Sunset Lane Entertainment Sizzle Reel

March 20, 2017

DISNEY'S "BEAUTY & THE BEAST" LIVE-ACTION MUSICAL IS BOSS (EVEN WITH A GAY CHARACTER!)


Here are the records already set by Disney's live-action remake of the hit animated film/Broadway musical of the same name "Beauty And The Beast" (so far):

The best opening ever for: Emma Watson (lest we forget how big of a deal this is since she starred in those little Harry Potter films...), director Bill Condon, pre-summer, March, a Disney live-action canon title, a live-action musical, and the sixth biggest opening stateside of all-time, standing above Iron Man 3 ($174.1M) and just under Captain America: Civil War ($179.1M).  You go, girl and grrrrrrr!


Now let's talk about live-action movie musicals (as opposed to animated musicals such as "The Lion King" or "Frozen"). The lifetime gross of the highest-grossing movie musical of all time is 1978's "Grease" ($188 million). The other top movie musicals domestically are Oscar-winner "Chicago" ($170.6 million), "La La Land" ($149 million), "Les Miserables" ($148 million) and "Mamma Mia!" ($144 million). Clearly, "Beast" will be boss of the movie musicals by the end of the week!


There was SOME hub-bub about the fact the director Bill Condon made hunky Gaston's loveable sidekick La Fou (played by Josh Gad) gay!  Russia denounced the film because of it! Didn't seem to matter to the slew of families from both red and blue states that flocked to see the adaptation. (Now, I wonder if anyone realizes hottie Luke Evans who plays Gaston is an openly gay actor!?!)

Well-done to everyone at Disney...be on the lookout for live-action remakes of "The Lion King," "The Little Mermaid" and "Mulan"....to name a few...




March 16, 2017

Trump Administration Doing Away with the National Endowment for the Arts? WTF?



When we live in a world that has many Earth-shattering problems (literally) to solve, and no one -- especially those with the most authority in the World -- is able to solve the problems then I need you to read this:

Dictonary.com defines creativity as: "the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods,interpretations, etc.; originality, 
progressiveness, or imagination."


As an artist, singer, entertainment & music industry professional and educator, there isn't anything that I embody more than the power of arts education. When civil rights are in question, I believe most people will do the right thing -- women's rights, gay rights, minority rights -- people usually come to the table with rage and passion. What I am not as certain of, not only in light of this administration, but in light of what people actually fight for today, is the willingness to fight for things we say we believe. There are countless surveys and tons of research that shows most people in America understand the value of arts education...whether it be cognitive skills, social skills, creative outlet, problem-solving or whatever. However, there isn't the vim and vigor to actually PROTECT arts education. 

One can't say he/she understands that having a diverse community is important to our culture and then not support civil rights, right? One can't say that he/she believes that the LGBTQ community is just as human as anyone and should not be discriminated against and then not support marriage equality, right? Therefore, one can't say that intellectually and emotionally one understands the importance of and the role that arts education plays in all aspects of our culture and then not actually do something to protect it, right? 


It's a crucial time for you to put your mouth where your mouth is. Just like The Recording Academy and the Country Music Association have done. 


THE RECORDING ACADEMY STATEMENT REGARDING THE WHITE HOUSE PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

“Love of music and the arts brings us together, and celebrates the richness of American culture and our spirit of curiosity and creativity. Music and art serve as one of America’s greatest exports, and support jobs for creators in cities, towns and rural areas across the country. The White House proposal to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is shortsighted and alarming. The modest support that we provide to music and the arts is returned many times over, whether measured in jobs and economic impact, or sheer cultural enrichment and introspection. The Recording Academy will ask Congress to maintain funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and renew our commitment to America’s creators.”

Neil Portnow
President/CEO
The Recording Academy


If you agree with what we all are saying, then let me know. 

