Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Tickets finally on sale for troubled Spider-Man musical

The troubled Broadway production "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" looks to, much to my surprise, actually be coming out. The presale has already begun, and tickets go on sale to the public at large on August 14th.

Just the idea of a Spider-Man musical seems a bit absurd. When you add that it's directed by veteran director Julie Taymor and features music and lyrics by rock legends Bono and the Edge of U2, it becomes that much more fascinating.

The budget is reportedly north of $50 million, and the production went into deep debt and looked frequently during its development that it may never happen. Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming, who were originally cast as Spider-Man's love Mary Jane Watson and villain Green Goblin, respectively, both left the production during its protracted difficulties. However, it's finally set to launch, starring Los Angeles rocker Reeve Carney as Peter Parker, the amazing Spider-Man.


'The Rocketeer' on the big screen in Disney film series

I had the chance to attend a screening of 1991 Disney film "The Rocketeer" at the Arclight Hollywood last night. It's always fun to watch a movie on the big screen with an engaged audience of passionate fans. You can see the trailer here:

The screening was part of a month-long film series being presented by the official Disney fan club, D23. Someone from D23 introduced the film and played movie trivia with the crowd for prizes. He also spoke with a representative from the Disney archives who talked about artifacts from the film, such as the rocket pack itself, which actually shoots fire since it's from the days when a lot less was done with CGI.

They polled the audience to see if anyone who worked on the film was there, and who would turn out to be in the audience but one of the film's co-writers, Danny Bilson. They invited him up front, where he talked about the initial plans for a Rocketeer 2 and 3, but how that was scuttled by poor domestic box office after being killed by "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." (As one of the moderators noted, how history might have differed if "The Rocketeer" had a Bryan Adams song.)


50-year-old French song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf hits Amazon charts

I saw an interesting song moving up the "MP3 Songs Movers & Shakers" list on Amazon this morning: "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf. Those of you who've seen the film "Inception" can probably guess why this 50-year-old song is suddenly burning up the charts once more, as it plays a significant role in the movie.

Edith Piaf has had a bit of a renaissance in recent years. She also came to attention when the biographical film "La Vie En Rose" came out in 2007, winning star Marion Cotillard the Academy Award for Best Actress. (Marion Cotillard also appears in "Inception," adding to the film's twisty nature when combined with the Piaf song on the soundtrack; coincidence?)

You can listen to both the album and a live version of Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" below.


Too much tweeting can lead to depression?

As temporarily gratifying as Facebook-stalking, blog-hopping, and re-tweeting can be, in the long term, it’s bad for your health.

Mark Zuckerberg and other Internet media moguls will have to watch out for the lawsuits sure to spring up once the news gets out that too much time spent online leads to depression.

In a recent study (reported by Reuters) 1,041 internet-using Chinese teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 were examined over a nine-month period. All of them were assessed before the study, and all were deemed depression free. After the nine months, researcher Lawrence Lam of the School of Medicine at Notra Dame in Sydney found that the teenagers who used the internet more than five hours a day were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop depression.

What does this mean for those of us that have committed, long-term relationships with our laptops? First, we must determine if our adoration for the internet is actually an addiction.


FBI asks for its seal to be removed from Wikipedia

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is going after an unlikely enemy - Wikipedia.

The FBI argues that the use of the FBI's official seal on Wikipedia is unapproved. They also say that the use of a high-quality version of the FBI logo being available on Wikipedia makes it easier for others to take the seal and misuse it.

Wikipedia was uncowed and sent back a snarky response. "While we appreciate your desire to revise the statute to reflect your expansive vision of it, the fact is that we must work with the actual language of the statute, not the aspirational version of Section 701 that you forwarded to us," wrote Mike Godwin, general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia.

The law cited by the FBI prohibits someone from manufacturing, selling, or possessing any badge, identification, or other insignia using the FBI logo. Wikimedia argues that this doesn't cover encyclopedia articles.

Now I'm going to move on to writing about something else, before I get a visit from the FBI.