Coronavirus cancellations and postponements in the entertainment industry

March 6, 2020

by Carla Hay

Updated July 8, 2020

Daniel Craig as 007 spy James Bond in “No Time to Die.” The movie’s April 2020 release was postponed to November 2020 because of coronavirus concerns in key territories where the movie will be released. (Photo by Nicola Dove)

Concerns about the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) pandemic have led to numerous cancellations or postponements in the entertainment industry. The way things are going in the United States and many other countries, any public gathering of at least 50 people per gathering is probably going to be cancelled or postponed until further notice. Shutdowns are occurring at public places for sports and entertainment, as well as restaurants that don’t do takeouts and deliveries.

Here’s a list of what’s been cancelled or postponed so far. This list will be updated as more cancellations and postponements are announced.

NOTE: This list does not include individual TV series, movies, plays or musicals that have shut down production until further notice. (There are too many of them to list.)

Academy Awards

The annual Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) in Los Angeles (originally scheduled for February 28, 2021) has been postponed and rescheduled. The Academy Awards (televised in the U.S. by ABC) will now take place on April 25, 2021. (Updated June 15, 2020.)

Academy of Country Music Awards

The annual ACM Awards (originally scheduled for April 5, 2020) and its related ACM Party for a Cause events in have been postponed and rescheduled. The ACM Awards (televised in the U.S. by CBS) will now take place on September 16, 2020, and has moved from Las Vegas to Nashville. ACM Party for a Cause events will occur around this date in Nashville. Keith Urban was announced as host of the 2020 ACM Awards, which will take place in Nashville for the first time in the show’s 55-year history. (Updated April 27, 2020.)

ACE Comic Con Northeast

ACE Comic Con Northeast was scheduled to take place in Boston from March 20 to March 22, 2020, but the event has been cancelled.

AEG Presents

Live-events promotion company AEG Presents has cancelled or postponed almost all of its events for 2020. (Updated May 24, 2020)

All Points East

The annual All Points East for alternative rock music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in London) was scheduled for May 22 to May 24 and May 29 to May 31, 2020. ‎Tame Impala, Caribou, ‎Glass Animals and ‎Kelly Lee Owens were among performers. (Updated March 27, 2020)

Anime Expo

The annual Japanese animation convention in Los Angeles has been cancelled as an in-person event and will now be a virtual/online event called Anime Expo Light, which will take place on July 3 and July 4, 2020. (Updated April 21, 2020.

“Antebellum”

Lionsgate has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Antebellum,” starring Janelle Monáe. Originally set for release April 24, 2020, “Antebellum” will now be released on August 21, 2020. (Updated May 2, 2020)

“Antlers”

Searchlight Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the horror movie “Antlers,” originally set for April 17, 2020. The movie stars Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons. (Updated March 12, 2020)

The Apollo

The world-famous Apollo Theater in New York’s Harlem neighborhood has cancelled all events until further notice. (Updated April 5, 2020)

Apple

The computer corporation is shutting down all Apple retail stores outside of China for two weeks, from March 14 to March 27, 2020. The re-opening date is subject to change. Apple did a similar shutdown of its retail stores in China. (Updated March 12, 2020)

“Artemis Fowl”

Disney’s sci-fi film “Artemis Fowl” (starring Ferdia Shaw, Judi Dench and Colin Farrell) was set for a theatrical release on May 24, 2020, but will instead forgo a theatrical release and go directly to the Disney+ streaming service on June 12, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“The Artist’s Wife”

Strand Releasing and Water’s End Productions have postponed until further notice the release of the dramatic film “The Artist’s Wife,” starring Lena Olin and Bruce Dern. The film was originally scheduled to be released in New York City on April 3, 2020, in Los Angeles on April 10, 2020, and in the San Francisco Bay Area on April 17, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

ASCAP Experience

The annual Los Angeles networking event for ASCAP songwriters and publishers is now cancelled. ASCAP Experience, formerly known as the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo, was scheduled for April 1 to April 3, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Austin City Limits Festival

The annual music festival in Austin, Texas, has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for October 2 to October 4 and October 9 to October 11, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included Eminem, Fleetwood Mac, Rage Against the Machine, Chris Stapleton, STS9, Twenty One Pilots and Common. (Updated March 26, 2020)

“The Batman”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this superhero reboot, starring Robert Pattinson. “The Batman” was originally set for June 25, 2021, but will now be released on October 1, 2021. (Updated April 20, 2020)

Beale Street Music Festival

The annual music festival in Memphis, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for May 1 to May 3, 2020, the event was then postponed to October 16 to October 18, 2020. Artists who had been scheduled to perform at the 2020 Beale Street Music Festival included the Lumineers, Lil Wayne, Three 6 Mafia, the Avett Brothers and the Smashing Pumpkins. (Updated June 18, 2020)

Beijing International Film Festival

The annual event in China has been postponed. The  Beijing International Film Festival was set for April 19 to April 26, 2020.

Justin Bieber

The Grammy-winning pop star has postponed until further notice the North American concerts for his “Changes” Tour. The tour dates were scheduled to begin in Seattle on May 14, 2020, and end in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 26, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Big Ears Festival

The annual music and film event in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for March 26 to March 29, 2020, the Big Ears Festival’s announced performers this year included Devendra Banhart, Anthony Braxton, Kronos Quartet and Patti Smith. (March 11, 2020)

Billboard Music Awards

The annual award show was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on April 29, 2020, but the ceremony has been postponed until further notice. NBC has the U.S. telecast of the Billboard Music Awards. Kelly Clarkson has hosted the show since 2018. (Updated March 17, 2020)

“Black Widow”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Black Widow,” which was set for May 1, 2020. The movie’s new release date is November 6, 2020. The stars of “Black Widow” include Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Florence Pugh. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Blue Story”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this crime drama, starring Stephen Odubola and Micheal Ward. “Blue Story” was due in U.S. theaters on March 20, 2020, and will now be released direct-to-video on May 5, 2020. The movie was already released in the United Kingdom in November 2019. (Updated March 12, 2020)

BMI Latin Awards

The annual BMI Latin Music Awards ceremony has been postponed. The show had been scheduled for March 31 in Los Angeles. The rescheduled date is to be announced. (Updated March 10, 2020)

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi’s summer 2020 North American tour has been cancelled. The New Jersey rock band’s tour had been scheduled to begin in Tacoma, Washington, on June 10, 2020, and end in New York City on July 28, 2020. (Updated April 20, 2020)

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

The annual festival in Manchester, Tennessee, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled to take place June 11 to June 14, 2020, the event had been rescheduled for September 24 to September 27, 2020. Before the cancellation, the announced lineup included Tame Impala, Tool, Lizzo, Vampire Weekend, Lana Del Rey, The 1975, Run the Jewels and Brittany Howard. (Updated June 25, 2020)

BookCon

The annual book fan event in New York City has been cancelled. Originally set for May 30 and May 31, 2020, BookCon had been rescheduled to place on July 25 and July 26, 2020. The event has now been completely scrapped for 2020. (Updated April 14, 2020)

Boston Calling

The annual rock festival in Boston has been cancelled.  Boston Calling had been scheduled for May 22 to May 24, 2020. The festival’s performers this year would have included Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run the Jewels, Jason Isbell and The 1975. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has cancelled its tour of Asia. The trek had scheduled shows in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong from February 6 to February 16, 2020.

BottleRock Napa Valley

The annual music and arts festival in Napa, California, has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally scheduled to take place May 22 to May 24, 2020, the event has now been rescheduled for October 2 to October 4, 2020. Artists originally announced for the festival that are confirmed for the rescheduled dates include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Miley Cyrus, Khalid, Zedd, and Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Bourbon and Beyond Festival

The annual rock music festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. The Bourbon and Beyond Festival was scheduled to take place from September 25 to September 27, 2020. The lineup of artists had not been announced. (Updated April 24, 2020)

Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York City

All Broadway and off-Broadway shows in New York City have been cancelled until December 31, 2020, but that date could change, depending on the circumstances. (Updated June 29, 2020)

BST Hyde Park

The annual music festival in London has been cancelled. BST Hyde Park was scheduled for July 4 to July 11, 2020. The artists who were announced as performers included Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Rita Ora, Kesha, Zara Larsson, Pixies, James Blake and Little Mix. (Updated April 8, 2020)

BTS

The South Korean boy band has cancelled all of its concerts in Seoul for its “Map of the Soul” tour. The cancelled BTS shows were scheduled for April 11, 12, 18 and 19, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)

Bushfire Relief Charity Concert

The benefit show to help victims of Australia’s wildfires has been cancelled, after being scheduled to take place in Melbourne on March 13, 2020. Miley Cyrus was the headliner, while other artists announced for the show were Lil Nas X, the Veronicas and DJ Seb Fontaine. (Updated March 10, 2020)

CAAMFest

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) in San Francisco has postponed CAAMFest 38 until further notice. The Asian American festival of film, music and food was originally scheduled for May 14 to May 24, 2020. CAAMFest was formerly known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Camila Cabello

The former Fifth Harmony pop star has postponed her Romance world tour, which was set to begin in Oslo on May 26, 2020 and end in Miami September 26, 2020. A concert that was supposed to take place in Dundee, Scotland, on May 24, 2020, has been completely cancelled. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Canadian Music Week

The annual showcase event in Toronto has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for May 19 to May 23, 2020, Canadian Music Week will now take place September 8 to September 13, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

“Candyman”

Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the horror-movie reboot “Candyman,” starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. “Candyman” was originally scheduled for release on June 12, 2020. The new release date is September 25, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place May 12 to 23, 2020. (Updated May 10, 2020)

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

The annual networking event for creative marketers was set to take place in Cannes, France, from June 22 to June 26, 2020. The event is postponed until further notice. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Canneseries

The annual drama event in Cannes, France, has been postponed and rescheduled. It was originally scheduled to take place March 27 to April 1, 2020, and will now take place October 9 to October 14, 2020.

Mariah Carey

The Grammy-winning superstar has postponed her March 10, 2020, concert in Honolulu and will reschedule it for sometime in November 2020.

“Charm City Kings”

Sony Pictures Classics has dropped the release of this drama, starring Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Meek Mill. “Charm City Kings” had been scheduled for release in select theaters on April 10, 2020. Instead, the streaming service HBO Max will premiere “Charm City Kings” (under the Warner Max label) on a date to be announced. (Updated May 6, 2020)

Ciara

The R&B singer has cancelled her Fort Hood USO show in Texas that was scheduled for March 19, 2020.

CineEurope

The annual cinema convention in Barcelona has cancelled. CineEurope was originally set for June 22 to June 25, 2020, and was rescheduled to take place August 3 to August 5, 2020. However, CineEurope was officially nixed after it became obvious that Spain would not be ready to host large-scale events during the rescheduled dates. (Updated May 12, 2020)

CinemaCon

CinemaCon, the National Association of Theatre Owners’ annual convention in Las Vegas, has been cancelled. The event was scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 2, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Cirque du Soleil

The international acrobatic dance company has cancelled all of its performances worldwide until further notice, as of March 15, 2020. (Updated March 14, 2020)

Kelly Clarkson

The Grammy-winning original “American Idol” winner has postponed until further notice her “Invincible” Las Vegas residency, which had been set to begin on April 1, 2020. In addition, her NBCUniversal-syndicated daytime talk show “The Kelly Clarkson Show” has temporarily shut down production. (Updated March 16, 2020)

“The Climb”

Sony Pictures Classics has postponed until further notice the release of this buddy comedy, starring Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin. “The Climb” had been scheduled for release in New York City and Los Angeles on March 20, 2020. (Updated March 16, 2020)

CMA Fest

The Country Music Association’s annual fan festival in Nashville has been cancelled. CMA Fest had been scheduled to take place June 4 to June 7, 2020. The lineup of performers had not been announced. Because CMA Fest will not happen this year, there also won’t be an ABC TV special for CMA Fest in 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

CMT Music Awards

The annual CMT Music Awards in Nashville has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set to take place on June 3, 2020, this award show for country music will now take place on October 14, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

The world’s biggest annual music festival (in terms of ticket sales) has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for April 10 to April 12 and April 17 to April 19, Coachella was rescheduled for October 9 to October 11 and October 16 to October 18, 2020. The Coachella Festival (which takes  Indio, California) is expected to take place in 2021, but the dates have not yet been announced. Artists who were announced for the 2020 Coachella Festival included Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean, as well as Calvin Harris, Big Sean, Lewis Capaldi, Lana Del Rey, Flume, Lil Nas X, 21 Savage and Charlie XCX. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Comic-Con International

The annual comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy entertainment fan convention in San Diego (also known as San Diego Comic-Con) has been cancelled for the first time in its 50-year history. Comic-Con International had been set for July 23 to July 26, 2020, with preview night taking place on July 22. Comic-Con International will return to San Diego from July 22 to July 25, 2021, with preview night taking place on July 21. Click here for more details. (Updated April 17, 2020)

DC Entertainment

DC Entertainment (the company behind Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Suicide Squad) has cancelled all participation in comic conventions taking place in March 2020, including Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. In addition, DC has cancelled the New York City premiere of its animated film “Superman: Red Sun,” which had been scheduled for March 16, 2020.

Dead and Company

The Grateful Dead spinoff group has cancelled its 2020 U.S. tour. Dead and Company had been scheduled to begin the tour in Boulder, Colorado, on July 10, 2020, and conclude the tour in Boston on August 8, 2020.  These were the only concerts that the band was going to perform in 2020. (Updated April 21, 2020)

“Deerskin”

Greenwich Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of the French horror-comedy film “Deerskin,” starring Jean Dujardin. “Deerskin” was originally set for a U.S. release in select theaters on March 20, 2020. The new U.S. release date (on digital and VOD) is June 26, 2020. “Deerskin” was already released in France in 2019. (Updated March 30, 2020)

“Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy”

Greenwich Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the release of the documentary “Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy.” The movie was originally set for release on April 22, 2020. In the U.S., the movie will be released in virtual cinemas on May 22, 2020, on digital/VOD on June 19, 2020, and on DVD on June 23, 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)

“Dino Dana: The Movie”

Amazon Prime Video and Fathom Events have postponed until further notice the release of this movie spinoff of the “Dino Dana” children’s series. The movie was originally scheduled for a one-day-only release in theaters on March 21, 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Disney

Disney has cancelled its launch event for its streaming service Disney+ Europe, which had been scheduled to take place in London on March 24, 2020. In addition, all Disney theme parks—which were supposed to re-open on March 31, 2020—will be closed until further notice.

Meanwhile, Disney’s “Mulan” is the company’s first movie whose release has been postponed and rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak. “Mulan” had been originally scheduled for release on March 27, 2020. The new release date is July 24, 2020. The release of Disney’s action-adventure flick “Jungle Cruise,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, has been pushed back nearly a year, from July 24, 2020, to July 20, 2021. The sci-fi film “Artemis Fowl,” starring Ferdia Shaw and Judi Dench,” was set for a theatrical release on May 24, 2020, but will instead forgo a theatrical release and go directly to the Disney+ streaming service.

Disney-owned 20th Century Pictures (formerly known as 20th Century Fox) has postponed and rescheduled the releases of the action flick “Free Guy” (starring Ryan Reynolds”), which moves from July 3, 2020, to December 11, 2020. 20th Century Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the superhero flick “The New Mutants,” originally set for April 3, 2020.

Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the comedy “The French Dispatch,” Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand and Timothée Chalamet. “The French Dispatch” was originally set for release on July 24, 2020, and will now be released on October 16, 2020. Searchlight Pictures has postponed until further notice the horror movie “Antlers” (starring Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons), which was originally set for April 17, 2020.

Disney-owned Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the releases of the superhero movies “Black Widow,” “The Eternals,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Doctor Strange 2” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Each of these movies has a separate listing with each new release date. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Doctor Strange 2”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Doctor Strange 2,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch. “Doctor Strange 2” was originally scheduled for release on May 7, 2021. The new release date is November 5, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Doha Film Institute’s Qumra Event

The Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event for mentor networking with upcoming talent in the movie industry has been cancelled. The conference was supposed to be from March 20 to March 25 in Doha, Qatar.

Dollywood

Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has temporarily closed until further notice, as of March 14, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Download Festival

The annual Download Festival for hard rock/heavy metal has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Derby, England) was scheduled for June 12 to June 14, 2020. Kiss, Iron Maiden, System of a Down, Deftones, Gojira and Korn were among the performers. (Updated March 26, 2020)

Dreamville Festival

The annual music festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been postponed and rescheduled. Dreamville Festival, which is from hip-hop artist J. Cole, had originally been scheduled for April 4, 2020, and is now set for August 29, 2020. The event’s lineup is to be announced. (Updated March 13, 2020)

East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference

Canada’s East Coast Music Association has cancelled the 2020 East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference. The event was scheduled to take place in St. John’s from April 29 to May 3, 2020. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Ebertfest

The annual film festival founded by the late film critic Roger Ebert was scheduled for April 15 to April 18, 2020, in Champaign, Illinois, but the event is now cancelled. The next Ebertfest will take place in Champaign from April 14 to April 17, 2021. (Updated March 15, 2020)

Edinburgh Art Festival

The annual event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Edinburgh Art Festival had been scheduled for August 7 to August 29, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The annual performing-arts event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Edinburgh Art Festival had been scheduled for August 7 to August 31, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The United Kingdom’s longest-running film festival has been postponed until further notice. The Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland had been scheduled to take place June 17 to June 28, 2020. The festival’s main programming slate for 2020 has not been announced yet. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for May 15 to May 17, 2020, EDC Las Vegas will now take place October 2 to October 4, 2020. The lineup, which remains the same, will include performances by The Chainsmokers, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Alison Wonderland, Martin Garrix, Tiësto, DJ Snake and Major Lazer. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)

The annual consumer event in Los Angeles for electronic entertainment has been cancelled. Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, had been scheduled to take place from June 9 to June 11, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Electric Forest

The annual music and arts festival in Rothbury, Michigan, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for June 25 to June 28, 2020. Artists who were scheduled to perform included Major Lazer,  Duke Dumont, the String Cheese Incident and  Big Gigantic. (Updated April 21, 2020)

“Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things”

Eagle Rock Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the theatrical release of this Ella Fitzgerald documentary, which was set for a one-night-only release on April 3, 2020. The movie will now be released in virtual cinemas on June 26, 2020. (Updated June 4, 2020)

Emerald City Comic Con

Scheduled to take place March 12 to March 15, 2020, the annual comic-book convention in Seattle has been postponed. The event will be rescheduled for the summer; the exact dates are to be announced. Before the postponement, Emerald City Comic Con experienced several cancelled appearances. DC Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Penguin Random House, as well as individual speakers and panelists, cancelled their participation this year.

