Tag Archives: Sweeney Todd

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

30 Apr


Record Store Day reminded us how great vinyl is and will always be. The good news is that indie stores around the country are Records.LucyLinusgrowing. Sad news is J&R closed … Robert Moog was surely smiling down on Asheville, NC, where his great invention was celebrated at the five-day festival Moogfest 2014. Brings back memories of ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery, doesn’t it? … Welcomed into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry were the original cast recording of Sweeney Todd, Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, Isaac Hayes’s theme from Shaft, and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A WheelJill Sobule’s new album, Dottie’s Charms, was inspired by an old charm bracelet she got as a gift. She asked Jonathan Lethem, Luc Sante, and other authors to write lyrics based on each of the charms … Former French first lady, Carla Bruni at Town Hall singing folk-pop ballads from her Little French Songs album … Billy Joel showed up at a Long Island elementary school concert and sat in the back of the auditorium … PBS’s In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul featured Aretha, Patti, and others paying homage to their musical “foremothers” … “It’s quite nonintellectual and nonverbal; it’s just – feeling,” on his songwriting process in Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes HBO documentary … Guys and Dolls at Carnegie Hall with Nathan Lane. Amen … Aerosmith’s Dream On remix with a children’s chorus for the Boston Marathon made for a mighty inspiring anthem … And the Blood Moon glowed crimson.


“I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. This is Mockingbird for a new generation.” So said Harper Lee on ToKillAMockingbird.HarperLeeher 88th birthday, finally allowing a Kindle version of To Kill A Mockingbird … In 2006, Lee wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine that discussed her love of books.

“[In] an abundant society where people have laptops, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me: I still prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up–some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.”


In recognition of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts’ exhibit Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles.sneakers.4.30.14.crBeatles! in honor of the 50th anniversary of the group’s coming to America, consider making a donation to support their great efforts. Besides lots of Beatles tchotchkes, there were instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, correspondence from 1964 to 1966, and special events and films. I was thrilled to see the original promoter agreements for their American tour. The Performing Arts Library has always been a huge part of my life. Become a NYPL member, donate, or volunteer … For her 90th birthday, Doris Day asked in lieu of flowers, send a donation to her pet foundation, the Doris Day Animal League.


Soundtrack to this Issue is
Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Still You Turn Me On
From their album, Brain Salad Surgery (great title!).
Then listen to Greg Lake’s version with just an acoustic guitar.


Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”


Harper Lee letter to Oprah: May 7, 2006 published in O magazine’s July “special summer reading issue”
Beatles sneaker pic: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

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

28 Mar


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.


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.”


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.


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


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


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

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