Celebrating ICONS! Past, Present, and Future!

"Memory depends very much on the perspicuity,regularity, and order of our thoughts. Many complain of the want of memory, when the defect is in their judgement, and others, by grasping at all, retain nothing."
-Margaret Fuller, American critic and social reformer (1810-1850)

Happy Double Sevens!

Today is 7/7! Double Sevens!!In gambling it is lucky. Today, I'm writing about 4 people that I consider lucky because they were born with a God given talent. You might be surprised to see Ava Gardner in this list but you'll see why as I get to an entertainer celebrating her in a new cabaret show.
I've always been fascinated with Ava Gardner.
WE are both Carolinians and we both grew up on tobacco farms.
She was born in North Carolina.
Of course her film career is often overlooked because of her tempestuous love affair and subsequent marriage to Frank Sinatra.
Gardner's third and last marriage (1951–1957) was to singer and actor Frank Sinatra. She would later say in her autobiography that he was the love of her life. Sinatra left his wife, Nancy, for Ava and their subsequent marriage made headlines. Sinatra was savaged by gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, the Hollywood establishment, the Roman Catholic Church and by his fans for leaving his wife for a noted femme fatale. (The Catholic church eventually granted an annulment so that he could marry Gardner, his fourth wife.) Following marriage to Ava Gardner, Sinatra's career suffered, while hers prospered – the headlines solidified her screen siren image. Gardner used her considerable influence to get Sinatra cast in his Oscar-winning role in From Here to Eternity (1953). That role and the award revitalized both Sinatra's acting and singing careers.

She was also married to Mickey Rooney!
She also had a penchant for matadors!

I always imagine her as being a real life Hemmingway heroine. She even filmed several of Hemingway's novels.

Ava Lavinia Gardner was born on Christmas Eve in 1922 in a rural community known as “Grabtown,” seven miles east of Smithfield, North Carolina. She was the youngest of five daughters and two sons of Jonas Bailey Gardner, a tenant farmer, and Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” Baker Gardner. When fire consumed the family’s barn and cotton gin in 1924, the Gardners, along with two-year-old Ava moved to the “teacherage”---a boarding house for young lady teachers at the local Brogden school. Jonas Gardner labored as the caretaker and Mollie Gardner served as the cook for the residents of the house.

The effects of “The Great Depression” eventually forced the closing of the teacherage, and in 1935, the family moved to Newport News, Virginia to operate another boarding house for shipyard workers. After the death of Jonas Gardner in 1938 from a prolonged illness, Ava and her mother moved from Virginia to the Rock Ridge community (near Wilson, North Carolina) once again managing a boarding house for teachers. Although their income allowed for a meager existence, Mollie Gardner insisted that Ava continue her education rather than working to help support the family. Ava graduated from Rock Ridge High School in 1939, and later attended Atlantic Christian College.

She was signed to a contract by MGM Studios in 1941 and appeared in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers (1946). She became one of Hollywood's leading actresses, considered one of the most beautiful women of her day. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mogambo (1953).

Tourists visit Ava Gardner Museum to get the intimate details

The Ava Gardner Museum displays artifacts from the actress's career and private life. It is at 325 E. Market Street in downtown Smithfield.

1922: Born in the Brogden community, seven miles east of Smithfield

1941: Signed a seven-year movie deal with MGM and went to Hollywood

1942-1943: Marriage to actor Mickey Rooney

1945-1946: Marriage to musician Artie Shaw

1951-1957: Marriage to Frank Sinatra

1953: Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for the film "Mogambo"

1990: Died of pneumonia in London
SMITHFIELD - The Ava Gardner Museum tells a story juicy enough to be its own Hollywood tale - a local woman's journey from obscurity to fame, failed marriages, eyebrow-raising love affairs and a reminder that no matter where the world takes them, some people never really leave home.

Read full article HERE

And, now, Sigali Hamberger is doing a tribute to Ava Gardner. I'm a huge fan of Sigali's and I think this is an incredible combination!

Contact: Sigali Hamberger


Tuesday, July 12th at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday August 4th at 7:00 p.m.

Sigali returns to the Metropolitan Room in July and August, with encore performances of A TOAST TO AVA GARDNER. Inspired by the life and films of one of the 20th century’s most alluring screen goddesses, the show draws heavily from the American songbook, and reflects on Ava’s iconic status as femme fatale both on and off the screen. Accompanying Sigali on the piano is Musical Director & Arranger, Ido Alexander. The show is directed by Scott Coulter.

