(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
"Little Steven" Van Zandt and Sirius Satellite Radio will celebrate rock 'n' roll's future on the 50th anniversary of the landmark film "Blackboard Jungle," which jump-started rock n' roll with its theme song, "Rock Around The Clock." A full schedule of bi-coastal, groundbreaking events, premieres and concertsfrom March 20-29 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the film and the official 24/7 launch of Sirius Satellite Radio's Underground Garage channel's full roster of DJs.
"Little Steven" Van Zandt's 24-hour, commercial-free Underground Garage channel on Sirius celebrates the entirety of rock 'n' roll — past, present and future. "We don't care if it's 50 years old — or 50 minutes old. If it's good rock 'n' roll, we play it," says creator Van Zandt. The channel extends the philosophy and concept of his phenomenally successful two-hour, weekly, syndicated radio show "Little Steven's Underground Garage" into a non-stop marathon, literally rocking around the clock.
The 10-day Underground Garage celebration kicks off on March 20 – the date in 1955 that the film "Blackboard Jungle" received its world premiere in New York. The film's theme song, Bill Haley & The Comets' "Rock Around The Clock," was the first of the new genre called rock 'n' roll to be used as a film theme and within three months had become rock 'n' roll's first ever number one hit, eventually selling 45 million copies. The Comets will perform and speak at some of the celebration's scheduled events that will honor rock 'n' roll's past and salute its future:
** March 20 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York: On the exact 50th anniversary of the film's opening, Little Steven will host a special screening of "Blackboard Jungle" followed by a Q & A with The Comets, Paul Mazursky and Peter Ford.
** March 21 at the Spirit Nightclub in New York: The Comets pass the torch to the new standard bearers of rock 'n' roll at an invite-only party to celebrate the 24/7 launch of SIRIUS Satellite Radio's Underground Garage channel and the 50th anniversary of the film. The Comets are guests of honor, and the full DJ lineup of the Underground Garage channel will be introduced. Garage rock leading lights The Chains, The Woggles, The Charms, The Chesterfield Kings, The Fleshtones, The Mooney Suzuki, and rock 'n' roll The Comets perform a public concert. "The Underground Garage Coronation Ball" also celebrates the 53rd anniversary of what is considered the first-ever rock 'n' roll concert: "The Moondog Coronation Ball," promoted in Cleveland by pioneering deejay Alan Freed on March 21, 1952.
** March 22 at the The Museum of Television & Radio in New York City: "Rock Is Fifty!," a new specially-created compilation by award-winning filmmaker Andrew Solt and SOFA Entertainment of rare performances from the Ed Sullivan Archives, many never seen since their original airings, followed by a Van Zandt-hosted Q & A session with The Comets. After the opening night event, screenings of "Rock Is Fifty!" will run daily for a month.
** March 27 at The American Cinematheque at The Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles: Little Steven emcees a screening of "Blackboard Jungle" and Bill Haley & The Comets' 1956 film "Rock Around the Clock" at the restored Grauman's Egyptian Theatre. There will be a discussion with two of the film's stars, Paul Mazursky and Jamie Farr, and The Comets.
** March 29 at The Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles: Little Steven and The Comets commemorate the opening of two major exhibitions: "Rock Is Fifty!" is an exhibit of rare rock 'n' roll memorabilia specially created for this anniversary by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and Gibson Musical Instruments presents "50 Years Of Gibson Guitars," a display of vintage guitars that helped shape rock 'n' roll. Both exhibitions are set to run until July 9 (the 50th anniversary of Billboard certifying "Rock Around the Clock" as rock 'n' roll's first number one record).
** March 29 at The Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles: Little Steven hosts the California premiere of the public screening series "Rock Is Fifty!," marking the screening with a special interview with The Comets.
** March 29 at The Viper Room in Los Angeles: The Comets headline (opening band TBA).
–Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen