Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Something Nasty In The Woodshed

I first met Craig Jensen about a decade ago when we were teamed on a project that had us hop-scotching North America. And I have to say he’s one of the smartest, nicest, most honest and dedicated artists I know. He’s also blessed with a wicked sense of humor that had us giggling 24/7.

For those who don’t know Craig, he’s a composer, song-writer, musical director and music entrepreneur known for a raft of stage productions in Los Angeles and his native Seattle.

A couple of years ago, he drafted me into a cold reading of a new musical he was working on entitled “Something Nasty in the Woodshed” based on the well known British novel “Cold Comfort Farm” written by Stella Gibbons in 1930.

The book has been mounted for stage and screen and television several times since then, beloved for its outrageous comedy and timeless insights into life, art and dysfunctional family.

Think “Monty Python” meets “Downton Abbey”.

In Craig’s talented hands and with a great book & lyrics by LA writer Hope Burseth, the novel had been transformed into one of the funniest musicals I’ve experienced, leaving both the reading cast and audience helpless with laughter throughout.

A successful theatrical run soon followed and now “Something Nasty in the Woodshed” is on its way to becoming a film with a crowd funding campaign to kick it into life.

But, like I said, Craig’s a bright guy, smart enough to get all his musical ducks in a row first.

His just launched Indiegogo campaign is designed to update and record the score to deliver the full impact of its potential to studio deciders.

The following video, made with the help of Disney animator Michael Spooner, provides a taste of what “Something Nasty in the Woodshed” might be.

We’ve had a lot of success here lately getting crowd funding campaigns to their goals and this one deserves the same kind of support.

Check out the details here and kick in what you can. I guarantee it will be a rewarding experience.


Craig has just informed me that my favorite bit from the reading now opens the second act. A musical moment sadly missing from recent Broadway hits. In a word –- YODELLING!!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lazy Sunday # 313: Lightnin’ Strikes

Among the many underserved genres of Canadian film is the biography. And barely addressed at all is the sub-genre of the musical bio. As a result, the stories of home-grown stars from Hank Snow to The Guess Who to Nickleback may never be told.
For us, there’s been no “The Buddy Holly Story”, no “La Bamba”, not even an “American Hot Wax”. A few years ago, there was a much anticipated dramatization of the life of Shania Twain –- that concluded before she cut her first hit record.

I’m a big fan of rock and roll movies where you watch some talented teen struggle to find his voice and discover a signature sound that gets the whole world dancing.

For the most part they’re insignificant entertainments. But they’re always popular and usually revealing on where creativity comes from and how one artist both connects with and reflects his generation.

Over the years, I’ve pitched a few of those stories, at best meeting a complete lack of interest at the network and studio level or –- at worst – receiving the look that crosses Hugh Dillon’s face in “Hard Core Logo” every time he hears a Terry Jacks song in a bar.

Thus it remains a rich, un-mined vein in our culture. A library of stories so vast even American filmmakers have overlooked one of their own most unique and hard to define artists –- Lou Christie.

Born Luigi Alfredo Giovanni Sacco in suburban Pittsburgh, he began recording while still a teenager as “Lugee and the Lions” using his sister and a couple of her friends as back-up singers.

And right from the start nobody knew quite how or where to pigeon hole him. It wasn’t just that he wrote his own material and produced it, (virtually unheard of at the time) but his voice was –- well, Lou had a multi-octave range and made sure to use all of it.

From his earliest tracks, he would effortlessly move from a lilting tenor to a piercing falsetto (often a full octave higher than his back up girls) and back again, convinced he had only 15 seconds from needle drop to snag his audience with a sound they’d never heard before.

Even at a time when “The Four Seasons”, “Jan & Dean” and “The Beachboys” were all using falsetto, none had either the range or control of Luigi Sacco.

Nor did they share his desire to break new ground in Rock and Roll. From the age of 15, Luigi had been song-writing with self-described mystic Twyla Herbert, who vastly expanded his musical tastes and knowledge. And he convinced legendary producer Jack Nietzsche to help him design his distinctive sound.

It was Roulette Records that changed Luigi’s name to Lou Christie, informing him on the release of his first 45 for the label “The Gypsy Cried” in January of 1963.

The song became an immediate million seller which Christie followed with “Two Faces Have I” a mere 10 weeks later. It was an even bigger hit.

