Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Very rare early recordings including Mick Jagger with the Little Boys Blue in 1961.
Twenty-four of these 32 cuts come from such BBC sources, but what will pique the hardcore Stones aficionado's interest the most are the first eight tracks, which have rarely if ever before surfaced.
The first four songs are labeled as dating from a tape of Little Boys Blue, a just-pre-Rolling Stones lineup of the group, recorded (probably at a private rehearsal) in late 1961.
Track 1-4 : Little Boys Blue, recorded Dartford, South London, late 1961.
Track 5,7,8 : Regent, 20th & 21st November, 1963.
Track 6 : Chess, 8th November, 1963
Track 9-15, 19-26 : BBC Saturday Club, 1964
Track 16-18, 27-29 : Joe Loss Show, 1964
Track 30-32 : BBC Top Gear, 1964
Down The Road Apiece
I Ain't Got YouLeave Me Alone
It Should Be You
That Girl Belongs To Yesterday
Ain't That Loving You Baby
Don't Lie To Me
Walking The Dog
Bye Bye Johnny
I Wanna Be Your Man
Roll Over Beethoven
Little By Little
I Just Want To Make Love To You
I'm Moving On
Not Fade Away
High Heeled Sneakers
Meet Me In The Bottom
You Can Make It If You Try
Confessin' The Blues
Down The Road Apiece
It's All Over Now
If You Need Me
Around And Around
I Can't Be Satisfied
LINK Part 1
LINK Part 2
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
- Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, then drain and blot them dry with paper towels. Using kitchen shears, make a lengthwise cut through the shell, down the back of each shrimp. Use the tine of a fork or the tip of a bamboo skewer to pull out the vein if you see one. Remember, not every shrimp has a visible vein. Place the shrimp in a large bowl.
- Place the Old Bay seasoning, Cajun Rub, coriander, black peppercorns, and cayenne in a small bowl and stir to mix. Set 1-1/2 tablespoons of this rub aside for the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining rub over the shrimp and toss to mix. Stir in the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir to mix. Let the shrimp marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 hour.
- Place the beer in a heavy nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 6 to 10 minutes. Add the cream and let boil until the mixture is reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes more. Add the corn syrup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon slices, hot sauce, brown sugar, and garlic, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1-1/2 tablespoons of the reserved rub. Let boil until thick and syrupy, to 6 minutes. Whisk in the butter, piece by piece, and let the sauce boil until heated through and well-combined, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste; the sauce should be highly seasoned. Keep the sauce warm at the edge of the grill. Do not let it return to a boil.
- Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to high, then toss all of the wood chips or chunks on the coals.
- When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the marinated shrimp on the hot grate and grill until just cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side. When done, the shrimp will turn a pinkish white and feel firm to the touch.
- Transfer the grilled shrimp to aluminum foil pans and place the pans on the grill. Pour the sauce over them and cook for a minute or so to warm the shrimp in the sauce. Serve the shrimp at once with the sauce slathered over them and crusty bread and grilled corn on the side.
- Note: To speed up the grilling process, skewer the shrimp on bamboo skewers. You'll need about 8. Use skewers that are 10 to 12 inches long and place about 6 shrimp on each. When you thread the shrimp on a skewer, insert it near the head and tail ends so that the shrimp looks like the letter C.
