Singer-songwriter David Crosby dead at age 81 – Variety
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2023
David Crosby, one of the most influential rock singers of the 1960s and ’70s with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) has died at the age of 81, Variety reported on Thursday, citing a statement from Crosby’s wife.
“It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away” Variety quoted his wife, Jan Dance, as saying in the statement.
Crosby’s UK-based representatives could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.
Crosby was a founding member of two revered rock bands: the country and folk-influenced Byrds, for whom he co-wrote the hit “Eight Miles High,” and CSNY, who defined the smooth side of the Woodstock generation’s music. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of both groups.
Musically, Crosby stood out for his intricate vocal harmonies, unorthodox open tunings on the guitar and incisive songwriting. His work with both the Byrds and CSN/CSNY blended rock and folk in new ways and their music became a part of the soundtrack for the hippie era.
Personally, Crosby was the embodiment of the credo “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” and a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine article tagged him as “rock’s unlikeliest survivor.”
In addition to drug addictions that ultimately led to a transplant to replace a liver worn out by decades of excess, his tumultuous life included a serious motorcycle accident, the death of a girlfriend, and battles against hepatitis C and diabetes.
He also managed to alienate many of his famous former bandmates for which he often expressed remorse in recent years.
His drug habits and often abrasive personality contributed to the demise of CSNY and the members eventually quit speaking to each other. In the 2019 documentary “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” he made clear he hoped they could work together again but conceded the others “really dislike me, strongly.”
Crosby fathered six children – two as a sperm donor to rocker Melissa Etheridge‘s partner and another who was placed for adoption at birth and did not meet Crosby until he was in his 30s. That son, James Raymond, would eventually become his musical collaborator.
Crosby was born on Aug. 14, 1941, in Los Angeles. His father was a cinematographer who won a Golden Globe for “High Noon” in 1952 and his mother exposed him to the folk group the Weavers and to classical music.
Thai TV drama series set to penetrate African and Taiwanese markets
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2023
A Thai TV drama series will be broadcast in Taiwan and more than 20 countries in Africa following a partnership between BEC World, the operator of television Channel 3, and media company IE Entertainment.
The collaboration will primarily contribute to the international broadcast of four TV series.
PTS television service in Taiwan has secured the copyright to telecast the popular Thai TV drama “Love Destiny“, while, “Repercussion“, “My Forever Sunshine“, and “Love & Deception” were sold to Star Times, which broadcasts to more than 20 African nations, according to BEC.
The company has seen consistent growth in income from overseas markets since 2018 following the sale of more than 6,200 hours of Channel 3 drama series content to countries in Asia, South America and Africa. In particular, the response in the Asean region has exceeded expectations, BEC World’s executive director and president of TV business, Surin Krittayaphongphun, said.
“BEC World will strive to penetrate new markets in other countries as well,” he said. “We expect more Thai drama series from Channel 3 and BEC Studio to be sold to other countries as a result of the partnership with IE Entertainment,” he added.
Surin clarified that IE Entertainment would be the only overseas partner allowed to sell the copyright for its drama series, apart from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos who hold non-exclusive licences.”
This has been done in an effort to promote the popularity of Thai drama series throughout other regions, he added.
IE Entertainment is also in negotiations to sell the copyright of several well-known series namely “Love Destiny 2“, “Royal Doctor“, “To the Moon and Back“, “Love at First Night“, “Doctor Detective“, and “The Betrayal“.
First ‘Terrifying Thai Film Festival’ to haunt Khao Yai on Feb 3-5
MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2023
Thailand’s first “Terrifying Thai Film Festival” will shatter the serenity of Khao Yai National Park next month. The haunted forest of Dong Phayayen will be the fitting backdrop for a weekend of supernatural thrills and gory goings-on for horror fans, filmmakers and tourists from February 3-5.
Guest of honour will be trailblazing female Laotian director Mattie Do, showcasing her award-winning feature “The Long Walk”. Iconic horror filmmaker Brian Yuzna (“Re-Animator”, “Return of the Living Dead” and “Amphibious 3-D”) will be chatting via video link, while other well-known filmmakers including Paul Spurrier, owner of Bangkok’s excellent Friese-Greene cinema club and creator of “The Forest” and “The Maestro”, will be there in the flesh.
The brainchild of SP Somtow, award-winning author of classic horror novels like “Vampire Junction”, and his sister Premika who created Somtow’s World in Khao Yai as a retreat and performance space for artists of all kinds, the festival asks only one question of its attendees: What Scares You?
“People are scared by many things. It might be the supernatural. It might be a serial killer. It might even be politics, the police, or even their own dark natures. When filmmakers submitted to us, we did not restrict them to any strict ‘genre’ — just to tell compelling stories about the terror of the human condition. So yes, we do have submissions that are like mini-horror films. We have environmental horror, personal horror, and just plain paranoia. All are represented,” said Somtow.
