Monday, February 28, 2011

UPDATED 3/1 WATCH: Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays with John Lisi & Delta Funk

UPDATED 3/1: Watch my intro (1 min.), performance by John Lisi & Delta Funk (60 min.), my interview with Lisi (8 min). Good times!

This week's edition of Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays will be spiced up by New Orleans' John Lisi & Delta Funk.

From Lisi's bio:
By the age of 15, John was playing in bands in Tampa Fl. with much older musicians, honing the skill that would later become his trademark.

Then it was on to Los Angeles, where stints with blues, funk, rockabilly, swing, reggae and even metal bands would lead to the montage of genres that defines his music today. He also did studio guitar work for popular shows such as "L.A. Law" and "Quantum Leap."

After a few years performing on stages across the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico, John made New Orleans home and soon found himself playing with legends such as Dr. John, Cyril Neville ... Galactic ... and Tab Benoit.

Lisi was also a member and principle song writer for blues super group 6 Strings Down.

Amidst a plethora of talent, the young man made a name for himself through his offbeat portrayals of life, the honesty ringing from his sultry voice and his ability to make his fingers fly over a Dobro, mandolin, steel guitar or Stratocaster as the mood took him.

John Lisi & Delta Funk

Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays
Showcasing the best in touring talent
8 p.m. Mon., Feb. 28 with special guest:
John Lisi &Delta Funk
No cover

Click to watch at 8 p.m. today (Feb. 28.)

Video chat rooms at Ustream

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bradenton's Erin Kelly voted off 'American Idol'

Manatee County resident Erin Kelly will not advance to the next round of "American Idol."

"Well, that's it then," Kelly replied in front of millions of viewers.

The Winghouse of Bradenton server reached the Top 40 on the Fox reality television competition series.

“I just hope’s she not disappointed because reaching the Top 40 is still such a great accomplishment considering the thousands and thousands who auditioned,” said Winghouse Assistant Manager Shane Doyle. “It’s unfortunate she didn’t make the Top 24 but she should hold her head high.”

Kelly’s scheduled to be back working at Winghouse of Bradenton on Monday.
`American Idol' judges pick 24 semifinalists

Q&A: Rhett Miller on Dylan, double-albums and his favorite whiskey

Rhett Miller
Didn't get enough of the alt-country all-star in my feature story "Old 97’s’ Rhett Miller on Bob Dylan co-write"?

Here's an edited transcript of our phone interview:

Tatangelo: After doing Google searches and talking to friends  ... it looks like it has been about a decade since you played solo or with Old 97's in Tampa Bay. Am I missing a show?

Miller: No, and we get a lot of grief about it. And rightly so. We should’ve come back. We just hired a new booking agent and I think we’ll be coming to the southeast, and the Tampa Bay area specifically, more often.

T: Hopefully you’ll have a good time here and return quicker than in another decade.

M: Seriously. Right? Yeah, I hope so, too. Especially now that I live on the East Coast, I can at least come down and do a little run through there acoustically in between tours, y’know? I want to make more part of my repertoire.

T: Judging by the title of The Old 97’s’ latest record “The Grand Theatre Vol. 1,” it seems this might have been planned as a double-album release like “Alive and Wired,” which, maybe I’m just old school, but I love the double disc releases. What happened with “Grand Theatre”?

M: Well, that’s what I wanted, also. It was demanding to be a double album. I envisioned it as a double album once we got underway with the recording but then the realities of record label and the publishing company, and it just turned into this freaking nightmare. Not to mention the sort of music intelligentsia that I polled about the question of the double album also seemed to agree that the era of the double album is over. If anything, we’re now in the era of the more frequently released EP.

T: Yeah...

M: And that OK. It is what it is. People need a little bit fast, and that’s fine. Now I really like the idea that we’re doing volume one and volume two because it gave me a chance to write a few extra songs for volume two and do a lil' extra work on it and make sure it’s gonna be awesome. That comes out, I think, July 2. Not confirmed, but that’s the date I’ve heard them (record label New West) throwing around.

T: That’s a lot quicker than typical time period in between Old 97’s’ releases.

M: Sure, or anybody’s releases. Although, I can say now—there’s this band Polyphonic Spree from Dallas and they and they’re lead singer Tim DeLaughter are just going to release singles. They’re just going to put a single up on the Internet. I don’t know if they’re going to sell it or just give it away for free. I can see that as the inevitable conclusion of all this. People just put music up and it just exists.

T: I noticed last night on the Old 97’s’ website a whole solo acoustic show bootleg of yours has been posted and there’s going to a giveaway every Monday. So it seems you guys are kind of following that give-it-away mode, as well.

M: It kinda should be free. You want people to like your music and why not? Give it to them.

T: And then I guess the model is just making money off touring?

M: Live off touring and then maybe usage. Y’know, if you get used on a TV show or commercial or a movie or whatever. There’s probably some money to be made from selling actual records but mostly that’s at shows. They’re more like a T-shirt or something. Sorta of an after thought.