Emmy Awards

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has postponed the Daytime Emmy Awards until further notice. The Daytime Emmy Awards had been scheduled to take place in Pasadena, California from June 12 to June 14, 2020. The show’s host and nominations haven’t been announced yet. The Daytime Emmy ceremonies have not been televised in several years. Instead, the live ceremonies can be seen via webcast. (Updated on March 19, 2020)

The National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences has also postponed the annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards (originally scheduled for April 19, 2020, in Las Vegas) and the Sports Emmy Awards, originally scheduled for April 28, 2020, in New York. The rescheduled dates for the ceremonies are to be announced. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“Emperor”

Briarcliff Entertainment has postponed until further notice the release of the dramatic film “Emperor,” starring Dayo Okeniyi, Brad Carter, James Cromwell and Bruce Dern. The movie was set to be released on March 27, 2020. (Updated March 14, 2020)

Epicenter

Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Epicenter festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Concord, North Carolina, from May 1 to May 3, 2020. The lineup of performers included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deftones, Godsmack, Volbeat, Staind, Papa Roach, David Lee Roth, Gojira, Chevelle, Cypress Hill and Rancid.  Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival will instead perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. Louder Than Life pass holders will not be charged extra for the fourth day. Ticket/pass holders for the cancelled festival have three options: get a refund, use their purchase for the same festival in 2021, or exchange the purchase for another Danny Wimmer Presents event in 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Essence Festival

The annual music and culture festival presented by Essence magazine in New Orleans has been cancelled. The Essence Festival, which was scheduled to include headliners Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson, had been set for July 1 to July 6, 2020. (Updated April 15, 2020)

“The Eternals”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “The Eternals,” starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry and Gemma Chan. “The Eternals” was originally scheduled for release on November 6, 2020. The new release date is February 12, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Eurovision Song Contest

The annual music event was supposed to take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from May 12 and 14, 2020 (for semi-final rounds) and on May 16, 2020 (for the final round), but Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled. It’s the first time in the event’s 64-year history that it has been shut down. (Updated March 18, 2020)

“Fast & Furious 9”

Universal Pictures has postponed the release of this action sequel to April 2021. (The U.S. release will be on April 2, 2021.) “Fast &  Furious 9,” starring Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, was originally scheduled for release on May 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Festival d’été de Québec

The annual music festival Québec City has been cancelled. Festival d’été de Québec was scheduled for July 9 to July 19, 2020. Artists were announced as performers included Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson, The National, Marshmello, Alanis Morissette, G-Eazy, 5 Seconds of Summer and Halsey. (Updated April 9, 2020) 

Film at Lincoln Center

The membership-funded organization Film at Lincoln Center in New York City became one of the first in the U.S. to close its movie theaters, as of March 12, 2020, until further notice. Film at Lincoln Center operates the Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. Film at Lincoln Center has also postponed the New Directors/New Films Festival (which had been scheduled to run from March 25, to April 5, 2020) and the Chaplin Award Gala honoring Spike Lee, which was set for April 27, 2020. The rescheduled dates are to be announced. In addition, Film at Lincoln Center’s membership magazine Film Comment (which has been published since 1962) is going on an indefinite hiatus after the May/June 2020 issue, which will be published in digital form only. (Updated March 28, 2020)

Film Independent Spirit Awards

The annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California, (originally scheduled for February 27, 2021) has been postponed and rescheduled. The Film Independent Spirit Awards (televised in the U.S. by IFC) will now take place on April 24, 2021. (Updated June 16, 2020.)

Firefly Festival

The annual music festival in Dover, Delaware, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place from June 18 to June 21, 2020. Artists who were announced for the event included Rage Against the Machine, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, Blink-182, Maggie Rogers, Cage the Elephant, Illenium, Diplo and Run the Jewels. (Updated March 26, 2020)

FlameCon

The annual LGBTQ comic-book/sci-fi convention in New York City has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place August 15 and August 16, 2020. The next FlameCon will take place August 21 and August 22, 2021. (Updated May 28, 2020)

Foo Fighters

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed April 2020 U.S. concerts for its Van Tour. Some of the concerts have already been rescheduled for December 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Fox Entertainment

Fox Entertainment has cancelled all development presentations at industry events until further notice. Fox Broadcasting Company’s “WWE Smackdown Live” will not have live audiences until further notice. (Updated March 12, 2020.)

Fox News

Fox News has cancelled its upfront presentation that was scheduled to take place in New York City on March 24, 2020. In addition, Fox News’ “The Greg Gutfeld Show” will not have live audiences until further notice. (Updated March 12, 2020.)

“The French Dispatch”

Searchlight Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the comedy “The French Dispatch,” starring Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand and Timothée Chalamet. “The French Dispatch” was originally set for release on July 24, 2020, and will now be released on October 16, 2020.

Frozen Dead Guy Days

Frozen Dead Guys Days in Nederland, Colorado, was scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 15, 2020, but has been cancelled. The annual event celebrates “frosty merriment featuring live bands and outrageous events—paying homage to Bredo Morstol, frozen in a Tuff Shed,” according to a statement on the event’s website.

Full Frame Documentary Festival

The annual Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, North Carolina, has been cancelled. The event had been set for April 2 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Game Developers Conference

The annual video-game industry conference in San Francisco was scheduled to take place March 16 to Mach 20, 2020, but the event has now been postponed. The new dates for the event are to be announced.

“The Ghost of Peter Sellers”

Film Movement has postponed and rescheduled the release of this documentary, which chronicles the ill-fated production of the Peter Sellers movie “Ghost of the Noonday Sun.” “The Ghost of Peter Sellers” had been scheduled for release in New York City on March 27, 2020. The movie’s VOD release is on June 23, 2020. (Updated May 1, 2020)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this “Ghostbusters” sequel. “Ghosbusters: Afterlife,” starring original “Ghostbusters” headliners Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, was due out in cinemas on July 10, 2020, and has been rescheduled to open on March 5, 2021. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Gibson

The world-famous guitar manufacturer has temporarily closed its headquarters in Nashville and its facility in Bozemon, Montana, as of March 20, 2020. The operations will re-open on a date to be announced. (Updated March 20, 2020)

GLAAD Media Awards

The GLAAD Media Awards have been cancelled. The bi-coastal ceremonies for LGBTQ people in entertainment/media had been set for New York City on March 19, 2020, and Beverly Hills, California, on April 16, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury Festival, one of Europe’s largest annual music events, has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Glastonbury, England) was scheduled for June 24 to June 28, 2020. Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Diana Ross were among the headliners. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Global Media Summit

The annual Global Media Summit (GMS) in Carrollton, Texas, has been cancelled. Described by organizers as “a Christian alliance uniting media professionals globally,” the event, which includes the GMS Music Awards, was scheduled to take place from April 22 to April 25, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“Godzilla vs. Kong”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled “Godzilla vs. Kong,” starring Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård and Rebecca Hall. “Godzilla vs. Kong” was originally set to premiere on November 20, 2020, and is now set for release on May 21, 2021. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Google I/O and Google Cloud Next events

Google has cancelled Google I/O. The annual event for Google developers to announce consumer products was scheduled to take place in Mountain View, California, from May 12 to May 14, 2020. Meanwhile, the Google Cloud Next event that was supposed to happen in San Francisco from April 6 to April 8, 2020, will shift from a physical event to a virtual online event, where attendees will be participate through digital resources.

Governors Ball

The annual Governors Ball music festival in New York City has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for June 5 to June 7, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included Stevie Nicks, Missy Elliott, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Solange, Miley Cyrus, Flume, Maren Morris, Ellie Goulding, H.E.R., Banks, Of Monsters and Men, Milky Chance, Bleachers and Swae Lee. (Updated March 26, 2020)

Great Escape Festival

The annual Great Escape Festival for alternative rock has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Brighton and Hove, England) was scheduled for May 13 to May 16, 2020. Balming Tiger, House of Pharaohs and Amber Van Day were among performers. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Green Day

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed all of its concerts in Asia for the band’s Hella Mega Tour. The shows have not been rescheduled yet. The postponed concerts were scheduled to take place from March 8 to March 27, 2020, in Singapore, The Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

“The Grizzlies”

Mongrel Media had planned to release this Canadian lacrosse movie in the U.S. on March 20, 2020, but the movie’s U.S. release has been postponed until further notice. “The Grizzlies,” whose cast includes Ben Schnetzer and Booboo Stewart, was already released in Canada in 2019. (Updated March 16, 2020)

“The High Note”

Focus Features has postponed and rescheduled the release of the comedy film “The High Note” starring Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson. “The High Note” was originally scheduled for release in theaters on May 8, 2020. The new release will be direct-to-video on May 29, 2020, with a premium rental price. (Updated May 4, 2020)

HistoryCon

The History Channel’s annual fan convention in Pasadena, California, has been postponed until further notice. HistoryCon was originally scheduled to take place April 3 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)

Hometown Rising

The annual country music festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. Hometown Rising was scheduled to take place on September 12 and September 13, 2020. The lineup of artists had not been announced. (Updated April 24, 2020)

Hot Docs

The annual documentary festival in Toronto has been postponed until further notice. The event had been scheduled for April 30 to May 10, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“I Am Not Alone”

Avalanche Entertainment has postponed until further notice the release of this documentary about Armenian activist Nikol Pashinyan. The movie had originally been scheduled for release in New York City on April 10, 2020 and in Los Angeles on April 17, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

“I Know This Much Is True”

HBO has postponed and rescheduled the TV premiere of the limited drama series “I Know This Much Is True,” starring Mark Ruffalo. “I Know This Much is True” was originally set to premiere on April 27, 2020, and will now premiere on May 10, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

iHeartRadio Music Awards

The iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles (originally scheduled for March 29, 2020) has been postponed, and the rescheduled date is to be announced. Fox has the U.S. telecast of the annual award show. (Updated March 14, 2020)

“In the Heights”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this musical movie, starring Anthony Ramos. The “In the Heights” movie, which is based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, was originally scheduled to be released on June 26, 2020. The new release date is June 18, 2021. (Updated on March 24, 2020) 

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

The annual event has been postponed until further notice. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles was originally scheduled for April 1 to April 5, 2020. (Updated March 14, 2020)

Isle of Wight Festival

The annual Isle of Wight Festival for rock and pop music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in Newport, England) was scheduled for June 11 to June 14, 2020. Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, the Chemical Brothers and Duran Duran were among the performers. (Updated March 26, 2020)

Ivors With Apple Music Awards

The annual award show in London has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for May 21, 2020, the ceremony will now take place on September 2, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Elton John

The Grammy-and-Oscar-winning superstar has postponed all of his North American concerts that were scheduled to take place from March 25 to May 2, 2020. The shows are going to be rescheduled for 2021, on dates to be announced. (Updated March 16, 2020)

Jonas Brothers

Sibling pop trio the Jonas Brothers have cancelled their Las Vegas residency, which had been scheduled to run April 1 to April 18, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

“Judy & Punch”

Samuel Goldwyn Films has postponed and rescheduled the release of the drama “Judy & Punch,” starring Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman. Originally scheduled for release on April 24, 2020, “Judy & Punch” will now be released in select U.S. theaters (if they’re open) and on VOD on June 5, 2020. (Updated April 6, 2020)

“Jungle Cruise”

Disney has postponed and rescheduled the release of the action-adventure flick “Jungle Cruise,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The movie’s release date moves from July 24, 2020, to July 20, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Just for Laughs

The annual comedy festival in Montreal has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for  July 15 to July 26, 2020, Just for Laughs will now take place from September 29 to October 11,  2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“King Richard”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this drama, starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, father to tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams. “King Richard” was originally set for November 25, 2020, but will now be released on November 19, 2021. (Updated April 20, 2020)

“Koko-Di Koko-Da”

Dark Star Pictures has postponed until further notice the U.S. release of this Swedish horror film. “Koko-Di Koko-Da” (starring Peter Belli, Leif Edlund and Ylva Gallon) had been scheduled for release in New York City on March 27, 2020, with more U.S. cities to follow in subsequent weeks. (Updated March 16, 2020)

Lady Gaga

The Grammy-and-Oscar-winning pop star has postponed until further notice the release of her album “Chromatica,” which was originally due out on April 10, 2020. In addition, Lady Gaga’s Las Vegas shows that were set for April 30 to May 11, 2020, have been postponed. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Avril Lavigne

The Grammy-winning pop star has postponed the Asian leg of her “Head Above Water” world tour. The concerts (which were to take place from April 23 to May 24, 2020) were scheduled for China, Japan, The Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The rescheduled dates are to be announced.

“The Library That Dolly Built”

Abramorama has postponed and rescheduled the release of this Dolly Parton documentary, which was originally scheduled to be released in U.S. cinemas for one night only on April 2, 2020. The one-night-only release will now take place on September 21, 2020. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Life Is Beautiful

The annual music and arts festival in Las Vegas has been cancelled. Life Is Beautiful had been scheduled for September 18 to September 20, 2020. The event’s lineup had not been announced. (Updated April 21, 2020)

Live Nation

Live Nation, the world’s largest live-events promotion company, has cancelled or postponed almost all of its events for 2020. (Updated May 24, 2020)

Locarno Film Festival

The annual event in Switzerland has been cancelled. The Locarno Film Festival had been scheduled for August 5 to August 15, 2020. Instead, the festival will launch Locarno 2020 – For the Future of Films, an online program to promote independent films. (Updated April 29, 2020)

Lollapalooza Festival

The annual music festival in Chicago has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for July 30 to August 2, 2020. The  2020 Lollapalooza lineup had not been announced. (Updated June 9, 2020)

London Book Fair

The annual London Book Fair has been cancelled. The event was scheduled for March 10 to March 12, 2020.

Louder Than Life

The annual heavy-metal festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has been cancelled. Louder Than Life was scheduled to take place between September 18 and September 20, 2020. Metallica had been announced as the headliner. (Updated April 24, 2020)

“The Lovebirds”

Paramount Pictures has dumped the release of this comedy, starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani. The movie was supposed to have its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, which was also cancelled. “The Lovebirds” was due in U.S. theaters on April 3, 2020, but will now be released directly on Netflix on May 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Lovebox Festival

The annual Lovebox Festival for electronica dance music has been cancelled. The festival (which takes place in London) was scheduled for June 12 to June 14, 2020. Fatboy Slim, DJ Harvey and Annie Mac were among the performers. (Updated March 27, 2020)

Made in America Festival

The annual music festival in Philadelphia has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for September 5 and September 6, 2020. The 2020 Made in America Festival lineup had not been announced.  (Updated July 1, 2020)

“Malignant”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed until further notice this thriller, starring Annabelle Wallis. “Malignant” was originally scheduled to be released on August 14, 2020. (Updated on March 24, 2020) 

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

The annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival in California has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for May 20 to May 24, 2020. (Updated March 26, 2020)

“The Many Saints of Newark”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this prequel to “The Sopranos,” starring Michael Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Vera Farmiga. “The Many Saints of Newark” was originally set for September 25, 2020, but will now be released on March 12, 2021. (Updated April 20, 2020)

“The Matrix 4”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the fourth “Matrix” movie, whose official title is to be announced. The sci-fi sequel was originally due out on May 21, 2021, and is now set for release on April 1, 2022. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Melbourne International Film Festival

The annual Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for August 6 to August 23, 2020. (Updated April 7, 2020)

Method Fest Independent Film Festival

The annual festival for independent film actors has been postponed and rescheduled. It had been originally scheduled to take place in Beverly Hills, California, from March 20 to March 26, 2020. The new dates for the event are May 29 to June 4, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City has cancelled all performances until December 31, 2020. (Updated June 2, 2020)

Miami Film Festival

The annual event began on March 6, 2020, and was scheduled to end on March 15, 2020, but was abruptly cancelled on March 12, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

MIDEM

The annual music-industry conference in Cannes, Frances, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for June 2  to June 5, 2020. MIDEM officials have announced that some of the previously announced keynote speakers will still deliver their speeches, but will do so online. Previously announced keynote speakers include singer/songwriter Akon, SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor, the Raine Group partner Fred Davis, and Downtown Music Holdings CEO Justin Kalifowitz. (Updated March 30, 2020)

“Minions: The Rise of Gru”

Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” had originally been due out in late June 2020 (in some countries) and on July 8, 2020 in the United States. The movie, includes voice actor Steve Carell, is now set to be released on July 2, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)

MIPDoc

The annual documentary industry event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 28 and March 29, 2020.

MIPFormats

The annual producer/buyer event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 28 and March 29, 2020.

MIPTV

The annual TV industry event in Cannes, France, has been cancelled. It was scheduled to take place March 30 to April 3, 2020.

MobMovieCon

The annual event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, that focuses on mobster movies and related entertainment has been postponed and rescheduled. The inaugural Mob Movie Awards will still be part of the event, which has moved from April 18 and April 19, 2020 to August 22 and August 23, 2020. In addition, SopranosCon Part II will be incorporated into MobMovieCon this year. (Updated March 13, 2020.) 

Montclair Film Festival

The annual festival in Montclair, New Jersey, has been postponed until further notice. The Montclair Film Festival had been originally scheduled to take place from March 20 to March 26, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Montreaux Jazz Festival

The annual Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland has been cancelled, for the first time in the event’s 53-year history. The festival had been scheduled for July 3 to 18, 2020. Artists (Updated April 17, 2020)

“Morbius”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this vampire flick, based on the Marvel Comics character. “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto as the title character, was originally due in cinemas on July 31, 2020, and has been rescheduled to open on March 19, 2021. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Movie theaters

Movie theaters are being shut down in several countries, including China, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cineplex have closed until further notice all of their theaters in the U.S., as of March 17, 2020. Cinemark closed until further notice all of its theaters in the U.S., as of March 18, 2020, while other corporate-owned movie-theater chains around the U.S. were closed that week too. In the U.S., almost all independent movie theaters are closed until further notice. Drive-in theaters are remaining open. If there are any indoor movie theaters in the U.S. that are open, most have pledged to not book theater rooms at more than 50% capacity. But given the huge dropoff in moviegoing since the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic, attendance at movie theaters was reaching well below 50% anyway. (Updated March 22, 2020)

“Mulan”

Disney has postponed and rescheduled the release of its live-action remake of “Mulan,” starring  Liu Yifei as the title character. The movie was originally scheduled to be released on March 27, 2020, was postponed to July 24, 2020, nd will now be released on August 21, 2020. Premieres for the movie were already held in Los Angeles on March 9 and in London on March 12, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Music Biz

The Music Business Association’s annual Music Biz conference in Nashville has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally scheduled for May 11 to May 14, 2020, the event is now set for August 16 to August 19, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)

“My Spy”

STX Films has dumped the comedy “I Spy,” which was supposed to be released in U.S. theaters on April 17, 2020. The movie’s U.S. release will now be directly on Amazon Prime Video, on June 26, 2020. “My Spy,” starring Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman, was already released in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Croatia, Germany and the Netherlands. (Updated June 11, 2020)

National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas has been cancelled. The annual convention had been scheduled to take place from April 19 to April 22, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

National Symphony Orchestra

The U.S. ensemble has cancelled its tour of China and Japan. The National Symphony Orchestra concerts were scheduled for March 6 to March 17, 2020.

Netflix Is a Joke Fest

Netflix has postponed until further notice its inaugural comedy festival in Los Angeles. Netflix Is a Joke Fest had been set for April 27 to May 3, 2020. Announced stand-up comedy performers included Dave Chappelle, Ali Wong, Marlon Wayans, Amy Schumer, Pete Davidson, Taylor Tomlinson, Iliza Shlesinger, Deon Cole and Ken Jeong. (Updated March 17, 2020)

“The New Mutants”

20th Century Pictures (formerly known as 20th Century Fox) has postponed until further notice the release of the superhero flick “The New Mutants,” originally set for April 3, 2020. The movie’s ensemble cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton. (Updated March 12, 2020.)

