‘Full House’ Cast Is Still A Family 30 Years Later

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Ahead of “Fuller House” Season 3, the actors look back with humor over three decades.

Time and time again, we hear casts of TV and film describe themselves as family. Not everyone in Hollywood can get along, but we nod and smile at the claims anyway because, well, they’re easier to accept than calling b.s. on every red carpet or awards show stage.

And yet when the cast of “Fuller House” says they’re family, we know they really mean it. Nobody films eight seasons of a hugely popular sitcom only to return decades later for a revival if they don’t genuinely enjoy being with one another. That sentiment is more than evident in the third season of the sequel series, which hits Netflix exactly 30 years after the pilot premiered. Yes, three decades have passed since we welcomed the Tanner family into our homes and hearts and, have mercy, we’re getting nostalgic.

“It’s like getting all of your crazy family together,” Jodi Sweetin told HuffPost during a Build Series interview. “We speak in this language that we’ve known for 30 years of ridiculous inside jokes, silliness, laughter and love.”

“There’s something that stands the test of time,” she continued. “To be able to do this 30 years later and have ‘Fuller House’ be such a success and do it with people we love. And to really have so much fun with it and create a whole new generation of fans has really been a huge compliment and a huge testament to the show.”

The revival hasn’t exactly been a critical darling ― the original series was never well-received, either ― but the franchise continues to have an undeniable resonance with audiences around the world. Netflix is famously secretive when it comes to viewership, but it’s rumored that “Fuller House” is one of the most watched programs on streaming services and traditional TV networks.

Fan service alone cannot sustain a series for more than a season, so “Fuller House” has taken a cue from its Netflix brothers and sisters and committed to more serialized storytelling, setting it apart from the original series. Whereas “Full House” centered around Danny, Joey and Jesse, the revival showcases the female-perspective on stories of love, family and raising kids, which cast members Candice Cameron Bure, Jodi Sweetin and Andrea Barber agreed was “refreshing.” The third season picks up where the finale left off, after D.J. (Bure) witnessed her childhood sweetheart Steve propose to another woman (unfortunately named C.J.), while she recommitted to boyfriend Matt.

Steve’s wedding eventually takes the family to Japan in the back half of the season, premiering in December, but expect plenty of love triangle-related hijinks before then. Stephanie (Sweetin) is still trying to get her life together, now with a broken leg from a real-life accident, while growing closer to boyfriend Jimmy, who happens to be the brother to everyone’s favorite Gibbler, Kimmy (Barber).

Other exciting tidbits from the season include an inventive opening musical number we can’t stop humming along to and, of course, guest appearances by “Full House” favorites Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and John Stamos, who show up for a handful of episodes each season.

The real draw of a series like “Fuller House” is what exists between the lines. Whenever original cast members share a scene together there’s an unspoken connection that the audience is also privy to ― the three leads wear matching friendship rings on and off camera ― and that “true love,” as Saget puts it, is why people keep coming back for more.

“It was just like they were our kids. We were very protective and we were together for a long time and we went through a lot together,” Dave Coulier said during the same Build Series interview. “When you do 192 episodes of any show, you’re together with the people you work with a lot more than your own family … I still feel that way.”

“The show mirrored [my life],” Saget added. “I have three daughters. My oldest was one when the show started and I didn’t know I was going to have three.”

The same kind of mentorship has been passed down to a new generation of “Fuller House” child actors, who now populate the famous Tanner household, including Michael Campion, Elias Harger and twins Dashiell and Fox Messitt, taking the baton from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

“We give them more advice as moms than actors,” Bure said of her TV children. “They don’t need that many acting tips from us, but there’s a lot of value in the fact that we experienced that. We have probably more compassion and understanding than people on set or people that haven’t worked with kids because we went through that. Juggling school full time and then your work schedule full time … it’s a lot.”

Like most families, not every member of the clan is keen on coming to the reunions or showing up for the holiday card. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, who both played the third Tanner daughter, Michelle, have famously abstained from appearing on the revival series. Don’t expect them to change their minds anytime soon.

“They have their life. They don’t want to act.” Saget explained. “They have love for everybody and it is what is. People go on and do what they want with their lives.”

With or without the Olsen twins, something special still happens when the cast convenes in the same room, be it on set or the times they’ve spent supporting one another after the cameras stopped rolling all those years ago.

“We’ve been friends for 30 years. When we started ‘Fuller House,’ it wasn’t like we all saw each other for the first time after 20 years,” Bure said. “We’ve remained friends and the spark has always been there, because when you love someone in real life, you always want to be with them, feel joyful and hang out with them. And that’s how we’ve always felt.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by huffingtonpost.com

 

Howard Stern Bans Staff From Helping Jackie Martling

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DJ’s underlings told ‘stay away’ from former show writer’s revealing new tell-all.

RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal Howard Stern has gotten so power-mad, he has forbid anyone on his show to write the forward to Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling’s upcoming memoir, The Joke Man: Bow To Stern.

When Martling, 69, was writing the book, which details his beginnings as a working comic and climb to the top on The Howard Stern Show, he initially reached out to Robin Quivers.

She politely declined the honor before Fred Norris and Gary Dell’Abate followed suit.

“Howard made it known, let’s put it that way,” a source told Radar of the shock jock insisting his subordinates “stay way from [the book].”

“He didn’t want anybody even remotely associated with the show doing Jackie any favors, especially when the book doesn’t always portray Howard in a good light.”

Martling, who was Stern’s head writer from 1983 to 2001, eventually settled on Artie Lange to do the honors.

However, Lange didn’t exactly write the book’s introduction, since the forward, claimed the source, is just a bunch of gracious compliments that Lange paid Martling on his podcast in 2016.

Martling, continued the insider, eventually wrote the forward, which snubs Stern, but attributed the finished product to Lange.

The Joke Man: Bow To Stern hits bookstores on Oct. 24.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by radaronline.com

Randy Newman: My Life In 15 Songs

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Here’s how a comic genius built one of American music’s greatest catalogs

“It’s almost always something I play on the piano,” singer-songwriter Randy Newman tells Rolling Stone of the genesis moment in his craft, the first step he takes into a new tune and story. “It inspires a code of some kind – maybe dummy lyrics, something I can get rid of. But after a couple of lines, it will become what it’s going to become.