- It's a lot faster turning 8 kebabs than all those individual shrimp.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
This is the latest addition to the I-pod for my trip to Pittsburgh and Raliegh:
"British soul, jazz and R&B phenomenon Amy Winehouse made fun of her boozy reputation as her 45-minute set came to a close at The Mod Club Theatre on Sunday night. "I love these Shirley Temples," said Winehouse, 23, as she swigged from a red paper cup on stage, during the second of two back-to-back, sold-out shows. Essentially, the weekend gigs in Little Italy marked Winehouse's performing debut in T.O. given the last time she was here she only did a showcase performance for invited guests in support of her 2003 debut, Frank. This time out, Winehouse, backed by the stellar-sounding, 10-member Dap Kings, performed tunes primarily from her critically acclaimed 2006 sophomore effort, Back To Black, a Motown-style soul album that includes the breakout hit, Rehab. But before Winehouse took the stage, the Dap Kings, which included a three-man horn section, performed their own One Time to build excitement for her arrival. When she finally did appear, in a white tank top that showed off her heavily tattoed arms, all eyes were on her trademark beehive hairdo, heavy black-eyeliner-rimmed eyes, and tiny frame. The striking image did little to prepare the audience for the big-sounding voice to come on such Back To Black highlights as the title track, Tears Dry On Their Own, Love Is A Losing Game (which she dedicated to a male fan at the front who just had the title tattoed on a body part), Rehab, and Me And Mr. Jones, the jazzier Frank tunes Cherry and F--k Me Pumps, and a spirited cover of Liverpool band The Zutons' Valerie. As she belted out songs, Winehouse often stretched one arm high above her and bent down to accentuate the big notes although she could learn a thing from her two male backup singers' inspired dance moves. Winehouse was mainly on her best behaviour -- pointing out that her father and boyfriend were both in the audience -- "my two favourite men!" At times though, she did ramble on a bit, like her long-winded explanation about how she often screws up Me And Mr. Jones in concert, and when she sat down at the front of the stage on a couple of occasions mid-song, it seemed like she was running out of steam. There was also a noticeable titter throughout the audience when she asked for another drink during the show. Still, Winehouse, in her own unique, politically incorrect way, is a bit of a throwback as a performer and somehow she carries it off. Having talent helps. "We really love being in Toronto," she said. And we loved having her.
01 - Addicted
02 - Just Friends
03 - Cherry
04 - Back To Black
05 - Wake Up Alone
06 - Rick-stacy Rap
07 - Tears Dry On Their Own
08 - He Can Only Hold Her
09 - F*ck Me Pumps
10 - Love Is A Losing Game
11 - Valerie (w/ Band Intro)
12 - Rehab (w/audience)
13 - Amy Chats
14 - Me & Mr Jones
15 - You Know I'm No Good
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
01. Come Together02. Something03. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer04. Oh! Darling05. Octopus’s Garden06. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)07. Here Comes The Sun08. Because09. You Never Give Me Your Money10. Sun King11. Mean Mr. Mustard12. Polythene Pam13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window14. Golden Slumbers15. Carry That Weight16. The End17. Her Majesty
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
5259 Poplar Ave. (at White Station Road) Memphis TN
Essay by Joe York
Some historians put the number at around three hundred, others simply say he had a herd of them, but they all agree that when Hernando de Soto and his six hundred soldiers landed somewhere near Tampa Bay in 1539, they had pigs.
As de Soto fought and finagled his way across the unseen South, his soldiers prodded the pigs from campfire to campfire, ate them by night, and by day breathed their pock-filled pork breath for the first time into southern skies.
From de Soto's ill-fated entrada (which left his febrile ribs forever marinating in the Mississippi) to the day Dan Quayle and his wife Marilyn strolled into the original Corky's on Poplar and strolled out with four slabs, pigs and politicians have been bedding down together all across the South.
Interview with Barry Pelts Conducted by Brian Fisher
Barry Pelts: In 1972 the family had been in the furniture business for 40 years. In '72 they sold it to an insurance company out of Jacksonville Florida . That was when the insurance companies had lots of money and they were looking to diversify and my dad and his father and his brother sold it. And from '72 to '73, he was out of a job and he needed a job. He had a little money, a little chunk of change, nothing that he could live the rest of his life off of. He a little time where he could spend 6 months to a year trying to find out what he wanted to do.
He saw an ad in the paper for a restaurant that was for sale called The Public Eye which is in Overton Square in Memphis . He told his parents maybe I'd like to buy this restaurant. The restaurant was similar to -- it had barbecue on its menu it featured barbecue but it also had a big bar. it wasn't a barbecue joint. it just happened to feature barbecue on its menu and it was a bar mainly. Probably the mix was 60-40 food to alcohol which is a high mix of alcohol.
