42nd Blues Music Award Nominees

There is an old saying in the entertainment world…the show must go on!

In these days of Covid, that means online presentations via live streaming.

The Blues Foundation will present the 42nd annual Blues Music Awards on June 6 via a virtual ceremony on Facebook and YouTube. 

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats and Sugar Ray and the Bluetones top the list of nominees with five each.  Shemekia Copeland has also garnered multiple nominations.

Dion, Robert Cray, Samantha Fish, Bettye LaVette, William Bell, Bobby Rush, and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram are all among this year’s nominees.

The Blues Music Awards celebrates the world of Blues music by honouring it artists and songwriters.

The 2021 Blues Music Awards nominees are:
Entertainer of the Year:
Shemekia Copeland
Rick Estrin
John Németh
Sugaray Rayford
Lil’ Ed Williams

Album of the Year:
“100 Years of Blues” by Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite
“Rawer Than Raw” by Bobby Rush
“Rise Up” by Ronnie Earl & The Broadcaster
“Too Far from the Bar” by Sugar Ray & The Bluetones with Little Charlie
“Uncivil War” by Shemekia Copeland

Band of the Year:
Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues Allstars
John Németh & The Blue Dreamers
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
Southern Avenue
Sugar Ray & The Bluetones

Song of the Year:
“All My Dues Are Paid” written by Kathy Murray, Rick Estrin, Frank Bey, Kid Andersen
“All Out of Tears” written by Walter Trout
“Blues Comin’ On” written by Dion DiMucci and Mike Aquilina
“Is It Over” written by Don Bryant and Scott Bomar “Uncivil War” written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough

Best Emerging Artist Album:
Andrew Alli for “Hard Workin’ Man”
King Solomon Hicks for “Harlem”
Jose Ramirez for “Here I Come”
Ryan Perry for “High Risk Low Reward”
“Betty Fox Band for “Peace in Pieces”

Acoustic Blues Album:

’Dustin Arbuckle & Matt Woods” by Dustin Arbuckle and Matt Woods
”Prove It On Me” by Rory Block
“Rawer Than Raw” by Bobby Rush
“Three Pints of Gin” by Richard Ray Farrell
“Traveling Man – Live” by Watermelon Slim

Blues Rock Album:
“Ain’t Done Yet” by Savoy Brown
“Ice Cream In Hell” by Tinsley Ellis
“Mike Zito and Friends – Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry” by  Mike Zito
“Mississippi Suitcase” by Peter Parcek
“Ordinary Madness” by Walter Trout

Contemporary Blues Album
“Cry Out” by Kat Riggins
“My Blues Pathway” by Kirk Fletcher
“Self-Made Man” by Larkin Poe
“Stronger Than Strong” by John Németh
“Uncivil War” by Shemekia Copeland

Soul Blues Album:
“All My Dues Are Paid” by Frank Bey
“Found! One Soul Singer” by Sonny Green
“That’s What I Heard” by Robert Cray Band
“Where Have All The Soul Men Gone” by Johnny Rawls
“You Make Me Feel” by Don Bryant

Traditional Blues Album
“100 Years of Blues” by Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite
“Blueswoman” by Nora Jean Wallace
“Every Day of Your Life” by Jimmy Johnson
“Rise Up” by Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
“Too Far From the Bar” by Sugar Ray & The Bluetones with Little Charlie

Acoustic Blues Artist:
Dom Flemons
Catfish Keith
Harrison Kennedy
Doug MacLeod
Keb’ Mo’

Blues Rock Artist:
Tinsley Ellis
Reverend Peyton
Ana Popovic
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito

Contemporary Blues Female Artist:
Shemekia Copeland
Samantha Fish
Sue Foley
Ruthie Foster
Shaun Murphy

Contemporary Blues Male Artist:
Selwyn Birchwood
Chris Cain
Rick Estrin
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
J.P. Soars

Soul Blues Female Artist:
Annika Chambers
Thornetta Davis
Bettye LaVette
Dorothy Moore
Terrie Odabi

Soul Blues Male Artist:
William Bell
Don Bryant
John Németh
Johnny Rawls
Curtis Salgado

