Sunday, October 31, 2010

REVIEW: Manatee Players have fun with 'Nunsensations'

The old saying “the show must go” once again rang true this past week for the Manatee Players.

The community theater troupe opened “Nunsensations: The Nunsense Vegas Revue” on Thursday at Riverfront Theatre in Bradenton. Last Tuesday, Jeanne Larranaga, reprising her Mother Superior role from the Players’ production of “Nunsense” last season, severely twisted her knee. What do you do when the star sister can’t walk?

Rather than shut down the show or find a last-minute replacement, director Steven Flaa adroitly wrote the injury into the performance. Opening night featured Mother Superior gracefully zipping around the stage, delivering her lines and singing while seated on a motorized scooter. The move worked so well, it appeared like a planned alteration.

Alas, more changes would have aided the often tired-feeling fifth “Nunsense” sequel Dan Goggin has written since the original premiered off-Broadway in 1985.

“Nunsensations” places the Little Sisters of Hoboken in low-rent Las Vegas venue, The Pump Room of the Mystique Motor Lodge. The habit-wearing clergywomen entertain with shtick, sight gags and silly songs. Obvious puns run aplenty. But the five-sister cast (plus a brief appearance by Ross Miller as Brother Ross) sell the fluff with a winning wink.

Stephanie Woodman-Costello excels in the role of sassy Sister Robert Anne, which she also played last season. Laura Sommer Raines portrays Sister Mary Amnesia as appropriately zany without letting her absentmindedness get out of hand. And then there’s Larranaga’s peppy, innovative performance as the scooter-bound Mother Superior.

Sister Robert Anne gets to belt out the best number, “Why Sing a Ballad,” and Woodman-Costello nails it. The entire cast nicely contributed to the humourously naughty “T. and A.,” while the lone serious number went to Johana Davila’s Sister Leo.

“Nunsensations” marks Davila’s professional debut. She’s a senior at Manatee High School and still could use a few more years to fine-tune her acting chops, but as a singer, she easily ranks with any of the finalist on “American Idol.”

Davila apparently has perfect pitch and a most impressive range.

She displayed the poised phrasing of a veteran, and most important, found and spotlighted the emotional core of a song about the young man her character leaves behind to join the convent.
Less gimmicks and more numbers such as “I Left Him There,” would have been greatly welcomed, but audience rewarded pretty much every lightweight line, lyric and gesture with generous guffaws.
This review ran in print on page 3A Sat., Oct. 30.
"Nunsensations:The Nunsense Vegas Revue" runs through Nov. 14 at the Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre in downtown Bradenton.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Damon Fowler and Bob Margolin at Ace's Saturday

Nationally acclaimed artist (and Bradenton Beach resident) Damon Fowler (pictured) excels at soul, blues and country, all of which can be heard on his superb, 2009 Blind Pig Records debut “Sugar Shack.” 

Fowler will also be performing songs from his as-yet-untitled Blind Pig follow-up, due out Jan. 18. Bob Margolin, best known for his work as Muddy Waters’ sideman, co-headlines this highly recommended Halloween costume party.

See you there!

Damon Fowler Group and Bob Margolin with Matt Hill and Chuck Cotten will perform at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 30, Ace’s, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton; $10 (advance) $15 (at the door). (941) 795-3886

'Nunsense,' Shakespeare and the Sarasota Ballet hit local stages

Another big week for the performing arts.

Here are links to my stories that ran in Thursday's Weekend section:

Shakespeare goes clubbing at Asolo with an extremely hip take on "Two Gentleman of Verona."

Manatee Players bring 'Nunsense' back with 'Sensations,' the latest sequel of Dan Goggin's off-Broadway sensation that debuted in 1985. My review of last night's show will run Saturday or Sunday.

Sarasota Ballet opens 20th season with "Firebird" and "Anne Frank."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

'Yo Gabba Gabba!' creator Christian Jacobs takes advice (and criticism) from his children

He has the perfect test audience. Right in his living room. 'Yo Gabba Gabba!' co-creator Christian Jacobs (pictured, left) recently told me how his progeny — ages 11, 8, 5,  and 18 months —play an important role in shaping the hippest children's show on TV.

