Best of the Beast
Lots, oodles, extra, tons, just so much going on in the world right now. This summer, get out of your head for an afternoon, a weekend or just a hot minute.
Beasts, we have got you covered – from heavy metal music to DC Comics; theatre from Broadway to the bank of the Thames; not one but two Beatles offerings; movies, books, audio and a haunted house called Blood Prison. What more could you ask for?
Time for the 5th Annual Best of the Beast
GARON COCKRELL @mynameisgaron
Igor – Tyler, The Creator
Tyler The Creator is back with a brand new album and it is fantastic. It’s wildly different than his last album and has Tyler really exploring and experimenting with different sounds. It’s a fantastic release that demands immediate listen. Just sit and experience it, don’t take a break, don’t let anything distract you, just put it on and enjoy. Tyler is on Instagram @feliciathegoat
The October Faction – Steve Niles & Damian Worm
It’s the family business of hunting monsters with the Allan family which is made up of a witch, a warlock, a killer, and, well… just give this series a read. You’ve got five trades available now to get through all of which are super fun reads with some great artwork. Horror, family drama, and an all-around fantastic comic series.
I have not laughed at a trailer this year harder than I have watching the Booksmart trailer. It looks like a complete laugh riot from first-time director Olivia Wilde. The story revolves around two girls nearing the end of high school who decide they want to have more fun and maybe be a little bit bad. Check it out May 24. www.booksmartmovie.com
Blinded By The Light
One of two indie films this summer dealing with the power of music, the other being Yesterday (see below), Blinded by the Light deals with a Pakistani teenager discovering the wonders of Bruce Springsteen. It’s a coming of age story that I literally cannot wait to see. See it along with me this August! Official Movie site
The words “Ari Aster’s follow up to Hereditary” should be enough to get anyone excited for this one. And if it isn’t, maybe the unnerving trailer would be – have a look by clicking the photo. Midsommar looks fantastic and is for sure one of my top must see films this summer. It’s gonna be a great year for film. Midsommar Official
BRIAN SALVATORE @brianneedsanap
Stroke Manor – The Minus 5
Scott McCaughey toured and recorded with R.E.M. for 17 years, after forming the Young Fresh Fellows in 1981. The Minus 5 began in 1993, and Stroke Manor is their 12th studio album. The album is so named because in 2017 McCaughey suffered a stroke while on tour in San Francisco. His recovery has been nothing short of miraculous, and this is the first album that he has written since, most of it written in the immediate aftermath. It’s a really weird listening experience, but we should be extremely thankful we’re hearing it at all. Out now. The Minus 5
Dark Side of the Ring on Viceland
For kids like me, who grew up watching professional wrestling on Saturday mornings. it is remembered as a technicolor morality play, with clear good guys and bad guys duking it out for bragging rights. This documentary series on Viceland shows just how bizarre the world of pro wrestling is behind the scenes. The first season of this show just wrapped up, but it is the perfect choice to spend your summer watching over and over in reruns. Very real murder, conspiracies, drug use, pimps, family curses, and more all tangle with the fictional world presented to fans to form a truly enticing and engaging series. www.viceland.com
Jonathan Hickman relaunches the X-Men comics
Full disclosure: I haven’t read a contemporary X-Men comic in 25 years. But Jonathan Hickman, perhaps the visionary comics writer of the past decade, is relaunching the entire X-line under his supervision, and that means I’ve got to check out all of these books. If you’re unfamiliar with Hickman, “The Manhattan Projects” with Nick Pitarra, “East of West” with Nick Dragotta, and his epic “Fantastic Four” / “FF” saga are great places to start. Let’s get hyped. More here at Marvel
KYLE DODSON @kyledodsonfunny
The Prisoner – Audio Drama
Since January, I have been obsessed with the late 60s series, The Prisoner. Big Finish Productions is releasing their final volume of their extremely well done audio drama adaptation ths autumn so you have he summer to catch up. Mark Elstob makes an excellent Number Six and the new stories fit right in with the re-imagining of the originals. This is a must listen for any sci-fi fans! Hear more details
Produced by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Super), this horror take on the traditional Superman story looks like something out of an Elseworlds comic. With the look of “Man of Steel” and the combination of Richard Donner’s The Omen and Superman, Brightburn looks awesome and terrifying! It will certainly be a nice break from the traditional superhero mold. Official site
Speaking of breaking the mold, DC Universe’s Doom Patrol is a much needed break from the CW-esque superhero dramas. Starring Diane Guerrero, Brendan Fraser, Matt Bomer, Alan Tudyk, and Timothy Dalton, this star-studden show tackles social issues such as gender identity and mental health while still balancing action, humor, and embracing the weird! I was blown away by this show and is worth the $7.99 alone as it is the stand out series on the app. There are still 3 more episodes left to air this season, but you can binge it on the new DC Universe app.
