WELL WORTH WATCHING
I’ve recently viewed a number of YouTube performance videos. Here are two (or three) you really should view. A video of the metal band Disturbed performing “The Sound of Silence” was released late in 2016. It’s sung by Disturbed frontman David Draiman, 44. The song, written by Paul Simon in 1963-64, has found a new audience via the Disturbed video, which has racked up an astonishing 325 million views to date. A video of Draiman singing “Silence” on Conan O’Brien’s show has gotten another 75 million views (also on YouTube). Draiman, who’s got a deep, dramatic voice, was raised observant, attending Jewish day schools before training to become a chazzan. While no longer practicing, his brother, a folk-rock musician, lives in Israel, as does his Holocaust-survivor grandmother.
Israel “IZ” Kama-kawiwo‘ole was a native Hawaiian singer who died in 1997, age 38. A video of him singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” was released in 2010 and gradually became well-known. To date, 350 million have viewed the video. Israel’s sweet high voice and Hawaiian guitar somehow are perfectly matched with this song. I found it appropriate that a guy named “Israel” was singing a song penned by two Jews — E.Y. “Yip” Harburg wrote the lyrics and Harold Arlen wrote the music. Also easily found on YouTube is a medley that seamlessly weaves “Somewhere” with Israel K’s version of “What a Wonderful World.” “World” was co-written by George David Weiss.
Tracee Ellis Ross, 45, was the winner of the best actress award in a comedy series for Black-ish at the NAACP Image Awards (held on Martin Luther King Day). Ross’ mother, singer Diana Ross, is African American. Her father, Robert Ellis Silberstein, 72, is Jewish.
Shortly after the winning best actor of The Disaster Artist at the Golden Globes ceremony, James Franco, 39, was hit with claims by five women that he’s acted inappropriately. These claims were denied by his attorney. However, he appears to be refraining from public appearances and was a no-show at the Critics’ Choice Awards, held on Jan. 11 (he won the Critics’ Choice award for best actor in a comedy film). As I write this, I don’t know if he will show up at the SAG award ceremony, to be held Jan. 19, but I think it’s unlikely. We’ll know if his career is derailed if he isn’t nominated for an Oscar (nominations announced on Jan. 23) and if HBO cancels its order for a second season of his hit show The Deuce (which co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal).
ROSEANNE: ANOTHER BAD CAREER CHOICE?
An eight-episode revival of the hit show Roseanne will premiere on ABC on March 27. The entire original main cast will return: Roseanne Barr, 65; John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman (as Roseanne’s son), 36, and Sara Gilbert (as Roseanne’s daughter), 42.
Every series and other project (like reality and talk shows) Barr has done since Roseanne ended in 1997 has not done well. She has erratically swung from one very vocal political viewpoint to another (running as the presidential candidate of the left-wing Peace and Freedom party in 2012 and admitting voting for Trump in 2016).
Barr says the Roseanne character will be a Trump supporter in the new series. Many have said it’s absurd that a feminist character like Roseanne — a supporter of gay rights — would be a Trump supporter. I don’t think the show’s target audience will like this depiction — which Barr is responsible for. I suspect another Barr failure is looming.