"Most ideas come right out of our homes," Jacobs said. "We'll watch a new episode and if it's a segment they don't like they'll look at at me like 'Dad, come one, why did you put that in there?'"

He added, "They make great suggestions."

That little exchange didn't make it in today's Weekend cover story. But here's what did:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'Back to the Future' celebrates 25th anniversary

Eight years old and my life could not have been better in 1985.

Lived in totally sweet, candy-creating Hershey, Pa. Second grade teacher Mr. Snyder rocked. Played Wiffle Ball and rode bikes around town with good buddies Dave "Ummie" Umberger, Mike Gish and John Dunn. 

Had my first crush on a girl named Allison Klipa.

Watched "Back to the Future" in the theater multiple times. The movie still makes me smile. But like its star, Micheal J. Fox, I wouldn't change a thing if I could drive the DeLorean back to 1985.

Click to read "Michael J. Fox is happy with his past and present."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Remembering 'Fiddler on the Roof' writer Jospeh Stein

Joseph Stein delighted generations with his musical based on a classic Yiddish short story.

His "Fiddler on the Roof" debuted on Broadway in 1964, elated audiences and won him a Tony.

Stein also scripted the 1971, Oscar-winning hit film of the same name.

Theaters around the world have been performing "Fiddler" pretty much nonstop for the past 45 years.

For instance, The Players of Sarasota staged a winning production last spring.

And "Fiddler on the Roof" can be seen at the Straz Center in Tampa Dec. 11-12.

Click for more on "Fiddler" creator Stein, who died Oct. 24.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Great pic of Dolly Parton with Jeff Calhoun on set of 'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'

So I'm interviewing director Jeff Calhoun about the national production of "9 to 5" for a story to advance its Oct. 26-31 run at the Straz in Tampa.

We get talking about working with Dolly Parton and he's gushing about this cool pic he took with her the first time they worked together, when he played a bit part in the 1982 hit film "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

The photo he sent me apparently went to my junk email and I kinda forgot about it. But when I met Calhoun at the Ringling International Arts Festival — he's in Sarasota directing "Bonnie & Clyde" musical that opens Nov. 12 — the actor/director/choreographer was adamant about me seeing the pic and resent it from his phone.

Anyway, here it is... Thanks, Jeff!

FYI: He sent copies of the pic out to family during the holidays. The writing is him wishing "Mom + Pops" a "Merry Christmas '81."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cine-World Film Festival in Sarasota/Manatee features potential Oscar winners

Danny Boyle's "127 Hours," Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" and John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole"— all generating Oscar buzz — are among the 30-plus titles hitting screens at Cine-World.

"127 Hours" stars James Franco in the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston amputating his own arm in order to free himself from a boulder. Ouch!

Natalie Portman (big Oscar talk for her performance) Winona Ryder and Barbara Hershey are cast in "Black Swan," a thriller set in the ballet world of New York City.

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star in"Rabbit Hole," the film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage drama by David Lindsay-Abaire, who also penned the screenplay.

The Sarasota Film Society's 21st Annual Cine-World Film Festival takes place Nov. 5 through 11 at Burns Court Cinemas in Sarasota with special shows at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas in East Manatee.

Film passes available to SFF members Oct. 25; general public Oct. 28. Individual tickets go on sale Nov. 1.

Click for complete Cine-World schedule.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Devon Allman to play Ace's in Bradenton

Mark your calendars! Devon Allman and his band Honeytribe will perform at Ace's in Bradenton on Nov. 14.

A gifted vocalist and guitarist fronting a tight group, Allman plays rousing, neoclassic rock originals and cool renditions of songs by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and, yes, the Allman Brothers Band (see clip below).

Devon's famous father, Gregg Allman, ranked as Manatee's most famous citizen during his time on Anna Maria Island 1970s. Allman Brothers fans, and classic rock enthusiasts in general, will not want to miss this gig. Devon puts on a killer show!

