RE - Ms. Florence Henderson. (Source: Harlan Boll)

Florence just announcement her new company (www.FlohClub.com) on the Today Show, Fox and Friends, CNN, etc and recently appeared on Jay Leno.

Look for stories in EMMY Magazine and LA Times.

Florence launched the FLOH CLUB on what was the 40th anniversary of The Brady Bunch.
It is hard to believe the program has never been off the air and now runs in 122 countries.
"To put it simply - I did it for Family. In my case, with my busy schedule, my children's schedule and even my grand children's schedules, the difficulty was finding out when everyone would be home for a phone call. Now we email or text and set up a time, I knew that video conferencing was possible for a long time (and for free!) and I had a hunch it would be a great way to keep in touch and see my family. I just didn’t have the courage to explore this on my own.

The truth is, I always wanted to learn the computer but, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to, and I would be embarrassed.
I figure others probably had the same issues as well. I wanted to be more connected and to help others to do the same, especially older adults. I believe we all want to have the ability to stay relevant and connected.
I think being able to email to stay in touch and and saving photographs of your children and grandchildren and emailing to them is so important.
And of course, video conferencing has personally changed my life."

The idea came about when Florence became the spokeswoman for television viewers to overcome their fears and get ready for the analog-to-digital conversion.

Florence is a very successful business woman, mother, singer who is touring the country with her one woman show All The Lives of Me (Cabaret at the Castle appearance attached) - additional engagements include San Francisco's Rrazz Room and Indianapolis with the Indianapolis Symphony. She is an actress who has conquered the boards of Broadway to both the silver screen and television.
Deepest Regards,

Harlan (Boll)
for Florence Henderson

Crooner Releases New Version of “New York, New York”

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--It’s been a long time since someone tackled “New York, New York”.
Not since Frank Sinatra has a version of the song been recorded in a serious manner, but Brian Evans has gone the distance, and has tackled the song.

“People typically avoid this staple song for some reason, but honestly, there needs to be more people out there recording this material,” says Evans.
Evans, the opening act for Jay Leno and Joan Rivers, among others, has released his new version of the classic song, written originally for Liza Minnelli, and he’s done so in great form.

“New York, New York” is the grand-daddy of the crooner genre,” says Evans.

Evans is currently recording his major label debut, which will feature a duet with Kelly Osbourne, and is being produced by Grammy nominated producer Chris Walden (Diana Krall/Barbra Streisand).

The single is now available at Amazon.com, which may be directly accessed at http://www.amazon.com/New-York/dp/B002XQKBIK/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1260015726&sr=8-9
The song is a prelude of things to come as Evans works on his latest CD release, which will feature 8 original songs and 5 covers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BRIAN EVANS visit www.brianevans.com. Evans is also producing The Maui Celebrity Series as he records the new album. Information on the series may be obtained at www.themauicelebrityseries.com.

'Pops': Louis Armstrong, master of jazz, lover of life
"Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong," by author and cultural critic Terry Teachout, is a superb biography of Louis Armstrong, the jazz composer, singer and trumpeter whose positive attitude and mastery of music lifted him above grim beginnings and into the hearts of millions.

By Steve Weinberg

Louis Armstrong was also a lot more than an innovative jazz composer and trumpet player.

That summary might sound treacly, but the biographer makes his case well.

Perhaps the only unfortunate choice in the excellent biography "Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong" is the title.
Author Terry Teachout, obviously a brainy, hardworking biographer, decided to use the nickname "Pops" as the title.

Yes, "Pops", a nickname Louis called everybody, carries a secondary meaning — Armstrong as the spiritual father of modern jazz and so many of its practitioners. A tertiary meaning might be the popularity attained by Armstrong outside the realm of devoted jazz listeners.
Still, "Pops" is a disconcerting choice for the title.
Otherwise, as a biographer myself, I must label
the book a masterpiece. Part of the reason is the fit of biographer and subject. Before becoming a full-time writer (frequently for The Wall Street Journal and Commentary magazine), Teachout worked professionally as a jazz bassist.
His firsthand knowledge lights up the pages. Like all biographies, the book is about the man, but it is equally about the music made by the man.
That Armstrong would amount to anything seemed unlikely in 1901, when he was born unspeakably poor with dark brown skin in New Orleans.
His mother was a 15-year-old household servant who also earned money from prostitution.
His mostly absent father was a turpentine-factory worker.
By age 11, Armstrong was housed in the Colored Waif's Home for Boys.

He actually thrived on the relatively predictable life there, and learned music as a member of the Waif's Home Brass Band. Despite a lack of formal training, Armstrong turned out to be a natural musician.
Even in a racially segregated society, everybody, black and white, could agree that Armstrong deserved a chance to play music professionally.
As a teenager, he performed in New Orleans clubs. After that, the trajectory to stardom, while never painless, was relentless until he reached the top.
Armstrong harbored no bitterness about having to combat racism or needing white managers to gain entrance into the mainstream music world. Teachout shares anecdote after anecdote to demonstrate that Armstrong's onstage jolly demeanor was no act. Armstrong loved his life in music and found a path to celebrate most people he met. Sure, he divorced women he had married. Sure, he could exhibit an explosive temper occasionally.

Sure, he sometimes talked sadly about the reality of racial discrimination. Mostly, though, he exuded happiness.

Here is how Teachout ends the main text: "Faced with the terrible realities of the time and place into which he had been born, he did not repine, but returned love for hatred and sought salvation in work ... his sunlit, hopeful art, brought into being by the labor of a lifetime, spoke to all men in all conditions and helped make them whole."
Steve Weinberg's most recent book is "Taking on the Trust: The Epic Battle of Ida Tarbell and John D. Rockefeller."


One of the hardest parts of writing a biography is finding a fit subject, but sometimes they’re in plain sight. Despite his incalculable contributions to American culture, there has never been a fully adequate narrative biography of Louis Armstrong.
He begins by suggesting how this omission came to be, then persisted for so long.


The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong

By Steven Brower
256 pp. Abrams. $35.

These striking, intimate collages of print, script, tape and photography, made between 1953 and 1971, display a startling virtuosity and amount to a kind of fractured self-portrait.

No one disputes that Armstrong revolutionized music, helped popularize jazz throughout the world and created countless imitators.
Even his sometimes disparaging successors readily acknowledged their debt. “You can’t play nothing on trumpet that doesn’t come from him,” Miles Davis once said.
Satchmo’s influence spilled over into the rest of American culture, particularly regarding race. Through recordings, concerts, movies, magazine interviews, and radio and television appearances, he was the first black man whom millions of white Americans allowed into their homes, and hearts.

Why, then, the scholarly neglect? ­Teachout maintains that Armstrong’s detractors were so critical or uncomfortable over his public persona — the sweaty brow, the megawatt smile, the crowd-pleasing, ingratiating manner — that they ignored his enormous, continuing contributions to music and to civilization.
To them, he was simply too entertaining, too popular or too pandering to be taken seriously.

Too pandering to whites, that is. Dizzy Gillespie complained of his “Uncle Tom-like subservience” and “plantation character,” for instance, while the narrator in a James Baldwin short story disparaged his “old-time, down-home crap.”

Armstrong unabashedly liked whites, and wasn’t shy about saying so.
“Believe it — the White Folks did everything that’s decent for me,” he once wrote, before comparing them favorably, in terms of kindness and industriousness, to blacks (and “blacks” was not the word he used).
He particularly liked Jews, in part because it may have been a Jewish junk dealer named Karnofsky who helped him buy his first cornet.

Given this disrepute among some blacks, what white liberal would dare write about him, let alone extol him?
Instead, enter the chief culture critic of Commentary and drama critic for The Wall Street Journal, which is what Teach­out is.
And Armstrong could not have a more impassioned advocate. At times, “Pops” reads like a defense brief, but a very loving and knowledgeable one.
Teachout leads us along Armstrong’s familiar path from the black Storyville section of New Orleans, where he was born in August 1901, the son of a father he barely knew and a 15-year-old servant girl (and probable prostitute).

The road then leads to a honky-tonk where young Louis sneaked listens to the black cornet players Buddy Bolden, Joe Oliver and Bunk Johnson, then to the Colored Waifs’ Home for Boys, where he might have first played the cornet, holding the instrument improperly enough against his lips so that he eventually mangled them.

