Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of Bradenton area entertainment 2012

Steve Carrera, a sous chef with Ocean Harvest Market, fries up some squid fries during the 2012 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival. BRADENTON HERALD FILE PHOTO

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Sure, Manatee County continued to make headlines for such Florida weirdness as human flesh eating and school teacher Facebook gaffes.

But the Bradenton area also managed to bring plenty of attention to its vibrant arts and entertainment scene.

Not a week or so went by this year without a winning show, major festival or $6.2 million project opening.

There was always something to get excited about; something that made me happy, and, yes, proud, to be a resident of Bradenton.

Another perk?

Many of these great events were free.

To celebrate, here's a month-by-month look back at the biggest and best Manatee County entertainment events of 2012.

The forever fun Manatee County Fair (Jan. 12-22): The 96th edition of the Manatee County Fair proved to be another fun affair filled with everything from live country music to livestock to midway madness. My favorite part? Enjoying the various sights, sounds and smells with the amazing woman who recently became my wife.

Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival turns 30 (Feb. 18-19)
: The 30th anniversary of the Cortezians' signature event was another sunny celebration along Sarasota Bay featuring an abundance of fresh seafood by our favorite restaurants like Ocean Harvest (see photo) plus homegrown music and clog dancing.

'Voice' finalist at Village of the Arts (March 2): The Village of the Arts' monthly ArtWalk enjoyed an extra boost when blues artist Beverly McClellan, who finished in the top four as part of Christina Aguilera's team during the first season of NBC's "The Voice," played a free show at the Blues Revue office on 11th Avenue.

Tyrese headlines Rib Fest in Palmetto (April 15)
: He played Sgt. Robert Epps in the "Transformers" franchise and returned as Roman Pearce in "Fast Five" after originating the role in "2 Fast 2 Furious." First-name-only star Tyrese then returned to music and released "Open Invitation," which shot to the top 10 on the Billboard 200 not too long before he closed the Gulfcoast Rhythm & Ribfest at the Manatee County Fairgrounds.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Bradenton, Sarasota musicians among the greats we lost in 2012

Donna Summer, who died May 17, had a home in Sarasota County.

She reigned as disco's supreme diva.

"Duck" played bass on some of the greatest rock and soul records of all time.

"Rhino" was one of the original Southern rock and psychedelic guitar heroes.

Donna Summer, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt were three musicians we lost in 2012 who lived in the Bradenton area or Sarasota.

As the year comes to an end, let's take a look back at these three musicians as well as other greats that we lost including Whitney Houston, Etta James, Robin Gibb, Ravi Shankar, Dave Brubeck, Earl Scruggs and Levon Helm.

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Reinhardt, who died Jan. 2 at Manatee Memorial Hospital, can be heard on Iron Butterfly’s 1970 album “Metamorphosis.” Two years later, the Manatee County native cofounded Captain Beyond, which released a self-titled album on famed Southern rock label Capricorn Records in 1972 and another, “Sufficiently Breathless,” in 1973.

Mack Doss, left, and Larry Reinhardt in 2004.

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Reinhardt began his career in the 1960s performing around Bradenton and Sarasota before he relocated to Jacksonville to play with future Allman Brothers Band members Dickey Betts (guitar/vocals) and Berry Oakley (bass) in the group Second Coming.

By 2004, Reinhardt had teamed with his old pal Mack Doss, who had been a member of Classics IV, which are most famous for the 1968 smash “Spooky.” Doss-Rhino played places like the Cortez Kitchen, Grego’s in Palma Sola and D Coy Ducks on Holmes Beach.

Reinhardt, a 1966 Southeast High School grad, formed Rhino and the Posse and released his final album, “Back in the Day,” about a year before his death. In addition to playing lead guitar, he wrote all of the songs. Don Bonzi joined him on guitar. The rest of the “posse” consisted of members from Betts’ Great Southern group: Mike Kach (vocals/keyboards), Frankie Lombardi (drums/vocals) and Pedro Arevalo (bass).

“He was so excited when he was writing songs for that album,” Kach said. “It was amazing the amount of enthusiasm he had for his music and playing music.”

In May, we lost Dunn and Summer.

Dunn's loss hit me especially hard.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's brilliant bass playing is all over some of the greatest popular recordings ever made, including many of my favorites.

From Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks, Dunn sweetened their sounds.

He and wife June quietly lived in Manatee County.

And I got to spend some wonderful time talking with them backstage at the Sarasota Blues Festival.

Especially at the one in 2011.

Donald 'Duck' Dunn with Wade Tatangelo at the Sarasota Blues Fest, Nov. 5, 2011. Photo by Caroline Sansone provided by the Sarasota Blues Fest.

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Alas, Dunn died May 13, at the age of 70, while touring Tokyo with, among others, close friend and fellow musician Steve Cropper.

Shocked and sad, I talked to longtime Sarasota Blues Festival director Barbara Strauss for a story that ran on the front page of the Herald.

She brought Dunn's famed band, Booker T. and the MGs, to the Sarasota Blues Festival in 1999.

Strauss recalled spending time with "Duck" and June at their home on Snead Island.

"I knew him on two levels," she said. "Before I met him, I was blown away by all the great music he played on but he was also a great husband, a great father, a great friend and a just a humble guy who enjoyed life."

Strauss ran the Sarasota Blues Festival for nearly two decades starting in 1993. The famed bass player and his wife were regulars at the annual event, often spotted hanging in the VIP area with people such as AC/DC singer and Sarasota resident Brian Johnson.