Click for interview I did with Devon Allman while freelancing for Bradenton Herald in 2009.

Click for Ace's show info.

Carrie Underwood brings her pop-country to Tampa

A big, strong voice, smart song selections (and, well, beautiful blonde looks) have propelled Carrie Underwood from 2005 “American Idol” winner to Nashville superstar. 

Her country-pop hits range from the faith-affirming breakthrough ballad “Jesus, Take the Wheel” to recent tear-jerker “Mama’s Song.” Although both those titles are a bit weepy, Underwood has been known to rock out in concert. 

When I saw her perform at Raymond James Stadium in 2006 — on a monster roster headlined by Kenny Chesney — she crushed with a thunderous cover of Gun N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” 

Opener Billy Currington’s string of recent hits include “People Are Crazy,” the feel-good ode to God, beer and the luckiest encounter a bar patron could ever fathom.

With Billy Currington and Sons of Sylvia. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25, St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $32.75—$52.75. (813) 223-1000.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Dreamgirls' star Syesha Mercado to perform in Sarasota at Van Wezel during Annual Principal's Recognition Luncheon

Syesha Mercado will make a homecoming appearance at the 10th Annual Principal's Recognition Luncheon.

The event will be held Nov. 17 in the grand foyer of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.

Mercado, who finished third during season seven of "American Idol," will perform two songs and "share a message on the importance of arts education in Sarasota County school," reads the publicity release.

Click for details.

The "Dreamgirls" star grew up in Bradenton and graduated from Booker High School in Sarasota. The Broadway musical featuring Mercado as Deena Jones plays at the Straz in Tampa Nov. 16-21.

'Bonnie & Clyde' cast confirmed for Asolo Rep run in Sarasota

The cast for the much-anticipated musical "Bonnie & Clyde," which begins performances at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota Nov. 12 before what its creators expect will be a Broadway premiere, has been confirmed.

Laura Osnes (pictured left), best known for her role as Sandy in the 2007 Broadway production of “Grease,” will play Bonnie. She originated the role during the "Bonnie & Clyde" world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego last year.

Jeremy Jordan (pictured below; "West Side Story," "Rock of Ages") takes over as Clyde. Stark Sands, currently on Broadway as Tunny in “American Idiot,” played the outlaw at La Jolla.

The show features a book by Ivan Menchell (“The Cemetery Club,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”), music by Frank Wildhorn (“Jekyll & Hyde,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Wonderland”) and lyrics by Tony Award-winner Don Black (“Sunset Boulevard”).

Jeff Calhoun’s credits include “Big River,” “Grease,” “The Will Rogers Follies,” and the national tour of “9 to 5: The Musical,” which plays the Straz Center in Tampa starting Oct. 26.

On Oct. 14, the Ringling International Arts Festival held an intimate panel discussion, “The Making of Bonnie & Clyde,” at the Museum of Art. Menchell and Calhoun offered details about the production, which lead to this front page story:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dane Cook cancels Tampa performance at Gary Amphitheatre and three other Florida shows

Comic Dane Cook has canceled all Florida performances including an Oct. 24 date in Tampa at the 1-800-ASK GARY Amphitheatre.

''I appreciate all the support from my fans in Florida and I promise you all, that I will be back soon," said Cook via a statement posted on his website.

"Ticket holders will be offered the opportunity to be placed on a priority notification for premium seating for all of Dane's rescheduled Florida dates in the future. Refunds are available at the point–of-purchase. 

The tour will continue as planned through 30 cities in the United States and Canada starting back up in Syracuse, NY on Tuesday October 26th and concluding  on Saturday December 4th."

Starship Trooper Casper Van Dien in Sanborn Studios' 'Miami 24/7'

The Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office throws monthly mixers.

The events usually draw 85-100 working/aspiring movie makers, actors, crew, enthusiasts, etc.

On Monday, a capacity crowd capped at 240 hit up the Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch for the SCFEO October Film Mixer and Production Community Reception.

