Bill’s Best Bets: See ‘Apocalypse, Now’ on big screens; 3-days of Comic Con; three great singers with Lubbock ties

Photo above: Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Duvall attend “Apocalypse Now” – 40 Years And Restoration during this year’s Tribeca Film Festival .

Recommended attractions this week include a rare opportunity to view yet another version – a “Final Edit” – of Francis Ford Coppola’s hypnotic Vietnam film, “Apocalypse Now,” and a jam-packed, three-day comic convention with no shortage of guest actors, authors, artists and cos-players.

While any opportunity to hear touring singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell is a treat, note how many of this week’s Best Bet vocalists got their starts in Lubbock, including Jennie Dale Lord, Kimmie Rhodes and David Gaschen.

Read on for this weekend’s Best Bets.

Special screening: ‘Apocalypse, Now: Final Cut’

For fun, I began researching films last week with stories set during and within the war in Vietnam, eventually choosing ten that continue to resonate. Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 “Apocalypse Now” is by far the more interesting title.

New release “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut” will be screened in Lubbock twice this weekend.

It will be shown at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Alamo Drafthouse, 120 W. Loop. 289. Call (806) 368-8887 for full details. Reserved seats are $10, plus convenience fee and tax.

“Apocalypse Now: Final Cut” also will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday at Premiere Cinemas, 6002 Slide Road at the South Plains Mall. Call (806) 791-0530 for details. Reserved seats are $6.75, plus fees and tax.

Seats were available at both locations Thursday night.

Hollywood studios, shy of controversy, did not place an experimental toe in the waters of Vietnam until the conflict had ended.

Coppola – strengthened by the success of his “Godfather” films and influenced by Werner Herzog’s depiction of an obsessed trip up river in 1972’s “Aguirre, Wrath of God” – co-wrote a screenplay loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella “Heart of Darkness.”

The setting for a tale of madness, obsession is moved from the 19th century Congo to the war in Vietnam in 1969-1970.

The late film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “’Apocalypse Now’ is the best Vietnam film, one of the greatest of all films, because it pushes beyond the others, into the dark places of the soul.”

“Apocalypse Now” premiered in an unfinished version in August 1979 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it tied for the prestigious Palme d’Or award.

It later would be nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Coppola), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall) – and would win two Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Sound.

In 2012, Ebert included it in his Top 10 list of the greatest films ever made.

Yet at the ’79 Cannes Film Festival, Coppola said, “My film is not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam. … We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment and, little by little, we went insane.”

Coppola had much more control as the film was produced by his own studio, American Zoetrope.

By the end of filming, he would suffer a nervous breakdown, driven to that point by an escalating budget, co-star Marlon Brando (cast as semi-psychotic Col. Kurtz) arriving on set grossly overweight and improvised lines, a typhoon that destroyed sets worth millions of dollars, and co-star Martin Sheen suffering a heart attack during filming. Excess was a challenge while filming in Southeast Asia jungles.

The film’s release was postponed more than once; Coppola edited more than a million feet of film.

The story: Captain Benjamin Willard (Sheen), an American officer, is sent on a dangerous mission. The mission, he is told, “does not exist; nor will it ever exist.” He is expected to travel up the river to find wayward, megalomaniac Kurtz, with orders to “terminate with extreme prejudice.” Kurtz is a renegade Green Beret Special Forces officer, accused of murder – and presumed insane.

The masterpiece also stars Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, G.D. Spradlin and Harrison Ford as Col. Lucas.

Supporting actor Hall visited Lubbock on a promotional visit for the film prior to its 1979 release.

The original “Apocalypse Now” would serve as a springboard for other films:

In 1991, Coppola’s wife, Eleanor Coppola, directed brilliant documentary “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse.” This film documented everything that went wrong during filming, leading to director Francis Ford Coppola’s collapse. Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh said Eleanor should have titled the film, “Watch Francis Go Crazy.”

In 2001, Francis Ford Coppola, working with editor and longtime collaborator Walter Murch, prepared “Apocalypse Now, Redux,” a significant re-edit adding 49 minutes of material that had been removed from the original film.

With 2019 marking the 40th anniversary of the film, Coppola worked on “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut.” Deleting 20 minutes of the added material from “Redux,” including the “plantation sequence,” his final cut has a running time of three hours and two minutes. This marks the first time the film has been restored from the original camera negative at 4K.

The term 4K refers to one of two high definition resolutions.

