you ready?) Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Josh Brolin as Thanos, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Taika Waititi as Korg, Toby Jones as Arnim Zola, Djimon Hounsou as Korath, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster and Michael Rooker as Yondu.
Feige teased that the series will twist “all of those set-in-stone MCU scenes and experiences you’ve seen before” with alternate histories.
Avengers and more here:
Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist.
Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture forward.” He heads a team of curators whose editorial mission is that: “Rap isn’t just a genre. There’s a reason it’s sometimes simply called The Culture: It’s a way of life.”
Kicking off the rebranded playlist is J. Cole (pictured), MVP of the chart-topping Dreamville “Revenge of the Dreamers III” collection — and its standout track “Under the Sun” (feat. DaBaby) — who will grace the cover throughout the week. Also high on the “Rap Life” running order: Drake’s “Money in the Grave” (feat. Rock Ross), Future’s “1000 Shooters” (feat. Meek Mill and Doe Boy) and Lil Tecca’s “Ransom.”
The Apple playlist, while running behind in the rap race against Spotify’s popular “RapCaviar” playlist, which boasts more than 11 million followers, is looking to more terrestrial avenues for an additional boost. Planned down the road is a “Rap Life” show on Apple Music’s Beats 1.
(Story via: Variety)
Tickets here: http://bit.ly/2JQHYNM
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TONIGHT!!!! JOIN US ON THE "JUSTICE LANE SHOW" WITH IFM RADIO FOR AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST : JOE SCOTT!!!!8:30pm CT / 9:30pm ET
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Story, image, video via HipHopDX
On a rain-washed summer afternoon in Oxford, England, Billy Joel walks into a room lined with wood paneling and leather-bound books to meet some student fans. Bald and stocky, with a salt-and-pepper goatee and a chewy New York growl, Joel calls to mind a veteran boxing promoter with the patter of a Catskills comedian. One admirer, posing for a photograph, tells him that she has been influenced by him. “Me too,” he replies, deadpan. “My whole life I’ve been influenced by me.”
Eight days from now, Joel will play to a very different crowd: nearly 58,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium. But today, he’s about to take questions from 450 students in the debating chamber of the Oxford Union, at the storied university where the list of former presidents includes three British prime ministers. Joel brings an earthier energy to the room: He tells stories, plays the occasional song to illustrate a point and cracks self-deprecating jokes, like a stand-up comic doing a routine based on the career of Billy Joel.
What makes a great cover of one of Joel’s songs? “The fact that I get paid for it.” How has the music industry changed since his recording heyday? “The fact that it’s gone.” Why won’t he write “We Didn’t Start the Fire” Part 2? “Because I don’t like Part 1 that much. And I’d have to write about Trump.” Even when a young woman on the balcony passes out, he doesn’t miss a beat. “This is a first,” he says. “I’ve never made a girl faint before.”
Joel has been doing these college “master classes” since the 1990s. They’re unpaid gigs -- he says he hasn’t had to do anything just for the money for a long time -- so he does them for kicks. “Because I’ve made every mistake you can make and survived somehow or other, and here I am at 70 and it’s bigger than it ever was,” he tells me prior to the Oxford session, sitting in a handsome study that doubles as his dressing room. “It’s crazy. I must know something, even if I’m not sure what it is.”
There are many things pertaining to his still-vital career that Joel claims not to know. He doesn’t get why his most beloved hits include a maudlin waltz (“Piano Man”), a Frankie Valli pastiche (“Uptown Girl”) and a boomer’s-eye history of the world with a melody he likens to “a mosquito buzzing around your head” (“We Didn’t Start the Fire”). A stranger to Spotify and social media (“Technology has completely gone haywire,” he tells the Union crowd), he’s not quite sure where his young fans come from. Most of all, he doesn’t know why, 26 years after his last album of new songs, the final act of his performing career is such a blockbuster. “What’s happening now is beyond my comprehension,” he says. “There’s an arc to things, and you’re supposed to go downhill. We’re going uphill.”