“It’s always been a job,” says Newman, 73, one of American pop’s greatest and most acclaimed songwriters for more than a half-century and an Academy Award-winning composer for animated films. “I go to the piano, and I’m supposed to think of something. It’s always been that way – maybe because of the way I grew up.”

Born in Los Angeles and raised for a time in New Orleans, Newman – who has just released Dark Matter, his first studio album in nine years – was fated to go into his family’s business. His uncles Alfred, Lionel and Emil Newman were famous Hollywood composers with ten Oscars and more than 50 nominations between them. Randy’s father was a doctor. But “as a kid, studying music,” Newman says, “that’s where I hoped I was headed.”

He took the long road, starting in the early Sixties as a songwriter for other singers. Many of his early, classic songs were first recorded by or successes for artists such as Gene Pitney, Dusty Springfield and Three Dog Night. Newman’s only major hit under his own name was the jaunty 1977 satire “Short People.” But his six Grammys and 2013 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reflect the greater, enduring impact of Newman’s slippery storytelling, pointed, social observation and rapturous melodies, delivered in a singular, deadpan-Everyman voice.

Newman’s only problem as he looked back through this list: He couldn’t always remember when he wrote what, if it was “1967 rather than ’65 or ’66. Lenny [Waronker, Newman’s longtime producer] would know. I should have asked him before I did this.”

“I Love L.A.”

Trouble in Paradise, 1983

I wrote “I Love L.A.” because Don Henley said to me, “Everybody’s writing L.A. songs, people not from here. You’re from here. Why don’t you write one?” There is an aggressive ignorance to the song – ignorant and proud of it. There’s nothing wrong with the Beach Boys and open-top cars. But the guy talks about the bum [“Look at that bum over there, man/He’s down on his knees”] and is still shouting “We love it”. My cousin, Tim Newman, did the video [a tour of L.A. beaches and hot spots with Newman driving a Buick convertible]. He did the ones for … what the hell’s the name of those blues guys with the long beards? [Long pause] ZZ Top! This was a cheerful shoot. Those people [singing the chorus] are pretty happy.

“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today”

Randy Newman, 1968

This might have been 1964 or ’63. I may have had the first two chords of the tune, where the voice starts. I have always loved those vanilla-kind of chords, straight-ahead Stephen Foster. And once I had a style, I crystallized it: The music is emotional – even beautiful – and the lyrics are not. The honest truth is the song bothered me because of the darkness – it felt sophomoric, too maudlin. But Judy Collins did a great version [in 1966]. UB40’s [1980 cover] was interesting. And I played piano for Barbara Streisand when she recorded it [in 1970]. Boy, it’s real good. She has a hell of a voice.

It’s sung by a con man who is telling these parents that he is going to take care of their son, who is a freak – in the carnival sense of the word. There might be something to do with my own self worth, but I didn’t think there was when I wrote it. The narrator – it’s hard to have any sympathy for him. Most of my narrators have more to like about ’em. But not this one – he is not a good guy. I made mistakes with the orchestra, arranging it too slow. Then I had to record the vocals, and it was like building a mountain you can’t climb. It was brutal.

“Have You Seen My Baby”

12 Songs, 1970

I arranged the horns for Fats Domino when he recorded this in 1969. I wrote it for me. But when he did it, it was like him imitating me imitating him. He’s one of my Top Five artists of all time. Maybe the reason I love Fats so much is because I heard people talk that way in New Orleans. And it’s easy music to like. My natural mode of expression is the shuffle. Dr. John can play my stuff great.

I arranged the horns for Fats Domino when he recorded this in 1969. I wrote it for me. But when he did it, it was like him imitating me imitating him. He’s one of my Top Five artists of all time. Maybe the reason I love Fats so much is because I heard people talk that way in New Orleans. And it’s easy music to like. My natural mode of expression is the shuffle. Dr. John can play my stuff great.

“Mama Told Me Not to Come”

12 Songs, 1970

Eric Burdon [of the Animals] recorded this in 1966. It’s a guy going to a party, and he’s a little scared. The first line [“Will you have whiskey with your water/Or sugar with your tea”] was a vague connection to acid. I don’t remember being thrown off by that stuff then. If I was that unsophisticated – which is possible – I wouldn’t admit it. The piano lick is what kicked it off. Three Dog Night made the song a hit [in 1971], but I didn’t make a lot of money. Maybe I was behind [on publishing advances]. I remember getting a check for $6000. I said, “Where’s the rest?” They said, “Well, you know…”

“Sail Away”

Sail Away, 1972

There was a producer, the husband of [actress] Leslie Caron. He wanted to make a movie where he would give ten minutes to these artists – people like Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, me – to do anything we wanted. It never got made. But I had this idea of a slave ship and a sea shanty – this guy standing in a clearing, singing to a crowd of natives. These people in my songs don’t know they’re bad. They think they’re fine. I didn’t just want to say, “Slavery is awful.” It’s too easy. I wasn’t doing Roots. I knew Bobby Darin pretty well. He covered this [in 1972], but he was such a musical guy that he missed the point. He was like, “Little one, come to America.” Etta James did it, and I guarantee she knew what it was about, absolutely.

“Lonely at the Top”

Sail Away, 1972

I wrote it for Frank Sinatra. There was a massive drive at Warner Bros. Records to get Frank a hit. I thought – maybe stupidly – that he would be ready to make fun of that leaning-against-the-lamp-post shit: “Oh, I’m so lonely and miserable and the biggest singer in the world.” I never bought that part of him. I thought he’d appreciate that. I played it for him, at his office on the Warner Bros. lot. His reaction? Nothing. He said, “Next.” I also played “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today.” He said, “I like that one.” But he couldn’t hide his bitterness at young people’s music.

“Louisiana 1927”

Good Old Boys, 1974

I remember my aunt talking about that flood [the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927]. She worked for [Governor] Huey Long at some point, in New Orleans. Good Old Boys was meant to be a concept record. I wrote “Rednecks,” then felt I had to do more for the guy, explain why he was that way with “Birmingham,” “Whirlwind,” and “Louisiana 1927.” The chorus [“They’re tryin’ to wash us away”] – That’s the North. It’s the feeling that the rest of the country would like them to disappear. It’s much more relevant now. The whole country feels as if it’s a swamp.

