Music documentaries are increasingly becoming a practice in archeology rather than anthropology. Part of that is the immediacy with which surfacing subcultures and movements are found and regarded (if there’s an oppressed music scene in a developing nation, Vice seems to have already done a three-part series on it). The other side of that is the growing awareness of entire discographies of undiscovered gold that curators’ music appreciators pan relentlessly. Most of the time, this results in little more than rehashing territory already well-trodden; however, on rare occasions, there are entire veins of brilliance that are uncovered. The Jangling Man: The Martin Newell Story, this latest biopic on Martin Newell (and Cleaners from Venus frontman) by filmmaker James Sharp is one such example.
Unearthing a career such as Newell’s, at first glance, must have seemed as thankless a task as one could consider. His discography of self-recorded cassettes, his stint in gardening, and his collections of poetry all lend an impermeable veneer, relegating it quite firmly to the underground. Newell’s unpolished output (and attitude) guaranteed him infamy rather than its counterpart in the mainstream. But a funny thing happened on the way to the cutting room floor: Sharp brought a firmness of commitment and a deft lens to a life that would have suffered without such a talented hand on the wheel.
The movie begins and unfolds with the same gleeful staccato of non-sequitur taped segments that makes Everything Is Terrible such fascinating Videogum. It’s a fitting mode, given the subject matter, which oscillates between a Babadook English farmer, glam rocker, royal eccentric, and cantankerous old poet with enough vitriol to fill any room. To that point, Newell recounts in the first minutes of the film how he refused to send out review copies to people “who couldn’t even write as well as [him], let alone play an instrument.” In the same breath, he points out how his impudent attitude was deadly to any notion of anything past notoriety in the industry.
Newell’s story is another example of an artist who refused to abide by niceties, particularly where the music industry is concerned (just this year, we reviewed Fabulous’ unearthed discography, Get F*cked By Fabulous, yet another English artist who was infamous for their refusal to play nice with the music bigwigs). As it happens, there is no shortage of laugh-out-loud moments. Most of these are courtesy of Newell himself, who’s a splendidly eccentric curmudgeon, and has no qualms with telling people where to go. One of these is when he throws doubt on any chances of touring. His take on how older artists look on stage is too good to be spoiled here, but suffice it to say it stands out as a highlight of the film. It also acts as an early answer to any would-be clout chasers: here is a man who is not interested in any of your bullshit, thank you very much.
And we, the audience, believe him. The film is a sincere ode to a career known for being unknown. This just happens to be subject matter for yet another documentary that, through the act of observing, elevates its subject matter to previously unforeseen heights.
Director: James Sharp
Producer: Larson Media
Distributor: Captured Tracks
Release Date: September 29, 2022 (Hackney, UK), October 8, 2022 (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Run Time: 113 minutes
Salah Bachir Publishes Titillating Memoir ‘First To Leave The Party’
Salah Bachir recently released his titillating memoir, ‘First To Leave The Party,’ offering intimate details about the rich and famous and Bachir’s gusto and lust for life.
Author, entrepreneur, art collector, movie industry insider, and philanthropist Salah Bachir recently released his memoir, First To Leave The Party: My Life with Ordinary People…Who Happen to be Famous, a collection of stories revealing his joie de vivre, his love of human interaction, and his altruism.
After immigrating to Canada from Lebanon in the 1960s, Bachir started Videomania, Canada’s first video magazine, followed by establishing Premiere, a trade publication for video distributors and retailers.
For more than a decade and a half, Bachir was the president of Cineplex Media and boss of Cineplex Magazine, Canada’s wildly popular and widely read magazine, serving more than four million readers per issue.
A fixture in the world of film for decades, Bachir naturally met Hollywood’s superstars. Yet what sets him apart is his charisma, compassion, his personal style – chic hats, diamonds, pearls, brooches, and elegant scarves – and his full-blown zest for life and people.
First To Leave The Party recounts his relationships with a literal who’s who of Hollywood: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Joan Rivers, Mary Tyler Moore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Edward Albee, Orson Welles, Aretha Franklin, Norman Jewison, and Elizabeth Taylor — although it’s true that Katharine Hepburn once turned him down, very nicely.