"They were royalty to us," Strauss said of the Dunns.

A mere four days later after Dunn's death, the singer of disco anthems such as "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls" and "She Works Hard for the Money" died in Naples.

To the surprise of many, Donna Summer had been living as Donna Sudano with husband Bruce Sudano in a 4 bed/4 bath home in Englewood, according to Sarasota County records obtained by the Bradenton Herald.

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Here is a list, culled from an extensive AP story, of some of the musicians who died in 2012. The cause of death is cited for younger people if available.

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Larry Reinhardt, 63, guitar great can be heard on Iron Butterfly’s 1970 album “Metamorphosis.” and albums by Captain Beyond, which the group he co-founded. Jan. 2. Complications from sclerosis of the liver. Read full story at

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Jimmy Castor, 71. Funk and soul saxophonist, singer and songwriter whose tune, "It's Just Begun," morphed into an anthem for generations of musical acts. Jan. 16.

Johnny Otis, 90. He wrote and recorded the R&B classic "Willie and the Hand Jive" and for decades evangelized black music to white audiences as a bandleader and radio host. Jan. 17.

Etta James, 73. Blues singer best known for her performance of the enduring classic "At Last." Jan. 20. Complications from leukemia.


Don Cornelius, 75. As host of "Soul Train," he helped break down racial barriers and broaden the reach of black culture with funky music, groovy dance steps and cutting edge style. Feb. 1. Self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Whitney Houston, 48. She ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use and her regal image ruined by erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown. Feb. 11. Accidentally drowned in a bathtub.

Davy Jones, 66. Actor turned singer who helped propel the TV rock band The Monkees to the top of the pop charts. Feb. 29. Heart attack.


Robert B. Sherman, 86. Songwriter who wrote "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in "Mary Poppins" and other songs for Disney classics. March 5.

James T. "Jimmy" Ellis, 74. As frontman for The Trammps, he belted out the refrain "Burn, baby burn!" in the 1970s-era disco hit "Disco Inferno." March 8.

Michael Hossack, 65. Longtime Doobie Brothers drummer whose work is heard on the hits "Listen To The Music" and "China Grove." March 12. Cancer.

Earl Scruggs, 88. Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer who profoundly influenced country music with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and later with guitarist Lester Flatt. March 28.


Dick Clark, 82. Ever-youthful television entrepreneur who helped bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," and later produced and hosted game shows and the year-end countdown from Times Square. April 19.

Levon Helm, 71. Key member of the rock group The Band who lent his voice to classics like "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." April 19. Read 2005 interview I did with Helm to advance his performance at the 2005 Sarasota Film Festival at


Lloyd Brevett, 80. Renowned double bassist who helped carry ska music from Jamaica to the world as a founding member of the band The Skatalites. May 3.

Adam Yauch, 47. Also known as MCA, the gravelly voiced rapper helped make the Beastie Boys one of the seminal groups in hip-hop. May 4. Cancer. Read "Top 10: Beastie Boys songs" at

Donald "Duck" Dunn, 70. Bassist who helped create the gritty Memphis soul sound at Stax Records in the 1960s as part of the legendary group Booker T. and the MGs lived in Manatee County. May 13. Read full story at

Chuck Brown, 75. Widely acclaimed as the "Godfather of go-go" for styling a unique mix of funk, soul and Latin party sounds. May 16.

Doug Dillard, 75. Banjo player who helped shape rock 'n' roll and introduce the nation to bluegrass music during a run on "The Andy Griffith Show." May 16.

Donna Summer, 63. Disco queen whose pulsing anthems such as "Last Dance," ''Love to Love You Baby" and "Bad Girls" became the soundtrack for a glittery age of drugs, dance and flashy clothes. She had a home in Sarasota County. May 17. Read "Top 10: Donna Summer songs" at

Robin Gibb, 62. One of the three Bee Gees whose falsetto harmonies powered such hits as "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" and defined the flashy disco era. May 20.

Eddie Blazonczyk, 70. Grammy Award-winning polka great who earned the nickname "Polka King" after starting his own band and label. May 21.

Doc Watson, 89. Grammy-award winning folk musician whose lightning-fast style of flatpicking influenced guitarists around the world. May 29.


Herb Reed, 83. Last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like "Only You" and "The Great Pretender." June 4.

Richard Adler, 90. Composer-lyricist who won Tony Awards for such Broadway musicals as "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees" and who produced President John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration featuring a breathy Marilyn Monroe. June 21.


Kitty Wells, 92. Singer whose hits such as "Making Believe" and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" made her the first female superstar of country music. July 16.


Chris Lighty, 44. A hip-hop mogul who helped the likes of Sean "Diddy" Combs, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey attain hit records and lucrative careers outside music. Aug. 30. Apparent suicide.


Hal David, 91. Stylish, heartfelt lyricist who teamed with Burt Bacharach on dozens of songs for movies, television and a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond. Sept. 1.

Joe South, 72. Singer-songwriter who performed 1960s and '70s hits such as "Games People Play" and "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and penned songs including "Down in the Boondocks" for other artists. Sept. 5.

Andy Williams, 84. Silky-voiced, clean-cut crooner whose hit recording "Moon River" and years of popular Christmas TV shows brought him fans the world over. Sept. 25.


Dave Brubeck, 91. Jazz composer and pianist whose pioneering style in pieces such as "Take Five" caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms. Dec. 5.

Jenni Rivera, 43. California-born singer who became a superstar adored by millions in a male-dominated genre of Mexican-American music. Dec. 9. Plane crash.