Since January 2014, Joel has played a monthly residency at Madison Square Garden that has torn up the rule book for what a legacy act can accomplish outside Las Vegas. By July 2015, he had surpassed his old touring partner Elton John’s lifetime record of 65 shows at the Garden. Three years later, he played his 100th show there, and he’s currently booked until Dec. 11, which will be the 71st date of the residency and his 117th overall at the Garden.
Simultaneously, he has become, for the first time in his career, a consistent stadium-filler: Later this year, he’ll play Denver; Boston; Arlington, Texas; and, on July 26, the first-ever rock concert at Baltimore’s Camden Yards ballpark. With career receipts of $896 million from 13.1 million tickets sold, Joel is the No. 13 grossing artist in the history of Billboard Boxscore, just ahead of Paul McCartney. (He’s also No. 9 on Billboard’s 2019 Moneymakers list.) For an artist who no longer records albums and experimented with retirement a decade ago, it’s not just unexpected, but unprecedented: an Indian summer with no end in sight.
“It’s a miracle,” says Joel. “My father was a better musician than me, and he couldn’t get anything going. Some of the people I admire, jazz guys, nobody really bought their records. Onstage [I’m thinking], ‘Are you fucking kidding me? When are they going to find me out? Women are screaming at me?’ ” He pulls a self-mocking face. “I know what I look like in the mirror.”
A week later, Joel is onstage at Wembley, apologizing to his audience. Sitting at the piano, he tells them, faux-sheepishly, “I don’t have anything new for you.”
A crowd spanning three generations cheers.
“It’s basically the same old shit...” he continues.
Joel grins and shrugs. “That’s what I think,” he replies. He knows this shtick always works.
Backstage earlier in the day, I ask Joel where he had thought he would be at 70. In person, he’s more reflective, wearing an Italian-American Club of Oyster Bay baseball cap and picking at a bowl of gummy candies. “I thought we’d be yesterday’s papers,” he says. “Which is what I’m playing, essentially. I didn’t want to be an oldies act, but I guess we are.”
Tonight’s show will become Joel’s biggest single-night concert yet. But a decade ago, he was prepared to give it all up. He abbreviated his Face to Face tour with John, had both hips replaced and sank into one of his periodic funks. “I was just tired,” he says. “Wasn’t having fun anymore. That’s not a good way to work. The audience can see it.” He told his band and crew that they should look for other gigs. Everyone believed him except for Dennis Arfa, Joel’s longtime booking agent, who started working with him shortly before his 1977 breakthrough album, The Stranger. (Joel does not work with a manager.)
“He has talked to me about not working since he was thirtysomething. That’s just his style,” says Arfa. “A lot of times, how you feel about your work is how you feel about yourself.” Still, Joel’s close team knew better than to try to persuade him to keep at it. “He’s not a person whose mind you’ll ever change,” says Mark Rivera, Joel’s saxophonist of 37 years.
“The advice I got from day one was, ‘Ah, man, you’re never going to make it. Forget it,’ ” says Joel. “Had I listened to that, I never would have done what I did. So what good is your advice? I know what I’m talking about.”
It took a hurricane to make him think twice. When Joel agreed to play 12-12-12, an all-star benefit concert at the Garden for victims of Hurricane Sandy, he was sandwiched on the lineup between Kanye West and Chris Martin. Joel thought his six-song set was merely OK, but the crowd and critics agreed that it was the surprise highlight. (The New Yorker noted that when Joel took the stage, “The mood relaxed, as if someone who really knew how to play a stadium was in charge.”) “New York State of Mind” and “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” sounded like the city’s break-glass-in-case-of-emergency anthems: first hits, then oldies, now standards.
“That was the kernel of this renaissance,” says Joel’s creative director, Steve Cohen, a member of the live operation’s decision-making core. “He went from being this ’80s pop singer, taken seriously only because of the magnitude of his success -- and then suddenly it was cool to be a Billy Joel fan.”