T: I went back last night and re-listened to "The Grand Theatre" and then went back and saw what other reviewers put … It’s funny, I don’t think of Old 97’s as being a veteran act, just like I don’t think of myself as being in my 30s…


T: Do you feel it’s fair for your current work to be judged against your previous releases, in that context?

M: God, I don’t know. That’s kind of funny. That’s a question I’ve thought about. In a way, there’s a compliment built into that — that I’ll take and I appreciate. But it is weird. It’s sort of a doubled-edged sword. But I can understand it. I remember as a young man thinking musicians really should quit around 40.


M: Now, I’m thinking, well, god, the experiences that one gathers as they roll into their middle age can be amazing and enormous. I feel like I’m writing better songs now than I ever had. If somebody loves “Too Far to Care” or “Fight Songs” and they say, “Oh my god, that’s the best thing they’ve done since that” then maybe they loved that and they can’t let go of it. Like, Jesus, I remember how harshly I judged Echo and the Bunnymen as they sort of went on and on. I’m a little older than you and I thought “Ocean Rain” and “Crocodiles” those were like perfect records. Echo and the Bunnymen started having hits later, actually. “ (Bring On) the Dancing Horses” or whatever that kind of stuff. And I thought, oh, god, they’ve jumped the shark or whatever. They’re done. But I’m proud in a way that we’ve been able to have the kind of career where no one has ever said, I mean that I know of, that we just sold out or jumped the shark. Maybe it helped that we never had any actual hit songs.

T: Perhaps, but, not just to flatter you, I think it’s more a testament to your band consistently putting out good music rather than lack of that big MTV or radio hit.

M: Thanks.

T: Speaking of songs on “Grand Theatre,” before I received a copy, I read about the premise of “Champaign, Illinois” (new lyrics set to Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row”) and, I gotta admit, I thought, ah man, I don’t know if that’s the smartest idea.

M (agreeing): Yeah, right.

T: But then I heard the song and changed my mind. It’s a great, innovative reworking that compares nicely to the Dylan original epic, which I adore. You now share a songwriting credit with his Holy Bobness. Was it tough getting permission from Camp Dylan?

M: It took a decade. It took us finding a manager that was friends with his manager (laughs) and hiring him. I sat on the song for awhile because I knew that his legal team was notoriously litigious.

T: Right.

M: Which is ironic given where he comes from musically. But it’s just I finally had given up for a couple years. And then for this record, Murray (Hammond) and I, the bass player, kept talking about that song: “Like, ah, it would fit so well.” So I went to our manager, Danny Goldberg and said: “Dude, you gotta know how to make this happen. Please. We hired you because you’re a big shot. So, Prove it.” And Danny went out an did it. He made it happen. The lucky thing was Bob (Dylan) doesn’t let things happen without him doing it or knowing, apparently, so, the manager really tried to put him off but finally he relented and said ‘Look, I never send this stuff to, Bob. We get hundreds of these a day. But I’ll do it if it’s important.” And it took a couple weeks. But when it finally came back it was that not only did Bob like it but he was going to let us keep half of the publishing (money) and make it a co-write (credit) and obviously it was a huge honor.

T: Wow. So, y’know, Bob Dylan sat down and listened to it himself.

M: Yeah!

T: That’s about as high an honor, in my opnion, that a songwriter can have.

M: Seriously. Actually, then I heard back. I sent him a recording from Largo, a club in L.A. where I used to play all the time in this little room. And I included the intro, the spoken word banter beforehand where I said: “This is a song I rewrote. The melody is from a Bob Dylan tune. Everybody knows he’s not that great at lyrics so I wrote new lyrics for it.” Joking. But I included that. I was a little worried but I figured if he doesn’t get it than he’s not going to get any of it. So then I heard back from the managers that Dylan likes the recording of the song but he wants to read the lyrics. So I had to frantically type the lyrics and send them. And then they cam back and said: "Dylan loves it.”

T: Also, on the album, I was listening to “Let the Whiskey Take the Reigns” and popped up my iTunes screen with all the Old 97’s songs on it and I noticed a pattern. And then I remembered the first Old 97’s song I heard, “Wish the Worst,” and realized you guys have written a lot of great drinking songs.

M: Yes.

T: I mean, Rhett, could’ve you sat down with, say, Hemingway and held your own? Are you a drinking man?

M: Well, I do have a tolerance for Jameson Irish Whiskey.

T: Nice.

M: Other people, like I’ll pour a glass of whiskey, and people will look at me and go, “God, are you going to drink that?” And I’m like, "Usually I drink two of these before the show." But, I don’t know, that makes me sound like I am drunk. Because I rarely end up feeling drunk — but maybe that, in and of itself, is not good (laughs). I do know this, the last eight years since I’ve had kids, I have mellowed. But yeah, I’ve got my dosages of various things that keep me going.