Ravi Shankar, 92. The sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career. Dec. 11.

File photo of Donna Summer performing at the opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's summer season at the Hollywood Bowl by Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.

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Bradenton's We the Kings on packed Manatee concert: 'Hometown show was so fun'

Jerry Abbey, 52, has been to 16 We the Kings concerts. Attending them with his daughter, Sarah, 20, left, has become a family hobby. The Abbeys, who are from Ohio, posed while waiting in line before Thursday's free show at The Hall in Palmetto. RICHARD DYMOND/Bradenton Herald

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Fans of We the Kings arrived four hours early for the platinum-selling pop-punk band's Hometown Holiday Show Thursday at The Hall in Palmetto.

While the band from Bradenton sold out previous pay shows at the 950-capacity Manatee County venue, this year's local concert was gratis.

Free tickets were given out on a first-come, first-serve basis at the door.

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"We want front-of-stage presence," said Maria Reynolds, 21, of Jacksonville, when asked why she and her four friends arrived at 3 p.m. for the 7 p.m. show.

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"Hometown show was so fun," Tweeted Charles Trippy, the bassist for We the Kings, at 1:40 a.m. on Friday.

"We wanted to do something where we could give back," We the Kings singer/guitarist Travis Clark told me shortly after announcing the show. "Christmas time is really damaging on peoples' wallets and we didn't want anyone worrying about buying a ticket. It's our friends and family and only seems right to give back to the community."

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

We the Kings free show today near Bradenton

We the Kings play free 'Hometown Holiday Show' show today at The Hall in Palmetto.

Tis the season for holiday happenings.

And for fans of modern rock, it doesn't get much better than this bash.

The platinum-selling pop-punk band We the Kings' sixth annual Hometown Holiday Show will be a freebie 7 p.m. today (Dec. 27) at The Hall in Palmetto.

It will be first-come, first-serve at the door to receive free tickets. Meet-and-greet tickets will be available for $50 and include early entry and a meet-and-greet with We The Kings. Meet-and-greet tickets can be purchased only at Georgia Carpet World, 5425 14th St., Bradenton, during normal business hours.

We the Kings, which formed in Bradenton, sold out all its previous pay shows at the 950-capacity Manatee County venue.

"We wanted to do something where we could give back," singer/guitarist Travis Clark told the Herald. "Christmas time is really damaging on peoples' wallets and we didn't want anyone worrying about buying a ticket. It's our friends and family and only seems right to give back to the community.

"We're expecting an absolutely packed and wild party," Clark added. "Each year it gets better and better."

Boyce Avenue, a rock band that formed in Sarasota and released the album "All that We Have Left" through Universal in 2010, is also scheduled to perform during the four-hour concert that starts at 7 p.m.

"They're amazing guys and really good friends of ours and super talented," Clark said. "They have the same hometown pride that we do."

Clark, who grew up in Bradenton and has a house here, moved to Hollywood about four months ago.

Read more here.

New Year's Eve celebrations and more in Weekend.

—Publicity photo of We the Kings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bradenton New Year's Eve party on Old Main St. details announced

UPDATED 12/27: New Year's Eve bashes from Bradenton to Sarasota 

People crowd Old Main Street in Bradenton during Get Down Downtown, now called Main Street Live. HERALD FILE PHOTO

Time to dust off the super silly hats, awesomely annoying noise makers and the rest of your party gear.

New Year's Eve is rapidly approaching.

For Bradenton area residents, the big bash takes place on Old Main St., which will be closed for revelry from 3 p.m. Dec. 31 until 1 a.m. Jan. 1.

A thousand people are expected to enjoy the New Year’s Eve edition of Main Street Live. It will feature upbeat dance music covers by Hot Ice. The band, which can be seen here performing a rocking rendition of the Linda Ronstadt hit "You're No Good" at Woody's River Roo, performs from 7 p.m. until the ball drops at midnight.

There will also be food and drink vendors at the event.

Main Street Live is free but attendees must be 21 years or older to be inside the bars. Organizers ask attendees to not bring glass bottles outside; the bars will provide plastic cups if people want to mingle outside with beverage in hand.

The drinking establishments on Old Main Street usually stay open as late as 2:30 a.m. Parking is available in the downtown garage on 12th Street West across from the Bank of America building, the county garage located on 10th St. W. just off Manatee Avenue and in the City Hall parking lot at the corner of 12th Street West (Old Main Street) and Third Avenue.

There are usually taxicabs readily available on Old Main Street across from The Lost Kangaroo but if you are drinking, it's best to plan ahead for transportation. Are you the designated driver? A non-drinker? Then you might want to read about this woman who is staying sober for New Year's Eve.

The event is produced by the Old Main Street Merchants Association.

Information: 941-896-8860.

Popular Bradenton street party Get Down Downtown renamed 'Main Street Live'

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas song classics: from Bing Crosby to Dolly Parton

The Tatangelo family at home in Bradenton enjoying our vinyl copy of Bing Crosby's "Merry Christmas." Photo by Wade Tatangelo

I'm back in the office today after a glorious vacation that included getting married to my amazing wife, Mrs. Tatangelo.

More words will be written about our wonderful wedding and all that super stuff but for now I'll stick to celebrating the rapidly approaching holiday.

Earlier this month, I compiled a list of 16 "Christmas songs that rock," which includes artists like Bob Dylan and Lady Gaga.

For today, here's my list of our household's most beloved Christmas song classics.

