Friday, December 30, 2011

Go pink for New Year's Eve bash in Bradenton


Don’t feel like sitting at home and witnessing the ramblings of Dick Clark and sidekick Ryan Seacrest? Tired of entertaining guests who spill sparkling wine all over your furniture at midnight? Then here are some options that will take you away from the televised events at Times Square and having to spend hours cleaning on New Year’s Day.

How about some final-day-of-the-year-fun for a good cause?

The Old Main Street Merchants Association, in conjunction with the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, hosts its second annual New Year’s Eve Celebration with this year’s revelry doubling as a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society’s fight against breast cancer.

All the bars on Old Main Street are participating with $2 shot proceeds going to the charity. In addition, Gold Coast Beverage Distributors has donated a keg of pink-colored Bud Light and 12-ounce cups will be sold for $2 to raise funds. Fittingly, the ball being dropped is pink (see picture above). There will be live music from 8 p.m. until midnight by Michael Mac Band and Friends featuring Julliet guitarist Jimmy DeLisi.

Dozens of vendors will line the street throughout the evening. The party starts at 5 p.m. Saturday. Old Main Street will close to vehicles between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. Incidentally, downtown Sarasota has cancelled its popular New Year’s Eve event.

“The Old Main Street Merchants Association has really blown it out of the ballpark the last couple years,” said Cork Miller, the organization’s president. “We’re making downtown Bradenton a destination for fun and excitement.”

Click for more New Year's Eve happenings in the area.

—Photo courtesy of Bradenton Herald partner Bay News 9

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

UPDATED 12/29: Travis Clark promises special We the Kings hometown show tonight

UPDATED 12/29:


Bradenton’s We the Kings return again from touring the states and abroad to play a special show in front of their most loyal fans for the fifth year in a row. The pop-punk band will perform Thursday (Dec. 29) at The Hall in Palmetto.

It marks the only WTK performance of 2011 in Manatee County.

“This one will be a little more loosely structured than a normal show,” singer/guitarist Travis Clark said today while on his way to lunch in Bradenton. “People shout out songs and we’ll play it.”

Check back here or here Dec. 29  for complete story, including info on some cool covers Clark plans on playing.

—Photo by PAUL VIDELA/pvidela@bradenton.com Travis Clark, right, of We The Kings performed a concert just for students Sept. 13 at The Bridge Church in Bradenton.

If you go
What: We The Kings 5th Annual Hometown Show with Official Hot
Mess and more band to be announced
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 29
Where: The Hall, 1330 U.S. 301, Palmetto Tickets: $12 (advance); $15 (day of show).
They can be purchased at The Hall; Georgia Carpet World, a 5425 14th
St. W., Bradenton; or at Jiffy Lube, 5220 Manatee Ave., Bradenton.
Information: 941-552-2248 or www.thehallinpalmetto.com.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas vacation time: Be back Dec. 27


Although a few of my stories will magically appear in print and at Bradenton.com while I'm away, this weekend marks the start of a nice, long vacation. See ya Dec. 27.

Happy holidays!

Weekend roundup: Country, sacred steel blues and a flamboyant Christmas special

Lee Boys perform Saturday at Aces Live in Bradenton.

It's another busy week for concert, theater and, ah, Sinbad enthusiasts.

Here's what I have running in the Weekend section that hit the streets Thursday:
  • Best of Area Stages: "Nutcracker," Sinbad, "Love, Sung in the Key of Aretha," "My Fair Holiday," "Liberace's Christmas Special," "Winterblunderland"

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    'Bad Santa' still kills me


    Stayed home last night and watched the holiday classic "Bad Santa."

    That's right, holiday classic.

    Laughed out loud pretty much all the way through just like I did when I watched the movie last year and the year before and, well, every year since it came out in 2003.

    Was even moved again by the sentimental ending.

    Really, "Bad Santa" couldn't be much better.

    Billy Bob Thornton at his comedic best.

    About time for the rumored sequel!


    "Bad Santa" photo courtesy of Dimension Films.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Tweet with Tom Petty: And tell him to add Tampa to just announced tour dates!


    Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers just announced a series of North American concerts in 2012 prior to embarking on their first tour of Europe in 20 years.

    Unfortunately, Tampa didn't make the cut.

    But the Florida roots rockers, who were pretty much awesome all night at the St. Pete Times Forum in 2008, do have dates May 1 at Germain Arena down in Estero and May 3 over at Amway Center in Orlando.

    Also, Gainesville native Petty will be live on Twitter @TomPetty 5:30 p.m. EST Thursday (Dec. 15) to chat with the fans and answer questions for an hour.

    Tell him to add a May 2 date in Tampa!

    More details: TomPetty.com.

    —Publicity photo of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers


    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Get Down Downtown has a new date this month


    Get Down Downtown, which usually takes place the third Thurs­day of every month, is making a temporary move to the third Fri­day this month.

    Also, the hours have been ex­tended until 11 p.m. this week.

    Live music by the Billy Rice Band — mostly crowd-pleasing classic rock covers — from 8 to 11 p.m. Dec. 16. Event starts at 6 p.m. on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton. Free admission. Vendors. Good times.

    —Publicity photo of Billy Rice performing with his band

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Ed Lauter movie 'The Artist' named best of the year by New York Film Critics Online

    Ed Lauter publicity photo
    Last month I wrote about the Sarasota Film Society's Cine-World Film Festival closing night film, writer/director Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist,” which features veteran character actor Ed Lauter.

    Lauter was in town last week to film scenes for the Sarasota-Manatee movie "Blind Pass," starring Bradenton resident Danielle White with an appearance by Armand Assante. 


    Dinner at Gio's in Bradenton with Lauter and others from the movie led to my Sunday column.


    READ "ED LAUTER: CHARACTER ACTOR."

    From the HollywoodReporter.com:
    The Artist has been named best film of the year by the New York Film Critics Online.
    PHOTOS: The Making of 'The Artist'
    Sunday was a big day for the movie, which also recognized by the American Film Institute and the Boston Film Critics.

    Broadway star Teresa Stanley talks about her return to Sarasota

    Teresa Stanley went from being a teen prodigy and then star member of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota before landing on Broadway for the blockbuster "The Color Purple."

    Stanley then toured the country as a cast member of "Rock of Ages."

    She returns to WBTT this week for the first time in five years to join the cast in the company's season opening show, “Love, Sung in the Key of Aretha.”

    READ THE INTERVIEW

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    What are you doing this weekend?

    Steve Buscemi in "Fargo"
    I'm planning on not leaving the sofa.

    Or at least not straying too far from it.

    But for those of you who are a bit more adventurous here are some Manatee County selections from our "Go & Do" list starting with a great movie that starts in a couple hours.


