Saturday, March 31, 2012

Broadway Torch

Dorothy Loudon Leslie-Uggams5
Audra McDonald Diahann Carroll
Clockwise: Dorothy Loudon; Leslie Uggams; Diahann Carroll; and Audra McDonald.

Some of the greatest love songs have been written for the Broadway stage, and sung by what are some of the most talented ladies available. This has been true for much of the 20th century, and in the 21st as well. Sometimes the most vivid songs came out of the shows with greatest reputation, while others were first heard in shows that might be forgotten, save for a single song that touched all. Take, for example, when the amazing Dorothy Loudon starred in the 1979 musical Ballroom. The show had a book by Jerome Kass and music by Billy Goldenberg, with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. It was based on a 1977 television movie. In it, a middle-aged widow finds new love when she goes to a local dance hall. However, she finds out her new love is not hers alone. He is married. That is why she sings Fifty Percent.

Loudon was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance, only to lose to Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd. If you enjoyed this song, you can find the Original Broadway Cast album for Ballroom on iTunes and Amazon.

The next show opened on Broadway in December 1954, and had a pretty incredible pedigree. House of Flowers had music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and book and lyrics by Truman Capote. This was the only music Capote had written. It was based on Capote's short story, first published in Breakfast at Tiffany's, one of three companion pieces along side the famous story and movie. The production featured a young and beautiful Diahann Carrol, as well as Pearl Bailey, Juanita Hall, Ray Walston, and Geoffrey Holder. The following clip shows Carroll singing A Sleepin' Bee from the score.

This was the first theatrical production outside of Trinidad and Tobago to feature the new Caribbean instrument - the steel pan. If you enjoyed this song, you can find House of Flowers on Amazon, and featured on The Lady, The Music, The Legend album on iTunes.

This next treat came from an anti-war show with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E. Y. Harburg, and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Indeed, Hurray For What! had the same men who wrote the score to The Wizard of Oz, and the immortal Over The Rainbow. The song was written in 1937 for Broadway star Kay Thompson. She was replaced before opening by Vivian Vance, who later went on to gain fame as Lucy Ricardo's friend Ethel. The song went on to become a Pop and Jazz standard, and be performed by some of the greats, including Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, and Bobby Darin. But here we are graced with the gorgeous voice of the beautiful Audra McDonald to sing Down With Love.

Try as I might, I could not find a cast album for Hooray For What! But you can find the song on The Second Barbra Streisand Album on iTunes and Amazon.

The next story began life as a 1955 novel, Auntie Mame. By 1956, it was a Broadway play starring the incredible Rosalind Russell as the free-spirited aunt. Russell earned the Academy Award for her performance in the 1958 movie. It seems almost surprising it took another eight years for the first musical version to appear on Broadway, with a book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee and music and lyrics by the legendary Jerry Herman. This time, Angela Lansbury starred as Mame, and Bea Arthur as her drunken friend, Vera. The show had a great score, including a stunning song Mame sang to her nephew, Patrick. Enjoy while Leslie Uggams sings If He Walked Into My Life from the musical Mame.

If you enjoyed this song, you can find the Original Broadway Cast album of Mame, featuring Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur, on iTunes and Amazon.

Being Human BBC • Puppy Love

Tonight at 9PM/8PM Central, BBC American will air the latest episode of the supernaturally good series Being Human. This episode is Puppy Love, and it proves that just when you weren't sure it can get better, they make it so! But before I start in on tonight's episode, I will begin where I left off for Hold The Front Page. Well, at least the final 20 minutes. I'll start with Annie taking Adam away from Yvonne, to see if he was seduced by her charms, or by her succubus magic. Once away from her, his feeling are different, and he is angry, and needs some space.