But Christie was already making enemies at Roulette, refusing to change lyrics or make musical alterations suggested by record execs who insisted they knew far more about the pop music business than he ever would.

So Roulette didn’t have any qualms about dropping him when he had to take a couple of years off to serve in the US Army.

Discharged in late 1965 with no recording contract and his star  eclipsed by the British Invasion, Christie should have been happy to be picked up by MGM in Los Angeles.

But he remained adamant about not taking MGM’s career advice and continued to push himself as an artist. He constantly experimented, often rewriting and re-recording the same song multiple times.

Frustrated with the endless tinkering and hoping to make an example of him, an MGM exec made a point of tossing Christie’s first demo in the trash. He was convinced to release the song anyway, if only to make the humiliation public. It became Lou Christie’s biggest hit –- “Lightning Strikes”.

By then critics were realizing that no one (including “The Beatles”) was packing as much creativity and musical exploration into three minute singles.

And before “Lightning Strikes” had begun to drop from its Number One spot on the hit parade, Christie released three more singles in one month that all charted. The last would fatally fracture his already rocky relationship with MGM.

“Rhapsody in the Rain” was based on Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” with a Chopin riff interwoven, and it vividly told the story of two kids making out in the backseat of their car.

The song was immediately banned by every major radio station in the country for being too explicit. And while compromising by issuing a revised version, Christie refused to stop pushing the envelope.

His next release, “Painter” was based on a Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly”. MGM buried it.

Over the next few years, Christie bounced from label to label, finally so fed up with record executives he left the business, finding work as a ranch hand and on an off-shore oil rig in the North Sea.

He returned to release one last hit single “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” before moving on to writing and producing critically acclaimed concept albums and songs for movie soundtracks, including his inimitable version of “Beyond the Blue Horizon” for “Rain Man”.
By then, one of Rock’s most innovative artists had stepped out of the spotlight. Not driven away or with his popularity fading, just a guy only interested in trying something new.

If you don’t know Lou Christie’s music, he’s worth taking the time. A guy who caught the ear of a generation, leaving behind an indelible sound.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

“Lightning Strikes”

“Rhapsody in the Rain”

“Beyond The Blue Horizon”

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How Is This Movie NOT Canadian…?

Oh, we’re so proud and smug today! We beat the USA at the Olympic Hockey rink and we’re on top of the world.

Yep. Give us skates and sticks and we rule. Evermore to be known as hewers of the wood and those who walk on frozen waters…

Yet, we somehow fail to notice that while staring fondly at our vast wilderness of trees, we miss what’s going on in the forest.

Like somebody making a movie you’d have thought a Canadian would have envisioned and exploited long before now.

Not that any government bureaucrat charged with hanging onto his/her job would have ever green-lit it.

But nonetheless, it has arrived.

A film that features not only our native landscape but our national symbol  -- and promises to eat the lunch and beat the box office take of any (perhaps every) film made in Canada this year.

Impossibly simple. So low of budget it wouldn’t even need to take a meeting with Super Channel.

A concept so high, it’s doubtless crossed the minds of half of British Columbia.

A film that not only practically writes itself but shoots in an afternoon and gets cut on the iMac you bought on Friday and plan to return on Monday.

Yeah, we won a hockey game. But some American stole a piece of our culture while we were jumping up and down on the couch.

We really need to broaden our horizons.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lazy Sunday # 312: Laughter on the 23rd Floor

We lost Sid Caesar this week. One of American television’s first comedy stars, he’s probably more responsible than anyone for the comedy that’s come out of that country for more than a generation.

Most modern audiences are unfamiliar with Caesar’s work, knowing him from reruns of movies like “Grease” and “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, neither of which reflect more than a shadow of his talents.

A veteran of sketch comedy and stand-up, beloved for his faux imitations of other languages (a talent he dubbed “Double-Talk”) Caesar was chosen by NBC in 1950 to host a 90 minute live Saturday night broadcast called “Your Show of Shows”.

That era’s version of SNL, it became an instant and massive hit, watched by upwards of 60 million viewers every week.

The secret to “Your Show of Shows” success was a writers room populated by an astonishing array of talent, writers who individually or collectively would be responsible for virtually every ground-breaking comedy produced on television, in movies or on the Broadway stage for decades.

Mel “Blazing Saddles” Brooks.