His parents thought he was crazy. He'd never cooked an egg in his life. He didn't know one thing about cooking. But he went to his father and said "you know this what I think I'm going to do this" and he said "I think you're crazy." But he went and bought it. He brought in my dad's brother and law- my mom's sister's husband who had some catering experience in Chattanooga . No barbecue experience but had been around food. More than my dad had been around.
They bought it in '72-'73 and they operated it until '84. But between '72 and '84, I would say probably closer into the late seventies, my dad had an idea of what he really wanted to do and that was to do a real barbecue "joint." Cozy. Instead of seating 260 people like this other restaurant, seat less than 100 people. Have the servers. When you walk in, you have the 50's music. You have the servers wearing a bow tie and a white jacket. Being the Old South, but making it a fun environment, not stuffy.
'84 is when they opened. But in about '82, my dad said I'm doing it. he sold his interest in The Public Eye to my uncle. He waited for literally two years- maybe not that long. It was that long. But he had owned The Public eye with my uncle while he was looking.
He pinpointed this location you see on Poplar Avenue- 5259 Poplar. And he said, "if I'm going to do this, I'm going to go in with the absolute "A" location and, if it fails, I'm going to know at least I went in. . .You know a lot of people, if you don't go in with your gun loaded and it fails, your always going to question yourself.
The other thing is service was never really. when you went into the ghetto the food was really what sold itself. He wanted to bring service up to the level where the quality of the food was. He did that.
I could tell you a lot of our competitors and I'm friends with a lot them. I could go there on certain days and their barbecue I think is as good as ours. But the question is, if you go there 10 times in a row, is it going to be consistent.
If you go into dinning the room the person at the expo station- that's a manager. You go out on a catering. We just don't send employees out. We have a catering captain that's a manager, a salaried manager. So everywhere you have contact with the food, its' a manager. We do food at the Pyramid. It's a manager out there supervising it.
They have no concept of how much volume we do in dollars and I don't want them to know that. I want them to think that we're still that that barbecue joint. It just so happens that we do a lot of volume. I still want to that we're a small, family owned operation.
Let's face it. Nothing will be as good as when it comes right off the charcoal pits. We wanted to still be able to bring what we felt was an "A" quality rib- maybe not an "A+." We did that in '93. That business has been growing exponentially every single year and that's been great for us just like the mail order business. You've got the whole country to tap into.
National mailing, we'll advertise once or twice a year in the Wall Street Journal- not enough to make a dent.
Grocery, Memorial day to Labor Day are your crazy time, but the business is great year round. The month of December mail order you'll do 40% of your annual business in 14 days. We'll have days when we'll ship 4,000 orders a day during Christmas. On Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, we'll ship out 130 packages a day. Big Difference.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
The stuff of legend: Forty-six years ago (October 28, 1961), an 18 year-old man by the name of Raymond Jones entered NEMS record store in Whitechapel, Liverpool, to place an order for a local band's German-only 45 of "My Bonnie." NEMS manager Brian Epstein, who prided himself in having a copy of every record available, had never heard of this single nor the band who recorded it: Liverpool's own Beatles.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
"As a determinedly permanent resident of the West Coast, the furor Bruce Springsteen's live performances have kicked up in the East over the last couple of years left me feeling somewhat culturally deprived, not to mention a little suspicious. The legendary three-hour sets Springsteen and his E Street Band apparently rip out night after night in New York, Province-town, Boston and even Austin have generated a great tumult and shouting; but, short of flying 3000 miles to catch a show, there was no way for an outlander to discover what the fuss was all about.
Certainly, I couldn't find the reasons on Springsteen's first two albums, despite Columbia's "New Dylan" promotional campaign for the debut disc and the equally thoughtful "Street Poet" cover of the second. Both radiated self-consciousness, whereas the ballyhoo led one to hope for the grand egotism of historic rock & roll stars; both seemed at once flat and more than a little hysterical, full of sound and fury, and signifying, if not nothing, not much.