Joel’s success -- he has had 42 entries on the Billboard Hot 100, including 13 top 10 hits -- has certainly never been predicated on cool. He became famous as a mainstream guy with mainstream tastes and a talent for expressing everyday aspirations and (more often) disappointments, who looked very much like the characters in his songs who frequented neighborhood Italian restaurants or worked in Allentown, Pa., factories. “When people come and sing along, they think that they’re him because they’re not looking at a rock star,” says Cohen. For years, critics notoriously held that everyman appeal against him, and Joel -- who was self-conscious about his voice, his piano-playing and his appearance -- would rip up their bad reviews onstage.
“I was my own worst enemy,” he says. “I could get five good reviews, and the one bad review would drive me crazy: ‘Did you see what this guy said? That son of a bitch!” He laughs. “And the audience would be like, ‘Huh, OK. I guess somebody thinks you suck.’ I was kind of dopey.”
By 2012, though, he was well-adjusted enough to pay more attention to the people who didn’t care what The Village Voice had said about him in 1976. During his hiatus, Joel sought the counsel of hard-touring friends like Bruce Springsteen and Don Henley. “I was questioning a lot of things: ‘Why are you guys still doing this?’ And they would say, ‘This is what we do.’ And I said, ‘You know what? They’re right.’ I know how to do this. This is what I do. It takes a while to realize it.”
After 12-12-12, he was ready to seriously consider an idea Arfa first broached a few years earlier: a hometown residency at Madison Square Garden. A Vegas residency held no appeal (“I don’t even like Vegas”), but the Garden? “That’s my venue.” To start, Arfa announced just six shows, but the tickets kept selling, and the venue made Joel a franchise, like the Rangers and the Knicks. According to Arfa, only 20% of Joel’s box office is repeat business.
“Audiences make a pilgrimage to see Billy Joel,” says Darren Pfeffer, executive vp of MSG Live. “It has become more of an event than just a concert.” The presence of at least one high-profile fan at Wembley -- One Direction alum Niall Horan -- speaks to the way Joel and his songbook appeal to listeners who weren’t born when he last released a new studio album. But regardless of age, there’s an audience for whom Billy Joel at the Garden has become as essential a New York attraction as a Broadway show. Says Cohen: “Billy is kind of the hood ornament of New York.”
This has benefits beyond the financial. With just one Garden show a month and a handful of stadiums every summer, Joel can spend most of his time at his 26-acre manor on the North Shore of Long Island, where he mostly occupies himself with a motorcycle shop and a boat-building business. “It’s a pussycat tour,” says Joel. “Like semiretirement. We used to do five, six gigs a week. When you’re first starting out and you’re with your buddies going around the world, you’re like a teenage gang. Very exciting. After a couple of years, you’re Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.”
In other words, the road-warrior schedule exacted a price. “This is my fourth marriage now. It’s not good for a relationship to be gone for that long,” he continues. “So I became a homey.” While we’re talking, Joel’s wife, Alexis Roderick, drops by, cradling their 1-year-old daughter, Remy. During soundcheck, their other daughter, Della, 3, climbs onto the grand piano and lies on her stomach, chin in her hands, while Joel looks her in the eye and sings “Don’t Ask Me Why.”
Joel spends most of the show seated at the keyboard: He steps forward to play guitar on a few numbers, but vaulting over the piano in his youth wrecked his hips. Yet he’s no less enthusiastic a performer. Slotting album tracks and cover versions between the tentpole hits helps him stay interested. Sometimes he’ll try out a personal favorite like “Laura” or “She’s Right on Time,” but if it doesn’t fly with the audience, “we just take it out and shoot it.” During the Wembley soundcheck, the band auditions Beatles songs to interpolate into “River of Dreams.” Joel quickly discards “Can’t Buy Me Love” (“It’s weird”), “She Loves You” (“Nah, I’m not buying it”) and “Twist and Shout” before settling on “I Feel Fine.”
“I like that one,” he says with a nod of satisfaction. “It’s good.”