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Annie must return to the B&B and tell Yvonne, who is distraught. She goes outside, and tells the press she is guilty of stealing Adam's innocence, for she is a monster, and hates them all. As she returns to the house, photog Peter asks if she knows what Adam is... Annie shifts into Hal's room, where every piece of furniture is jammed against the door. They talk, with Annie suggesting Peter needs to be silenced. They go to see him together... In Peter's hotel, Cutter is waiting for the photographer's return. Peter invites Cutter into his room. Adam is out on the streets, seemingly on the hunt. Tom is closed in his room, aching to company. Yvonne is alone trying to figure out what is next in her life. Cutter goes over the evidence Peter has, and tells him it is weak, just a bunch of empty photographs.

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Peter suggests what he really needs is a vampire, live and in person. It is then we learn that Peter's family was destroyed by vampires, killing him mother as he watched. Cutter tries to be consoling. Peter then mentions that he had to invite Cutter in, and knows what he is. In an alley, Adam is starting to stalk a pretty blond. Back at the B&B, Yvonne stalks as well, and ends up outside of Tom's room. Tom tries to talk her away. Back at the hotel, Peter has Cutter trapped in the room, courtesy of a cross on the only door. Cutter fights back, but seems unable to reach Peter, who has journalists and police coming to the room. Back on the streets, Adam seems ready to go in all in a pub. He starts chatting with the girl, when he sees Yvonne on the local news. He hears what she says, and soon leaves the pub.

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Hal and Annie arrive at the hotel, and find the door ajar, and Peter's drained body. While the cross doesn't affect Hal, he remembers being in a monastery 300 ago. He was trapped, and used a drained body to get out, to protect him from the crucifix. Hal keeps staring at the bloody mess, and Annie knows she must get him out of there. At the B&B, Yvonne walks into Tom's room, eager for his touch. He shakes her hand, and her power overcomes him. She shoves him down on the Bed, and knows she will kill him. As she starts, Adam comes into the house, and she goes running after him. He keeps a door between them so he can have his say without her magic. They both admit they hate what they are, and perhaps they should be together after all. They really do love one another. She opens the door, and they are together once again. Hal and Annie see the couple off, and Hal stays clear of them. She did almost kill him, after all. Just before they pull away, Adam leaves them with an obscene gesture. As Annie and Hal walk back into the house, Hal admits he was going to hurt Peter. Annie admits she was going to let him. Meanwhile, Cutter is at his laptop, posting a video of Tom transforming on YouTube.

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So, now we can begin with the new episode, Puppy Love. The episode opens with the gorgeous and haunting music track under the opening. The song is Got Monsters, by transgender singer/songwriter Mina Caputo, formerly known as Keith Caputo.

While the song plays, we see Tom waking up, and a young girl pretty much mirroring with her own morning ritual. At the end, she leaves a note for her parents, and is ready to leave her house. Then to Hal, organizing eggs at the cafe. He is keeping busy, to avoid his demons, his thirst. Tom is watching him, obviously tiring of the OCD display. Hal takes the moment to ask him to help him in his rehabilitation, to step in, just as Leo had done decades earlier. Tom would be honored. But before they can talk more, Hal notices a young girl watching the cafe.

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It seems she is not a vampire, but "she smells more like a werewolf," according to Hal. When they go out to see her, she runs. They go after, and soon her rape whistle is sounding, deafening all. They bring her back to the B&B to talk. She's done great research to find out how to find Tom. She was researching how to find him starting with the werewolf videos, cross referencing databases and areas of industrialization, but it was going to a cafe with wifi than made her find Tom. Her name is Allison, and she asks what kind of idiot is Tom, to expose himself on YouTube? She shows him a clip, one of he and George transforming that was filmed by Cutler. Seems the clip went viral, with over a million hits. It was also trending on Twitter, and there is a Facebook page dedicated to the video. Might Hal go under cover, to find out more over some blood? Hal is mortified and leaves. Tom, on the other hand, knows exactly who to speak to. Meanwhile, Cutler is in his office, planting more salacious info about werewolves on Twitter. But he visitors, Goldie is there, in charge of UK Operations. She is taking over, blowing by Cutler. She wants a werewolf to have a little dogfight, although Cutler wants to save Tom for something else. Goldie doesn't care.

