Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood and Pete Yarrow and Joe Namath...and more!

" They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy, and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.'
-Thomas Hobbes, English political philosopher (1588-1679)

Go ahead, make my day!
Today is the 81st birthday of the former mayor of Carmel, NY. A mayor who although he has had a major Hollywood career and still manages to do so has never been involved in a scandal!
His first leading lady and screen kiss was with Carol Channing!
Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood!
"'Clint Eastwood: A Life in Pictures," edited by Pierre-Henri Verhlac (Chronicle Books, $40), a new book documenting legendary actor Clint Eastwood's life.
Clint started trying out for bit parts in B-movies, and was signed as a contract player for Universal. He found work as an actor with brief, uncredited appearances in Tarantula (1955) and Revenge of the Creature (1955)
Revenge of the Creature is the first sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The film is notable as being the only sequel to a 3-D film to be also shot in 3-D. It is also the first screen role for Clint Eastwood, who appeared as an uncredited lab technician early in the film.
He is shown having a discussion with the professor, accusing a test subject cat of eating a lab rat. However his character had in fact accidentally put the lab rat in his lab coat pocket. The movie was released May 11, 1955, in the United States. In 1997, it was aired as an episode of the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which mocked the film.
Having survived being riddled with bullets at the end of the first film, the Gill-man is captured and sent to the Ocean Harbor Oceanarium in Florida, where he is studied by animal psychologist Professor Clete Ferguson and ichthyology student Helen Dobson.
Helen and Clete quickly begin to fall in love, much to the chagrin of Joe Hayes, the Gill-man's keeper. The Gill-man takes an instant liking to Helen (as he did to Kay in the first film), which severely hampers Professor Ferguson's efforts to communicate with him. Ultimately, the Gill-man escapes from his tank, killing Joe in the process, and flees to the open ocean.
Unable to stop thinking about Helen, he soon begins to stalk her and Ferguson, ultimately abducting her from a seaside restaurant where the two are at a party. Clete tries to give chase, but the Gill-man escapes to the water with his captive. Clete and the local law enforcement must now try to track down Helen and her amphibious abductor.
John Agar was also in this film!
John G. Agar (January 31, 1921 – April 7, 2002)ANOTHER AQUARIAN! He and Carol Channing were born on the SAME DAY! John's birthplace: Chicago, IL.
Location of death: Burbank, CA
John was an American actor. He starred alongside John Wayne in the films Sands of Iwo Jima, Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, but was later relegated to B movies, such as Tarantula, The Mole People, The Brain from Planet Arous, Flesh and the Spur, and Hand of Death. He also starred with Lucille Ball in the 1951 movie The Magic Carpet.
REVENGE OF THE CREATURE led to credited supporting roles in Francis in the Navy
(1955), The First Traveling Saleslady (1956), Lafayette Escadrille (1958)
and Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958).
He got his breakthrough at the end of the decade with the TV series "Rawhide"
(1959), where he was a cast member for six years.
As Rowdy Yates, he made the show his own and became a household name around the country.

Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born in San Francisco, he is the son of steelworker Clinton Eastwood Sr. (1906-1970), and factor worker Ruth Eastwood-Belden (nee Runner, 1909-2006). The family moved around Northern California before settling in Oregon.
After graduating high school, he moved to Seattle and worked as a lifeguard before training as a lifeguard for the military in 1951. After completing his service, he moved to Los Angeles where he found work digging swimming pools.
Funny, Carol Channing was born in Seattle and moved to San Francisco.
But Eastwood found even bigger and better things with A Fistful of Dollars (1964), and For a Few Dollars More (1965). But it was the second sequel where he found one of his trademark roles: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
. The movie was a big hit and he became an instant international star. Blondie (The Good) is a professional gunslinger who is out trying to earn a few dollars. Angel Eyes (The Bad) is a hit man who always commits to a task and sees it through, as long as he is paid to do so. And Tuco (The Ugly) is a wanted outlaw trying to take care of his own hide. Tuco and Blondie share a partnership together making money off Tuco's bounty, but when Blondie unties the partnership, Tuco tries to hunt down Blondie. When Blondie and Tuco comes across a horse carriage loaded with dead bodies, they soon learn from the only survivor (Bill Carson) that he and a few other men have buried a stash of gold in a cemetery. Unfortunately Carson dies and Tuco only finds out the name of the cemetery, while Blondie finds out the name on the grave. Now the two must keep each other alive in order to find the gold. Angel Eyes (who had been looking for Bill Carson) discovers that Tuco and Blondie meet with Carson and knows they know the location of the gold... (Source: Jeremy Thomson)
Eastwood got some excellent roles thereafter. He starred in Coogan's Bluff (1968), the western Hang 'Em High (1968) and the musical Paint Your Wagon (1969). Eastwood went in an experimental direction again with Kelly's Heroes (1970) and Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), both of which combined tough-guy action with offbeat humor.
1971 proved to be his best year in film, or at least one of his best.
He directed his first movie, the thriller Play Misty for Me (1971), in which he played a man being stalked by a crazed female admirer whose obsession with him turns from seductive to violent. That same year, he played the hard edge police inspector in Dirty Harry (1971) that gave Eastwood one of his signature roles and invented the loose-cannon cop genre that has been imitated even to this day. Eastwood also found work in American revisionist westerns like High Plains Drifter (1973), which he also directed. He had constant quality films over the next few years, teaming up with Jeff Bridges in the buddy action flick Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), and starring the "Dirty Harry" sequels Magnum Force (1973) and The Enforcer (1976/I), and the quintessential western The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), the action flick The Gauntlet (1977), and the hugely successful comedy Every Which Way But Loose (1978) with Clyde the orangutan.Eastwood found even more solid work with the fact-based thriller Escape from Alcatraz (1979). The sequel to "Every Which Way but Loose", Any Which Way You Can (1980), was also a blockbuster despite negative reviews from critics. It was the fourth 'Dirty Harry' sequel, Sudden Impact (1983) (the highest grossing film of the series) that made him a viable star for the eighties. Clint also starred in Firefox (1982), Tightrope (1984), Pale Rider (1985), and Heartbreak Ridge (1986), which were all big hits but did not become classics. His fifth and final "Dirty Harry" movie, The Dead Pool (1988), was a minor commercial hit but severely panned by critics. Shortly after his career declined with the outright bomb comedy Pink Cadillac (1989) and the disappointing cop adventure The Rookie (1990). It was fairly obvious Eastwood's star was declining as it never had before.
Happy Birthday, Clint Eastwood!