From there, he journeyed on Missis­sippi River steamboats, where he honed his ability to read music (and may first have developed his trademark hoarseness), then Chicago, then New York, then Chicago again. There, in his mid-20s, he formed his Hot Five and Hot Seven, with whom he recorded, for $50 a side, what Teachout quite properly calls the “Old Testament of classic jazz.”

There is a kind of perfunctory, dutiful quality to this part of Teachout’s tale; where Armstrong’s brilliance is beyond dispute, Teachout doesn’t seem fully engaged. Perhaps one simply can’t describe what’s so astonishing about “Potato Head Blues” — to me, it’s that Armstrong has miraculously made a trumpet laugh — but someone who’s thought about it as much as Teachout has should at least try, rather than leaning excessively (and pretentiously) on Woody Allen to do the job. Similarly, his account of the even more awesome “West End Blues” is clotted with hifalutin musical technicalities. It’s odd, because elsewhere ­Teachout praises Armstrong for avoiding musical jargon when talking about his music.
The book sends you fleeing to your CDs, or to YouTube, just to figure out what he’s talking about.
Only when the critics start dumping on Armstrong does Teachout become energized.
That started in 1929, when Armstrong abandoned small ensembles and took a big band on the road and, though he returned to more intimate groups — for many years after World War II, Armstrong had his All Stars — the attacks continued.
Always, the charge was the same: that he’d sold out, playing or recording what one leftist critic called “the white man’s notion of Harlem jazz.”

To purists, the villain was Armstrong’s manager, Joe Glaser. With his mob connections, Glaser was able to get the gangsters off Armstrong’s back, and Armstrong was grateful, some felt, to the point of servility; if Glaser told him to “play for the public.

Sing and play and smile,” then that’s what Armstrong did. (In any case, that’s where the money was.) But to Teachout, the purists themselves were the ogres. The most heinous was the record producer John Hammond, who has been credited with helping start the careers of Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Bob Dylan, among others. Teachout labels him, with uncharacteristic spleen, “a coupon-­clipping Ivy League dilettante.”

Teachout concedes that for long ­stretches of time, the musicians around Armstrong were often second-rate, the musical selections pedestrian, the ­recordings often so-so or worse. But so prodigiously talented was he, Teachout insists, that “even when he was at his most trivial, seriousness kept breaking in.”
And enough of Armstrong’s work, like his 1950s albums devoted to the music of W. C. Handy and Fats Waller, was great enough that his legacy only grew.
Teachout also acknowledges that on racial matters as well, Armstrong’s behavior — appearing as “King of the Zulus” at Mardi Gras, or adopting “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” as his theme song despite its reference to “darkies” — could be, to use one of his terms, “wince-making.”
Over time, his popularity among blacks waned, and younger black performers like the Davises, Miles and Ossie, saw him as a groveling relic, Stepin Fetchit with a horn.

But here, too, Teachout writes, Armstrong was maligned. For all his bonhomie, he had few illusions about American racism.

In myriad ways — like integrating the airwaves and innumerable hotels — Armstrong was a quiet revolutionary, and that was before, much to everyone’s surprise, he publicly denounced President Eisenhower for dragging his feet on school desegregation in Little Rock, Ark.

But Satchmo — it comes from Armstrong’s original nickname, “Satchelmouth,” as foreshortened by a lock-jawed Briton — wasn’t pandering at all, Teach­out maintains; ebullience was his very nature.

(Even his buddy Bing Crosby never invited him to his home.) To Teachout, Armstrong’s greatest contribution to civil rights was the enormous love he generated, a contribution that even Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t have made.

The book is marred only by excess erudition. Teachout loves to show off his cultural smarts; he’s the sort to include a reference to the “Jupiter” Symphony without bothering to say who wrote it.
One can’t help thinking he cites Philip Larkin and Herbert von Karajan and Jackson Pollock and Le Corbusier and Kingsley Amis and Darius Milhaud not just to tout Armstrong, but to toss around their names. Armstrong forever railed against people (including a couple of his wives) for putting on “aires”; he called a king of England “Rex” to his face, and joked about his lovemaking to a pope.
Pops (it’s what everyone who really knew him called him) might describe “Pops” the way he once characterized Fletcher Henderson’s band: “a little stuck up.”

In some ways, Armstrong regained his reputation long before Teachout came along. In his later years, he became America’s foremost cultural ambassador, met by rapturous admirers wherever he went. Denigrators like Dizzy Gillespie recanted. In 1964, “Hello, Dolly” bumped the Beatles off the top slot on the charts.
Since Armstrong’s death in 1971, Wynton Marsalis has vouched for him, and his house in Corona, Queens, is now a museum.
Every Wednesday for the past nine years, you have been able to hear his “good ol’ good ones” performed at Birdland. But Teachout nails the case. Everyone now acknowledges what he amply documents: not just Armstrong’s prodigious talent, but his wit, courage, kindness, loyalty, charm. And his quirks: he smoked marijuana almost daily for 40 years — it “makes you forget all the bad things that happen to a Negro,” he once said — and he took (and touted) a laxative named Swiss Kriss just as enthusiastically.

It’s striking how many greats — Hoagy Carmichael, Jack Teagarden, Teddy Wilson, Django Reinhardt, Bunny Berigan, Bing Crosby, Gene Krupa — were moved to feats of great eloquence describing Satchmo.

But those contradictions ceased to matter, Teachout says, whenever Louis Armstrong raised his trumpet to his lips, “for that was when the laughter stopped and the beauty began.”

David Margolick, a contributor to Newsweek, is writing a book about the Little Rock school desegregation crisis of 1957.

'Pops': Louis Armstrong, master of jazz, lover of life
"Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong," by author and cultural critic Terry Teachout, is a superb biography of Louis Armstrong, the jazz composer, singer and trumpeter whose positive attitude and mastery of music lifted him above grim beginnings and into the hearts of millions.

Gene Barry, Original Georges in La Cage Aux Folles, Dies
By Robert Simonson (Playbill.com)

Gene Barry, a genial actor of theatre, film and television, who made his most lasting mark on the stage as Georges, half of the mature gay couple at the center of Jerry Herman's musical La Cage Aux Folles, died Dec. 9 in Woodland Hills, CA. He was 90.

Mr. Barry won a Tony Award nomination and Drama Desk Award nomination for his suave, dignified Georges, who owns a nightclub and puts up with the flamboyant excesses of his partner Albin with tenderness and equanimity. He originated the Herman songs "Song on the Sand" and "Look Over There." It was his final Broadway appearance in a career that began in the 1940s, when he appeared with The New Opera Company in a succession of revivals of old operettas, including The New Moon, The Merry Widow and Rosalinda. He also played opposite Mae West in Catherine Was Great. Mr. Barry met his wife, Betty, who acted under the name Julie Carson, during rehearsals. She died in 2003.

La Cage Aux Folles ran for years and ended up being a surprising career bookend for an actor best known for showy tough-guy roles in television series such as "Bat Masterson," "Burke's Law" and "The Name of the Game."

Gene Barry was born Eugene Klass on June 14, 1919, in New York to Martin Klass, a jeweler, and Eva Klass.

He studied violin and singing as a boy, and got his start in show business while attending New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn, when he won a singing contest and a scholarship to the Chatham Square School of Music. Soon, he was working on stage and, by 1942, Broadway. He changed his name to Gene Barry in honor of his idol John Barrymore.

Mr. Barry went to Hollywood in 1951. Movie roles followed, including scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester in "War of the Worlds" based on the H. G. Wells novel; "Soldier of Fortune," with Clark Gable and Susan Hayward; and "Thunder Road" with Robert Mitchum.

Real fame, however, came with the 1958 series "Bat Masterson," in which he played, for three seasons, the famous Wild West lawman as a charming, dapper, handsome gambler who sports a cane and a derby. From 1963 to 1966, he was jet-setting detective Amos Burke in "Burke's Law." Again, his character lived in style and made no apologies for it. A millionaire as well as Los Angeles chief of detectives, he got around in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce and lived in a mansion. (When the show was briefly revived in the 1990s, he again played Amos, by now a widower with a detective son, Peter.)

His third hit series was "The Name of the Game," from 1968 to 1971, in which he played Glenn Howard, a self-made publishing magnate with a lavish lifesytle.
His fame had dimmed a bit by the time La Cage revived his fortunes. After a year on Broadway, he joined the road company in San Francisco and played Los Angeles for a long stint. He also appeared in a one-man cabaret show entitled Gene Barry in One.

His final role was a bit part in the 2005 Tom Cruise remake of his old film, "The War of the Worlds."