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

The annual music and arts event has been cancelled. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival had been scheduled for April 23 to May 3, 2020. The performers would have included The Who, Dead & Company, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie and Lizzo. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards

The annual award show in Los Angeles has been postponed and rescheduled as a virtual ceremony. The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards had been set for March 22, 2020 but the virtual ceremony will take place on May 2, 2020. Chance the Rapper had been announced as the ceremony’s host, but the virtual ceremony will be hosted by Victoria Justice. (Updated April 24, 2020)

Nightclubs

Even if there are cities that allow gatherings of less than 50 people per gathering, several cities are still mandating the closure of all nightclubs and bars in the cities until further notice. In the United States, New York City and Los Angeles were among the first big cities that have ordered these closures. (Updated March 15, 2020)

“Nina Wu”

Film Movement has postponed the U.S. release of this Chinese drama, starring Ke-Xi Wu as the title character. Originally scheduled for a U.S. release on March 20, 2020, the new U.S. release date for “Nina Wu” is to be announced.  (Updated March 13, 2020.)

“No Time to Die”

The release of this James Bond 007 movie, starring Daniel Craig, has been postponed and rescheduled. MGM Pictures’ “No Time to Die” had been scheduled to be released in the U.K. and other territories on April 2, 2020, and in the U.S. and other territories on April 10, 2020. The new release date in the U.K. and other territories is November 12, 2020, and the new release date in the U.S. and other territories is November 20, 2020.

Olivier Awards

The annual award show in London for West End stage shows has been cancelled. The Olivier Awards had been scheduled for April 5, 2020. The winners will be announced in another way, most likely online. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Orange Warsaw Festival

The annual music and arts festival in Poland has been cancelled. The Orange Warsaw Festival had been scheduled for June 5 and June 6, 2020. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Outside Lands

The annual Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco has been cancelled. The festival was scheduled for August 7 to August 9, 2020. The festival will return on August 6 to August 8, 2021, with most of the same artists who were scheduled for the 2020 Outside Lands event. Artists on the 2021 Outside Lands bill include Tame Impala, Lizzo, The Strokes, Tyler, the Creator, The 1975, J Balvin, Kehlani, Vampire Weekend, Young Thug and Zhu. (Updated June 24, 2020)

PaleyFest

PaleyFest in Los Angeles has been postponed until further notice. The event, which showcases TV programs and TV stars, had been scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 21, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

Pearl Jam

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed the North American leg of its “Gigaton” tour. The tour dates consisted of U.S. and Canadian concerts that were scheduled to begin on March 18 in Toronto and run through April 19 in Oakland, California. There’s no word yet on when these Pearl Jam shows will be rescheduled. In addition, Pearl Jam has cancelled the “Gigaton Listening Experience,” which was supposed to take place March 25, 2020, as a one-night-only listening event at numerous Dolby movie theaters worldwide for the band’s “Gigaton” album. (Updated March 17, 2020)

PEN America Literary Gala

The annual PEN America Literary Gala has been postponed and rescheduled. The event was originally set for May 19, 2020, and will now take place on September 15, 2020. (Updated March 20, 2020)

“The Personal History of David Copperfield”

20th Century Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of the drama “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” originally set for May 8, 2020. The new U.S. release date is August 14, 2020. The movie, which was already released in the United Kingdom in January 2020, stars Dev Patel. (Updated June 11, 2020)

“Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this live-action/animated sequel. “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” was originally due in cinemas on April 3, 2020, was postponed to August 7, 2020, and will now be released on January 15, 2021. The cast of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” includes Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson and David Oyelowo as live actors and Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki as voice actors. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Pilmgrimage Music and Cultural Festival

The annual music festival in Franklin, Tennessee, has been cancelled. The event had been set to take place September 26 and September 27, 2020. (Updated May 19, 2020)

“Praise This”

Universal Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the music-choir drama “Praise This,” which was originally scheduled for release on September 25, 2020. (Updated April 3, 2020)

Primavera Sound Festival

The annual music festival in Barcelona has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for June 4 to June 7, 2020, the festival will now take place August 26 to August 30, 2020. The artists announced for the event include Massive Attack, Disclosure, Kacey Musgraves, the Strokes, Lana Del Rey, Beck, Bikini Kill, Iggy Pop, Bauhaus, Bad Bunny, Jesus and Mary Chain and Tyler, the Creator.

Premios Platino

The annual film and TV awards event has been cancelled. Premios Platino had been scheduled to take place in Riviera Maya, Mexico, from May 1 to May 3, 2020.

“A Quiet Place Part II”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this horror sequel, starring Emily Blunt, which was originally scheduled to be released from March 18 to March 20, 2020, depending on the territory. (The U.S. release was supposed to on March 20.) The movie’s new release date is now September 4, 2020. “A Quiet Place Part II” already had its world premiere in New York City on March 8, 2020. (Updated April 2, 2020)

“Radium Girls”

Juno Films has postponed until further notice the release of the drama “Radium Girls,” which is about a group of young female labor activists in the 1920s. The movie, which stars Joey King and Abby Quinn, was originally scheduled for release on April 3, 2020. (Updated March 16, 2020)

Rage Against the Machine

The Grammy-winning rock band has postponed until further notice the first two months of its Public Service Announcement reunion tour that was set begin March 26, 2020 in El Paso, Texas, and continue to May 23, 2020, in Boston. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Record Store Day

Record Store Day, which takes place at various retail music stores around the world, has been postponed and rescheduled. Originally set for April 4, 2020, Record Store Day is now set for June 20, 2020. (Updated March 13, 2020)

Red Sea Film Festival

The inaugural event (which was scheduled to take place March 12 to March 21, 2020 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) has now been postponed until further notice. Oscar-winning filmmakers Oliver Stone and Spike Lee had been announced to attend the event. Stone was selected as a jury member, while Lee was supposed to present a special screening of his 1992 film “Malcolm X.”

Restaurants

Even if there are cities that allow gatherings of less than 50 people per gathering, several cities are still mandating the closure of all restaurants in the cities until further notice, unless the restaurants can do take-outs and deliveries. (Updated March 15, 2020)

“Rewind”

FilmRise has postponed and rescheduled the theatrical release of director Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s autobiographical documentary about abuse that he experienced as a child. “Rewind” had been set to be released in New York City on March 27, 2020, and in Los Angeles on April 3, 2020. The movie will now be released on digital and VOD on May 8, 2020. “Rewind” will also be shown on the PBS series “Independent Lens” on May 11, 2020. (Updated April 16, 2020)

Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Ride and Concert

The Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Ride and Concert (which was planned for May 17, 2020) has been postponed until further notice. The annual event benefiting the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is comprised of a motorcycle ride originating at Harley-Davidson of Glendale, California, followed by an afternoon of live music at Los Encinos Park in Encino, California. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was supposed to take place on May 2 in Cleveland, was postponed to November 7, 2020, but has now been cancelled. The performers who were to be inducted in the live ceremony were Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex. Instead of a live telecast of the show, HBO will televise a pre-recorded special to honor the inductees. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland temporarily closed for a few months, as of March 14, 2020, but it has now re-opened. (Updated July 8, 2020)

Rolling Loud Festival

The Rolling Loud festival in Miami has been postponed and rescheduled with the same lineup. The festival was originally set for May 8 to May 10, 2020, and will now take place February 12 to 14, 2021. The artists who are scheduled to perform include Post Malone, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Rick Ross, Big Sean, Megan Thee Stallion, Swae Lee, Juicy J, A$AP Ferg, Tyga, Young Thug, Gucci Mane, T-Pain, YG, Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty and Young M.A. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have postponed until further notice the 2020 North American leg of their “No Filter” tour. The 15 concerts were scheduled to begin May 8 in San Diego and end July 9 in Atlanta. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The annual event in Scotland has been cancelled. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo had been scheduled for August 7 to August 29, 2020. (Updated April 1, 2020)

“Run”

Lionsgate has postponed until further notice the release of the horror film “Run,” originally set for May 8, 2020. The movie stars Sarah Paulson. (Updated March 17, 2020)

RuPaul’s DragCon LA

This annual Los Angeles event celebrating the culture of drag queens has been cancelled. RuPaul’s DragCon LA had been scheduled to take place May 1 to May 3, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The annual event has been cancelled. Originally set to take place from April 29 to May 3, 2020, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival was rescheduled for November 11 to November 15, 2020. However, the festival has now been cancelled for 2020, and is set to from May 5 to May 9, 2021. (June 3, 2020)

“Scoob!”

Warner Bros. Pictures will release directly to home video this animated film, based on the “Scooby-Doo” TV series. “Scoob!” was originally scheduled to be released in theaters on May 15, 2020. The release date is still the same, but it will now be on digital and VOD. The movie’s voice cast includes Frank Welker, Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Amanda Seyfried and Zac Efron. (Updated on April 21, 2020) 

“The Secret: Dare to Dream”

Roadside Attractions has postponed until further notice the release of this dramatic film, starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. “The Secret: Dare to Dream” was due in U.S. theaters on April 17, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Series Mania

The annual TV festival in Lille, France, has been cancelled. Series Mania was supposed to take place from March 20 to March 28, 2020. (Updated March 11, 2020)

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” starring Simu Liu and Tony Leung. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was originally scheduled to be released on February 12, 2021, and will now be released on May 7, 2021. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Sing 2”

Universal Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel. “Sing 2,” which includes voice actors Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey, was originally set to open July 2, 2021, and will now be released on December 22, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Slay the Dragon”

This critically acclaimed documentary about gerrymandering in U.S. politics had been scheduled for a limited U.S. theatrical release on March 13, 2020. Magnolia Pictures will now release “Slay the Dragon” on VOD and on other digital platforms on April 3, 2020. (Updated March 10, 2020)

“Sometimes Always Never”

Blue Fox Entertainment has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this British thriller, starring Bill Nighy and Sam Riley. “Sometimes Always Never” had been rescheduled for a U.S. theatrical release on April 15, 2020, after being postponed from March 6, 2020. The movie will now be released in virtual cinemas on June 12, 2020, and on VOD on July 10, 2020. The movie was already released in 2019 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary. (Updated June 1, 2020)

Songwriters Hall of Fame

The annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York City has been postponed and rescheduled for 2021, and the show will award the previously announced honorees. Originally set for June 11, 2020, the ceremony will now take place on June 10, 2021. The previously announced honorees are Mariah Carey; Eurythmics co-founders Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart; the Isley Brothers members Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley,  Rudolph Isley and Chris Jasper; Steve Miller; the Neptunes founders Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo; Rick Nowels; and William “Mickey” Stevenson. Paul Williams will receive the Johnny Mercer Award. Universal Music Publishing chairman/CEO Jody Gerson will receive the Abe Olman Publisher Award. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Sonic Temple Arts + Music Festival

Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Sonic Temple Arts + Music Festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Columbus, Ohio, from May 15 to May 17, 2020. The lineup of performers included Metallica, Slipknot, Deftones, Bring Me the Horizon, Evanescence, and Staind. Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival were going to perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. However, the 2020 edition of Louder Than Life has now also been cancelled(Updated April 24, 2020)

South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals

The 2020 edition of SXSW has been cancelled for the first time in the event’s 34-year history. The event was scheduled to take place from March 13 to 22 in Austin, Texas. A public health state of emergency has also been declared in the city of Austin. SXSW includes festivals for music, film and live comedy, as well as conferences for technology, education and gaming. Days before the cancellation, several companies pulled of out participating in the event this year, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel, Lionsgate, Starz, TikTok, Twitter, Vevo and WarnerMedia. The SXSW Film Festival announced that it will still give awards this year in the jury-voted categories. The films in competition are being made available online to jurors. Winners will be announced online and not at an awards ceremony. Click here for the full story of the SXSW event cancellation. On April 2, it was announced that the 2020 SXSW Film Festival has partnered with Amazon Prime Video to make select films from the cancelled festival available for free on Amazon Prime Video for a limited time. Click here for more details. (Updated April 2, 2020)

“Spiral”

Lionsgate has postponed until further notice the release of the horror movie “Spiral,” originally set for May 15, 2020. The movie, which is a reboot of the “Saw” franchise, stars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. (Updated March 17, 2020)

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this animated sequel, starring voice actor Tom Kenney, which was originally scheduled to be released May 22, 2020. “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” was then pushed back to July 17 and then July 31, 2020. The movie’s new release date will be sometime in early 2021, where it will be released on premium VOD (PVOD). After being released on PVOD, the movie will be available on CBS All Access. (Updated July 8, 2020)

Stagecoach Music  Festival

The annual country music festival has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for April 24 to April 26, 2020, Stagecoach (which takes place in Indio, California) was rescheduled for October 23 to October 25, 2020, but now the event will not take place in 2020. Artists who had been announced to perform included headliners Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church, as well as Brett Young, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Dan + Shay, Alan Jackson, Jon Pardi and Bryan Adams. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Harry Styles

The former One Direction star has postponed and rescheduled the U.K. and continental European dates of his Love on Tour. The shows were originally scheduled to begin April 15, 2020 in Birmingham, England, and end June 3, 2020, in Moscow. The concerts will now take place in 2021, beginning February 12 in Bologna, Italy, and end March 30 in Moscow. (Updated March 25, 2020)

Taylor Swift

The Grammy-winning superstar has postponed all of her tour dates for the remainder of 2020. The rescheduled dates for the concerts are to be announced. Unlike other artists’ tour dates that have been postponed, refunds will be available for Swift’s postponed tour dates. (Updated April 17, 2020)

Summerfest

The annual music festival in Milwaukee has been postponed and rescheduled. The event was originally set for June 24 to July 5 to the weekends of September 3 to September 5, September 10 to September 12, and September 17 to September 19, 2020. Performers include Justin Bieber, Guns N’Roses, Dave Matthews Band, Luke Bryan, Khalid, Halsey, Sam Hunt and Jessie Reyez. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Sun Valley Film Festival

The annual festival in Sun Valley, Idaho, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled to take place from March 18 to March 22, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Sydney Film Festival

The annual film festival in Australia had been scheduled for June 3 to June 14, 2020, but the event has been cancelled. The Sydney Film Festival plans to return in 2021. (Updated March 17, 2020)

“Tenet”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the thriller “Tenet,” starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson. “Tenet” was originally set to premiere on July 17, 2020, was postponed to July 31, 2020, and will now premiere on August 12, 2020. (Updated June 26, 2020)

“The Third Day”

HBO has postponed the TV premiere of the limited drama series “The Third Day,” starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris. “The Third Day” was originally set to premiere on May 11, 2020, and will now premiere in the fall of 2020, on a date to be announced. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Disney’s Marvel Studios has postponed and rescheduled the release of the superhero movie “Thor: Love and Thunder,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman. “Thor: Love and Thunder” was originally scheduled for release on November 5, 2021. The new release date is February 8, 2022. (Updated April 3, 2020)

“Tom & Jerry”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the animated film “Tom & Jerry,” starring the voices of Chloë Grace Moretz Michael Peña Ken Jeong and Rob Delaney. The film was originally due out on December 23, 2020, and is now set for release on March 5, 2021. (Updated June 11, 2020)

Tomorrowland 

The annual electronic-music festival Tomorrowland in Alpe d’Huez, France, has been cancelled. The event had been scheduled for March 14 to March 21, 2020.

“Tomorrow War”

Paramount Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of this sci-fi/fantasy film, starring Chris Pratt, which was originally scheduled to be released December 25, 2020.  (Updated April 2, 2020)

Tony Awards

The Tony Awards, an annual ceremony in New York City for Broadway shows, has been postponed until further notice. The ceremony (which is telecast in the U.S. by CBS) had originally been scheduled for June 7, 2020. The nominees and host have not been announced yet. (Updated March 25, 2020)

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of this action sequel, starring Tom Cruise, which was originally scheduled to be released June 24, 2020. The movie’s new release date is now December 23, 2020. (Updated April 2, 2020)

Toronto Comic Arts Festival

The annual comic-book convention has been cancelled. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival had been scheduled for May 8 to May 10, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Treefort Music Fest

The annual festival in Boise, Idaho, for emerging talent has been postponed. Treefort Music Fest had originally been scheduled to take place from March 25 to 29, 2020, and will now take place from September 23 to September 27, 2020. (Updated March 12, 2020)

Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival in New York City has been postponed and turned into a semi-open virtual event, with industry people and the media being able to access certain films online from April 15 to May 15, 2020. The annual event had been scheduled for April 15 to April 26, 2020. Winners of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival’s jury awards were announced on April 29, 2020. (Updated April 29, 2020)

“The Truth”

IFC Films has postponed the U.S. release of this French drama, starring Catherine Denueve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke. Originally scheduled for a U.S. release on March 20, 2020, the new U.S. release date for “The Truth” is on July 3, 2020. The movie was already released in France and in Japan in 2019. (Updated June 20, 2020.)

TV Network Upfront Presentations

TV networks’ annual upfront presentations for advertisers take place in New York City, mostly in April and May. In 2020, all of these events have now been cancelled or switched to being online presentations only. (Updated March 15, 2020)

TV Shows With Live Audiences

Almost all nationally televised series that are known to have live audiences have announced that they will continue without live audiences or they are temporarily shutting down production. These include talk shows, game shows, talent shows and variety shows. Some of these shows have already taped episodes with audiences, before bans on large gatherings went into effect. (Updated March 16, 2020)

Ultra Music Festival

The annual electronica-dance music event in Miami has been cancelled and will return in 2021. Ultra Music Festival had been scheduled to take place March 20 to March 22, 2020. Performers at the 2020 Ultra Music Festival would have included David Guetta, DJ Snake, Major Lazer, Above & Beyond, Afrojack and Martin Garrix.

“Uncharted”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this video-game-based movie. “Uncharted,” starring Tom Holland and Bryan Cranston, was due out in cinemas on March 5, 2021, and has been rescheduled to open on October 8, 2021. (Updated March 30, 2020)

Universal Studios

Universal Studios Hollywood will be closed until further notice, as of March 14, 2020. Universal Studios in Florida will be closed until further notice, as of March 16, 2020.  (Updated April 1, 2020)

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has postponed and rescheduled the release of the sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” starring Tom Hardy. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was originally scheduled to be released on October 2, 2020, and will now be released on June 25, 2021. (Updated April 21, 2020)

 VidCon

VidCon, the annual networking event for video-based media influencers, has postponed all of its conferences. The flagship VidCon in Anaheim, California, was supposed to take place from June 17 to June 20, 2020, but the event will be rescheduled on dates to be announced. The inaugural VidCon Mexico in Mexico City was scheduled for April 30 to May 3, 2020, and has been rescheduled for September 17 to September 20, 2020. The inaugural VidCon Abu Dhabi was scheduled for March 25 to March 28, 2020, and has been rescheduled for December 16 to December 19, 2020. (Updated March 23, 2020)

Wango Tango

The annual star-studded music concert, hosted by Los Angeles pop radio station KIIS-FM, has been cancelled. The show was set for June 5, 2020, in Carson, California. The 2020 Wango Tango lineup included headliner Harry Styles. (Updated March 24, 2020)

Webby Awards

The annual award show in New York City honoring World Wide Web content and creators has been postponed until further notice and will be changed from an in-person event to an online event. The original date for this year’s Webby Awards was May 11, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Welcome to Rockville

Concert promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has cancelled the annual Welcome to Rockville festival, which was scheduled to take in place in Daytona Beach, Florida, from May 8 to May 10, 2020. The lineup of performers included Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Godsmack, Deftones,Social Distortion, The Offspring, Staind, Lamb of God, Rancid.  Many of the artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival were going to perform at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky (another Danny Wimmer Presents event), which has expanded to four days (September 17 to September 20, 2020), with Metallica headlining on September 17. However, the 2020 edition of Louder Than Life has now also been cancelled(Updated April 24, 2020)

WhedonCon

The annual convention in Los Angeles celebrating the work of writer/director Joss Whedon (who’s best known for the first two “Avengers” movies and the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series) has been postponed and rescheduled. WhedonCon was originally scheduled for June 5 to June 7, 2020, but is now taking place October 30 to November 1, 2020 (Updated March 22, 2020)

“Wicked”

Universal Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of this movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical. “Wicked,” starring Katie Rose Clark and Jessica Vosk, had originally been set for release on December 22, 2021. (Updated April 1, 2020)

Winter Music Conference

The annual convention in Miami for electronica-dance music was scheduled to take place March 16 to March 19, 2020, but has been postponed and will be rescheduled on dates to be announced.