A bit guiltily, I found anything by Roxy Music far more satisfying. They could at least hit what they aimed for; while it was clear Springsteen was after bigger game, the records made me wonder if he knew what it was. Whether he did or not, with two "you gotta see him live" albums behind him, the question of whether Springsteen would ever make his mark on rock & roll -- or hang onto the chance to do so -- rested on that third LP, which was somehow "long awaited" before the ink was dry on the second. Very soon, he would have to come across, put up or shut up. It is the rock & roller's great shoot-out with himself: The kid with promise hits the dirt and the hero turns slowly, blows the smoke from his pistol, and goes on his way.
Or else, the kid and the hero go down together, twitching in the dust while the onlookers turn their heads and talk safely of what might have been. The end. Fade-out.
Springsteen's answer is Born to Run. It is a magnificent album that pays off on every bet ever placed on him--a '57 Chevy running on melted down Crystals records that shuts down every claim that has been made. And it should crack his future wide open.
The song titles by themselves --"Thunder Road," "Night," "Backstreets," "Born to Run," "Jungleland"--suggest the extraordinary dramatic authority that is at the heart of Springsteen's new music. It is the drama that counts; the stories Springsteen is telling are nothing new, though no one has ever told them better or made them matter more. Their familiar romance is half their power: The promise and the threat of the night; the lure of the road; the quest for a chance worth taking and the lust to pay its price; girls glimpsed once at 80 miles an hour and never forgotten; the city streets as the last, permanent American frontier. We know the story: one thousand and one American nights, one long night of fear and love.
What is new is the majesty Springsteen and his band have brought to this story. Springsteen's singing, his words and the band's music have turned the dreams and failures two generations have dropped along the road into an epic -- an epic that began when that car went over the cliff in Rebel Without a Cause. One feels that all it ever meant, all it ever had to say, is on this album, brought forth with a determination one would have thought was burnt out years ago. One feels that the music Springsteen has made from this long story has outstripped the story; that it is, in all its fire, a demand for something new.
In one sense, all this talk of epic comes down to sound. Rolling Stone contributing editor Jon Landau, Mike Appel and Springsteen produced Born to Run in a style as close to mono as anyone can get these days; the result is a sound full of grandeur. For all it owes to Phil Spector, it can be compared only to the music of Bob Dylan & the Hawks made onstage in 1965 and '66. With that sound, Springsteen has achieved something very special. He has touched his world with glory, without glorifying anything: not the romance of escape, not the unbearable pathos of the street fight in "Jungleland," not the scared young lovers of "Backstreets" and not himself.
"Born to Run" is the motto that speaks for the album's tales, just as the guitar figure that runs through the title song--the finest compression of the rock & roll thrill since the opening riffs of "Layla" -- speaks for its music. But "Born to Run" is uncomfortably close to another talisman of the lost kids that careen across this record, a slogan Springsteen's motto inevitably suggests. It is an old tattoo: "Born to Lose." Springsteen's songs -- filled with recurring images of people stranded, huddled, scared, crying, dying -- take place in the space between "Born to Run" and "Born to Lose," as if to say, the only run worth making is the one that forces you to risk losing everything you have. Only by taking that risk can you hold on to the faith that you have something left to lose. Springsteen's heroes and heroines face terror and survive it, face delight and die by its hand, and then watch as the process is reversed, understanding finally that they are paying the price of romanticizing their own fear.
One soft infested summer/Me and Terry became friends/Trying in vain to breathe/The fire we was born in.../Remember all the movies, Terry/We'd go see/Trying to learn to walk like the heroes/We thought we had to be/Well after all this time/To find we're just like all the rest/Stranded in the park/And forced to confess/To/Hiding on the backstreets/Hiding on the backstreets/Where we swore forever friends....
Those are a few lines from "Backstreets," a song that begins with music so stately, so heartbreaking, that it might be the prelude to a rock & roll version of The Iliad. Once the piano and organ have established the theme the entire band comes and plays the theme again. There is an overwhelming sense of recognition: No, you've never heard anything like this before, but you understand it instantly, because this music--or Springsteen crying, singing wordlessly, moaning over the last guitar lines of "Born to Run," or the astonishing chords that follow each verse of "Jungleland," or the opening of "Thunder Road" -- is what rock & roll is supposed to sound like.