He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth, of Los Angeles, and two sons, Michael L. and Frederick J., both of Topanga, CA.

Any theatre lover can appreciate my excitement when given the opportunity to interview a legend such as Carol Channing! This is the first part of my chat with her. The second part of my interview will be next week!

NSM: I know you have a new Gospel album out . How important is this departure from the music that we are used to hearing from you?

CC: Important? I don't know. Gospel has always been a building block for the music I have done all my life. These songs are in the very foundation for so much of our music in other areas.

NSM: A lot of our readers are actors themselves and know that in those sticky situations on stage "the show must go on"...share with us, if you will, a funny or embarrassing moment on stage. And maybe a little about how it made you a stronger performer.

CC: Oh I'm very proud of my reputation for never missing a performance in DOLLY. Although a few of my stand bys would have liked me to miss a show or two. JoAnne Worley was my Stand by in Dolly. She went on to do Dolly in Los Angeles in a production opposite mine. She is wonderful. It wasnt that I was so all fire healthy either. When you part of an ensemble you pass all sorts of colds around the cast. I had been diagnosed with Cancer during the tour and I think performing healed me. You send love out to the audience and they return it two fold.
Love is very healing.

NSM: you are a legend among legends to us...How do you want people to remember you?

CC: I hope I helped lift people. Can you think of any greater accomplishment?

NSM: In a world that tends to place people and especially entertainers in a box, Is there any part of you that wonders if people will accept a gospel album from Broadways queen?

CC: Maybe at one time that was true. Today you have so many artists who are on Broadway and television or film.
And some of those started as singers. Look at Dolly Parton. What a wonderful example of someone who wouldn't be boxed.

Carol has a Gospel album out that you just have to hear!!! Amazing stuff from an amazing person!!!

You can get a copy of Carol's cd on her Website, Amazon.com, Larry Ferguson's music Website or most music dealers!

NOW IN HER fifth decade as a singing, dancing dynamo, Liza Minnelli continues to make one thing emphatically clear: You can't keep her down.

Late last year, Minnelli, 63, returned to Broadway for a sold-out run at the famed Palace Theatre.
The concert extravaganza — "Liza's at The Palace ...!" had critics raving about her boundless energy, emotional investment and still-powerful vocals.
(seen here with Tom Postillio)

Now "Liza's at The Palace ...!" comes to our living rooms in the form of a new public-television special. Filmed over two days at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the program reprises material performed during the Broadway engagement, including favorites like "Cabaret," "New York, New York" and her mother Judy Garland's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Minnelli offers amusing riffs on her bouts with pill addiction and failed marriages.

We recently caught up with Minnelli via phone to talk about the show, which will make its way to DVD in February.
Q: So how do you manage to make 63 look so good?

A: I just keep moving, honey. ... I truly believe that nothing can keep you down

if you don't want to be kept down.
Q: And the energy? Where does that come from?
A: It comes from fear (laughing)! I don't want to fail. And I'm a perfectionist just like my father (film director Vincente Minnelli) was.
I always go out on stage thinking that someone in the audience is seeing this for the first and only time.

Q: Your show re-creates Kay Thompson's nightclub act. What do you want the viewers to know about her?

A: Not many people know a lot about her, but anyone in the music business does. She was huge at MGM during the '30s (as a vocal coach to the stars and arranger on some of the studio's biggest musicals).

And she wrote the "Eloise" children's books. She was a life force. She was amazing.

Q: And she was a big influence on you?
A: Absolutely. I knew her my whole life. I can remember going to her nightclub act in 1948.
I was only 2, and the stage came up to my nose. I was sitting there in my mother's lap, and suddenly, out came this human whirlwind. She just never stopped moving.
I was mesmerized.
Q: So what was the genesis of this show?
A: Oddly enough, it started off as an idea for an album. That's how I originally pitched it.
During the meeting (with collaborators), I was going over the song titles and, in between, I was explaining who Kay was and highlighting different points in her life.

And then it suddenly hit me: "Nope, this has got to be a show." ... But then it took four years to get Ron Lewis (her longtime director-choreographer) on board.
He's an inspiration — and a great motivator.

Q: In the show, you don't shy away from poking a little fun at yourself. Does that come naturally?
A: Humor is essential. That's part of who I am. I just have to be myself on stage.
Q: And speaking of humor, you made quite an impression as a guest star on the sitcom "Arrested Development." Would you be open to doing more TV work?

A: Oh, sure. I had a blast doing that. The writing was so good, and the cast was great.
We spent the whole time laughing.

Read Chuck Barney's TV blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/tv and follow him at twitter.com/chuckbarney

CBS cancels As the World Turns

Daytime television will never be the same.

CBS announced today that it has canceled As the World Turns after 54 years – or 13,661 episodes – on the air. Its last episode will air next September.

As the World Turns was responsible for the screen debuts of some of Hollywood's A-list, including Meg Ryan, James Earl Jones, Julianne Moore and Marissa Tomei.

The cancellation comes after the network canceled Guiding Light earlier this year. Both shows were produced by Proctor & Gamble, the company that gave “soap operas” their name by using these daytime shows to advertise soaps and detergent. When As the World Turns airs its last episode, the company will not have a daytime drama on the air for the first time in 76 years.
The show was canceled due to declining ratings – down to about 2.5 million viewers this year from as many as 6.5 million in 1993, according to Reuters. CBS cites more women entering the workforce, more channels and the price of production during an economic recession as reasons for the demise of the genre and the show's cancellation.

The network will continue to air The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. But at a time when more people than ever are finding themselves at home on weekday afternoons, As the World Turns will be sorely missed.
Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/theampersand/archive/2009/12/08/cbs-cancels-as-the-world-turns.aspx#ixzz0Z97FgW6g
Join our fan community today.

Arts Groups Happy to Have a Friend in White House

Since his inauguration, Obama has hosted a variety of musical performances and workshops at the White House featuring classical, jazz, Latin, and country music.
At the same time, the administration has secured $100 million in new funding for the arts, including a one-time $50 million infusion from the economic stimulus package to preserve arts-related jobs around the country.

While arts supporters had hoped for a greater financial commitment from the administration, the increases are viewed as significant and symbolic of the president's support. At theNational Endowment for the Arts, chairman Rocco Landesman, a former Broadway producer, has said he would like to resume making grants to individual artists — a practice that was ended during the culture wars of the 1990s. But with the NEA budget well below its 1992 high-water mark of $176 million, the agency is likely to hold off for the time being.

In pressing for a restoration of funding, Americans for the Arts, a leading advocacy organization, has emphasized the economic impact of the arts and culture sector, which today employs nearly six million people at a hundred thousand nonprofit art groups — up from just seven thousand half a century ago.
Federal funding helped fuel that growth, said AfA president and CEO Robert Lynch, by leveraging additional public and private support for the arts. "It's been so successful over the past fifty years," said Lynch. "It's good business sense for there to be a bigger investment."

This story from The Philanthropy News Digest, a service of the Foundation Center.

If Oz had a restaurant, this would be it

"It's everyone's dream to have dinner at Tavern on the Green and when it comes true -- it's perfect.''
That's what Liza Minnelli had to say about the world-famous New York City eatery.

And my daughter, Tammy Lynn Michaud and her husband Ken had the good fortune to celebrate her birthday at the restaurant last week.

It will be a memorable experience for Tammy Lynn for two reasons: not only did she get to dine in the restaurant's famous crystal room, but it will likely be her last meal at the restaurant.
The restaurant, created by legendary restaurateur Warner LeRoy, will close its doors on Dec. 31.

The LeRoy family was unable to re-negotiate a new lease with the City of New York.

Built in 1870, the rural Victorian Gothic structure originally served as a sheepfold.
It housed 200 South Down sheep, which grazed across the street in Central Park's sheep meadow.

It served as sheepfold until 1934 when parks commissioner Robert Moses decided the building had a higher calling -- that of a restaurant.

After being shuttered in 1974, Warner LeRoy came along and acquired the lease and spent $10 million to renovate the facility.
Tavern on the Green took New York by storm from the moment it opened on Aug. 31, 1976. It dazzled the city with its decorative whimsy and its eclectic menu.

A grand cafe overlooking Central Park, Tavern on the Green is one of New York's most dazzling dining experiences -- a real show stopper overflowing with crystal chandeliers, hand-carved mirrors and stained glass.

Nestled in its own magical gardens, Tavern on the Green exists in a fantasy-like setting.
Tavern on the Green is situated on New York's Upper West Side, at the corner of Central Park West and 67th Street, just three blocks from Lincoln Center and a quick cab ride to Carnegie Hall and Broadway.