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Back at the B&B, a man is banging on the door, yelling and waking up Eve. Annie is afraid the Old Ones are there to get Eve. She pushes back, and discovers it isn't a vampire. Just a dead neighbor. Back on the waterfront, Goldie is planning for the arrival of the Old Ones, and Tom is there with Allison, checking it out. Tom plans to get the information the old fashioned way - via torture and staking. Allison is not impressed. They go to speak to a vampire, who runs. Allison tries to use logic to talk, but that won't work. The vampire goes after her, and Tom stakes the vampire. Allison is angered by this, and Tom has an idea. Back at the B&B, Annie is near tears as Emrys, the neighbor she accidentally killed, prattles on, not yet understanding he is dead. Back in Cutler's office, Tom and Allison are there to ask about the YouTube video, and the other talk online, all of which were planted by Cutler. They give Allison the lay of the land, and come up with a plan. And Tom will give Allison staking lessons. Back in the cafe, Hal is working and singing, making the most of the Isley Brothers Work To Do, which is playing on the radio as he mops the floor.

He looks up, and there is a lovely young lady there. They kinda chat, although the awkward pauses are found between the awkward chatter. She leaves the cafe. Back at the B&B, Annie is losing patience with Emrys, but then Tom and Allison come home, and she panics, trying to hide Emrys.

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So the wolves go upstairs to Tom's room, and the flirting, awkward as it is, begins. Allison tells Tom she liked his earlier argument, and that she will help him with debate, and he can help her slay vampires. As they begin to work, we hear the sound of Donny Osmond, the Justin Bieber of his day, singing Puppy Love, backed by his brothers.

She teaches him the rules of debate, and he teaching her the finer aspects of staking. They are adorable. Back at the cafe, Hal is talking to Tom, hoping to do some running together, but Tom has plans with Allison. He feels a bit left out, but is soon offering advice on courtship. As Hal pontificates on the merits of the dowry system, in comes the pretty girl from before, and he hides behind the counter. Soon, Tom tells her Hal is joining he and his girlfriend on a date, and invites her to join them. On her way out, she says her goodbye to the pathetic vampire.

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Back at the B&B, Allison screams while in the shower, discovering Emrys watching her. The secret is out, and the roommates learn Annie killed him. She is trying to help him with whatever unfinished business he has so he can move on. But he might have the answer. He's never been kissed. Annie laughs, but the others understand. He asks if perhaps Annie will be his first. Just as their lips are about to meet, Annie notices he has on a wedding ring... She takes him to see his ex-wife, for Annie knows that is the business. He speaks to her, telling her he loves her still. Annie escorts him to his door, only to discover it is a closet. More thought is needed.

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Allison, Tom and Hal are on the steps of a public building as Hal has a nervous breakdown about his date with Alex. They are going to the museum. Tom and Allison are the geekiest of couples, giving Alex and Hal plenty to roll their eyes about as they walk in to the museum. At the warehouse, Goldie is making arrangements for the Old Ones. Cutler comes in, asking for her help with his werewolf friend, who more than likely took out her other assistant/toy. This upsets her trainer/plaything, Kane. He wants to share the credit, but Goldie wants it all, and sends Kane out to get the job done, and kill the werewolf.

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Back at the museum, Tom is telling Allison he likes her, only she seems be missing his point. While trying to give Hal and Alex some alone time, he gets a call from Cutler, telling him the vampire is after him. He leaves with Allison, and Alex offers herself to Hal for a kiss, and he is unsure if he can control himself. He hears the beat of her heart, feels the pulse in her neck... He pulls away, leaving her alone. Back by the warehouse, Kane is looking for Tom, and is confronted by he and Allison. While they have the upper hand, soon the vampire has Allison in a hold. Tom knows he can't hurt her, and soon Kane is staked. And Allison gives Tom a big kiss, celebrating her first staking.