Written by Rob Sheridan (How to Destroy Angels founding member and former art director for Nine Inch Nails), High Level is the Cyberpunk/Borderlands mash-up you didn’t know you were missing. The Vertigo book is really fun and Barnaby Bagenda’s (Suicide Squad) designs are awe-inspiring and bring a new flavor to the often overused dystopian future styles. More at DC
Apollo 11 – Blu-Ray release
This was one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. CNN Films and director Todd Douglas Miller did an amazing job restoring footage from the 1969 mission. There is no narration other than the real audio taken from that time. As someone who has always somewhat taken this mission for granted, I was blown away by the sheer amount of work that went on behind the scenes. The restoration is beautiful and you really feel like you’re part of the mission. Although released in January, it just came out on Blu-Ray and Digital. It’s the perfect film to watch in July to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. If they rerelease it for that event, I highly recommend seeing it! Official Apollo 11
MARTINA O’BOYLE @mediagrrl1
People that know me will be shocked that I’d choose a metal festival of all things, but there are some pretty big names and some pretty big hair gathering under one tent here, and the excitement of some of my headbanger friends must be contagious. 2019’s lineup includes the awesome Slash, Def Leppard, Slipknot, Tool, The Smashing Pumpkins, Trivium, Slayer, and Rob Zombie. Five loud days in Donington Park, Donington, UK June 14-16 www.downloadfestival.co.uk
Black Deer Festival
Now this is more like it – back for its second year, this British festival is all out Yankee, with barbeque pits, motorcycles, and great Country, Folk and Americana music, including Band of Horses, John Butler Trio, The Staves, Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers, The Mavericks, Neko Case, The Dead South and a fave of mine – all the way from Memphis, Lucero
Eridge Park, Kent, UK Jun 21-23 www.blackdeerfestival.com
Moulin Rouge! on Broadway
I am not really a fan of the jukebox musical on principle – it seems forced and caters to people who can’t abide taking in anything new. However, as the film Moulin Rouge was a crazily original concoction that repurposed a virtual jukebox full of hit songs in a very theatrical way, I have no problem with bringing it all to Broadway and turning up the volume. Starring Tony Award winner Karen Olivo as Satine and Aaron Tveit (Tripp from Gossip Girl!) as Christian. Previews June 28, 2019, Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
A great afternoon or evening out in London, the Underbelly Festival has something for everyone, from naughty cabaret to children’s musical reviews that teach the virtues of recycling. The various tents and venues are surrounded by a temporary garden serving absolutely delicious food and nice ales, too. Wander down for a drink and see which show catches your eye – they are all reasonably priced, too. You’ll find the fun on the banks of the Thames, under the glow of the London Eye. Through September. Official site.
The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
Speaking of being Under the Eye – there’s a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale coming this September (I’m taking the liberty of including it as Margaret Atwood will be doing a lot of press this summer). Thirtyfive years after the original, apparently Atwood has taken on board all of the feedback and questions stirred up by the successful Hulu series, and “the world we’ve been living in” as inspiration. If you haven’t read the original though, you have all summer to do so. Yay, distopian future! Available September 10. The Testaments
Double Fantasy – the Exhibition
For Liverpool, The Beatles are both history and a tourist attraction, but for the first time ever, the personal and creative relationship between John Lennon and Yoko Ono is the subject of a dedicated exhibition. The Museum of Liverpool will tell the story of the love affair between the acclaimed avant-garde artist and the Merseyside native with archive, personal objects and never-before-seen pieces from Yoko’s private collection. Through November. www.liverpoolmuseums.org
AARON CONN @aaron_conn
Rise – Alice Cooper and the Hollywood Vampires
Alice Cooper and his super group the Hollywood Vampires will be releasing their next album this summer. Rise is the follow up to their self-titled debut from 2015. While the debut was an covers album dedicated to Cooper’s “dead drunk friends,” Rise will have more original tunes. The Vampire band consists of Cooper, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and actor Johnny Depp. The album is set for release on June 21st. www.alicecooper.com
The latest movie from director Danny Boyle stars Himesh Patel as a struggling musician who finds himself in world where no one knows the Beatles except him. The movie also stars Kate McKinnon, Lily James and musician Ed Sheeran. Released in June. Official Yesterday site
Orange is the New Black
Netflix’s Orange is the New Black will be dropping its seventh and final season this year. The critically acclaimed Jenji Kohan series premered on Netflix in 2013. New Season premieres on July 26th.