Tavern on the Green's renowned kitchens offer an eclectic menu of contemporary American and seasonal fare designed to appeal to a diverse clientele, from cosmopolitan meat and fish dishes and sophisticated pastries.

"Dining at Tavern on the Green is an experience I will always remember,'' said Tammy.
"The food, the staff and the ambiance was tops. It's too bad the legendary restaurant is about to close. I would definitely come again.''
Decorated for the Christmas season, Tammy said the room was "simply breathtaking.''

She said New York City is a great spot for a weekend getaway, especially at holiday time.

"The Macy's parade on Thanksgiving Day was the biggest and best ever,'' she said. "Millions of people were in downtown New York for the special events.''

Since LeRoy's death in 2001, Tavern on the Green has thrive under the direction of his daughter Jennifer LeRoy.

There is still time to dine at the famous landmark. Reservations are a must by calling 212-873- 3200 or booking online.

A special thanks to Shelley Clark, who heads up the tavern's public relations, for ensuring Tammy's birthday was special.

To top off the evening, Clark recommended Tammy and Ken drop by 230 Fifth -- a well-known rooftop nightclub -- for a nightcap.
From the year-round rooftop bar, New York presents a spectacular skyline that has to be seen to be believed.
"It's one of New York's best views of the city,'' said Clark. "There really is nothing quite like a great drink on a warm night or, on a winter night, a hot specialty cocktail as you gaze out over the city skyline.''

230 Fifth is open 365 days a year no matter what the weather is like.

The rooftop garden bar is partially heated and cozy fleece hooded red robes or oversized blankets are always available for a little extra warmth.

Palm trees and fountains set the scene at the 22,000-square-foot facility, NYC's largest rooftop lounge.
"It was a super spot, a great place to people watch,'' said Tammy. "And we were comfy, cozy in our fleece robes while sipping on cocktails.''

The Days Inns have provided some travel tips for modern seniors on the go.

1. Your next vacation doesn't have to break the bank. Look for travel deals such as senior discounts, best rate guarantees and vacation packages. Take along your age identity card and any senior club membership cards you may have.

2. Research your destination and book hotel reservations well in advance. Look for national hotel chains that cater to seniors.

3. Pack any medications and prescriptions in your carry-on bag and bring along enough medication to last the trip.
4. Before departing, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Always carry your supplemental travel and health insurance policy with you and
review all insurance requirements before you leave home. Keep the telephone number of your insurer handy in case of emergency.

5. It's a good idea to send your upcoming travel itinerary to a friend or relative so
someone will always know your whereabouts. Be sure to carry a prepaid phone card or cell phone so you can keep in touch from the road.

More information is available at www.daysinn.caor 1-800-329- 7466.

The hotel will donate $25 to Daily Bread Food Bank for every room booked at a special rate for stays from Dec. 11 to 30.

The rate starts at $129.
"We are happy to once again be working with our friends at Daily Bread Food Bank throughout the holidays,'' said Tony Dunn, general manager.
As the city comes alive for the holidays, there is no better time for a Toronto getaway.
Whether visiting for a festive party, tackling holiday shopping at the Eaton Centre, enjoying the lights and skating at Nathan Phillips Square or taking in a festive show, the hotel is a great spot during the holiday season.

For more information or to book your stay, call 1-866- 716-8101 and for for rate plan FOODBANK or book online at wwwsheraton.com/tospecials.or call your local travel agent.

Exposing children to the arts proves beneficial in many ways

The arts, including dance and music, allow children to express themselves creatively without the fear of failure. The arts develop critical-thinking skills needed by the 21st-century work force. The arts encourage creative problem-solving. The arts improve overall academic performance. Children actively engaged in arts education are likely to have higher test scores than those with no involvement.

The arts teach students to develop more appreciation and understanding of the world around them. The arts foster effective communication and teamwork. The arts can help troubled youths by providing an alternative to destructive behavior and another way for students to approach learning.

Here are some ways parents can get more art in their children's lives:
* Enjoy arts together. Sing, play music, read a book, dance or draw with your child at home.
* Explore your community's library and read the classics together -- from Mother Goose to Walt Whitman.
* Read your local newspaper to find out about local plays, festivities or outdoor concerts.
* Tell your child's teacher or principal that the arts are vital to your child's success and an important part of a quality education.

* Explore your child's dream to sing, dance, write, play an instrument, draw or act.

Charity: Give, volunteer to get helper's high

I am sure your mailboxes are full of solicitations from both local and national nonprofit agencies these days. This year, please consider a donation for the good feeling you will get from helping someone less fortunate than yourself.

During the holiday season, most of us will watch at least one version of "A Christmas Carol."
It's the story of Ebenezer Scrooge -- the selfish, mean-spirited, miserly old man who, after visits from three ghosts, discovers the joy of good deeds and experiences a helper's high as his compassion is reborn.
What "A Christmas Carol" demonstrates is the feeling that comes from doing good works and helping people.
The story is fiction, but the feeling is real. Scientific evidence has confirmed volunteering and giving lessen stress and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

So this year, when more and more families are being hurt by these tough economic times, let us all endeavor in our holiday plans to help others less fortunate with our time and skills, financial or material donations.

May we all experience the helper's high and enjoy all the blessings of the holiday season.
Grammer to make Broadway musical debut

(UPI) - Television actor Kelsey Grammer has signed on to make his Broadway musical debut in the revival of "La Cage Aux Folles," the show's producers said.

The former "Frasier" and "Cheers" star will share the stage with Douglas Hodge in the acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory production, which was previously a huge hit in London.

The show is to begin previews April 6 and open April 18 at New York's Longacre Theatre.
It features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, and is based on the play by Jean Poiret.

The re conceived production is choreographed by Lynne Page and directed by Terry Johnson.

Rehearsals are to begin March 1.
"I had a wonderful experience playing Henry Higgins in the New York Philharmonic's 'My Fair Lady' in 2007, which made me long to perform in a musical on Broadway," Grammer said in a statement. "Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's wonderfully funny and touching show is about being true to yourself and the challenges you face as a parent, as a spouse and as a family.
I cannot wait to work with Douglas Hodge and to sing these magnificent songs every night."
Grammer will play Georges, the owner/emcee of the St. Tropez nightclub where his partner, Albin, stars as the drag queen headliner, Zaza. Hodge will play Albin.
What Tiger Woods needs to learn about press.

Tiger Woods may know how to swing a club, but he's pretty handicapped when it comes to knowing how to spin a story.

By now, the world is abuzz with what really caused the Tiger Woods 2:25 AM car crash outside his Floridian mansion.
Was he drunk? Was he on drugs? Was he on his way to meet another woman? Did his wife beat the sand trap out of him for a prior affair?
Why all these questions?
Because he didn't come out in front of the story.
Whether we like it or not, refusing to talk, pleading the fifth, or hiding behind an agent makes it look like you having something to hide, whether you do or not.

The moment that Tiger refused to talk to the police, the rumor mill went into overdrive, and the story started to spin out of control. The second time? The third? Tiger has missed so many news cycles that whatever really happened is now going to get even more attention.

Obviously something serious is going on in the life of the world's greatest golfer, and for that I'm very sorry. But if Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Alec Baldwin and the rest of the celebs in this world have taught us anything it's that you can f-up and can be forgiven.

The best way to handle a press crisis of this nature for a celebrity or for a show is to come out in front of the story, and come out first.
As a producer, you want to own the story. You want to control the story. Hide from it, and the story will become bigger than it deserves to be.

Unless of course, you actually want the press.
What Tiger Woods needs to learn about press.

Tiger Woods may know how to swing a club, but he's pretty handicapped when it comes to knowing how to spin a story.

By now, the world is abuzz with what really caused the Tiger Woods 2:25 AM car crash outside his Floridian mansion. Was he drunk? Was he on drugs? Was he on his way to meet another woman?
Did his wife beat the sand trap out of him for a prior affair?

Because he didn't come out in front of the story.

Whether we like it or not, refusing to talk, pleading the fifth, or hiding behind an agent makes it look like you having something to hide, whether you do or not.

The moment that Tiger refused to talk to the police, the rumor mill went into overdrive, and the story started to spin out of control. The second time? The third?
Tiger has missed so many news cycles that whatever really happened is now going to get even more attention.
Obviously something serious is going on in the life of the world's greatest golfer, and for that I'm very sorry.
But if Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Alec Baldwin and the rest of the celebs in this world have taught us anything it's that you can f-up and can be forgiven.