Cabaret Scenes called Sigali’s 2010 Metropolitan Room debut “impressive”—praising her “grace, charm, and good instincts,” and adding that she would soon “have us all on the run to catch one of her next shows!”

Rodgers and Hart were on to something when they wrote about the noble pursuit of singing for one’s supper. Sigali desires nothing more than to do just that. Though classically trained, she is focused on music from the American songbook, as well as,classic and contemporary Broadway. However, Sigali does enjoy dipping her toes into classical waters, and she has been known to dabble in arias and art songs on occasion. More recently, she has begun to explore the European songbook (do they call it that?), a la Aznavour and Brel. In 2009 she was crowned “1930s Idol” champion. The title hasn’t passed to anyone else, so I guess she’ll just have to hold onto it until the contest is resurrected. Theater work includes roles in The King & I, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, She Loves Me, The Mikado, Country Club, and A Christmas Carol.

Listen to Sigali HERE

Reviews for the show are in:

“Whether you have loved Ava Gardner for years, or if you are too young to have been introduced to her, this show is not to be missed.” - Nitelifeexchange.com

“...her soprano is as beautiful as before, but her interpretations now reveal greater depth and nuance.... Her delivery of "Two for the Road" is one of the most romantic I've heard . . .in "I'm a Fool to Want You," Hamberger's interpretation is brooding and incisive, made all the more so by musical director Ido Alexander's lush piano accompaniment."

“...a well-researched recounting of the life of this very complex woman...with well-chosen songs that further illuminate both her life and career....Gardner’s story is not an easy one to tell,...but Sigali pull[s] it together with intelligence and an elegant charm"
- Cabaret Scenes

“...a well-researched recounting of the life of this

very complex woman...with well-chosen songs
that further illuminate both her life and career....
her fluttery soprano adeptly handle[s] a
challenging song list. ...Gardner’s story is not
an easy one to tell...but Sigali pull[s] it together
with intelligence and an elegant charm...
Here’s to Ava! Here’s to Sigali!”
- Lynn Dimenna, Cabaret Scenes

Go see Sigali! Tell her I sent you!!

Also speaking of Iconic figures, David McBride is coming to town with his celebrated Icons show!

Looking forward to David's show in New York coming up Sunday night! The Metropolitan Room is a great venue and we SOOOOO appreciate your help with getting the word out about David's New York appearances. PLEASE call The Metropolitan Room and make your reservations now! Help us by inviting your friends and forwarding this on! THANKS! SEE YOU SOON!!! I'm getting a group together for Sunday night! Please join us! We are having dinner at Etc. Etc. at 6:15 for the BISTRO and MAC AWARD winning SALON. You'll even get to hear me sing! This week's show is being hosted by the amazing Adam Shapiro and then we are all heading over to The Metropolitan Room for David!

"ICONS, A Celebration of the Music of Sinatra, Bennett, Manilow and More"

An Intimate Celebration of the Music of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Michael Buble, Barry Manilow and More!

Starring David McBride
Featuring Musical Director/Pianist Phil Hinton
Ranses Colon on Bass/ Frank Derrick on Drums

Saturday, July 9, 2011 9:30 PM
Sunday, July 10, 2011 9:30 PM...Please note, WE are going on Sunday night!

$20 Cover Plus 2 Drink Minimum

David is thrilled to be making his New York debut at The Metropolitan Room after highly acclaimed appearances in Miami, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Boston. "ICONS" is an intimate celebration of the music of legendary performers Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr, Barry Manilow and our newest "ICON", Michael Buble'. David explores the impact of these performers on his own life and career with a comical and poignant take on the contributions of these men to the Great American Songbook. Musical Director, Phil Hinton (formerly musical director to Shirley Bassey in the UK) has assembled a terrific live trio that will accompany David with wonderful arrangements of the masterful selections from each artist.

A dynamic vocalist, skilled pianist and gifted entertainer, David has been receiving rave reviews at concert, night club and cabaret appearances across the US since his triumphant return to the performing arts in 2008. David brings great energy and love to his live performances along with a maturity and depth attained through life experiences that include a many years on tour across the US and a lengthy history of theatrical productions dating back to the 1970's.. A proud father of two and a brand new "Grandpa", David is having the time of his life honoring his first love of performing and has just finished his second CD, "Home", available for purchase on ITUNES and several other outlets. For more information about David be sure to go to his web site at www.davidmcbridelive.com where you'll find much more information including demo footage, discography and schedule information. Don't miss this show!