“Short People”

Little Criminals, 1977

I needed an “up” song for that record, and that just popped out: “Short people got no reason…” I was bouncing off that [hums the piano line]. I was surprised by the reaction. Because it was a hit [peaking at Number Two], the song reached people who aren’t looking for irony. For them, the words mean exactly what they say. I can imagine being a short kid in junior high school. I thought about it before I let the record get out. But I thought, “What the hell?” I know what I meant – the guy in that song is crazy. He was not to be believed.

“One More Hour”

Ragtime soundtrack, 1981

I came into movies the back way, from songwriting instead of doing film first. In scoring, everything is for the picture. If it isn’t up there on the screen, you don’t do it. You do your best for the picture on any and every occasion. With this song [the first of Newman’s 20 Academy Award nominations], I already had the theme for the film. I added a counter-line so it would be a tune of some kind. It’s over the credits [sung by Jennifer Warnes], but it has to be of a piece with the rest of the picture. I wouldn’t have written that song for myself. But the songs for movies are a chance for me to walk right down the middle of the road with lyrics. I get to write things that are simpler.

“Feels Like Home”

Randy Newman’s Faust, 1995

I read the original, Goethe’s Faust Part One. It’s like bumping into a great mind, someone who wants to learn everything in the world. Something in me wanted to take the exaltation out. I made it about a freshman at Notre Dame who doesn’t know what he wants. I had a script and showed it to [film director] Mike Nichols. He said, “The kid doesn’t have any arc. Nothing happens to him.” But I liked that. It makes for a gruesome evening of theater [laughs]. I had Henley, Elton John and Linda Ronstadt sing the songs. I wrote this one for Bonnie Raitt to sing to the Devil, to trick him. Bonnie’s great in it. But something is wrong with me – that’s how convoluted it has to be for me to write a fucking love song.

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me”

Toy Story soundtrack, 1995

Toy Story was my first big, animated movie. It’s different from doing a regular feature. When Tom Hanks falls down in a movie, you don’t necessarily go [mimics the rhythm of someone tumbling down a flight of stairs]. But when [the toy cowboy] Woody falls down, it doesn’t look right if you don’t have that sound. The song [Newman’s first Oscar winner] is about the friendship of Woody and the boy, Andy. I asked for adjectives; they gave me “friendly,” “comforting.” I took them seriously. Cartoon figures have adult emotions, just like a character in Dunkirk. I have definitely found a place in animation. But I got typecast. I don’t get offered things like Out of Africa. I’d do them. They’re easier. You never stop in animated pictures. In a drama, they’re not skipping around all the time.

“A Few Words in Defense of Our Country”

Harps and Angels, 2008

This was in the New York Times [the lyrics were published as an editorial in 2007]. I wrote it because I thought the [second] Bush adminstration would be one of the worst of my lifetime, maybe the worst we’d ever have. Little did I know [Donald Trump] would make him look like Winston Churchill. The comparisons in the song are ridiculous, saying Bush is not as bad as the Caesars. He’s not as bad as [the Roman emperor] Tiberius, because he didn’t kill little boys. He’s not Hitler or Stalin. But I do that song now, and it gets a bigger reaction. Who could have prepared for this?

“Putin”

Dark Matter, 2017

I started it two and a half years ago. It was seeing [Russian leader] Vladimir Putin in those pictures with his shirt off. Like what the hell does he want? He’s the most powerful man in the world – and he wants to be Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt. The song is less critical than I thought it would be, although the tone gets menacing at the end. If it’s just a joke, it’s worth something to me. It’s worth less unless there’s something else. But I can’t tell people what to get from a song. When I’m doing “Rednecks” for a crowd and they’re like “We’re rednecks, yeah!”, that bothers me. It’s closer to home.

“She Chose Me”

Dark Matter, 2017

I wrote it a long time ago for a TV show, Cop Rock [a bizarre 1990 hybrid of police drama and musical numbers], about a guy who was relatively ugly and had a beautiful wife. One of the best things I do is assignments. I do it easily, and I do it well. People say, “Isn’t it a sellout?” No, it’s who I am. If you want me to write a song about an Albanian gardener who moves to Bulgaria, I’ll do it. I’m a professional songwriter. And that’s fine with me.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by rollingstone.com

Harry Dean Stanton Passes Away At 91

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Harry Dean Stanton, the actor with a gaunt, bedraggled look who labored in virtual obscurity for decades until a series of roles increased his visibility, including his breakthrough in Wim Wenders’ “Paris, Texas,” died of natural causes Friday in Los Angeles. He was 91.

The actor was also known for his roles in “Twin Peaks,” “Big Love,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Repo Man.”

He had a high-profile role as manipulative cult leader Roman Grant on HBO polygamy drama “Big Love,” which ran from 2006-11, and recently appeared as Carl Rodd in the “Twin Peaks” revival on Showtime.

His most recent film, “Lucky,” about an atheist who comes to terms with his own mortality, is set to be released by Magnolia on Sept. 29.

In 1984, when he turned 58, he not only starred in the Wenders’ “Paris, Texas” — his first role ever as leading man — but in Alex Cox’s popular cult film “Repo Man.” (That year he also had a small role in John Milius’ “Red Dawn,” shouting “Avenge me! Avenge me!” to his sons, played by Charlie Sheen and Patrick Swayze, after being captured by Soviet troops invading America.)

“Paris, Texas,” penned by Sam Shepard, was the darling of the Cannes Film Festival, capturing not only the Palme d’Or, but other juried awards as well. Stanton played Travis, who reconnects with his brother, played by Dean Stockwell, after being lost for four years. Stanton’s performance in the film was not so much powerful as it was intriguingly, sometimes hauntingly, absent.

Roger Ebert said, “Stanton has long inhabited the darker corners of American noir, with his lean face and hungry eyes, and here he creates a sad poetry.”

In the cheerfully bizarre “Repo Man,” he played the boozy repo-biz veteran who takes young punk Emilio Estevez under his wing but provides at-best nebulous guidance: “The life of a repo man is always intense.”