Chat with legend behind ‘Re-Animator’ Participating via zoom will be Yuzna, friends with Somtow for more than 30 years and a seminal figure in the horror movie genre. “We hope to show two of Brian’s movies at the festival: one is “Society”, his very first film and still one of the most disturbing horror films ever made, and “Amphibious” [co-written by Somtow] a giant sea-scorpion monster movie notable for being set in an Indonesian fishing platform,” Somtow said.
Calling All Horror Buffs Horror buffs, filmmakers and movie fans are all invited to Somtow’s World in Pakchong for a weekend of panels, workshops, and special all-night classic horror films curated by the Friese-Greene Club, Bangkok’s private classic movie club. Discuss how to fund your film, how to write a screenplay and other topics with experts. Food and beverages are available around the clock from Pink Le P’tit Café.
The fun starts on Friday with a welcome reception, opening ceremony, and premiere screening. Classic horror movies all night long. Saturday and Sunday: short films, panel discussions, kaffeeklatsches and presentations in the daytime. Saturday: more all-night films. Sunday: judges announce awards, people’s choice award, and final award ceremony and closing.
A festival pass for the entire weekend, including films, panels, workshops, discussion groups and demos, is 2,000 baht, or 900 baht per day. Students can use the promo code STUDENT to get a 50% discount. Organisers say discounts for large student groups are also available upon request. For more info, check out www.terrifyingthai.com. Festival passes are available at www.ticketmelon.com/terrifying.
Thai beauty queen wows New Orleans with glittering gown made from pull tabs
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2023
Anna Sueangam-iam, who won the Miss Universe Thailand crown last year, was a sparkling sensation as she sashayed out on stage in a dress fashioned from pull tabs.
The dress for the 2022 Miss Universe preliminary round was created as a tribute to her parents, who worked as waste collectors, and to showcase her eco-activism.
The official Facebook page of Miss Universe Thailand posted photos of Anna wearing the glittering evening gown with her personal message – “You must not get stuck in the murky surroundings you were born into, but believe you have the power to change your life for the better.”
Anna Sueangam-iam, who won the Miss Universe Thailand pageant last year, made an appearance at the Miss Universe 2022
The “Hidden Precious Diamond Dress”, fashioned from pull tabs and embellished with Swarovski diamonds, was created by Thai designer Arif Jehwang.
The preliminary and national attire rounds for the 71st Miss Universe 2022 were held on Thursday in New Orleans, US. This is the first Miss Universe pageant under the management of JKN.
The 2022 Miss Universe will be crowned on Sunday at 8am Thailand time.
Thai beauty queen astonishes public with evening gown made of can-pull tabs
Lisa Marie Presley, a musician and the only daughter of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, died on Thursday (January 12) after being rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital, her mother said.
Presley, 54, suffered cardiac arrest in her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas, according to the website TMZ. The outlet said paramedics performed CPR and administered the drug epinephrine to restart her pulse.
Her mother, Priscilla, confirmed that her daughter was in the hospital and said she was “receiving the best care.”
“Please keep her and our family in your prayers. We feel the prayers from around the world, and ask for privacy during this time,” Priscilla Presley said in a statement.
TMZ showed a photo of Priscilla Presley arriving at the hospital to be with her daughter.
Lisa Marie Presley was born in 1968 and is the owner of her father’s Graceland mansion in Memphis, a popular tourist attraction. She was nine years old when Elvis died at Graceland in 1977.
Her own music career began with a 2003 debut album “To Whom It May Concern.” It was followed by 2005’s “Now What,” and both hit the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart.
A third album, “Storm and Grace,” was released in 2012.
On Tuesday (January 10), Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley attended the Golden Globes ceremony in Beverly Hills, where Austin Butler won best actor in a drama film for his leading role in last year’s “Elvis” biopic.
As he accepted the award, Butler thanked both of the women, saying “I love you forever.”
One of the main controversies in the Thai entertainment industry in the past week has been the complaint from veteran film director Pairote Sangwaribut that his latest film – “Couples in Trouble” – is losing money due to a lack of ticket sales.
Pairote – who produced, directed and starred in the romantic-comedy – used numerous media channels to entreat theatre owners to increase prime time screenings of his 12th film.
His efforts, however, ignited widespread criticism from industry players, who suggested that the 69-year-old director chose the wrong time to make a movie. Others labeled his film too old fashioned for younger audiences.
Several critics agreed that “Couples in Trouble” was a poorly made film, and cited the commonplace refrain that “a high quality film will automatically attract viewers”.
“Couples in Trouble”, however, is not the first time a Thai film has failed to sell enough tickets to recoup its investment.
I am certain it will not be the last.
To accurately analyse the problem, however, we must first separate quality concerns from the number of theatres that screen a film.