Traditional Blues Female Artist:
Rory Block
Rhiannon Giddens
Diunna Greenleaf
Trudy Lynn
Teeny Tucker

Traditional Blues Male Artist:
Billy Branch
Sugar Ray Norcia
John Primer
Jontavious Willis
Kim Wilson

Instrumentalist Bass:
Willie J. Campbell
Larry Fulcher
Danielle Nicole
Patrick Rynn
Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Instrumentalist Drums:
Tony Braunagel
June Core
Derrick “D’Mar” Martin
Bernard Purdie
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

Instrumentalist Guitar:
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Chris Cain
Laura Chavez
Kirk Fletcher
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Instrumentalist Harmonica:
Billy Branch
Rick Estrin
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson

Instrumentalist Horn:
Mindi Abair
Jimmy Carpenter
Doug James
Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff
Nancy Wright

Instrumentalist Piano:
Mike Finnigan
Anthony Geraci
Johnny Iguana
Bruce Katz
Jim Pugh

Instrumentalist Vocals:
Thornetta Davis
Ruthie Foster
John Németh
Sugar Ray Norica
Sugaray Rayford

feature photo credit: The Blues Foundation Facebook page

Threepeat for Rick Ware in Rolex 24

While Washington D.C. lends lip service to unity and bringing the country back together; racers from 26 countries and the major racing series from around the world, some dozen car manufacturers, and hundreds of crew and teams members came together on January 30 and 31 for the 59th annual Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona endurance race.

Teams of three and four drivers put their egos aside and came together for a full day of racing.

After a bit of a messy start and three full course caution flags, the race settled down as the sun began to set for a long stint of green flag racing.  Overall, the race had a total of 12 full course caution flags.

In the end, it came down to tenths of a second when Filipe Albuquerque brought the Wayne Taylor Racing number 10 Acura ARX-15 across the finish line to give WTR its third Rolex 24 win in as many years.

The multi-national team of Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi, and Helio Castroneves shared driving duties of the number 10 car in the Daytona Prototype International category.

This year the Rolex 24 featured five classes of cars – the Dpi, LMP2, GTD, GTLM, and the newest category of LMP3.

Finishing sixth overall, the number 18 ORECE with Kyle Tilley, Dwight Merriman, Paul-Loup Chatin, and Ryan Dalziel behind the wheel took top prize in the LMP2 class.

Keeping it in the family, Jordan Taylor; along with fellow drivers Nicky Catsburg,  and Antonio Garcia brought the number three Corvette to victory in the GTLM class.

The number 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier with Gar Robinson, Spencer Pigot, Scott Andrews, and Oliver Askew sharing the driving duties led the way in the new LMP3 class.

In the GTD class, Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje, and Maro Engel brought the number 57 Winward Racing Mercedes to victory in their Rolex 24 debut.

Winners in each class win a Rolex watch.

Nearly 200 drivers came together from NASCAR, IndyCar, and Formula1 for the annual race that kicks off the IMSA racing season.  Between them the drivers hold 50 championships.

Other NASCAR drivers who participated in the 24 hour endurance race were, seven time champion Jimmie Johnson whose Dpi number 48 finished the race in second place overall.

Reigning NASCAR champion Chase Elliott’s number 31 car had mechanical issues that put them behind the wall for several laps.  The team finished the race eighth overall and sixth in class.

The number 51 RWR-Eurasia Ligier with Austin Dillon as one of the team members finished 10th overall and fourth in the LMP2 class.

Serving double duty as a commentator for NBC Sports and as a driver in the number 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura, AJ Allmendinger came in fourth overall and fourth in the Dpi class.

NHL Hall of Famer George Armstrong Dies

Former Toronto Maple Leafs player and Hockey Hall of Fame member George Armstrong died January 24, 2021 as a result of heart complications at the age of 90.

Armstrong helped the Leafs wins four Stanley Cup championships in the 1960’s.

The right winger spent 21 seasons in Toronto – 12 seasons as the team captain -, scored 296 goals, had 417 assists, and holds the record for most games played as a Maple Leaf.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975.

During the Toronto Maple Leafs centennial celebration, he was listed as 12th on the all time best 100 Maple Leafs’ players.