“The Witches”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed until further notice the animated film “The Witches,” starring the voices of Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer. “The Witches” was originally set to premiere on October 9, 2020. (Updated June 11, 2020)

“The Wolf House”

Independent movie distributor KimStim has postponed and rescheduled the U.S. release of this Chilean animated film, which tells the story of Colonia Dignidad, a German émigré-run colony in post-WWII Chile that was revealed to have been used to imprison, torture and murder dissidents during the Pinochet regime. “The Wolf House” is now set for release in virtual cinemas on May 15, 2020. The movie was originally scheduled for release in New York City on March 20, 2020, and in Los Angeles on March 27, 2020.  (Updated May 1, 2020.)

WOMAD Festival

The annual World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) Festival in Wiltshire, England, has been cancelled. The festival (founded by Peter Gabriel) was scheduled for July 23 to July 26, 2020. Artists on the festival bill included the Flaming Lips, Angélique Kidjo, Kate Tempest and Fatoumata Diawara. (Updated June 8, 2020)

“The Woman in the Window”

20th Century Pictures has postponed until further notice the release of the thriller “The Woman in the Window,” originally set for April 18, 2020. The movie stars Amy Adams. (Updated March 17, 2020)

WonderCon

The annual comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy entertainment fan convention in Anaheim, California, has been cancelled. WonderCon had been set for April 10 to April 12, 2020. The event will return on March 26 to March 28, 2021. (Updated April 17, 2020)

“Wonder Woman 1984”

Warner Bros. Pictures has postponed and rescheduled this superhero sequel, starring Gal Gadot. “Wonder Woman 1984” was originally set for June 5, 2020, then rescheduled for August 14, 2020, but will now be released on October 2, 2020. (Updated June 11, 2020)

YouTube

The London edition of YouTube on Stage, an event to showcase YouTube talent, was cancelled just hours before the event was supposed to happen on March 11, 2020. In addition, YouTube has switched its annual Brandcast marketing presentation (set for April 30, 2020) to be an online event instead of an in-person event. (Updated March 16, 2020)

Review: ‘Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash,’ starring Ian Shultis, Taylor Clift, Samuel Kay Forrest and Rich Dally III

July 1, 2020

by Carla Hay

Taylor Clift (front row, second from right) and Ian Shultis (crouching in blue shirt) in “Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash” (Photo courtesy of Cleopatra Entertainment)

“Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash”

Directed by Jared Cohn

Culture Representation: This dramatic film, which has a nearly all-white cast (with a few African Americans as extras), tells the story of the 1977 plane crash that took the lives of six people, including four people on the team of multiplatinum American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Culture Clash: Some members of the Lynyrd Skynyrd team had doubts and conflicts about the plane’s safety before it took that fateful flight.

Culture Audience:  Lynyrd Skynyrd fans are the obvious target audience of “Street Survivors,” but the movie should also appeal to people who want to see a dramatic recreation of what happened before, during and after the plane crash, if they can stomach the very graphic and bloody scenes in the movie.

Navarone Garibaldi, Taylor Clift and Samuel Kay Forrest in “Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash” (Photo courtesy of Cleopatra Entertainment)

The tragic story of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has been told many times in news reports, feature articles, books and documentaries, including the 2018 documentary film “Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow.” Most of these versions of the band’s story respectfully tiptoed around describing the explicit, gory details of what happened during and after the plane crash in 1977 that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray. The tragedy occurred because the faulty Convair CV-240 chartered plane ran out of fuel and crashed into a wooded area near Gillsburg, Mississippi, on October 20, 1977.

“Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash” (written and directed by Jared Cohn) does not sugarcoat or gloss over the horrors of the crash. The movie is so graphic with its up-close recreation of the blood, injuries and dead bodies, that this film is bound to disturb and probably anger a lot of people. Is it exploitation?

It would feel completely exploitative if not for that fact that plane-crash survivor Artimus Pyle, who was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s drummer at the time, approved this movie, because the the story is told from his perspective. At various points of the film, Pyle does on-camera narration. As a survivor of this tragedy, Pyle certainly has the right to tell his version of events.

If a Lynyrd Skynyrd plane-crash movie had been made without any of the survivors’ input, it wouldn’t be right at all. But if a survivor, who saved the lives of several of the passengers, signed off on this movie, it’s up to viewers to decide if this dramatic recreation of the plane crash is something that’s worth seeing.

But sensitive viewers should be warned: This is one of the most graphic and disturbing plane-crash movies that you might ever see. It’s not recommended viewing for people who’ve survived an aircraft crash or who have a loved one who’s died in an aircraft crash, because this movie will no doubt be triggering for this type of trauma.

The plane crash is depicted about 50 minutes into this 92-minute film. Pyle opens the film by making this statement: “There have been many variations and accounts and contradictions to this story, but I was there. This was something that shouldn’t have happened, but it did. This is more than the story about the plane crash. It’s about the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the greatest Southern rock band of all time.”

Actually, the movie isn’t really about the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, because very little of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s music is in the film. There’s a scene where the actors portraying the band are briefly shown performing “Call Me the Breeze” on stage. The full performance of “Call Me the Breeze” (which is from  Lynyrd Skynyrd’s second album “Second Helping”) is then shown during the end credits.

If people watching this movie are expecting to hear Lynyrd Skynyrd’s greatest hits, then they will be very disappointed. One can assume that this low-budget film didn’t have the money to license the rights to more Lynyrd Skynyrd songs. And that’s probably why the movie does not have a lot of scenes of Lynyrd Skynyrd recording songs or performing live.

And if people are looking for a “rise to fame” story of how Lynyrd Skynyrd went from being unknown musicians based in Tallahassee, Florida, to multiplatinum rock stars, the “Street Survivors” movie isn’t that story either. Because the “Street Survivors” movie is told from Pyle’s perspective, the film starts off with how he joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1975, shortly before Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded the band’s third album “Nuthin’ Fancy,” which yielded the hit single “Saturday Night Special.”

Pyle replaced original Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Bob Burns, who quit the band after having a nervous breakdown. By the time Pyle joined Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band had sold millions of records and already had several hit songs, such as “Free Bird,” “Gimme Three Steps,” “Don’t Ask Me No Questions” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”

The “Street Survivors” movie shows how Pyle (played by Ian Shultis) got the call to audition for Lynyrd Skynyrd and how, about two weeks later, a jubilant Pyle was asked to join the band on stage in Atlanta. Patricia Williamson, who became Pyle’s first wife, is portrayed in the movie as a loving and supportive live-in partner. Williamson is played by Kristina St. Peter in a small supporting role.

After Pyle joined the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd released fourth album “Gimme Back My Bullets” in 1976, and fifth album “Street Survivors” in 1977, just three days before the plane crash. The “Street Survivors” album had the hit songs “What’s Your Name,” “You Got That Right” and “That Smell.” After showing Pyle joining the band, the “Street Survivors” movie skips right to 1977, with the band in the middle of a tour and partying heavily with groupies and other hangers-on at a hotel.

The other members of Lynyrd Skynyrd who are portrayed in the movie are lead singer Ronnie Van Zant (played by Taylor Clift), guitarist Gary Rossington (played by Navarone Garibaldi), guitarist Steve Gaines (played by Samuel Kay Forrest), guitarist Allen Collins (played by Rich Dally III), keyboardist Billy Powell (played by Hudson Long) and bass player Leon Wilkeson (played by Nick Chandler).

Also part of the Lynyrd Skynyrd team at the time were tour manager Ron Eckerman (played by Mark Dippolito), assistant tour manager Kilpatrick (played by Mark Valeriano), and backup singers Cassie Gaines (played by Lelia Symington), Leslie Hawkins (played by Sierra Intoccio) and JoJo Billingsley (played by Julie Zimmer). All of them and other members of the entourage were on that tragic plane flight, which had a total of 26 people on the plane.

The partying scenes in “Street Survivors” are what you would expect, considering the wild reputation that Lynyrd Skynyrd had in the 1970s. Drugs everywhere, especially cocaine and marijuana. Drunken antics. More than a few fist fights. Naked groupies offering up free sex.

In one scene, Van Zant throws a TV out of a hotel room window, causing the window to break in the process. A hotel manager angrily confronts the band in the room and tells them that they have to pay for the damages. Van Zant arrogantly asks the manager who’s going to make them pay, before bass player Wilkeson hits the manager on the head with a beer bottle.

The setbacks caused by this drug-and-alcohol-fueled lifestyle are referenced only in passing in the movie. For example, in another scene, Pyle answers a knock on his hotel door and is told by a male assistant, “Ronnie’s in jail, but here’s your gold record,” as Pyle is handed the gold plaque. It’s an example of the highs and lows of being in Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even before the plane crash, band members Van Zant, Rossington and Collins had car crashes, but those aren’t mentioned in the movie.

In one of his on-camera narrations, the real Pyle comments: “I want the world to know how funny my band was, because being the drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd, every single day on the road was a hilarious adventure.” Therefore, it isn’t too surprising that the movie doesn’t really cover all the down sides of the band before the plane crash.

The only band members in the movie who are written as having distinct personalities are Pyle, Van Zant and Steve Gaines. All of them were heavy partiers, but Pyle is portrayed as the most responsible one of the three and perhaps the wackiest band member on stage. (Pyle would stage dive into the audience before stage diving became trendy.)

Van Zant is portrayed as a confident, outspoken leader with a quick temper but also extremely loyal to his bandmates. Van Zant had predicted to the other members of Lynyrd Skynryd that he would die before the age of 30 (he was 29 when the plane crash happened), and that ominous premonition is recreated in the movie. Steve Gaines (who was 28 when he died) was the youngest and still fairly new to Lynyrd Skynyrd (he had only been in the band since 1976, as a replacement for Ed King), so he was the band member who was the newest to the rock-star/private-plane lifestyle that Lynyrd Skynyrd was leading.

Even though “Street Survivors” avoids covering the negative effects of the band’s hedonistic lifestyle, what the movie does show is how Lynyrd Skynyrd ended up with the faulty plane that caused this tragedy to happen. In one scene, Aerosmith’s then-manager David Krebs (played by Sean McNabb) is seen in his office, with all of the members of Aerosmith there, surrounded by cocaine and women.

Krebs is shown on the phone rejecting an offer for Aerosmith to use a chartered plane because the plane didn’t meet the band’s safety standards. He also yells at the person on the other line about how the airplane pilot was seen passing a bottle of Jack Daniel’s back and forth during the plane inspection.

Guess which plane Aerosmith rejected and ended up being used by Lynyrd Skynyrd? In the movie, when Lynyrd Skynyrd first sees the plane, someone utters, “What a piece of junk!” And someone else comments on the plane, “Well, I guess that must be ours.”

In the movie, pilot McCreary (played by Tom Jenkins) and co-pilot Gray (played by Will David Jordan) introduce themselves to the band and assorted team members on the airport tarmac. Gray is portrayed as a star-stuck fan who eagerly tells the assembled group: “All my life, all I’ve dreamed of doing is to fly a big rig with rock stars. After this, I’ll die a happy man.” Cringe.

And although the movie doesn’t portray the pilots as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while flying the plane, it does portray the pilots as very reckless and dishonest about the plane’s mechanical malfunctions. The day before the tragic flight, Lynyrd Skynyrd flew on that plane and had a close call when one of the plane engines caught on fire. When asked about this major engine problem during the flight, co-pilot Gray brushed it off as “a little blowback” that was “normal.”

The movie shows that although several passengers on the plane were understandably freaked out by the experience, they decided to use the same plane the next day on October 20, 1977. According to the movie, the band’s tour manager made an angry phone call to fix the malfunctioning plane after they landed on October 19, 1977. Obviously, those repairs never happened.

After performing in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 19, 1977, the band had to fly to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, because Lynyrd Skynyrd was scheduled to do a concert at Louisiana State University on October 21, 1977. Because of the band’s tight schedule, there wasn’t enough time to charter another plane, and Lynyrd Skynyrd couldn’t risk missing the Baton Rouge concert by using other travel methods that would take longer.

Before he became a professional musician, Pyle was an aircraft sergeant in the Marines. That aircraft background helped when it became obvious the plane was in serious trouble during the flight on October 20, 1977. First, the engine problems started again, and oil from the engine could be seen leaking on the airplane windows.

Then, when Pyle and other passengers started asking the pilots what was going on, they found out to their horror that the airplane’s gas gauge wasn’t working, which gave the pilots an overestimation of how much fuel the plane had. The plane had actually run out of fuel. The crash happened when the pilots decided to make an emergency landing. The movie thoroughly conveys the panic that spread throughout the airplane when the passengers knew that they were going to crash.

The bloody and shocking aftermath of the crash is also portrayed in heart-pounding detail, including Pyle having to pull a heavy part of a tree out of a passenger’s chest. Pyle also joined forces with other survivors to try and rescue Rossington, whose legs were pinned underneath part of the destroyed plane. Pyle was the one who left the crash scene to get help in the remote area. When he finally saw a farmhouse and yelled for help at a man standing in the field, the man ended up shooting Pyle in the arm because he thought that Pyle was a crazy trespasser.

The hospital scenes are also very dramatic and might be very hard to watch for some people. The movie shows that even when Pyle was going through this trauma, he had to be the one to identify the bodies at the crash site. He was also the one who had to confirm who owned which luggage items at the crash site. And he had to go through the indignity of being interrogated by a Drug Enforcement Agency officer who was ready to arrest Pyle on the spot when DEA people found legal ginseng in Pyle’s luggage and mistook it for an illegal drug.

One of the points made in the movie is how MCA Records, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s record company at the time, refused to help pay the enormous hospital bills that resulted from the crash. Pyle was the crash survivor with some of the least-severe injuries, so he was the “go to” leading witness for what happened. (He was conscious the whole time and he was still able to walk immediately after the plane crash.) In the movie, Pyle is shown being presented with the hospital bills while many of the surviving passengers are still in the hospital.

Pyle makes an angry phone call to a record-label guy named “Pete,” who coldly tells Pyle that the company isn’t responsible for the hospital bills, because Pyle’s contract was with the now-dead Van Zant. Not for nothing, Lynyrd Skynyrd never released a new studio album with MCA again.

“Street Survivors,” the band’s last album with Ronnie Van Zant, had a haunting band photo on the cover, with fire in the background. In the photo, it looks like Steve Gaines is on fire, which is very eerie, considering that he died in a fiery plane crash. After the plane crash, MCA released the “Street Survivors” album with an alternate cover of a Lynyrd Skynyrd band photo without anything in the background. The album is still available with either album cover.

Although “Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash” doesn’t have top-notch acting or screenwriting, the casting for the movie is actually very good, since all of the actors resemble and capture some essence of their real-life counterparts. And the 1970s rock-star lifestyle scenes in the movie are very accurate.

However, the film’s direction and tone go back and forth between being hokey and suspenseful. Overall, it’s clear that the intention was to make Pyle look like the hero of the story. Some people will agree with that, while others won’t.

The movie has such a full-on commitment to showing realistic details of the plane crash that it might affect people on a deep emotional level. People will be really angry/sad that this tragedy happened or will feel very inspired by how Pyle handled this tragedy. There might be some people who feel both ways.

There will definitely be people who will hate this movie or feel lukewarm about it. However, it’s hard to imagine a lot of people loving this movie, because so much of it is disturbing to watch. Even if people think that “Street Survivors” is a good movie, they might have a hard time watching it again.

Cleopatra Entertainment released “Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash” on digital, VOD, DVD and Blu-ray on June 30, 2020.

Review: ‘Desolation Center,’ starring Stuart Swezey, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Einstürzende Neubauten, Red Kross, Perry Farrell and Mark Pauline

June 30, 2020

by Carla Hay

Einstürzende Neubauten in “Desolation Center” (Photo courtesy of Passion River Films)

“Desolation Center”

Directed by Stuart Swezey

Culture Representation: Taking place in various locations in Southern California, the music documentary “Desolation Center” interviews a racially diverse group of people (white, African American, Latino and Asian) talking about the notable 1980s rock concerts promoted by the independent team Desolation Center, with commentaries from artists, fans and behind-the-scenes industry people. 

Culture Clash: Desolation Center concerts, which rejected anything that was corporate, often operated outside the law by not filing permits and by being held in unconventional places.

Culture Audience: “Desolation Center” will appeal primarily to people interested in the non-mainstream Los Angeles rock scene in the 1980s and stories about music festivals.

 

Perry Farrell and Aaron Sherer (both facing camera) in “Desolation Center” (Photo by Mariska Leyssius)

Imagine a well-attended music festival that takes place in the California desert. Event permits weren’t filed, people were transported by school bus to the festival, and most attendees were so excited about going that they didn’t think about bringing sunscreen, water or food. And there wouldn’t be any vendors at the festival to sell anything. This festival obviously isn’t Coachella.

The documentary film “Desolation Center” is a nostalgic and fascinating look at five of the biggest concerts staged by a Los Angeles-based independent promotion team called Desolation Center. In its relatively short existence (1983 to 1986), Desolation Center influenced several festivals that ended up becoming corporate behemoths, including Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella. The five Desolation Center concerts that get the spotlight in the documentary are Mohave Exodus, Mohave Auzug, Joy at Sea, Gila Monster Jamboree and Solstice.

“Desolation Center” director Stuart Swezey, who also appears on camera for his commentary, is the best person to helm this documentary, since he founded Desolation Center and had hands-on involvement in every show presented by the team. His deep history with Desolation Center serves this film well, since it’s packed with a lot of great archival photos and video footage, as well as an extremely well-rounded set of interviews from artists, fans and behind-the-scenes industry people who usually have first-hand accounts of Desolation Center shows.

Artists interviewed include the members of Sonic Youth (except for Kim Gordon), Meat Puppets, Minutemen, Red Kross and Einstürzende Neubauten. Also giving an artist perspective are Perry Farrell (co-founder of Lollapalooza Festival and the band Jane’s Addiction); Aaron Sherer (who was in Psi Com, Farrell’s pre-Jane’s Addicition band); Kurt Schellenbach of Nip Drivers; Suzi Gardner of L7; Michael Gra of Swans; Dan Bolles of the Germs; Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag; Steve Housden of Lawndale; Ian Rakow of Valley Punk; F.M. Einheit; artist Anthony Ausgang; noise musician Boyd Rice; performance artist Ron Athey; poet John Tottenham; and performance artists Mark Pauline and Matt Heckert of Survival Research Laboratories.