You know, the crooner classics that make you warm up recalling spending quality time with your siblings, parents, grandparents and all those other special relatives and friends.

Merry Christmas!

"The Christmas Song," Nat King Cole 
"Please Come Home For Christmas," Charles Brown
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Judy Garland
"Linus And Lucy," Vince Guaraldi Trio
"Christmas Island," The Andrew Sisters & Guy Lombardo 
"There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays," Perry Como 
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," Brenda Lee 
"O Come All Ye Faithful," Art Garfunkel 
"Angels We Have Heard On High," Ella Fitzgerald 
"A Holly Jolly Christmas," Burl Ives 
"The Christmas Waltz," Frank Sinatra 
"Hard Candy Christmas," Dolly Parton 
"A Marshmallow World," Dean Martin 
"Blue Christmas," Elvis Presley 
"Silent Night," Mahalia Jackson 
"White Christmas," Bing Crosby 

Listen to my playlist on Spotify. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Top 10: Songs with 'cold' in the title (2012 edition)

Adele made the list with 'Cold Shoulder.'
I noticed my post from a couple years ago, "Top 10 songs with 'cold' in the title," has been getting a lot of action lately.

Which reminded me it's actually cold right now in the rest of the country.

It also reminded me that the list needed updated with some fresh selections.


Top 10: Songs with cold in the title

1. "In The Cold, Cold Night," The White Stripes
2. "Cold Sweat," James Brown
3. "Come In From The Cold," Joni Mitchell
4. "Cold, Cold Heart," Hank Williams
5. "She's So Cold," The Rolling Stones
6. "Cold Kisses," Richard Thompson
7. "Stone Cold Crazy," Queen 
8. "Cold Shoulder," Adele 
9.  "Cold Irons Bound," Bob Dylan
10. "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground," Blind Willie Johnson

Honorable mention

"The Cold Hard Truth," George Jones
"Like A Coat From The Cold," Guy Clark
"Early Morning Cold Taxi," The Who

Listen on Spotify to "Top 10: Cold by Wade Tatangelo"

—This Feb. 12, 2012 file photo shows Adele performing during the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. MATT SAYLES, FILE — AP Photo

Sarasota Ballet re-imagines 'Nutcracker' with fresh Ringling Circus twist at Van Wezel

The Sarasota Ballet's "John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker" will have its world premiere Dec. 14-15 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

One of Florida's greatest performing arts legacies will come to life in a fresh incarnation when the Sarasota Ballet presents the world premiere of "John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker."

The performance, Friday and Saturday at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, is inspired by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The entertainment giant that had its Winter Quarters in Sarasota from 1927 to 1959.

The Greatest Show on Earth remains closely associated with the city thanks to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art as well as current celebrity circus residents such as record-holding sky-walker Nik Wallenda.

Englishman Iain Webb, director of The Sarasota Ballet, has been enamored by the city's circus legacy since he arrived six years ago.

For years, he also maintained a long-term goal to do something fresh with the holiday warhorse that while beloved by the masses, is considered a deathless pest by many dancers, directors and serious ballet enthusiasts.

"I was always looking for something to do with the connection to the circus," Webb said. "I also really wanted to do a new 'Nutcracker,' something magical that had a whole new life."

Read more.

Blues-rock man Mike Zito, country singer Josh Thompson and more in Weekend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sarasota, Bradenton star Teresa Stanley returning to Broadway

Sarasota and Bradenton star Teresa Stanley, who wowed local audiences in the Manatee Players' 2005 production of "Sophisticated Ladies," is returning to Broadway.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe announced today that founding troupe member Stanley has been cast in the role of Justice/Mother for the production of "Rock of Ages" at the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York City. Her first performance will be Jan. 21. It is a role Stanley played on the first national "Rock of Ages" tour. She made her Broadway debut in "The Color Purple" production that ran from 2005 to 2008.

“We are very proud of our Teresa,” said Nate Jacobs, artistic director of WBTT, in a statement issued by the Sarasota company. “I met her when she was a small child but her big talent was even evident then. Her mother, Rosa Stanley, recognized it as well and let WBTT work with Teresa to develop her skills as a performer. It’s very gratifying to see her come to Broadway for the second time in her career. We are so happy for all of her successes.”

As Justice/Mother, Stanley plays a madam in a brothel. A love story, the musical takes place in Los Angeles of the 1980s in a place called the Bourbon Room with a time-appropriate hair metal score. In the film version, Justice/Mother was played by Mary J. Blige.

“Justice/Mother is a really great role,” Stanley said in a statement issued by WBTT. “She’s got a little edge to her, but at the same time, she’s funny and very memorable. I’m really looking forward to being on stage again in this exciting and fun role. Looking back on my career, I have to say that everything I needed to get to this place was a result of those early years with WBTT."

She added, "The experience and training I received from Nate Jacobs really prepared me. I like to remind the Troupe members they are getting invaluable experience and if they listen and choose to use these skills professionally, they will go further than they ever imagined.”

—Photo of Teresa Stanley in "Rock of Ages" provided by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe.

Cathy Rigby cancels 'Peter Pan' Van Wezel show in Sarasota

Cathy Rigby won't be flying into Sarasota.

Her "Peter Pan" dates at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for Feb. 19 and 20 have "been canceled due to the show's inability to lock in a second stop on the Florida leg of the tour, after they lost their original dates for the latter half of the week," the Sarasota venue stated.

Ticket sales for the Sarasota dates were strong, the Van Wezel also noted in its publicity release.