"Do you want to know more about Sanborn Studios and soundstages?"

That was the big draw.

The Herald has written about Sanborn Studios here and here and here.

The Monday meeting featuring honcho Ken Sanborn and president of Sanborn Studios LLC Karinne Behr mostly rehashed stuff from previous talks detailed in the articles linked to above.

Except for one revelation:

Sanborn Studios' in-production TV show about competing news helicopters features Casper Van Dien (pictured), of "Starship Troopers" fame.

Not exactly a "name" to thrill potential network buyers but at least he's talent worth Googling. And worthy of a well-meaning PSA.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Manatee Players resplendent at Ringling Fest

Dance master Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz.

Jazz's latest luminary Katie Davis. 

World-class performers filled The Ringling International Arts Festival.
And on the fest's final day, Oct. 17, the Manatee Players did much more than hold their own with a clever, endearing staging of selections from “Sunday in the Park with George.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bradenton ArtSlam winners announced

Props to our highly talented local artists.

The creative teams that won the "People's Choice" awards at ArtSlam are all from Bradenton.

Here they are, as reported to The Herald late today by Realize Bradenton:
  • Bayshore High School and art instructor Kathy Cocciolone: "Don't Let the Arts Disappear"
  • Claudia Deschu, Mellissa DuCasse, Scott Blum: "Kinetic:Acoustic Tower"
  • Geza Darrah and team: "ArtDeckO"

The haunted theaters of Sarasota, Bradenton

The Players Theatre in Sarasota has 'em.

The nearby Golden Apple boasts even more.

Manatee Players might have a few.

We're talking specters.



And haunted theaters with "ghost lady of Southwest Florida" Kim Cool.

She's the one pictured at the Players Theater in front of, fittingly, the ghost light.

I hung out with and interviewed Cool for a story that ran today on the front of the A&E/Accent section.


Top 10 songs about space

After watching Andrew Dawson's stellar one-man performance "Space Panorama" — CLICK TO READ MY STORY THAT IN SATURDAY'S NEWSPAPER — certain tunes started popping into my head.

Here they are.

In my highly subjective ranking.
Top 10 songs about space

1. "Spaceman," Harry Nilsson 
2. "Mothership Connection (Starchild)," Parliament
3. "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," Pink Floyd
4. "Rocket Man," Elton John
5.  "8 Miles High," The Byrds
6. "Space Oddity," David Bowie
7.  "Subterranean Homesick Alien," Radiohead
8. "Walking on the Moon," The Police
9. "Starship," MC5
10. "Venus and Mars," Wings

Harry Nilsson's "Spaceman" with cool montage of NASA images.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

'Eastbound and Down' star Danny McBride replacing Carell on 'The Office'?

I lost interest in "The Office" a while back. The idiotic antics of Steve Carell's Michael Scott started to annoy. My once mighty crush on Pam (Jenna Fischer) faded. And then the baby came along and pretty much everyone agreed the show had jumped the shark

But bring in Danny McBride (pictured) as the new office boss and I'm totally back on board — at least for the first few episodes.

"B.J. Novak has a wish for a replacement for 'Office' cast mate Steve Carell, who's leaving after this season," reports the Associated Press. "Novak says he's "always been a big believer" in 'Eastbound and Down' actor Danny McBride but doesn't know if the show will be able to get him."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Madonna 'loves' Robyn and you should, too!

Swedish singer/songwriter Robyn has been making smart, sexy, poignant pop tunes for the past five years or so.

Thanks to a recent live performance on the VMAs, much deserved critical praise, and a recent glowing endorsement from pop queen Madonna, the American masses are finally taking notice.

Robyn performs Nov. 7 at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa. 

Click to hear multiple remixes of her new track "Indestructible."

Robyn performing stirring, acoustic solo version of her international smash "Be Mine." 