Before addressing the Oxford Union, Joel wants to go outside and smoke a cigar. We sit down on a bench in a secluded garden, and he lights up a Hoyo de Monterrey. “It reminds me of my grandfather, just smelling a cigar,” he says.
Joel is in a reminiscent mood. He recalls his first show with a band, covering Beatles tunes at a Long Island church in 1965. “There was a girl I had a crush on who I was always too shy to talk to,” he says -- the girl he would later remember (with some poetic license) in “Only the Good Die Young.” “And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, Virginia is looking at me!’ And the kids are dancing and they’re clapping. And then the priest comes over and gives us each 15 bucks. It didn’t even occur to me: You get paid for this? That was the day I decided that’s what I’m going to do.” He marvels that he’s still “doing the same job I did when I was 15. How many people can say that at 70?”
He’s happy to wax nostalgic about his life as a performer. But he has never been terribly interested in recollecting his offstage life for the public. In 2011, he finished a memoir with writer Fred Schruers and submitted it to HarperCollins, but when the publisher asked him to ramp up the “scandalous stuff,” says Joel, he thought, “Fuck you,” and paid back the portion he had received of the $3 million advance. His songs provided the score to the successful Broadway show Movin’ Out, but he has rebuffed offers to turn his life story into a musical (it’s always called Piano Man) and has little appetite for a Rocketman-style biopic (which would also surely be called Piano Man).
“There are things in my life that could make a good movie,” he says. “He married this supermodel, then they had a kid, then they got divorced, then he crashed a car, then he went to rehab. That was like five minutes in my life. It wasn’t all sensational. I just hope they don’t get a short, fat, ugly guy to play me.”
One puzzle for any potential screenwriter would be why one of the most gifted songwriters of his generation completely lost the urge to create new material. Since River of Dreams in 1993, Joel has released just two songs and one album of classical piano pieces, the 2001 Fantasies & Delusions that “sold about five copies.” Columbia Records, which owns his masters, fills the gap with regular compilations and live albums, over which Joel has no control. “I could probably sue, but I don’t want to get involved in that shit,” he says. “If I can’t own it, I can’t own it.” But while Joel says he’ll still wake up with a tune in his head and plays the piano every day, he has lost the desire to write lyrics (always his least favorite part of songwriting) or find listeners. “I don’t feel the need to validate it with the public, or even to record it,” he says. “It’s all in here” -- he points to his head -- “and I hear it and go, ‘OK, that’s not bad. Next!’ ”
Everyone except Joel himself seems to find this strange. Contemporaries like John and younger admirers like P!nk have encouraged him to return to recording, but he refuses to bite. “I know some artists struggle with the idea of being relevant: ‘I have to come up with new stuff and have hit singles,’ ” he says. “I stopped buying that a long time ago.” He’s fond of noting that he has made 12 albums, like The Beatles, and has nothing left to prove. “I wrote some good stuff. I wrote some crap, too. But some of the good stuff is pretty damn good.”
At any rate, Joel’s performing life doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon, though when it does, he thinks it will happen suddenly. “My theory is, one night I’m going to suck,” he explains. “I won’t be able to hit the notes, I’ll forget the words, I’ll forget the music. I love the job too much to not be good.”
There are two songs in Joel’s set, both written before he made it big, that now make for an illuminating contrast. “The Entertainer,” a Hot 100 top 40 hit from 1973, is basically an anxiety attack about becoming obsolete. “Vienna,” a track from The Stranger that was never a single but surprised him by becoming one of his most beloved (and most streamed) tunes, advises an ambitious young man to slow down and be patient because, says Joel now, “you got your whole life to live.” Turns out the guy in “Vienna” was right. The guy in “The Entertainer” was wrong.
“It’s ironic,” says Joel. “I was so pessimistic about it, and it all worked out anyway.”
Two for the Show
Dennis Arfa met Billy Joel in 1967, when Joel was playing in The Hassles; became his booking agent in 1976; and, roughly 10 years ago, suggested the idea for Joel’s Madison Square Garden residency. “He was always thinking, ‘What’s the next thing?’ ” says Joel of Arfa, who founded Artist Group International in 1986. (His roster there now includes Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Metallica and The Strokes.) Before Joel’s recent Wembley show, Arfa recalled how the residency, one of the crowning achievements of their partnership, came about.