Neil “The Odd Couple” Simon.

Larry ““M*A*S*H*” Gelbart.

Michael “Bye Bye Birdie” Stewart.

Sheldon “The Dick Van Dyke Show” Keller.

And Mel “All In The Family” Tolkin.

Great writers aided and abetted by actor-director-writer hyphenates Carl Reiner and Woody Allen.

Those familiar with the room’s process described Caesar as “an inspired idea man who allowed his writers to take more risks than other TV shows”. And while that freedom allowed them to soar, according to Neil Simon, “Sid would make anything we wrote ten times funnier”.

Despite the talents he both nurtured and fed upon, the pressures of stardom not to mention creating and co-producing a weekly live broadcast for ten years eventually overwhelmed Caesar, forcing him into a self-imposed exile.

But his writers room went on to change American comedy. And  they never forgot the debt they owed to Sid Caesar, regularly teaming with him for evenings of public reminiscence of their time together on 30 Rock’s 11th and 12 floors, reminiscences immortalized in Neil Simon’s 1993 Broadway hit “Laughter on the 23rd Floor”.

A sampling of some of those moments follows, the love and respect all these people had for one another palpable a half century after the fact. It’s followed by one of Caesar’s inspired “Double-Talk” sketches, as funny now as it was to our parents and grandparents at the dawn of television.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Purple Mountains

One of my good friends, Cree troubadour Art Napoleon, just released a new video and I’m sharing it around.

Sharing it, not just because I think most of the people who drop by The Legion will like it.  But passing it around as an example of one of the rich motherlodes of talent in this country that is virtually ignored by Canada’s mainstream broadcasters.

Yeah, I know there are ghettoized services available for those who are LGBT or spiritually inclined or Aboriginal –- or even just female. But I’ve never understood exactly why.

It can’t be because people who share those traits are the only ones who want to watch that stuff. Because that’s not true of either the audience or the programming.

Maybe it’s because they attract small audiences, although they still quite often exceed the numbers for the early evening hours on CBC or every major network’s dedicated news service.

And with almost none of our specialty cable channels pretending to adhere to the subject matter that qualified them for their licenses anymore, it strikes me that there’s got to be room for that now closeted surfeit of talent in what’s considered the mainstream.

At least it would be better than the endless re-runs on platform after platform or using them mostly as dumping grounds for B-Grade American series and movies instead of original work.

When “The Unbundling” comes, those niche channels could well be the first to fall. Maybe CBC too if Strombo and that Q guy continue to spend most of their time hyping talent that isn’t homegrown.

As Art says, “time to burn those wagons down” –- and start doing what our broadcast industry was built to do –- tell Canadian Stories to Canadians. Which means including all of us…doesn’t it?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Good Ship Lollipop

There will be a lot written today about the late Shirley Temple. However, if you’re looking for some insight into her life or work, may I suggest you look elsewhere.

I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Shirley Temple movie all the way through. They were prevalent on TV when I was kid, but the only stuff from the same era that interested me were the “Our Gang” comedies.

But Shirley Temple does hold a special place in my memories. As a kid, she hosted one of my favorite shows, “Shirley Temple’s Storybook” which was basically all those fairy tales that Disney didn’t own; and as a result introduced me to a host of stories I’d never otherwise have heard.

But my warmest recollection related to her has to do with her signature song, “The Good Ship Lollipop”. Somebody was always singing it on those red and yellow vinyl 45’s they made for kids back in the day, so the words became engrained.

And it was the featured song for the first stripper I ever saw.

I was maybe 17, going to theatre school in London and one night a few of the lads went down to Soho looking for some excitement. We found a little shoebox strip joint over a pub and settled in with a pint nobody had even suggested we might be too young to purchase.

The lights dimmed and a winsome young lass appeared on stage, hair in ringlets and dressed in gingham –- or calico –- or whatever it is that innocent young things always wear in old movies.

The place was somewhat drafty and the poor girl had a cold, apologetically blowing her nose before the show commenced.

There was a hiss of static as a needle dropped on an well-worn record somewhere in the wings and she began to lip-sync -– and disrobe –- to Shirley Temple’s rendition of “The Good Ship Lollipop”.

Displaying both her artistic sensibilities and proving she was a real trooper, the young lady made sure certain portions of her anatomy “popped” in time with the music and placed all of her snorts and sniffles at appropriate breaks in the lyrics.

