Feeling old? If not, this should do it. Tomorrow, Alexa Ray Joel, 21-year-old daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, releases her first record, “Sketches.”
Alexa Ray has decided to skip the regular route of going to a major record company and instead will release her debut EP (short for ‘extended play’) on her own independent label.
Fans will be able to buy it from her Web site — www.alexarayjoel.com — as well as download it from all the usual places on the Internet.
You can already hear three of the songs on Alexa Ray’s MySpace page. They include “The Heart of Me,” “Come Home to Me Do” and “Sapphire Night.” They are all bluesy pop numbers in which Alexa accompanies herself on piano.
She’s more Melissa Manchester circa 1973 than Billy Joel, but you can definitely pick up Dad’s genetic influence in her recordings.
In any case, Alexa Ray is here to stay, and she’s serious about her career. She joins a not-so-select group of second-generation pop stars like Julian Lennon, his brother Sean, Ben and Sally Taylor (Carly Simon and James Taylor's kids), the Wilson Phillips gang, Ricky Nelson’s sons and Sting’s son Joe Sumner's group Fiction Plane.
Interestingly, most of those artists have opted not to sign with big record companies and put out their own CDs.
Some, like Ben Taylor and Julian Lennon, started with major labels and then went indie. Sean Lennon’s done the reverse for his upcoming release, opting to go with family company Capitol. His first album was on a small label.
Of course, cryptographers will pour over Alexa’s lyrics to see if there’s anything about her mom’s soured marriage to a philandering architect.
But something tells me the message — if there is one — will be fairly hidden. The girl has more important things to sing about, I should think.
As we predicted, Oliver Stone’s "World Trade Center" was a hit this weekend. It made $19 million over the three days, with a total of $26 million for its release since Wednesday last week.
A lot of people wanted this movie to fail, for reasons I didn’t completely understand. But the film’s inherent values, coupled with the news headlines of the week, sent audiences in at a decent rate.
With this kind of momentum, “World Trade Center”— which cost around $80 million — should earn its keep.
For Stone, this is a nice comeback, after the trauma of “Alexander,” his colossal flop from late fall 2004. The Colin Farrell-Angelina Jolie-Val Kilmer epic took in only $35 million domestically and cost around $200 million. Luckily, people in other countries contributed $133 million, according to Warner Bros. accountants. Thank goodness for Spain, Italy and France.
The 'WTC' participants who really make out from the movie’s success are its principal real-life heroes, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno. They’re each good guys and the movie conveys that. Through them, Stone was able to tell the story of a lot of unsung heroes, and audiences are responding to that.
Paramount can breathe a sigh of relief and now concentrate on its big Oscar hopeful, "Dreamgirls," which they’ll release in December.
So far Providence, Rhode Island’s, TV presence has been a little glossed over. On the NBC series "Providence" starring Melina Kanakaredes, it was all lovey-dovey stuff about a family of doctors who quipped at each other and hugged a lot.
The real Providence, however, is about to come to the little screen. It should make "The Sopranos" look like "Romper Room" if it’s done right.
In “Waterfront," a CBS mid-season replacement, Joe Pantoliano, aka “Joey Pants,” will play the shady and corrupt mayor. Billy Baldwin is his nemesis, the district attorney who’d like to put him in jail.
In real life, Joey and Billy couldn’t be more different than Providence politicos. For one thing, they’ve each been president of the Creative Coalition, the actors’ political lobbying group of do-gooders. Joey’s term is still active.
Providence is beset by corruption, which can only provide interesting storylines. The former real mayor of Providence, Vincent A. Cianci Jr., is currently serving time on racketeering from a 2002 conviction.
He was acquitted of 11 other charges, however, including bribery, extortion and mail fraud. Several of his associates were convicted, too, which means that there are a lot of “creative consultants” hanging around Providence, waiting to join the new show.
Baldwin gave some coach passengers on a New York-Los Angeles flight a start last week when they found him stretched out along a middle section of their plane, fast asleep for most of the ride.
They probably expected him to fly first class, but Baldwin — father of three with Chynna Phillips (singing daughter of the late John Phillips, of Mamas & Papas fame) — is used to buying in bulk at economy prices. Good for him!
Back in the day when there were only a few channels and not many choices, Mike Douglas’ afternoon talk show was mandatory viewing.
Douglas, who died last week at 81, was as big as Oprah or Ellen in his day. His absolutely lovely personality made it possible for him to interview everyone from Charo to Yoko Ono.
Very little fazed him on screen, which is amazing considering the politically and socially contentious atmosphere at the time the show aired. The result was a comforting destination every day at 4 p.m.
Did you know that Roger Ailes, head of this very network, was his executive producer? (He was a tyke, you know!) I’m sure that had something to do with the success of “The Mike Douglas Show” …
PF Sloan wrote the hit songs “Secret Agent Man” and “Eve of Destruction,” played the guitar leads on several Mamas & Papas songs and is part of rock history. Now he has a terrific new album out on High Tone Records, produced by our pal Jon Tiven and called "Sailover." The new album has nine original songs plus guest stars Lucinda Williams, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals and Frank Black …