Tiger Woods isn't just the world's best golfer; he's a businessman who has leveraged prize money, appearance fees, endorsements, licensing agreements and golf course design deals into more cash than any athlete has ever generated. The best way to handle a press crisis of this nature for a celebrity or for a show is to come out in front of the story, and come out first.
As a producer, you want to own the story. You want to control the story. Hide from it, and the story will become bigger than it deserves to be.

Unless of course, you actually want the press. (Source:
What Tiger Woods needs to learn about press.

As a producer, you want to own the story. You want to control the story. Hide from it, and the story will become bigger than it deserves to be.
Unless of course, you actually want the press. (The Producers Perspective: Ken Davenport)

Sequin chic shines on

Eva Friede, Canwest News Service Published: Thursday, December 03, 2009

The thing about sequins is that they are tawdry, as in the stuff of showgirls and strippers. But they are also the epitome of glamour, as in the goddesses of the silver screen.
They twinkle so prettily, shine light on your face, giving off a lustrous glow.

Sometimes they whisper softly, "See how I shine." Sometimes they scream it, as in Liza Minnelli, clad head-to-toe in shiny sequins, belting out New York, New York.

Always - unless you've just come from the couture department - they shed, leaving bits of glitter in your wake. This is not a bad thing. My carpet at home has little discs of silver from a recent purchase that twinkle fetchingly when least expected.
I am not anxious to vacuum them up.

Every year, as the days get shorter and the holidays approach, sequins and all things sparkly - lame, satin, Lurex, crystals, bright bijoux - emerge in the shops.

Think Jean Paul Gaultier's glorious Olde Hollywood gowns and Balmain's sharp-shouldered glamazon minis.

The only things giving sequins a run for their lustre are those oversized clusters of jewellery, including bib necklaces, multiple strands of crystal, chains and pearls, and at Club Monaco, a star-light, star-bright brooch that measures a full four inches in diameter. How to wear it is a bit of a mystery: A client who bought it refused to tell the sales clerk how and where she would attach it. My secret, she said.

New on the scene, at least for those of us not in showbiz, is the sequined blazer, a la Minnelli, Joan Collins or Michael Jackson. It's everywhere, in black or silver, cut long with lapels and pockets at Le Chateau, Bedo and Club Monaco, and in a cropped style at H&M. The H&M Jimmy Choo zip blouson jacket is all sold out.

Sequined leggings have also emerged. Best advice: Wear them with something long like a boyfriend blazer, and don't sit down.

Another addition to the sequin stylebook - and this is a rather easy look - is the black vest, ranging from skimpy and stretchy to more elaborate long, belted or satin-trimmed versions.

The vest might be the cheapest chic investment of the season. At H&M recently, a young woman in jeans and a white tank tried one on. The transformation was remarkable. If you change the jeans to black pants, and the tank to a black T, you're fit for the office party.
A touch more festive, and also easy, is the bolero, such as one from Dynamite.

Much of what we see in the shops is clubby: tight tanks, tunics and little sequined skirts. At the Simons Twik department, some minis are so tiny, they would fit the thigh of the average adult woman.
Sleeveless tunics - in black, silver or gold - have been a staple for years now, and you can find them at Tristan, Dynamite and from Mexx, in a black-to-silver version that also comes in a tank top.

At French Connection - a good source of sequined tunics every season - we loved a black long-sleeved, tight sequined dress.

The sequins are generous in number, and long sleeves balance the flash factor of tight, short and shiny.

It's not all about flashy clubwear.

The mix of chiffon and sequins is fetching and sophisticated. BCBG has flirty chiffon batwing-trimmed tops in black or silver sequins. Ports, at Ogilvy's, has loose chiffon tops in dove grey or burgundy with a wide band of sequins at the hips.

At Simons, there's a prim black sequined frock with white collar and cuffs from Sonia Rykiel, as well as a black shirt by Excetera with tuxedo panels of black sequins in the front. From Michael Kors, you can find a simple, boxy-cut, short-sleeved T to wear with jeans and a boyfriend blazer. And don't forget the little cardigan with a touch of sparkle, be it beading or sequins.
Michelle Obama sparked a frenzy in her J.Crew sweater.

To complete the holiday look, there are bags and shoes - a peep-toe pump in black or midnight blue sequins is available from Browns. Sequined bags are a classic; Le Chateau has one, and so do many vintage stores.
But choose: sequined clothing or accessories, not both.
Twinkle Twinkle: How sequins became what they are

Sequins are said to derive from ancient times when, in gold, they were used as coins or to trim veils and headdresses of women, showing the family's wealth. In the last century, they became associated with flappers and showgirls.

Today, most are made of polyester, stamped by machine in Europe, China or India. Increasingly, they are made of brass, said Praveen Kumar, owner of Montreal's Pacific Imports. The 19-year-old company imports all manner of trimmings, from lace to ribbon, and supplies local shops.
Sequins, also known as paillettes (the French word) and spangles, can be sewn onto fabric by hand or machine. China, which now uses machines to sew sequins on fabric, has brought the prices down, Kumar said. In India, the sequins are sewn by hand. The metallics come from India or Europe, he added, and are very beautiful.
The best sequined fabric is hand-sewn and individually knotted, he said.

Kumar's advice: Dry-clean your sequined finery.

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/life/story.html?id=2299767#ixzz0YwTcGdBK
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Woods in no danger of losing sponsors

(SOURCE:ESPN The Magazine)

Woods was the PGA Tour's career earnings leader by the age of 24, and passed $1 billion in overall cumulative income earlier this year; ESPN The Magazine has estimated that he will earn more than $6 billion by the time he hangs up his putter.

And as Woods tries to repair the marital, physical and public-relations damage his first scandal has caused, one thing is clear: His corporate partners have his back.
Stuart Franklin/Getty ImagesPepsiCo, Gatorade's parent company, put out a statement that said: "Tiger and his family have our support as they work through this private matter. Our partnership continues."

Many observers have asked whether Woods' late-night car wreck and alleged infidelities will affect his current endorsement deals, which comprise nearly 90 percent of his annual income. The answer is: Not so far, and probably not at all. For example, Woods is in the middle of a five-year deal with Nike worth more than $100 million, and on Wednesday that company issued a statement saying: "Nike supports Tiger and his family."

Reaction was nearly identical from Gatorade, where Woods inked a five-year pact reportedly worth up to $100 million in 2008. PepsiCo, Gatorade's parent company, put out a statement that said: "Tiger and his family have our support as they work through this private matter. Our partnership continues."

Electronic Arts, Gillette, NetJets, TLC Vision -- all of them also have deals with Woods, and all also issued statements supporting him. No sponsors have dropped him.
So the world of sports business is rapidly converging on one conclusion: "Over the medium- and long-term, the events of the past week will do absolutely nothing to damage Tiger's appeal to current or future sponsors," says Peter Marino, president of Dig Communications, a public-relations agency.

Why is Tiger Teflon? It's not just because his near-universal recognizability makes his endorsement so valuable.
It's specifically because his core fan base is precisely the group of Americans least likely to care about the marital indiscretions of a successful guy who travels a lot: upscale men.

Woods' appeal always has been rooted in the factors that combine to make him uniquely excellent at his craft -- the story of his childhood, his competitive nature, his commitment to greatness. Being lovable has never been an essential part of that mix.

"Tiger's cuddliness quotient isn't too high," says Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a sports business consulting firm. Rather, Woods resonates with golf fans who admire him and want to be like him, and most of them are middle-aged and upper-income men, or young men who aspire to be upper-income by the time they're middle-aged.
Whatever they say in public or at the dinner table about how Woods has behaved, those men are not likely to turn their backs on Woods for reportedly messing around with women.
And as they go, so go the companies that sell to them. "Tiger's fans are male consumers," says Marino, "and his sponsors are companies trying to reach those consumers, not married women or soccer moms."
No sponsors have dropped him.
Then there's the nature of Woods' offenses, which, beyond smashing a fire hydrant, apparently are confined to his marriage.
Which makes his mistakes potential ongoing tabloid fodder for sure, but not corporate deal-breakers.
"Some women, and for that matter, some concerned men, may be indignant," says Ganis. "But which of the men who work for any of Tiger's sponsors is going to be the first to stand up and throw stones?
Anybody who did that would put himself and his own company under tremendous scrutiny."