Today is also the 73rd birthday of Pete Yarrow. Peter Yarrow, Bethany Yarrow, and Rufus Cappadocia perform a beautiful rendition of the international classic "Puff, the Magic Dragon."

Joe Namath is 68 today!

Joseph William "Joe" Namath (born May 31, 1943), nicknamed "Broadway Joe" or "Joe Willie",is a former American football quarterback. He played college football for the University of Alabama under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and his assistant, Howard Schnellenberger, from 1962–1964, and professional football in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) during the 1960s and 1970s. Namath was an American Football League icon and played for that league's New York Jets for most of his professional career but finished his career with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Namath retired after playing in 140 games 62 wins, 63 losses and 4 ties. In his career he threw 173 touchdowns, 220 interceptions, and completed 1,886 passes for 27,663 yards.
During his thirteen years in the AFL and NFL he played for three division champions (the 1968 and 1969 AFL East Champion Jets and the 1977 NFC West Champion Rams), earned one league championship (1968 AFL Championship), and one "world championship" (Super Bowl III).In 1999, he was ranked number 96 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He was the only player on the list to have spent a majority of his career with the Jets.
He is known for brashly telling the media that he guaranteed that his team would upset Don Shula's NFL Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969, and then delivering on his promise.
Namath's Hungarian-born grandfather, known as A.J. to his family and friends, came to Ellis Island and worked in the coal and steel industries of the Pittsburgh Metro Area.While growing up, Joe was close to both of his parents, who were divorced. Following his parents' split, Joe lived with his mother, Rose.

Remembering Vicki Sue Robinson on her Birthday.She was instrumental in defining the "disco era". [May 31st 1954-April 27th 2000].Our dance queen, Vicki.

Camille Savitz's birthday today!

Happy Birthday, Danny Goggin!

Judy Garland concert headed for theaters
Mark Marino -- Special to CNN
Justin Bieber
.Canadian Justin Bieber become famous via YouTube and ever since he has gathered millions of fans all over the world. Four of Bieber's pre-album singles 'One Time', 'One Less Lonely Girl', 'Love Me' and 'Favorite Girl' (was he referring to Selena Gomez?). They all were in Top 15 hits on the Canadian Hot 100 and Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. This made Bieber the only artist in Billboard history to have four singles from a debut album chart in the Top 40 of the Hot 100 before the album's release.
Since last year, Bieber is also a constant presence on Twitter. In early February, he spent an entire week at the top of the Trending Topics list. Just imagine how many people will look for information about him today!"On March 1st, 12:56am. A baby boy was born, the most gorgeous, kind hearted, beautiful person in the world. That person is Justin Bieber", one fan wrote on the Twitter. "A few years ago 'justin' meant timberlake, and now it means bieber", another one said.
The Bieber Mania is fueled by Justin himself, who, once in a while, uses to post messages for his fans. "Surrounded by great friends and my birthday is almost here. thanks to everyone for the well wishes", he wrote for his fans on his birthday.

Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers have all seen their tours get transferred to the big screen, and now an unlikely star is getting the concert-film treatment: late Hollywood legend Judy Garland.
According to the L.A. Times, Garland's historic 1961 Carnegie Hall concert will be turned into a documentary courtesy of filmmakers Steven Lippman, Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein. Though Garland's comeback performance earned critical raves, countless standing ovations, and spawned a chart-topping double album, no footage exists of the actual event.
"The concert is a cultural touchstone, something I remember vividly as a kid," Friedman tells the L.A. Times. "It's a magical moment in theatrical history. And yet there's almost no record of it."
Until now.
The filmmakers hope to re-create the Carnegie Hall experience with "Stay All Night," a documentary that will combine music snippets and recently uncovered backstage footage of Garland with new interviews of people who witnessed the show. The movie will focus on the connection between Garland and her audience that evening, and the team hopes to evoke that same feeling for those seated in theaters.

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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Monday, May 30, 2011

Are you on my team?

"For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American writer (1906-2001)

It's Memorial Day. A day of remembrance. It always seems odd to me to say "Happy Memorial Day".
I think most people forget about what this day is all about. It's about beach openings, barbeques, and the impending summer! At least that is what it is for MANY. For others, it is something completely different. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920).
While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
For me, it is also our anniversary. I met Danny on this date in 1990. We've been together ever since! 21 years! It's been great! I'm looking forward to what the next 21 years will bring!
I'll be 71.
Danny will be 78!
God willing!!

After a blog last week, in which I mentioned a friend who began every meeting with, "Either you're on my team or not?", I received the following e-mail. I will post my responses in bold type.

How do you (we-I-any of us) process feedback?
I have a rule about criticism. If it's going to HELP me, I want to hear it. If it's not going to help me, it will go in one ear and out the other!If it's going to HURT me, please keep it to yourself. Who is “on our team”? Those who are supporting my dream on ANY level!
After all these years I can say that honestly I don’t know this answer. It is a constant struggle.

For instance, I watch American Idol, and I don’t get it. I don’t get the audience responses, I don’t get the judges responses….but I do get that some of those folk will end up rich.
Rich and famous.I don't watch American Idol. I am not a fan of competition shows. Where judges and audiences seek out cruelty for entertainment sake. But when I see a clip such as this one, I have to think their must be something POSITIVE about this show!

If you ever saw Charles Nelson Reilly’s magnificent one man show, you realize that if had listened to “people that knew” he never would have had a career. And yet we know of times when someone gave advice to a performer that was life changing.There are "experts" all over this business. Judy Garland, Susan Boyle, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand would not have had careers IF they had listened to those "experts"!

Not long ago I worked with someone on a song. I tried as hard as possible to trust this person (a good guy, by the way). By the time I finished doing everything I was told, there was no more ME in the song. It was a song that, when I sang it before, made everyone cry. I sang from my heart. When I was done with all my "coachings", no one reacted. Again, Listen to your heart. Here are three versions of my favorite song. Is anyone better than the other two?You and I could go see a show together and come out with two completely different reactions to what we just experienced. That is the magic of entertainmentDo you believe your "coaches" were trying to sabotage you OR do you think they were bringing to the table where they are emotionally with the material you were performing? Did they say you were WRONG in your interpretation OR were there other ways of looking at the material. IF you have a very strong sense of who you are and they are trying to strip that away, you need to walk away from them IF you don't have a strong sense of who you are, perhaps they can help you on THAT path.

Then, on the other hand, we know that many great stars were inventions. We know that in Motown, the singers were trained how to walk, move, dance, sing and answer questions. We know that Hollywood starlets were coached to death on how to act, talk, etc. We know that eyebrows were plucked, and make up men came in, and diets were imposed…whatever. And we know that for some stars, it worked like crazy.

So, my dear Richard, how do we know whom to trust? My answer? You have to trust YOU! YOU know what works for YOU! What hasn't worked for YOU. What turns you on. What turns you off. Go with those instincts. The right people will gravitate to you. Trust me, the wrong ones will to. Carol Channing once told me that for every person who likes you, there are an equal number who don't. Hang on to your TRUTH!
If you were to open up the subject again one day, and could inspire people to respond, that would be very helpful. I posted this question yesterday. NO ONE responded!

After all, I know we have all had our share of terrible advice and we have all had people that tried to tell us to stop performing….and we all have had angels who kept us going.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog. I hope I helped. If not, I hope I will!

I am posting the following review because I think it captures where MAC has been, where it is, and possible clues to where it needs to go. I feel like an outsider as far as where "MAC" is concerned. I hope to one day feel what I used to feel about MAC. There are those who get upset when you voice an OPINION on MAC. An opinion is not necessarily a slam on MAC. My actions prove over and over how much I support this cabaret community". My blogs, my posts, and my frequent cabaret going prove and will continue to do that. But as far as MAC is concerned, I feel like the kid with his nose pressed against the window.