Unlike many music documentaries that shun or limit perspectives of non-famous fans, “Desolation Center” gives almost as much screen time to fans as it does the artists. Among the fans who share their fond memories of Desolation Center shows are poet Maw Shein Win; musician Sean DeLear; community organizer Linda Kite; costumer designer Nancy Steiner; Sandy Glaze; Lisa Derrick; Janet Housden; Easter Seals COO Bev Mendes; artist Kristine Kryttre; Bertell Ferguson; Skip King; ML Compton; Mike Guerena; Fourway Cross bandmates Courtney Davies, Steve Gerdes and Tom Dolan; and married couple Joy and Ken Abbott, who’ve been together since the ’80s.

Also giving their insight are Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar; Burning Man co-founder John Law; indie music operative Carmel Conlin; SST producer Spot; photographer/musician Mariska Leyssius; sound engineer Ed Cirino of Gold Sound; Re/Search Publications editor/publisher V. Vale, music publisher Adam Wolf; and journalists Chris Morris, Simon Reynolds, Joseph Bien-Khan.

“Desolation Center” begins with a contextual backdrop of what was going on in the Los Angeles music scene during the 1980s that laid the groundwork to form Desolation Center. If there’s any villain of this story, it’s Daryl Gates, who was chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) from 1978 to 1992. DeLear calls Gates “rotten” and “creepy” in the documentary.

And several people who comment in the film, including Swezey, describe the LAPD under Gates’ leadership as an oppressive force that targeted punk rock musicians and fans for harassment and arrests. Bolles says, “The LAPD freaked out about punk rock, like it was the second coming of the Black Panthers.”

Therefore, nightclubs and bars in Los Angeles that booked punk artists frequently had those shows shut down or heavily enforced by the LAPD. Meat Puppets lead singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood adds, “It seems like they [the LAPD] were going through the newspaper and finding bands that sounded punk rock and making sure they didn’t happen.” Performance artist Athey comments on Los Angeles: “I grew up here. I wasn’t enlightened that you could live in a non-police state, so you figured out how to skirt around it.”

The good news is that in the early 1980s, the alternative/underground music scene was very diverse, in terms of race, gender, sexuality and economic backgrounds. Kite, who was the fiancée of Minutemen singer/guitarist D. Boone, comments on the Los Angeles punk/underground music scene during this era: “There was just as much people of color in it as there were white kids. Bands were multicultural, as well as the scene was multicultural.”

This diversity was in stark contrast to Los Angeles’ heavy metal scene and classic rock scene, which pretty much excluded musicians who weren’t straight white males. Another big difference between the punk scene and communities for other rock genres was that punk was all about rejecting conformity and corporate greed.

Swezey comments in the documentary: “In the early ’80s, I think the rest of the world saw L.A. as this brain-dead, sun baked, smoggy sprawl—which it kind of was. For those of us who grew up here, the early ’80s was actually a really vital and interesting time.”

Before Swezey founded Desolation Center, he was a 21-year-old college dropout doing phone sales for a municipal broker in 1982. Although he was a fan of punk music and went to a lot of shows, he wasn’t inspired to become a show promoter until he saw a Throbbing Gristle concert and later met its promoter Michael Sheppard. Swezey says of that fateful Throbbing Gristle show: “Their sonic assault changed the way I thought of music and performance forever.”

He took the plunge to form Desolation Center in 1983, as an independent collective to promote “alternative” rock and performance artists. At the time, Swezey was living in a very seedy and run-down part of downtown Los Angeles. He says he came up with the name Desolation Center “because that’s how I was feeling about my environment at the time.”

Desolation Center was born out of nonconformity, not just because of punk ideals but also out of financial necessity. The tiny start-up didn’t have the budget to book artists at established nightclubs and advertise those types of shows. Therefore, Swezey and Desolation Center had the great idea to do the opposite of what most concert promoters were doing.

Desolation Center booked shows in abandoned warehouses and other under-the-radar places. The shows also didn’t follow industry norms: Guests lists weren’t allowed, everyone had to pay to get inside, and the shows didn’t sell alcohol (which would get the attention of the police), but people of legal drinking age were allowed to bring their own alcohol. Desolation Center also didn’t advertise its shows and did not court publicity.

Having these shows in non-traditional venues also allowed Desolation Center to not have to deal with Ticketmaster or city permits to put on these shows. And finding about these shows, not through advertising or media publicity, but through word of mouth, gave Desolation Center a cool, underground reputation with fans. Nowadays, with insurance liabilities being more of a concern for artists and promoters, an outfit like Desolation Center wouldn’t have been able to stay in business for as long as it did.

It wasn’t long before Desolation Center wanted to do something bigger than just a small show in a warehouse, without having to go to a traditional large venue. After taking a road trip through the Sonora Desert in Mexico, Swezey was inspired to have the first Desolation Center festival in the desert. He approached Savage Republic band member Bruce Licher, who came up with the idea to have the show in the Mohave Desert, about three hours east outside of Los Angeles.

That show ended up being a mini-festival called Mohave Exodus, which took place on April 24, 1983, and featured performances by Savage Republic and Minutemen. Licher had access to a printing press, so he was essentially in charge of making the tickets and signage that were used for the show. Farrell says of Licher: “He was like the Benjamin Franklin of our scene.”

Getting to the concert site was unconventional. There was a secret place in downtown L.A. where ticketholders were told to meet. From there, rented school buses took them to the remote area in the desert. Many of the fans were completely unaware of how hot the desert heat would be and were decked out in full-on heavy punk gear.

Kryttre, an artist who attended the event, remembers how driving to the concert site was a challenge because some of truck stop managers would lock their restrooms when they saw all the “alternative”-looking young people coming out of the buses to use the restrooms. The way these fans looked back then wouldn’t be considered a big deal today, but it was a big deal back then.

The concert was so bare-bones and do-it-yourself that nothing was set up in the middle of the desert except for the band’s equipment and sound system. There was no stage separating the band from the audience. Most concertgoers had to sit on the hard desert ground, although some people thought of bringing lawn chairs. And forget about places to eat, drink and use toilets at the concert site. There weren’t any.

And they weren’t prepared for the forceful desert winds in the area. Sound engineer Cirino remembers that socks had to be put on microphones, and the buses had to be parked behind the bands to form a wall that would be a wind barrier. It was about as unglamorous and uncomfortable as you can imagine. But looking back on it, the concertgoers and band members interviewed in the documentary say they loved the experience.

Win comments, “I felt we were these young people creating this great, alternative world for ourselves out in the desert.” Guerena says, “There was no violence, no weirdness. It was like everybody was in this one cool group.” Joy Abbott adds, “I just remember thinking, ‘This is one of the coolest things I’ll ever do in my whole life.'”

After the Mohave Exodus show, Swezey quit his day job and went backpacking around Europe. While he was in West Berlin, he saw German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten perform for the first time and was completely awed by the experience. It was around this time that Swezey saw director Werner Herzog’s epic 1982 movie “Fitzcarraldo,” which also gave Swezey the idea for the next big Desolation Center festival.

In “Fitzcarraldo,” a European opera fan becomes obsessed with building an opera house in the Peruvian jungle. Swezey explains how Einstürzende Neubauten and “Fiztcarraldo” inspired him: Instead of bringing opera to the jungle, he wanted to bring industrial music to the desert.

And that led to the Desolation Center show Mohave Auzug, held in Mecca, California, on March 4, 1984. Einstürzende Neubauten headlined the show, which was more elaborate—and crazier and more dangerous—than Mohave Exodus. A pacifist percussion group Djemaa-El-Fna greeted concertgoers as they arrived.

But that peaceful atmosphere was quickly destroyed by Survival Research Laboratories, a rebellious group of performance artists (whose most famous member is Mark Pauline), who loved to literally blow things up. And the desert was their playground at the show, as they set off explosives in a cave, as well as other places outside, despite the objections of Djemaa-El-Fna and some concertgoers.

Luckily, no one was hurt at Mohave Auzug by these explosions. Pauline and the rest of the anarchists look back with no regrets and say the explosions were all in the name of fun and performance art. Lawndale band member Housden remembers that at this industrial-oriented concert, power tools were used as musical instruments and other playthings: “They were giving a hard time to our dad’s power tools … They ruined them.”

With two well-received desert concerts under his belt, Swezey decided that the next big Desolation Center concert would be at an opposite location: on the water. The Joy at Sea concert was held in the San Pedro Harbor in California, on June 15, 1984. The headliners were San Pedro hometown band Minutemen and Arizona-based band Meat Puppets. Meat Puppets bass player Cris Kirkwood says of the experience: “It was one  of the highlights of my musical career in a lot of ways—just magical as crap.”

Then, it was back to the California desert. Gila Monster Jamboree was Desolation Center’s biggest event yet, and is probably considered the most important one for Desolation Center. Taking place on January 5, 1985, the bill included Sonic Youth (in the New York City band’s West Coast debut), Meat Puppets, Red Kross and Psi Com, which was Farrell’s band before he formed Jane’s Addiction.

In the documentary, Farrell admits that Psi Com got the gig because he was Swezey’s roommate at the time. “It was really cool, so I thank you for that,” Farrell says. Meat Puppets frontman Curt Kirkwood remembers that everybody at the concert seemed to be in a good mood because most people were flying high on LSD. Montgomery, one of the fans at the concert, says: “There were very few people who weren’t tripping.”

Unlike previous Desolation Center concerts in the desert, where the concertgoers could only get there by Desolation Center’s provided buses, Gila Monster Jamboree gave concertgoers the option to take their own transportation to the concert site, although bus transportation was still provided for those who wanted it. There were was still none of the commercial trappings (merchandise booths and food vendors), sanitary facilities, or safety precautions that are presumed for today’s music festivals. Because, just like other Desolation Center concerts, the promoters didn’t have a permit to hold the event.

Steve and Jeff McDonald, the brothers who co-founded Red Kross, remember the nerve-racking experience of having a driver who got lost for hours, making the band very late for the concert. Red Kross was the first “glam rock” band to perform at a Desolation Center festival. And ironically, the band was so late, the members of Red Kross didn’t have time to change into their glammed-up stage clothes and instead performed in jeans and sweatpants, which was outside their comfort zone for their stage wardrobe.

Desolation Center’s permit-avoiding ways eventually caught up to the team, which was fined $400 for the Gila Monster Jamboree show. Swezey says that $400 was a lot of money to them at the time. So, in true D.I.Y. fashion, Desolation Center held a Trespass Benefit show to raise funds to pay off the fine. Minutemen and Nip Drivers performed at the fundraising concert, which was held at the Anti Club on Augusts 4, 1985.

Desolation Center’s last big hurrah was the Solstice concert on December 21, 1985. Sonic Youth and Swans topped the bill for the show, which had the unusual distinction of being partially funded by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). Swezey says that a friend who received NEA grant money approached him to do the show.

But tragedy struck on December 22, 1985, when Minutemen lead singer D. Boone was killed in a car accident that injured his fiancée Kite and permanently disabled Kite’s sister. It was an end of an era. Swezey says in the documentary that Boone’s death and the stricter laws being enforced for concert promotion led to the decision to say goodbye to Desolation Center and move on to other things. Swezey then founded Amok Books, an alternative publishing company.

“Desolation Center” isn’t just for people who remember what it was like to be a fan of alternative music in the early ’80s. It’s the type of documentary that people of many generations can enjoy if they like the bands in the film and if they want to get a meaningful historical time capsule of a specific subculture of the Los Angeles music scene in the early-to-mid-1980s.

It might also make people wistful for a bygone era when people went to concerts and festivals and lived in the moment, instead of worrying about how things were going to look on social media. Remarkably, no one was killed or maimed at a Desolation Center concert, which is in stark contrast to all the concerts that have happened since the ’80s that have experienced mass shootings, bombings and other weapons of war against innocent concertgoers.

Desolation Center wasn’t exactly about “peace and love” all the time, but one of its greatest legacies that’s been largely abandoned by most big concert promoters is that the shows embraced people from all sorts of backgrounds, by not excluding people through ticket prices that are too high for certain people’s budgets. Those days might be long gone for music festivals, but this documentary is a significant reminder of how it was possible back in the ’80s and how well it worked.

Passion River Films released “Desolation Center” on digital, VOD and DVD on June 23, 2020.

2020 BET Awards: Roddy Ricch, Megan Thee Stallion, Chris Brown, DJ Khaled are the top winners

June 28, 2020

by Carla Hay

With two prizes each, Roddy Ricch, Megan Thee Stallion, Chris Brown and DJ Khaled were the top lead-artist winners of the 20th annual BET Awards, which were announced on June 28, 2020. For the first time in BET Awards history, the show was an all-virtual event, and it was simulcast on BET, BET Her and CBS. Comedian/actress Amanda Seales hosted the event, which was pre-recorded due to the coronavirus pandemic causing the cancellation of large gatherings.

Roddy Ricch won the awards for Album of the Year (for “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial”) and Best New Artist. DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend’s hit song “Higher” was named Video of the Year and tied for Best Collaboration with Chris Brown featuring Drake’s “No Guidance.” Brown also tied with Anderson .Paak for Best Male R&B/Pop Artist.

Drake was the top nominee at the 2020 BET Awards, with six nods. In the end, he won the award Best Male Hip-Hop Artist (in a tie with DaBaby) and the aforementioned Best Collaboration prize as a featured artist on Brown’s “No Guidance.” Megan Thee Stallion was named Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, while Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign– “Hot Girl Summer” won the Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award.

According to a BET press release: “The nominations are selected by BET’s Voting Academy, which is composed of fans and an esteemed group of entertainment professionals in the fields of television, film, music, social media, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, and creative arts.”

In the non-competitive categories, Beyoncé received the Humanitarian Award:, while the Shine A Light Award went to DJ D-Nice (Club Quarantine), Swizz Beatz & Timbaland.

Performers included Alicia Keys, Chloe X Halle, DaBaby, D Smoke, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Jonathan McReynolds, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne (who did a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant), Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, SiR, Summer Walker, Usher, Wayne Brady and more. BET Amplified Artists, Masego and Lonr. performed on the BET Amplified Music Stage, a platform for emerging artists.

Internationally, the show was simulcast on BET Africa at 2 am CAT on June 29. The 2020 BET Awards will be televised in the United Kingdom on June 29 at 9 pm BST, in France on June 30 at 8:45 pm CEST, and in South Korea on June 30 at 9 pm KST.

Here is the complete list of nominees and winners for 2020 BET Awards:

*=winner

BEST FEMALE R&B/POP ARTIST
Beyoncé
H.E.R.
Jhene Aiko
Kehlani
Lizzo*
Summer Walker

BEST MALE R&B/POP ARTIST
Anderson .Paak* (tie)
Chris Brown* (tie)
Jacquees
Khalid
The Weeknd
Usher

BEST GROUP
Chloe x Halle
City Girls
EarthGang
Griselda
Jackboys
Migos*

BEST COLLABORATION
Chris Brown featuring Drake – “No Guidance”* (tie)
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend – “Higher”* (tie)
Future featuring Drake – “Life is Good”
H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign– “Hot Girl Summer”
Wale featuring Jeremih – “On Chill”

BEST MALE HIP HOP ARTIST
DaBaby* (tie)
Drake* (tie)
Future
Lil Baby
Roddy Ricch
Travis Scott

BEST FEMALE HIP HOP ARTIST
Cardi B
Doja Cat
Lizzo
Megan Thee Stallion*
Nicki Minaj
Saweetie

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Chris Brown featuring Drake – “No Guidance”* (tie)
DaBaby – “Bop”
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend – “Higher”* (tie)
Doja Cat – “Say So”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign– “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch – “The Box”

VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Benny Boom
Cole Bennett
Dave Meyers
Director X
Eif Rivera
Teyana Taylor*

BEST NEW ARTIST
DaniLeigh
Lil Nas X
Pop Smoke
Roddy Ricch*
Summer Walker
YBN Cordae

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
“Cuz I Love You” – Lizzo
“Fever” – Megan Thee Stallion
“Homecoming: The Live Album” – Beyoncé
“I Used to Know Her” – H.E.R.
“Kirk” – DaBaby
“Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial” – Roddy Ricch*

DR. BOBBY JONES BEST GOSPEL/INSPIRATIONAL AWARD
The Clark Sisters – “Victory”
Kirk Franklin – “Just for Me”*
Fred Hammond – “Alright”
John P. Kee featuring Zacardi Cortez – “I Made It Out”
Kanye West – “Follow God”
PJ Morton featuring Le’Andria Johnson & Mary Mary – “All In His Plan”

BEST ACTRESS
Angela Bassett
Cynthia Erivo
Regina King
Issa Rae*
Tracee Ellis Ross
Zendaya
Jennifer Lopez

BEST ACTOR
Jamie Foxx
Omari Hardwick
Michael B. Jordan*
Eddie Murphy
Billy Porter
Will Smith
Forest Whitaker

YOUNGSTARS AWARD
Asante Blackk
Miles Brown
Alex Hibbert
Marsai Martin*
Storm Reid
Jahi Di’Allo Winston

BEST MOVIE
“Bad Boys for Life”
“Dolemite Is My Name”
“Harriet”
“Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé”
“Just Mercy”
“The Lion King”
“Queen & Slim”*

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Simone Biles*
Coco Gauff
Naomi Osaka
Claressa Shields
Serena Williams
Ajeé Wilson

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Odell Beckham Jr.
Stephen Curry
LeBron James*
Kawhi Leonard
Patrick Mahomes II

BET HER AWARD
Beyoncé featuring Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn – “Brown Skin Girl”*
Ciara featuring Lupita Nyong’o, Ester Dean, City Girls & La La – “Melanin”
Layton Greene – “I Choose”
Lizzo featuring Missy Elliott – “Tempo”
Alicia Keys – “Underdog”
Rapsody featuring PJ Morgan – “Afeni”

VIEWER’S CHOICE AWARD
Chris Brown featuring Drake – “No Guidance”
DaBaby – “Bop”
Future featuring Drake – “Life is Good”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign– “Hot Girl Summer”*
Roddy Ricch – “The Box”
The Weeknd – “Heartless”

BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT
Burna Boy (Nigeria)*
Innoss’B (DRC)
Sho Madjozi (South Africa)
Dave (UK)
Stormzy (UK)
Ninho (France)
S.Pri Noir (France)

BEST NEW INTERNATIONAL ACT
Celeste (UK)
Hatik (France)
Rema (Nigeria)
Sha Sha (Zimbabwe)*
Stacy (France)
Young T & Bugsey (UK)

Review: ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,’ starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams

June 26, 2020

by Carla Hay

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (Photo by John Wilson/Netflix)

Culture Representation: Taking place in Iceland and Scotland, the musical comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” has a predominantly white cast (with some black people, Asians and Latinos) representing the middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: An Icelandic male/female pop-music duo called Fire Saga aspire to on the annual Eurovision Song Contest, but they come up against naysayers in their home country as well as competitors from other countries.