T: So, Jameson is on your rider?

M: Every night.

T: At least you’re drinking good whiskey ... Is there song off"Grand Theatre" you’re most proud of?

M: I really love “Whiskey Take the Reigns” because it kinda came out of nowhere. I had all these other songs and so many were really rocking and that one, I had said it one night on stage during an acoustic show in New York City. I said, “I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m just going to let the whiskey take the reigns." And afterward a friend of mine was like, “Man that would be such a great song.” Yeah right. Whatever. Fine, I’ll write the f---ing song. And it ended up being one of my favorite things. I like that you can take a challenge and make it into something meaningful on its own.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

UPDATED 2/26.: 'Sarasota Co. reevaluating Sanborn Studios'; An additional half-million dollars for Sanborn Studios?

Photo by GRANT JEFFERIES/ Congressman Vern Buchanan, Karinne Behr, president of Sanborn Studios, Ken Sanborn, CEO, and actor Casper Vandien, spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony at Sanborn Studios on Nov. 20, 2010.

UPDATED: 2/26: "Sarasota Co. reevaluating Sanborn Studios"

UPDATED 2/25: "Sanborn nixes deal to buy land in Lakewood Ranch"

UPDATED 2/25: "Sanborn Studios withdraws request to Saarsota for $500K" 

UPDATED 2/24 at 8 p.m.: "Sanborn Studios withdraws request to Sarasota for $500K" (first posted at 5 p.m.)

UPDATED 2/24 at 4:15 p.m. This link to latest Sanborn story has fresh batch of comments (15).

UPDATED 2/23 at 8 p.m.: "Commissioner ‘startled’ by Sanborn’s $500K grant request"

UPDATED 2/23: From today's print edition and the Herald homepage: "Sanborn requests additional $500K"

UPDATED: 9:24 a.m.: "Ken Sanborn called me yesterday and said that circumstances had arisen that didn't allow him to be here," said Sarasota County Manager of Business and Economic Development Jeff Maultsby. "(Sanborn) requested we push the meeting back until when he could be in attendance."

I just spoke with Maultsby one-on-one outside the meeting room. 

No date has been confirmed for when Sanborn and his $500K request will be back on agenda.

UPDATED: 9:17 a.m: Sanborn Studios' request taken off agenda. Stay tuned for reason why.

On the agenda for today's Sarasota County's commissioners' meeting (where I'm seated):
To consider a request by the Economic Development Corporation on behalf of Sanborn Studios, LLC, for an Economic Development Incentive Grant as financial assistance for expenses related to the accelerated expansion of operations in the County, in the amount of $500,000.00.
Sanborn Studios, which has a facility in Lakewood Ranch, has already received $717, 000 in taxpayer incentives (see link below).

Check back here and at the homepage for updates.

Past stories on Sanborn Studios:

WATCH: Ben Prestage at Damon Fowler's 'Sugar Shack Mondays'

Here's one-man-band Ben Prestage performing on the Feb. 21 edition of Damon Fowler's 'Sugar Shack Mondays' webcast at Ace's in Bradenton:

I couldn't make it so my pal RJ Howson, who hosts the blues jam at Ace's on Wednesday (Feb. 23), conducted the post-performance interview:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Damon Fowler's 'Sugar Shack Monday' with Ben Prestage

One-man-band Ben Prestage performs unlike any other artists we've had so far at Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays."

Prestage and the arsenal of weapons he learned to play while busking on Beale Street in Memphis should make for great listening and interesting viewing. From his bio:
"I started playing drums with my feet as an attention grabber but soon found out that the drums played with foot pedals actually enhanced my music dramatically," Prestage said.

"Not only were people listening and buyin' discs, they were now dancing and hollerin' to boot.

"Now I am to the point where, if you close your eyes, you would think there was a professional drummer with a full-size drum-kit behind me," he continued.

Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays"
Showcasing the best in touring talent
8 p.m. Mon., Feb. 21 with special guest:
Ben Prestage
No cover

Click to watch at 8 p.m. today (Feb. 21.)

Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

Sunday, February 20, 2011

'American Idol,' Erin Kelly and Winghouse of Bradenton: coworkers dish on singing server

Erin Kelly/

Manatee County's "American Idol" Top 40 finalist Erin Kelly has been practicing her singing while working at Winghouse of Bradenton
“When I first met her she didn’t have the confidence,” recalled coworker Alicia Logan. “So some girls and I got her to sing for us in the back at work.”
Continue reading.

Friday, February 18, 2011

UPDATED 2/19: Bill Paxton on 'Big Love' and remaking 'Swiss Family Robinson'

Bill Paxton (right) with Scott Thomson/Photo by Paul Videla

UPDATED 2/19: From homepage: 'Bill Paxton dreams of remaking ‘Swiss Family Robinson’

Actor/director Bill Paxton, perhaps best known for his roles in such blockbuster films as "Twister," "Apollo 13" and "Titanic," spoke to digital filmmaking students at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota for about an hour today.