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What will happen in the last 15 minutes of the Puppy Love? Will Tom find love with Allison? Can Annie help Emrys find his door? Can Hal resist the urges to drink and get a kiss from Alex? Can Cutler plot and plan his way to overthrow Goldie? Will Tom get more than a kiss? Watch Saturday night, 9PM/8 Central on BBC America. Need to see a preview? Watch this...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Diva Dance Party • 2006

madonna2812 Beyoncé
mariah-carey-wallpaper Gwen Stefani
Clockwise: Madonna; Beyoncé; Gwen Stefani; and Mariah Carey.

To celebrate the release of Madonna's latest album, MDNA, I will start out with her track from 2005, Hung Up. Off the album Confessions On A Dance Floor, Madonna spent the latter part of 2005 and the early part of 2006 on the charts and in the clubs on the strength of songs like Hung Up. The songs was written by Madonna, Stuart Price, and Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, the B's in ABBA!

You can find Confessions On A Dance Floor on iTunes and Amazon. The next song can be found on The Emancipation of Mimi, the 2005 release from Mariah Carey. The album contained many a hit for the Pop star, many continued the success in the clubs with great mixes. But It's Like That, written by Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, and Johntá Austin, was perfect for whatever you wanted, as performed by Carey and Fatman Scoop and Dupri.

You can find The Emancipation of Mimi on iTunes and Amazon. Our next song had an interesting journey to the clubs. Check On It was written by Beyoncé Knowles, Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean, Sean Garrett, Angela Beyince, and Stayve Thomas to be a part of the soundtrack for The Pink Panther remake featuring Beyoncé. Although it didn't make the soundtrack, Beyoncé decided to rerecord it with the assistance of Bun B and Slim Thug and release it as a single, and a bonus track on the Destiny's Child #1s album. So Check On It with Beyoncé.

You can find Check On It on iTunes and Amazon. In 2004, Gwen Stefani stepped away from the band No Doubt, and released her first solo effort, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. She was interested in making an album of silly dance music, and one of those songs was Hallaback Girl. It was written by Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, and Chad Hugo, in response to an interview where Courtney Love referred to Stefani as a cheerleader. With the single and album, she also became a chart-topping solo act.

You can find Love. Angel. Music. Baby on iTunes and Amazon.

What Happened To Grandma • Memories

What Happened To Grandma

The other day I was minding my own business and checking my email, and I had an email from a cute man from the North, Mark Munroe. I had featured the Canadian singer/songwriter on the release of his single Secrets & Lies. But it wasn't about his own music, instead he wanted to point out to me some new music by the Canadian group What Happened To Grandma.

Mark told me a bit of their story, how they were separated at a young age, but at last long-lost brothers Alex and Matt found each other in 2010. It appears their shared DNA along with a great love of music drew them together, and are making their own flavor of new-wave dance music in a big way. With a sound that's reminiscent of the synth driven dance-pop of that era, the Canadian-Russian duo is doing just that, with incredibly crisp production and punchy filled-with-attitude vocals. Their sometimes dark and foreboding lyrics mix perfectly with their heavy but danceable instrumentals leaving listeners wondering why they ever listened to anything else. Well it won't be long before everyone is talking about What Happened To Grandma.

You can get a FREE DOWNLOAD of the single here. You can also find them on Facebook.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

American Idol 11 • Top 9 Results

Last night, the latest crop of Idol wannabees picked songs by their Idols, and were mentored by the amazing Stevie Nicks. For their efforts, the kids were rewarded with five of nine standing ovations, leaving everyone to wonder how genuine those ovations were. Who will go home? One can never be sure, can they? I predicted that Hollie, Deandre and Heejun would be in the bottom, might I be right?

American Idol Season 11 Top 9
Nicki Minaj Scotty McCreery
Top: American Idol Top 9. Bottom l to r: Nicki Minaj, and Scotty McCreery.