Culture Audience: “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” will appeal primarily to fans of stars Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, as well as to people who like good-natured satires of fame seekers and hokey TV talent contests.

Dan Stevens in “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (Photo by John Wilson/Netflix)

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is an entertaining parody of the famous annual Eurovision Song Contest that feels retro and contemporary at the same time. The contest, which began in 1956 and is televised in numerous countries, has singers (usually performing pop music) competing from different countries around the world, as a sort of an Olympics for aspiring music stars. Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams portray the earnest but naïve Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir, a musical duo from Iceland who perform under the stage name Fire Saga. Ferrell, who co-wrote the original screenplay with Andrew Steele, is one of the producers of this comedy. And it’s one of Ferrell’s best movies in years.

Although “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (directed by David Dobkin) takes place in the present day, a lot of the musical sensibilities and costumes seem to be stuck in a previous decade, especially the 1980s or 1990s. The movie’s running joke, although not explicitly stated, is that certain parts of Europe are “behind the times” in pop music, because these countries rarely produce groundbreaking pop superstars on a worldwide level. Therefore, the performers who represent these countries at Eurovision are often ridiculed by Eurovision haters for looking and sounding outdated.

The trailer for “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” already shows that Fire Saga made it to the contest. Therefore, the first third of this 123-minute movie has no suspense, since it’s all about the obstacles that Fire Saga encounters in the quest to make it to Eurovision. Iceland has never had a Eurovision winner, so that immediately makes Fire Saga the ultimate underdog act.

The movie begins in Húsavík, Iceland, on April 6, 1974, when a pre-teen Lars (played by Alfie Melia), his stern widower father Erick (played by Pierce Brosnan) and other members of the family are watching Eurovision in the living room. The Swedish pop group ABBA is performing “Waterloo,” and Lars is transfixed. (ABBA won Eurovision that year and has remained Eurovision’s most famous winning act.)

As Lars dances along to ABBA performing on TV, he announces to his family that someday, he’s going to be a contestant on Eurovision. Several people scoff at the idea, including Erick, who says he’d rather be dead than to have his son sing and dance on Eurovision. Well, you know what that means.

About 45 years later, Lars is still living with his father, who makes a living as a fisherman, while Lars has a job giving parking tickets. Lars and his musical partner Sigrit (who is a music teacher) are longtime friends. They are singers and multi-instrumentalists, but they’ve been floundering in the dead-end local music scene. Fire Saga’s music “career” consists of rehearsing in the basement of Erick’s house and performing at a small local bar.

A running joke in the movie is that the patrons of this bar don’t want to hear any Fire Saga original songs (such as the trash-tastic “Volcano Man”) and would rather hear Fire Saga perform a very childish, nonsensical tune called “Jaja Ding Dong.” The audience is so fanatical about “Jaja Ding Dong” that they will often demand that Fire Saga perform it more than once in a single set. Is it any wonder that Lars and Sigrit think Eurovision will be their ticket out of this backwards town?

Erick isn’t the only one who thinks Lars is a loser and that it’s a delusional lost cause for Fire Saga to be on Eurovision. Sigrit’s single mother Helka (played by Elin Petersdottir) vehemently disapproves of Sigrit chasing this dream and tells Sigrit that she’s wasting her time with Lars. Although it’s not shown in the movie, it’s mentioned that Sigrit used to be mute as a child, until she met Lars and he helped her find her voice through music. And Lars and Sigrit have been friends ever since.

But now that they’re adults, Sigrit wants to be more than friends with Lars, because she’s secretly in love with him. Lars has the maturity level of a teenager (like most characters Farrell tends to play), so Lars is completely oblivious to Sigrit’s true feelings for him. As if to make the point that Lars and Sigrit don’t exude sexual chemistry with each other, throughout the movie, people who meet Lars and Sigrit for the first time mistakenly assume that Lars and Sigrit are brother and sister. Later in the story, when Sigrit and Lars almost kiss romantically, he stops it from happening because he says they can’t ruin their work relationship with a romance, and they have to stay focused on winning Eurovision.

But getting to Eurovision won’t be so easy. First, Fire Saga has to win the Icelandic Song Contest. Neils Brongus (played by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), the president of Icelandic Public Television, leads a committee in charge of deciding who will be contestants in the Icelandic Song Contest. And he already has a favorite to win: Katiana Lindsdottir (played by Demi Lovato), from Kefalvik, a ready-made pop star with a powerful singing voice.

Neils tells his assembled team after watching Katiana’s audition video: “Without being dramatic, I think it might be the best audition tape we ever had in the history of the Icelandic Song Contest.”  (In the movie, Lovato sings the original song “In the Mirror.”) Compared to Katiana, Fire Saga looks like a bad joke.

Meanwhile, Victor Karlsson (played by Mikael Persbrandt), governor of Central Bank of Iceland, is worried about a contestant from Iceland winning Eurovision, which has a tradition of the winning contestant’s country hosting the contest in the following year. Victor fears that Iceland doesn’t have the infrastructure to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people who would come to Iceland for Eurovision. And  he thinks that all those visitors during a short period of time could bankrupt Iceland.

Therefore, Victor is not enthusiastic about Katiana or anyone from Iceland winning Eurovision. When Victor expresses his concerns to Neils and the team at Icelandic Public Television, the rest of the group immediately shoots down Victor’s pessimistic prediction, because they think Eurovision coming to Iceland would be great for the Icelandic economy.

Lars’ dream of wining Eurovision becomes even more desperate when he finds himself homeless. His father Erick is having serious financial problems and has a choice to sell his house or sell his boat. Since Erick needs his boat for his fisherman income, he decides to sell the house.

Meanwhile, Sigrit has a quirk that Lars finds a little irritating: She believes in elves and thinks that elves can grant wishes. A recurring joke in the movie is that she visits a group of tiny houses built for elves and offers food and other gifts to the unseen creatures, as a way to entice them to grant her wishes. Two of her biggest wishes are to win Eurovision and to get together with Lars and start a family with him.

Through a series of unpredictable events, Fire Saga ends up representing Iceland at Eurovision, which is being held in Edinburgh, Scotland. How the usually hapless Fire Saga got to Eurovision wasn’t necessarily because Fire Saga was voted the best act, so Iceland’s support is lukewarm at best. Still, Iceland has given Fire Saga enough support that the country has hired a creative team to help Fire Saga win with Fire Saga’s chosen song “Double Trouble.”

The artistic director of this creative team is the very fussy and flamboyant Kevin Swain (played by Jamie Demetriou, in a scene-stealing performance), who sometimes clashes with the creative vision that Lars and Sigrit have for Fire Saga. During Eurovision rehearsals, Lars and Sirgit also meet another flamboyant character: Russian contestant Alexander Lemtov (played by Dan Stevens), a singer who flaunts his wealth and gives the impression that he will sleep with anyone to get them to do what he wants. Alexander’s Eurovision song is called “Lion of Love,” and his bombastic performance of the song includes a homoerotic choreography with male backup dancers wearing skintight gold lamé pants.

Alexander (whose frosted 1980s hairdo is reminiscent of George Michael in his Wham! days) immediately sets his sights on Sigrit to target as a sexual conquest. Meanwhile, Lars attracts the amorous attention of Greek contestant Mita Xenakis (played by Melissanthi Mahut), a singer who’s like a cross between Ariana Grande and Cher. Not surprisingly, some jealousy situations ensue.

In between all of the backstage drama and hilariously tacky performances, the movie has a standout musical ensemble number that takes place at a contestant party thrown by Alexander. In this scene, numerous contestants (including Lars, Sigrit, Alexander and Mita) do an extravagant medley of Cher’s “Believe,” Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” ABBA’s “Waterloo” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”

Savan Kotecha, the musical director for this movie, assembled the team that wrote the film’s original songs that were deliberately kitschy. His background in writing and producing hits for real-life pop stars serves this movie very well. Among the hits that Kotecha co-written and co-produced include The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” Grande’s “God Is a Woman,” One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and Lovato’s “Confident.” The musical score by Atli Örvarsson complements the pop tunes without being overbearing.

The movie’s Eurovision performance scenes, which includes footage from real Eurovision arena shows, are among the comedic highlights of the film. Just when you think an act couldn’t get campier or more pompous, another one comes along to surpass it. Graham Norton (portraying himself) adds an element of satirical realism with his cameo as the sardonic TV commentator for Eurovision.

For “Eurovision Song Contest,” McAdams and Ferrell have reunited with their “Wedding Crashers” director Dobkin, whose previous experience as a music-video director is an asset for this musical movie. As for the singing in the movie, Lovato and Mahut are professional singers in real life, so they did their own vocals. Adams’ vocals were either her own or a combination of McAdams and those of Swedish singer Molly Sandé. Alexander’s operatic singing vocals were provided by Erik Mjönes.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” has plenty of lowbrow jokes that are actually laugh-out-loud funny. For example, there are several penis jokes and jokes about naked men in the movie. The jokes are crude but not offensive. In one scene, Lars comments: “I think of my penis like a Volvo—solid, sturdy, dependable, but not going to turn any heads.” Comedy is all about delivery, and Ferrell delivers the line in such a good natured, self-deprecating way, that it will make people laugh.

The movie doesn’t just poke fun at tacky aspiring pop stars from Europe. Americans are also the butt of many jokes in the film. During the course of the movie, Lars and Sigrit keep encountering the same group of college-age American tourists. Lars makes it known that he dislikes Americans, by taunting the tourists with the worst “ugly American” stereotypes. His insults aren’t too far off from how many non-Americans perceive Americans.

Make no mistake: “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is by no means an Oscar-worthy movie. (Ferrell has never starred in that type of movie anyway.) But it is a cut above some of the stinkers that Ferrell has been headlining in recent years. At its heart, “Eurovision Song Contest” has a sentimentality to it that just might win people over in the way that Fire Saga earnestly tries to charm audiences—not by being the most talented but by being their unapologetically corny selves.

Netflix premiered “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” on June 26, 2020.

Review: ‘Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things,’ starring Ray Brown Jr., Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Margo Jefferson, Judith Tick, Kenny Barron and Jim Blackman

June 26, 2020

by Carla Hay

Ella Fitzgerald in “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things” (Photo courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment)

“Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things” 

Directed by Leslie Woodhead

Culture Representation: The documentary “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things” features a racially diverse (mostly African American and white) group of people (mostly music artists and writers) discussing the life and legacy of singer Ella Fitzgerald.

Culture Clash: Fitzgerald experienced damaging racism, and her love of touring took a toll on her personal life.

Culture Audience: “Ella Fitzgerald: One of Those Things” will appeal mostly to people who are fans of jazz and biographies of legendary singers.

Ella Fitzgerald in “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things” (Photo courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment)

Ella Fitzgerald left a unique legacy in music that can be compared to very few artists. She mastered the genres of swing, bebop, American standards and, of course, jazz. The well-made documentary “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things” (directed by Leslie Woodhead and narrated by Sharon D. Clarke) is perhaps the definitive biography film of Fitzgerald, who died in 1996 at the age if 79. Although the film does not reveal anything new about her, it does have some great archival material and a well-rounded group of people who are interviewed.

Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia, but she was raised primarily in New York state. Her family moved to Yonkers, New York, in 1919, when she was 2 years old. Although she grew up in poverty, she discovered a love of the arts at an early age, and she helped earn money for her family as a dancer and as a singer.

Her teenage years were very turbulent. When Fitzgerald was 13, her beloved mother Tempie died. Ella Fitzgerald biographer Judith Tick says in the documentary the death of Ella’s Fitzgerald’s mother was “a devastating blow, because her mother had been the continuity in her life, and Ella was lost.”

Fitzgerald was sent to reform school in 1933, where she was beaten and experienced other forms of abuse, which people in the documentary say was doled out the harshest to the black kids in the reform school, compared children of other races. Her experiences at the reform school were so traumatic for her, that Fitzgerald never spoke publicly about what happened. However, the documentary shows records from the school with hand-written notes by school authorities that describe Fitzgerald as “ungovernable”—an indication that, despite any abuse she suffered there, her spirit could not be broken.

Yonkers is in close-enough in proximity to New York City that Fitzgerald was able to go to the big city and experience the culture of New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, which was the epicenter for African American music in the Northeast. In November 1934, Fitzgerald made her Apollo Theater singing debut on Amateur Night. And, as the famous story goes, she was was initially booed by the audience, but then she won them over with her voice.

The documentary includes an interview with dancer Norma Miller, who was in the audience for Fitzgerald’s fateful Apollo Theater debut, which was the first time that a very nervous Fitzgerald had ever sung in public. “We booed her,” remembers Miller. “They were introducing somebody we didn’t know. We were a bunch of rowdy teenagers in the balcony … Can you imagine? We booed Ella Fitzgerald!”

Fitzgerald’s son Ray Brown Jr. adds, “It was one of those defining moments, like ‘I’m here. I have to do something. Something has to be accomplished.’ And to be able to pull something out of yourself that’s so magical, that’s pretty amazing.”

Miller remembers the turning point when the audience’s reaction went from jeers to cheers: “We heard a sound [her voice]. It was so perfect. She shut us up so quick, you could hear a rat piss on cotton!”

From that Apollo stage debut, Fitzgerald then began hanging out in New York City even more. She would meet two of the people who would have a major impact on her  early music career: Louis Armstrong (who was a big inspiration for her) and drummer/band leader Chick Webb, a dwarf-sized hunchback who didn’t let his unusual physical appearance deter him from being a larger-than-life force in the music business.

Webb had an all-male band and was very reluctant at first to let Fitzgerald in the group. He had two concerns over including her in the band: Her safety and her sex appeal. On the one hand, Webb wasn’t sure if Fitzgerald would be the target of sexual misconduct  as the only woman in a group of randy men. On the other hand, Webb thought that Fitzgerald wasn’t attractive enough to appeal to the band’s audience. It’s mentioned in the documentary that Webb cruelly called her “ugly,” and he and other people would sometimes taunt her over her weight.

In the end, talent won out, and Fitzgerald became part of Webb’s band. It was the big break that led to her first mainstream hit “Mr. Paganini.” She experienced even bigger success with the classic “A Tisket A Tasket,” one of her signature songs.

Smokey Robinson says that “A Tisket A Tasket” was the first Ella Fitzgerald song her remembers hearing: “My sisters used to play that all day long, every day.” The massive crossover success of the song led to Fitzgerald making her film debut in the 1942 movie “Ride ‘Em Cowboy.” In the film,  she sang “A Tisket A Tasket” on a bus where all the people on the bus except for Fitzgerald were white. The irony is that in real life in that era, she would’ve been relegated to the back of the bus in many places in the U.S., where racial segregation was legal at the time.

This segregation affected Fitzgerald’s life in many different ways. In terms of her career, she (like other black entertainers) could not perform in certain venues that refused to have black performers. She also wasn’t allowed on certain TV programs and radio shows. And even the music she performed early in her career (swing and bebop) was considered “race” music at the time.

Her physical appearance was also harshly judged in other ways. Female entertainers were expected to be thin, glamorous and sexy (not much has changed since those days), and “Ella did not fulfill those expectations,” says writer Margo Jefferson. Her success is testament to how Fitzgerald was a groundbreaking nonconformist in her field, Jefferson adds.

Fitzgerald was also a trailblazer when, after Webb died at the age 30, she took over his band and became the leader, and the band was renamed Ella and Her Famous Orchestra. The documentary mentions that some of the band members resented having a woman as their leader, so there was some inevitable friction. After the group disbanded during World War II, Fitzgerald’s popularity waned.

But she was a master reinvention, so Fitzgerald transitioned from swing to bebop music. It was by performing bebop that she was able to showcase her brilliant ability to have her singing voice do solos on the same level as musical instrument solos. Jazz pianist Kenny Barron comments, “She had a great ear [for music].”

She started hanging out with Dizzy Gillespie and eventually toured with Gillespie and his band. It was while touring with Gillespie that Fitzgerald fell in love with Gillespie’s bass player Ray Brown. Fitzgerald and Brown married in 1947, and adopted the son of Fitzgerald’s half-sister and named him Ray Brown Jr.  (The documentary does not mention Fitzgerald’s first husband, Benny Kornegay. Their 1941 to 1943 marriage ended in an annulment.)

Fitzgerald’s marriage to Brown ended in divorce in 1953, but the former couple still worked together for many years afterward. It’s mentioned several times in the documentary that Fitzgerald was a workaholic who loved to perform and travel. That heavy touring schedule, which she kept up for several decades, took a toll on her personal life. By her own admission, she could never be the type of wife and mother than many people expected her to be, so it was difficult to find a love partner who could understand how devoted was to music.

Another transitional period in Fitzgerald’s life and career was when Norman Ganz became her manager in the mid-1940s. He wanted Fitzgerald to cross over to an even broader audience, so it was his idea to have Fitzgerald perform standards from the Great American Songbook. Ganz also launched Verve Records, as a showcase for Fitzgerald. It allowed her to appeal to a more affluent and sophisticated audience, which opened the doors for her to perform at venues that were traditionally off-limits to black performers.

And sometimes those doors could only be opened because the venues were shamed into doing so. The Mocambo nightclub refused to book Fitzgerald, until Marilyn Monroe, who as a big fan of Fitzgerald, famously said that she and other celebrities would boycott the club unless Fitzgerald was allowed to perform there.

Granz was also a tireless advocate in pushing for desegregation not only for Fitzgerald but also for other people of color. Granz’s biographer Tad Hershon comments on Granz: “He saw the evils of segregation, and was determined to campaign against segregation in jazz music.” When Fitzgerald moved to Beverly Hills in California, she couldn’t buy a home there, due to racial discrimination, so Granz had to buy the home and put it in his name.

Although Granz was undoubtedly a loyal champion for Fitzgerald, he’s also described in the documentary as “nasty” and “controlling.” Not only did he want a tight grip on Fitzgerald by dictating what she could and could not do, he also alienated other artists (such as Gillespie and Sinatra) because of his bossy ways. When Sinatra refused to take Granz’s orders, Granz spitefully told Fitzgerald that she couldn’t work with Sinatra anymore.

Granz stood by Fitzgerald when she and members of her entourage were arrested in Houston in 1955, just because some members of the entourage were shooting dice in her dressing room. The documentary includes a snippet of an audio interview from Fitzgerald where she said that even though the arrest was an obviously racist set-up and a humiliating experience, the irony is that people at the police department still asked for her autograph. Granz later sued the Houston police department for reimbursement of the bail money.

One of the rare gems in the documentary is a never-broadcast clip from a radio interview that Fitzgerald did in the 1960s, when civil-rights protests were very much at the forefront of African American struggles for equality. In the interview, Fitzgerald talked about how it bothered her that when she traveled outside the U.S., particularly in Europe, people couldn’t understand why the U.S. was so segregated and that even someone as famous as Fitzgerald would be treated like a second-class citizen in certain parts of the U.S.

In the interview, Fitzgerald also said that die-hard racists probably won’t change their minds, but younger generations might have different beliefs about race. And  Fitzgerald mentioned that she had to speak out about these issues, because she felt it was the right thing to do, even though some people think that entertainers shouldn’t talk about politics.