Paxton's pal and "Twister" (see clip below) co-star Scott Thomson also participated.

The Q&A remained mostly academic.

"I don't consider myself a filmmaker," Paxton said. "I consider myself an image-maker."

He then praised Ringling.

"This is the best school of its kind in the country — in the world," Paxton said.

Later, the famed actor fielded questions about his often risque, critically acclaimed HBO series "Big Love," which has earned him several Golden Globe nominations and ends this season.

"How do you prepare for the sex scenes in 'Big Love?'" asked a female student.

Laughter filled the room.

Long pause.

"There are many preparations," Paxton said as he flashed a grin.

Following the group Q&A, I sat down with him for a one-on-one interview.

Paxton dished on plans to direct the definitive remake of "Swiss Family Robinson" (see clip below).

And said whether he'd consider using Ringling's new post-production facilities, which are being financed by a $1.75 million grant.

My feature on Paxton should appear on the Herald homepage and in print early Saturday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Erin Kelly on 'American Idol': Bradenton woman could be 'secret weapon' next week

Bradenton resident Erin Kelly (pictured left) didn't make an appearance on tonight's episode of "American Idol."

But that's OK.

Her group's performance of Cee-Lo's "Forget You" already earned the 20-year-old Winghouse of Bradenton server an advancement Wednesday.

We think Kelly's absence tonight might mean something special for next week.

"Not showing her makes me think she's some sort of secret weapon or storyline," opined Herald Features Editor/TV expert Jana Morreale.

The Fox reality show airs Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m.

AP Photo top: Erin Kelly and Ace Gilliam, of Las Vegas, celebrate making it to the next stage of competition outside the New Orleans Arena where auditions for the singing competition series, "American Idol," took place on Monday, July 26, 2010.

Country star Justin Moore's tour bus catches fire

Rising country star Justin Moore, who performed at Joyland in Bradenton earlier this month, had a rough one last night.

"Around 4 a.m. yesterday the engine became engulfed in flames while Moore, his band and crew, as well as Valory’s VP of Field Promotion George Briner slept," reads the e-mail issued today by his record company Valory Music/Big Machine. "Moore and his team were en route to perform at WYCD’s Ten Man Jam last night –at the Royal Oaks Theatre."

One of the batteries connecting to the bus’ generator apparently started the fire. The smoke alarm sounded as the bus began to fill with smoke. Everyone evacuated the bus while Moore’s driver extinguished the fire, which lasted about 10 minutes.

“Well...we really love coming to the Detroit area. I just hope in the future it gets a little more simple, as far as our trips go!” Moore said in a statement. “In all seriousness, we're thankful that we're all safe, and feel blessed. It could've been a lot worse than it was.”

A replacement tour bus was sent to the Detroit area so that Justin can continue on his current tour.

The release concludes:
Speaking of scorching hot, Moore’s new single, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” is already a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart – six days before it officially goes for adds.  The single, which showcases a softer side of the Country rebel, is also receiving early national critical attention, including being highlighted in today’s The Miami Herald.

A special behind-the-scenes video of Moore recording, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” in the studio can currently be seen at (see below). “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” is the lead single from Moore’s sophomore album which will be released on The Valory Music Co. later this year.
The Miami Herald story linked to above is the same one I did that ran on the Herald's Weekend section Feb. 3. It has appeared on numerous publications this week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bradenton's Erin Kelly advances on 'American Idol'

Erin Kelly courtesy
UPDATED 2/17: Click for version that ran in print and on Herald homepage. 

Cee-Lo's hit "Forget You" proved fortuitous.

Erin Kelly, age 20, performed the song in the group round Wednesday on "American Idol."

It advanced the Winghouse of Bradenton server to the next level of competition.

Watch Fox at 8 p.m. Thursday to see if Kelly's success continues on this year's "Road to Hollywood."

Last July, she made her first "American Idol" advancement in New Orleans, the third site of auditions for the first round in the 10th season of the popular reality show.

Herbie and Josie Torres of Bradenton were present to support their adopted daughter.

“She made it,” Herbie said at the time.

“We were sitting there, and we saw where she was. They had her sing, then they made her wait, then they had her sing again, and she made it,” Josie said.

During the drive from Bradenton to the Crescent City, their car broke down. Herbie fixed it, but they had no air conditioning, he said.

Kelly remained determined to succeed.

“This is my dream, and I’m going to chase it,” she said in July.

Harry Connick Jr. to play Sarasota

Gifted jazz pianist, cool crooner and above-average actor Harry Connick Jr. and his Big Band headed to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota for April 7 performance.

Ticket prices to see the New Orleans native range from $30 to $125 and go on sale 10 a.m., Feb. 18.

For more information and to buy tickets, contact the Van Wezel Box office at (941) 953-3368 or click 

Connick Jr. paying tribute to George Jones

Rhett Miller on Bob Dylan giving permission for "Champaign, Illinois"

Just got off the phone with Old 97's frontman/solo artist Rhett Miller.

