Tag Archives: 20 Feet From Stardom

March Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

28 Mar

MIGHTY MARCH

A new album by Johnny Cash is worth celebrating. Out Among The Stars (Columbia/Legacy) was supposed to come out in theJohnnyCash.March2014 mid-1980s but was shelved … Make your way down to the Motown: The Truth Is a Hit exhibit at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Tracing the history of black music with the story of Motown Records, we learn how Motown became the powerhouse of the music we love. There through July 26 … Also at the Schomburg is the 21st Century Women’s Jazz Festival overseen by Toshi Reagon and featuring Meshell Ndegeocello … Surprised and sad to learn that the San Diego Opera, the 10th largest opera company in the US, plans to close. Citing a tough fundraising environment and weak ticket sales, yet another reminder of the challenge to fund arts programs … Only ten Stradivari violas exist and one is heading to auction for $45 million, making it the most expensive instrument in the world. A Sotheby’s VP explains, “Musical instruments and string instruments are quite different from selling other things, because they need to be played.” Hear, hear … Another sale to note are the 270 acoustic vintage guitars, some from the early 1900s, at Guernsey’s on April 2 anitique guitarand 3 … The incomparable voice of k.d. lang on Broadway in After Midnight … The Allman Brothers annual Beacon concerts got off to a rousing and sentimental start owing to the announcement that two beloved members would be leaving and that the band would stop its regular touring after this year. After Gregg Allman came down with bronchitis, the band postponed their last four dates. Sometimes I feel, Like I’ve been tied, To the whipping post … To celebrate Spinal Tap’s 30th anniversary, AMC is streaming a special version of the film for free viewing through April 11. Don’t forget to crank it up to 11 … 92Y Soul Jazz Festival featured Esperanza Spalding … The NY Philharmonic reprised Sweeney Todd in concert. This time director Lonny Price had Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson in the ghoulishly delicious main roles … Also at the NY Phil, the Orchestra played back-up for Mary Chapin Carpenter, who brought along Shawn Colvin and Joan Baez … Paul Simon and Sting together on tour, made a stop at Madison Square Garden, where Sting, before he sang Simon’s America, said of Simon, “If you wanted to become a literate and literary songwriter, there is the template.” … The ever evolving, ever dynamite Nona Hendryx at Joe’s Pub … And the Oscar for Best Documentary film went to 20 Feet From Stardom, where one of its stars, Darlene Love (love her!) delivered the best thank you speech ever – in song with gratitude and grace.

GIMME A KISS

I wanna rock ‘n’ roll all night. And party every day … Call it the KISS trifecta … They will be inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall KISS.RollingStoneCover.March2014of Fame in April … They are the face of John Varvatos’ spring ad campaign, which was inspired by their album, Dressed to Kill. Wearing Varvatos suits and their famous faces, natch … Oh and by the way, did you know that the John Varvatos Bowery Store was originally the home of CBGB’s? …

And KISS is finally on the cover of Rolling Stone … Can it get any better for these guys who’ve just been at it forever and deserve it all? Mentsches they are … As Paul Stanley says, “…I’m dead serious. With all guns loaded. And a six-string guitar that can kill.”

SOME LEARNIN’

Interested in journalism and how we get our news? Check out the NYU Center for Global Daily_News.March2014.redAffairs’ new lecture series, Newsmakers: Perspectives in Global Media. The creator and host is Alexis Gelber, a longtime top editor and director of special projects at Newsweek. Alexis talks to international journalists about their use of new social media and non-traditional media to source, cover, and spread their stories. What has changed? And do these changes affect the outcome and our perspective? Alexis gets to the heart of it and breaks it down for us. Check it out.

WE CAN HELP

WQXR.March2014We know that music changes lives, saves lives. How great it is to help students by giving them instruments. Between now and April 7, donate your gently used musical instrument to the WQXR Musical Instrument Drive. Working with Sam Ash Music Stores and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, WQXR will repair the instruments and distribute them to music programs in NYC Public Schools. Drop off points are in NYC, NJ, Westchester and Long Island. A NYC Public School student myself, I know firsthand what it means to be handed an instrument that can change a life, can save a life. It did mine.

Motown.TheFourTops.March2014Soundtrack to this Issue is
The Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)

C’mon, sing along with Levi and the guys:
Sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else

 

 Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Strad quote: NY Times, March 26, 2014
Whipping Post lyrics: Unichappell Music Inc.
Paul Stanley quote: Official John Varvatos Spring/Summer 2014 campaign video
The Four Tops lyrics: Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., EMI Music Publishing

December Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

30 Dec

DECEMBER = INSPIRATION + HOPE

A heartfelt thank you for your friendship, partnership, and support. I Dec13.inspireMugappreciate our connection. There was meaningful conversation and helpful advice. Changes, too. Which led to adapting. Which led to even more changes. Such is the cycle of our lives. I look forward to learning even more from you and sharing more news and ideas with you in 2014. Let’s continue to inspire each other!