The Alamo screening on Saturday is limited to moviegoers age 18 and older. Children age 6 and older must be accompanied by an adult; no children younger than age 6 are allowed. Assisted listening devices are available on request.

No one is allowed to enter the screening after it has started.

According to Alamo’s app … there are  lots of seats available as of 1 p.m. Friday.

Hub City Comic Convention

There may be no bigger event in Lubbock this weekend than a much larger, three-day Hub City Comic Convention – which dives into so much more than comics –beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.

The event takes place throughout the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, 1501 Mac Davis Lane.

Details are updated online at and at the event’s varied social media sites.

The convention’s many guests include actress Lori Petty, who co-starred in 1991’s “Point Break” and 1992’s “A League of Their Own,’ starred in 1995 cult favorite “Tank Girl and became a recurring character in the third, fourth and seventh seasons of Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black.”

Two-day passes are $35. A one-day pass for Saturday or Sunday is $20. A three-day pass for children is $10.

The $100 VIP pass for all three days has numerous extras, including but not limited to priority seating at panels and performances; VIP T-shirt, badge and art; lounge access and free admission to mixers and after-parties.

In addition to Petty, guests include Lita, aka Amy Christine Dumas, inducted in 2014 into the WWE Hall of Fame; Kristen McGuire, voice actress working with Funimation; Tiffany Vollmer, voice actress known for her work as Bulma in the “Dragon Ball” franchise; Elise Baughman, voice actress with much experience in Japanese anime series and Neil Kaplan, whose numerous vocal credits include Optimus Prime in “Transformers: Robots in Disguise.”

Rampage Wrestling will sponsor matches at the convention.

Dallas comedy ensemble Take One Improv is on the list of performers.

Visiting comic book artists are led by Sam De La Rosa, a veteran with Marvel and DC who has drawn covers for Venom and Spider-Man comic books.

Visiting authors include A.G. Howard, whose popular books include the “Splintered” trilogy; Libbi Duncan, who will read from her almost completed “Petrichor;” Andrew Brandt; and former journalist and suspense novelist Rick Treon. Most will offer readings and provide autographs.

The convention also offers a café, celebrity panels, card trading areas and cosplay performance contests.

David Gaschen

David Gaschen, a proud Monterey High School and Texas Tech School of Music alumnus, is no stranger to Lubbock – even after performing in the title role of “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway.

He excelled in cities ranging from Chicago to Basel, Switzerland, before making his Broadway debut.

All told, he’s performed as the Phantom more than 1,300 times in his career.

This week Gaschen will be the featured performer at the fall kickoff by Tech’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. OLLI will sponsor a concert and opening reception from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Museum of Texas Tech, 3301 Fourth St.

Visitors are encouraged to use the west entrance.

For this special performance, tickets are $20 for both OLLI members and non-members. Seating is limited.

To RSVP or make advance reservations, visit online, or call (806) 742-6554, or simply e-mail [email protected].

In addition to Gaschen’s performance, visitors will enjoy appetizers and drinks beforehand.

Gaschen was inducted into Lubbock’s West Texas Walk of Fame in September 2006. He returned to Lubbock to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from Tech’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.

At the request of Gerald Dolter, voice professor with Tech’s School of Music, Gaschen also performed in a Lubbock Moonlight Musical production of “Les Miserables,” and eventually a Texas Tech Opera production of “Phantom of the Opera.”

Upon graduating from Tech in 1993, Gaschen opted to first give Chicago a try. There, he performed in more than 20 musical plays, including the roles of Frederic in “The Pirates of Penzance” and Karl Franz in “The Student Prince,” both for Light Opera Works of Chicago.

In May 1995, he was 26 and singing the role of “The Phantom of the Opera” (in German) four times weekly as an alternate in the Swiss production. He became the youngest performer in history to be cast as the Phantom in a professional production.

Gaschen soon had the lead role, singing six times in German and twice in English each week in Basel, Switzerland, before being promoted to the lead role in the major production in Hamburg, Germany.

In 1999, and more than 1,000 performances later, Gaschen found himself on a Broadway stage, with famed “The Phantom of the Opera” producer Harold Prince in the audience. That audition would find Gaschen hired to join the play’s Broadway ensemble.

Producers of “The Phantom of the Opera” continue to call on Gaschen to fill in temporarily at various locations on tour.

However, Gaschen made a personal decision to leave Broadway, return to Texas as a home base and seek success in the recording and concert arenas.

He has sung with numerous symphony orchestras. He’s included on the compact disc “Boadway’s Famous Phantoms.”

Gaschen’s solo CDs include a self-titled debut, “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” and a Christmas CD.