'Bonnie and Clyde' creators discuss taking new musical from Sarasota (by way of San Diego) to Broadway

 Photo by WADE TATANGELO. Pictured from left to right:
  Ivan Menchell, Michael Edwards, Jeff Calhoun.
Attended a remarkably rewarding — usually these things are a snooze — panel discussion with the creators of the much-buzzed-about musical "Bonnie and Clyde."

Talk took place Thursday as part of Ringling International Arts Festival at the Museum of Art.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prince come to Tampa Bay — please!

After spending a decade as a journalist largely covering music, there are few great, living  acts I haven't seen perform. Of those, Prince tops my list. Easily. Genius singer, songwriter, bandleader, guitarist, killer dresser...

He's an artist who does it all. Alas, somehow I've managed to miss him in concert all these years. But this might change sooner than later. At least I hope so.

Prince just announced his "Welcome 2 America" tour, which will start in December. He says it features him headlining a roster that includes many other like-minded luminaries such as masterful jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson — also on my must-see list!

"Bring friends, bring your children and bring foot spray 'cause it's gon' be funky," Prince says.
Prince owning Radiohead's "Creep" at Coachella 2008.

Nilo Cruz's 'Hurricane' and lamb chops win me over at Ringling Fest

Just returned from a long, fun day that included covering the opening night of the Ringling International Arts Festival.

My glowing review of Nilo Cruz's play "Hurricane," plus an RIAF overview piece for the 10/14 front page of the dead tree edition, will be posted at the home site shortly.

For now, I'm too tired from the pile of luscious lamb chops and perfectly prepared prime rib I inhaled at the Post-Performance Gala to type anything but gibberish.

10:15 a.m. UPDATE:

"Ringling International Arts Festival opens with a bang"

"Baryshnikov, Neumann shine in series of dances"

Review of Nilo Cruz's "Hurricane."

Find the Herald’s Ringling International Arts Festival preview and a schedule of events at

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baryshnikov, Nilo Cruz open Ringling International Arts Festival

The Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) begins with a bang Wednesday, Oct. 13.

Dance icon Mikhail Baryshnikov (pictured) will perform in front of a sold-out crowd at the Mertz Theatre.

At the same time,  Florida-bred, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz ("Anna in the Tropics") will be in attendance at the Historic Asolo Theatre for the world premiere of his play "Hurricane." 

And then there's the Post-Performance Gala at the Museum of the Art Courtyard. 

I'll be at "Hurricane" and plan to make a brief appearance at the gala. My esteemed colleague and dance expert Tiffany Tompkins-Condie will cover Baryshnikov. RIAF runs Oct. 13-17. Look for daily coverage in print and here at Buzz Worthy.

Click for interview with Cruz and other RIAF advance feature stories.

How big is this event? Well, the New York Times published ran a piece today titled "The Arts Meet the Beach in Sarasota."

Manatee Players take Sondheim's 'George' to competition

Photo by Paul Videla. Manatee Players production of "George."
They are monumental Broadway titles:

"West Side Story"

"Sweeney Todd"

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

"A Little Night Music"



But of all Stephen Sondheim's exceptional lyric and/or music contributions to contemporary theater none are more innovative and rewarding than his 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Sunday in the Park with George."

Manatee Players Artistic Director Rick Kerby is definitely a fan as well.

His company's acclaimed production of "Sunday in the Park with George" concluded its winning Bradenton run Oct. 10.

And now, thanks to fiercely positive feedback, the show goes on. At a festival, which, in the past, paved the way for the Manatee players to attain national acclaim in 2005 with their potent production of "Metamorphoses." 


Monday, October 11, 2010

Sugarland's funky hit "Stuck Like Glue" censored by country radio

Highly processed Auto-Tune vocals.

Slick reggae beats.


These are not your typical ingredients for a country hit.

Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue," a Top 5 hit, features all of the above.

It's a catchy, little love song. But, y'know, does it belong on country radio?

Some programmers say no. At least to the hip-hop section, which certain stations have edited out before playing the song, reports Billboard.

Country radio. Censoring a song for not being country enough. Shouldn't that have happened 40 years ago when Anne Murray had a Top 10 country hit with the syrupy, string-laden, completely bereft of twang or soul "Snowbird"?


Sugarland, a clever pop group that found serious stardom by sneaking up the country ranks, plays the Ask-Gary Amphitheatre in Tampa Oct. 15. Look for my feature on the duo in the Weekend section of the Oct. 14 newspaper.

For now, here's "Stuck Like Glue," in all its pop, reggae and rap glory.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Remembering seeing Solomon Burke in Sarasota

One of the great thrills of my music writing career came in 2003 when I watched pioneering soul music great Solomon Burke, who died today at age 70 today, perform at the Sarasota Blues Fest.

Seated on a throne — on which he was raised to the stage via a forklift carefully hidden from the audience — the rock 'n' soul king performed with a verve and affability that left me feeling utterly overjoyed.

Sounding as amazingly rich and powerful as he ever has on record, Burke delivered his signature hit "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," selections off his Grammy-winning 2002 album "Don't Give Up on Me" and a most poignant rendition of Sam Cooke's stirring hymn "A Change Is Gonna Come."

I interviewed Burke by phone prior to his Sarasota date. "I want to keep the fire going of 'Don't Give Up on Me' and, more importantly, remind people, don't give up on themselves," he said for my story that ran in the St. Petersburg Times.

Burke and I met in person. Before he performed that night at the Blues Fest in 2003. I shook his giant hand and then we spoke for a few moments. Nervous, I tried my best not to stammer.

I thanked him for making music that moved me. Thanked him for making music that made even the worst day seem a little better. Thanked him for making music that reminds people not to give up on themselves.

Guitars wail as Burke performed at 2003 Sarasota Blues Fest
Burke interviewed by the Herald in 2003 for festival

Solomon Burke performing "Don't Give Up On Me."

Celebrating 10

The Ten Commandments.

The "FBI 's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives."

Ten fingers.

Ten toes.

The movie "10,"  perhaps the greatest rom-com of all time.

Ten has played a pretty important role in peoples' lives since basically forever. Today — 10/10/10 — is its big day.

Trailer from the 1979 movie "10," starring Bo Derek and Dudley Moore.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Celebrate John Lennon's birthday with a bash today at Skipper's Smokehouse

To celebrate what would have been the cerebral Beatles' 70th birthday, community radio station WMNF (88.5) has assembled a John Lennon tribute concert taking place today at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa.

The event features top bands from around the region.

Sure, it's a bit of a haul to Skipper's, but theses multi-act, WMNF tribute gigs are typically a blast.

And you really can't beat this one for source material.

Click here for details.

Check out clip of the searing screed "Gimme Some Truth" off Lennon's 1971 album "Imagine."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sarasota porn star Devon James sued by Bubba the Love Sponge over alleged Tiger Woods sex tape

Sarasota porn star Devon James (also known as Melinda Jannette, and Melinda Brinling-Caso) filed petition in June at the Manatee County courthouse to determine if her baby's daddy was Tiger Woods, reported the Bradenton Herald.

The scandal created a media frenzy, prompting Tampa Bay-based shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem to cut a deal with James (pictured) for exclusive rights to release all the sordid info about her supposed affair with golf's one-time king.

TV/Media critic Eric Deggans recently reported via his St. Petersburg Times blog The Feed that Clem has filed suit against James, "alleging she violated the deal by either selling or attempting to sell a video tape she claims shows her having sex with Woods."

Top 10 AC/DC songs featuring Brian Johnson

In honor of Sarasota resident and super nice guy Brian Johnson celebrating his 63rd birthday this week (Oct.5), here's my highly subjective list of the greatest AC/DC songs featuring him on lead vocals.

Back when the hard rock band's original lead vocalist Bon Scott died in 1980 skeptics predicted AC/DC's demise.

Johnson smacked those doubters down by penning awesomely testosterone-driven lyrics — namely on his "Back in Black" debut — and delivering those delightful double entendres with winking machismo and devilish glee.