The songs, the best of them, are adventures in the dark, incidents of wasted fury. Tales of kids born to run who lose anyway, the songs can, as with "Backstreets," hit so hard and fast that it is almost impossible to sit through them without weeping. And yet the music is exhilarating. You may find yourself shaking your head in wonder, smiling through tears at the beauty of it all. I'm not talking about lyrics; they're buried, as they should be, hard to hear for the first dozen playings or so, coming out in bits and pieces. To hear Springsteen sing the line "Hiding on the backstreets" is to be captured by an image; the details can come later. Who needed to figure out all the words to "Like a Rolling Stone" to understand it?
It is a measure of Springsteen's ability to make his music bleed that "Backstreets," which is about friendship and betrayal between a boy and a girl, is far more deathly than "Jungleland," which is about a gang war. The music isn't "better," nor is the singing--but it is more passionate, more deathly and, necessarily, more alive. That, if anything, might be the key to this music: As a ride through terror, it resolves itself finally as a ride into delight.
"Oh-o, come on, take my hand," Springsteen sings, "Riding out to case the promised land." And there, in a line, is Born to Run. You take what you find, but you never give up your demand for something better because you know, in your heart, that you deserve it. That contradiction is what keeps Springsteen's story, and the promised land's, alive. Springsteen took what he found and made something better himself. This album is it. "
GREIL MARCUS(RS 197, October 9, 1975)
Saturday, November 3, 2007
His biggest hit ever "Brown Eyed Girl" was originally titled "Brown Skinned Girl"...think about that next time you are listening to the oldies station...
Brown Eyed Girl (Alternate Version)
Thursday, November 1, 2007
You probably already know what eventually happened to STAR TREK; how NEMESIS (the most recent theatrical film in the franchise) underperformed both fiscally and artistically. How ENTERPRISE…TREK’s most recent television incarnation…failed to keep the attention of fans or find new viewers - and was jettisoned four years into its projected seven year run.
This conjunction of unfortunate events left The Powers That Be in a quandary. Clearly, STAR TREK had the potential to continue generating a great deal of revenue for all involved. And, just as clearly, the current style & vibe of STAR TREK were not being embraced by the masses.
What to do? What to do?
One proposal came from (then) TREK overlord Rick Berman & a production team which included Jordan Kerner and Kerry McCluggage. They considered a STAR TREK variant that was part re-launch, part prequel, and maintained established franchise continuity while exploring a period of TREK lore that had previously been spoken of only in broad strokes.
The result was a project tentatively titled STAR TREK: THE BEGINNING. I’m assuming this name would’ve changed…it’s a crappy title. Scripter Erik Jendersen (HBO’s BAND OF BROTHERS) was brought in to develop the concept, which resulted in a first draft screenplay that ran 121 pages long.
This project was ultimately scuttled; word is it was ditched due to a dramatic regime change at Paramount.
JJ Abrams was subsequently brought in to re-launch STAR TREK in an entirely different fashion, and THE BEGINNING slipped quietly into history…forgotten by most, and understood by precious few.
Let’s change that.
What follows is a detailed write-up about the screenplay for Erik Jendersen’s STAR TREK: THE BEGINNING.
THIS IS NOT THE UPCOMING JJ ABRAMS PROJECT!!!
THIS IS ABOUT AN ABORTED PROJECT THAT IMMEDIATELY(?) PRECEEDED THE JJ ABRAMS REBOOT, AND IS COMPLETELY UNRELATED (TO THE BEST OF ANYONE’S KLNOWLEDGE) TO ABRAMS’ UPCOMING STAR TREK FILM!!!
This is, simply, a geeky exploration of STAR TREK history; a (hopefully interesting) insight to a TREK that might have been…not dissimilar to an article I posted earlier this year about Harve Bennett’s defunct STAR TREK: THE ACADEMY YEARS screenplay.