“On the goo-oo-ood ship Lolli-(pop)… It’s a sweet trip to a candy shop (snort)…”

So, while some today are recalling “Curly Top” or “Susannah of the Mounties” or Ms. Temple’s later career as a diplomat, I’m remembering that.

And in an odd way, that scene in Soho is not far removed from the original film staging. Recalled in that light, it appears my first stripper might have had more talents than I was aware of at the time.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Lazy Sunday # 311: A Word From Our Sponsor

Last Sunday a lot of people watched television to see the commercials.

Normally, people dump on commercials. They’re inane, intrusive and more often than not little more than an invitation to surf around the dial to see what else is on.

Except for Super Bowl Sunday, when advertisers pay millions for 30 seconds of airtime and corporate creatives pull out all the stops to set their brands apart, most people despise commercials.

I share that sentiment. Although when I was starting out as an actor, commercials kept me alive. They not only paid the phone bill and the rent, they allowed me to keep working in the theatre where a two or three month run seldom earned you more than a single one of those commercial messages.

But it was far from easy money. You spent your days running from audition to audition, reading in front of a bleacher full of ad execs and company reps who had no concept of such thespian needs as character or motivation.

Sometimes you got jobs because you matched the guy in the storyboard sketch. Or lost them because you had the same color hair as their daughter’s idiot boyfriend.

You quickly realized you weren’t dealing with a deep understanding of how comedy or drama was made. They were invested in the mantra of their product and needed you to deliver their message perfectly even if you had no idea what exactly (besides soap) they thought they were selling.

Shoot days were worse. While films seldom did more than handful of takes, the simplest of commercial shots often went into double and triple digits. The performance of the “talent” now utterly  secondary to how the sweat dripped down your beer glass or the sun caught a car’s hood ornament.

Most of the actors I knew in that world developed a healthy love/hate relationship with the medium. You were thrilled for your bank balance when you got a spot –- and relieved in equal measure for your sanity when you didn’t.

What finally made me walk away was a trend demanding you arrive at an audition virtually in costume. The agent’s instructions were always precise. Dress like a Disco dude. Look like a lumberjack. Be that dad with three kids in private school.

It was just further proof that the people making the ad had little if any imagination.

One day with a full schedule of auditions, and without time to change between them, I walked into an audition dressed like a working class hero when they expected a trendy bartender.

“Hold it!” said the director, “Didn’t your agent tell you to look like a bartender?”

“Uh-huh…” I responded, not wanting the agency to take the hit.

“Didn’t he tell you to wear a white shirt, bow tie and dark slacks?”

It felt like the whole room wanted an explanation. I had grown so tired of this shit....

“Yeah, he did –- but he only goes to Gay bars…”

There was dead silence. I knew I’d gone too far. Then worried looks criss-crossed the room.

I got the part.

And they insisted I wear exactly what I was wearing. It was my last commercial.

The scars from those years have long ago healed and I have a special place in my heart for commercials that feature imagination, a real desire to be different and maybe most importantly –- wrap their message in something more important than just selling a product.

Because I know how nigh to impossible it is for those things to survive the process.

For all of the special and innovative stuff that interrupted last Sunday’s football game, what follows might be one of the best commercials I’ve seen in years.

It’s from South Africa and what’s being sold is mentioned only once and barely in passing. Yet I guarantee you will never forget the brand nor think of it in anything but a positive light.

And that’s well worth holding off the remote for a minute and paying attention to the message.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Not A Smidgen Of Corruption…

Everyone who has experience with government bureaucrats knows that no matter their dedication to the tasks at hand, an equal if not greater portion of their daily efforts appears to fall into the category of “Cover Your Ass”.

I honestly feel for a lot of these people. Many are in positions where they inevitably alienate somebody no matter what they do while being constantly evaluated by superiors whose agendas shift with the ever changing winds of public opinion or political necessity.

It’s perfectly understandable that the last thing they want in their lives are those troublemakers who come along insistent on speaking truth to power.

I mean, c’mon, the job’s hard enough. So it makes sense that the thought crosses some minds of pretending the problem isn’t real or insisting that “There’s nothing to see here”, so they can get on with whatever.

In a worse case situation, it’s even possible that the full force of a bureaucracy can be brought to bear on those who refuse to Shut The Fuck Up.