The Maple Leafs spoke on Armstrong saying that he, “is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization.”

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said, “a proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf, but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn’t even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row.”

One of the first members of the First Nations to play in the NHL, Armstrong was known as “Chief” (Shoot the Puck) to his team mates in an homage to his Native heritage.  He became the first Native player to score a goal in the NHL.

His jersey number was retired in 2016 and is one of the few Maple Leaf players to be honoured by a banner at the arena.

After retiring from the game in 1971 due to a knee injury at the age of 40, Armstrong spent a few years coaching before becoming a scout in Quebec.  He would later return to Toronto where he worked as an assistant general manager and was the interim coach to finish out the 1988/89 season after the Leafs fired head coach John Brophy.  The next season he returned to scouting, but this time for his beloved Maple Leafs.

The son of an Irish father and an Iroquois mother, he was born on July 6, 1930 in Skead, Ontario.

No list of survivors was given.

feature photo credit: By Unknown author – eBay front of photo back of photo, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30922860

Acting Legend Cicely Tyson Dies

Icon of stage and screen, actress Cicely Tyson died January 28, 2021 at the age of 96.  Announcing the death, the family gave no further details.

Born in Harlem, she became a pioneer in Hollywood and on the stage; choosing to take roles that had some meaning and not just anything that came along for the money.

Once noting that age was just a number, Tyson continued to work even appearing in an episode of “How to Get Away with Murder” last year.

She began her career not on the stage, but on the runway as a model.

Tyson made her Broadway debut in 1959 as the understudy in “Jolly’s Progress”.  From there she went on to appear in “The Cool World”, “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright”, “A Hand is on the Gate”, “Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights”, “Trumpets of the Lord”, “The Corn is Green”, “The Trip to Bountiful”, and “The Gin Games”.

She made her acting debut in 1951 as Tony in the television series “Frontiers of Faith”.  From there she went on to appear in nearly 100 film and television productions including “East Side/West Side”, an episode of the daytime drama “Guiding Light”, “Medical Center”, “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”, “Mission: Impossible”, “Sounder”, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman”, the first episode of “Roots” as Binta – the mother of Kunta, as Coretta Scott King in “King”, “A Woman Called Moses”, “The Women of Brewster Place”, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All”, “Sweet Justice”, “Touched by an Angel”, “The Rosa Parks Story”, Aunt Rose in “Madea’s Family Reunion”, “The Help”, “The Trip to Bountiful”, “House of Cards”, and “How to Get Away with Murder”.

As herself, Tyson as appeared on game shows, talk shows, variety shows, award shows, documentaries, and was a judge on an episode of “Star Search”.

While an Academy Award win eluded her, she was presented with an honourary Oscar in 2018.  Tyson’s awards include two Emmy Awards to her credit; along with, a Tony Award for her role in “The Trip to Bountiful” at the age of 88 – making her the oldest actors to win the award -, a Drama Desk Award, a Vernon Rice Award for her performance in the Off Broadway production “Moon on a Rainbow”, and has been inducted into the Theater and Black Filmmakers Halls of Fame.  In 2016, President Barack Obama presented Tyson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

When she won the Emmy Award for her role in the “Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman”, she became the first woman of colour to win the award for a leading role.

A first generation American, she was born December 19, 1924 in Harlem, New York to Caribbean Island parents.  The youngest of three, Cicely was only nine years old when she worked her first job of selling shopping bags on the streets of Harlem.  Before beginning her acting career, she worked as a secretary.

She is a co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Married and divorced to jazz legend Miles Davis, the couple had no children.  No list of survivors was released.

feature photo credit: By David Shankbone – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19229092

HFPA to Honour Fonda and Lear

The annual Golden Globe Awards are presented each year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  Normally they are among the first awards presented each year and are seen as somewhat of a pre-cursor of what is to come in the annual Academy Awards.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Golden Globes have been postponed nearly two months with the 78th annual awards airing February 28 with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler serving as hosts for the event.

While the nominees for the 2021 Golden Globes will not be released until February 3; the HFPA has released the recipients of this year’s Cecil B. DeMille and Carol Burnett Award winners.