He was at the Stewart International Airport near his home in Hudson Valley, N.Y.

Shaky cell connection and 15 minute limit — Miller had another phoner coming in as soon as my time ran out — didn't allow for the lengthy type piece I did with him previously.

But we covered some cool topics including the long genesis of "Champaign, Illinois," off the Old 97's latest album "Grand Theatre Vol. 1."

The song sets new lyrics to the Bob Dylan classic "Desolation Row."

Miller said it took a decade to get permission for release. The band's new manager finally found a way to get a recording of "Champaign, Illinois" to Dylan last year.

"Then they told me he wanted to read the lyrics," Miller said. "So I frantically started typing."

Dylan's reaction?

"This is great."

Miller now shares a songwriting credit with Dylan on "Champaign, Illinois."

"It's a huge honor," he said.

Look for my feature on Miller to run in the Herald —I'll link to it here as well — prior to the Old 97's' March 2 performance at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa. WMNF (88.5) is presenting the show.

Monday, February 14, 2011

WATCH: Damon Fowler's 'Sugar Shack Mondays' with Wendy Rich

The Valentine's Day edition of Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays" with special guest Wendy Rich:

Wendy Rich and the Soulshakers at Ace's in Bradenton

Video streaming by Ustream

Wade Tatangelo interviewing Wendy Rich and Damon Fowler

Video streaming by Ustream

UPDATED 2/15: Maestro Leif Bjaland leaving Sarasota Orchestra

UPDATED 2/15: Bjaland story, with more details than blog post below, running on home-site and in today's Herald

Sarasota Orchestra Artistic Director and Conductor Leif Bjaland announced today that next season will be his final with the organization. 

This 2011-12 season marks Bjaland's 15th with Sarasota Orchestra and final of his current three-year contract. 

"I have learned that personal growth often requires one to make changes and this belief has prompted me to embrace a new chapter in my life," he said in a signed letter issued by the Sarasota Orchestra.

The Sarasota Orchestra will begin its transition next season with a number of guest conductors, expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“It has been a privilege to work with such exceptional musicians and our dedicated staff," Bjaland said. "Most of all, I cherish the friendships I have made in this community and special moments we have shared during concerts.”

A search committee will be selected by the Sarasota Orchestra Board of Directors in the coming months. One-third of the committee will be made up of musicians as defined by the collective bargaining agreement with the musicians union. 
“What (Bjaland) has accomplished here over the last decade and a half is nothing short of remarkable," said Sarasota Orchestra Board Chair Marsha Panuce in a statement. "The orchestra plays beautifully. I’m particularly pleased and grateful that (Bjaland) will play a role next season in maintaining high artistic standards and ensuring that the organization transitions smoothly to new leadership.”

Bjaland discussing "Masterworks Espana"

Grammy-nominee Arlis Albritton (and Manatee County native) ready for ACM Awards

Singer/songwriter and producer Arlis Albritton (pictured) didn't win for his stirring work with country neo-outlaw Jamey Johnson at last night's Lady Antebellum-dominated Grammys.

But the Manatee County native, who Herald Local News columnist Vin Mannix interviewed, along with Johnson, for this great feature that ran in the Herald Sunday, remains upbeat.

"Well we gave it a shot!" Albritton posted on Facebook via his iPhone late Sunday. "Being nominated was awesome though. Thanks everybody for the best wishes and good lucks."

The Palmetto High grad already is already looking forward to the Academy of Country Music Awards, which take place April 3 in Las Vegas.

His production contributions could bring him a trophy for Album of the Year:

"I'm up for an ACM, so here I come Vegas!" Albritton posted shortly after the Grammy announcement.

Here's the Albritton-penned track "Good Morning Sunrise" featured on Johnson's album "The Guitar Song."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

TONIGHT at 8 p.m. Damon Fowler's 'Sugar Shack Mondays' with special guest Wendy Rich

Sultry soul-singer Wendy Rich (pictured) will join Damon Fowler for this week's Valentine's Day edition of  "Sugar Shack Mondays" show/webcast.

Rich easily ranks as one of the best vocalist around and should have no problem warmly rocking the Bradenton venue and those enjoying the show via the webcast.

In addition to working with the Soulshakers, she's toured with Janis Joplin's old band:

"Over the years she has taken her band on the road up the East Coast and to Europe as well as self producing four CDs," reads Rich's bio. "In the year 2000, Wendy took some time off from the Soulshakers to tour as front person for the legendary Janis Joplin’s original band Big Brother & the Holding Company."

In addition to witnessing the performance, I'm excited to interview Rich about her killer upcoming album "Driver" as well as talk to Fowler about his recent dates playing with personal fave Johnny Winter.

Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays"
Showcasing the best in touring talent
8 p.m. Mon., Feb. 14 with special guest:
Wendy Rich
No cover

Click to watch at 8 p.m. Feb. 14.

