Summer releases look promising
Posted May 12, 2006

Upon publication of this story, summer will be a short 40 days away. And just as Country Time Lemonade commercials act as a bell in my head – forever ringing in bright blue skies and bathing suits – new album releases, upcoming blockbusters, concert tours and various forms of local entertainment serve as other telltale signs and flags of encouragement that vacation is on its way.

Here’s a preview of what lies ahead to keep boredom at bay:

The annual summer street fair and farmer’s market in Old Town La Verne began on May 4 and will run every Thursday until Aug. 31, guaranteeing all-around family satisfaction per weekly perusal of fruits, vegetables and arts and crafts.

Concerts in the park in cities such as Chino, Baldwin Park, Covina, El Monte, Chino Hills and others, which mostly feature artists of the cover band variety with an occasional headlining act thrown in, will also present weekly assortments of food and activities, according to local community calendars.

The Los Angeles Opera House will also sponsor free community concerts featuring various operatic talents at libraries throughout L.A. and Orange County, with the number of events varying weekly.

For more information, visit www.losangelesopera.com.

On the mass media level, many bands/artists are back from the dead – also known as the recording studio or the much-hated “hiatus” – this summer with long-awaited records and tours.

Pearl Jam, arguably Seattle’s best grunge rockers and one of the few bands that survived the plaid-hazed 1990s, will be in Los Angeles for several dates, including a stint at the Forum on July 9 and 10 with Sonic Youth; my potential Fourth of July celebration if I can manage to scrape together ticket money by then. (Note to self: dig combat boots out of the closet.)

The one and only 1990s band with a 1970s sound, the Black Crowes, are also back from the hiatus black hole, with a scheduled date at Los Angeles’s Greek Theatre on June 14 – a definite night to remember.

If the feuding Robinson brothers’ past lends insight into future endeavors, this show might not have a follow-up, but I plan on keeping my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band, Melissa Etheridge, a reunited Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Dwight Yoakam, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Ice Cube, Ben Harper and the Goo Goo Dolls, on tour with the Counting Crows, will also make much-anticipated appearances at venues such as the Greek, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, Hyundai Pavilion of Glen Helen in Devore and the Home Depot Center in Carson.

New albums are expected this summer from several longtime survivors in the music business such as Guster, Sonic Youth and Ani DiFranco, all sure to unleash good vibes on the presently tired emo scene.

Riper bands/artists such as Dashboard Confessional and Muse also return in June with releases that I personally would not recommend as having any sort of substance or potential for established musical longevity, but that may strike others’ fancy, especially any KROQ fans.

Tom Petty’s third solo album, the follow-up to the dreamy acoustic, yet rocking, album “Wildflowers,” released in 1994, is also expected to line store shelves mid-summer, bringing fans a new and assumedly unexpected experience, as he strays from the topic of love for a change.

The album, titled “Highway Companion,” should only further showcase Petty’s amazingly gifted songwriting tendencies, but this may be a biased opinion, because I hold “the Tom” in high regard.

Many potential box-office hits are also scheduled to premiere this summer.

My top choices fall into the comedy genre with Hollywood couple Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn’s date movie “The Breakup,” scheduled for release on June 2, headlining the bunch.

The plot revolves around the on-screen/off-screen power couple who, following a terminated relationship, go head-to-head for their adored condo once love is out of the picture, promising laughs, if nothing else.

Disney-Pixar’s last collaborative effort, “Cars,” featuring the voices of Paul Newman and Owen Wilson, may seemingly offer up clean entertainment of the family-oriented kind if it manages to live up to its successful predecessors, such as 2003’s “Finding Nemo.”

The film centers on the adventures of a lost racecar that encounters vintage automobiles on his journey home.

The summer has a few evil-minded films in store for horror seekers as well, namely, an updated version of the classic “The Omen” starring Liev Schveiber, Mia Farrow and Julia Stiles, to be released on the dreaded 6/6/06.

M. Night Shyamalan will also grace theaters once again with the dream-rooted thriller “Lady in the Water,” to be released on July 21.

The next installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” out on July 7, also falls under my “must-see” category, as I personally find Johnny Depp’s imitation of the living-dead Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones irresistible.

A musical titled “Idlewild,” starring Outkast’s Andre 3000 and Big Boi, might also attract fans of soul and rock ‘n’ roll, as it is seemingly similar to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s “The Fighting Temptations” but set in the 1930s amid the jazzy trends of a Southern speakeasy.

Suddenly, you might find that there is more than lemonade to look forward to this summer.

Kady Bell can be reached at rzezna65@yahoo.com.

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