In 1986, Stanton hit the mainstream when he played Molly Ringwald’s unemployed father in “Pretty in Pink.” Later in the 1980s he played a fiery Paul/Saul in Martin Scorsese’s controversial 1988 effort “The Last Temptation of Christ,” but the actor was among those in the film criticized by many as miscast.

Later film roles included a pair of David Lynch films in the early 1990s, “Wild at Heart” and “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”; Bob Rafelson’s “Man Trouble,” with Jack Nicholson; “The Mighty,” with Gena Rowlands and Sharon Stone; “The Green Mile”; Sean Penn’s “The Pledge”; Nick Cassavetes’ “Alpha Dog”; and Lynch’s “Inland Empire.”

Stanton was close friends with Nicholson — Stanton was best man at Nicholson’s 1962 wedding, and they lived together for more than two years after Nicholson’s divorce — and the character actor’s first step in emerging from obscurity was a part written by Nicholson for him in the 1966 Western “Ride the Whirlwind.” Stanton played the leader of an outlaw gang; Nicholson told him to “let the wardrobe do the acting and just play yourself.” “After Jack said that, my whole approach to acting opened up,” Stanton told Entertainment Weekly.

In the early ’70s Stanton appeared in films including “Kelly’s Heroes” and “Two Lane Blacktop”; he also had a small role in “The Godfather: Part II.”

On the shoot for 1976’s “The Missouri Breaks,” starring Marlon Brando and Nicholson, Stanton made a long-term friend in Brando when he courageously dissuaded the increasingly eccentric actor from making a foolish choice in his performance.

The actor played one of the doomed crewmen in Ridley Scott’s “Alien” and a crooked preacher in John Huston’s “Wise Blood,” and he had a fairly significant role in John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York” as Brain, who keeps the machines running in the high-security prison Manhattan has become.

In 1983, Shepard got to talking with Stanton at a bar in Sante Fe, N.M., and later offered him the lead role in “Paris, Texas.” “I was telling him I was sick of the roles I was playing,” Stanton told the New York Times. “I told him I wanted to play something of some beauty or sensitivity. I had no inkling he was considering me for the lead in his movie.” He also worked with Shepard in the 1985 “Fool for Love.”

In a 2011 review of Paolo Sorrentino’s “This Must Be the Place,” Variety said, “Like all great directors who make a road movie, Sorrentino captures the physical location as well as the inner transformation, and in keeping with the genre, he also knows Harry Dean Stanton has to be included.”

Stanton did voice work for the Johnny Depp animated film “Rango” in 2011. In a 2010 episode of NBC’s “Chuck,” Stanton reprised his “Repo Man” character.

Stanton was born in West Irvine, Ky. After serving in the Navy during WWII, he attended the University of Kentucky, studying journalism and radio, and performing in “Pygmalion.” He then pursued an interest in acting by heading to California to study at the Pasadena Playhouse.

He made his small-screen debut in 1954 in an episode of the NBC show “Inner Sanctum.” In another early TV role, he was directed by Alfred Hitchcock in an episode of “Suspicion” called “Four O’Clock.” (The actor was credited as Dean Stanton in most of his early roles to avoid confusion with the actor Harry Stanton, who died in 1978.)

On the big screen, Stanton’s earliest, mostly uncredited work was in Westerns and war pics, debuting in 1957’s “Tomahawk Trail” and appearing in 1959 Gregory Peck-starrer “Pork Chop Hill.” (He also guested on many TV Westerns, including “The Rifleman,” “Have Gun — Will Travel,” “Bonanza,” and “Gunsmoke”).

Stanton also led his own band, first known as Harry Dean Stanton and the Repo Men and later simply as the Harry Dean Stanton Band, and would play pickup gigs in L.A. area clubs. Bob Dylan, with whom he worked on Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” was a friend. Another friend was Hunter S. Thompson, and Stanton sang at his funeral.

The character actor was the subject of two documentaries: 2011’s “Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland” and Sophie Huber’s 2013 “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction,” which featured interviews with Wenders, Shepard, Kris Kristofferson, and Lynch.

He never married, though he has said he has “one or two children.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by variety.com

Artie Lange Admits To Using After Hospitalization

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‘Sometimes I have to use. I have to get to the point where I don’t have withdrawals,’ he explains to Radar.

After Artie Lange was caught bleeding from his nose in a shocking new video, the troubled comedian is finally coming clean about his current drug use.

“Sometimes I use. But not every day,” he told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview. “I have to get to the point where I don’t have withdrawals.”

The former Stern Show sidekick, 49, was hospitalized with heart problems in July after years of admitted cocaine and heroin abuse. Lange collapsed on stage in Chicago, and underwent emergency surgery to repair his heart.

Though he vowed to stay on the straight and narrow after his hospital stint, it appears the pressures of taping the second season of HBO’s hit Crashing, completing his third book, a rigorous stand-up schedule and the new podcast he co-hosts with Anthony Cumia have taken their toll.

Despite his setbacks, Lange remains hopeful and optimistic about his recovery.

“I have too much to live for. My career and life will end the way it wants. I’m going to keep waking up in the morning, afternoon or evening and see what’s up. That’s all I can do,” he said.

Podcast cohost Cumia continues to stand behind Lange.

“I love Artie and back him 100%,” he told. “He’s an amazing comic and a great guy. Whatever he’s gotta do to get through the day isn’t my business. We all have our demons and I’m no one to be judging anybody else.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by radaronline.com

TIFF, Towers And Taylor

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TIFF –Toronto International Film Festival – 911 – Remembered

As this is the 16th anniversary of the horrific events of 911, I find it hard not to remember that morning for 2 main reasons: one devastating and one joyous.

I had been hired as I had for several years as an audio person to participate in Interviews for ‘press’ junkets involving Actors and Directors for various movies being showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival. I always liked this gig because you were surrounded by the movers and shakers…high rollers…the famous…and always good food. Now the work was the same as anything else but the surrounding players is what made this more enjoyable. I had worked the Festival for many years and stories relating to it I have and will continue to include in these articles however, September 11, 2001 was obviously different.