Bojack Horseman on DVD
Also on Netflix, Bojack Horseman will air its sixth season sometime this year. If you don’t have Netflix or want to properly binge, the animated series, starring Will Arnett as the titular character, will also be releasing the first two seasons on DVD via Shout Factory on July 30. www.shoutfactory.com
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set for release on July 26. Set in 1969, the movie tells the story of a television actor and his stunt double trying to make it in the film industry. The movie stars Leonardo DeCaprio and Brad Pitt, along with Margot Robbie. It’ll also be the last movie to feature actor Luke Perry, who died back in March.
PAT FRANCIS @pat_francis
Another State of Grace – Black Star Riders
Hard rock purveyors Black Star Riders return at the end of the summer with their 4th album entitled Another State Of Grace. Ricky Warwick and Scott Gorham continue to wave the Thin Lizzy flag with their brand of Celtic hard rock. Each album has been better than the previous release and after losing founding member Damon Johnson to a solo career, the boys need to prove that they can shine on without Damon’s songwriting and guitar theatrics. September release Black Star Riders
Spider-Man: Far From Home
After the epic climax to the Avengers Infinity War/Endgame saga Marvel closes out Phase Three with Spider-Man: Far From Home (Avengers spoiler coming up). Tom Holland returns as our friendly neighborhood hero and he is without a doubt the best Spidey to ever wear the web-slinger’s tights. Holland brings humor and wide-eyed wonder to the unlikely hero. This time out he has lots to prove in the wake of mentor Tony Stark’s death as he faces life on his own against one of his greatest foes… Mysterio! Official Spider-Man Site
Me – Elton John
With a 50-year recording and touring career under his belt what can Elton John do next? How about finally write his autobiography simply titled, Me. I’m cheating here, as the book will be released on October 15th, but consider the film Rocketman your warmup. Fans can expect pages and pages worth of diva tantrums, all night debauchery and striking song writing, gold (and platinum) hits through the decades with long time musical partner Bernie Taupin. Macmillan Books
Fleabag – Season 2
The Britsh import Fleabag has landed on Amazon Prime and I am psyched to see what writer/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge has cooked up this time. The show’s first season caught me by surprise with it’s brutal honesty, frank humor and the ability to break the fourth wall effortlessly. Usually that device is hard to pull off but Waller-Bridge nailed it every time! More at Amazon
ROBIN LYNN @wyrdrobin
DEFCON is growing, expanding to multiple Las Vegas hotels (Paris, Ballys, and Planet Hollywood) and the 2019 theme is “Technology’s Promise.” What does it look like when we make the better choice? What kind of world do we hack together in the sunniest timeline? How does our real best-case scenario compare to the future we’ve been dreaming of for generations? The call for services, music, and parties is still open, so if you’ve got a great idea that you think DEFCON could use, hit them up, and maybe we’ll see you there! August 8-11 Defcon Official
Static-X and DevilDriver on Tour
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their breakout album Wisconsin Death Trip, Static-X is co-headlining a tour with DevilDriver this summer. This tour is going to be AMAZEBALLS. Static-X are making this a memorial for their late lead singer and founder, Wayne Static. They’ll be touring with the other musicians who played on Death Trip, and a mysterious, unnamed vocalist as well. DevilDriver is another one of those names that should instantly ring a (metal) bell, but last year’s album release, Outlaws ‘Til The End, was covers of outlaw Country songs, but with the signature flavour that only DevilDriver can bring. And, rumour has it, that DevilDriver will be playing some songs from Coal Chamber, Dez Farfara’s earlier band! This is something they’ve never done before, so you’ve got to hit it. Tour dates here
Three days of almost non-stop metal and tattoos. Located on the grounds of the Ohio State Reformatory, which is considered to be one of the most haunted buidings in the US, there’s a lineup including Shinedown, Seether, Live, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Stabbing Westward, and Andrew W.K.. But, there’s more. Filling out the Ink part of Inkcarceration, there will be tattoo artists from all over the US. Artists from Studio Vitruvius, Living Dead Tattoo Co, American Crow Tattoo, and Murder Ink, among dozens of other shops, and visit Blood Prison, a haunted house that is open every fall. What goes together better than three days of metal, tattoos, and self guided tours of the reformatory and the Blood Prison?! Mansfield Ohio, July 12-14 www.inkcarceration.com
Beastlings, I’ve never steered you wrong. Go see these things, because you’ll never regret them. Get your fill of hackers, a tour, and a festival this summer (and remember, wear your sunscreen and stay hydrated!) Check out the great things my fellow writers want to share with you, too. Because this summer is going to be awesome.