25th anniversary of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Awards (MAC.)
By: John Hoglund

It was not exactly Paris. It was not a starry, starry night. However, New York cabaret was blasted out of its lull like a bubbly bottle of Dom Perignon as the cabaret community honored its own. It all took place on Tuesday, May 10 at B. B. King's Blues Club where the Times Square nitery hosted the 25th anniversary of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Awards (MAC.)
One naturally expected a celebrity lineup of past winners and supporters.
Not so.
Instead, a few hundred performers , friends of cabaret and past winners – among them beloved staples like Baby Jane Dexter, Sharon McNight, Julie Wilson and Jane Monheit who presented a lifetime achievement award to jazz legend Annie Ross, were on hand for the event which honored musical, jazz and comedy performers as well as directors and technicians in about 30 categories. The biggest star of the show was film clips from past shows provided by Applause Video's Bradshaw Smith (who won the first male vocalist award.)
Those nostalgia-laced clips stole the show which was directed by Lennie Watts.
The benign party-flavored evening was hosted with zeal by musical comedienne Christine Pedi, and produced by MAC veep Julie Miller.

Former officers and presidents were on hand to give speeches or present awards. Current president Lennie Watts
recalling his earliest impressions of cabaret, cited being blown away by the likes of Karen Mason, Sally Mayes and the Jenny Burton Experience
for starters.
Speaking about the ups and downs and naysayers of this ever delicate art form, he also noted that, in spite of what anybody says, “... Cabaret ain't going nowhere.”

One might say it was the best of times meets the worst of times (depending on who you ask.) It's cabaret. And, through the years, it has presented the best, and sometimes the worst.
A cliché ?
But cabaret is like a messy sundae dripping with nutty clichés in words and music – with a dollop of drama. Besides, all performers need a jumping off place. Too, cabaret has always been a close cousin to Broadway and inflated with more confusion and chaos than Spider Man; Turn Off the Dark. Like that show, which soared to instant infamy, few idioms in entertainment have gone through as many reinventions, transitions and panic attacks as cabaret. So, these awards, star-filled or not, mean a lot to the aspirations and dreams of a plethora of hopefuls who are serious about a future and fighting for recognition. The evening was a mixed bag of banality and greatness being rewarded for what they love most with one thing in common; dreams. Picking up an award about a decade ago, perhaps Baby Jane Dexter said it best, “ … we all have the same dream.” It may not be the golden days of the Blue Angel, the old Versailles or Reno Sweeney, but cabaret is thriving. Expensive, upscale rooms and mid-level clubs like The Duplex, Don't Tell Mama, Laurie Beechman Theatre and Metropolitan Room host numerous sold out shows.
Mr. Watts' point is well noted.
The MAC Awards started in a basement at the Village Vanguard

Now, twenty five years later, it's still in a basement (after all, that's basically what B.B. King's is!) Along the way, award galas were held at renowned venues like Symphony Space and The Town Hall as well as The Copacabana and Lincoln Center. The idea of having night club awards in a real nightclub jump-started a few years ago and it has worked well since (food and drink are mandatory when an evening runs three to four hours.)
It was a cause to celebrate.
However, one expected a tad more of a pizzazz to celebrate a milestone like a quarter of a century of an organization that has previously honored so many and had many now established stars emerge.
This year's awards were noticeably lower key in comparison to past years.
And, the dearth of celebrities not taking part in the festivities was conspicuous. For instance, past performers and presenters have included stars and industry high rollers like Betty Buckley, Barbara Cook, Kathie Lee Gifford, Ahmet Ehrtegun, Joan Rivers, Rosemary Clooney, Chita Rivera, Barry Manilow, Michael Feinstein, Liza Minnelli and Brian Stokes Mitchell who presented the lifetime achievement award to Leslie Uggams last year.

Christine Pedi recalled that when these awards began in 1987, gasoline was eighty nine cents, a subway token was a dollar, the laptop was invented, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was a smash on Broadway, Cagney & Lacey was a hit on television, Irving Berlin turned ninety eight, Harold Arlen and Benny Goodman died, greed was good, Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen twins were born, 42nd Street was a cacophony of hookers and pimps, and half the people in the audience were in grammar school.

The emphasis was on clubs and the creatures who inhabit them. Thanks to Applause Video's Bradshaw Smith (who won the first male vocalist award,) the night paid film homage to a litany of late, great performers. What the evening lacked in boffo celebrity artists on hand was made up for with zealous gaiety and a lot of heart from many friends.

Borrowing a note from the television hit Glee, a chorus of singers opened the show warbling Barry Manilow's One Voice sung in scattered harmonies in a sweet arrangement by musical director Steven Ray Watkins. Sounding as if it had been written just for the evening, it was sung by Ben Cherry, Natalie Douglas, Daryl Glenn, Danielle Grabianowski, Lorinda Lisitza, Karen Mack, Sue Matsuki and Miles Phillips. A collage of highlights from past shows followed showing clips of winners and performers that included the likes of: Betty Buckley, Barbara Cook, Jeff Harnar, Maureen McGovern

Barry Manilow, Phillip Officer and Liza Minnelli.