At the end of the interview, Fitzgerald asks where the interview will be heard. When the interviewer tells her it will be heard across many states, she replies that she might get in trouble for what she said, but she needed to say it. Perhaps her comments were considered too “radical” at the time, and maybe that’s why the interview never aired.

Tony Bennett comments in the documentary about Fitzgerald: “She never made a political statement, except when I heard her say three words. And it was the most complete definition of the complete ignorance of the world and the way they treat African Americans. She said, ‘Tony, we’re all here.’ In three words, she said the whole thing.”

In addition to her problems with racism, Fitzgerald was experiencing issues as a mother who was frequently away from home. Her relationship with her son Ray suffered, especially during his rebellious teen years, when he was shipped off to Catholic military school. When Ray moved out of the family home in the 1970s, he was estranged from his mother for about 10 years afterward. Fortunately, they reconciled, and he speaks of his mother in very loving ways in the documentary.

Other people interviewed in the film (who all predictably praise Fitzgerald) include music artists Patti Austin, Johnny Mathis, Jamie Cullum, Laura Mvula, Cleo Laine, Andre Previn (who died in 2019), Itzhak Perlman and drummer Gregg Field. Also weighing in with their thoughts are jazz writer Will Friedland, Newport Jazz festival founder George Wein and Jim Blackman, a longtime Fitzgerald fan who was her last tour manager.

During the course of her influential career, Fitzgerald won almost every possible prestigious award for music. She earned the nicknames First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella. But this documentary also beautifully shows that her greatest accomplishment is how she paved the way for so many other artists and created a legacy that will continue to influence countless generations.

Eagle Rock Entertainment released “Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things” in select U.S. virtual cinemas on June 26, 2020.

Review: ‘My Darling Vivian,’ starring Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash Tittle, Cindy Cash and Tara Cash Schwoebel

June 19, 2020

by Carla Hay

Vivian Liberto Cash and Johnny Cash in “My Darling Vivian” (Photo courtesy of Estate of Vivian Distin)

“My Darling Vivian”

Directed by Matt Riddlehoover

Culture Representation: This intimate family documentary about country singer Johnny Cash’s first wife, Vivian, features interviews with only her four daughters: Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash Tittle, Cindy Cash and Tara Cash Schwoebel.

Culture Clash: The four daughters claim that their mother’s legacy was overshadowed by Johnny’s relationship with his second wife, June Carter Cash, who might not or might not have deliberately tried to diminish Vivian’s importance in the family.

Culture Audience: “My Darling Vivian” will appeal primarily to fans of Johnny Cash and to people who are interested in “first wives of celebrities” stories.

Vivian Liberto Cash, Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash and Johnny Cash in “My Darling Vivian” (Photo courtesy of Estate of Vivian Distin)

When country music legend Johnny Cash died in 2003, at the age of 71, much of the media coverage was about the fact the he died just four months after the death of June Carter Cash, who was his wife since 1968. What the media overlooked or barely mentioned was Johnny Cash’s life with his first wife, Vivian Liberto Cash, who was married to him from 1954 to 1966, and who was the mother of his four eldest children (all daughters): Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy and Tara. The heartfelt and sentimental documentary “My Darling Vivian” is the daughters’ love letter to Vivian to honor their mother’s legacy.

Directed by Matt Riddlehoover, “My Darling Vivian” includes the expected archival footage and family photos, but what makes this documentary unusual is that the only people who are interviewed in the movie are Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash Tittle, Cindy Cash and Tara Cash Schwoebel, who all make their comments in separate interviews. Riddlehoover produced “My Darling Vivian” with his husband, Dustin Tittle, who is Kathy’s son. Tara is a co-producer of the documentary.

With only family members as the filmmakers, does that make this documentary one-sided? Absolutely. But the Cash daughters say that they are the only living people who knew their mother best. And the daughters make it clear in the documentary that the movie is their way of taking back other people’s narratives that often caused their mother to be ignored or misunderstood.

The daughters point to the 2005 Oscar-winning film “Walk the Line” (starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash) as an example of an inaccurate portrayal of their mother Vivian, who was played by Ginnifer Goodwin in a fairly small role. “Walk the Line” (directed by James Mangold and written by Mangold and Gill Dennis) depicted Vivian as needy and shrewish, while June Carter Cash was depicted as Johnny Cash’s soul mate who “saved” Johnny from drug addiction and a bad marriage. “Walk the Line” was produced by Mangold’s then-wife Cathy Konrad and James Keach. Johnny and June’s son, John Carter Cash, was an executive producer of the film.

Tara (the youngest of the daughters) says of her mother Vivian: “My experience has been that people don’t really don’t know her. Ever since ‘Walk the Line’ came out, it did some damage and made her look bad.” She comments further on how “Walk the Line” affected her mother when the movie was released just two years after Johnny Cash’s death: “To experience a loss like that and have the whole world see, I think that was really hard for her.”

Cindy Cash adds, “I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t want to see the movie. I understand that the movie depicted her differently than she was. And honestly, I don’t think anyone had an impression of her before that. She had friends for 10 years who never knew that she was married to my dad.”

The daughters don’t really come right out and call June Carter Cash a “homewrecker” (perhaps because it wouldn’t look good if they spoke ill of the dead), but it’s clear that they believe that she had a lot to with breaking up their parents’ marriage and “erasing” Vivian from Johnny Cash’s public legacy. In addition to John Carter Cash (John and June’s son who was born in 1970), the Cash family includes June’s daughters Carlene and Rosie from her previous two marriages.

Rosanne (the eldest of Johnny Cash’s children) and Kathy (the second eldest) were born just one year apart (1955 for Rosanne, 1956 for Kathy) and were sometimes mistaken as fraternal twins when they were children. Rosanne says in the beginning of the documentary that all four daughters probably remember different versions of Vivian because their mother changed over time.

Because Rosanne and Kathy were close in age, their memories of Vivian are probably the most similar, while Cindy (born in 1959) has another perspective, and youngest daughter Tara (born in 1961) remembers their mother very differently from her older sisters. Rosanne says that the most emotionally challenging period of time for Vivian was when Vivian was in her 20s and 30s. “That was tough,” Rosanne comments.

“My Darling Vivian” starts out very much how the relationship of Vivian Liberto and Johnny Cash was in its early years: very romantic. In 1951, Vivian and Johnny met at a roller-skating rink in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, when Vivian was 17 and Johnny was a 21-year-old Air Force enlistee in basic training. Three weeks after they met and began dating, he was sent to work in West Germany, where he was stationed for the next three years.

During that three-year separation, the couple exchanged hundreds of passionate love letters, some of which are shown and read in “My Darling Vivian.” After Johnny was honorably discharged from his Air Force duties in Germany, the couple got married in 1954 by Vivian’s uncle, who was a priest (she came from a strict Italian-American Catholic family), and started a new life in Memphis.

While in Memphis, Johnny began to pursue his dream of becoming a country singer/musician. Success and fame happened pretty quickly for him, not just because he was in the right place at the right time but also, as Rosanne tells it in the documentary, he was extremely persistent in his goals. And the daughters say that Vivian was very supportive of Johnny’s dreams and appreciated his talent, unlike the way Vivian was portrayed in “Walk the Line” as someone who had a negative attitude about Johnny being a musician.

Of course, being a touring musician comes with a lot of occupational hazards that can destroy relationships. Johnny had well-documented vices that included his addictions to amphetamines and alcohol. These addictions, as well as all the time that he spent away from home, took a toll on his marriage to Vivian.

But Vivian was no angel either. According to what Rosanne says in the documentary about Vivian: “She was damaged from the get-go.” Vivian grew up with a strict and demanding father, while Vivian’s mother was an alcoholic and very lenient. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know that children of alcoholic/addicts often gravitate toward chaos in their personal lives. It might explain why Vivian tolerated many destructive and unhealthy things about her marriage when other people would have walked away.

Her daughters describe Vivian as someone who was very alone and isolated in a lot of ways. She spent a lot of time worrying about what Johnny was doing on tour. And even when he wasn’t on tour, he would often disappear for days without telling her where he was. As the eldest child, Rosanne remembers that her father’s drug use changed him (he had more irritable mood swings) and that it was traumatic for the whole family.

It’s mentioned in the documentary that Vivian because a close friend to Ella Grant, the wife of Marshall Grant, one of the musicians in Johnny’s band. But Vivian didn’t seem to have a close circle of friends or family to lean on for emotional support. For the most part, she was a wife and mother who was often alone to raise her four children and felt overwhelmed by it all. (The family didn’t have any nannies to help.)

When the Cash family moved from Memphis to a custom-built mansion in Casita Springs, California, the marriage began to further deteriorate. Johnny had a habit of bringing home stray animals and exotic pets—essentially turning their home into a menagerie—but it was Vivian who had to take of all of the animals and the children by herself.

Vivian was also constantly worried about her family’s safety. The house was located in the hills, where rattlesnakes and bobcats lived. And fans of Johnny Cash would randomly show up at the unprotected house, at all hours of the day and night.

To make matters worse, Vivian began to suspect that Johnny and his musical collaborator June Carter Cash were having an affair with each other. Rosanne remembers that after her mother discovered that Johnny was in fact cheating on her with June (he eventually left Vivian for June), Vivian still didn’t want her marriage to end. Her daughters say that Vivian remained in love with Johnny Cash for the rest of her life. Vivian kept almost all the mementos of their love affair, including the love letters and the rollerskates that she wore the day that she and Johnny met.

Vivian was also married to Johnny at a time when divorce was taboo, especially for people in certain religions such as Catholicism. She was also a homemaker who probably didn’t have any marketable skills to have a career outside the home. And most importantly, according to her daughters, Vivian really was in love with Johnny and was hoping that they could work out the problems in their marriage. But it wasn’t meant to be.

There were also some other major stresses on the marriage before it ended in divorce. Kathy got a bacterial disease and almost died. Johnny was arrested multiple times. And in 1965, Vivian was targeted by white supremacists, who accused her of being black. It was an accusation that she and Johnny vehemently denied.

The media spread the rumor that Johnny Cash was married to a black woman, thereby causing Johnny to be boycotted by certain places in the South. Vivian and Johnny had to get certified letters to prove that her race was white, in order for Johnny to be allowed to work in certain parts of the South again.

Rosanne remembers her mother being devastated by the failure of her marriage to Johnny. “She was grief-stricken, enraged … She had violent outbursts.” However, Rosanne also recalls being “relieved” by her parents’ divorce. “Divorce isn’t always bad,” says Rosanne.

However, Vivian felt so ashamed about the divorce that she temporarily went into hiding with her children. Rosanne says, “I remember her fearing her father’s judgment—and she got it.” Vivian was also harshly punished by the Catholic Church, which ex-communicated her because of the divorce. She was able to rejoin the Catholic Church only after Johnny Cash wrote a letter to the Catholic Church to declare that he, not Vivian, was to blame for the divorce.

Vivian’s marriage to second husband Dick Distin (a police officer turned businessman) isn’t remembered as fondly by her daughters. The marriage is described as a rebound relationship for Vivian and a marriage of convenience instead of true love. Perhaps not coincidentally, she and Johnny Cash married other people in the same year (1968).

Rosanne comments about her mother’s marriage to Distin: “It was a bargain: He got perks … She created a life for herself that made sense.” Vivian, who was a lifelong homemaker, liked to keep busy with hobbies such as dancing, painting and making homemade arts and crafts. Vivian and Dick Distin remained married until her death of complications from lung cancer in 2005.

Although the Cash daughters speak lovingly of their mother, “My Darling Vivian” isn’t a sugarcoated biography of her. In addition to her violent outbursts after her marriage to Johnny fell apart, Vivian also became very paranoid, by installing bells and alarms everywhere in her household. And just as Vivian’s had a demanding father, she was also demanding of her own children, according to Rosanne, who says: “It was hard to get her unmitigated approval.”

However, over time, Rosanne says that Vivian became a better mother. Vivian was more attentive to youngest child Tara than her other three daughters. According to Rosanne, Vivian was very loving and devoted to her grandchildren and a “better grandmother than she was a mother.” Rosanne shares a vivid, bittersweet memory of her mother on the day that Vivian died, which was on Rosanne’s 50th birthday: “I saw her become like a child. She was laughing.”

One thing is clear from watching this documentary: Even though she wasn’t perfect (no one is), Vivian was very much loved and respected by her children, and they believe she wasn’t given enough credit for being a good wife and mother. It’s impossible to know if Johnny and Vivian would have stayed married if he hadn’t fallen in love with June, but Johnny and Vivian’s daughters say that Vivian certainly gave Johnny a stable home life and loving support that allowed him to thrive early in his career.

One of the “wrongs” that the daughters want to correct is the rewriting of family history that seems to have been instigated by June Carter Cash and her supporters. June gave many interviews over the years that implied that she and Johnny had custody of his four daughters when the daughters were minors. (The documentary includes a clip from one of those TV interviews.)

In reality, Vivian had custody of the kids and they were primarily raised by Vivian. The documentary mentions that after Vivian’s death, her family found an unsent letter written to June that had Vivian asking June to stop misleading people into thinking that June was raising Vivian’s daughters.

Another part of the documentary shows footage from the 2003 all-star memorial tribute to the late Johnny Cash that was held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and later televised on CMT. Rosanne Cash’s ex-husband Rodney Crowell was one of the show’s performers in the musical tribute to Johnny Cash. Crowell dedicated his performance to Vivian, who was in the audience. It’s a dedication that was mysteriously edited out of the show when it was televised.

Years before she died, Vivian got Johnny Cash’s blessing to write her memoir. The book, titled “I Walked the Line: My Life With Johnny Cash,” was published posthumously in 2007. Many book critics were puzzled by the fact that much of the book’s content consisted of Johnny’s love letters to Vivian. Even in her own memoir, Vivian was overshadowed by Johnny Cash. With this documentary, Vivian’s family has succeeded in telling her story so that she is front and center where she belongs.

The Film Collaborative released “My Darling Vivian” in select U.S. virtual cinemas on June 19, 2020.

2020 BET Awards: Drake is the top nominee; Amanda Seales to host; performers announced; CBS to simulcast show for the first time

June 15, 2020

Drake (Photo by Greg Noire/Coachella)

The following is a combination of press releases from BET:

BET announced The “BET Awards” 2020 nominees with Drake leading the pack with six nominations. This year’s nominees reflect an abundance of creative expression and black excellence across music, television, film, sports, and philanthropy. The “BET AWARDS” 2020 will simulcast LIVE at 8 pm ET across ViacomCBS networks including BET, BET HER, and will make its national broadcast premiere on CBS on Sunday, June 28 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT, 7:00-10:00 PM, CT).

Drake returns to the top spot securing six nods, including ‘Best Male Hip Hop Artist,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ and two nods for both ‘Best Collaboration’ and ‘Viewer’s Choice’ for his features alongside Chris Brown (No Guidance) and Future (Life Is Good).

Newcomers Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch garnered the second most nods with five nominations each. Megan Thee Stallion nominations include ‘Best Female Hip Hop,’ ‘Best Collaboration,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ and ‘Viewer’s Choice Award.’ Roddy Ricch’s nods include ‘Best Male Hip Hop,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ ‘Best New Artist,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ and ‘Viewer’s Choice Award.’ Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Lizzo, and DaBaby are the third-highest with four nominations each.

In its twentieth year, the “BET AWARDS,” hosted by comedian and actress Amanda Seales, continues its reign as the ultimate platform to showcase the best and most beautiful aspects of the Black experience – celebrating Black music’s present and future, and elevating the culture and being a driving force for social change. BET recognizes artists, entertainers, and athletes across 21 categories with The “BET Awards” 2020 nominations. The nominations are selected by BET’s Voting Academy, which is composed of fans and an esteemed group of entertainment professionals in the fields of television, film, music, social media, digital marketing, sports journalism, public relations, and creative arts.

The first group of performers for the 20th annual “BET AWARDS” will include Alicia Keys, Chloe X Halle, DaBaby, D Smoke, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Jonathan McReynolds, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, SiR, Summer Walker, Usher, Wayne Brady and more. BET Amplified Artists, Masego and Lonr. are set to take the BET Amplified Music Stage, a platform for emerging artists.

Amanda Seales is a comedian and creative visionary. You know her as, “Tiffany DuBois” of HBO’s Insecure and her debut stand up special, “I Be Knowin”. She is a former co-host on the daytime talk show, “The Real”, host of NBC’s “Bring the Funny,” creator/host of the hit live, and now virtual, music/comedy game show, “Smart Funny & Black”, speaks truth to change via her wildly popular Instagram, weekly podcast, “Small Doses”, and book by the same my name, recently launched her membership community app, “SFB Society”! A Jedi Khaleesi with a patronus that’s a Black Panther with wings, she keeps audiences laughing, thinking, and living in their truth!

In the final countdown to the BET Awards, Terrence J and Erica Ash will host the first interactive pre-show featuring celebrities, nominees, and special guests who will be participating in Black Entertainment’s biggest night.

“BET was created to stand at the forefront of black culture. We have made strides over the past two decades to create a space where black creativity, culture, and art have the opportunity to get the celebration it deserves in a world where it is systematically muted,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET. “This year we’re looking forward to continuing the tradition of providing fans with those special, not to be missed moments of enrichment, entertainment, empowerment and also using our platform to create change for our community.”

Internationally, the show will simulcast on BET Africa at 2 am CAT on June 29th, followed by international broadcasts in the UK on June 29th at 9 pm BST, France on June 30th at 8:45 pm CEST and in South Korea on June 30th at 9 pm KST. BET will honor the ‘Best International Act’, along with the fan-voted category ‘Best New International Act’.