Actress and activist Jane Fonda will receive the 2021 Cecil B DeMille Award.  The award is presented to an “individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment” and includes past winners Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Lucille Ball.

By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9071701

A member of the acting Fonda family, Jane is a two time Academy Award winner and the daughter of Academy Award winning actor Henry and the sister of Peter. Jane has also been presented with the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award.

HFPA President Ali Sar spoke on Fonda via a statement saying, “her undeniable talent has gained her the highest level of recognition. While her professional life has taken many turns, her unwavering commitment to evoking change has remained.”

The Golden Globes are also honouring award winning television producer Norman Lear with the Carol Burnett Award for his lifetime of award winning hit television programs. Among Lear’s hit shows are “All in the Family”, “Good Times”, “The Jeffersons”, and “Sanford and Son”.

By Louise Palanker – https://www.flickr.com/photos/louisepalanker/16972927488/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86628299

Speaking on Lear, HFPA President Ali Sar said via a statement, “most prolific creators of this generation.” Adding that Lear, “revolutionized the industry.”

The Carol Burnett Award is presented to people “who has made outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen”.

The HFPA describes the Carol Burnett Award as the small screen version of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. A new award; only Burnett herself and Ellen DeGeneres have received the award.

The 98 year old Lear has earned numerous awards for his work including six Emmy Awards, a Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts, is a Kennedy Center Honor, and has been inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. After flying 52 missions in Vietnam as a member of the United States Air Force, Lear was presented with the Air Medal.

Award Winning Actor Cloris Leechman Dies

Award winning actress Cloris Leachman died January 26, 2021 in her Encinitas, California home at the age of 94.  The cause of death is being listed as natural causes.

The Emmy and Oscar award winning actress had a career that spanned over 70 years beginning in 1947 in an uncredited role as a patron in a dance club.  Over the course of that career, she made over 400 appearances both as herself and as a credited actor.

More than just a screen actor, Leechman also appeared on the Broadway stage and performed on national touring productions including “Show Boat” and “Grandma Moses”.

Her Broadway credits are “Masquerade”, “A Touch of the Poet”, “King of Hearts”, “Sunday Breakfast”, “Dear Barbarians”, “Lo and Behold!”, “A Story for a Sunday Evening”, “As You Like It’, “South Pacific”, “Sundown Beach”, “John Loves Mary”, and “Happy Birthday”.

Along with her Theater World Award, Leechman has won a total of eight Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award, and an Academy Award as a best supporting actress in “The Last Picture Show”.

Her 2008 appearance on the competition reality series “Dancing with the Stars” which made her the oldest cast member ever to appear on the show.

With hundreds of productions to her credit, Leechman has been on numerous variety shows, documentaries, talk shows, award shows, and game shows.  She has even been a guest judge on an episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and was a guest on “The Muppet Show”.

After making her screen debut in an uncredited role in 1947, Leechman made her credited screen debut the following year in the “Ford Theatre Hour”.  Her nearly 300 film and television roles include “Kiss Me Deadly”, “Climax!”, “Lassie”, “Gunsmoke”, “Dr. Kildare”, “Young Frankenstein”, 48 episodes of her own show “Phyllis”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “High Anxiety”, “History of the World: Part 1”, “The Love Boat”, “The Facts of Life”, “The Ellen Show”, “The Twilight Zone” – original and remake, “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Raising Hope”, “Mad About You”, and the voice of Gran in “The Croods: A New Age”.  The production “High Holiday” has been completed; while “Not to Forget” is currently in post-production.

She was born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa where the family lived in a house with no running water.  She began taking piano lessons when she was only five years old and used a cardboard drawing of the keys as her practice instrument.  She first came to the attention of television fans in 1946 as Miss Chicago in the “Miss America” pageant.

After the “Miss America” pageant, she went to New York City and began her acting career on both the screen and stage.

Predeceased by her son Bryan, she is survived by her children Dinah, Adam, George, and Morgan.

feature photo credit: By Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6993667

No New Baseball Hall Members

Over the past several years, getting enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame has gotten much harder after the rash of players were caught in a Performance Enhancing Drug scandal.  And most recently, off the field activities have also come into question.