Scott Coulter, Lennie Watts and Watkins performed a campy medley paying silly tribute to the disco ball (1987) including eighties club hits one might have heard at Danceteria or The Roxy like: Turn The Beat Around, Lady Marmalade, I Will Survive and Enough Is Enough. Someone switched on a disco ball but, like the evening, it didn't glitter. Respected jazz singer and former MAC president Judy Barnett offered no apologies for suggesting that cabaret replace reality TV in her pithy remarks.

There was a friendly dichotomy between the first and current presidents' comments regarding MAC and cabaret in general. Erv Raible is the organization's co-founder along with late NY Post critic Curt Davis. He guided the group through endless milestones and was an integral part of nurturing performers and keeping MAC afloat in those early years. Lennie Watts is the current popular singer/director/performer who directs many newer artists today and is at the helm over the few years carrying this candle in the wind that often gets slammed by unknowledgeable journalists.

When the New York Times, which could do boundless wonders to support cabaret and a dangling nightlife, writes about the idiom, the focus is invariably on upscale rooms and well established artists. On these rare occasions, cabaret is thrown a bone. How are new and gifted talents supposed to get noticed today? Another reason MAC and these awards count for so much in a passive-aggressive age of Internet frauds who become overnight stars. But that's another column.

Watts optimistically addressed today's “new breed” of performers “... who inhabit clubs like flies at a picnic ... I got involved with cabaret in the late 80s and “they” were saying that cabaret was dying - then. I could never figure out what people were talking about. As far as I could see, things were thriving. I saw some of the most amazing shows! Does everybody remember their first cabaret show? I do. It was Karen Mason at Rainbow & Stars. I had never seen anything like it and I was hooked. I remember thinking that if this is what dying feels like, put me in the body bag and zip that sucker up!”

Raible's remarks about the beginnings in 1987 were a mix of humorous remembrance and cautious cynicism. He quoted encouraging words to beginners by a beloved, much-missed, late saloon singer at those first awards in a speech that made it into the mainstream press, “... That night, Sylvia Syms compared performing in cabaret to “being kissed by the greatest lover you will ever have – and that from there on there would be no turning back!”

Raible, who has owned The Duplex, opened Don't Tell Mama, Brandy's Piano and co-owned the fabled Eighty Eight's (with Karen Miller and Rochelle Seldin,) joked about the eighties era in his introduction to film clips of the first awards, recalling, “ … everyone had big hair then, and, it was their natural color! Everything from big curls, and spikes to curly mullets, and two-tone dye jobs emulating '57 Chevy's! And it’s amazing how many of them actually had hair!” He added sardonically, “And, you will be given valuable information on how to avoid homosexuals.” On a more serious note, he paid tribute to Curt Davis and his verbose successor, the late Bob Harrington, “who got cabaret on the front page of The Post.” In more didactic commentary, he also noted, “ … Awards are funny things. Over the years some have managed to manipulate categories in order to win, some have pulled strings, some started slanderous hate mail campaigns, some bought votes outright. And then, there are those who did deservedly win awards - because they are really good! After all, these awards were not designed to celebrate mediocrity and scorn quality!” Hopefully, the crowd was listening.

Watts wound up his comments assuring everyone “ … It keeps getting better . We make people feel something ... I don't think that will go out of style.”

Uniquely, the ceremony was peppered with award winners accepting and then performing. Julie Reyburn, who won in the major engagement category, sang a heartfelt There Is Love with Mark Janas on piano. Director Scott Barnes presented the annual Hanson Award to Marianne Challis whom he first spotted in 1987 when she was playing Nellie Forbish in South Pacific at the New York State Theater. He told of her being Broadway bound and then not being able to sing for ten years (due to throat problems) before deciding to return with a club act. She sang Julie Gold's What A Journey. Her beautifully nuanced performance created one of those intimate cabaret moments. More clips were shown that included Broadway's Karen Mason singing with the late Brian Lasser at the piano. Impersonator Ruby Rims, in full drag, remembered seeing musical comedienne Helen Baldassare at the long gone Mr. Chips. After her acceptance, newcomer Liz Lark Brown brought the house down singing a rousing “Kyrie” by eighties rock group Mr.Mister.