March 14, 2017

RIP Tommy LiPuma

NEWS RELEASE

The Recording Academy® Statement re: Tommy LiPuma
March 14, 2017


Tommy LiPuma was an industry giant whose name became synonymous with sophisticated pop and jazz. His productions resulted in a Record Of The Year GRAMMY with George Benson for “This Masquerade,” an Album Of The Year trophy for Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable With Love, as well as GRAMMYs with Diana Krall and Paul McCartney. He also established or had significant leadership roles at labels such as Blue Thumb, A&M, Warner Bros., GRP, and Verve. Our deepest condolences go out to Tommy's family, friends, and creative counterparts. 

Neil Portnow
President/CEO
The Recording Academy

March 13, 2017

CONGRATS TO SNL'S PETE DAVIDSON FOR BEING LOUD AND PROUD AND SOBER



HOLLYWOOD LIFE STORY (CLICK HERE)

DO YOU KNOW A MUSIC TEACHER THAT DESERVES GRAMMY RECOGNITION?!

***MEDIA ALERT FOR MARCH 13 – MARCH 31, 2017***

NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR FIFTH ANNUAL MUSIC EDUCATOR AWARD PRESENTED BY 
THE RECORDING ACADEMY® 


Winner And Nine Finalists To Receive Cash Honorariums, With Generous Support And Resources Provided By Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, And Journeys 
 
WHO: Applications for the fifth annual Music Educator Award are currently online; to nominate a teacher, visit GRAMMYMusicTeacher.com. The deadline to nominate a teacher is March 15, 2017, while the deadline for applications is March 31, 2017. The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers are also able to nominate themselves. Nominated teachers will be notified and invited to fill out an application.

The Music Educator Award application process will adjust each year to allow the broad array of effective teaching styles and methods used in the discipline to be recognized and awarded.

Keith Hancock of Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., was announced as the recipient of the 2017 Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy®Nine other music teachers from nine cities across seven states were selected as finalists for the award. Initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

WHAT: The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools.

Each year, one recipient will be selected from 10 finalists and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students' lives. The fifth annual winner will be flown to the host city of the GRAMMY Awards to be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2018. The winner will also attend the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards® ceremony. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. Fifteen semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants. The honorariums and grants provided to the finalists and schools are made possible by the generosity and support of ConverseDisney Performing ArtsFord Motor Company Fund, and Journeys. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, the NAMM Foundation, and the National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

WHEN: The deadline for nominations is March 15, 2017. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2017.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording professionals dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards—the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music—The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education, and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers, and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Recording Academy, please visit www.grammy.com.

Converse Inc., based in Boston is a wholly owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. Established in 1908, the Converse brand has built a reputation as "America's Original Sports Company"™ and has been associated with a rich heritage of legendary shoes such as the Chuck Taylor® All Star®shoe, the Jack Purcell® shoe, and the One Star® shoe. Today, Converse offers a diverse portfolio including lifestyle men's, women's, and children's footwear, apparel and accessories and is sold globally by retailers in over 160 countries. For more information, visit Media.Converse.com and follow @converse.

Disney Performing Arts unlocks student potential and helps young people make their own dreams come true—whether it's performing in front of an international audience of thousands at Disney theme parks and resorts or honing their craft in enriching workshops and clinics taught by entertainment professionals. Every year, thousands of vocal, instrumental, and other ensembles travel from around the world to participate in Disney Performing Arts programs at the Disneyland Resort in Southern Calif. and the Walt Disney World Resort in Fla. Disney delivers workshops and performance opportunities that enrich, inspire, and often lead to life-changing personal achievement.

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education, and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning, and other inspiring programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people's lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit community.ford.com.

Journeys is a leader in the teen specialty retail scene, with more than 800 stores in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Journeys uses fashion savvy and merchandising science to keep in step with the fast-paced footwear and accessories market for 13- to 22-year-old guys and girls. Journeys offers a wide variety of trendy, relevant brands that cater to teens that seek the hottest, new styles. However, the Journeys store is more than a retail environment—it's an extension of the teen lifestyle. From the plasma TVs playing exclusive content and the latest music videos, to the visual merchandising strategy and promotions, to the employees whose image and style reflect the customers' lifestyle and attitude. In addition to retail stores, Journeys reaches its customers through journeys.com, journeys.ca, catalogs, social media, and grass-roots events like the Warped Tour, Alternative Press Music Awards, and national club-level music tours in the spring and fall seasons. Journeys—An Attitude You Can Wear! Journeys is a division of Genesco Inc. For more information, visit journeys.com.

March 11, 2017

GRAMMY-winning A Capella Group Pentatonix Performance of "Imagine" is As Powerful as Video

As part of Pentatonix 4: The Classics coming out in April, "Imagine" was just released -- and will be included with their Grammy-winning performance of "Jolene" with icon Dolly Parton. The Performance is as powerful as the video is topical and important.  Well done, gang!!

"Imagine" Official Video (click here)

March 9, 2017

Why 1984 is the Most Important Year in Pop Culture!

Pop culture history has spanned a couple of decades now if not more. But there’s one year that helped define music, movies, icons and more for generations! 1984 is the year that helped define modern pop culture history. Look what happened:

·         Michael Jackson’s “Pepsi” Commercial debuts (and so does his hair…on fire!)

·         Madonna performs “Like a Virgin” live on MTV


·         The Indiana Jones billion dollar franchise cements itself with “Temple of Doom”

·         An enduring female punk rocker first declares “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

·         WHAM! Declares “Wake me up before you go, go!”

·         Prince debuts in “Purple Rain”

·         Kevin Bacon stars in “Footloose”

·         Everyone answers “Who Ya Gonna Call?” as “Ghostbusters” is the year’s top-grossing film

·         Frankie Goes to Hollywood tells the music and fashion worlds to “Relax”

·         Apple launches the first Mac computer

·         Wendy’s asks “Where’s the Beef?”

·         Space Shuttle “Discovery” makes its maiden voyage

·         Sony and Philips introduce the first CD players

·         Cheers & Family Ties are tops as The Cosby Show debuts


·         George Orwell also thought “1984” was gonna be a HUGE year!

What meant the most to you??!!

March 7, 2017

New York Times Review of "Beauty and the Beast" 2017: "Enchanting"


Always a really hard decision as to whether or not to mess with greatness. Usually it's NOT. However, to make a live-action version of the 1991 animated classic seemed to be a pretty good idea. When you're lead is Emma Watson then that becomes a really good idea!

Take a look at what NY Times has to say about the new Disney movie coming out March 17.

NY Times Review (click here)

March 3, 2017

NOTHING BUT GOOD NEWS ON "HOOPLAHA"

Today, it's easy to get consumed by bad news. Maybe you try to avoid news all together. My friend Rob Hess has been developing an amazing news site over the years whose only mission is to present good, positive news stories. If you need a little good news in your life that's informative, entertaining and fills your heart with positivity, subscribe now to HooplaHA!

www.hooplaha.com

MY FRIEND AMY GRANT HAS A NEW SINGLE OUT AND WE NEED IT MORE THAN EVER!!

Multi-GRAMMY winning singer/songwriter and angel Amy Grant has been a friend of mine for years. Check out her new single that includes multi-racial couples, same sex couples and friends...all about love and we could use this right now!!

SAY IT WITH A KISS BY AMY GRANT (CLICK HERE)

February 12, 2017

MY GRAMMY PREDICTION FOR "ALBUM OF THE YEAR": THE BATTLE BETWEEN QUEEN A & QUEEN BEY!

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
25 – ADELE       
LEMONADE -- BEYONCE
PURPOSE – JUSTIN BIEBER
VIEWS – DRAKE 
A SAILORS GUIDE TO EARTH – STURGIL SIMPSON


Let me just say this: I love Adele. I didn’t love “25.” When she released “21,” I thought it was a masterpiece from start to finish from the first time I listened to it. With a string of #1 and top 10 hits to boot, and massive sales, it deserved all 7 GRAMMY Awards it earned in 2012. 

That being said, I thought “25” fell flat. It sold 3 million albums the first week…ALBUMS! I wonder if all 3 million people were disappointed as well – but who cares, it’s ADELE! So, GRAMMY voters love successful records – especially ones that basically save the music industry (see Taylor Swift’s Album of the Year winner last year “1989”). But I don’t believe Queen A has earned another Album of the Year award for this effort.

Who does? Justin Bieber. JKJKJK. Drake deserves a shot for the #2 biggest selling album and an amazing one at that, but he's protesting the GRAMMYs because he thinks they are out-dated and treat Rap and Hip Hop as afterthoughts (hard to argue if you look at the 58 years of GRAMMY history). And who is Sturgil Simpson? A super talented alternative country guy who became the token country album of the year nominee. Just sayin!  We should see big things from him in the future --

Sturgil Simpson on SNL (CLICK HERE)

I digress. So, who does?!!  Queen Bey, baby. I had basically written her off the past few years because it all seemed like way more hype than substance. And when “Lemonade” debuted as a “visual album” among a lot of speculation as to how autobiographical the album actually was, I almost wrote it off. Then I listened to it. OMG! No holds, Bey!


Dabbling in hip hop, R&B, pop, rock, country, soul and more, this album is an experience from top to bottom. Listening to it, I felt the same way I did when I first listened to Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” -- moved, grooved, uncomfortable, intoxicated.

Here’s the irony of that. In 1999, Hill won Album of the Year for “Miseducation.” That was the last time an African American female solo artist has ever won the top prize even though Beyoncé has been nominated for it three times over her career -- without ever winning.

So if the Academy has taken the temperature of our society and it’s ready to truly give kudos to masterpieces and not sales beasts, then Sunday Beyoncé will finally take her “Lemonade” and turn it into GRAMMY Gold.  

Will Win:         “Lemonade” Beyoncé (Don’t let me down, GRAMMY voters!)
Should Win:     “Lemonade” Beyoncé

Upset:              25 - Adele

MY PREDICTIONS FOR GRAMMY AWARDS "RECORD OF THE YEAR"

RECORD OF THE YEAR
HELLO (ADELE)              
FORMATION (BEYONCE)
7 YEARS (LUKAS GRAHAM)
WORK (RIHANNA & DRAKE)
STRESSED OUT (21 PILOTS)

Unlike Song of the Year, Record of the Year, which is a production award (it goes to producer, artist, and engineer), doesn’t have quite the same track record in that just because songs are nominated for both Song and Record doesn’t mean they stand a better chance in this category. Last year, “Uptown Funk” won Record of the Year and it wasn’t nominated for Song of the Year.  So, does that mean Rihanna’s “Work” and 21 Pilots’ “Stressed Out” stand a shot? Probably not. Hello! We’re talking yet another stiff competition between Queen A and Queen Bey!  (It should be noted, that just because this year is a battle of these two queens doesn't mean that they aren't still each other's biggest fan! They are friends and have been very vocal in the press and on social media as to the extent of their kinship.)

See above for rationale that Adele’s “Hello” could prevail here. However, Beyoncé’s tour de force “Formation” should be the one that wins in this category (I am, of course, going to let the courts decide the $20 million lawsuit that Bey's been slapped with recently alleging she sampled an unlicensed song in "Formation).  Anywho. Besides that little hiccup, the problem with "Formation"is that it’s the least successful single as far as sales of this entire pack. However, it’s a song that Record of the Year was made to celebrate. 



I hope Academy voters have enough edge to make this the winner in this category. My fear is that they’ll go for the safe bet – the sales and radio darling – Adele’s “Hello.”  (Wouldn’t it be interesting if voters were too "stressed out," too over-"work" and just couldn't choose between Queen A and Queen Bey so decided Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” was old enough to win?!)

Will Win:         “Hello”
Should Win:     “Formation”

Upset:              “7 Years”