How did the idea of the Madison Square Garden residency originate?
I had dinner with [then-Garden president] Jay Marciano in Turks and Caicos one night in ’09, ’10, and came up with the idea. We had played Shea Stadium [in Queens in 2008], which was a rock-god gig. How do you follow that? The antenna was always up about what to do next.
And how did Joel respond?
There were a couple of years when he was tentative. There was going to be a press conference. I remember Billy calls me up and says, “Are you sure this is the right thing to do?” He wasn’t really sure what he was walking into. Then he got excited about it.
Is he very hands-on now?
Billy has a lot of trust in his people. Basically, don’t fuck up. He’ll trust me and his confidants and experts in other areas and he’ll yield to us, but ultimately, it’s his call how he wants to be represented out there in the world.
It doesn’t seem to matter that he has stopped releasing new music. Why do you think that is?
I think a lot of older people who put out records are really doing it more for themselves -- the chances of it being successful, except within your own hemisphere, are slim to none. Nobody but the die-hards wants to hear the new stuff. The masses want to hear the hits.
Could any other artist do a residency like this?
I know other people have talked about it. But on this level? I think they recognize how unique what he’s accomplishing is. He can take a big room and make it very intimate. It’s just a magical combination that worked.
This article originally appeared in the July 20 issue of Billboard.
Snow Patrol's 2006 ballad "Chasing Cars" has been named the most-played song of the 21st century by the British music licensing company PPL. The track, which reached No. 6 on the UK Official Singles Chart, stayed in the top 75 for 94 weeks and was that year's 14th-best selling single in the UK. PPL also noted that it was the last song performed on the long-running BBC music series Top of the Pops in July 2006.
Singer Gary Lightbody was presented with the award at PPL's 85th celebration at the OXO Tower in London on Tuesday (July 16), telling the BBC, "It's unbelievable. I'm not sure how that happened." As to what the secret to the song's enduring appeal is, he said, "It's an emotionally open song and it's a simple song. But it's unabashedly a love song, and we don't really have any others. The way it unifies an audience is the thing I most cherish about it. It's a beautiful moment every time you play it."
The track, which stayed on the British charts for more than three years, beat out such other mega-singles as the No. 2, the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," and Pharrell's "Happy." "Chasing Cars" appeared on Snow Patrol's fourth album, Eyes Open. PPL's data tracks all recordings played by radio and TV broadcasters.
“‘Chasing Cars’ is a song that has become a popular anthem, securing huge success across radio, in public and especially TV where its huge appeal has led to its use in many programmes and especially Grey’s Anatomy," said PPL CEO Peter Leathem in a statement. "These platforms can dramatically extend the life of a record beyond its initial release, and PPL is here to collect the royalties owed to the performers and recording rightsholders of that song, whenever and wherever it is used. We congratulate Snow Patrol for writing and performing a track of such long-lasting appeal.”
In an Instagram post celebrating the honor, the band added the disclaimer that "Cars" is the most-played track on UK radio in the 21st century "so far," noting that they are "very aware of the 'so far' bit. And the fact that it’s way WAY too early to be talking century just yet... We are blown away that 'Chasing Cars' has been played more than any other song on UK radio these last 19 years. Thanks to the stations and DJs that play it and to the fans that request it. It was played over 12,000 times on UK radio just last year so it’s still getting played so much (some of you are thinking “I know, enough already!”)... In our 25th anniversary year it’s a hell of a thing to find out."
Listen to "Chasing Cars".
Beyoncé‘s latest music video had an extra special cameo!
On Tuesday, the singer, 37, dropped the video to her new song “Spirit” from the upcoming Lion King remake’s soundtrack.
The empowering video features a number of breathtaking outdoor visuals including Beyoncé dancing in the desert, standing in front of a gorgeous waterfall, being joined by her dancers in a lake surrounded by greenery. And later, at sunset, the stars leans against a tree with a beautiful mountain range in the background.