In a fun twist, the cleaning lady from Don't Tell Mama was on hand to help with the next award in broken English. Then, former president, Ricky Ritzel, presented veteran piano bar mainstay entertainer George Sanders with a special board of directors award as clips were shown of why he is such a popular crowd pleaser known for his off-color antics at the old Duplex and Don't Tell Mama replete with feathers – and a penchant for taking his pants down while serving drinks.
Song of the Year winners Marcus Simeone/Tracy Stark

Previous award winners Marcus Simeone and musical director/performer Tracy Stark won the song of the year award for Haunted. Both thanked the right people. Simeone dedicated his win to his longtime partner Gregory Kennell who was seated in a wheelchair after surviving a paralyzing coma last year. His personal note that was emotional earning a strong ovation. Over the past few months, the cabaret community lost three of its brightest lights. And they were respectfully remembered. In one of the evening's highlights, Johnny Rodgers sang a tender version of legendary Margaret Whiting's signature song, Moonlight In Vermont that was as good as the original. Klea Blackhurst offered a sincere reading of This Funny world honoring Mary Cleere Haran. And vocal group Uptown Express sang a moving Seasons Of Love in honor of their late colleague David Gurland.
With Rick Jensen
at the piano playing his original In Passing Years, clips showed other favorites who had passed including: Bobby Short, Claiborne Cary, Rosemary Clooney, Anne Fancine, Sylvia Syms, Portia Nelson, Leola Harlow, Howard Crabtree, Hildegarde, Buddy Barnes, John Wallowitch & Bertram Ross, Eartha Kitt, Judy Kreston, Marcia Lewis, Phoebe Snow, Mary Cleere Haran, Dorothy Loudon, David Gurland and Nancy LaMott among others.

Presenter and longtime board member Jamie deRoy told of starting in cabaret when they were still called nightclubs. She remembered The Living Room, Upstairs At the Downstairs and recalled seeing Lenny Bruce in a basement in Greenwich Village. More performers performed and talked about themselves. In the end, it was an evening of pastiche, memories and opening doors to that new breed that has taken over cabaret. While the awards were going on, KT Sullivan was starring at The Algonquin Tom Postilio was about to open at Feinstein's and Broadway's Marin Mazzie and Jason Daniely were having their opening night at Cafe' Carlyle. Their shows were mostly sold out. That's something to sing about.

So, 25 years later, in spite of some pros and cons, in the face of criticism, and a bag of dreams, MAC trudges on – and on. Good times and bad times; it's still here and, to reiterate Lennie Watts, “... it ain't going nowhere.”

Bobbie Horowitz writes in her book, "FINDING YOUR mini-Qs", "If we think we should be more muscular, we can't paint muscles on our reflection in the mirror and expect to walk outside into the street with more muscular arms!"

In NY tonight? Looking for something to do?SHAKESPEARE SOIREE






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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bob Hope, John F. Kennedy

"I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful."
-Bob Hope (born this date in 1903, died 2003

I miss Bob Hope! I grew up watching his television specials. There are several things I loved and miss. I miss that I could sit and watch him with my grandparents, my parents, and my younger siblings and not be embarrassed by what he was going to say or do. I miss that he was ACTUALLY funny. I miss that it was NOT insult humor! Our comedians today, for the most part are vulgar and cheap. Take a page from the masters! It is NOT necessary. Happy Birthday, Bob Hope!
Bob Hope is one of television's most renown comedians and actors. He also worked in vaudeville, radio, and film, and for the last eight decades has made audiences laugh at themselves, their contemporary culture and its foibles, their politics and politicians--and for his efforts he received numerous awards and accolades. He is perhaps equally well-known, and certainly equally applauded for his efforts in entertaining American soldiers overseas.Hope began his career in 1914 when he entered and won a Charlie Chaplin imitator contest.
He then made his way into vaudeville in the 1920s and his Broadway acting and musical debut in 1933 when he appeared in Roberta.
Hope moved to Hollywood in 1938 after appearing in several short films and on radio.