Woods' behavior could limit the ultimate size of his endorsement universe, as corporations that market themselves as family-friendly might be reluctant to strike new deals with him.
"If Tiger was going to be my only face to the world, I might think he's a little bit radioactive now," says one sports media executive who asked not to be identified because he does business with some of Woods' sponsors. Then again, marital trouble might make it easier for some fans to identify with him.

"Tiger certainly has been one of the most private individuals among anybody who is well-known," says Marino, "and this may actually humanize him."

But those are arguments about how Woods will fare with casual fans and with companies loosely connected to golf. Like New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, Woods is easy to admire but hard to love -- and eminently capable of making the world refocus on his athletic greatness simply by playing up to his abilities.
And when he resurfaces as a superhuman golfer, Nike will want him in Nike caps and shirts and shoes, AT&T will want the AT&T logo on his bag and Tag Heuer will want him wearing a Tag Heuer watch when he holds his trophies aloft.
"Tiger's all about maximizing value for his corporate partners as well as himself," says Ganis. "If any of his sponsors get cold feet, Tiger will say, 'Thank you,' and tear up his contract with them. And they will be the worse for it."

Peter Keating is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His online archives can be found here.

Beyoncé rules 2010 Grammy nominations

Beyoncé Knowles gets 10 nods for the Grammys next year

I was watching I Am…Yours, Beyoncé’s contribution to this year’s Christmas shopping rush when I got the news that she topped the 2010 Grammy Awards nomination. She got a huge 10 nods and judging from what the CD/DVD release has to offer, it could not happen to somebody more deserving.
I Am…Yours is a three-disc live recording of what was dubbed an intimate performance at Wynn’s in Las Vegas and the reasons why Beyoncé is consistently winning accolades are all there. She is a fantastic vocalist. Disc One is an acoustic set that shows this off very well. She is also great with uptempo tunes. The hits of Disc Two tells us so.
And can you think of anybody who can equal the perfection of her live performance, while also looking beautiful to boot. So I do not think there is anybody who will object to her carting off all those Grammys home come Jan. 31.

Taylor Swift also did well with eight nominations. She held the Country Western banner aloft amidst the R&B onslaught that also included The Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell and Kanye West with six nominations each, plus dance sensation Lady Gaga (pictured) with five.
The Brits who led last year’s batch were surprisingly quiet this time around. In fact most of their nominations were for established rock acts like U2, Eric Clapton and Coldplay.

Here is Part One of the list of nominees. I make it a point to check out the contenders in the top categories after the announcement and I can honestly say that this is one great batch:
Record of the Year: Halo, Beyoncé; I Gotta Feeling, The Black Eyed Peas; Use Somebody, Kings Of Leon; Poker Face, Lady Gaga; You Belong With Me, Taylor Swift.

Album of the Year: I Am ……Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé; The E.N.D., The Black Eyed Peas; The Fame, Lady Gaga; Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King, Dave Matthews Band; Fearless, Taylor Swift.

Song of the Year: Poker Face, Lady Gaga; Pretty Wings, Maxwell; Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It, Beyoncé; Use Somebody, Kings Of Leon; You Belong With Me, Taylor Swift.

Best New Artist: Zac Brown Band; Keri Hilson; MGMT; Silversun Pickups, The Ting Tings.

Female Pop Vocal: Hometown Glory, Adele; Halo, Beyoncé; Hot N Cold, Katy Perry; Sober, Pink; You Belong With Me, Taylor Swift.

Male Pop Vocal: This Time, John Legend; Love You, Maxwell; Make It Mine, Jason Mraz; If You Don’t Know Me By Now, Seal; All About The Love Again, Stevie Wonder.

Duo or Group Pop Vocal:I Gotta Feeling, The Black Eyed Peas; We Weren’t Born To Follow, Bon Jovi; Never Say Never, The Fray; Sarah Smile, Daryl Hall & John Oates; Kids, MGMT.

Pop Collaboration with Vocals; Sea Of Heartbreak, Rosanne Cash & Bruce Springsteen; Love Sex Magic, Ciara and Justin Timberlake; Lucky, Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat; Baby It’s Cold Outside, Willie Nelson and Norah Jones; Breathe, Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat.

Pop Instrumental Performance: Besame Mucho, Herb Alpert; Throw Down Your Heart, Bela Fleck; The Fire, Imogen Heap; Phoenix Rise, Maxwell; Funk Joint, Marcus Miller.
Pop Instrumental Album: In Boston, Chris Botti; Legacy, Hiroshima; Potato Hole, Booker T. Jones; Modern Art, The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman; Down The Wire, Spyro Gyra.

Pop Vocal Album: The E.N.D., The Black Eyed Peas; Breakthrough, Colbie Caillat; All I Ever Wanted, Kelly Clarkson; The Fray, The Fray; Funhouse, Pink.

Dance Recording: Boom Boom Pow, the Black Eyed Peas; When Love Takes Over, Kelly Rowland; Poker Face, Lady Gaga; Celebration, Madonna; Womanizer, Britney Spears.

Electronic/Dance Album: Divided By Night, The Crystal Method; One Love, David Guetta; The Fame, Lady Gaga; Party Rock, LMPAO; Yes, Pet Shop Boys.

Traditional Pop Vocal Album: A Swingin’ Christmas, Tony Bennett; Michael Bublé Meets Madison Square Garden, Michael Bublé; Your Songs, Harry Connick Jr.; Liza’s At The Palace, Liza Minnelli; American Classic, Willie Nelson.

Rock Solo Vocal: Beyond Here Lies Nothing, Bob Dylan; Change In The Weather, John Fogerty; Dreamer, Prince; Working On A Dream, Bruce Springsteen; Fork In The Road, Neil Young.
Rock Duo or Group Vocal: Can’t Find My Way Home, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood; Life In Technicolor II, Coldplay; 21 Guns, Green Day; Use Somebody, Kings of Leon; I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, U2.

Metal Vocal: Dissident Aggressor, Judas Priest; Set To Fail, Lamb Of God; Head Crusher, Megadeth; Senor Peligro, Ministry; Hate Worldwide, Slayer.
Rock Instrumental: A Day In The Life, Jeff Beck; Warped Sister, Booker T. Jones; Playing With Fire, Brad Paisley; Mr. Surfer Goes Jazzin’, Brian Setzer Orchestra; Now We Run, Steve Val.

Rock Song: The Fixer, Pearl Jam; I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, U2; 21 Guns, Green Day; Use Somebody, Kings of Leon; Working On A Dream, Bruce Springsteen.

Rock Album: Black Ice, AC/DC; Live From Madison Square Gargen, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood; 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day; Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King, Dave Matthews Band; No Line On The Horizon, U2.

Alternative Music Album: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, David Byrne & Brian Eno; The Open Door, Death Cab for Cutie; Sounds Of The Universe, Depeche Mode; Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix; Its Blitz!, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Springsteen, DeNiro, Brooks, Bumbry, Brubeck Get Kennedy Ctr Honors
By Frank James

Jazz great Dave Brubeck, comedian Mel Brooks, opera star Grace Bumbry, actor Robert DeNiro and rocker Bruce Springsteen received their Kennedy Center Honors Sunday night for their lifetime achievements at a three-hour celebration attended by President Barack Obama who also hosted a White House event for the honorees.

At the White House reception, the president talked of the role Brubeck played in a poignant moment in his life, the brief time he spent with his absentee father when the president was a child.
And I know personally how powerful his performances can be. I mentioned this to Dave backstage. In the few weeks that I spent with my father as a child -- he came to visit me for about a month when I was young -- one of the things he did was to take me to my first jazz concert, in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1971, and it was a Dave Brubeck concert. (Laughter and applause.) And I've been a jazz fan ever since. The world that he opened up for a 10-year-old boy was spectacular.

The perfect anecdote for the moment -- Brubeck's music as a bridge between a father and son, between Kenya and America and between a president and a jazz icon.

The Kennedy Center concert to honor the award recipients is scheduled for broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 9 pm ET.

The video released to Associated Press shows Sting, who with a full beard and mustache that make him look like a Romanov, serenading Springsteen who's sitting in the presidential box with the other honorees. Wish we could have been there. Looks like a great show.

Here's a transcript of the president's remarks at the White House:



For Immediate Release December 6, 2009



East Room

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.

LITTLE CHILD: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Laughter.)
This a season of joy, tradition and celebration.


THE PRESIDENT: Yes! (Laughter.) And today, it is our great joy to continue a White House holiday tradition --- a celebration of performers who have transformed the arts in America, our extraordinary Kennedy Center Honorees. (Applause.)