    Film Fridays: South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton

    The South Florida Museum will host Film Fridays Series “Winter Stories” at 6 p.m. Fridays. The series, celebrating the start of the winter season, includes “Fargo,” Dec. 9, and “Groundhog Day,” Dec. 16. Seating is limited; reservations are recommended. Admission: $3 members, $5 nonmembers. Information: 941-746-4131, ext. 27, or visit www.southfloridamuseum.org/ThingsToDo/Filmfridays.aspx.


    Farmers market: Main Street, Bradenton

    The downtown Bradenton Farmers Market is open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays featuring local grown and organic produce, olive oil and bread, fresh fish, organic coffee and tea, jewelry and craft vendors, and live music and cooking demonstrations. Information: 941-840-0017 or visit www.bradentonfarmersmarket.com.

    Bridge Street market: Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach

    The Bridge Street Market on Historic Bridge Street will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays through April 28. The market will feature area produce and plant vendors, arts and craft vendors, funky beach style gifts, jewelry, clothes, home decor, food, fun, music and more. Information: 215-906-0668.

    —Publicity photo from the movie "Fargo"

    Read entire list.


    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    UPDATED 12/8: City-owned Van Wezel breaking ties with Sarasota?

    UPDATED 12/8: Mark Famiglio, the Van Wezel Foundation chairman of the board who also serves as the president of the executive committee of the board of directors at the Sarasota Film Festival; Robert Bartolotta, city manager of Sarasota; and Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel opine on the four options concerning...



    Big changes could be underway regarding the leadership of the top concert venue in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

    The City of Sarasota-owned Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall's separate Van Wezel Foundation has entered into a series of exploratory discussions regarding the future operations of the  1,726-seat venue. 

    The initial discussions with the Van Wezel Foundation, which began earlier this year, have centered on consolidating the operation of the Van Wezel Hall with the Van Wezel Foundation under a long term lease arrangement whereby the non-profit entity would carry the authority and responsibility for governance, operations, all expenses and fundraising.

    Here's the what was issued by the city early this afternoon:

    The city commission has directed the city staff to explore organizational alternatives for the future. Among the alternatives being considered are:

    1. Continue to operate the Van Wezel as a City Department. Over the last two years, under the leadership of Mary Bensel, revenues have exceeded expenditures. The current budget continues this success with no budgeted subsidy from the general fund

    2. Explore a private management contract for operation similar to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Ft Myers and the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg. Under this alternative a private company manages the operation with a management fee paid by the city.

    3. Create a new 501 3(c) non-profit organization to manage both the day to day operations and the long term fund raising.

    4. Consolidate the operation of the Van Wezel Hall with the Van Wezel Foundation under a long term lease arrangement whereby the non-profit entity would carry the authority and responsibility for governance, operations, all expenses and fundraising.

    The initial discussions with the Van Wezel Foundation, which began earlier this year, have centered on the fourth alternative which has the potential of combining the excellent current operating staff with the foundation’s ability to secure major new funding in the future.

    These discussions, regardless of outcome will not affect the excellent cooperative working relationship between the city and the foundation which have been partners for more than 25 years.

    The discussions will have no impact on the Van Wezel's ability to continue to book quality programs in the future.

    Bensel will head up the proposed new structure as president and CEO and will supervise all staff (current and future).

    The discussion will focus on the following mission/objectives:

    Mission: The mission of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is:

    1. To present a broad spectrum of the world’s finest performing artists in order to meet the diverse cultural needs of all of Southwest Florida’s residents and visitors.

    2. To bring visiting artists into the community for meaningful education and outreach programs that help develop new audiences.

    3. To provide a quality facility for other local cultural organizations.

    Objectives:

    1. To assure the retention of and expansion of quality arts in the community

    2. To develop a more efficient and effective model for fund raising and provide for . broad and expanded philanthropic support

    3. To ensure that no subsidies will be necessary from the City

    4 To enhance the support provided for other arts entities in the community and encourage collaboration

    5. To expand audiences, communal utilization of facilities and provide affordable programming to all segments of our community

    Timeline: If this alternative is implemented, it is anticipated this process will take a period of time to ensure a strong win-win arrangement. The estimated time frame for any implementation will be approximately January 1, 2013. Any agreement reached would need to be approved by the City Commission and the Foundation Board of Directors.
    Stay tuned for more info/comments from the key players.

    —Photo of Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall provided

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Amy Winehouse album 'Lioness' getting mixed reviews

    Just finished listening to the new Amy Winehouse album, "Lioness: Hidden Treasures," which came out today.

    It's not "Back to Black," or even "Frank," and it definitely feels unfinished in many places, but I'll still take her leftovers, most of which are covers, over the vast majority of what's being played on Top 40.

    Alas, it's ultimately a sad reminder of what could have been had Winehouse beat her battle with the bottle and those other demons.

    Anyway, here's a rundown — courtesy of http://www.metacritic.com — of what some of the pundits have to say. Ranking of 0-100 follows name of publication.

    Entertainment Weekly
    75
    As posthumous albums go, it's leagues beyond hastily assembled fare like Michael Jackson's Immortal. That's a credit to producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson.

    Rolling Stone
    70
    This is a sad record. A grab bag of outtakes, unreleased tracks, demos, covers and song sketches, these recordings feel like a gut punch.


    Los Angeles Times
    63
    The 12-song compilation is slight on new insights....But as vault-emptying collections go, Lioness helps rebut the tabloid qualities of her life and death, and return some of the focus back to what won her such allegiance--her voice.

    The Observer (UK)
    60
    Covers make up the backbone of this perfectly enjoyable, but tame release.

    Chicago Tribune
    25
    A cash-in thin on new songs that confirms Winehouse was still a long way from finishing up the five-years-in-the-making follow-up to "Back to Black."

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Blondie headed to Bradenton: Rock and Roll Hall of Famers to headline fundraiser


    The biggest band to come out of the late 1970s new wave movement has a special date in Bradenton.

    The original members of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Blondie — starring singer Deborah Harry — will perform at Forty Carrots Family Center's Firefly Gala, presented by The Dart Foundation, on March 24 at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton. The fundraising event promises to include all the fanfare of an authentic concert.

    “The Dart Foundation is dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for children and young adults and is proud to support Forty Carrots Family Center's mission of strengthening families. Forty Carrots' unique combination of top-ranking early childhood education and quality parenting education results in giving children a better chance at succeeding in school and life long success,” said Ariane Dart, Forty Carrots Trustee and The Dart Foundation representative, in a statement.

    Following on the heels of last year's success with KC & the Sunshine Band, this year's gala combines the rock star entertainment of Blondie with world-class dining prepared by renown restaurateur and chef Sean Murphy as well as the chance to win auction items.

