Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Super Tuesday, Harry Belafonte, David Niven...and MORE!

Happy Birthday, Harry Belafonte
When the movement is strong, the movement is strong.
-Harry Belafonte

Happy March 1st!
March 1 is the 61st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 305 days remaining until the end of the year. There is a lot to celebrate today and a lot to be concerned with as well. 
On this date in 1961, Uganda becomes self-governing and holds its first elections. 
On this date in 1962 – American Airlines Flight 1 crashes on take off in New York.
Today is the birthday of Harry Belafonte. And in 1904 – Glenn Miller, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (Glenn Miller Orchestra) (d. 1944).

1910 – David Niven, English-Swiss actor,
Happy Birthday, David Niven
singer, and producer (d. 1983)

You can count on Errol Flynn, he'll always let you down.
-David Niven

1934 – Joan Hackett, American actress (d. 1983)
1935 – Robert Conrad, American actor, director, and commentator


Today is the single biggest day in the entire 2016 primary process. A dozen states are voting, and Republicans are already crowing about all the hundreds of thousands of Tea Partiers trying to make Donald Trump or Ted Cruz their GOP nominee. More delegates to the presidential nomination conventions can be won today than on any other single day of the primary calendar.
All the candidates must do well on this day to secure their party's nomination.

Donald Trump is the clear front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination. I'm very dismayed.
I'm very concerned for what has happened to our country and with what is being left behind for the next generation. I feel that our country has reached a crisis of confidence – We have embarked on a journey that we
thought we could achieve but the reality is harder than we imagined.
I feel that our country has become apathetic.
NASCAR has endorsed Trump. Who's surprised?
Hillary is realistic. Her experience is going to move us forward.
When Donald Trump announced his candidacy last summer, it seemed more like a sideshow than a serious concern. Some media outlets declared they'd only cover his campaign in the entertainment section.
Unfortunately, the later has not happened. Mr. Trump has received more media coverage than any other candidate in the history of media.
As he has grown, very much like the Frankenstein monster out of control, the media has "celebrated" every insult, every bit of boorish behavior. If I had a dollar for every time the media has aired Trump's response to Jake Tapper on CNN regarding David Duke and the KKK, I could afford a premium seat to Hamilton on Broadway!
What is going on!?!?! Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to block hearings on anyone President Obama nominates to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States.
I desire a life of meaning, significance, joy and satisfaction. Studies show that MORE Republicans go to the polls. I urge all my Democratic colleagues to get out there and vote. Otherwise, we are moving towards a country in which hatred and bullying is on an even bigger playing field than it is now. Trump plays on the fears of Americans instead of our hopes. All the drama and demands we face seem to get in the way of our dreams. We know we were meant for more, but it seems like the days are slipping by and we can't do anything about it.  
Harry Belafonte on tour


We cannot be a party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. - Rubio

I have some very strong opinions on what has been happening to country.

Can anyone pinpoint when the shift occurred and when EVERYTHING in our culture started playing to the lowest common denominator?
“You can cage the singer but not the song.” – Harry Belafonte
I remember hearing years ago about the "dummying down of our culture." Now, we see it in every aspect of our culture.
It is in all forms of entertainment and media and it has seeped into everything.
If you question anything, one is being old fashioned or politically "correct", or advocating censorship. What is wrong with having a "moral compass"? What is wrong with having a little decorum with how we present ourselves on the world stage in our demeanor, our dress, and more importantly, our respect for one another?
We have created a bully culture and we are all playing the price for it. I was a bullied kid.
As I write those words, a myriad of thoughts and feelings come my way, none of them pleasant or happy memories. I actually remember the first time I felt threatened and/or bullied. We were living in Gallivent's Ferry, South Carolina.
The small framework house that we lived in is still there. I saw it when I was home in November.
I still remember standing at the end of the dirt road waiting for the bus in abject fear that I was going to be beaten up by the older kids, yet again. I was six years old. They would push me to the ground, knock my books at of my hand, and force me to eat dirt. When I went to my dad or any adults, I was told to fight back. I'm not a fighter.
This continued all through school. I was called a sissy before I knew what that meant. I was called worse names that I won't even mention here. Some have even been embraced by many. We are told that we need to embrace them. I won't embrace hate words.
I know what it means first hand to be bullied.
The definition of bully: use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
Now 'adays, people hide behind their computers as they hurl insults at one another. I have seen and heard some of the most vile comments on Facebook and Twitter. Stooping down to someone else's level puts you on the same par with them.
Over the past few months, we have seen a man who is running for the highest honor in the land
saying horrendous horrible things about anyone who disagrees with him or gets in his way. He has said misogynistic, racist, and bullying comments about fellow candidates and people in the media and just about anyone else who gets in his way.
Which one of these possess leadership qualities?
Just a few days ago, he got a major endorsement from a governor who is as much of a bully as he is, hurling insults at everyone who gets in his path.

As if that wasn't enough, one of the other candidates lowered himself as well using bathroom humor and insults to try and win votes. When questioned about his "association" with one of the most vile hate groups that this country has ever seen the top running candidate could not even give a straight answer.
Everyone, PLEASE wake up! KNOW who you are voting for. I am listening to Trump now as I write this. He brags about not having a teleprompter and speaking off the cuff. Over the past 25 minutes of listening to this, he hasn't said one word having to do with policy. The entire talk (it is not a speech) is about how everyone loves him, how he is breaking records, putting down the other candidates, and building a wall.  Jerry Fallwell Jr is one of Donald Trump’s first powerful endorsements: Jerry Falwell Jr., who testified for many evangelical Christians that despite leading a life of excess, the thrice-married, trash-talking mogul was indeed a God-fearing president-in-waiting. Read MORE.