Thai films receive far fewer slots at theaters than international films.
The superhero decade
The 2010s were the golden decade for American superhero movies. In the past 10 years, theatres earned massive revenues from such blockbusters. As a result, about 80% of show slots have been reserved for these movies during the weeks they premiere, while only one or two screens per multiplex show other films.
Smaller, local and international films have a better chance of being screened during weeks when there are no new superhero movies premiering. However, there are many smaller films waiting to be screened – sometimes seven or eight per week.
Consequently, moviegoers miss many excellent alternative movies. These films have limited runs then have to make way for new superhero films that take over the majority of screens in theatres as soon as they debut.
Two titans run the majority of movie theatres in Thailand : Major Cineplex and SF Cinema. They have near absolute power to control which movies can be shown at how many theatres and for how long.
For films by local producers, these companies will also decide if the movies are worth showing based on the story, actors, and trailers, which must be appropriate in length and be interesting enough to attract viewers.
For these reasons, Thai movies have had difficulty securing suitable slots in theatres during the superhero decade. Those from reputable studios may have increased negotiating power to get more slots from theatres, while those from lesser known filmmakers might end up with as few as one or two screenings per day at unpopular times, such as 11am or after 8pm on weekdays.
Sent to the suburbs
Usually, new Thai films start showing on Thursdays, and if they do not gain enough viewers by the weekend, their screenings can be reduced to one per day. They also risk being pushed out of the theatres in cities to suburban areas.
I believe people who say “a high quality film will automatically attract viewers” probably are unaware of this fact.
Let’s say you are opening a restaurant in a market, but are given a plot in the back with little foot traffic. No matter how good of a cook you are, you will have a hard time gaining customers as most people would not be bothered walking too far for a restaurant they don’t know.
And without initial customers, you will not be able to get the word of mouth necessary to attract new ones.
Thai filmmakers have asked the two titans to increase screenings of Thai films to around five shows per day per theatre. They have also asked the duopoly not to reduce the number of screenings based simply on the number of viewers in the first three days. Lastly, they have said that if the first two requests are impossible, then at least screen Thai films during times when viewers go to theatres.
However, neither Major Cineplex nor SF Cinema have replied to these requests.
The notion that optimal show time and theatre location can make a difference in a movie’s revenue has been proven by the success of “Blue Again”.
The three-hour film by Thai director Thapanee Loosuwan debuted at the Pusan International Film in October last year before being shown in Thailand for the first time in December at the Bangkok International Film Festival.
After that, the director personally contacted three theatres in Bangkok to show the film. Two were SF Cinema (at CentralWorld and Central Rama IX), while the third was the smaller House Samyan theatre.
The film left SF theatres after only one week but continued being shown at House Samyan three times a day for three weeks, attracting 40-50 viewers per screening. From the fourth week, screenings were cut to one a day, at 4pm.
Now, during its 6th week at House Samyan, the film still gets 40 to 50 viewers per screening thanks to word of mouth and a show time that suits the urban lifestyle. The theatre is also conveniently located on Rama IV Road.
A few weeks after “Blue Again” left SF theatres in the city, the film was picked up by a suburban branch of SF – SF Cosmo Bazaar in Nonthaburi province – to be shown in tandem with the documentary “Scala” by Thai director Anatta Thitanat.
The two films were shown in succession twice daily and drew over 40 viewers per screening, mostly students from nearby Silpakorn University. This surprised SF Cinema as it didn’t expect that Thai films would be popular among students, let alone at a suburban theatre.
“Blue Again” has proven that Thai films only need a theatre and time slots that fit the lifestyles of their target audience. The size of the theatre and frequency of screenings is less relevant. Even in suburban areas, a film can be popular as long as the theatre it is shown at is not too far from its target audience. In the case of “Blue Again” the audience is university students.
I sincerely hope that the success of “Blue Again” will at least make the two theatre titans rethink their marketing strategies and start promoting Thai films.
Giant corporations need to survey their customers in both urban and suburban areas to ensure their selection of films is appropriate to their lifestyles. This way, they can expand their viewer base, instead of focusing on dedicating most of their screens to foreign superheroes. Those blockbusters have oversaturated the market anyway.
For over a year, the government has been convincing us that “soft power” will drive the country’s economy forward, while urging filmmakers to make movies that are more marketable.
However, they don’t seem to understand that filmmakers are suffering from limited opportunities and platforms to showcase their work due to the marketing strategy of the two main theater operators.
These operators are not just the middle men who show movies to make money. They are part of the National Federation of Motion Pictures and Contents Association. Its current president, Thanakorn Puriwekin, is also an executive of Major Cineplex.
It is time for the association – as a pillar of the Thai film industry – to help prolong the life of Thai films.