    What: Firefly Gala starring Blondie, presented by The Dart Foundation
    When: 6 pm Sat., March 24
    Where: The Concessions Golf Club, 7700 Lindrick Lane, Bradenton
    Tickets: TBA
    For sponsorship details or information on how you can be involved email info@fortycarrots.com or call 941-365-7716. Visit our website at www.fortycarrots.org.



    Red Hot Chili Peppers to play Tampa


    After a five year absence, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are headed back to the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa on Jan. 23. Santigold opens.

    Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer are currently in Europe, touring in support of their album "I'm With You," which was released in August and produced the hit single "Monarchy of Roses."

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a nominee for the 2012 class of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Tickets for the Tampa show go on sale 10 a.m. Dec. 10. Ticket prices are $42.25 and $62.25 (facility fee and service charges not included) at www.Ticketmaster.com. To order tickets by phone call 800.745.3000.

    —Photo by Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times


    Friday, December 2, 2011

    REVIEW: Manatee Players' ‘White Christmas’ is a merry stroll down memory lane

    PAUL VIDELA/pvidela@bradenton.com From left: Michael DeMocko as Phil Davis, Geena M. Ravella as Judy Haynes, Jessica Anne Morrow as Betty Haynes and Greg Wiegers as Bob Wallace in the Manatee Players production of “Irving Berlin's White Christmas.”

    “White Christmas” has been warming hearts during the holidays for more than a half century. Bing Crosby’s Bob Wallace, Danny Kaye’ Phil Davis, Rosemary Clooney’s Betty Haynes and Vera-Ellen’s Judy Haynes are some of the most memorable characters in Hollywood history.

    The stage version, titled “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” has been around less than a decade. Despite having those huge stars looming over it, the Manatee Players’ production is a fun stroll down memory lane.

    The plot, as expected, closely follows the movie. Bob Wallace (Greg Wiegers) and Phil Davis (Michael DeMocko) are a top Broadway song-and-dance duo that served in the army together during World War II. Bob’s leery about romance and Phil’s a skirt-chaser. The two soon have a change of heart, though, when they meet the singing sister act of Betty (Jessica Anne Morrow) and Judy (Geena M. Ravella) Haynes.

    The guys follow the gals to a Vermont lodge where the sister act is scheduled to perform during the holidays. Typical romantic highs and lows occur as Bob finally falls for Betty and Phil pledges his love to Judy.

    Meanwhile, the fellows learn that the ski lodge is run by their former commanding officer, Gen. Henry Waverly (Phil Croome). Business is hurting and the lack of snow makes matters worse.
    Bob and Phil decide to enlist the support of their entertainment connections, including those who served in the general's unit and turn the barnyard show into a big bash. Of course it snows just in time for the skiers and the title song.

    Despite the largely timeworn material, director/choreographer Rick Kerby keeps things moving at a brisk pace. He also did a fine job of casting. The actors smartly honor the famed originators rather than ape them.

    Wiegers has a voice that doesn’t make you long for Crosby’s — no easy fete — and he shines on numerous numbers including the title track and the stage-version bonus “Blue Skies.” DeMocko’s acting is perhaps a bit over-the-top but his singing and dancing chops make up for it. Morrow and Ravella do the most to create the essential romantic chemistry between the respective couples. They’re skilled vocalists, as well, crushing with a smile-inducing “Sisters.”

    The performances are strong throughout, which is commendable at any time of the year but especially this month. These actors are not only working for free but are likely missing out on numerous family gatherings so they can spread some holiday cheer well worth witnessing.

    Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays Dec. 1-23, Riverfront Theatre, 102 Old Main St., Bradenton. Tickets: $25/$11 (students) Information: 941-748-5875 or www.manateeplayers.com.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    More info on Armand Assante movie 'Blind Pass' filming in Manatee and Sarasota

    All Armand Assante scenes to be shot in Manatee County

    Here's more info on today's breaking news story "Armand Assante movie filming in Manatee and Sarasota." It's the latest feature by local filmmaker Steve Tatone and his Midnight Pass Productions. 

    Setting: Film takes place almost entirely in Sarasota and Manatee counties except for several scenes shot in Europe. All of Armand Assante's scenes are being shot in Manatee. "We're the first film company to be given privilege to film at the new Sarasota National Cemetery," Tatone said. "That's where the opening scene takes place."

    Plot: Movie focuses on a 24-year-old woman named Carrie (played by Danielle White) who has always had the best of everything. Her father (Armand Assante) is a former military man, attorney and "master of universe type," said Tatone, living on a horse farm in Manatee County. Carrie rebels, gets involved in show business and lives in the family beach house on Siesta Key. Movie starts with funeral of her father and tells his story in flashback. Carrie is a very independent woman who then finds out she has an eye disease and is going to go blind in 90 days. Daughter and father are very much alike in their approach to life and Mom (Mary Rachel Dudley) worries daughter might also commit suicide. Carrie is sent to see psychologist (Chris McKenna) and that's when the action starts in this thriller.

    Here's the description from the "Blind Pass" Facebook page:
    “Blind Pass” is a dramatic thriller reminiscent of “Basic Instinct” and “Last Tango in Paris”…and then some…that reminds us all never to take anything in Life for granted. The bold, edgy indie film reunites writer-director Steve Tatone with his "Beautiful Noise" star Danielle White and shoots on location in Fall 2011 in Sarasota, Florida; Milan, Venice & Lake Como Italy; Lugano Switzerland; Paris France; London England & Dublin Ireland.

    Production: "Everything is being shot on location," Tatone said. Next month Midnight Pass Productions plans to open a post-production and small soundstage facility in downtown Sarasota. They're shooting "Blind Pass" with digital cameras and leasing equipment from Tampa-based First Unit Production Services. "Ninety-eight percent of the crew is from the Suncoast and Tampa Bay," Tatone said.

    Financing: "It's a combination of our company money with some local investors," Tatone said.

    —Publicity photo of Armand Assante courtesy of Midnight Pass Productions

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    REVIEW: 'My Fair Lady' at Asolo Rep in Sarasota is fantastic

    ANNAMAE BAFIA/PUBLICITY PHOTO of  Andrea Prestinario
    It’s hard to imagine a much more brilliant stage production of “My Fair Lady” than the one being presented by the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota.

    Leads Andrea Prestinario (Eliza Doolitte) and Jeff Parker (Henry Higgins) joust with just the right bit of bite and make you believe they’re falling in love without so much as even sharing a kiss.

    It’s the 1956 Broadway smash (turned classic 1964 film) brought into the beautiful Mertz Theatre and given a most wonderful intimacy courtesy of music director Doug Peck and assistant music director Ian Weinberger playing all of Frederick Loewe’s glorious melodies on a mere pair of facing pianos.

