April 18, 2017

Well, HELLO, DOLLARS!! At 71, 'Hello, Dolly's" Star Bette Midler is Broadway's "Divine Miss M(illions)!"

Bette Midler is 71 years old. I know. Two years ago she did an interview with a British tabloid during which she said she probably was at the end of her career as an amazing live performer.
She’s not making hit movies or hit records anymore. She did Vegas for two years starting in 2008 to sell-out crowds but is there really an audience out there for one of the greatest live entertainers of our generation (actually of a couple of generations) today? I mean, she’s SEVENTY-ONE YEARS OLD.
Well, as the Divine Miss M might say, “Go F*** yourself, fellas, you can call me the Divine Miss MILLIONS!”
On the eve of its first preview performance, Bette’s revival of Hello, Dolly! on Broadway had racked up a $40 million advance, even more than HAMILTON when it started, bitches!!

In its first week, the show grossed an incredible $1.4 million off just five performances—FIVE. Oh, and the show has an average ticket price of $196. Those are the kind of dollar figures that Broadway producers only dream of and there is so much wind beneath Dolly’s wings that ticket sales already have helped kick The Book Of Mormon's out as the fifth highest-grossing show.

Co-starring David Hyde Pierce, you can’t get a ticket to the show for MONTHS—meaning you’ll absolutely have to see this show From a Distance. Eh hem!

Did I mention you can purchase the best seats in the house to see the Divine Miss D for a mere $748? Each.

So, Miss Midler, I do believe you are STILL the People’s Diva and continue to be no matter what age.

Here’s to you, Divine Miss M:
Oh, Hello, Diva, well, hello Diva
It’s so nice to have you back where you belong
You’re looking swell, Midler, I can tell, Midler
You’re still glowin’, you’re still crowin’, you’re still growin’ strong
Miss M don’t ever go away, Dolly don’t you ever, ever go away
Miss M don’t you ever go away again!

March 29, 2017



GRAMMY® Winners And Nominees Converge With Congress To Support Music For Future Generations
WHAT: Representatives of the worlds of music and politics will come together at The Recording Academy®'s 2017 GRAMMYs on the Hill® Awards on April 5 to honor four-time GRAMMY® winner Keith Urban. Urban will receive the Recording Artists' Coalition® Award for his musical achievements and commitment to numerous music education programs that have inspired young musicians and provided thousands of musical instruments to underserved programs across the country.
The following day, renowned music creators will advocate on Capitol Hill for the next generation of music makers as part of The Recording Academy's annual GRAMMYs on the Hill Advocacy Day. Topics that will be discussed include the need to update music copyright law and maintain support for the arts.
WHO: Honoree: Keith Urban / Master of ceremonies: Martina McBride
Performances by Keith Urban, singer/songwriter John Popper of Blues Traveler, and GRAMMY winner Wynonna Judd with special guests, as well as a special presentation by renowned television composer Jonathan Wolff.
Joined by nearly 50 members of Congress, confirmed attendees include GRAMMY-winning producer Peter Asher, GRAMMY-winning Americana artist William Bell, GRAMMY-winning producer Steve Berkowitz, rapper Chill Moody, producer and singer/songwriter Kara DioGuardiDuke Fakir of Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients the Four Tops, GRAMMY winner Rory Feek of Joey+Rory, GRAMMY-winning engineer/mixer Frank Filipetti, GRAMMY-nominated contemporary Christian singer/songwriter Natalie Grant, country music artist Jack Ingram, GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY winners Jesse & Joy, GRAMMY-winning engineer/producer Dmitriy LipayKirstin Maldonado of GRAMMY winners Pentatonix, GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Mario, GRAMMY-winning producer Harvey Mason, Jr., Lukes Morgan of GRAMMY-winning reggae band Morgan Heritage, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Kelly Price, GRAMMY-winning blues singer Bobby Rush, guitarist Chad Taylor of the band Live, rapper Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew, and singer/songwriter VASSY.
The GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards are sponsored by music rights organization SESAC.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
5:15 p.m. | Media Arrival
5:45–6:30 p.m. | Red Carpet and Media Interviews
*Program begins at 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Hamilton 
600 14th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
**Not open to the public

About The Recording Academy
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 Academy's advocacy efforts, please visit www.grammy.com/action, and follow the online conversation on Twitter @GRAMMYAdvocacy, #SupportMusic, and "like" GRAMMY Advocacy on Facebook.  

March 20, 2017


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 18, 2017



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. 


“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
The Recording Academy

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

March 14, 2017

RIP Tommy LiPuma


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
The Recording Academy

March 13, 2017




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


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)