Rodney Crowell and Kimmie Rhodes

Rodney Crowell, one of the recording industry’s most beloved singer-songwriters, returns to Lubbock for a headlining appearance at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cactus Theater, 1812 Buddy Holly Ave.

Opening will be singer, playwright, actress and Lubbock native Kimmie Rhodes.

Reserved seats are $40 on the first four rows (A-D), and $35 for the remainder of the lower floor. Tickets are $30 for traditional balcony seats, with balcony box seats sold out. (Box seats include free concessions.)

Take note: Cactus ticket prices listed above all are “base prices;” varied fees and tax always will be added to base prices at time of purchase. All sales are final. The Cactus Theater does not permit exchanges, refunds or credit for future shows in exchange for unused tickets. The theater’s box office is staffed from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (when there’s a show that night). It is not staffed on Mondays with a major holiday.

Call the Cactus at 762-3233 for information. Tickets can be reserved online at

Crowell, 69, released five number-one singles (on Hot Country Songs chart) from his 1988 album “Diamonds and Dirt.”

He’s written and produced songs for other artists and won two personal Grammy Awards: in 1990 for Best Country Song for “After All This Time,” and another in 2014 for Best Americana Album “Old Yellow Moon.”

Crowell was influenced by singer-songwriters Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Crowell also played guitar for three years with Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band.

Although best known as a songwriter and alternative country artist, Crowell enjoyed mainstream popularity during the late 1980s and 1990s. He also produced then wife Rosanne Cash’s albums in the early 1980s.

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Music City Walk of Fame in 2007. He received the Poets’ Award from the Academy of Country Music in 2019.

Among songs written by Crowell and guided into the top 10 by other artists are “Song for the Life” by Alan Jackson, “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban, “Ashes By Now” by Lee Ann Womack and “Please Remember Me” by Tim McGraw.

Kimmie Rhodes was born in Wichita Falls, but moved to Lubbock with her family when she was 5.

Rhodes released 16 solo CDs, wrote and produced three musicals, and published a novella/cookbook. She was associate producer for documentary “They Called Us Outlaws” for the Country Music Hall of Fame, produced documentary and music programming for her show “Radio Dreams,” and appeared in multiple films and the theater production titled “Is There Life After Lubbock?”

Her songs have appeared on many television and film soundtracks.

Saturday morning with The Jenni Dale Lord Band

This is somewhat of a combined attraction – but I was lured to it, in part, because working musicians accepting any gig on a Saturday before lunchtime traditionally are few and far between.

(Feel free to smile, knowing some working musicians may not arrive back home on Friday nights and hit the hay long before daybreak.)

That said, this Best Bet kicks off with a reminder of the weekly Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market, a fun – and free – event taking place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday through Oct. 19, near the intersection of Buddy Holly Avenue and 19th Street.

The Farmers Market is a kid-friendly, dog-friendly, family event showcasing the finest in local produce, meat, dairy, cheese, baked goods and the arts.

This Saturday, visitors are bound to also notice the sound of live music across the street.

Specifically, The Jenni Dale Lord Band is booked to perform from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at The Garden, 1801 Buddy Holly Ave. This morning and early afternoon concert has no admission charge.

Born in Lubbock. Jenni Dale Lord took her first music lesson at age 4 and recalls writing her first song four years later. She began focusing on the guitar, rather than the piano, when she turned 11. In the years since, some have wanted to label her country, but Americana provides a better fit as she experiments in communicating via multiple musical styles.

Fact: Lord rocked Austin, the state’s (or the world’s) live music capital, for 10 years before deciding to return to West Texas. At that point, after years of writing music on her own, she took the time to round up a group of amazing musicians who could help set her tunes on fire, figuratively speaking.

The band’s high energy and heartstring-pulling capabilities have entertained audiences far and wide – and now, morning and night.

The Jenni Dale Lord Band includes acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, although she often invites guest musicians to take part. She has recorded three successful albums, and a number of charted radio singles, including a duet with Joe Ely.

Sami D., with theOUTlanderproject, wrote, “Lubbock native, and one time Austin resident Jenni Dale Lord, has a lot of things going for her – vocal versatility, dare-you-not-to-dance rhythm guitar, seamless transitions through all the sub-genres that make up Americana music, with a uniqueness that always reminds you that you are listening to a Jenni Dale Lord song. What might strike you most of all, however, is (her) ability to turn a phrase that alternately makes you laugh or sigh or feel a slight piercing in your heart, but always makes you want to listen again.”