    Sans the orchestra, the characters are free to deliver those loverly lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner with gripping nuance and grace.

    Lerner’s dialogue, largely derived from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” teems with welcoming believability. Whether witty, comic, morose or whimsical it works extremely well when delivered by Prestinario, Parker and the rest of the superb, 19-person cast working under the masterful direction of Frank Galati.

    The director allows Prestinario to play Eliza as the proto-feminist I believe Shaw and Lerner intended all along. Remember, she’s the lowly flower girl who goes to the misogynistic and elitist phonetics professor demanding he allow her to pay for speech lessons. By show’s end, Eliza has made a lady of herself and turned bachelor Higgins “accustomed to her face.”

    Who knows?

    Maybe she won’t even get him those slippers after the final curtain and continue teaching him how women should be treated.


    Regardless, Eliza’s character arc has always been the most fascinating aspect of this practically perfect musical and Prestinario shines with ample help from Parker, whose Higgins also goes through a satisfying transformation.

    In addition, what has always made “My Fair Lady” such a terrific show is that the scenes and musical numbers are equally strong. Galati and cast maintain the extraordinary level of sustained greatness throughout. It's what makes the nearly 2 1/2 hour performance (not including intermission) zip by.

    Prestinario has a big, beautiful voice but also understands the subtly required to sell a bittersweet kiss off such as “Without You.” Parker smartly nods to Higgins originator Rex Harrison's speak-sing approach while allowing his sonorous pipes to take over when appropriate. (Yes, Parker is a better vocalist than Harrison was.)


    As for the rest of the cast, each person contributes strongly. Joel Hatch plays Colonel Pickering — the one who makes the wager about Eliza becoming a lady — with a winning amount of snobbery and empathy. Sean Effinger-Dean makes Freddy Eynsford-Hill a most believable boy in love, especially when he sings “On the Street Where You Live.” And that scene-stealing Bryan Torfeh is outright hilarious as the villain Zolton Karpathy.

    For all the charm of the cast, I would be remiss without mentioning the look of the show. Set designer Russell Metheny, costume designer Mara Blumenfeld, lighting designer James D. Sale, sound designer Kevin Kennedy as well as resident hair/wig and makeup designer Michelle Hart do a tremendous job of transporting the audience to the London of 1912.

    Voice and dialect coach Patricia Delorey, with help from English-schooled cast member Cliff Roles, also deserve applause for making sure no one sounded silly with the Cockney or upper-class British accents.

    Sure, you can sit at home and watch the excellent film version of “My Fair Lady.” But what the Asolo Rep has done with this spectacular musical shouldn’t be missed. It will make you fall in love again even with the most familiar scenes and songs all over again.

    If you go
    What: “My Fair Lady”
    When: Through Dec. 23
    Where: Asolo Repertory’s Mertz Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
    Tickets: $27-$71
    Information: 941-351-8000 or www.asolorep.org

    Neil Diamond has Tampa date at St. Pete Times Forum


    Neil Diamond, who finally received some much-deserved cool points this year when he became a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, has a June 3 date at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.

    Tickets for the greatest-hits show go on sale 10 a.m. Dec. 5th. Ticket prices for this event are $52.25, $82.25, and $117.25 (Facility fees and service charges are not included. Charge by phone at 800.745.3000. VIP Packages are also be available.

    My first and, so far only, Diamond experience came at the Forum in 2008:
    The 67-year-old crooner threw himself into every self-penned lyric, turning decades-old chestnuts into in-the-moment jolts of emotion that rocked a crowd of 13,000-plus — myself included.
    Yeah, good times.

    In addition, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings recently announced it would release "The Very Best of Neil Diamond – The Original Studio Recordings" Dec. 6. The album  features 23 songs and is being billed as the first Diamond collection to draw from the artist's complete studio discography.

    It includes tracks such as “Forever In Blue Jeans,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Sweet Caroline,” “I’m A Believer,” “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon, ” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” “Red, Red Wine,” “America” and all the others that have been making people smile for the past half century.

    Diamond becomex a Kennedy Center Honoree on Dec. 27. He will also perform at the 85th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the "Today Show," NBC’s Tree Lighting at Rockefeller and the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in upcoming weeks.

    Photo: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw tour headed to Tampa

    Country kings Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw's "Brothers of the Sun" tour will be making a stop at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for a big Saturday bash June 2 that also includes Grace Potter & The Nocturnals as well as Jake Owen.

    Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Dec. 9 and will be available at the Raymond James Stadium box office, via Ticketmaster or by phone at 800.745.3000.

    "Additional fees may apply to ticket prices" (which means count on 'em).

    Prices haven't been announced yet.

    "Brothers of the Sun" marks  the first time in 10 years that Chesney and McGraw have toured together.

    Not a huge Chesney fan but do enjoy his touching version of this great Guy Clark song:


    Monday, November 21, 2011

    TONIGHT: Blues supergroup Southern Hospitality makes Bradenton debut at Aces Live

    From left: Damon Fowler, Victor Wainwright and JP Soars of Southern Hospitality. Publicity photo.

    As first reported here, Blind Pig recording artist and Bradenton Beach resident Damon Fowler joined forces with fellow Florida guitarist/singer JP Soars and Memphis-based piano man/singer Victor Wainwright for the blues super group Southern Hospitality, which also includes Fowler's forever bassist Chuck Riley and Soars' drummer Chris Peet.



    Southern Hospitality makes its Bradenton debut tonight at Aces Live as part of Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays.

    It's going to be a special night. See ya there or watch below. Both options are free.

    Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays
    Showcasing the best in touring talent
    8:30 p.m. Mon., Nov. 21
    and special guest
    Southern Hospitality
    No cover

    Click to watchat
    8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21

    Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at livestream.com
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    Friday, November 11, 2011

    TONIGHT: Dangerous Dan Toler's VIP Kick Off Party in Lakewood Ranch

    Dan Toler  honoring his brother on June 25, 2011. Photo by Wade Tatangelo

    Guitar great Dangerous Dan Toler's VIP Kick Off Party starts at 6 p.m. today at Ed's Tavern on Rodeo Drive in Lakewood Ranch.

    The former Allman Brothers Band member will be playing with his Toler/Tucci Band and there will also be a performance by the Matthew Facciolla Band. Both acts are highly recommended.

    The live music will take place on the patio.

    The event is a fundraiser for Toler, who is battling ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease.

    There will be drink specials, food specials, raffles and prizes.