We are joined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- (applause) -- members of Congress and members of the Kennedy family.
(Applause.) I see sprinkled through the crowd some pretty fancy company, as well -- you've got the Queen of Soul. (Applause.) You've got Martin Scorsese -- he knows a little bit about film-making. (Applause.) And my spectacular First Lady is here, as well. (Applause.)

I especially want to thank the man who created these Honors more than three decades ago and who has produced them ever since -- and whom I was proud to name as co-chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities -- George Stevens, Jr. George. (Applause.)

And I want to also thank Stephen Schwarzman and the Kennedy Center trustees. (Applause.) As well as president Michael Kaiser and all those who sustain President Kennedy's vision of a "great stage" celebrating "the best coming from this country and abroad."

These performers are indeed the best. They are also living reminders of a simple truth -- and I'm going to steal a line from Michelle here -- the arts are not somehow apart from our national life, the arts are at the heart of our national life. (Applause.)
In times of war and sacrifice, the arts -- and these artists --- remind us to sing and to laugh and to live. In times of plenty, they challenge our conscience and implore us to remember the least among us.
In moments of division or doubt, they compel us to see the common values that we share; the ideals to which we aspire, even if we sometimes fall short. In days of hardship, they renew our hope that brighter days are still ahead.

So let's never forget that art strengthens America. And that's why we're making sure that America strengthens its arts.
It's why we're re energizing the National Endowment of the Arts. That's why we're helping to sustain jobs in arts communities across the country. It's why we're supporting arts education in our schools, and why Michelle and I have hosted students here at the White House to experience the best of American poetry and music.

And it's why we're honored to celebrate these five remarkable performers, who for decades have helped to sustain and strengthen the American spirit.

You can't understand America without understanding jazz. And you can't understand jazz, without understanding Dave Brubeck. (Applause.) His mother was a classical pianist with high hopes for her son.
And by the time he was four, he was playing himself. But by the time he was a teenager, he was tearing up local honky-tonks. Even his mother had to admit: "There is some hope for David after all." (Laughter.)

And perhaps it was World War II --- his service in Patton's Army --- that changed his sound, forcing him, as he said, to work the war out of his system by playing some "pretty vicious piano."
Whatever it was, his sound --- the distinctive harmonies and improvisations of the Dave Brubeck Quartet --- would change jazz forever, prompting Time magazine to put him on the cover as the leader of a new jazz age.
Having brought jazz into the mainstream, he then transformed it, with innovative new rhythms on albums like Time Out -- the first jazz album to ever sell more than a million copies and still one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time.

Dave Brubeck has never stopped reaching new audiences: Performing for Presidents from Johnson to Reagan; composing orchestral tributes to Martin Luther King and Pope John Paul II; and even in his 80s, dazzling jazz festivals across America.

And I know personally how powerful his performances can be. I mentioned this to Dave backstage. In the few weeks that I spent with my father as a child -- he came to visit me for about a month when I was young -- one of the things he did was to take me to my first jazz concert, in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1971, and it was a Dave Brubeck concert. (Laughter and applause.) And I've been a jazz fan ever since. The world that he opened up for a 10-year-old boy was spectacular.

And, Dave, for the joy that you've given millions of jazz lovers like me, for your six decades of revolutionary rhythms, you are rightly honored -- especially today, on your 89th birthday. (Applause.)

He was born Melvin Kaminsky --

MEL BROOKS: He never understood 4/4 time -- (laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: He's still messing it up, Mel. (Laughter.) Mel, I'm trying to say something nice about you, now. (Laughter.) Please don't upstage me. (Laughter.)

As you can tell, he was born to entertain. (Laughter.) Or, as Mel Brooks explains it: "Look at Jewish history -- unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. (Laughter.) So every 10 Jews, God designed one to be crazy and amuse the others." (Laughter and applause.) According to Mel, "By the time I was five I knew I was that one." (Laughter.)

And by the time he was nine, this boy from Brooklyn had seen his first musical and dreamed of becoming "the King of Broadway."
But World War II meant service in the Army -- or, as he put it, "the European Theater of Operations" with "lots of operations" and "very little theater." (Laughter.) Returning home, he found success cranking out quips for Sid Ceasar -- or as Mel described his reaction to success -- "panic, hysteria, insomnia...and years of psychoanalysis." (Laughter.)

That's right, we're reading back all your golden moments here, Mel. (Laughter.)

Unfortunately, many of the punch lines that have defined Mel Brooks' success cannot be repeated here. I was telling him that I went to see Blazing Saddles -- (laughter) -- when I was 10. And he pointed out that I think, according to the ratings, I should not have been allowed in the theater. (Laughter.) That's true. I think I had a fake ID. (Laughter and applause.) But the statute of limitations has passed. (Laughter.)

Suffice it to say, in his satires and parodies, no cow is sacred, no genre is safe. He mocked the musical -- and Hitler --in The Producers, the western in Blazing Saddles, and the horror film in Young Frankenstein.

But behind all the insanity and absurdity, there's been a method to Mel's madness. He's described his work as "unearthing the truth that is all around us." And by illuminating uncomfortable truths -- about racism and sexism and anti-Semitism -- he's been called "our jester, asking us to see ourselves as we really are, determined that we laugh ourselves sane."

For this, he is one of the few people ever to receive an Emmy and a Grammy and an Oscar and a Tony. Writer, director, actor, producer, composer...for his success -- and for his psychoanalysis -- we honor Mel Brooks. (Applause.)

Reflecting on the challenge of finding one's voice, Grace Bumbry once said: "God has already planted that in your throat. It's your job to free it up, to allow that beautiful thing to shine through."

True to her name, Grace allowed her voice to shine through and touch all those within its range. Around her family's piano in St. Louis; on the talent show where, as a teenager, she moved the host to tears; and then, after being turned away from one music school because of the color of her skin -- her triumphant international debut at the Paris Opera, when she was just 23 years old.

Performing here at the White House, it was said that she moved Jacqueline Kennedy to lean over and gently sing along the words to the President.

Defying every expectation, Grace Bumbry then made the transition from mezzo to soprano. And over the decades that followed, she displayed a range like few others -- sometimes the middle ranges as a mezzo; sometimes the highs of a soprano; sometimes both in the same performance. Grace not only triumphed in different techniques, she transformed them.

And though she gave her final operatic performance in 1997, she appears in recitals to this day. After nearly 50 years, she remains the definition of a diva in the classical sense: a divine voice worthy of the heavens.
And tonight -- 32 years after she performed at the first Kennedy Center Honors for her mentor Marian Anderson -- we honor Grace Bumbry. (Applause.)

Growing up in New York City's Little Italy, Bobby De Niro always knew what he wanted to be.
Coming home from the movies, he'd act out the parts. At age 10, in his school play, he made a rather unlikely debut in The Wizard of Oz as the Cowardly Lion. (Laughter.)

He has said: "my joy as an actor is to live different lives." And in more than 60 films spanning more than 40 years, Robert De Niro has lived some of the most iconic and intense characters ever portrayed on film. A dying baseball player in Bang The Drum Slowly. A young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II. A deranged Taxi Driver.
A troubled veteran in The Deer Hunter. A brutal boxer in Raging Bull. A vengeful ex-con in Cape Fear. Let's hope that Martin Scorsese was kidding when he said that Robert is "full of something that he wanted to express." (Laughter.) Don't worry, we did a vet on him before he came in tonight. (Laughter.)

But alongside his Oscar-winning emotional audacity there's his versatility, from a coma patient in Awakenings, to an ever-possessive father in Meet The Parents. There's his legendary method -- not simply portraying characters, but becoming them, emotionally and physically. And there is his love for his city -- whether it's directing films like A Bronx Tale, or founding the film center and festival that has energized the arts in New York City.

It is perhaps the great irony of his life -- one of America's greatest cinematic actors is a man, famously, of few words off the screen -- and I can attest to this. So I'll simply say, thank you, Robert De Niro. (Applause.)

Finally, we honor the quiet kid from Jersey -- (laughter) -- who grew up to become the rock 'n' roll laureate of a generation. For in the life of our country only a handful of people have tapped the full power of music to tell the real American story -- with honesty; from the heart; and one of those people is Bruce Springsteen.

He has said: "I've always believed that people listen to your music not to find out about you, but to find out about themselves." And for more than three decades, in his songs -- of dreams and despair, of struggle and hope -- hardworking folks have seen themselves.