And, even though this project has been canned and will almost certainly never be made, please know that...
THERE BE HEAVY SPOILERS HERE!!!
With this in mind, let’s get started…
First off, I'd like to offer a huge, heartfelt, hug of a thanks to Nasty Nick for making this article possible. Deeply appreciated.
WHAT KIND OF STORY IS THIS?
To put a pretty fine point on it, this is very much a classic War story set in the STAR TREK Universe. This is a sprawling tale…its structure evoking countless World War II films in particular.
THE BEGINNING takes traditional war genre structures/clichés and applies them to STAR TREK; a formula we’ve never seen before. For example, there are (literally) love letters written between characters…read in voice over…as one character heads off to battle, and the other sits at home worrying and waiting. THE BEGINNING is about a group of folks newly graduated from the United Earth Stellar Navy who are forced to go their separate ways in a time of great upheaval. Some head into war, some find other purposes, while all hell is breaking loose around them.
In structure, the story very much resembles STARSHIP TROOPERS mixed with the madness surrounding Pearl Harbor. As a whole, the script is extremely military in nature. How extreme? In one sequence…during a crisis…an Admiral orders two guards to stand down from their positions. The first guard receives a set of instructions from the Admiral, ending with “I’m ordering you to leave your post.” The first guard scurries off. The Admiral gives the second guard his orders, but the guard doesn’t budge. The Admiral then remembers to tell him “I’m ordering you to leave your post” – only then will the guard stand down.TELL US MORE ABOUT THE SETTING…TREK’S GETTING KINDA CONFUSING!
It begins on Earth during August-September 2159 (this would place it between ENTERPRISE and ORIGINAL SERIES continuity).
The human race has a lot going on: the United Earth Stellar Navy (UESN) is a military attempting to find its place in the changing political landscape, and hone its interaction with a recently formed Coalition of Planets. Earth is changing…politics are changing. Extraterrestrials are becoming accepted and common members of our society, but this is also altering the way humans think, and the way things are done.
There’s talk of UESN merging with Starfleet, which would essentially militarize the exploration-based Starfleet. “Peace is too important to be left to politicians” intones one Commodore.
The NX-Omega is ready to fly – the first Warp 8 capable ship ever built (Warp 8 was the maximum warp stated for THE ORIGINAL SERIES Enterprise).
And…oh, yeah! There’s that mammoth Romulan attack fleet approaching Earth using a trajectory which conceals it behind Earth’s moon.
SO, THIS IS THE ONE WITH NO ESTABLISHED CHARACTERS IN IT… RIGHT?
There’s one character we’ve seen before in TREK - it’s Andorian Commander Shran. He’s the blue dude with antennae played by Jeffrey Combs in ENTERPRISE.
Another character we’ve heard about (but never seen) also appears. Skon. Who is Skon? There’s a line in STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK in which Vulcan High Priestess refers to Sarek (Spock’s dad) as “Sarek, child of Skon…” Skon appears here as a Vulcan Ambassador to Earth. I.e. Spock’s grandfather is a principal character in THE BEGINNING.
The NX-02 (Columbia) – also seen in ENTERPRISE - appears twice in the script. It’s in an orbital shipyard and gets blasted pretty thoroughly.
References are made to Archer & Enterprise being at Risa (TREK’s “pleasure planet”). Figures; they’re as ineffectual as always.
Denobluans ( Dr. Flox’s species from ENTERPRISE) are seen, but don’t play a critical role.
MACO (Military Assault Command Operations – the supertroopers introduced in ENTERPRISE) are present, and do play a role.
Tellarites (the pig guys) appear.
There are several allusions to the future TREK universe, which are mentioned below.OK…THEN…WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?
This is principally the story of Tiberius Chase. He’s the UESN’s best pilot but can’t get into Starfleet because of his family’s bad rep. He has the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet. He’s extremely talented and highly ambitious, but he’s being held back in life because of his family name. The Chase clan, it seems, is associated with a para-military militia here on Earth who fear for the purity of the human race…they feel our gene pool will be contaminated because too many alien species are coming to Earth.