Usually the job I was hired to do would be for maybe 2-3+ days. Interviews all day which started at around 9:00am so therefore we would all need to be on site at around 7:00am. This day was no different. I arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel which was our location, entered the Suite we had converted to a mini studio and checked all my equipment which had been set-up by others (another nice perk of this particular job) and really just talked to my colleagues and waited for the day to begin.

As I and my colleagues were waiting for the Industry personnel to arrive in our room, you couldn’t help but hear commotion out in the hall. The sound of people rushing about which just didn’t sound right. We kind of looked at each other with a collective, what’s going on out there expression on our faces. I opened the door and saw people frantically passing around looking somewhat dazed, being out in the hall now, I could hear crying as well. I immediately went into the suite which was our control room and saw for myself on the television set the reason for this odd behavior, the 1st Tower was burning. The room filled as we all listened to what was going on and BOOM, the second plane hit the 2nd Tower. As you could imagine everyone was stunned, scared and in complete disbelief as to what we just witnessed. Being the Film Festival, there were many Americans involved and they instantly got on their phones and called friends, colleagues and loved ones in New York to see if they were alright. Shock and disbelief was the obvious reaction by all.

Despite the horrific events that were happening ‘live’ in front of or eyes, we had a job to do here, as superficial as it was, there were many Interviews scheduled. The question my bosses kept saying to each other was, “what do we do now?”

The organizers of the Festival felt, and rightly so, everything should come to a halt and these ‘junket’ Interviews would be cancelled. Once the word filtered to us, we began the process of tearing down and packing all the gear…my 2001 TIFF experience was now over before it really began.

At around 11:00 am when we were finished packing up still dazed and really feeling quite sad and mad over the events of the morning my telephone rang. It was my sister calling to inform me that my Niece Carly had just delivered a beautiful little baby girl. My Sister just became a Grandmother and I a Great Uncle.

Devastation and Joy

Let us remember those who lost their lives that day and happy sweet 16 Taylor.

Written by Elliott Cowan

Ringo Starr Keeps Going

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Where Ringo Starr the kind of guy to delve deep into the blues, he might well have taken a stab at Willie Dixon’s classic “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” on his forthcoming album, “Give More Love.”

Perhaps not in the original context of being unable to escape a toxic relationship with a romantic partner, but more a heartfelt expression of his attitude about continuing to play music at age 77.

“I decided at the end of November last year that I’m taking 2017 off,” Starr said from his perch in a regal-looking upholstered chair in the luxury suite of a Beverly Hills hotel where he’d just arrived to handle a few interviews about his new album, which arrives Sept. 15, and the fall tour that will follow close on its heels.

“On the 12th of January, I said ‘Yes’ to the October tour — so that didn’t last long,” he said with a hearty laugh. That new run of shows for Starr and his All-Starr Band opens with an eight-night residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and continues with nearly a dozen more dates into mid-November.

He won’t be stopping in Southern California this time out because, as he pointed out, “Last year we did a tour in May and June and finished at the Greek on the 2nd of July. After that I did an awesome tour in Japan and Korea — and Thousand Oaks,” he quipped, laughing.

That is yet another manifestation of the undiminished passion he has for writing, recording and performing.

“I only ever wanted to play — that was my aim from 13,” he said. “I worked in factories and on the railway, but I played at night and made decisions that got me where I was. I didn’t know I was going to get there [into the Beatles]. But I knew I wanted to play. So I got into a Liverpool band, then I got into Rory [Storm & the Hurricanes], then I got into the biggest band in the land.

“I just always wanted to play, and to play with good people,” he said. “I’m sitting here, at 77, still talking about it. And I’m still playing.”

His passion is immediately evident on “Give More Love,” which opens with high-energy rocker “We’re On the Road Again,” a song he wrote with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather. It expresses a sentiment similar to Willie Nelson’s longtime concert favorite with the similar title, but it’s sonically miles apart.

It allows the band to flex its muscles, and an audience to sing along. “Yes, that is Paul McCartney on bass, and on screams too,” Starr writes in notes accompanying the album. His former band mate also shows up on “Show Me the Way,” his ode to his wife of 37 years, Barbara Bach.

Among numerous other guests on the album are Starr’s brother-in law, guitarist Joe Walsh, and fellow Eagles singer-bassist Timothy B. Schmit, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, saxophonist Edgar Winter, guitarist-producer Jeff Lynne, guitarist Dave Stewart, bassists Nathan East and Don Was, and multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz.

Although Starr insisted that “I’m not that political,” social and political issues do come to the fore in “Laughable” and “Standing Still.”

The former he wrote with another long-standing English rocker, Peter Frampton, about taking in turbulent events of the world on a daily basis and feeling that “It would be laughable if it wasn’t sad.”

He consciously avoided naming names.

“We all know what’s happening in the world, and we all know what’s happening in this country, because we are English boys who are living here,” Starr said. “Peter wanted to make it more direct, and I said no, because I think everyone understands the sentiment.

“I don’t need to mention [names of] people that may not even be there by the time the song comes out,” he said. “I’m not that political. I can always do it another way and everyone understands.”

“Standing Still,” which he wrote with Gary Burr, addresses the challenge of maintaining any sense of optimism in the face of what can seem like increasingly dour conditions in the world.

“Whoever I’m writing with, it’s directed by me,” he said. “I don’t have to write all the words, but usually the direction is peace and love. For ‘Standing Still,’ it was even when you’re at the bottom of the hill, you’ve got to get up and take that first step.”

The man born Richard Starkey radiates the same sparkle and boyish Liverpudlian charm that helped propel him, McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison to unprecedented heights shortly after he signed on 55 years ago last month as the fourth pillar of the world’s most popular and influential rock band.

He attributes part of that glow to his vegetarian diet and part to getting sober more than three decades ago after years of alcohol and substance abuse that took the lives of many friends, including fellow drummer Keith Moon and singer Harry Nilsson.

“I have a meditation practice,” he says of his spiritual routine. “I pray to the god of my understanding, and I read spiritual books — day-at-a-time books, things like that that help you get through the day.”