He made his film acting debut in The Big Broadcast of 1938
where he first sang his signature song Thanks for the Memory with Shirley Ross.
The Big Broadcast of 1938 is a Paramount Pictures film featuring W.C. Fields and Bob Hope.
Directed by Mitchell Leisen, the film is the last in a series of Big Broadcast movies that were variety show anthologies. This film featured the debut of Hope's signature song, "Thanks for the Memory" by Ralph Rainger, which Hope's character sings as a duet with Shirley Ross, accompanied by Shep Fields and his Orchestra.
The movie had many other stars of the era, a wide variety of acts ranging from the comedy of Fields
and Hope to a powerful performance of Ride of the Valkyries by Metropolitan Opera singer Kirsten Flagstad in full Brunhilde armor and winged helmet.
William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880– December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer.(ANOTHER AQUARIAN!) Fields was known for his comic persona as a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children, and women.
The film was Hope's first feature film, and was the final film under Fields' long-running Paramount contract, before he moved to Universal Studios to make his final series of films.
In 1940, Hope made the first of seven "Road" films, The Road to Singapore, with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. He became a showbiz wizard by playing on his rapid-fire wisecracking technique in the "Road" films that followed. The best known and probably most televised of these films, The Road to Utopia, was made in 1945. Hope regularly starred as a comic coward in caught in comic-adventurous situations, but he generally wound up winning the hand of the leading lady.
In addition to the "Road" films, he also appeared in many others.
He made his last "Road" film, The Road to Hong Kong, in 1962 and his film career virtually ended in the early 1960s. Hope was one of the biggest names in show business when television began to develop. Unlike some of his fellow stars, Bob Hope jumped into the new medium making his debut on Easter Sunday, 1950.
On a regular basis he was seen on two budget variety shows, Chesterfield Sound Off Time and The Colgate Comedy Hour.
In 1953, NBC broadcast the first annual Bob Hope Christmas Special.
These specials were usually filmed during his regular tour to entertain the troops overseas.
He also began a series of comedy specials for NBC-TV where he became known for his marvelous comic timing, his stunning array of guest stars, and his ease with both studio audiences and the camera. His guests regularly included top stars from film, stage, television, and the music industry.
As well, he was usually surrounded by Hollywood starlets and athletic figures.
His humor poked gentle fun at the world of politics, usually leaning toward the conservative. He also made numerous guest appearances on various comedy shows such as I Love Lucy, The Danny Thomas Show, and The Jack Benny Show where he was applauded for his wise cracking ability to throw new comic wrenches into already hilarious situations. In most of these situations Hope simply played himself, and his appearance as a guest star was a guarantee of a larger audience. His ability to make both the audience and his co-stars feel at ease in his presence, eager for the wry comment that would put a new spin on any situation, was performance enough.
In commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of World War II, NBC broadcast an hour-long Bob Hope special that chronicled the comedian's camp tours during the war. Hope, at age 92, narrated Memories of World War II.
The special was crafted from a video and CD collection originally produced for retail sales and added an additional 20 minutes of Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores(who celebrated her 102nd Birthday on Friday!), talking with friends and co-workers such as Charleston Heston, Dorothy Lamour and Ed McMahon about special photos and remembrances about the war, the entertainment, and their efforts to build and maintain morale. Many scenes extol Hope's comic abilities, patriotism, and human compassion.
The recollections range from outrageously funny to heartfelt to harrowing.
Still, some critics saw the special as self-congratulatory, inept, and awkward. Mike Hughes, a critic for the Gannett News Service says simply, "This doesn't mean Hope isn't a fine person. It doesn't mean the war effort wasn't worthy. It simply means that bad is bad, no matter the motivation." By this point in his long career Hope seemed, at times, anachronistic, a reminder of a different world, a different sort of television.
In spite of such commentary, Bob Hope remains an American institution in the entertainment world, quick-witted, wise cracking, and a master of comic response. He will be remembered as one of the foundational figures of U.S. television in the network era, one of the kings of television comedy.
-(Source: Gayle Pohl, http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection)

On this date in 1917, The 35th president of the united states, John F. Kennedy, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.

On this date in 1943, "Rosie The Riveter" appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

These images and iconic figures are part of our history. So are the wars and strife, we ALL have endured in our Lifetimes. This Memorial Day weekend, Thank God for the Memories, both bad and good. They have made us who we are today. Thank God for the blessings we have and let's all take a moment...or two...and/or three and remember those who have fought for us, those who are fighting, and those who have been DIRECTLY affected by all of this which means all of us. We are ALL connected!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Horace Vandergelder!

"All the troubles of man come from his not knowing how to sit still."
-Blaise Pascal, French philosopher (1623-1662)

Happy Birthday, Horace Vandergelder!
(This is Horace's grandfather, Grand Sire Ritzy!)
I don't mean David Burns, Eddie Bracken, Cab Callaway,Walter Matthau...etc.
I mean our baby, Horace Vandergelder Skipper-Sherman!
Danny and I had for about 11 years, a Yorkie named Chip. He was devoted to both of us and when we lost him six years ago, we were devastated.
When the holidays rolled around again, I said I wanted to get another Yorkie.
We were watching the CBS news one night when they did a story about getting the breed you were seeking without going through a pet store. Most dogs that end up in pet stores come through puppy mills. They suggested going to the American Kennel Association and putting in the breed you were seeking and a zip code and within a certain radius, all breeders registered with the American Kennel Association would show up. We tried it and found a breeder near the Delaware water gap. We made plans to meet with her on Saturday afternoon. Danny informed me that this was only the first breeder we would be seeing and that we did not need to make up our mind that day.
So on Saturday, we went to this farm and after she interviewed us as fit parents, she took us into this mobile home and let the dogs out! Interestingly enough, Danny and I both gravitated to Horace. There is an old saying that you don't choose pets; that they choose you. Whatever happened, we had our minds made up! Then she said before you get too attached to any of these dogs, please let me inform you that there are different prices based on their age, size, and lineage.
Of course, we had chosen the most expensive dog there!
This is a picture of Horace's father, Champion Edgewood's Sky High Blue, called 'Jag'.
Horace's mothers name was Poco in the Sky.Horace is descended from Champions.