In closing, I want to mention something that is very close and dear to my heart. Most of you know that I am very connected with The Dr. Carol Channing-Harry Kullijian Foundation For The Arts. I KNOW that EVERY kid in America (the world, actually) should be exposed to an arts education. Several years ago, I got involved with a drama department at Weston High School in Weston, Connecticut when I read in the paper that they needed costume pieces for their high school production of "HELLO, DOLLY!". I have since been to every show they have done since then. Last week, one of the graduates of Weston High School was a young man named Ricky Rivera.

Ricky beat the odds in order to graduate. He has a huge passion and love for the arts. He has produced a bunch of short films, including one that took a first place award at the Westport Youth Film Festival. Fortunately for Ricky, an inner city youth from Bridgeport, he was allowed to attend Weston High School which has a strong arts program. The school even has a film studio which Ricky utilized at great length. Arts education made a huge difference in his life and he intends to study filmmaking in college.

My friend, Patricia Gay (Patty to me!), tells me that Ricky is also an incredibly nice guy. Patty has written many stories about events he was involved in. His mother is a cancer survivor and he was greatly involved in organizing the town's first Relay for Life event this year. Ricky was also co-president of the student council student government and a keynote speaker at graduation.

Ricky was accepted to Emerson College in Boston, where he really wants to go, but his financial aid package was not enough to cover his expenses and he can't afford it. The irony is that Ricky was part of a program to help inner city kids improve their educations, which he did, but now can't afford college.

So a local filmmaker, Johnny Boston, and the Westport Arts Center, set up a scholarship fund for Ricky. Patty wrote a story too.

"I came upon a beach where thousands and thousands of starfish had washed up on the shore. I saw an old man walking along picking them up one by one and throwing them one by one back into the sea. I went down and asked the old man what he was doing. He said, "I'm throwing these starfish back into the water, for without the water, they can not breath and they will die." I said, "But there must be thousands of these starfish here. What makes you think it will make any difference?"
The old man picked up another starfish, tossed it back into the sea, turned and looked at me and said. "Well my brother you see, it made a difference to that one." -- Making a noise in this world. Darrel Whitewolf

Ricky may be just one starfish to the rest of the world... but he's a star to me and others.

I would like to do a benefit concert for Ricky! Please join me in celebrating the next generation!

Scholarship fund created for Weston graduate Ricky Rivera

by Patricia Gay
The Weston Forum

A scholarship fund has been set up to help 2011 Weston High School graduate Enrique “Ricky” Rivera with his plans to attend Emerson College in Boston.

The fund was created by Weston filmmaker Johnny Boston and Lance Lundberg, honorary director of the Westport Arts Center.

“Ricky is the most dedicated young man I have encountered in many years and is deserving of a good education. He has put his heart and soul into Weston and I hope the community will come together for him,” Mr. Boston said.

A resident of Bridgeport, Ricky has attended Weston schools since kindergarten through Project Choice, a program designed to make Weston more diverse by bringing selected inner city students into the schools.

Of the 10 children selected with Ricky for Project Choice, he is the only one who remained in Weston to graduate.

Ricky has made his mark in Weston as student government co-president, a member of the Domestic Violence Task Force Teen Peace Works group, organizer of the Relay for Life cancer awareness event, and production director of the Westport Youth Film Festival. He works for the Raw Media network production company and has helped produce five short films. He plans to study filmmaking at Emerson.

At the senior awards ceremony, Ricky received the Student Council Service Award, PTO Citizenship Award, Diane Mary Huston Schultz Memorial Award, Stasia M. Cina Memorial Scholarship Award, and Weston High School Faculty Key Award.

While Ricky was offered a financial aid package from Emerson, it will not fully cover his expenses, which is why the fund was established.

Contributions to the fund may be sent to The Westport Arts Center, Attn: Lance Lundberg, 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport CT 06880.

Checks may be made out to Westport Art Center (In the memo put: Ricky Rivera Scholarship Fund).

The Westport Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and donations are fully deductible as provided by law.

For more information call Mr. Lundberg at 203-222-7070.

I own nothing, no copyright infringement on anything included in this blog intended.

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Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com


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