The judges are introduced, and are quickly joined by Crusty, who announces that Nicki Minaj and Scotty McCreery will be performing, and there is a big announcement about Aerosmith. Seems they are heading back on tour, and we see clips to prove it. And we see several get tweets from their idols, saying nice things about their performances. Except for Deandre. Instead, he gets a live appearance from Eric Benet, who tells him how much he enjoyed it. Dendre is thrilled. Ford Music Video this week features the music of Twisted Sister. The kids sing I Wanna Rock.

We also find out the kids are moving in to the mansion, so I would think this means we get to have some behind-the-scenes clips coming. Crusty calls Elise, Phillip and Hollie to the center of the stage, the first to learn their fate. Jimmy I thinks Elise was amazing last night, and that he and Stevie loves Phillip as well. Hollie gets news that is not quite as kind, finding her to be lacking soul. Right away, Crusty sends Hollie to the stools, in the bottom this week. Phillip is sent to safety, as is Elise. After a commercial break, get a performance by Nicki Minaj, and her latest single, Starships.

Starships is on Nicki's soon-to-be-released album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. That album is scheduled to be released next Tuesday, April 3rd. You can find Starships on iTunes Clean or Explicit, or Amazon, Clean or Explicit. After a rather energetic performance, Nicki chats with Crusty and the judges, asking to join the panel, but Jennifer quickly says no! LOL Colton, Joshua and Heejun are called to the stage. In the recap, Jimmy I wasn't as impressed by Colton's tears, and thought he suffered because of it. Joshua gets bad marks for his performance, but high ones for his trio shot. Jimmy I isn't kind to Heejun, and thinks he is the weakest left. We learn Colton is safe, leaving two to learn their fate. Joshua is safe, and Heejun is in the bottom three, joining Hollie. After a break, Crusty introduces the youngest guy to ever have an album debut at #1 on the Billboard chart. Scotty McCreery Water Tower Town.

Water Tower Town is on Scotty's post-Idol debut, Clear As Day. You can find Clear As Day on iTunes or Amazon. After his performance, Jimmy I comes out and awards him the Platinum Record, a sweet moment.

Finally, we know Skylar, Deandre, Jessica have been awaiting their turn with Crusty to learn the results. Jimmy I was a bit disappointed with Skylar's song choice. Jimmy is a bit lukewarm on Deandre, and feels he needs more experience. Jimmy is on board with Jessica, and loves her. She is the first to learn she is safe. Quickly we discover Skylar is in the bottom three, and Deandre is safe. That is a surprise, to be sure. So it is Hollie, Heejun and Skylar in the bottom three, and one will be singing for their future. After a commercial break, we learn that Skylar is safe. The person with the fewest votes is Heejun, and he will be singing A Song For You to try to get the judges save. This is a long song, and the judges will have almost no time to render their decision. As he finishes, Jennifer is tearing up, and it looks like the save will not be played tonight. And Steven informs him that is the case. Goodbye, Heejun.

Heejun Han, American Idol Season 11

Goliad Uprising Trailer

The trailer for Goliad Uprising, the latest cinematic release from writer/director Paul Bright.

Goliad Uprising trailer
Goliad Uprising trailer Goliad Uprising trailer Shannon Lark & Aaron Weisinger Goliad Uprising
Goliad Uprising trailer Goliad Uprising trailer Goliad Uprising trailer

Goliad Uprising: the time has come. A new technology that controls the internet is controlling you. Ariel Loner and her band of hacktivists fight back against the Goliad Corporation which has invented a device enabling users to see the internet in their minds. Millions of people are wired into the new technology unaware the corporation is wired into them, controlling their emotions and changing the shape of politics forever.

Visit the official site here, if you trust your internet service provider. Like it on Facebook, unless you think your account is being watched. Check the trailer out on YouTube, it just might save someone's life...

Goliad Uprising trailer

Goliad Uprising is a Sci-Fi thriller, featuring great performances by Shannon Lark, Aaron Weisinger, Paul Bright, Cynthia Schiebel, Mike Justice, and Matthew Charles Burnett.


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