Free Videos by Ustream.TV

Black Sabbath: birth of heavy metal

I find it impossible to pin down the starting point of rock 'n' roll.

Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Ike Turner, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and many others played key roles around the same time in the early 1950s and before.

But heavy metal, goes my column running in today's Herald, began on this day in 1970 with the release of "Black Sabbath."

Here's a snippet:
Ominous rainfall.

Church bells.


Crushing guitar riffs.

The sonic equivalent of a slow, scary journey through mental hell.

And then the ... “Oh, nooooooooooooo!” howl of lead singer Ozzy Osbourne, who sounds as if he were just thrown into a lake of fire.
Read entire piece.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

'Glee' star Jane Lynch talks about donating to Palmetto High School rowing club and upcoming edisode

Check out my interview with Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jane Lynch, best known for playing Sue Sylvester on "Glee."

The most famous — and feared — coach on television has made a substantial donation to the Palmetto High School Rowing Club.

Former Sarasota resident Jane Lynch, who won a Golden Globe last month for playing the sharp-tongued Sue Sylvester on the hit musical television series “Glee,” and her wife, Lara Embry, recently gave $15,000 in money and equipment to Manatee County’s first rowing team.

“I’ve never rowed, but I’m vowing to some time soon,” Lynch said when the couple phoned the Bradenton Herald today from their Los Angeles home.
Continue reading

Profane puppets of 'Avenue Q' at Golden Apple

PHOTO PROVIDED From left, Ariel Blue, Steve Dawson, Berry Ayers, Alex Torres, Erik Emerson and Jenn Abreu

Here's my Weekend cover story for today's Herald. Golden Apple Dinner Theatre In Sarasota pushes the envelope with the potty-mouthed puppets of "Avenue Q."



OK, it’s naked puppets getting busy -- but still.

“Mature audiences only,” warns the Golden Apple website.

“It’s definitely up there when it comes to pushing the envelope,” said director/choreographer Kyle Turoff, whose been a part of her parents’ Sarasota dinner theater since acting in “South Pacific” at age 4.
Continue reading.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bradenton's HGWT to play SXSW pre-party in Austin, Tex.

Bradenton alt-country ensemble Have Gun, Will Travel has again been chosen by The Bay Area Arts and Music Organization (BAAMO) to represent Tampa Bay at the 8th Annual Florida Bandango in Austin, Tex., on March 16, 2011.

Florida Bandango is an unofficial showcase held on the first afternoon of the world-famous South-By-Southwest Music Conference (SXSW).

The Bandango acts will perform for gas money at:

BAAMO's Sixth Annual "One for the Road" show: 
7 p.m. Feb. 26 Dave's Aqua Lounge, 10820 Gandy Boulevard, St. Petersburg,
$10 suggested donation.

HGWT will be joined at Dave's by Ronny Elliott, Rebekah Pulley & the Reluctant Prophets, Poetry 'N Lotion, The Beauvilles, and The Human Condition.

HGWT recently released its first music video for the song "Salad Days" (see below) featured on the band's most recent full-length release, "Postcards from the Friendly City," which was the third-most played album on WMNF 88.5 FM in 2010.

The release of "Postcards from the Friendly City" helped HGWT secure national distribution through Denver-based indie label Suburban Home Records. The album recently debuted at 72 on the CMJ Radio Top 200 and moved to 56 within three weeks on the chart.

HGWT will be appearing at Tinderbox Music's Anniversary Party on March 17 (location TBA) during the SXSW Music Conference.

Photo: L to R: HGWT's Scott Anderson, JP Beaubien, Matt Burke, Daniel Burke at Ace's in Bradenton Dec. 18, 2010. Photo by Wade Tatangelo.

Manatee County on Discovery Channel (for a price)

Host Will Christien welcomes viewers to Manatee County.

Manatee County will be seen on Discovery Channel this weekend.

Thanks to taxpayer dollars.

Here's my story running in today's Herald.

Click to watch the trailer for the 30-minute segment.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Manatee Players to start work on exterior of new theater

Manatee Players Performing Arts Center/screen capture from video below

From my Manatee Players story running in today's Herald:
The Players’ Riverfront Theatre in downtown Bradenton at 102 Old Main St. has a capacity of 246.

The main stage of the Manatee Players Performing Arts Center (pictured), at nearby 502 Third Ave. W., will seat just fewer than 400 while its second stage should accommodate a crowd of about 100.

The not-so-new, three-fourths-finished facility remains $3.5 million short of the $12 million required to open and operate -- with $15 million cited as the overall completion goal.

In early December, the Herald reported the Players stood only $40,000 short of cash on hand to launch work that would complete the exterior -- one many consider an eyesore and community embarrassment.