They've seen their great state of New Jersey. And they've seen their America -- in songs that become anthems. Restless kids who were "Born to Run." The struggles of workers in "My Hometown." The sacrifices of vets who were "Born in the U.S.A." Love and loss in "Streets of Philadelphia."
A resilient nation in "The Rising." And, this year, a country "Working on a Dream."

It's no wonder that his tours are not so much concerts, but communions. There's a place for everybody --- the sense that no matter who you are or what you do, everyone deserves their shot at the American Dream; everybody deserves a little bit of dignity; everybody deserves to be heard.

I've seen it myself. Bruce was a great fan -- a great friend over the last year, and when I watched him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he rocked the National Mall before my inauguration, I thought it captured as well as anything the spirit of what America should be about. On a day like that, and today, I remember: I'm the President, but he's The Boss. (Applause.)

And Bruce continues to inspire, along with his "house-rocking, earth-shaking" E Street Band. At 60 years old, he's still filling stadiums, still whipping fans into a frenzy, still surfing the crowd, still jumping off pianos, and still reaching new fans, and still being nominated for Grammys. It's been a long road from that stage at Stone Pony in Asbury Park to this stage today, but this much we know -- after more than 30 years and 120 million albums sold, Bruce Springsteen is still one "cool rockin' Daddy." (Laughter and applause.)
Dave Brubeck. Mel Brooks. Grace Bumbry. Robert De Niro. Bruce Springsteen. Their stories are their own. But the part that they play in the larger American story -- that's what we honor here tonight. What they say is that with respect for the past, we can keep strong the traditions and values that enrich us all; that with confidence in the present, and in ourselves, we can overcome whatever comes our way; and that with faith in the future, America's greatest "Glory Days" are still to come.

So thank you to all of our honorees. Thank you all very much for the joy and the beauty that you've contributed to our lives. We are very grateful. Thank you. (Applause.)

Joy to the World brings holiday cheer to Charleston
Marino, Diane2
Singer/pianist Diane Marino will perform at Joy to the World this Thursday.

By Mona Seghatoleslami
Thursday night at the Culture Center, jazz singer and pianist Diane Marino performed on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Joy to the World Christmas show.

The Joy to the World jazz concert is an annual Christmas tradition in Charleston. Pianist Bob Thompson and friends have been welcoming a different guest singer to perform with them for the past 17 years.

This year’s guest is singer-piano player Diane Marino, who takes classic tunes and reworks them in her own style.

“I just like taking a standard and making it my own,” she said. “I’m a pianist so I’ll sit there and just fool around with the melody. I’ll always change the chord structure, and I might hear the hook of the song and it might be done one way, but I’ll hear it in a swing feel, something like that.

“Just like my last CD, I took all these pop songs, that were pop songs in the 60s, and I turned around them into something else. Still recognizable, but very different in their concept and the feel.”

Marino started out as a classical pianist, studying at Mannes College of Music in New York City.

“Most people can hear that in my playing,” she said. “I’m definitely affected by all that music. I love Chopin, and Beethoven, and Bach, and Brahms.

“Jazz and classical are so finely intertwined, and I think if you come from that classical background, it’s probably the best way to approach any music after that. Certainly builds up your dexterity and technique, but also I find all the colors you get from playing classical music and just appreciating all those composers, it definitely seeps over into jazz improvisation and some pop stuff too."

Singing became part of her professional career when she started looking for gigs in New York.

“I always sang, but I started thinking of it professional when I was in college,” she said. “And I was looking into doing some solo work, and I was advised to do solo work, you have to sing. You can just play, you have to sing too.

“So, I started singing favorite songs of mine, pop stuff from back then, then had to find out where my voice was, and where the register was, and it just grew from there, from a desire to go out and work.”

In Charleston, Marino will sing some old favorites, as well as some new Christmas tunes she’s discovered:

“I love all the music from the Charlie Brown Christmas; I’ll be doing Christmas Time is Here – a little bit of a different version, a different feel with Bossa Nova,” she said. “Also, some new songs that have become favorites of mine.

“It should be a lot of fun getting together to do something. It’s always a treat to play with new musicians, to get together and make music together.”

Joy to the World, featuring Diane Marino, took place at the Culture Center in Charleston, Thursday night at 8 p.m. Last year’s Joy to the World concert will be broadcast on West Virginia Public Radio, Monday December 21 at 9 p.m.

Full disclosure: Mona Seghatoleslami is involved with the production.
Her upcoming appearances at Club Iguana Jan 27th and Metropolitan Room on Jan. 28th.
Support THE ARTS! LIVE THEATRE! Go see a show this week! Send me your reviews and suggestions and I will put them in my next blog coming out next Tuesday! Here's to an ARTS-filled week! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/Foundation.htm

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper

Dec 13
2-5 pm
SWING 46, 349 West 46th Street
Dancers over 40 proudly honors five women whose careers, lives and deeds have exceeded expectations and whose contributions to the art of dance have been extraordinary: Marge Champion, Marge Beddow, Nicole Barth, Gemze de Lappe and Billie Mahoney. They come from a variety of backgrounds, each with a special charm, a diverse dance history, and a story to tell. They have shared their History, their Legacy and their Lives with Dancers Over 40 over the years, volunteered for us, and just plain made the world a better place for being here. Dancers Over 40 is proud to honor these women with our first-ever Dancers Over 40 Legacy Awards and Holiday Party luncheon. Hosted by our friend -- and theirs -- the wonderful Richard Skipper! Richard has performed twice over the past few years at DO40 events to rave reviews! Reservations can be made through the Dancers Over 40 website, www.dancersover40.org, or on their hotline, 212-330-7016. Tickets are $15.00 for members and $25.00 for non-members. Cash only. Admission includes sit down lunch and soft drinks/water. (Cash bar for liquor.) SOLD OUT

Hi Richard my favorite thing about the night was all of the talent I love hearing all those great songs that I heard growing up. Everyone had such grace and talent it was a pleasure just being around all of them and you. I also loved the relationship that you and Dana have, I thought it was magical. You are all so very talented and Samantha is so appreciative as am I that she was able to be a part of it.
Take care
Beth Hoffman

Thanks again for another great night at the Iguana! You are so much fun to be with-- your energy always makes me happy to be with you and come and sing! The acts were also equally amazing. That little girl and Sarah Palin were huge hits. I got a lot of great feedback for my piece as well-- which always is a thrill. Your early mornings at 9:00 seem to be paying off. Enjoy the View!
Allegra Pigott, Stamford, CT

WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE IGUANA is an absolutely delightful evening. Richard Skipper is an impressive performer ... professional, polished, with panache, pizazz and most importantly with HEART! Richard is paired with the hilarious, generous, and beautiful Dana Lorge. What a talented, dynamic duo and a wonderful show! Go!!
Jill Melanie Wirth, http://www.JillMelanieWirth.blogspot.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NYC Now a night out in NY to see a show at a VERY AFFORDABLE price!
Dana Lorge and I have put our OWN spin on the variety show format and are now hosting every Wednesday night in NYC at The Iguana VIP Lounge (http://www.iguananyc.com) in the heart of
NYC (240 West 54th Street 8-11PM/with an intermission).
This week, Christine Talbott Sutin on keyboard and Morrie Louden on bass!
Time: 8 - 11:00 p.m.

Cover: $10 - no food or drink minimums – but remember – the food is great!
This is a nice night
out with the family! A
"throw back" to the variety shows we grew up with.
For more info, please call 845-365-0720 or visit _www.RichardSkipper.com_

212-765-5454. No one admitted before

Dec 16
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
Christine Talbott Sutin on keyboard & Saadi Zain on bass.
Tonight's guests include: Elena Bennett & Fred Barton, Mychelle Colleary, Susan Eichhorn-Young, Ken Greves, Amanda "Pucci" Jones, Jesse Luttrell ...
...and a few other surprises as well! Remember $10.00 Music Charge/No food or drink minimum! PLEASE NOTE: TONIGHT'S SHOW IS DOWNSTAIRS
Reservations a must (212) 765-5454

December 30th: Ritt Henn, Annie Hughes, Yvette Malavets-Blum, David Nathan Scott

January 13th: Barbara Gurskey returns!

January 20th: D'Yan Forrest, Greta Heron, Scot Wisniewski

February 17th : James Alexander

March 24th, Julie Reyburn returns!

April 28th: Kecia Craig and Frank Stern!
Keep checking http://www.richardskipper.com/schedule.html


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