Clips from the new Lion King remake — some with Nala, the role that Beyoncé is lending her voice to in the live-action remake of the Disney classic — were also featured throughout the music video.
Though the scenery and animation were enough to keep viewers entertained, perhaps the most memorable part was in the beginning when Beyoncé was joined by her daughter and mini-me, Blue Ivy.
RELATED: Twinning! Beyoncé Rocks Matching Sparkly Looks with Daughter Blue Ivy at The Lion King Premiere
Less than a minute into the video, as the singer sits by herself in the middle of the desert, the camera suddenly flashes to Blue, 7, who is wearing a nearly identical pink dress to her mom’s.
Blue is captured staring off into the distance, the wind blowing in her hair, before she begins to approach Beyoncé and come into focus. The 7-year-old then reaches out for her mother’s hand and gives a soft smile.
A few seconds later, a close-up of the youngster is shown as she fiercely stares into the camera with her wig of curly red hair (also worn by the backup dancers) blowing in the strong winds.
Beyoncé and Blue Ivy with the backup dancers
RELATED: Beyoncé Meets Her Lion King Character in New Photos Teasing Disney’s Live-Action Remake
This isn’t the first time that Blue has accompanied her mother ahead of the highly anticipated film’s nationwide release.
During The Lion King‘s world premiere in Los Angeles last week, the singer was joined by Blue on the red carpet at the Dolby Theater. To make things even cuter, the mother-daughter duo rocked matching black and silver ensembles.
For the night out, Beyoncé wore a custom Alexander McQueen tuxedo dress and accessorized with matching strappy heels, Lorraine Schwartz jewelry, a diamond-encrusted clutch and a sleek ponytail.
As for her mini-me, Blue matched her superstar mom in a tuxedo dress of her own, which was also designed by McQueen. The 7-year-old’s black jacket was embellished with silver sequins while the bottom of her dress looked identical to Beyoncé’s with sparkly black tulle.
Like her mom, Blue also wore her hair in braids but added two buns at the top of her head, which were both wrapped with silver diamond hair accessories.
Beyoncé and Blue Ivy
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
RELATED: Beyoncé, Donald Glover and The Lion King Cast Stun in Gorgeous Cast Photo
That same night, Beyoncé also dropped “Spirit”.
The movie’s soundtrack, which the singer is producing and curating, according to Disney, will be released the same day that the movie hits theaters this weekend.
Director Jon Favreau previously confirmed that Beyoncé wrote a song “in the spirit of the production” for the movie, though its title was not revealed at the time.
“We have all the original songs, but there’s a song that she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production along with working with Lebo M., who’s part of it with Hans Zimmer,” Favreau told Fandango in June.
“They were all collaborating with her and helping to bring this new piece of music into a film where there’s already a very established musical personality to the piece,” the director continued. “So it was nice of them to have them working with her to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production.”
The superstar also sings an updated rendition of the classic song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from the original movie with Donald Glover, which was teased in a promo for the movie released last month.
The Lion King hits theaters on July 19.
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Sofia Boutella stars as the member of a dance troupe whose all-night dance party goes insane, thanks to LSD-laced sangria, in Gaspar Noe's "Climax." USA TODAY
The summer movie season is entering its leaner times, especially for horror fans who are counting the days till fall, but it's a perfect period for catching up on missed scares.
"It Chapter Two" (Sept. 6) is just waiting to unleash Pennywise again on the adult Losers' Club, featuring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. "Lost" co-creator Damon Lindelof wrote "The Hunt" (Sept. 27), a social thriller from Blumhouse. Don't forget Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone facing off against zombies again in the sequel "Zombieland: Double Tap" (Oct. 18).
Face it, Halloween will be anticlimactic after all that horror inserts itself into your eyeballs.
So before that stuff arrives, here are some the year's best under-the-radar horror films just ready to be discovered and streamed.