    It's a pre-party for this weekend's Dan Toler ALS Support Benefit Concert Festival, which I wrote about here: "Betts, Bramlett, more to play Toler benefit"


    Click for more of my stories/interviews with Toler, whose many credits include playing with the Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts &Great Southern as well as the Gregg Allman Band.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    TONIGHT: Cork's Cigar Bar throwing reopening bash on Old Main St. in Bradenton

    A significant player in the downtown Bradenton nightlife scene just announced a move that has been in the works for months.

    "Cork's Cigar Bar will be open at 5 p.m. today!" reads the Facebook message posted by bartender Meagan Miller about two hours ago. "Come on in and see our new beautiful building (across street from old)."

    A call to her father, Cork Miller, confirmed the relocation of his family's establishment from 425 Old Main St. to 424 Old Main St.

    "The downstairs bar is all ready to go," he said. "But the upstairs won't be open yet."

    A grand opening is planned for the near future to coincide with completion of second story lounge.

    As for tonight, RJ Howson (guitar/vocals), Devin Neel (drums/vocals) and Gerry Neel (bass) will be hosting an open, blues-based jam starting at 9:30 p.m.

    Trivia with Pennijo Beaucamp starts at 7:30pm

    I first broke the news about Cork's changing locations in March and reported about it again, among other Old Main St. developments, in June.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    REVIEW: FST’s ‘Next to Normal’ is crazy good

    From left Ashley Picciallo, Leo Daignault, Stacia Fernandez, Mike Backes in FST's winning production of 'Next to Normal.'

    Its finger right on the pulse of the real modern family, the one with madness always bubbling near the placid surface, “Next to Normal” works tremendously well on an abnormal number of levels.

    Featuring music by Tom Kitt with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama recipient and winner of three Tony Awards is a rock musical that manages to deftly make the most of melancholy, with sharp satire, smart observations, provocative questions and endearing humor.

    Credit Florida Studio Theatre for not just doing an excellent job with an intricate show of often cleverly matched vocals performed from a tight stage and three risers over the rousing sonics of an accomplished live band but taking a chance:

    The subject matter is heavy and the characters sing or say just about every dirty word George Carlin ever rifffed on.
    But this cussing isn’t without purpose.
    Just like nothing in the potent production isn’t without purpose.

    Even if at the end audience members are forced to find his or her own definition of “normal” — or decide if it’s OK to just be “next to normal.”
    Or maybe conclude “normal” is a silly, way-too subjective and hurtful word, one that deserves banished from the lexicon.

    The mother Diana (Stacia Fernandez) grapples with bipolar disorder that manifests itself in a most frightening way at times. Namely in the form of her son Gabe (Mike Backes), resulting in a jolting surprise to anyone not paying close attention.

    Natalie (Ashley Picciallo) plays the neglected, good girl daughter who begins to stray from her high school studies after meeting pot-smoking boyfriend Henry (James LaRosa). She quickly leapfrogs his occasional bong blasts for drugs-n-clubs benders largely fueled by Mom’s powerful, prescription stash.

    Dan (Leo Daignault) is the father forced to make tough decisions regarding his wife’s well being. Scott Guthrie plays both doctors charged with treating Diana.

    The show is sans flat characters — save for the doctor, who makes the most of his relatively perfunctory but often hilarious role — and the other actors shine in their juicy, largely unprecedented parts. The songs interweave wonderfully with just enough spoken lines salted throughout to create an even stronger ebb and flow.

    “Next to Normal” might not be for everybody but it’s must-see performance art for anyone interested in what the exciting possibilities are in musical theater.

    Details: Nov. 2-Jan. 1, FST’s Keating Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $29-$39. Information: 941-366-9000 or www.florida studiotheatre.org.

    Radiohead to play Tampa

    Radiohead performs to a cheering crowd during Lollapalooza 's first day at Grand Park in 2008, in Chicago, Illinois. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

    Radiohead will play Tampa during its upcoming 2012 U.S. tour.

    The initial 10 date dates of the art rock band's first extensive string of U.S. shows since 2008 will begin Feb.  27 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami with dates currently running through March 15 at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz.

    Other Lives will support on these dates.

    Radiohead performs at the St. Pete Times Forum Feb. 29.

    General on-sales for these shows will begin November 12, with the exception of the February 29 Tampa, FL date, which will go on sale November 19.

    There will be a four ticket per person limit.

    For further information on ticketing, go to http://radiohead.com/tourdates/

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    REVIEW/PHOTOS: Sarasota Blues Fest

    Ryan Shaw at Blues Fest. Photo by Caroline Sansone.
    Thousands attended the Sarasota Blues Fest Saturday for a beautiful day of diverse, movingly performed roots music.

    Los Lobos closed the evening with a set that ranged from Mexican-flavored originals off their latest great record "Tin Can Trust" to a terrific Allman Brothers Band-style rendition of "On Way Out."

    Ryan Shaw, who performed just before Los Lobos, proved my personal favorite. He's a 30-year-old with two Garmmy nomination to his credit who  brilliantly updates vintage soul. His set opened with a stirring rendition of Jimmy Cliff's reggae classic "Many Rivers to Cross" and never lost momentum.

    Shaw completely reworked The Beatles' "Yesterday" into R&B gold and honored Michael Jackson with an emotive rendition of "Man in the Mirror." The most special moment of the night, though, came when Shaw performed the soul standard "Try a Little Tenderness" famously recorded by Otis Redding with backing by Booker T. & the MG's featuring the legendary Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass.

    Donal "Duck" Dunn with Ryan Shaw. Photo by Wade Tatangelo.

    Dunn, who lives in Sarasota, and Shaw met backstage prior to the performance. Shaw gave a warm dedication to Dunn before bringing chills by channeling the spirit of Redding without aping him. Dunn grinned in approval.

    Former Little Feat singer and longtime member of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet band Shaun Murphy also elated the crowd with her powerhouse vocals when she performed around 4 p.m.

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    REVIEW: 'Brothers Karamazov' a struggle on stage

    From left: Jacob Cooper (Alyosha),
    Brendan Ragan (Dmitry) and Jesse Dornan (Ivan) 
    Many books make for great plays. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s more-lauded-than-read masterpiece “The Brothers Karamazov” isn’t one of them. At least not judging by the FSU/Asolo Conservatory’s staging Wednesday of Roland Reed’s script directed by Andrei Malaev-Babel, a Conservatory faculty member.

    The epic novel about a dirty old man and his three disparate sons has never been considered an easy read. Dostoyevsky’s obsession with religious faith and how doubt influences one’s morality permeates the book and play, which reportedly uses only text penned by the original author.

    These heavy themes loom large over the small Cook Theatre stage, crushing any momentum that might be generated by the convoluted plot.

    The acting by the entire, 12-person class of second year students can’t be faulted. It ranges from solid to superb. If the play weren’t so long — three hours including a single 15-minute intermission — I would recommend attending solely to watch Kelly Campbell’s gripping performance as the play’s Jezebel, Grushenka Agrafena.