And that means that while the bureaucrat’s job is hard, it’s just as hard or harder –- and perhaps far more courageous -- to refuse to be silent.

Despite those realities, it has always annoyed and frustrated me that so few of those with great ideas about improving the Canadian film and TV industries are willing to confront or even openly question those who make or administer the rules.

There seems to be this palpable dread that they’ll go on some kind of enemies list. And so they remain silent, allowing bad situations to evolve into worse ones.

Several months ago, I posted a clip featuring a housewife named Becky Gerritson, who, finding herself swept up in the shit storm surrounding potential IRS targeting of political groups in the US sucked it up and spoke out.

As I said at the time, you don’t have to share Ms. Gerritson’s politics or values to sympathize with her feelings and understand her passion.

Last Sunday, during a pre-Super Bowl interview, President Obama assured his nation that months of investigation had proven there was “not a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS case.

Yesterday, Ms. Gerritson was back before a Congressional Committee begging to differ, her passion and courage once again very much on display.

You can’t help wonder how different the Canadian TV and film businesses would be if those who advocate on our behalf as adamantly refused to pull their punches.

What follows is a portion of Ms. Gerritson’s testimony. This time she didn’t come alone and those who champion speaking truth to power should listen to them as well.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Dylan Rekert is “this close”…

…to fully funding his Kickstarter campaign.

Dylan Rekert is a Vancouver filmmaker carrying on the family tradition of making movies.

And if everybody who got their first job in Canadian movies or television through his father only kicked in a dollar, his short film “Roar” would have been fully funded in an instant.

But with some 50 hours to go (as of noon today -- Wednesday) he stands about $4000 shy of fully funding a supernatural drama about people with extraordinary powers; powers they spend their lives battling to control, and which ultimately consume them.

The project is a collaboration between Rekert and his long-time film partner Stuart Langfield, who both share a background in animation and graphic design as well as commercial film projects.

For a contribution as small as $10, you can be the proud owner of a digital copy of the final product.

In the $25 – $250 range you get to own samples of the kind of print work for which this duo is known…

ROAR Poster 01

And $500 and up gets your name on a Canadian film and some of the way cool limited edition stuff.

C’mon Vancouver, that’s what you’ve been blowing on a night out with the ‘Nucks this season. And how satisfying has that been? Huh?

All the details on the campaign can be found here. And if you’re serious about keeping film production alive on the Left coast, I can’t think of a better way of helping that happen.


Less than 24 hours after this post ran, Dylan and Stuart’s film was completely funded. While I’d love to take some credit, the real heroes here are all the people who stepped up and put it over the top. Thanks to you all. You did a good thing.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Minnesota? Really?


Every week or so I click onto iTunes to see what’s new and usually gravitate to the free stuff before spending any money.

This week’s free song offering turned into an immediate ear worm. It was from a guy I’d never heard. Not that surprising, trust me.  But it got me wanting to learn more and I discovered he was from Minnesota.

Now, since the Andrews sisters, talented artists have been flowing out of Minnesota. We all know that’s where Bob Dylan and Prince came from. But nobody hardly ever thinks of Minnesota the same way we do of Motown, New Orleans or Nashville, LA, New York and Austin.

We just don’t.


Because most of us don’t really know what exactly comes from Minnesota or if it’s just there to keep Wisconsin and South Dakota from bumping into one another.

It’s just kinda out in the Midwest. South of Manitoba. Home of an occasionally good baseball team. And Minneapolis hasn’t (to my knowledge) ever tarted itself up as some kind of “Music City”.

But apparently it is; regularly voted or critically acknowledged as one of the top musical hot spots in the entire US of A.

The bands you’d know from there are as diverse as “The Jayhawks”, “Soul Asylum”, “The Replacements” and “Husker Du” (apologies for the lack of umlauts).

Add to that a couple of personal faves, “The Time” and “The Rainmakers”.

And I think we might need to append the creator of today’s ear worm. Free this week on Canadian iTunes. Jeremy Messersmith.

Like the others, virtually out of nowhere. Or at least Minnesota.

For those in Montreal and Toronto, Jeremy Messersmith plays at Divan Orange February 10 and the Drake Hotel on February 11.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Perverts With Principles

“The Sin of Nora Moran” is one of my favorite films from the 1930’s. Without giving too much away, it’s a timeless tale about how reputations and lives are ruined while the real (and far more interesting) story goes untold.