Another major factor in his unflaggingly upbeat outlook is his marriage to Bach, the subject of the glistening rock ballad he also wrote with Lukather, “Show Me the Way.” “After all this time we’ve had to share/The better life I’ve had ’cause your still there/I need to show you just how much I care/There were times It wasn’t always easy, but we got through,” he sings.

One of the things that keeps him coming back to recording, even at a time when fewer and fewer people are buying recorded music, is the surprise factor. These days he serves as his own producer, doing most of the recording at his home studio in Los Angeles, assisted by engineer Bruce Sugar.

By way of illustration, he pointed to the track “King of the Kingdom,” which he wrote with another longtime friend, songwriter, singer, producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Van Dyke Parks.

“I had the [basic instrumental] track, and the first verse,” he said. “While we’re writing this song, we got into Haile Selassie, so we go to the Internet to read about Haile Selassie. All the rastas put him on a high pedestal, they consider him the King of the Rastas or the God of the Rastas, and he’s always said ‘No, I’m not.’

“Anyway, suddenly we’re writing the song, and we get the phrase ‘One love, Haile Selassie, ‘ and we put him in the song. So I said, ‘Let’s go all the way, and I sang ‘One love, one heart, Bob Marley always did it for me.’ That’s what’s great about writing. If it’s my record, it can go anywhere I’m open to.”

It also plays out in one of the bonus tracks on the CD edition of the album that doesn’t appear on the vinyl LP version — a reworked recording of his 1972 hit “Back Off Boogaloo,” one of three older songs he revisits. (The others being “Photograph,” his first solo No. 1 hit from 1973, and “Don’t Pass Me By,” the first song he’d written on his own that the Beatles chose to record — for “The Beatles,” a.k.a. “The White Album.”)

It grew out of the housecleaning and archiving process he and Bach have been engaged in for several years.

“We’ve taken a lot of things out of storage and we’re going through it a box at a time, and we found all these reel-to-reel tapes,” he said. “And on a quarter-[track] two-inch tape, we found this version of me singing ‘Back Off Boogaloo’ and it had a great echo on the [rhythm] guitar. I knew it’s me singing, but I couldn’t figure out who the hell is playing guitar? And it was me! So that’s on this record.

“We lifted the voice from the track that George (Harrison) produced, so it combines me then, and me now. I did it straight, not with the marching rhythm. Just a sideline for you: That rhythm pattern [on the original recording], George said ‘You should do this,’ ” at which point Starr vocalizes a complex syncopated rhythm. “I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ So I just did it with the snare, and it was great. But it was by accident. So that’s the magic of being in the studio: You don’t know what you’re going to get.”

As to any thoughts of retirement? Starr addressed that unequivocally 10 years ago at the one-year anniversary of Cirque du Soleil’s “The Beatles Love” show in Las Vegas, during an interview with veteran broadcaster Larry King for which he sat side by side with the other surviving Beatle, McCartney.

At one point, King suggested to them, “Neither of you has to keep on going — you don’t need it financially.” The man once known as “the funny Beatle” shot back, “Reverse that: You don’t need to do it either. This is what we do. I get asked all the time, ‘You’re still playing?’ Yeah, that’s what I do.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by latimes.com

 

Walter Becker Passes Away At 67

Categories: Uncategorized

Steely Dan legend Walter Becker has reportedly died of unknown causes at the age of 67.

The sad news was revealed with a post on his official website, which paired childhood and recent photos of Becker with the caption “Walter Becker Feb. 20, 1950 – Sept. 03, 2017.”

Becker’s longtime bandmate Donald Fagen has also issued a statement confirming Becker’s death, and promising to “keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.”

Concern for Becker’s health was raised earlier this summer when he missed both of Steely Dan’s July appearances at the Classic West and Classic East music festivals. During a press conference the following month, Fagen stated that Becker was “recovering from a procedure and hopefully he’ll be fine very soon.” He offered no further specifics on Becker’s ailment or condition.

Together with his longtime Steely Dan collaborator Donald Fagen, Becker brought revolutionary new levels of sophistication to rock and roll songwriting and studio production, incorporating elements of jazz, latin music, R&B, soul and traditional pop.

Becker was born in 1950 in New York City, and grew up there and on Long Island. Although he originally picked up the saxophone, he soon switched to guitar and took lessons from his neighbor and former Spirit member Randy Wolfe.

While attending Bard College, Becker met Fagen, and the two formed and played in several groups — including the Leather Canary, which featured classmate Chevy Chase on drums. Becker soon dropped out of school to focus exclusively on his songwriting partnership with Fagen.

In 1971, the duo left Brooklyn, where they had been working, for California. It’s there that Steely Dan was born. Initially, touring as a full band with Becker on bass, by 1974 they quit the road altogether and redirected their energies to studio work.

A year after the release of their seventh album, 1980’s Gaucho, the duo called it quits. Becker went on to produce albums for Rickie Lee Jones, Michael Franks, Fra Lippo Lippi and China Crisis.

12 years later, Fagen and Becker reunited for a Steely Dan tour. At the time, the pair also produced each other’s solo albums — Fagen’s Kamakiriad in 1993 and Becker’s 11 Tracks of Whack in 1994. 2000’s Two Against Nature, Steely Dan’s first new album in 20 years, earned them four Grammy awards. The following year, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008, Becker released a second solo album, Circus Money, backed by members of Steely Dan.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by ultimateclassicrock.com

Kathy Griffin Is Now Not Sorry

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Kathy Griffin is sorry she ever said sorry.

The comedian told the Australian talk show “Sunrise” Tuesday that she’s rescinding her apology for the photo that showed her with a fake severed, bloody head made to look like that of President Donald Trump’s. Griffin lost gigs, was investigated by the Secret Service and saw a friendship with Anderson Cooper dissolve in the aftermath.

“I am no longer sorry,” she said in the segment below. “The whole outrage was BS, the whole thing got so blown out of proportion.”

“I lost everybody,” she continued in the interview to promote her October tour dates in the country. “I had Chelsea Clinton tweeting against me … I have been through the mill.”

When host Samantha Armytage suggested that even Democrats felt the image was over the line, Griffin good-naturedly took umbrage: “You’re full of crap ― stop  this,” she retorted. “… Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the president of the United States is committing.”