    Brendan Ragan (Dmitry) Jacob Cooper (Alyosha) and Jesse Dornan (Ivan) are also commendable as the Karamazov brothers, as is Francisco Rodriguez, who plays their drunk dad as well as a police captain.

    But the 150 minutes of stage time is too full of characters trading monologues rather than dialogue to engage. The conflicts feel forced because the characters are made to come across as vessels for Dostoyevsky’s musings rather than persons in dire positions.

    The costumes by Maxey Whitehead and Kristen Lynne Blossom are excellent but the sparse staging did each scene a disservice. There’s essentially no stage scenery. Props basically consisted of black stools, wine bottles and glasses.

    That’s a lot to ask of a theatergoer but it might have worked if 14 audience members were not seated in a semi-circle around where the action took place. One couldn’t help but watch several squirm as a dream sequence dragged or notice that three of the chairs were empty after intermission. Incidentally, the two people seated next to me also didn’t return for the second and final act.

    After already investing 80 minutes (and price of admission) they should’ve stayed. The second act flows much better than the first with a strong court scene conclusion. But it was not enough to overcome the many obstacles presented by the play, which has moments of brilliance too often undermined by a snake-like story line and tiresome pontificating.

    IF YOU GO
    What: Asolo Conservatory presents “The Brothers Karamazov”
    When: Nov. 1-20
    Where: Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
    Tickets: $28/$27 matinees/students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket purchase
    Information: 941-351-8000 or www.asolorep.org

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Willie Nelson returns to Sarasota to play Van Wezel; info on new album

    Willie Nelson is returning to Sarasota.

    After last season's quick sell-out, American music icon Willie Nelson and Family return to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for another evening of brilliant country influenced by blues, jazz, folk and classic pop.

    Tickets for the Feb. 3 show go on sale at 10 a.m. Sat., Nov. 12.

    Nelson is scheduled to release the covers album "Remember Me, Vol. 1" on Nov. 21. Here's the track list, courtesy of TheBoot.com:

    1. "Remember Me" (Ernest Tubb)
    2. "Sixteen Tons'"(Tennessee Ernie Ford)
    3. "Why Baby Why" (George Jones)
    4. "Today I Started Loving You Again" (Merle Haggard)
    5. "I'm Movin' On" (Hank Snow)
    6. "That Just About Does It" (Vern Gosdin)
    7. "This Old House" (Rosemary Clooney)
    8. "Sunday Morning Coming Down" (Kris Kristofferson)
    9. "Smoke That Cigarette" (Tex Williams)
    10. "Slowly" (Webb Pierce)
    11. "A Satisfied Mind" (Porter Wagoner)
    12. "Roly Poly" (Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys)
    13. "Release Me" (Ray Price)
    14. "Ramblin' Fever'"(Merle Haggard)
    15. "More and More" (Webb Pierce) *iTunes exclusive

    Earlier this year I interviewed Willie's son/band mate, singer/songwriter/guitarist Lukas Nelson:


    Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 3, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets (on sale 10 a.m. Nov. 12): $30-$75. Info: (941) 953-3368 or log onto www.vanwezel.org.





    —Photo at top provided by Van Wezel

    SATURDAY (NOV. 5): Sarasota Blues Fest keeps it fresh with Los Lobos, Ryan Shaw and much more


    Here's my story on this year's awesomely eclectic lineup:






    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    UPDATED 11/10: Bonnie Bramlett joins Dickey Betts, others for Dan Toler benefit in Sarasota

    UPDATED 11/10: Here's story with quotes from Betts and Bramlett:



    Bonnie Bramlett publicity photo
    Esteemed blue-eyed soul singer Bonnie Bramlett, formerly of the famed duo Delaney & Bonnie, has been added to the Dan Toler ALS Support Benefit Festival.

    Dickey Betts & Great Southern headline the Nov. 12-13 event in Sarasota first reported about here.

    Bramlett performed with the Allman Brothers Band during the Toler era of the late 1970s (see clip below). She can be heard on the ABB albums "Enlightened Rogues" (1979) as well as "Reach for the Sky" (1980). She also performed with Toler on the acclaimed 1978 Dickey Betts & Great Southern album "Atlanta's Burning Down."

    As a member of Delaney & Bonnie, she performed with Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Dave Mason

    Bramlett's songwriting credits include the classic "Superstar" (with Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett), which was a hit in 1971 for The Carpenters and subsequently covered by everyone from Luther Vandross to Sonic Youth; the latter's version heard on the soundtrack for the hit film "Juno."

    Bramlett is perhaps best known, though, for playing Bonnie Watkins on the hit TV show "Roseanne" in the early 1990s.

    The Allman Brothers Band with Bonnie Bramlett and Dan Toler live at the Volunteer Jam in Nashville Tennessee


    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Best Halloween movies and songs


    Happy Halloween.

    Here’s my highly subjective list of the greatest horror films of all time.

    The Top 10.

    The ones that every self-respecting Halloween enthusiasts should see.

    Read more.

    Can’t stand the silliness of “Monster Mash”?

    No longer thrilled by “Thriller”?

    But still need some tunes that fit the theme of Halloween?

    Got you covered.

    Here’s a lil’ playlist to get that costume party started right.

    Read more.

    —In this publicity image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Linda Blair portrays a possessed Regan MacNeil in a scene from, "The Exorcist." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment) 

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Meet the cast of 'My Fair Lady' and its Tony Award-winning director at Asolo Rep in Sarasota

    Andrea Prestinario sings the "My Fair Lady" classic "I Could Have Danced All Night" at the Asolo Rep media luncheon today in Sarasota.

    The Asolo Repertory Theatre's production of "My Fair Lady" doesn't open the company's 53rd season until next month but its star already earned a nice round of applause today in Sarasota.

    Producing Artistic Director Michael Edwards had all the cast and creatives on hand for a media luncheon held on the mezzanine of the Mertz Theatre.

    The big cheers came after Andrea Prestinario, accompanied by a lone keyboardist, belted out a pitch perfection rendition of the classic musical's iconic number "I Could Have Danced All Night."

    From left: Jeff Parker, Andrea Prestinario and Michael Edwards

    "My Fair Lady," which opens Nov. 18 and runs through Dec. 23, features Prestinario as Eliza Doolittle, a role that earned her rave reviews in the Chicago Tribune and other publications during a recent "My Fair Lady" production at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Ill.

    Jeff Parker, who like Prestinario is based in Chicago, plays Professor Henry Higgins. Making his Asolo Rep debut, Parker is a Jeff Award nominee whose extensive performance list includes Goodman Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Manhattan Theatre Club and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

    Based on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, "My Fair Lady" also marks the return of Tony Award-winning director (and now Sarasota resident) Frank Galati. His credits include last season’s hit production of Asolo Rep's "Twelve Angry Men."