There are also stories about Marlon Brando, Princess Diana, Muhammad Ali, Princess Margaret, Sean Connery, Ella Fitzgerald, and Doris Day.
Co-written with film critic Jami Bernard of the New York Post and Daily News, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the LGBTQ+ rights program at Human Rights Watch.
Featured in numerous publications, including The Globe & Mail, Playback Magazine, Dolce, and Toronto Life, Bachir has received five honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Alberta, Ryerson University, York University, OCAD University, and Wilfrid Laurier University in recognition of his business expertise and philanthropic work.
Along with a long list of deserved awards, Bachir, because of his entrepreneurial spirit and advocacy of the arts and social justice, is a member of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada, as well as a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and two-time Grand Marshal of the Toronto Pride Parade.
The stories related in First To Leave The Party not only provide a parade of intimate detail about the lives of the rich and famous, the entertainment industry’s elite, but also bare Salah Bachir’s gusto and lust for life.
Bo Yokely Interview: Modeling, Marvel, and Upcoming Series ”Blue Ridge“
Bo Yokely, the Abercrombie & Fitch model-turned-actor, opens up about his journey from modelling to the cinema.
Since his early days as an Abercrombie & Fitch model, Bo Yokely has embarked on an extraordinary journey, gracefully transitioning into a flourishing acting career that is now poised for the spotlight with the upcoming crime mystery Blue Ridge. In an exclusive conversation, we had the pleasure of delving into Bo’s beginnings, unraveling the story of how he made the leap from iconic modeling to the cinematic.
Best known for his role as coach Ken Nichols in Apple TV’s Swagger and has previously starred in films like Lifetime’s Secret Lives of Housewives, Switched Before Birth, the Ponysitters Club films, romance novel-turned-film After the Storm and Tubi original Gridiron Grind. He was also featured in Luke Comb’s music video “The Kind of Love We Make” and will next appear as the supporting role of James Brown in Tosca Musk‘s adaptation of the romantic comedy novel Wallbanger for Passionflix.
Beyond his acting prowess, Bo is a dedicated advocate for the “Not Alone Foundation,” which offers research, education, and financial assistance for those in need of help while on dialysis.
How did you get into acting and modelling?
Bo Yokely: “I have been modeling since I was 18. I was actually scouted originally because I was one of those shirtless Abercrombie & Fitch models in the early 2000’s. Since that time I was modeling full time until one day my agent asked if I had any interest in being on a Marvel movie set as a small role in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” to which I said of course. I’d be crazy to say no. I had minored in theater in college and had always dreamt of acting but had no real inroad or connections to that world. After that experience, I knew acting was a calling that I had been missing and have been fortunate enough to pursue this career ever since.”
You’ve played a wide range of roles in TV series like “Swagger” and the crime mystery series “Blue Ridge.” How do you approach preparing for different characters, and do you have a favourite role so far?
“Each character is different from another. My prep is also different based on what character I am going to be playing. One role might require me to be more in character on and off set than another character. The first thing I will do is to try to find the voice of the character I’m playing. The tone, and pacing of the voice is very important to finding an authentic charter. Music really helps me find a character as well. I will try to create a playlist for each character and listen to that leading up to the shoot and before specific scenes if need be. I wouldn’t say I use a specific technique, but more of a combination of each technique I’ve studied. No, I do not have a favorite role to be honest. I kind of enjoy not having a favorite so i don’t try to force a repeated performance in the subsequent role I may do.”
Is there a specific genre or type of project you’re particularly interested in exploring in the future?
“I am a huge fan of historical epics. Films like Gladiator, Braveheart, 300, and Troy all kind of shaped my youth and inspired me more than almost anything else in my life. To be a part of those types of films one day is definitely the goal and what i’m moving into.”
Congratulations on receiving the prestigious Diamond Award from the “Not Alone Foundation” for your philanthropic efforts. Can you share more about your involvement with the foundation and what receiving this award means to you?