“We are extremely disappointed with the show’s decision, as it was one of the highlights of the season,” stated Mary Bensel, Executive Director of the Van Wezel.

The Van Wezel recently added shows include a second performance of "STOMP" Jan. 3, "Elvis Lives" on Jan. 17 and Yo Gabba Gabba on March 21. The venue stated it plans to add more shows.

Anyone who has purchased tickets to "Peter Pan" can call the Van Wezel Box Office at 941-953-3368 for information regarding a credit to another performance or refund.

—Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan publicity photo.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Donna Summer, who had a home in Sarasota, inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Disco diva Donna Summer, who had a home in Sarasota County and died in Naples in May, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Rush, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Donna Summer, Heart and Albert King.

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The official Rock Hall ceremony is April 18 and will take place for the first time in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre. It will be turned into an HBO special scheduled to run May 18.

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Elton John, whose campaign to get Leon Russell inducted was successful two years ago, also spoke out in favor of Summer's induction, calling her omission "a total disgrace" after she died in May, the Los Angeles Times reported. The hall's nominating committee chairman, Jon Landau, also described Summer's absence from the hall "an error" on the part of voters.

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—File photo of Donna Summer performing at the opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's summer season at the Hollywood Bowl by Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Justin Bieber returning to Tampa; tickets on sale Dec. 14

Less than 24 hours after Justin Bieber headlined 93.3-FLZ's annual Jingle Ball Sunday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the teen-pop star with 3.1 billion YouTube views announced he's returning to the same venue Aug. 8.

Read more here:

The “Believe” tour, produced by AEG Live, starts up again on June 22 in San Diego.
Tickets for the Tampa show start at $36.75 and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday (Dec. 14).

A number of VIP packages will also be offered on the upcoming tour through

Information: Tickets for the event go on sale 10 a.m. Dec. 14 at the McDonald’s Ticket Office at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Ticketmaster outlets and at To order tickets by phone call 800-745-3000. Ticket prices are $36.75, $56.75, $66.75, and $92.25. Prices do not include facility fee or service charges. For dinner reservations at the newly renovated Firestick Grill on the day of the event please visit or call 813.301.6926 for more information. Advanced parking passes are available at or the ticket office.

—Bieber photo by Evan Agostini — AP.

UPDATED 12/11: We the Kings to play free Bradenton area show; singer Travis Clark on song for 'Hunger Games' sequel

UPDATED 12/11: We the Kings' Travis Clark on free show near Bradenton, new song for 'Hunger Games' sequel
Travis Clark, right, and Hunter Thomsen of We The Kings performed a concert just for students Sept. 13, 2011, at The Bridge Church in Bradenton. HERALD FILE PHOTO.

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Platinum-selling punk-pop band We the Kings are returning to their native Bradenton area for a special concert. 

Singer/guitarist Travis Clark sent me this info last night:

The band's 6th annual Hometown Holiday Show will be a free performance 7 p.m. Dec. 27 at The Hall, 1330 US 301 Palmetto.

Boyce Avenue, a rock band that formed in Sarasota and released the album "All that We Have Left" through Universal in 2010, plus special guests, are also scheduled to perform during the four-hour concert.

It will be first come first serve at the door to receive free tickets. Meet and greet tickets will be available for $50 and include early entry and a meet and greet with We The Kings. Meet and greet tickets can be purchased only at Georgia Carpet World, 5425 14th St., Bradenton, during normal business hours.

Last year, the members of Bradenton's nationally acclaimed band were honored by the Manatee County Commission with "We the Kings Day." The group's many accomplishments include the hit single “Check Yes Juliet,” which has garnered about 14 million views on YouTube and sold more than 1 million copies.

I talked to Clark, who grew up in Bradenton, on the one-year anniversary of "We the Kings Day."

"It's hard to believe that it's been a year," Clark said in October. "When we think back to all of the amazing things that have happened so far, we always remember the key to the city, the annual hometown shows, and We The Kings Day!"
Clark graduated from Manatee High School in 2003. The front man, along with his We the Kings band mates Hunter Thomsen (guitar, backing vocals) and Danny Duncan (drums), grew up in Bradenton and attended King Middle School, which is where the group got its name.

"You don't know how much your hometown can shape you as a person until you leave," Clark said. "And I can safely say that each one of us in the band are better people because of Bradenton, because of our family, because of our friends, and because of our fans."

"941 forever," he added, referencing the Manatee County area code. "We'll see you at the 6th annual hometown We The Kings show."

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We the Kings also includes Charles Trippy (bass) and Coley O'Toole (guitar, piano, backing vocals).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas songs that rock: from Bob Dylan to James Brown to Lady Gaga

The holiday season has resulted in vats of songs that reek like rotten eggnog.

On occasion, though, someone like Bob Dylan, James Brown or Lady Gaga gets it right.

Here's a look at 16 Christmas songs that rock.

"Run Rudolph Run," Chuck Berry: Contemporaries like Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Beach Boys all recorded great Christmas songs. But only Chuck Berry's holiday hit about the most famous reindeer of all really rocks.

"Jingle Bells," X: Published in the mid-19th century by James Lord Pierpont, this song didn't truly come alive until seminal Los Angeles punk band X got hold of the song a few years back for its two-track EP "Merry Xmas From X."

"Christmas in Hollis," Run D.M.C.: Rhyming over the riff from soul singer Clarence Carter's naughty holiday hit "Back Door Santa," the members of hip-hop kings Run D.M.C. brilliantly recall Christmas in their Queens neighborhood on this song that first introduced suburban moms to rap in 1987.

