Daily Archives: August 4, 2010

Like Manna From Heaven For Springsteen Fans Today

How long have we been waiting for something/anything in the form of official news from the Springsteen camp on the release of a Darkness Box Set. It was a little like Christmas morning when I got up and read this on the Backstreets website:

from the Backstreets.com News page….
DARKNESS BOX WATCH
Package nearing completion, its documentary to premiere next month
Just announced this morning, the documentary that Thom Zimny has been working on for the impending Darkness box will premiere at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival as a Gala screening in September. Zimny created the Wings For Wheels doc for the Born to Run 30th Anniversary box; his new film is titled The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Speaking to IndieWIRE, festival documentary programmer Thom Powers says that The Promise draws on “a treasure trove of footage from the 1970s. You see all the twists and turns of the making of this album. And we’re the first people to announce that this film even existed… It’s been in the works for a couple years now in total secrecy. And we’re very proud to be presenting it.”

The description of the film from TIFF.net: “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town takes us into the studio with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for the recording of their fourth album. Grammy and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny has collaborated with Springsteen on this documentary, gaining access to never before seen footage shot between 1976-1978, capturing home rehearsals and recording sessions that allow us to see Springsteen’s creative process at work.”

TIFF runs from September 9 – 19. According to the festival website, a confirmed schedule will be posted August 24. Tickets are available now.

Update: A Shore Fire press release confirms that “Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau Management, and Columbia Records are working on completing a new package related to Darkness on the Edge of Town, which will include the new Thom Zimny film The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. Further details will be announced when they are finalized.” The statement also gives the date for the TIFF premiere as September 14.

Toronto Star movie critic Peter Howell writes that “The pick of the The Promise as a Gala selection almost guarantees that Springsteen will come to Toronto to introduce it to the TIFF audience.”

After the 300 plus pages of speculation, finally this huge news. And not only is it confirmation that a box set is coming, it is news that there will be a SPECIAL DOCUMENTARY ala: Wings For Wheels, produced by Springsteen’s video wonderkind Thom Zimny and featuring rare, never seen before footage of Bruce in the recording studio between 1976 and 1978.

And all to be premiered in the lovely and beautiful city of Toronto, where Janet and I have been talking about going for some time now.

Holy Guacamole! What else could we hope for. Well, that’s an easy one. A full live show from the Darkness tour. Which might send many of us over the edge in anticipation.

All I can say is that it’s going to be a very exciting 50th birthday on December 7, 2010 and it’s going to be one hell of a birthday. Counting down the days now.

Can anybody say….ROAD TRIP!!!!

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Filed under Music, Television

My Friend Don Meineke – NBA Legend

One weekend last summer, I had occasion to visit my fiancee Janet’s hometown of Centerville, a sleepy and sultry suburb of nearby Dayton, Ohio – the town where the Wright Brothers grew up and first dreamed of flying. On that warm late summer weekend, I had the thrilling experience of meeting, among a group of Janet’s parents friends, a very tall, unassuming gentleman named Don Meineke, who is not only one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, but as it turns out, was also was the first man ever to be named NBA Rookie of the Year.

As it happened, Janet and I were in Centerville that weekend last summer, visiting her parents and my future in-laws, and we were invited to an old-fashioned neighborhood shindig. It seemed her neighbors, the Walshes, were having an outdoor patio party, the kind of thing that was popular back in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s in close-knit neighborhoods. Back in those days it was commonplace for families who lived within spittin’ distance of each other to get together for no particular reason and have a dandy of a time, just talkin’, drinkin’ beer and wine; in other words celebrating life. I suppose this kind of thing stopped happening quite a while ago in most towns when people began locking their doors at night and stopped getting to know their neighbors.

But in Centerville it still goes on. (Although I’m pretty sure they lock their doors at night.)

I went along, looking forward to meeting some of my future in-laws’ good friends and enjoying a nice summer night, as well as meeting my in-laws’ best friends and neighbors never expecting to meet and talk half the night away with Don Meineke. When we arrived, Don was sitting completely contentedly next to his equally hospitable and kind wife, Mary Jane. After the introductions, and after being told that Don had not only been a college basketball standout for the University of Dayton Flyers, where he is still held in great reverence, but also a star for the former Fort Wayne Pistons (now the Detroit Pistons), I moved to the closest chair near Don so I could listen and learn more. He looked like a guy with a few stories to tell and that night, Don didn’t disappoint.

Having personally been a tall teenager and an aspiring basketball player myself, and someone who still has a keen interest in the game, I was anxious to hear about what it was like to play “old school” basketball in the 1950s. Don regaled me with countless stories of his days playing, first college and then NBA basketball. He told stories of the low pay and big men he played against, including one of my heroes, Bill Russell and all the miles he traveled to get to the next city and next game – Syracuse, New York, Boston, etc.

But perhaps most fascinatingly, Don told me of his association with fellow Fort Wayne Piston star Jack Molinas, a man whose life has been chronicle’s in a book titled, “The Wizard Of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed The Game Of Basketball.”

According to author Charley Rosen, and confirmed by Don Meineke as I sat next to him in complete awe, Molinas was a guy with a tremendous amount of talent who threw it all away by fixing a bunch of basketball games. Don told me he was questioned by the team owner and the commissioner of the NBA, but they had nothing on him. For Molinas though, his criminal activities connected to basketball landed him in jail, then after he was suspended from the game, in the company of mobsters which led to, according to Rosen, “a gruesome and mysterious murder.”

Wow! Suddenly Don Meineke was telling me his story and the sad, but inevitable fall of Jack Molinas and I was more than a little intrigued. Don had other stories as well, about other records he set, and his years after he retired from the NBA and I sat and listened with rapt attention until it was late and Don and his wife had to call it a night. I spoke to Don again last December I went to a University of Dayton basketball game where Don and a number of other former stars were honored. (The team is quite competitive, winning the NIT championship last season by defeating North Carolina in the final game.)

I spent some more time at yet another party speaking to Don Meinike on my most recent trip to Centerville, I went to a Fourth of July gathering and Don and I posed for pictures together and talked some more. It’s not every day, after all, that you get to hang out with an NBA legend.

I hope that Don Meineke will always be my good friend.

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Filed under My Stories, Profiles, Sports