“I’ve been talking to Australians who, for the first time, are saying, ‘We’re afraid to go to America,’” she added. “I never thought I would hear that in my lifetime.”

Once more, for emphasis, Griffin said on the show: “I don’t apologize for that photo anymore and I think the outrage is complete BS.”

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by huffingtonpost.com

The Next Hef

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Cooper Hefner has assumed creative control at the brand his father launched 64 years ago as he brings nude images back to the magazine while lamenting the company’s involvement in lowbrow licensing and reality TV: “Nudity hadn’t been the problem — it was how it’d been presented.”

It’s true: Cooper Hefner, youngest son of Hugh and newly ascended chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, did enjoy a youth that was the stuff of teenage wet dreams. Celebrities and scantily clad bunnies wallpapered his life. He and his schoolmates could order anything they could think of, and the Playboy Mansion kitchen would send it right out. There was a private zoo.

Yet the good times came with a Freudian twist. His mom, 1989 Playmate of the Year Kimberley Conrad, hung in the library, depicted nude in a large portrait frame. “Yeah, that was weird,” Cooper explains over lunch at the mansion. “It was like the elephant in the room.”

The photo’s long been put away. (Dad, now 91, divorced Conrad and dated a harem of blondes before rediscovering monogamy with current wife Crystal Harris.) But his son, 25, insists “the image being up now wouldn’t bother me,” pointing out that he recently requested Conrad pose again. “On Mother’s Day, I asked her if she would be interested in reshooting her original cover,” says Cooper. “Two weeks later we did it.” (The image was published in June.)

Like Cooper, Playboy is grappling with the weight of history — how to refine a heritage brand as that heritage is up for debate across genders, generations and geographies. Cooper is leaning on the past as he plots the future for Playboy, a onetime startup turned conventional conglomerate — and a brand that fuels more than $1 billion in sales and recently was valued at $500 million — that of late has been beset by competitors and corporate malaise.

At the request of then-newly minted CEO Ben Kohn (who says the brand had “gone too wide and lost part of its aspirational quality” by “covering monster trucks and selling air fresheners”), Cooper returned to Playboy in June 2016 following an 18-month exile precipitated by boardroom battles over the company’s direction. A key factor was a 2015 choice by Kohn’s predecessor, Scott Flanders, to forgo nudity in the flagship magazine’s pages in a bid for more mainstream respectability. “There was a lack of understanding of who we are,” says Cooper. (He cites another mistake of the era: the decision to develop 2011’s The Playboy Club as an anodyne NBC drama, which was canceled after three episodes, rather than an edgier version for premium cable.)

The magazine’s March issue marked the return to the bare necessities — or at least to topless spreads. Cooper’s fiancee, actress Scarlett Byrne (The Vampire Diaries), posed in one of them and penned an essay that framed her decision as a feminist act. The pictorials, which used to be kitschy high-gloss extravaganzas, now display an arty naturalism meant to connote a cultivated aesthetic. “Nudity hadn’t been the problem — it was how it’d been presented,” Cooper says.

“The audience was confused,” adds Kohn, a managing partner at Rizvi Traverse, the private equity firm that since 2011 has controlled 70 percent of Playboy and whose other investments include SpaceX, Twitter and Snapchat. (In Hollywood, Kohn is best known for tending to Rizvi Traverse’s since-divested interest in ICM.)

Now the polished and self-aware scion, intent on sounding woke and mindful of the brand’s eternal need to provoke (intellectually and sexually), is charting the course for what he hopes will be a more valuable and relevant Playboy. It’s one that doesn’t revolve around his old man (who is ailing and a semi-recluse) or dated totems of lothario living. “Creating something that resonates with my generation and the generation that comes after mine is how I’ll measure my accomplishments,” Cooper says.

“His father, when he started — the business succeeded because he found a way to uniquely speak to the young men of that time,” says board member Dick Rosenzweig, who’s been involved with Playboy for 59 years. “Cooper recognizes his father’s intent, and he has a feeling for going about it as well — in his own way.”

The March issue marked the return of nudity to Playboy.

Cooper is quick to mark distance from his dad’s notorious womanizing, but the two share many similarities, including deeply felt progressive politics. Cooper has thought of running for office but believes his affiliation with an adult entertainment company would likely render him unelectable. And both have a strong affinity for the armed forces. (Hugh served two years in the U.S. Army toward the end of World War II.) “I’m a liberal, and I have a real issue with the conservative side feeling like they own the military,” says Cooper, who joined the California State Military Reserve in January.

Cooper began participating in board meetings as a nonvoting observer while still in college — spurred by anxiety about his father, who in recent years has receded from public view. (Contending with back trouble, the famously virile eponymous playboy doesn’t want to be photographed strolling with his walker and fiddling with hearing aids.) “It’s tough to watch him struggle, but I’m just happy it’s physical and not mental,” says Cooper. His father’s oldest friends still visit for weekly dinners and film screenings, and he provides periodic notes on the magazine. (The elder Hefner was not made available to THR for this story.)

The mansion is quieter now, hosting a few parties a year (like one in April celebrating Amazon’s docuseries about Hugh, American Playboy). Not long ago, the house was maxed out as a revenue generator, hosting a shindig a week, with business partners, potential business partners and random people willing to fork over the $50,000-a-night rental fee.

At an office complex Playboy shares with UTA, Cooper oversees everything from magazine layouts to nightclub launches to licensing deals.

In a highly publicized deal, Daren Metropoulos, the 33-year-old heir to the Hostess Brands fortune, purchased the mansion in 2016 for $100 million, with the stipulation that the elder Hefner remain there until his death. Metropoulos, who has no ownership stake in Playboy, lives next door in a home he previously had bought from Hefner (and where Conrad lived until Cooper was 18).

Cooper, a child of ultra-privilege, is keenly aware of how he navigates his advantage. After attending the elite yet strict Ojai Valley School, he majored in film production at Chapman University in Orange County. He opted to pass on a legacy admission to USC, where his father has donated millions. “It made my heart feel better to go to Chapman,” he says. “It didn’t feel like it was given to me.”