'Blair Witch': The 1999 horror cult classic is getting a creepy new video game
Ranked: All 'The Conjuring' horror movies (including 'Annabelle Comes Home')
A dance troupe has one crazy night, thanks to some LSD-laced sangria, in the psychological thriller "Climax." (Photo: COURAMIAUD)
If you think ‘Fame’ doesn’t have enough hallucinogenic rages: ‘Climax’
The characters of director Gaspar Noe’s trippy, wild fever dream have some pretty smooth moves in the first half and seriously hellish circumstances in the second. Set in a 1990s French school, a best-of-the-best dance company has convened in a snowy locale to practice for an upcoming tour, and one extended scene showcases talented breakdancing, popping and locking, and other artistry. Somebody spikes the after-party sangria with LSD, however, which leads to a dance circle that goes very wrong, many personal grievances being aired, and a devolving atmosphere of violence and paranoia.
Where to watch: iTunes, Amazon
A young mother (Seana Kerslake) begins to wonder if her boy (James Quinn Markey) has become something else in "The Hole in the Ground." (Photo: LIONSGATE)
If you believe parenting isn't for the faint of heart: ‘The Hole in the Ground’
This Irish import keeps the “creepy kid” trope alive, well and relevant. Sarah (Seana Kerslake) has left her husband and moved with young son Chris (James Quinn Markey) to a fixer-upper house that’s right next to a forest and a very large and mysterious sinkhole. While driving one day, Sarah almost hits an old woman, who tells the mom that the boy is not her son. That would freak out most anybody, but when Chris begins to deviate from his normal personality, Sarah begins to think the worst. It’s an interesting take on the changeling myth that also mines the universal fear of losing your child.
Where to watch:iTunes, Amazon (free with Prime)
"Candyman" star Tony Todd is one of the luminaries interviewed for the documentary "Horror Noire," which looks at black audiences and the genre. (Photo: SHUDDER)
If you dig a little social commentary in your fright fests: ‘Horror Noire’
There have been so many good mainstream documentaries lately, it’s about time for a horrorcentric entry – and especially one so timely. “Horror Noire” investigates the complicated history between the genre and black audiences over the years, featuring interviews with Jordan Peele, “Blacula” director William Crain, actors Keith David and Tony Todd, and more.
The point is made early on that black history in America is a horror story in itself, and the fascinating film explains the significance of “Night of the Living Dead,” “Candyman” and “Get Out” for the community as well as the important rise of black women in scary movies.
Where to watch:Shudder
An impromptu family reunion takes a turn for the weird in the slow-burn horror film "I Trapped the Devil." (Photo: IFC FILMS)
If you are missing family holiday gatherings: ‘I Trapped the Devil’
Fans of slow-burn terror get a treat with writer/director Josh Lobo’s intimately eerie debut. At Christmas, Matt (A.J. Bowen) and Karen (Susan Burke) make an unannounced visit to see his estranged brother Steve (Scott Poythress), though Steve has the biggest surprise: He’s locked a guy in his cellar and says he’s the devil. Granted, it’s a whopper of a statement and Steve’s not totally in his right mind, though the couple soon have reason to believe he’s on the level. The MVP, though, is Chris Sullivan (“This Is Us”), who sparks both empathy and distrust as the mystery man behind the door.
Where to watch:iTunes, Amazon
Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal are very serious about art in "Velvet Buzzsaw." (Photo: CLAUDETTE BARIUS/NETFLIX)
If you enjoy your screams with extra snickers: ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’
Netflix has become an impressive house of horror, with original flicks such as "The Perfection” and “Bird Box.” But the weirdest little gem is Dan Gilroy’s art world satire-turned-gore show. Found paintings done by a random dead guy turn out to be masterworks and all the rage in the oddball L.A. scene inhabited by vicious and eccentric art critic Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) and chilly gallery owner Rhodora (Rene Russo). They and others start freaking out when horrifying circumstances befall those who own the prized pieces, and one bloody scene will keep you from ever touching a high-end modern sculpture again.
Where to watch:Netflix