You can’t open Facebook or any Hollywood or even News site today without seeing somebody being shamed for something. And my reaction is always the same. “Can’t we leave this to the people intimately involved”?

Because, to be completely honest, we’ve all got things we’d prefer remained private. And all that you can fully know about any relationship, be it personal, business or otherwise, is one half of the one you’re in.

But the haters and shamers and busybodies of the Internet still insist on fermenting daily outrage.

Once upon a time, I used to try to correct those with axes to grind or who reposted items had long ago relegated to their archives. But now I just accept that these people have pointless lives or function on a level that has no mature understanding of the real world.

Apparently, Bill Maher and I are in agreement. Here’s a masterfully done and oh-so-timely editorial from Friday night’s “Real Time With Bill Maher”.

Some of you really need to take it to heart.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Lazy Sunday # 310: Warriors

Today is the day we celebrate Capitalism. There’s a big football game going on too. And that used to be the reason this Sunday was special. But along the way, with all the hype and commercials and overblown halftime shows, Capitalism took over.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Capitalism as much as the next guy -- maybe more. It’s an economic system designed to give everybody the freedom to make a few bucks.

But like all economic systems, somebody always comes along and perverts it to serve their own selfish ends by using it to use and abuse other people.

And seldom do you see that as clearly as you do on Super bowl Sunday.

This week, the worst of what passes for Capitalism has been running wild on the streets of New York. There have been a record number of arrests for human trafficking as well as the bust of a massive multi-million dollar operation selling fake NFL merchandise.

Even the just as rich and famous brother of a quarterback on one of the teams playing has been implicated in a scheme to defraud fans by selling “game used” paraphernalia that may not be.

These are the kind of guys who give Capitalism a bad name. And they far, far outnumber the entrepreneurs legitimately trying to sell worthwhile goods and services that make our lives better.

And those of us who work in The Show Biz have no right to feel at all smug or self-righteous about how the wolves and jackals of Wall Street have overwhelmed the lions. Because we’ve allowed and even actively assisted that happening in our own industry.

Movies are of their time, sometimes the best record we have of the mores and morals of those times, how people thought and what they valued.

But we’ve let the hucksters and crooked accountants take over. The guys who only get to have sex with women given no choice.

The wannabees who want to look the part but won’t pay the price of a real jersey.

The people who get your kids warm and fuzzy about some low quality beer because the puppy in the commercial is cute.

Those bereft of creativity and vision have cornered a big portion of our way of making money, churning out remakes designed not to entertain or forward the culture but simply to cash in on what was relevant in another era.

They take the best of our past and ruin it, never realizing that somebody burned by the execrable remakes of “Total Recall”, “Carrie” and “Footloose” is thinking twice about forking out any more money to get into the multiplex.

Thus the road for original films gets harder while remakes remain the only safe bet for a studio exec.

This week a trailer appeared online to stir up interest in remaking another great film of its time, “The Warriors”.

Now, “The Warriors” was no watershed moment in cinema. It was just a well made movie capturing a sliver of the 70’s Zeitgeist.

Based on Sol Yurick’s novel, it was co-written and directed by Walter Hill, who’d made his name with “Hard Times” and “The Driver” and would go on to produce the “Alien” and “48 Hr.” franchises.

Hill and his creative team struggled against a studio that didn’t believe in the project and released it without spending a dollar on marketing. But “The Warriors” was unrepentantly of its time and fired the imaginations of those living in it.

It became an overnight sensation and a cult classic.

Meaning, of course, to those who only see the results and not how the sausage is made, that remaking it will reap similar rewards.

But in watching the faux trailer designed to draw in the studio suits, I felt not excitement but dread. Yes, it’s stylish and “very cool” in places. All the touchstones of the original film are there.

But the times are different. Street gangs are different now. Nothing like the Sharks and Jets of “West Side Story” or Yurick’s novel. Far meaner than even Hill’s “Furies” and “Riffs”.

I could see the darker moments of the trailer being replicated nationwide. Perhaps less often by real gangs than those having more in common with the Capitalist wannabees, never considering the consequences of their own need to be somebody.

The trailer for the original film and its proposed remake run below.

Take the decision not to make your own money by supporting the work of those who only know how to use and abuse.

And –- Enjoy Your Sunday.