I.e. they are Terran isolationists, who’ve fashioned a cult-like community in the Muhlig-Hoffman Mountains in Antarctica. They found a place once used by Nazis who escaped to the remote locale after World War II. There is Nazi tech around them – like prototype aircraft shaped like saucers. Tiberius left this funky bunch…his urge to see what’s out there…to grow and expand…was too strong to resist. Despite this defiance, many around him still will not trust him. They’re all about embracing new life and new civilizations, but aren’t sure what he’s about.
Tiberius is in love with Penelope Gardner, an Admiral’s daughter. Penelope is “a school teacher from Iowa”. For those who don’t remember, James Tiberius Kirk is from Iowa. There’s a lot we can infer from the above few paragraphs. My conjecture is that these are Jim Kirk’s ancestors, and that the “Kirk” family name may have been adopted to escape the shadow of the Chase legacy. Could be wrong about this, though.
Tiberius rides a Harley Davidson Aero-Bike.
Other characters include (but are not limited to) Lieutenant Jaxx. Skal – the Vulcan who designed the NX-Omega’s warp engine. Admiral Gardner (Penelope’s dad – who struggles valiantly to marshal Earth’s defenses against the Romulans). Ensign Ogg (Maori from New Zealand), Otto (Tiberius’ father).OKAY, SO WHAT’S THIS THING ABOUT IN BROADSTROKES??
Tiberius has graduated UESN academy but his efforts to get into prestigious Starfleet are being stonewalled. He occupies his time by courting (and banging) Penelope (the Admiral’s daughter) while the NX-Omega Warp Tests are being conducted at the Saturn Flight Range (Chase was expected to fly the mission, but got canned from that as well). He’s a little lost, and finds himself increasingly lacking in purpose: he’s deeply devoted to a system which does not view him with affection.
While hanging out one morning with Penelope, Tiberius can’t peel his eyes from the sky. There’s something different about the sky this day…he’s not sure what it is. Then he sees the tiny speck of light, an odd star in a clear morning sky. But the star unleashes beams of death towards Earth: Romulans are attacking us, wrecking full-scale devastation in very short order!
But this isn’t even the PRIMARY attack force, which (we learn via Vulcan intelligence) is a little over two weeks away. At this point, segments of the movie are identified by superimposed titles (i.e. “D-Day Minus 3”, “D-Day Minus 2”, etc.)
Attacks on Honolulu, Beijing, Moscow, Athens, Cairo, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Lisbon Power Station are either referenced or seen. A mammoth, ongoing space battle between Earth forces (UESN and Starfleet), factions who rush to Earth’s defense (Tellarites, Andorians under Commander Shran, Vulcans) ensues. The line against the Romulans is being held, but barely. Think TREK space conflict on the scale of a George Lucas film (the opening of EPISODE III comes to mind).
UESN and Starfleet facilities swing into action globally. We see Subterranean Facilities (SUBFACs) in Victoria, Paris, and China assembling munitions, churning out fighter craft, processing war supplies, etc. – action is set in several of these facilities.
What do these damn Romulans want? Our surrender. Why? Seems those green blooded bastards have been engaging in ethnic cleansing across the galaxy – they want to ride the universe of their wussy Vulcan offshoots once and for all. They’ve been moderately successful thus far, but Earth won’t surrender its Vulcan population (a defiance for which the Romulans were thoroughly unprepared, hence the need for the second wave of ships). Earth’s response to the Romulan demand for surrender? “Nuts”.
But…the truth of the matter is…we’re slowly, and certainly, losing & don’t stand a chance when the other Romulans get here. Reinforcements won’t reach us quickly enough. And Tiberius Chase doesn’t like to lose…
He hatches a plan…a foolhardy, dangerous plan no one will listen to: he wants to fly to the heart of the Romulan Star Empire and wreck havoc there before the primary Romulan attack fleet arrives “offshore Earth”. He wants to fragment the Romulans’ war making capability from within.