Rock guitar legend Jeff Beck dies at 78, family says
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2023
Jeff Beck, the influential, genre-bending English guitarist who rose to fame with The Yardbirds before later embarking on a solo career, has died at the age of 78, his family announced on social media on Wednesday.
He passed away peacefully on Tuesday (January 10) after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, the family said.
Beck is a two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee – in 1992 for his work with The Yardbirds and as a solo performer in 2009. In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Beck as the fifth greatest guitarist of all time, one spot ahead of blues icon B.B. King.
In 2022, Beck released his final album: “18,” a 13-track collection of mostly cover songs, with Hollywood starJohnny Depp.
“We slowly built songs that we just like. We didn’t really make any design,” Beck said at the time.
A native of Wallington, England, Beck won his first Grammy award in 1985 with the instrumental “Escape.” He would go on to win seven more of the gold-plated statuettes in his career.
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi mourned Beck’s death on Twitter, saying he was shocked to hear of his passing.
“Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player – there will never be another Jeff Beck,” Iommi wrote. “His playing was very special & distinctively brilliant! He will be missed.”
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, also a former Yardbirds member, paid tribute to Beck, saying his technique was unique and imagination limitless.
“The six-stringed Warrior is no longer here for us to admire the spell he could weave around our mortal emotions. Jeff could channel music from the ethereal,” he said. “Jeff, I will miss you along with your millions of fans.”
Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban was all smiles at an exclusive meet-and-greet event with fans of Blackpink in Bangkok on Monday. The only Thai member of the K-pop girl group met with “Blinks”, as Blackpink fans are known, at her unveiling as brand ambassador for Dentiste oral care products.
Dubbed “Dentiste Presents Confident Smile with Lisa”, the event was held after the Bangkok leg of the “Born Pink World Tour” concert at Suphachalasai National Stadium last weekend.
But Lisa wasn’t satisfied with just flashing her dazzling smile. The 25-year-old star grabbed the chance to conduct a Q&A with her Thai fans, who were eager to show how well they know their beloved idol by guessing her favourite foods, leisure activities, fashion items, and even the name of her new pet cat.
In return, the fans gave a video presentation for Lisa, showing how her smile and laughter have helped them through tough times while promising to always support Blackpink.
The event wrapped up with Lisa signing autographs for 30 Blinks selected by lucky draw before saying her goodbyes and promising to meet again soon.
Lisa, Jisoo, Jennie and Rose have been breaking records since they debuted as Blackpink in August 2016 with the album “Square One”. Now referred to as the “biggest girl group in the world”, Blackpink is the highest-charting female K-pop band on the US Billboard Hot 100 and on Billboard 200, where they hit No 1 with their second album “Born Pink” last year.
Meanwhile Lisa smashed records with her debut solo album in 2021. The title track of the album scored 76.3 million YouTube views in the first 24 hours, the highest ever on the platform for a solo artist.
Music festival Circoloco returns to Thailand this month
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2023
Circoloco, a renowned party brand originated in Spain’s Ibiza Island, will be organised in Thailand for the third time at Baba Beach Club Natai luxury pool villa hotel in Phang Nga on January 14 and 21 this year.
Circoloco has been internationally recognised since its launch in 1999 and has grown to become one of Ibiza’s most iconic parties and innovators. The party, also known as “a rite of passage”, has a global cult following of highly loyal music lovers.
Being held for the third time in Southeast Asia, the concert is scheduled to start from 2pm to 2am, with several world-renowned artists set to join the fest, together with the best concert sound system offered for attendees.
The artist line-up of this music event includes Archie Hamilton, DJ Tennis, Haai, Joseph Capriati, Michael Bibi, Peggy Gou, Richy Ahmed, Seth Troxler, Shygirl, Skream, Ccraig, Kidoo, Tom Roemer, Wildealer, etc.
The festival-style event will descend upon the sun-drenched shores of Phang Nga, with only a limited amount of tickets will be made available.
Most “Blinks” (as Blackpink fans are known) said they were excited that the band has returned to Thailand. The first time the group performed here was part of the “Blackpink 2019 World Tour [In Your Area] Bangkok” at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.
On Saturday, some 40,000 fans showed up at the venue from noon, with many snapping up Blackpink merchandise on sale outside the stadium.
While checking in for the concert, “blinks” were not allowed to take in large banners, political signs, cameras, laser pens, flashlights, long umbrellas, tablets or laptops.
The “Born Pink World Tour” kicked off with a concert in Seoul on October 15 before heading to the US, UK, Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands before coming to Bangkok.
After this, the group will be heading for Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
The South Korean band comprising Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Thailand’s very own Lalisa Lisa Manobal has been breaking records since it debuted in August 2016 with the album “Square One”.
Now referred to as the “biggest girl group in the world”, Blackpink are the highest-charting female K-pop band on the US Billboard Hot 100 and on Billboard 200, where they hit No 1 with their second album “Born Pink” last year.