“We will be starting in the next month on the exterior,” Players Capital Development Director Janene Witham said.
Click for entire story, which includes Witham's thoughts on the Downtown Development Authority giving Ezra Cafe $250K to relocate downtown and Managing Artistic Director Rick Kerby's thoughts on recent record-setting box office numbers first reported here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

WATCH: Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays with Sol Driven Train

Check out the Feb. 7 edition of Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays" with superb, genre-hopping, national-touring act Sol Driven Train.

Sol Driven Train performance

Wade Tatangelo interviews Sol Driven Train's singer/guitarist Joel Timmons and Damon Fowler

Manatee Players' 'Guys and Dolls' selling out in record time

Bradenton's award-winning community theater has just reached a new high — and provided more incentive for its new home to be completed post-haste.

The Manatee Players have reported that its upcoming production of "Guys and Dolls," which runs February 17 through March 6, will be sold out before it opens.

John Andruzzi as Nathan Detroit, Helen Holliday as Miss Adelaide, 
Marc Lalosh as Sky Masterson and Jessica Morrow 
as Sarah Brown in the Manatee Players production of "Guys and Dolls."

According to Marketing Manager Denny Miller, in the nearly 30 years that he has been associated with the Manatee Players, no show ever sold out before opening.

The Manatee Performing Arts Center remains about $3 million short of $12 million needed to open and operate.

“Our staff and over 500 volunteers work very hard to provide quality theatre to our patrons and I think all that hard work has paid off with record sales this season," Miller said in a statement. "Over 2700 season memberships were sold this season and walk-in patrons have been higher than usual.”

A smattering of single seats are still available for several performances and can be reserved by calling the box office at (941) 748-0111 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

Sunday, February 6, 2011

TODAY: Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays: Sol Driven Train at Ace's in Bradenton

Sol Driven Train bring hippie vibe to Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays"

Be brave blues diehards.

We're venturing outside the proverbial box for the Feb. 7 edition of Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays" with superb, genre-hopping, national-touring act Sol Driven Train.

From the band's website:
Sol Driven Train’s music weaves through genres like images in a Tom Robbins paragraph. The band’s sonic schizophrenia absorbs songwriting influences like John Prine, Paul Simon  and Afro-Caribbean rhythmic explorations, into honest songs of life, love, loss, and long johns.

The 5-piece band, based in Charleston, SC, features rotating lead vocalists, and multi-instrumental talent spread across horns, strings, and percussion. The band members share a musical history dating back to childhood, and their music and live shows are filled with a spirit of positivity and joy, even while traversing subjects of suffering and death. 

I'm stoked to see Fowler flex his chops and jam with these guys before he scoots up the East Coast for a tour that includes a couple dates with personal fave Johnny Winter.

Showcasing the best in touring talent
8 p.m. Mon., Feb. 7 with special guest:
Sol Driven Train
No cover

Click the link below at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 to watch the webcast.

Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV

WATCH: Damon Fowler debut video: 'Cypress in the Pines'

Damon Fowler in Bradenton Beach, Fla., by TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE

Bradenton Beach resident and Blind Pig Records artist Damon Fowler has just released his debut music video. It's for "Cypress in the Pines," off his new album "Devil Got His Way." Enjoy.

Fergie busts Super Bowl ban on women headliners

Fergie breaks Super Bowl ban on females

Here's my column running in the A&E section of today's Herald:

Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction put such a scare into Super Bowl organizers that they stopped choosing women to headline the halftime show.

The split-second flash of flesh took place in 2004.

For the rest of the decade, the most-watched intermission on the planet remained a platform reserved for men who were middle-aged and, in some cases, geriatric.

Continue reading.

This piece originally posted Feb. 4 by sister publications Los Angeles Times, Kansas City Star and others.

Photo and caption via Ministry of Gossip: Singer Fergie roars after being honored at the 20th annual Glamour Magazine Women of the Year award ceremony in New York on Nov. 8, 2010. Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters.

'Million Dollar Quartet' among highlights of Straz Center's 2011-12 Broadways Series

PUBLICITY PHOTO “Million Dollar Quartet”
The current Broadway smash "Million Dollar Quartet," the Tony-winning revival of "La Cage Aux Folles" and 25 Anniversary production of "Les Misérables" are among highlights of 2011-12 Broadway series at Straz Center in Broadway:
The jukebox musical “Million Dollar Quartet” (Jan. 3-8, 2012) opened on Broadway to strong reviews last April and continues to draw large crowds at the Nederlander Theatre. Nominated for a Tony Award in the Best Musical category, it takes place in a single afternoon, Dec. 4, 1956, at the now sanctified Sun Records in Memphis.

Rock aficionados will recognize the date as when, largely by chance, rock and country gods Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley participated in a holy jam session. The Perkins, and then Presley, hit “Blue Suede Shoes,” Cash’s famed “Folsom Prison Blues” and Lewis’ sizzling “Great Balls of Fire” are among the numerous, pioneering popular songs in the production.