We have contributed to this kind of roguish behavior by celebrating this in our culture. Reality television has almost single handedly destroyed the way that people interact with one another in this country. EVERY reality show is based on putting someone down or "kicking someone off the island". Every "comedy is based on put down humor and/or one upmanship. These are no longer kids attacking one another in the schoolyard. These are adults behaving this way!
It is happening with our political leaders and pundits and commentators and journalists? When does it stop and what kind of a culture are we leaving behind  for the next generation. Why have we dropped to such a low level of how we treat each other?
Shame on our presidential candidates who have lowered the status of respect for one another. I don't know about you, but I'm going to take the higher road and operate from a higher standard.
Today is the birthday of one of the greatest men and activists that ever lived. He is MY role model!
Harry Belafonte has achieved lasting fame for such songs as "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)," and for his humanitarian work.
Harold George "Harry" Bellanfanti, Jr. (born March 1, 1927), better known as Harry Belafonte, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful Caribbean American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) is the first million selling album by a single artist. Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing The Banana Boat Song, with its signature lyric "Day-O". He has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, most notably in Otto Preminger's hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957) and Robert Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).

Adam Levowitz
Today, I also celebrate Adam Levowitz. MaXam Production Company's Quentin Tarantino Songbook Vol 1, featuring music from Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown at Nuyorican Poets Cafe on April 8th at 7:30PM !

The Quentin Tarantino Songbook started out as something small and easy to do. But Adam realized, as he usually does midway through a project, that he NEVER does anything small and easy. When he has an audience to entertain, he goes all out. He has an eight piece funk band and wrote all new arrangements.He probably could have gotten by with a smaller band and had them read from lead sheets, but wheres the fun in that?

He also thought they’d be one and done— just a way to get through the winter blahs, but the show hit a nerve with the audience but it also hit a nerve with my fantastic performers (singers and musicians). They are all coming back for Round two. Its a Friday night and they are subbing out of good Broadway gigs and cancelling travel plans to do the show again. That’s a lot of fun for Adam.
Here is my mini interview with Adam.


First of all, did you make any New Year's Resolutions this year and did they stick?
I DID make a resolution this year— to exercise every day and to write music every day- so far, so good! Two months in I haven’t missed a day.

What is the biggest challenge you face each week?
These days its the weather! I want to be outside walking, that's when I do my best thinking.

Do you plan your days the night before?
Sadly, no. But I should!

What do you think it takes to succeed on Broadway these days?
Determination, (I hope) because I’ve got lots of it. But really, I think it is the combination of a great execution of a great idea which means having the right team of directors, designers , actors,  musicians and production staff telling a great story.
Please visit Adam Levowitz's Website for more info.  

In other entertainment News

Stay tuned to Anything Goes! on WCPR1.com.   This week is a bit of a party really, with a strong dose of Ethel Merman.  So join in the fun and hear stories from people who knew Ethel, and from people who wrote shows about her.  Hazel the Maid, Elaine Stritch, Lucie Arnaz, Donald O'Connor, Marvin Hamlisch, Barbara Streisand, the Beatles, Truman Capote, and Mary Martin are just a few of the names you'll hear.  There's talk about Sardi's, of course, and the musical version of The Nutty Professor.  Don't miss it!
With your hostess, Jacqueline Parker!
It's New York centric, with focus on theatre and the arts.  Please tune in this Thursday at 9 pm New York time.  It repeats Monday at 11 am New York time.  It will help with sponsorship if you just access it.  Also, if you send this via email and/or social media to your friends who love theatre and the Great American Songbook, I'm sure they'd enjoy it.   And Chicago friends, check the Chicago Tribune for an ad announcing the show.

Thank you to all of the artists mentioned in this blog,for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
1 March 1944. Legendary Who lead singer Roger Daltry was born in London. He's the original 'King of the Mods'.
 


Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.
-Carol Channing

With grateful XOXOXs ,
 



 

Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!
Mary Martin in Hello, Dolly!

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   
       

Jim Speake
www.jimspeake.com

New CD information:
“Sweet Life” title song and video:
https://youtu.be/qqqfXHwwQOY

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook


See Anita Gillette (along with Penny Fuller) tomorrow night (March 2nd, 2016) in Sin Twisters,Too! at Feinstein's/54 Below
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

Sarah Rice, Broadway's original Johanna of Sweeney Todd, will sing a Valentine's Day concert of songs from the operetta, classical and musical theatre repertoire, with Paul Jackel, in upstate New York, Feb. 14. - See more at: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/kiss-me-sweeney-todds-sarah-rice-sings-of-love-with-paul-jackel-feb.-14-111546#sthash.bYCP2Q2p.dpuf

TOMORROW NIGHT in NYC

March 2nd
FEINSTEIN'S 54 BELOW


Anita Gillette and Penny Fuller return in a sequel to their critically acclaimed, Sin Twisters!
Penny Fuller
This is Sin Twisters, Too! Directed by the incredible Barry Kleinbort with great musical direction by Paul Greenwood. They will take all of us on a great musical romp through their Broadway careers, which have criss crossed from time to time, resulting in confusing the two!...even though they don't look a thing alike!
This show WILL sell out! So reserve today and be a part of their star studded audience!
http://54below.com/artist/anita-gillette-penny-fuller/
Richard Skipper is the publicist for Sin Twisters, Too! For press reservations, interview requests, or more information, contact Richard Skipper at Richard@RichardSkipper.com or 845-365-0720




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