The complete list of nominees for The “BET AWARDS” 2020 are:

BEST FEMALE R&B/POP ARTIST
Beyoncé
H.E.R.
Jhene Aiko
Kehlani
Lizzo
Summer Walker

BEST MALE R&B/POP ARTIST
Anderson .Paak
Chris Brown
Jacquees
Khalid
The Weeknd
Usher

BEST GROUP
Chloe x Halle
City Girls
EarthGang
Griselda
Jackboys
Migos

BEST COLLABORATION
Chris Brown featuring Drake – “No Guidance”
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend – “Higher”
Future featuring Drake – “Life is Good”
H.E.R. featuring YG – “Slide”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign– “Hot Girl Summer”
Wale featuring Jeremih – “On Chill”

BEST MALE HIP HOP ARTIST
DaBaby
Drake
Future
Lil Baby
Roddy Ricch
Travis Scott

BEST FEMALE HIP HOP ARTIST
Cardi B
Doja Cat
Lizzo
Megan Thee Stallion
Nicki Minaj
Saweetie

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Chris Brown featuring Drake – “No Guidance”
DaBaby – “Bop”
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend – “Higher”
Doja Cat – “Say So”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign– “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch – “The Box”

VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Benny Boom
Cole Bennett
Dave Meyers
Director X
Eif Rivera
Teyana Taylor

BEST NEW ARTIST
DaniLeigh
Lil Nas X
Pop Smoke
Roddy Ricch
Summer Walker
YBN Cordae

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
“Cuz I Love You” – Lizzo
“Fever” – Megan Thee Stallion
“Homecoming: The Live Album” – Beyoncé
“I Used to Know Her” – H.E.R.
“Kirk” – DaBaby
“Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial” – Roddy Ricch

DR. BOBBY JONES BEST GOSPEL/INSPIRATIONAL AWARD
The Clark Sisters – “Victory”
Kirk Franklin – “Just for Me”
Fred Hammond – “Alright”
John P. Kee featuring Zacardi Cortez – “I Made It Out”
Kanye West – “Follow God”
PJ Morton featuring Le’Andria Johnson & Mary Mary – “All In His Plan”

BEST ACTRESS
Angela Bassett
Cynthia Erivo
Regina King
Issa Rae
Tracee Ellis Ross
Zendaya
Jennifer Lopez

BEST ACTOR
Jamie Foxx
Omari Hardwick
Michael B. Jordan
Eddie Murphy
Billy Porter
Will Smith
Forest Whitaker

YOUNGSTARS AWARD
Asante Blackk
Miles Brown
Alex Hibbert
Marsai Martin
Storm Reid
Jahi Di’Allo Winston

BEST MOVIE
“Bad Boys for Life”
“Dolemite Is My Name”
“Harriet”
“Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé”
“Just Mercy”
“The Lion King”
“Queen & Slim”

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Simone Biles
Coco Gauff
Naomi Osaka
Claressa Shields
Serena Williams
Ajeé Wilson

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Odell Beckham Jr.
Stephen Curry
LeBron James
Kawhi Leonard
Patrick Mahomes II

BET HER AWARD
Beyoncé featuring Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn – “Brown Skin Girl”
Ciara featuring Lupita Nyong’o, Ester Dean, City Girls & La La – “Melanin”
Layton Greene – “I Choose”
Lizzo featuring Missy Elliott – “Tempo”
Alicia Keys – “Underdog”
Rapsody featuring PJ Morgan – “Afeni”

VIEWER’S CHOICE AWARD
Chris Brown featuring Drake – “No Guidance”
DaBaby – “Bop”
Future featuring Drake – “Life is Good”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign– “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch – “The Box”
The Weeknd – “Heartless”

BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT
Burna Boy (Nigeria)*
Innoss’B (DRC)
Sho Madjozi (South Africa)
Dave (UK)
Stormzy (UK)
Ninho (France)
S.Pri Noir (France)

BEST NEW INTERNATIONAL ACT
Celeste (UK)
Hatik (France)
Rema (Nigeria)
Sha Sha (Zimbabwe)
Stacy (France)
Young T & Bugsey (UK)

Connie Orlando, EVP of Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET and Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment serves as Executive Producers for The “BET Awards” 2020 broadcast special.

For the latest The “BET AWARDS” 2020 news and updates, please visit BET.com/Awards.

ABOUT BET NETWORKS

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

ABOUT “BET AWARDS”

The “BET Awards” is one of the most watched award shows on cable television according to the Nielsen Company. The “BET Awards” franchise remains as the #1 program in cable TV history among African-Americans, and it is BET’s #1 telecast every year. It recognizes the triumphs and successes of artists, entertainers, and athletes in a variety of categories.

ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran, NAACP Image(R) Award winner and Emmy(R) Award nominee Jesse Collins. For more than a decade, the company has played an integral role in producing some of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment. JCE produced the critically acclaimed biopic The New Edition Story, the story on the boy band that aired as a 3-part mini-series and posted record ratings for BET and attracted nearly 30 million viewers. It was followed by The Bobby Brown Story, which chronicled the talented but troubled singer’s exit from the popular ’80s boy band through his solo success, and was the highest rated non-tentpole program on the network since The New Edition Story. The next mini-series for JCE is Uptown, a 3-part original scripted miniseries for BET that will chronicle the story of producer Andre Harrell’s iconic record label, Uptown Records. The company’s current scripted TV series is American Soul, the story about the struggle to make the dream of Soul Train, the first nationally-syndicated Black music show, come true. It ended its first season as the #1 new cable scripted drama for African Americans 18-49 and its second season debuts in May 2020. Previously, JCE produced BET’s hit TV series Real Husbands of Hollywood starring Kevin Hart that ran for 5 seasons. On the unscripted side, JCE produces annual live specials – the BET Awards, Soul Train Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards. Past credits include Black Girls Rock!, UNCF’s An Evening of Stars, ABFF Honors, BET Honors, Love & Happiness: An Obama Farewell, VH1’s Dear Mama, HBO’s Amanda Seales I Be Knowin;’ Netflix’s Def Comedy Jam 25 and Leslie Jones: Time Machine. JCE’s game shows include VH1’s Hip Hop Squares with Ice Cube and CMT’s Nashville Squares. Its music competition series on BET, Sunday Best is now in its 10th season and Netflix’s Rhythm & Flow featuring judges Tip “T.I.” Harris, Cardi B and Chance the Rapper will soon begin production on its second season that will air in 2021. Collins is also a producer for The Grammy Awards. He was on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop 100 Power Players list, has been featured on the cover of Vibe magazine and in numerous publications including Ebony magazine’s Power 100 issue. Go to http://www.jessecollinsent.com/ for more information on the company.

Recording Academy makes several changes to Grammy Award rules, including revisions in R&B, rap and Latin music categories

June 10, 2020

The following is a press release from the Recording Academy:

The Recording Academy announced today that it has made major changes to several rules and guidelines that reflect its ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape and to ensure that the GRAMMY Awards nominating process and rules are more transparent and fair.

Among the changes are updates to the Best New Artist category, Latin, R&B and Rap Fields, Nominations Review Committees and more. The new changes go into effect immediately for the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. In addition, the GRAMMY Awards Rules & Guidelines are now, for the first time, available and can be found here.

“I’m excited to announce our latest changes, as we’re constantly evaluating our Awards process and evolving it to ensure the GRAMMY Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry,” said Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “The Academy accepts proposals for rule changes from members of the music community throughout the year that are carefully reviewed and, if accepted, ultimately ratified at our annual Board meeting, a process that we are proud to have continued in this challenging year.”

“As a peer-driven and peer-voted award, members of the music community are directly involved in the growth and preservation of the GRAMMYs process,” said Bill Freimuth, Chief Awards Officer at the Recording Academy. “Each year we receive a number of rule change proposals from artists, producers and songwriters asking us to reevaluate our process to better reflect the current state of the music industry and how it’s evolved over the past 12 months.”

APPROVED RULE AMENDMENTS:

Best Urban Contemporary Album has been renamed Best Progressive R&B Album to appropriately categorize and describe this subgenre. This change includes a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B.

This category is intended to highlight albums that include the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music. It may also incorporate production elements found in pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk and alternative.

Likewise, Best Rap/Sung Performance has been renamed Best Melodic Rap Performance to represent the inclusivity of the growing hybrid performance trends within the rap genre. The expanded category is defined as follows:

This category is intended to recognize solo and collaborative performances containing elements of rap and melody over modern production. This performance requires a strong and clear presence of melody combined with rap cadence, and is inclusive of dialects, lyrics or performance elements from non-rap genres including R&B, rock, country, electronic or more. The production may include traditional elements of rap or elements characteristic of the aforementioned non-rap genres.

In addition, Latin Pop Album has been renamed Best Latin Pop Or Urban Album, and Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album has been renamed Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album to migrate the genres of Latin urban and represent the current state and prominent representation in the Latin urban genres.

The Best Latin Pop Or Urban Album category is intended to recognize excellence in Latin pop or urban music recordings that utilize a stylistic intention, song structure, lyrical content, and/or musical presentation to create a sensibility that reflects the broad spectrum of Latin pop music style and culture. The category includes recordings from balladeers and commercial Latin music and is not limited to any one region.

The Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album category is intended to highlight Latin rock or alternative music recordings that utilize a stylistic intention, song structure, lyrical content and/or musical presentation to create a sensibility that reflects the broad spectrum of the Latin music style and culture.

Finally, there is no longer a specified maximum number of releases prohibiting artists from entering the Best New Artist category. As such, the screening committees will be charged with determining whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year. Such a determination would result in disqualification.

Nominations Review Committees & Addressing Potential Conflicts of Interest

At the time of invitation to participate on a Nominations Review Committee, a conflict of interest disclosure form will be provided. Each person invited to be a member of such a committee must disclose to the best of their knowledge whether, in connection with any recording that may be entered in the current year’s GRAMMY Awards process, (a) the person would be in line to receive a GRAMMY nomination or win for any recordings being considered in a particular category, (b) the person would have any direct or indirect financial ties to the recordings or creators under consideration, (c) the person has immediate familial ties to any of the artists in the top voter selections, and/or (d) any other conflict of interest, actual or perceived. If a recording listed by the invitee presents a conflict of interest, the Academy will notify the committee member that they cannot participate on the committee that year. If, in the unlikely event that, despite these proactive efforts, a conflict is discovered during the committee meeting, that person will be notified and recused from the meeting. Failure to voluntarily disclose any conflict of interest will result in the person being barred from future Nominations Review Committee participation.

For the full list of rule amendments for the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, which were voted on and passed at the Recording Academy’s most recent semiannual Board of Trustees meeting held in May 2020, click here. For information on the Awards process, visit www.grammy101.com. For key dates and eligibility period for the 63rd GRAMMY Awards, click here.

Review: ‘The High Note,’ starring Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Ice Cube

May 29, 2020

by Carla Hay

Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross in “The High Note” (Photo by Glen Wilson/Focus Features)

“The High Note”

Directed by Nisha Ganatra

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in Los Angeles, the comedy/drama “The High Note” features a racially diverse cast (white, African American, Asian and Latino) representing the middle-class and upper-class.

Culture Clash: A personal assistant to a superstar music diva comes up against obstacles when the assistant tries to become a music producer.

Culture Audience: “The High Note” will appeal primarily to people who like formulaic movies about showbiz that have a predictable ending.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Dakota Johnson in “The High Note” (Photo by Glen Wilson/Focus Features)

It’s a pretty well-known fact at “The High Note” stars Tracey Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson grew up in the upper echelons of show business, since they both have parents who are famous entertainers. Ellis Ross’ mother is Diana Ross. Johnson is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. So with all that knowledgeable background, it’s too bad that Dakota Johnson and Ellis Ross have chosen to be in such a hollow and predictable dramedy about the music business. The irony of this movie being called “The High Note” is that there aren’t too many highlights for this film, when it comes to authenticity, laugh-out-loud humor or outstanding original songs.

However, one of the notable consistencies of the film is Ellis Ross—who does her own singing in the film and is very good at it— in her performance as spoiled superstar Grace Davis, who’s reached a crossroads in her career. Grace, who lives in Los Angeles, is famous enough to still be on the covers of People, Rolling Stone and Billboard, but she’s been coasting on her past hits because she hasn’t come out with an album of new songs in about 10 years. She still keeps herself in the public eye and continues to make millions by doing tours.

Grace’s long-suffering personal assistant Margaret “Maggie” Sherwoode has been working for Grace for three years, but what Maggie really wants to do is to be a music producer. Grace is coming out with a live album that Maggie has been secretly mixing in a recording studio in her spare time, in order for Maggie to practice her producer/mixer skills. Maggie has been able to get access to the studio, thanks to her recording engineer acquaintance Seth (played by Eugene Cordero), who’s worked with Grace and has been training Maggie in the studio.

“The High Note,” directed by Nisha Ganatra, hits a lot of the same cringeworthy beats of Ganatra’s 2019 comedy/drama “Late Night,” a movie that flopped with audiences because it was easy to see how phony and pandering the story was. Both movies are about a plucky young woman with a big dream who thinks she can take a shortcut to that dream, just by being in the right place at the right time. The young woman works for an egotistical, middle-aged diva who’s worried about becoming a has-been. The diva boss also has to choose between continuing with a familiar and safe work routine or going outside her comfort zone to do something new.

Along the way, people discourage the young woman from following her dream because she has no real experience. And then, she and her boss end up clashing in a big way because the young woman does something that the boss really hates. (Viewers have to wait until the end of the movie to see if or how this conflict is resolved.) And this young woman ends up dating someone she works with, even though dating a co-worker is a tricky issue in this #MeToo era, when a consensual affair between co-workers can be described in very different terms later if the relationship ends badly.

In “Late Night,” which was set in the workplace of a New York City-based late-night talk show, Mindy Kaling (who wrote the “Late Night” screenplay) played the show’s inexperienced and unqualified writer Molly Patel, who’s a “diversity hire,” while Emma Thompson played the prickly boss Katherine Newbury, the show’s host/executive producer. Except for the cities and types of work in the entertainment industry, “The High Note” and “Late Night” have the same premise and are basically the same type of movie, but “The High Note” is much worse than “Late Night.”

Fortunately, Maggie in “The High Note” (written by Flora Greeson) isn’t as clueless about music as Mindy Kaling’s Molly character in “Late Night” is clueless about writing for a late-night talk show. Maggie is a true music trivia buff, who can easily name songs and albums from classic artists to contemporary hitmakers. (Sam Cooke and Carole King are among her favorite classic artists.) Maggie also comes from a music-oriented family: Her father Max (played by Bill Pullman) is a longtime radio DJ, while Maggie’s mother (who died when Maggie was 6) was a singer.

But knowing a lot of music trivia and being a talented music producer are two different things. What will make people’s eyes roll about the dumb aspects of “The High Note” is that Maggie thinks she can go from these training sessions in the recording studio to becoming Grace’s producer, without actually putting in a lot of real work as a producer to pay her dues.

Grace’s harsh and cynical manager Jack Robertson (played by Ice Cube, in yet another in his long list of cranky, foul-mouthed character roles) essentially tells Maggie that she’s acting like an entitled brat in one of the few realistic scenes in the movie. This verbal takedown of Maggie’s ego comes after Maggie insults a smarmy and pretentious but experienced hitmaking DJ/producer named Richie Williams (played in a somewhat hilarious cameo by real-life hitmaking DJ/producer Diplo), who’s recruited by Jack to work on Grace’s live album. Maggie, who’s revealed her secret mixes to Grace at this point, wants Grace to choose Maggie’s mixes instead.

Jack doesn’t particularly like Maggie for another reason. While Jack has been finagling and pressuring Grace to do a Las Vegas residency, Maggie has been encouraging Grace to make an album of new songs instead. The Vegas residency would be easy money for everyone, but Maggie thinks Grace has a lot more to say as an artist instead of doing the same show every night in Vegas for an untold number of years. In a candid conversation with Grace, Maggie tells her that she once saw Grace say in an Oprah Winfrey interview about Grace’s career: “If there are no more surprises, who am I doing it for?”

Although the Jack character is greedy, attention-hungry and generally unlikable, his persona as a manager is actually one of the more realistic things in the movie. One of the other things that “The High Note” accurately portrays is how personal assistants of rich and famous people are often treated like 24-hour-a-day on-call servants. Grace is also one of those “lonely at the top” celebrities who has no real friends and has shallow dating relationships that don’t last, and that’s why her life revolves around her career.

“The High Note” also has a pretty good send-up of the false sense of superiority that employees who work for the same celebrity can have toward other employees. Grace has a materialistic and not-very-smart house manager named Gail (played by June Diane Raphael), who acts as if she’s better than Maggie, simply because Gail gets to have reasonable working hours while Maggie does not. Gail is also the type of “yes”-person leech that Hollywood is famous for attracting when people want to be close to celebrities.

Meanwhile, Grace has a smart and likable roommate named Kate (played by Zoe Chao), who thinks Grace is wasting her talent by being a personal assistant. Maggie’s excuse for continuing to be stuck in the dead-end existence of being Grace’s assistant: “It’s the gateway to my dream job.” Katie’s reply: “It’s the gateway to Stockholm syndrome.” That’s one of the funnier lines in the movie.

As for Maggie’s love interest (because you know a movie like this has to have a love interest for the ingenue), his name is David Cliff (played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.), an aspiring rock/pop musician who happens to be rich enough to own a mansion without working at a “real” job. Of course, Maggie doesn’t know all of that about David when they “meet cute” at a Laurel Canyon grocery store. While they’re standing near each other, Phantom Planet’s “California” song is playing over the store’s speakers, which leads Maggie and David to have a lively conversation about music.

When Maggie mentions Sam Cooke, she’s appalled that David says he doesn’t know who Sam Cooke is. They go their separate ways. But lo and behold, when Maggie leaves the store, she sees David playing a guitar outside the store’s entrance and singing Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” while he gives her a sly look. Yes, it’s that kind of movie.

At some point, Maggie and Katie are invited to a big house party at David’s place, and that’s how they find out that he’s a musician who’s not financially struggling. So why is this rich guy playing substandard gigs, such as singing cover songs in front of a grocery store? It turns out that David lacks confidence to record his own music and take his career to the next level. And guess who convinces David that she can be his producer?

Of course, in a movie like this, there has to be at least one “big lie/secret” that someone will tell early in the relationship, so that the couple will fight about it later if the secret is revealed. For Maggie, her big lie is that she tells David that she’s an experienced and busy producer, which is why he agrees to let her produce his first demo recording.

And this is where the plot goes down the toilet: David believes Maggie’s claim that she’s an experienced producer, without even asking to hear other music she’s produced, without asking for references, or without doing a background check. Cue to the predictable scene of David and Maggie singing together in a recording booth. (Harrison and Dakota Johnson also do their own singing in the movie. He’s a much better singer than she is.)

As for Maggie, she doesn’t seem that curious to know how or why David is so wealthy. All he’s told her about his family background is that he was raised by his father (a saxophone player named David Cliff Sr.) after David’s mother left them when he was a very young child. For a movie that’s supposed to take place in the present-day music business, it strangely and unrealistically has no scenes of David and Maggie using the Internet to check each other out when they show an interest in each other.

After Maggie and David start sleeping together, she comes up with a dumb idea to trick him into being the opening act for Grace’s record release party—without telling David, Grace or Jack. And in order to do that, Maggie secretly convinces star singer Dan Deakins (played by Eddie Izzard, in a cameo that’s a waste of his talent), who was booked as the opening act, to back out of the gig. How does Maggie convince Dan to cancel this high-profile job? Just by playing David’s demo for Dan and asking Dan to do her this favor, even though Maggie and Dan just met. Yes, it’s that kind of movie.

Whether or not this moronic plan works or backfires is spoiler information that won’t be revealed in this review.  But that stupidity is nothing compared to the ludicrous plot twist that comes toward the end of the film. It’s a plot twist that’s not too surprising because all the signs were there, but it’s still the worst part of the movie.

There’s not much originality in “The High Note,” even in the movie’s soundtrack, which has mostly cover songs or hit songs that were previously released. “Bad Girl,” which is supposed to be Grace’s biggest hit, is a cover version of the Lee Moses song. In “The High Note,” the Grace character has two original songs that are prominently featured in the movie and are performed by Ellis Ross: “Stop for a Minute” and “Love Myself,” which is the tune heard during the end credits.

“Stop for a Minute” was co-written by Rodney Jerkins, who executive produced “The High Note” soundtrack. “Love Myself” was co-written by Greg Kurstin, who’s best known for his work with Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Beck and Sia. But even the contributions of these Grammy-winning hitmakers don’t make these songs particularly outstanding or likely to be nominated for any Grammys.

In fact, there’s a lot of things about “The High Note” that are dull (including the too-long running time of nearly two hours), forgettable or just plain awful. The stars of “The High Note” should not consider it a high point of their careers, because the reality is that the movie is a lackluster low point that they’d probably like to bury.

Focus Features released “The High Note” on VOD and digital on May 29, 2020.