Read more.

Remembering Aerosmith playing the Hyatt Sarasota ballroom

Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler greets the crowd at the Hyatt Sarasota. Photo courtesy of the Sarasota Film Festival.

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It has been nearly a decade since one of the most legendary rock shows in Sarasota-Manatee history.

For me, it's doubtful any local performance will ever come close to matching the magnitude of seeing an arena-filling band play such a small room.

And I almost missed it.

No one took the rumor seriously. Aerosmith at the Hyatt Sarasota? Yeah, right.

But I was there nonetheless in February of 2003 for the Sarasota Film Festival's "Late Night UnWrap Bash." A friend had secured me a press pass so I figured it would be fun.

Maybe Steven Tyler or Joe Perry would arrive to honor their longtime record producer Jack Douglas, who was being given a career achievement award by the festival.

But the idea of Aerosmith -- all five original members -- appearing seemed highly unlikely.

A performance by the band seemed absurd.

Even Sarasota-based promoter Barbara Strauss, who had been asked to oversee security for the film festival show, didn't think it would happen. In fact, when Sarasota Film Festival honcho Mark Famiglio told her his plan she pretty much laughed in his face.

"Aerosmith will never play," Strauss recalled telling Famiglio during a phone conversation I had with her last week.

She added, "In my mind, they were never going to play."

Read more.

Bradenton area to be home of Ringling Bros. Circus Winter Quarters

Elephants on parade during Ringling Bros. media event Dec. 14, 2010, at Winter Quarters in Tampa.
Photo by Wade Tatangelo.

Read more here:

A major boon appears on the horizon for the bustling Bradenton area.

One that could not only result in more high-paying jobs, but also some nice name recognition.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus became synonymous with Sarasota when its Winter Quarters were there from 1927 to 1959.

Now "The Greatest Show on Earth" might be just as closely associated with Manatee County.

Feld Entertainment, which acquired Ringling Bros. in 1967, plans to eventually move Winter Quarters to Ellenton from the Florida State Fairgrounds, where the circus is currently rehearsing its 143rd edition for a world premiere Jan. 2-6 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The new Ellenton facility will house 100,000 square feet of office space and 450,000 square feet of manufacturing in two buildings along U.S. 301.

"We're not at a place yet where we can tell when we will have the capability to rehearse all the circuses at this facility," Feld spokesman Stephen Payne told the Bradenton Herald.

"But the long-term goal is to move Winter Quarters to Ellenton."

Read more.

Ringling Bros. ringmaster announced for 141st edition debuting in Tampa

Friday, December 7, 2012

LISTEN: Manatee Players' debut Christmas CD features Bradenton area, national stars

The Manatee Players' debut Christmas CD features contributions from the award-winning Bradneton area actors as well as songs by famed rocker Rick Derringer ("Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo"), country music superstar Jeff Cook (Alabama) and Kim Betts (daughter of Allman Brothers Band co-founder Dickey Betts).

The Bradenton Herald's own Vin Mannnix also can be heard on the "Merry Christmas with the Manatee Players & Friends" album singing "Holly Jolly Christmas."

The CD is a fundraiser for the capital campaign drive to finish the new Manatee Performing Arts Center near the Riverwalk in Bradenton. The new performing arts center is nearing completion with a target opening in March 2013. The CD is available online at or by calling or visiting the box office at the Manatee Players, 102 12th Street West  Bradenton, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or one hour prior to performances. The box office phone number is 941-748-5875. The cost of the CD is $15.

Listen: "Holly Jolly Christmas" by Vin Mannix and "The Prayer" by Steve and Dianne Dawson

Here is a track listing with all the performers, many of whom are performers on the Manatee Players’ stage.

1. "White Christmas," Greg Wiegers*
2. "Where Are You Christmas?" Kim Betts*
3. "Rock & Roll Guitar," Jeff Cook (Alabama)
4. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," Eliza Lipton* and Delaney Couch*
5. "The Christmas Song," Travis Roger
6. "Rudolph Medley," The Choir*
7. "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas," John Rinell
8."All I Want for Christmas Is You," Channing Weir*
9. "My Grown Up Christmas List," Ken Basque*
10. "Winter Wonderland," Rick & Jenda Derringer
11. "Breath of Heaven," Wendy Brown*
12. "The Dreidel Song," Professor Soup
13. "O Holy Night," Grace Gibbs*
14. "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Denny Miller* and Meg Newsome*
15. "When Christmas Comes to Town," Kathleen Fairchild
16. "Holly Jolly Christmas," Vin Mannix
17. "The Prayer," Steve and Dianne Dawson*

*Manatee Players performers

Produced by Jason Lipton and The Del Couch Music Education Foundation

—CD cover art photo provided by Manatee Players

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

UPDATED 12/6: Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton on creating 'Sweet Emotion': interview

UPDATED 12/6: Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton on overcoming 'breakup 2.0' as band readies Tampa show: interview

Like most serious fans of swaggering 1970s rock, I consider Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" to be one of the greatest songs ever recorded.

So when I interviewed the man behind the song's monster riff, bassist Tom Hamilton (pictured, second from left), I couldn't resist bringing it up.

Our exchange won't doesn't appear in my Hamilton story running Thursday in Weekend to advance Aerosmith's Dec. 11 show at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, but lots of other stuff will, like what he thought about the band almost breaking up in 2009.

Anyway, here's Hamilton talking "Sweet Emotion," which first appeared on Aerosmith's landmark 1975 album "Toys in the Attic."