The higher-ups will not listen to him & summarily dismiss him. But a few folks are willing to embrace his glorious madness.
Chase and his bizarre, make-shift crew (including Skal – the Vulcan Warp Engine designer mentioned above) acquire a nuke from the Antarctica isolationists, then hijack a small ship called the U.S.S. Spartan - forcibly staffing it with hostages taken at its Saturn Drydock anchorage. Some of these hostages are confined to quarters, as they’re unwilling to participate in such a direct violation of orders. Others begin to understand that even a desperate, crazy, final hope for victory is better than no hope at all – and become willing crew members (and accomplices).
The brave little Spartan and her misfit crew leave our solar system with its nuclear bomb on a lonely trek to Romulus – where danger, uncertainty, and probable defeat await.
WOW! WHAT THE HELL? THAT SOUNDS REALLY DIFFERENT THAN OTHER TREKs WE’VE GOTTEN!
One of the most interesting elements of THE BEGINNING is how it knowledgeably and consistently embraces the tenets and principles of STAR TREK, but tells its story in a decidedly Un-STAR TREK way. This is a formula I’ve championed for quite a while – whenever people say TREK is “tired” and should be allowed to “rest”. My contention is that there’s nothing wrong with the TREK franchise in essence…and there’s still plenty of juice to be found in it. The problems its currently experiencing lie in the way TREK was telling its stories, and in the stories it was telling. It has lost the edge and vibrancy which drew audiences towards mythos to begin with.
Jendersen addresses these issues from its opening sequence: it’s comfortably TREK, but clearly told through very different eyes – through which see the TREK universe in a decidedly different style.
Is THE BEGINNING perfect? No – not by a long shot. There is a TOP GUN vibe running through portions of the script (Academy graduation material & how space fighter combat is conducted) which could’ve worked…but would probably register as a little too jarring in the final product. The young heroes call each other “bro” on several occasions – I get the modern
informality they’re going for here, but…you know…
The last quarter of the script (the anti-alien anarchist having a nuclear weapon that Chase drags off to Romulus) seemed a little too convenient & over-the-top…but there’s a funky, Verhoeven quality to it that, if directed right, could’ve been rather amusing (deliberately).
Finally, I don’t know if Chases’ desperate plan actually makes a whole lot of sense.
Obviously, it would’ve been feasible to address all of these issues in future drafts (again, this was the first & only draft written).BUT…WOULD IT HAVE WORKED?
It’s hard to know when such a radical reboot is in play. Whether or not they liked the story’s rough-and-tumble, balls-to-the-wall, semi-retro vibe…I think fans would’ve appreciated the heart of this story, as it picks up on one subtlety that often defines the most successful TREK stories:
TREK is, essentially, a duality…a contradiction. One on hand, it’s about heroes bringing values and their definition of “civilization” to societies and worlds who do not yet think like we do. Which is, at its core, a bit imperialistic. On the other hand, our heroes often achieve their objectives…even their survival…by bucking the same standards they attempt to spread, and by doing things their own way. It’s not that the system is “bad”, necessarily…it’s just not always the best means to an end.
This conflict is very much at the core of THE BEGINNING, evidenced by one single comment by Chase in a message to Penelope:
”…I will still, and forever, wonder how one can go boldly and follow at the same time?”
Jendersen’s script understood the heartbeat of STAR TREK, which is more than can be said for much of the TREK we’d seen in the years before it.
THE BEGINNING doesn’t exactly end. It partially resolves, but also promises TO BE CONTINUED. Where Jendersen’s macro story would’ve headed is unknown at the moment – although I’m told the tentative arc called for three films.
Given Berman’s track record throughout the franchise, especially towards the end of his tenure, it seems dubious that the right style would’ve been brought to THE BEGINNING…the right sense of wonder, abandon, or roughness. Berman’s work was too homogenized to make room for such profound changes in artistic approach.
None the less, Jendersen’s script is an imperfect-but-hugely tantalizing glimpse into a STAR TREK that might have been. And, some may argue, a tasty sampling of what it should become.