“It’s four of the greatest talents in music history getting together and an event that actually happened,” said Straz Center Vice President of Marketing Michael Kilgore. “The people who wrote the book researched this and talked to (Sun owner/record producer) Sam Phillips to get the true story of those four legends interacting.”

Levis Kreis won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical last year for his fiery portrayal of Lewis.

“Jerry Lee Lewis was on his way up and, in my mind, steals the show,” Kilgore continued. “He was the brash newcomer basically telling the others he was going to as big, or bigger, than them.”
Click to read entire piece, running in A&E section of today's Herald.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

SAG to screen Bradenton-shot short film 'Candy' in New York

Local filmmakers will be in New York next week to show off their latest work to one of the movie industry's most important organizations.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Foundation has selected the short horror film "Candy,"  shot entirely in Bradenton, to be part of its Short Film Showcase on Feb. 9 in SAG's Manhattan boardroom. The event is to spotlight the talent of independent filmmakers and their ability to cast SAG actors.

Director, editor, and co-executive producer Sage Hall plays the lead/title role in "Candy." Her StarFruit Productions is also known for creating award-winning wedding films for clients in Sarasota and Manatee.

Bradenton-based Jesse Kozel serves as creator, co-executive producer. He also play's Marcus, Candy's son in the short film. Kozel is the owner of Bloody Unique Entertainment.

Los Angeles-based Jenny Beres, formerly of Sarasota, wrote the script for "Candy." In the summer of 2007, her debut drama "If The Devil Could Fall In Love," was honored by the Players of Sarasota.

SAG's Short Film Showcase will screen only 9 films on Feb. 9 for selected guests and local union members. Hall and producer Nikki Kostyun will be in attendance for a Q&A session following the screening. Click for details.

"It’s Halloween night and Marcus is bringing home a date, not such a good idea if your mom is Candy."

Justin Moore on new single 'If Heaven Wasn't so Far Away'

Justin Moore at Joyland in Bradenton on Friday/
Rising country star Justin Moore on his soon-to-be-released single "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" and new album that he wants to title "Outlaws Like Me." The singer/songwriter best known for the recent hit "Small Town U.S.A." performs at Joyland in Bradenton on Friday.

Moore interview running on Weekend cover of today's Herald:
Justin Moore’s homegrown hits “Small Town USA,” “Backwoods” and “How I Got to Be This Way” have made him one of country music’s most promising young stars.

But it’s another original from the singer/songwriter’s self-titled 2009 album that inspired his upcoming release.

“The song ‘Grandpa,’ about losing my hero, was one I wanted to be a single,” Moore said when he called last week from his tiny hometown of Poyen, Ark. “But when I found this song I wanted it to be the first single -- to fill that void.”

“If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” will be released to country radio Feb. 22. It opens with the memories a rural boy makes in the company of a grandfather who owns a fruit stand and takes the youngin’ fishing.
Continue reading.

Justin Moore: "Outlaws Like Me"

Justin Moore: "Small Town U.S.A."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Christopher Plummer coming to Sarasota Film Festival to accept award and for screening of his new film 'Beginners'

Sarasota Film Festival lands recent Oscar-nominee Christopher Plummer and his upcoming film "Beginners" (see trailer below). From today's Herald:
The 13th annual Sarasota Film Festival has landed acclaimed movie, television and theater actor Christopher Plummer.

The recent Oscar-nominee played Captain Von Trapp in the “The Sound of Music” and voiced Charles Muntz in the 2009 Disney/Pixar blockbuster “Up.”

Plummer will be at SFF, which runs April 7-17, to accept the Cinema Master Award.

He also stars alongside Ewan McGregor (“Trainspotting,” “Star Wars”) and Mélanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”) in SFF’s closing night film, “Beginners.”

“A lot of people are very happy about this,” said SFF President Mark Famiglio by phone late Tuesday. “But it’s only the beginning of a long list of announcements to come in the next couple months.”
Continue reading.

I've much respect for Plummer and glad to see SFF honoring him. He might be the best actor to have never won an Academy Award.  On Broadway, though, he's received two Tony Awards and numerous nominations.

I look forward to interviewing him  (probable but ya never know) in advance of his appearance/screening of "Beginners," which should make for pretty compelling viewing judging by film company, director, cast, trailer and the few legit reviews I've found so far.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WATCH: Damon Fowler's 'Sugar Shack Mondays' with Biscuit Miller at Ace's in Bradenton

"Sugar Shack Mondays" jam Jan. 31 at Ace's in Bradenton. Photo by Lacy Campbell.

The Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays" with special guest Dave "Biscuit" Miller on Jan. 31 at Ace's in Bradenton. Click to read about it.

Damon Fowler and Wade Tatangelo interview/introduction of Biscuit Miller  

Biscuit Miller and the Mix performance

Wade Tatangelo interviews Biscuit Miller and Damon Fowler

Sugar Shack Monday Jam: 
Damon Fowler Group, Biscuit Miller and the Mix, RJ Howson, Selwin Birchwood