Me: I gotta ask. How did you come up with the killer riff of “Sweet Emotion”? I read you were inspired by Jeff Beck’s “Rough and Ready” (album).

Hamilton: We all lived in this apartment together and we had a stereo set up and listened to music together and Jeff Beck's "Rough and Ready" was on a lot. We're all Jeff Beck fans and he was going through a new phase. We would put it on and I was just absorbing the bass playing, how funky it was and energetic and thought, that is really cool. I didn’t try and learn anything but a lot of ideas just sank in. (On "Sweet Emotion") there's the  intro bass part, then verses, then the fast part, then the parts in between — those were the parts inspired by "Rough and Ready."

Me: Did you know you had come up with something special? Were you like, "Hey guys, listen to this!"

Hamilton: No, I've always been kind of shy about bringing my writing to the band. When I was first starting off with "Sweet Emotion" we were between "Get Your Wings" and "Toys in the Attic" and I played it for Steven and he was kind of encouraging and kind of like, "Next, what's going on?" So I ran back to my corner and developed more parts to my song. Then, what happened was we finished the basic tracks for "Toys" and (producer Jack Douglas) said we had a day to spare and if anyone had a spare riff, let’s hear it. So I stood up and said I have this thing. By the end of the day we had the arrangement done. But then were finished. Joey, Brad and I had to go up to Boston while Steven and Joe finished the album. Six weeks later, Steven and Joe come back all done and I heard that song and the rest of the album and it just blew my mind.

—Publicity photo of Aerosmith — from left  Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass), Steven Tyler (vocals), Joey Kramer (drums) and Brad Whitford (guitar) — by Ross Haflin.

Fleetwood Mac has Tampa date

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Fleetwood Mac will be embarking on a 34-city U.S. tour after a three year break beginning April 4.

The tour was announced today by the group and Live Nation, the tour's national promoter. Fleetwood Mac Live 2013 arena tour includes stops in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Chicago and a special appearance at the historic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Oh yeah, and a June 7 date at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Price haven't been announced yet but tickets for the first run of shows go on sale Dec. 14 at

To coincide with the tour and anniversary, a new deluxe reissue of the band's bestselling 1977 album "Rumours" with previously unreleased studio and live tracks will be released in early 2013 from Rhino.

The current Fleetwood Mac lineup includes Mick Fleetwood and John McVie - both original members since 1967, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks who joined the band in 1975.

"Having started Fleetwood Mac with John McVie in 1967, it has always been so gratifying that despite the various incarnations, the band has survived," Mick Flettwood said in a statement. "Throughout the years, though, the one thing that has remained constant is our fans. I am looking forward to getting back behind the kit, reconnecting with the fans and sharing the stage with my fellow band members."

Nicks also made a statement.

"After spending four days at Lindsey's house working on music and one really fun day doing a crazy photo session, I am quite excited about next year. Everything seems to be falling into place. 2013 looks like the year of Fleetwood Mac," she said. 

—AP file photo of Stevie Nicks.

Monday, December 3, 2012

World ends Dec. 21? Mayan scholar discusses myth at South Florida Museum, Bradenton

The world ends Dec. 21, 2012.
Yep, that's the final date of the 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar used by the Maya.

But Mayan scholars, at least the one who will be at South Florida Museum in Bradenton on Wednesday, say we don't need to worry about the "2012 phenomenon."

This month, South Florida Museum will host two Mayan-themed events to put the December 2012 “End of the World” myth into context. From 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, research scholar at New College of Florida and noted Mayan expert Dr. Gabriele Vail, and Director of the Bishop Planetarium Jeff Rodgers, will spend the evening discussing the Mayan myth and putting it into context.

“Gabrielle Vail is one of the world's most respected Mayan scholars, so we couldn't ask for a better perspective on what the Mayan calendar really has to say about the end of the world,” Rodgers said in a statement issued by the museum.

On Dec. 15 from 7 to 8 p.m., the museum will host another program "2012: The Return of the Goddess." It's a listening experience composed by artist Paul Ramshaw who was inspired by myths surrounding the Mayan Calendar and ripples of gravitational waves predicted by the Theory of Relativity. The ambient musical arrangements will be accompanied by subtle, complimentary graphics projected on the Planetarium dome.

“Paul Ramshaw's work has earned international acclaim. With '2012: The Return of the Goddess,' Paul has created an evocative blend of art, science and culture that captures the expanse of time and mythical cycles of rebirth. It is a uniquely impactful work that invites both introspection and connection with the grand scales of the cosmos,” Rodgers said in a statement.

Ramshaw noted it's an experimental piece.

"The 'music' you will hear has not been created using a conventional scoring of notes and instruments, but by 'reorganizing' the sound (timbre) of samples of operatic and choral voices within different frameworks of time, with a conceptual input inspired by the myths surrounding the Mayan calendar and 2012,” Ramshaw said in a statement.

Tickets to the Dec. 15 event are also $10.

Information: 941-746-4131 or

Bradenton area would be so much better if I had won the $588,000,000 jackpot

I didn't wake up last Thursday a multimillionaire after the largest Powerball jackpot drawing ever. But I did spend some quality time the night before thinking about what I would do if I did win the $587.5 million. Bet you did, too.

For starters, the fiancée would get anything and everything she desires. Luckily, that would mean still living in Manatee County. She loves it here. I do, too.

We'd probably buy up property on the northern tip of Anna Maria Island. Create a cozy complex of cottages. I like the sound of "Tatangelo Town." There would be everything from a water park to houses with personal caretakers for all three of our dogs.