“For sure. I was beyond ecstatic to hear that I received the 2024 Diamond Award for Actor of the Year for the film Gridiron Grind and my role of Coach Peterson. It is such an honor and a special thanks to Mark Dodd, the founder of Not Alone Foundation for recognizing me. The Not Alone Foundation is a non-profit based in Atlanta dedicated to providing transportation, financial assistance, educational and medical resources for Chronic Kidney Disease and End Stage Renal Disease patients and their families. These issues are near and dear to my heart and with this foundation we are drawing awareness to all the many people who suffer from these diseases, but also providing tools and funding for those in need.”
Looking back at your journey in the entertainment industry, what advice would you give to aspiring actors?
“I always tell people to have a thick skin, a short memory, and a clear vision of what you are willing to sacrifice to make it work.”
In your creative process as an actor, what are some key sources of inspiration that fuel your performances? Whether it’s specific artists, experiences, or forms of art, how do these inspirations shape the characters you bring to life on screen?
“Without a doubt music is a huge source of inspiration for me. In character development, but also in motivation to keep going. I also really focus more on great directors and their work as an inspiration for my work. Don’t get me wrong, I love great actors and I have a list of dream collaborators, but film is a director’s medium, so in order to put in the best work I can, I want to study great directors’ films and how they will make such clear and distinct choices while filming. Directors like Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Michael Mann, and Guy Ritchie are my biggest inspirations for film acting. They seem to be able to make magic with anyone they work with so it seems they are the magicians behind the veil.”
When reflecting on your recent work, is there a particular aspect of the production process that stood out to you and you’d like to acknowledge?
When you’re not in front of the camera, what activities or hobbies do you enjoy? Whether it’s a favourite pastime, a place you love to visit, or any particular interests, we’d love to know more about the person behind the actor. What brings you joy and fulfillment outside of your acting career?
“I am a family man. Put me in my bed with my beautiful wife, my two angel daughters and my puppies with a great movie on tv and I am a happy man. I love working out and sparring. I was a fighter for years in boxing and kickboxing, and still train several times a week. I also try to watch a film a day. But new 2 year old and 7 month old eat up all the extra time I have throughout the day and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Director Matt Pittroff Unveils Short Film “Safe Space”
Matt Pittroff & Jeff Collins, share short film, “Safe Space,” asking: When it comes to love, is AI or human beings the more advanced species?
Renowned comedy director Matt Pittroff and ECD/writing partner Jeff Collins produced another short film, “Safe Space,” and pose the question: When it comes to love, is AI or human beings the more advanced species?
The Working Stiff Films production features dark comedy and compelling performances by Donald Chang (Zombie Wedding, HBO’s Search Party and High Maintenance), Molly Coyne (Rocket (wo)Men, Adam Karsten’s Once), and Julia Kelly (Dr. Death, The Last OG with Tracy Morgan and Law & Order). “Safe Space” is set to challenge perceptions as it takes viewers on a journey where a scientist and her sentient “pleasure model” grapple with the complexities of their evolving relationship aboard a spaceship.
Collins expounds on the themes of the script:
“I continue to be fascinated—and frightened—by how our relationships are impacted by modern technology, and how we seem more connected with it than we do with other humans, so that was the impetus once again for this film. Thankfully, through my connection with Matt – a fantastic human and director – it was able to evolve from what could have been another ‘lockdown’ script into an exploration of a much more complex and concerning issue. We keep talking about AI stealing our jobs, but what if it comes for our hearts?”
Pittroff emphasizes that beneath the surface of this space-age lovers’ quarrel lies an exploration of emotional connections between AI and humans, exposing vulnerabilities and the potential for manipulation. “We are all a little afraid of the unknown, especially when it comes to love and robots. And when that unknown begins to understand us better than we understand ourselves, the fear gets real and imminently disastrous. The film explores this in what we hope is a smart, dark and comedic way.SMARKEDY, if you will.”
“Making short films is therapeutic for me,” explains Pittroff, “allowing me to explore a bit of my darker (and slower) side, and work more instinctively, while applying all the years of training and experience I have accrued being a collaborative, visually meticulous, performance-first commercial director. These labors of love take a village and so before the world comes to end, I want to thank all of the talented folx, starting with our amazing cast, who lent their expertise to the making of “Safe Space.”
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