Horace is noted as 'Boinb May 28,05' off to the left of the chart.(Seen below)

Our minds were made up! We had lots of paper work to fill out plus an agreement that our vet would see him within 72 hours to make sure there were no health issues and that he would be neutered.
He was at this point a little under 7 months old. We named him Horace Vandergelder,brought him home(this is a pic of Harace the day we brought him home), put him in his crate, and, unfortunately, due to a prior engagement, went out. When we came back, he was running around the house! How did he get out of his crate? This happened a few times until I caught him in the act! He would climb over the top. We learned very early on that Horace has confinement issues. Chip used to love to travel with us. Never an issue! But Horace WILL NOT go in a carrier. After a trip to Florida with him in which he barked the whole trip, going and returning, I said NEVER AGAIN!
Luckily for us, we have a tenant and therefore we are able to leave him at home.
One other thing that we have learned about Horace is that he loves to watch TV...IF animals are involved. He loves the animal planet, all commercials that feature animals, and his favorite movie, as mine was growing up, is THE WIZARD OF OZ.The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American children's musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but there were uncredited contributions by others. The lyrics for the songs were written by E.Y. Harburg, the music by Harold Arlen. Incidental music, based largely on the songs, was by Herbert Stothart, with borowings from classical composers.Based on the 1900 fairytale novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum,the film stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Grapewin, Clara Blandick and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins.
He watches, checks his food bowl, and brings a "snack" in to watch it in front of the TV. Take a look: WARNING: You may want to turn down your volume: The strange thing is that it includes animated animals as well!

Here are some of Horace's favorites!

Here he is watching Max in How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

And Snoopy!

And BABE:Babe is a 1995 Australian-American film directed by Chris Noonan. It is an adaptation of the 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, also known as Babe: The Gallant Pig in the United States, by Dick King-Smith and tells the story of a pig who wants to be a sheepdog. The main animal characters are played by a combination of real and animatronic pigs and Border Collies.Babe was filmed in Robertson, New South Wales, Australia.The talking-animal visual effects were done by Rhythm & Hues Studios. Although the setting and style of the film are distinctly British/Australasian pastoral, many of the human speaking parts were overdubbed from Australian to American accents for popular acceptance in the American film market.

LASSIE COME HOME:Lassie Come Home is a 1943 MGM film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor, Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough and his rough collie, Lassie.The film was directed by Fred M. Wilcox from a screenplay by Hugo Butler based upon the 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight. The film was the first in a series of seven MGM films starring "Lassie."
The original film saw a sequel, Son of Lassie in 1945 with five other films following at intervals through the 1940s. A British remake of the 1943 movie was released in 2005 as Lassie to moderate success. The original film and its sequels continue to air on television and have been released to VHS and DVD.

The Muppets are a group of puppet characters created by Jim Henson starting in 1954–55. Individually, a Muppet is made by Jim Henson or his company's workshop. Although the term is often used to refer to any puppet that resembles the distinctive style of The Muppet Show, the term is both an informal name and legal trademark linked to the characters created by Henson.

RUDOLPH:Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer with a glowing red nose.
He is popularly known as "Santa's 9th Reindeer" and, when depicted, is the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through inclement winter weather.Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward.The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, L.P. and has been adapted in numerous forms including a popular song, a television special, and a feature film. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, L.P. Although the story and song are not public domain, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore.
Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939 as an assignment for Montgomery Ward. The retailer had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year and it was decided that creating their own book would save money. May considered naming the reindeer "Rollo" and "Reginald" before deciding upon using the name "Rudolph".In its first year of publication, 2.4 million copies of Rudolph's story were distributed by Montgomery Ward. The story is written as a poem in the meter of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas". "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" is loved by millions and still selling copies. Publication and reprint rights for the book "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" are controlled by Pearson Plc.

THE Westminster Dog Show:In 1877, New York was well on its way to becoming the world's greatest city. This was the year that a group of sporting gentlemen decided that this would be a good time to hold a dog show in Manhattan. It didn't take long before the Westminster Kennel Club, following the lead of its home town, would be on its way to becoming the world's greatest dog show.

We love our baby and we're looking forward to the next six years!

The Yorkshire terrier is a small dog breed of terrier type, developed in the 19th century in the historical area of Yorkshire, England to catch rats in clothing mills. The defining features of the breed are its small size, less than 3.2 kilograms (7.1 lb), and its silky blue and tan coat. The breed is nicknamed Yorkie and is placed in the Toy Terrier section of the Terrier Group by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and in the Toy Group or Companion Group by other kennel clubs, although all agree that the breed is a terrier. A popular companion dog, the Yorkshire terrier has also been part of the development of other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.
Here is Horace sleeping with his favorite toy:

At our back gate:

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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com