Then we would get down to the business of really making things right.

I don't think $587.5 million would do much toward changing the world, especially after Uncle Sam took his cut. But that kind of money could do wonders for life in the Bradenton area.

Like extending Riverwalk all the way from downtown to the gates of our new home on AMI. Better yet, we'd pay for the newly named Bradenton Area City Walk to snake through the entire county.

Read more.

—Riverwalk was popular on a recent Saturday morning in downtown Bradenton.TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald

Read more here:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

REVIEW: Bradenton Blues Festival a huge success

Ruthie Foster offered a potent closing set at Bradenton Blues Festival.

Ruthie Foster closed an amazing day with a most fitting song.

A song that spoke to the overwhelming success of the inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival.

For her encore, the Grammy-nominated singer performed "Grinnin' in Your Face."

Most famously recorded by the legendary Son House, the song is a spiritual about triumph in the face of adversity.

For far too long, Bradenton struggled to establish itself as a destination spot for music lovers.

Not anymore.

Bradenton Beach resident Damon Fowler led his super group Southern Hospitality.

On Saturday, The Bradenton Blues Festival, which was produced by Realize Bradenton with much appreciated help from the Village of the Arts-based Blues Revue Magazine, attracted a crowd of 3,126.

That's more than triple what was expected for the debut event, organizers said.

And it's doubtful anyone in the audience, which included attendees from as far away as Canada, left disappointed.

Foster did a superb job as the headliner, elating the crowd with her singular brand of gospel-infused blues.

Read more.

—Photos by Wade Tatangelo.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bradenton Blues Festival today at Riverwalk: schedule, tickets, after-party information

A large stage has been erected for the Blues Festival which is to be held Saturday in the pavilion area of Bradenton’s Riverwalk. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald TTOMPKINS@BRADENTON.COM

The wait is over.

The inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival is today at the centrally located pavilion and event area of Manatee County's most popular new destination spot Riverwalk.

Grammy Award nominee Ruthie Foster headlines a first-rate lineup that includes Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Neal and super group Southern Hospitality, which is led by Bradenton Beach resident Damon Fowler.

Dave “Biscuit” Miller, Johnny Sansone, Homemade Jamz, the Steve Arvey Horn Band with Henry Lawrence also a pair of local favorites and Ben Prestage round out the lineup.

In addition to the live music along the Manatee River, there will be an array of food, drink and art vendors.

Tickets are now $30 cash only and ATMs will be available. Attendees are being told to please leave coolers and dogs at home. Call 941-681-0708 for more information.

Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item or canned good to the Blues Appetizer and Bradenton Blues Festival to help donate food items to Meals on Wheels of Manatee County.

After the Bradenton Blues Festival ends at 8 p.m. today there's the official after party featuring acclaimed Tampa blues man Sean Chambers at Tarpon Pointe Grille & Tiki Bar, the popular eastern anchor of Riverwalk that celebrated its first anniversary in July.

"Sean Chambers has invited all the festival performers to sit in with him," said Jack Sullivan, operations officer of Blues Revue magazine and the co-founder of the Bradenton Blues Festival. "I'm sure there's going to be a great jam."

Also,  Old Main Street will be closed today between Manatee and Third Avenues for the Farmers Market (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and then from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. to accommodate the crowd from the Bradenton Blues Festival.
Bradenton Blues Festival schedule

Steve Arvey Horn Band featuring Henry Lawrence: 11-11:40 a.m.
Bradenton area blues man Steve Arvey has teamed up with local hero Henry Lawrence, the superb soul singer who earned three Super Bowl rings and made two Pro Bowl appearances while playing with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders.

Homemade Jamz: 11:55 a.m.-12:55 p.m.
Ryan, Kyle and Taya Perry are siblings in their teens who play rocking blues.

Southern Hospitality: 1:10-2:10 p.m.
Bradenton Beach resident and Blind Pig Records artist Damon Fowler recently joined forces with fellow Florida guitarist/vocalist JP Soars and Memphis-based keyboardist/singer Victor Wainwright to form one of the most in-demand groups on the blues festival circuit. See accompanying interview with Fowler. 

Johnny Sansone: 2:25-3:25 p.m.
The New Orleans-based harmonica player and vocalist offers plenty of emotional punch as a performer while also excelling as a songwriter.

Dave “Biscuit” Miller: 3:40-4:40 p.m.
A superbly funky bassist and outstanding showman , Miller has become a favorite at Aces Live in Bradenton with songs ranging from the funky double entendre “Butter My Biscuits” to the somber, soulful “Never Seen it Coming.”

Kenny Neal: 4:55-6:05
Baton Rouge swamp blues master has been elating audiences since the 1970s with his explosive guitar licks, hot harp and potent vocals.

Ruthie Foster: 6:20-7:35
Grammy Award nominate singer’s latest album “Let it Burn” finds Foster putting her own glorious vocal stamp on songs ranging from the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire” to Adele’s recent smash “Set Fire to the Rain.” Read my interview with Foster.

Ben Prestage: performs between acts
One-man-band who grew up near the Everglades sings, plays finger-style guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel, fiddle, resonator guitar and foot-drums.

Details: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 1, Bradenton Riverwalk, 425 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Tickets: $30. Information: 941-681-0708 or

Read more here:
—Bradenton Blues Festival poster (below) by 'Harry Potter' illustrator Mary GrandPr√© provided by Realize Bradenton.