INSPIRING MUSIC…

Always inspiring, Handel’s Messiah at the NY Philharmonic. Making his NY Phil debut, Maestro Andrew Manze, with the Westminster Dec13.HandelsMessiahSymphonic Choir. And oh yes, everyone stood at Hallelujah. The soprano’s Air from Romans spoke to the season of hope: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”…Bruce Springsteen brought us High Hopes, from his new album due January 14…And his Born to Run handwritten lyrics sold for $197,000 at auction…But wait, at the same auction, Yoko Ono’s typed manuscript (with handwritten notes) of her 1964 book, Grapefruit, sold for $485,000…Beyoncé out with a new marketing strategy, I mean no marketing strategy, no, I mean a new album – announced solely on Instagram – 14 songs, 17 videos, zero promotion. Social media + digital music distribution = a new way to do it…SeaWorld in Orlando saw concert cancellations by Willie Nelson, REO Speedwagon, Martina McBride, and Cheap Trick, over keeping whales in captivity…Remember Boston? Now it’s mostly Tom Scholz, an original techie, playing all the instruments on Life, Love and Hope. There’s a title with more than a feelingKennedy Center honorees included Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, Martina Arroyo, and Carlos Santana…Speaking of. A NY institution merged with another NY institution: Billy Joel is Madison Square Garden’s first entertainment franchise. Hey, maybe some of his homegrown NY spirit will rub off on their Knicks franchise…New Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are KISS, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens, and Linda Ronstadt. Also, the E Street Band, Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham. Very cool list…Neil Young’s new release is really an old one from a 1970 solo acoustic tour, Live at the Cellar DoorDec13.Peter&TheWolfProkofiev’s enduring Peter & the Wolf, this one narrated, designed, and directed by the inspiring Isaac Mizrahi, set in Central Park, with the Juilliard Ensemble, and presented at the Guggenheim, a true NY holiday tradition…And Maestro Gilbert offers another NY tradition, the NY Phil’s New Year’s Eve Celebration, with classical comedy music duo, Igudesman & Joo. Bringing in the new year with laughter and music. Sounds perfect.

WHAT’S UP, DOCS? MUSIC!

HBO’s Six by Sondheim views the composer’s career through new versions of six of his classic songs, by some pretty great performers Dec13.MarvinHamlishincluding Audra McDonald and Darren Criss…PBS gave us Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love, a view of the artist whose life was totally devoted to music. Did you know he auditioned for Juilliard when he was 6?…And our fave doc of the year, 20 Feet From Stardom, an admiring ode to the never to be ever forgotten back-up singers, is on the shortlist for an Oscar.

GOOD BOOKS

Dec13.TheInterestingsMeg Wolitzer’s The Interestings resonates for all of us who went to a performing arts camp or school because it was part of our DNA and it would lead to our life’s passion and lifelong friends…The young protagonist of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch has a lot on his plate. His level-headedness and plain-spokenness keeps you riveted in his journey…In Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn’s portrait tallies with what Bob Dylan said of Cash, “if we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black.”Beatles vs. Stones by historian John McMillan makes the case for each…And Mark Lewisohn’s first volume of his Beatles trilogy All These Years, Tune In, arrived in a glorious (almost) 1,000-page package. He tracks their beginnings up to December 31, 1962. Make room on your shelf.

WE CAN HELP

Dec13.ASPCA.mug.1

The ASPCA Adoption Center does good work. Each precious dog has a bed, blanket, toys, and coat. Each is cleaned, evaluated, and cared for. Cats, too. The ASPCA Love is a Treat mug is a great way to show your love, while making a meaningful purchase. Donate to ASPCA.

LAST WORDS

Change is hard. Everyone agrees this is so. This year brought each of us changes that were expected and unexpected, welcome and unwelcome. We adapt to some. Others we struggle through. Hope gives us the strength to persevere. Friends and colleagues provide inspiration…“Strange fascination, fascinating me, Ah changes are taking the pace I’m going through. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes.”…Here’s to changes. And here’s to welcoming them…Cheers to a happy peaceful new year.

Dec13.DavidBowieChangesSoundtrack to this Issue is David Bowie’s Changes

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

Sources:
Marvin Hamlisch pic: PBS American Masters
Changes lyrics: words and music by David Bowie (EMI Music Publishing)

%d bloggers like this: