Wonder upon wonders, "new" material from the Beatles is still springing forth - on Apple apps, video discs, CD and soon at a movie theater near you.
Material Evidence: George Harrison was the gear head of the group - quite a good photographer and gadget lover - and also a media hoarder. Evidence comes to the fore tomorrow with the home video release of Martin Scorsese's documentary film "George Harrison: Living in the Material World" and the simultaneous release of the Abrams multi-touch iPad/iPhone/iPod e-book of the same name.
Chock full of rare performance clips plus stories from the late Harrison, family and friends, Scorsese's monumental two part/four hour epic delves deeply into the musician's spiritual nature as an alternative path into the Beatles' history. This treasure trove has been playing on HBO and HBO Go for a few months (and actually will screen again Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. on HBO2 East) But if you buy in tomorrow on DVD, Blu-ray or iTunes download, you'll also be treated to bonus features like a "lost" Harrison guitar solo from "Here Comes the Sun." The DVD/Blu-ray combo edition also boasts a ten song CD collection of stripped-down demos, including several from his landmark solo album "All Things Must Pass." The same CD ("Early Takes, Volume 1") will be available separately, too.
The Multi-Touch Encounter: Widow Olivia Harrison gets top billng on the companion touch me/move me Abrams digital book, a $15 interactive tome available on the iBookstore and in the vein of the recently issued "The Guitar Collection: George Harrison." The latter, selling for $9.99, helps fans make mental connections from George's guitars to the tracks he played them on, with iTunes song snippets (or complete performances if you own them), a/v clips from the artist himself and other "hands-on" demos by awe struck musicians like Mike Campbell, Gary Moore and George's son Dhani Harrison.
Olivia Harrison found a lot of her multi-media e-book's contents while rummaging through drawers at home. Among the discoveries was a digital picture frame wherein George's voice welcomes "Hello, magic mirror frame."
Beatles At the Cinema: Also full of promise is the new documentary "The Beatles: The Lost Concert," coming to movie theaters on May 17 and 22. Pundits like Philadelphia news legend Larry Kane (who trailed and befriended the Beatles on their early U.S. visits), rock original Chuck Berry and concert producer Sid Bernstein get to talk about the Beatles invasion in February, 1964, so welcome and distracting just three months after the assasination of John F. Kennedy.
All that remembering is warm-up to the real reason you'll come out to see this documentary, as it shifts to a "long lost" film of the Fab Four's first U.S. concert from Feb 11, 1964, held at the Washington (D.C.) Coliseum, later shown in theaters via closed circuit broadcast but "missing" for decades.
That broadcast process and the production's 8-camera black and white shoot were considered quite high tech for its day. Still you gotta laugh at the primitiveness of the stage setup during the dozen song show. Performing in the round, the Beatles faced first one part of the audience for a couple songs, then physlcally shifted their angle and gear themselves (no stage hands!) to face a different part of the crowd. Pity poor Ringo and his drum kit!
Reunion Plans? Don't Hold Your Breath: As for the recurring buzz of a surviving Beatles (plus offspring) "reunion concert" in London this summer, which 2012 Olympics organizers have been pushing for . . . Paul ("I'm still a Beatle") McCartney is game. But Ringo Starr says he'll be be busy touring the U.S. And Julian Lennon (who can sing just like his dad) has less-than-zero interest.