Still, he’s not above working his gold-plated connections. He met Byrne six years ago after crushing on her as Pansy Parkinson in the Harry Potter films and then finagling an only-in-Hollywood introduction put into motion by friend Scout Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. “I thought, ‘Wow, that girl’s really pretty — I’m going to go on a date with her,’ ” Cooper recalls. (They live together in Marina del Rey.)

Not in the picture at Playboy is Hefner’s elder brother, Marston, 27, who was initially positioned as a co-heir apparent. He’s been out of the public eye since a February 2012 domestic violence incident in which Pasadena police were called to the home he shared with his live-in Playmate girlfriend, Claire Sinclair. Recently, he’s been teaching English in Japan. “My dad was public about wanting us to run the organization together, but it became evident as we got older that it was not something that spoke to him,” says Cooper.

Cooper regularly seeks counsel from another sibling, half-sister Christie, 64, who ran the company for more than two decades ending in 2009. “She can relate to the situation more than anyone could,” he says. Christie often urges him to keep a clear head in business discussions: “For me as a 25-year-old, that’s sometimes challenging,” he admits. “My emotions get the best of me.”

Also educational is what he saw as Playboy’s lucrative but demeaning involvement with reality TV and lowbrow licensing. He thinks The Girls Next Door, the E! reality show that ran from 2005 to 2010, damaged the company long-term. “[The show] collected a young audience but didn’t do a good job of conveying how Playboy is both playful andsophisticated,” he says. Kohn adds that the series “brought the company down-market.”

Such thinking has prompted Playboy, a branding vehicle with a magazine as its hood ornament, to terminate $15 million in licensing revenue generated at mall shops like Spencer’s — a relatively small slice of the company’s portfolio — in a bid to go upmarket. “We’re not in the fuzzy dice business anymore,” says CMO Jared Dougherty.

The company is developing two projects with Brett Ratner’s RatPac: a Hugh Hefner biopic (it’s not known who will star) and a reboot of the late-1960s variety-talk mash-up Playboy After Dark. Says Ratner, with a director’s eye, of the elevation of Hefner fils: “It’s obvious, it’s organic. He even has the looks of his dad — so much so it’s bizarre.”

Reality programming is out for now. Cooper claims to have been pushed into starring in a “mortifying” sizzle reel assembled by Gurney Productions (of Duck Dynasty fame) focused on his then-role as a brand ambassador. While MTV was interested, “I couldn’t stand it,” he says, noting the experience precipitated his departure from the company.

Meanwhile, the company’s core video assets, including Playboy TV, which runs X-rated shows like Cougar Club L.A., have after years of management by internet porn behemoth MindGeek been consolidated in-house and will be overhauled for a 2018 reset. “These are areas of the business that are, from a cash standpoint, performing very well that have not been on-brand,” says Cooper. “We need our story to be told with one voice across all platforms.”

Cooper splits his time between content development and revenue opportunities ranging from branded nightclubs (one is in development in Manhattan) to apparel. “In China,” muses Kohn, “we’re viewed as an Americana fashion brand by the up-and-coming consumer; they’ve never truly been exposed to our media products because of censorship restrictions.”

Meanwhile, the company has retooled its new-media efforts, which for a time were ramped up to compete with rivals. (Cooper admits Vice Media captured his demographic’s imagination by feeling fresh and competing aggressively while Playboy was on cruise control, yet he notes that, now that Vice is backed by 21st Century Fox and Disney, “nobody is viewing them as some pirate ship any longer.”) One of Kohn’s first acts was laying off a slew of digital staffers in a turn away from pursuing what he feels were the diminishing returns of online advertising. As the CEO puts it, “the market had changed.”

It’s what hasn’t changed, though, that Cooper sees as his opening. He observes that the country has been reverting to a reactionary cultural conservatism remarkable in its similarity to the Eisenhower years when Playboy was founded. (President Trump is widely known to have venerated Hugh, but the feeling isn’t mutual: “We don’t respect the guy,” says Cooper. “There’s a personal embarrassment because Trump is somebody who has been on our cover.”)

Cooper, sounding a lot like Dad, explains, “Yes, there are lifestyle components to Playboy, but it’s really a philosophy about freedom. And right now, as history is repeating itself in real time, I want Playboy to be central to that conversation.”

On another day, he’s lounging on a sofa in the mansion’s library, ruminating on the blessing and burden of his patrimony. His father is nowhere to be found, likely somewhere in this iconic Gothic Tudor-style manor, essentially finished telling the story he began in 1953.

Now it’s Cooper’s turn. “I suit up in my dad’s pajamas for our Midsummer Night’s Dream party; it’s a nice note to the past,” he says. “It would be a major mistake — ridiculous — to wear them to the office. I think about the Playboy philosophy constantly, but I have my own point of view. It’s what will have to carry me through.”

“We need our story to be told with one voice across all platforms,” says Cooper Hefner, photographed Aug. 3 at the Playboy Mansion.

  • ••

ANATOMY OF THE PLAYBOY BUSINESS

Licensing
This is Playboy’s biggest revenue driver. The company says a deal with global fragrance giant Coty tops $100 million in annual wholesale sales. Through a partnership with Handong United and Bally’s, Playboy distributes clothing, footwear and fashion accessories globally, with more than a third of global revenue coming from China. Playboy is mulling a $25 million-$50 million capital raise for a renewed push into lingerie and swimwear.

Magazine
Founded in 1953, Playboy peaked with a circulation of 5.6 million in the 1970s and now distributes about 450,000 copies of each issue.

Television
After years of third-party management, Playboy TV and other video assets are being managed in-house. This year, more than 20 series, including some made by Playboy, were produced for the X-rated network, which is seen in 60-plus countries.

Digital
Playboy.com attracts roughly 4 million monthly unique visitors. (By comparison, Esquire.com has 7 million.)

Nightclub and Events
This year, a Playboy Club will open in New York, joining properties in London, Hanoi, Bangkok and multiple cities in India. The Playboy Jazz Festival, held at the Hollywood Bowl since 1979, sells about 35,000 tickets each year.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by hollywoodreporter.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – MAY 15: Cooper Hefner (L) and Scarlett Byrne attend the Playboy’s 2014 “Playmate Of The Year” announcement & luncheon held at The Playboy Mansion on May 15, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

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