    Frank Galati
    Galati won two Tony Awards, including Best Direction of a Play, in 1990 for "Grapes of Wrath." In 1998, he staged "Ragtime" and was nominated again for a Tony Award in the Best Direction of a Musical category. Galati also received an Academy Award-nomination as coauthor on the screenplay for the 1988 dramatic romance "The Accidental Tourist," which won Geena Davis an Oscar.

    Edwards explained how he wanted to do "My Fair Lady" since he came to Asolo Rep five years ago but needed Galati to direct as to ensure the production would not be "musty."

    Galati described "My Fair Lady" as a "biting satire ... about the power of language" and addressed the "serious material underneath this extraordinary musical comedy."

    Edwards returned to the podium and, with a sly smile, reminded the journalists representing publications across Southwest Florida that "My Fair Lady" would also be "funny and sexy."

    Laughter filled the mezzanine. 

    During the brief Q&A section that followed, Doug Peck, the music director/keyboardist, explained the two piano score chosen by Asolo Rep would make the show more intimate because the actors wouldn't have to project over a 40-musician orchestra.

    Andrea Prestinario as Eliza Doolittle during a recent "My Fair Lady" 
    production at The Paramount Theatre



    "My Fair Lady"
    Presented in the Harold E. and Esther M. Mertz Theatre
    November 18, 2011- December 23, 2011
    Preview performances November 15-17
    Click for ticket info


    Creative Team:
    Frank Galati Director
    Joshua Rhodes Choreographer
    Doug Peck Music Director/Keyboards
    Ian Weinberger Assistant Music Director/Keyboards 2
    Russell Metheny Set Design
    Mara Blumenfeld Costume Design
    James D. Sale Lighting Design
    Kevin Kennedy Sound Design
    Michelle Hart Wig & Hair Design
    Patricia Delorey Voice & Dialect
    Kelly Borgia* Stage Manager
    Michael Morales* Assistant Stage Manager
    Nia Sciarretta Stage Management Intern
    Ryan Bible Student Lighting Assistant
    Lauryn E. Sasso Resident Dramaturg

    Cast (in alphabetical order):
    Andrew Boyer* Alfred Dolittle
    Colleen Cherry 2nd Maid/Ensemble
    Sean Effinger-Dean Freddy Eynsford-Hill
    Joel Hatch* Col. Pickering
    Heather Kopp* 3rd Maid/Ensemble
    Carol Kuykendall* 4th Maid/Ensemble
    Rob Lindley* 1st Cockney/Ensemble
    Robert David May 4th Cockney/Ensemble
    Christine Mild* 1st Maid/Ensemble
    Annie Morrison* Mrs. Eynsford-Hill
    Thomas Mothershed Harry/Ensemble
    Jeff Parker* Henry Higgins
    Andrea Prestinario* Eliza Doolittle
    Peggy Roeder* Mrs. Higgins
    Cliff Roles Ensemble
    Daniel Schwab 2nd Cockney/Ensemble
    Penny Slusher* Mrs. Pearce
    Barry Tarallo* Jamie/Ensemble
    Bryan Torfeh* Zoltan Karpathy/3rd Cockney
    *denotes member of Actor’s Equity

    —All photos by Wade Tatangelo

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Lucinda Williams at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, 10/19/11: Review and setlist

    Lucinda Williams Oct. 19 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. Photo provided by Tracy May.

    Lucinda Williams made it worth the wait.

    When she returned to Jannus Live for her first Tampa Bay performance since 2004 the alt-country queen seemed to determined to make every song an emotional wallop.

    As a cool, welcome breeze made its way through downtown St. Petersburg and blew back Williams’ blonde bangs she sang with measured passion, giving each compelling lyric ample care, as if reliving the moment of its creation.

    The multiple Grammy winner considered one of the greatest songwriters alive showed she’s also an outstanding performer.

    Williams played for about two hours, judiciously choosing songs ranging from her 1988 self-titled masterpiece to her excellent new album “Blessed.” A freshly penned unreleased song and three choice covers made for wonderful surprises. Blake Mills (electric guitar), David Sutton (bass) and Butch Norton (drums) provided spot-on accompaniment.

    Dressed in black jeans and a dark top, Williams wielded an acoustic guitar and opened the show with a barn burning rendition of “Can’t Let Go,” off her 1998 breakthrough album “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.”

    She then went back a decade for the sweet ode to having good times with her brother in the “Crescent City.” She returned to “Car Wheels” several times to start the show before delivering a chilling version of the album's most powerful number, “Drunken Angel.”

    The song is a tribute to Austin-based singer/songwriter Blaze Foley. He was shot to death after a barroom brawl. Merle Haggard and others would later record Foley’s ballad “If I Could Only Fly.”

    Williams sang each line like she was offering a prayer to her old pal:

    “Blood spilled out from the hole in your heart / Over the strings of your guitar / The worn down places in the wood / That once made you feel so good.”

    Williams then said, “Here’s a new song that will be on my next album.” A country rocker with a dollop of funk “Stowaway in Your Heart,” is a beautiful love letter to manager/husband Tom Overby goosed by a killer slide solo by Mills, a young L.A. artist who has a huge future ahead of him.

    The lyric stand came in handy on “Stowaway” and a couple others, but did nothing to hinder her performance. I’ll take the cheat sheet and know that every word is right, thank you very much. It’s not like Williams has ever been known to dance around on stage.

    Next came “Side of the Road.” It first appeared on Williams’ self-titled album and remains her finest lyric. The song puts you inside the head of a person filled with passion for another but unable to commit. It’s a common enough theme but never written about with such a smart metaphor marked by rich details; or sung with such a tone of resigned melancholy. Williams performed it solo Wednesday, each word a tender reminder that nothing in life or love is black and white:

    “If I stray too far from you, don’t go and try and find me / It doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it doesn’t mean I won’t come back and stay beside you / It only means I need a little time / To follow that unbroken line.”

    Williams continued in catharsis mode with the heartbreaking “Blue” before letting the band rip while singing her other hubby song “Born to Be Loved.” She ditched the guitar and clutched the mic with both hands, swaying softly in time as her fellow musicians took turns soloing.

    Williams then unveiled her gripping rendition of Bob Dylan’s mortality hymn “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven,” which she recorded for an upcoming Amnesty International benefit album.

    The band jammed hard and Williams sung with a sexy snarl on “Steal Your Love,” “Buttercup,” and then spit out the words to her classic kiss-off “Changed the Locks.”