Top 10 AC/DC songs featuring Brian Johnson

1. "You Shook Me All Night Long" — from "Back in Black" (1980)
2. "Back in Black" — from "Back in Black" (1980)
3. "Who Made Who" —  "Who Made Who" (1986)
4. "Thunderstruck" — from "The Razor's Edge" (1990)
5. "Rock N Roll Train" — from "Black Ice" (2008)
6. "Hells Bells" — from "Back in Black" (1980)
7. "Money Talks" — from "The Razor's Edge" (1990)
8. "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" — from "For Those About to Rock" (1981)
9. "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" — from "Back in Black" (1980)
10. "Skies on Fire" — from "Black Ice" (2008)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

'Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo' singer Rick Derringer facing foreclosure

Rick Derringer
Singer, songwriter and guitar hero Rick Derringer wrote and recorded the 1974 smash "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo."

As a member of The McCoys, he sang lead on the 1965 hit "Hang on Sloopy."

And as a producer, Derringer worked with Bette Midler, Kiss, Meat Loaf, Cyndi Lauper, Barbra Streisand and Weird Al Yankovic.

Derringer now faces foreclosure on his Ellenton home, a nice place I visited while working on a story for the Bradenton Herald in 2005.

"It's a great location for us and we love it and we're going to save it," Derringer told the Herald, which broke news of the foreclosure suit today.

My last communication with Derringer, for an article that ran in another publication on Nov. 5, 2009, came from the rocker's other home in Rio Rancho, N.M.

Click to read "Manatee rock icon facing foreclosure."

Sanborn Studios holding casting call Oct. 9 for TV show 'Miami 24/7'

Aspiring male TV stars will have a chance to be "discovered" this weekend without traveling to Hollywood or New York.

Sanborn Studios LLCwhich launched Sept. 20—will be hosting an open casting call for the production company's first project, the planned 22-episode television series "Miami 24/7," on Saturday, Oct. 9 at the Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch.

Sanborn seeks "men between the ages of 30 and 35 to cast in the comedic roll of the Airport Mechanic as well as people of all ages for background," reads the publicity statement.

For audition times and details, click here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Buzzing about Bradenton

Home sweet home.
Since returning to the features department of the Bradenton Herald on Monday I have been stoked to find the Manatee-Sarasota arts, theater, music and movie scene as vibrant - if not more so - than when I left the paper four years ago.

This past Saturday at the St. Pete Folk Fest I watched Bradenton alt-country act Have Gun, Will Travel, which I first wrote about for the Herald in 2006, deliver a stirring performance of mostly smart originals spiced with cool covers of rather obscure Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Damon Fowler, who recently relocated from Brandon to Bradenton Beach, told me today he plans to have his second record out on the venerable Blind Pig label Jan. 18. His 2009 Blind Pig debut, "Sugar Shack," reached No. 12 on Billboard's Top Blues Album chart.

Trombone Shorty at Tropical Heatwave in Ybor City 2009.
By Wade Tatangelo.
While we're on the topic of blues, we have the
20th (!) Annual Sarasota Blues Festival on Nov. 6. Look for New Orleans super-funk sensation Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews to enthrall audiences with an unprecedented, highly addictive hybrid of rock, hip-hop, jazz and celebratory Crescent City soul.

As for performing arts, I see that at the nearby Manatee Players Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Sunday in the Park with George" will be elating audiences through Oct. 10.

Next, the Ringling International Arts Festival, which runs Oct. 13-17, features a slew of excellent events such as performances by modern dance icon Mikhail Baryshnikov and the world premiere of "Hurricane" by Nilo Cruz. The Cuban-American playwright penned one my all-time favorite contemporary dramas, "Anna in the Tropics." Set in Ybor City in 1929, the play enjoyed a long, critically acclaimed run at American Stage in St. Petersburg, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Yes, I hope, dare I say, expect, to be blown away by "Hurricane."

And how about the TV/movie buzz surrrounding Sanborn Studios? Which The Herald has covered, among other places, here. Pretty exciting stuff! And this is just the start of season.