    “Thank you for coming out during these hellacious economic times and spending your hard-earned money,” she said as the crowd showered her with applause. Williams then dedicated the blues stomp “Joy” to the “99 percenters” holding the spread-the-wealth “occupy” protests nationwide.

    After performing the title track to her new album she left the stage briefly and then returned with a faithful rendition of the early Allman Brothers Band gem “Not My Cross to Bear” before leading the crowd in a spirited sing along of the Buffalo Springfield protest anthem “For What It’s Worth.”

    “God bless, power to the people, keep up the fight,” Williams said before exiting.

    Here’s to hoping it doesn’t take another seven years for her to visit Tampa Bay. Williams holds a discerning listener rapt like few other performers.

    Setlist:

    1. “Can’t Let Go” (written by Randy Weeks)
    2. “Crescent City”
    3. “Right in Time”
    4. “Well Well Well”
    5. “Concrete and Barbed Wire”
    6. “Drunken Angel” (see video shot at Jannus below)
    7. “Stowaway In Your Heart”
    8. “Side of the Road”
    9. “Blue” (see video shot at Jannus below)
    10. “Born to Be Loved”
    11. “Tryin’ To Get to Heaven” (Bob Dylan cover)
    12. “Steal Your Love”
    13. “Buttercup”
    14. “Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings”
    15. “Essence”
    16. “Righteously”
    17. “Changed the Locks”
    18. “Joy”
    19. “Honey Bee”
    20. “Blessed”
    21. “Not My Cross to Bear” (Allman Brothers Band cover)
    22. “For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield cover)





    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Bill Clinton headed to Tampa: Lady Gaga incident from Saturday would make great topic for the talk


    Former President Bill Clinton, who just had a big night out with Lady Gaga, will bring his "Embracing our Common Humanity" tour to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on March 21

    "President Clinton’s public speeches describe the challenge of globalization, emphasize our growing interdependence, and point the way toward a common future based on shared goals and values," reads the publicity release.

    No word on whether he'll reflect on his big bash Saturday at a packed Hollywood Bowl.

    The concert, dubbed “A Decade of Difference,” doubled as Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday party.

    “I just love you and your hot wife,” Lady Gaga said, mere feet from Bill Clinton, his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea," reads the Los Angeles Times report. "Gaga described her life as a screwy embodiment of the American dream in eyebrow-raising language, and she praised the Clintons by promising that 'tonight, I thought we’d all get caught up in a little Bill romance.'"

    Gaga then performed her hit “Bad Romance.”

    Details:  7 p.m. March 21, 2012, at 7 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets: $65-$185; $325 (includes handshake, photo with the former president). Information: www.strazcenter.org or (813) 222-1000.

    Photo: Former President Clinton takes the stage during the "Decade of Difference" concert Saturday at the Hollywood Bowl. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    UPDATED 10/17: PHOTOS/VIDEOS: ArtSlam in Bradenton


    UPDATED 10/17: "ArtSlam in 3 Minutes"



    Find yourself!

    Nearly a thousand photos/videos from ArtSlam, the Realize Bradenton event that took place Saturday on Old Main Street.

    All photos/video  courtesy of Realize Bradenton by Mitch Jackson.

    Read my interviews with organizers from Realize Bradenton.

    From Herald reporter Richard Dymond's story "ArtSlam Rocks Downtown Bradenton"

    It seemed everyone had their favorite ArtSlam team Saturday.

    “You’ve got to go see the kids drawing in chalk,” said ArtSlam board member Michele Redwine, referring to “Little Chalkers,” the brainchild of Denise Kowal, producer of the Sarasota Chalk Festival.

    Little Chalkers was one of 15 teams that strutted its stuff from 3 to 11 p.m. on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton, a volcanic blast of art that drew about 500 fans and more than 100 artists.

    Lucinda Williams dishes on kiss from Bob Dylan


    Nice to see people are reading my Lucinda Williams interview advancing her Oct. 19 show at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg (click below for details).  It's the most read story today at Bradenton.com:

    Lucinda Williams on an amazing career that started with a kiss from Bob Dylan

    By WADE TATANGELO
    wtatangelo@bradenton.com
    Lucinda Williams’ uncanny ability to create songs that are at once poetic and emotive has won her a loyal following and an enormous amount of praise.

    One of the greatest lyricists alive, she’s worshipped by aspiring singer/songwriters and respected by the best in the business.

    For more than two decades, Williams has excelled at folk-rock tunes about falling in love, making love and having good times in the Crescent City.

    But her most memorable performances are those songs that richly detail doomed relationships, loneliness, little rock stars battling demons or a small town’s reaction to a suicide.

    Few vocalists can deliver a love-sick lament as convincingly as Williams, who sings in a singular, unhurried manner, her Southern drawl flowing through the speakers like teardrops.

    She can also spit acid in the face of a man who has done her wrong. Venom courses through her voice as she tells an ex she has changed the locks. And the F-bomb has perhaps never been put to better use in popular music than when Williams addresses the lover who promised forever and split after just those three days.

    A multiple Grammy winner named “America’s best songwriter” by Time magazine in 2002, Williams’ material has been covered by Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Mellencamp and numerous others.

    So it came as no surprise when she received the Lifetime Achievement award for songwriting at the Americana Music Association’s 10th Annual Honors and Awards show this month in Nashville. Although honored by the accolade, Williams wasn’t looking forward to accepting it.

    “I’m all nervous,” she said during a phone interview with the Herald just before the ceremony. “I have to give a big speech and I don’t know what to say other than ‘thanks everybody.’”

    Songwriter supreme Lucinda Williams worried about a silly acceptance speech?
    “I know, right?” she said with a laugh.

    Read more: http://www.bradenton.com/2011/10/16/v-print/3570168/lucinda-williams-dishes-on-kiss.html#ixzz1ayfb6vpH

    Photo: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

    Lucinda Williams provides guest vocals on killer cover of Dylan gem:


    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    'Twilight' alum Cam Gigandet added to Anna Paquin, Drea de Matteo film 'Free Ride' being shot in Sarasota


    Another star is headed to Sarasota.

    When I broke the news earlier this week that the Anna Paquin, Drea de Matteo movie "Free Ride" would start shooting in Sarasota later this month, writer/director Shana Sosin hesitated when I asked her if there was anyone else she could confirm for the cast.

    Guess she had to save something for Variety, which broke the news that "Twilight" bad guy Cam Gigandet will play Paquin's on screen love interest.

    "Pic marks the first production for Paquin's production company SCAMP, whose other principals include Cerise Hallam Larkin, Mark Larkin and Paquin's husband and "True Blood" co-star Stephen Moyer," Variety reports.

    The same story also gives Oct. 24 as date the "Free Ride" shoot will start.

    —Cam Gigandet in "Priest" photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times