On January 26, 2021, the Baseball Writers Association of America released the news that there would be no new players enshrined into The Hall this year despite an impressive list of eligible players.  A record 14 voters failed to cast a single vote; mailing in blank ballots.

The last time the BBWAA failed to induct anyone into the Hall of Fame since 2013 and the 19th time in the BBWAA’s history.

In order to be inducted into The Hall, a player must receive at least 75 percent of the vote.  Pitcher Curt Schilling came the closest to making it in, coming 16 votes shy or 71.1 percent of the needed number of votes.

Schilling posted a request on Facebook that his name be removed from the list of eligible players next year. 

Hall of Fame Board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark said they, “will consider the request at our next meeting.”

With one more year of eligibility remaining Barry Bonds and Roger Clements received 61 perfect of the vote.

After the 2020 induction was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Hall of Fame will induct the 2020 class this summer where Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and Marvin Miller will be enshrined.

The BBWAA bases the possible induction of players based on their prowess on the field and contributions to the team; as well as, their integrity, sportsmanship, and character.

Past Champions Join Rolex 24 Field.

When the racing season begins on January 30 with the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona nearly 200 drivers will take to the track in 49 cars in a variety of makes and models.

Between them, the list includes 50 previous Rolex 24 race winners.

While the Rolex 24 Hour endurance race kicks off the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula1, LeMans, and IMSA drivers will race side by side on the road course at Daytona.

For the 59th running of the endurance race there will be five classes of cars with the addition of the Le Mans Prototype 3 series.  The LMP3 series will join The Daytona Prototype, the GT Daytona, Le Mans Prototype 2, and the GT Le Mans series in the race.

Past winners in the 2021 Rolex 24 race include Andy Lally, Joao Barbosa, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Juan Pablo Montoya, Filipe Albuquerque, Bill Auberlen, Mirko Bortolotti, Sebastian Bordais, Colin Braun, Augusto Farfus, Antonio Garcia, Rolf Ineichen, Kamui Kobayashi, Richard Lietz, John Potter, Spencer Pumpelly, Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande, AJ Allmendinger, Townsend Bell, Jonathan Bennett, Jonathan Bomarito, Andrea Caldarelli, Ryan Dalziel, Connor De Phillippi, Michael De Quesada, Pipo Derani, John Edwards, Philipp Eng, Oliver Gavin, Misha Goikhberg, Ben Hanley, Colton Herta, Oliver Jarvis, Ben Keating, Kenton Koch, Jesse Krohn, Corey Lewis, Patrick Long, Tommy Milner, and Daniel Morad.  NASCAR champions Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott are also in the field.

Genesis Reschedules UK Dates

The outbreak of the Covid-19 global pandemic last year sent musicians around the globe scattering in a search for gigs.  Thousands of concert dates were cancelled and later more were postponed as the pandemic continues to rage around the world with new strains popping up daily.

Genesis was in the middle of a reunion tour when the pandemic broke out.  They have now rescheduled the UK dates for the fall.

Titled The Last Domino, the tour is set to begin in September with Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford.

The band noted that they understand how some fans may not be comfortable in attending the show; but hopes that by pushing the tour to the fall, fans will feel more at ease in attending the shows.

Genesis The Last Domino tur dates:
Sept 15 & 16 at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland
Sept 18 at the SSE Arena in Belfast, UK
Sept 20-22 at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham, UK
Sept 24 & 25 at the Arena in Manchester, UK
Sept 27 & 28 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, UK
Sept 30 & Oct 1 at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle, UK
Oct 3 & 4 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, UK
Oct 7 & 8 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, UK
Oct 11-13 at The O2 Arena in London, UK

‘Babylon 5’s’ Mira Furlan – Delenn – Dies

Yugoslavian born actress Mira Furlan died January 20, 2021 as a result of complications from the West Nile virus in Los Angeles at the age of 65.

Best known for her role as Minbari Ambassador Delenn on the television series “Babylon 5”; Furlan has appeared in dozens of film and television productions; as well as, on the stage.

Delenn photo credit: Babylon 5 Facebook page

After the outbreak of war in what was then Yugoslavia – now Croatia and Bosnia – Furlan and her husband emigrated to the United States.

Before coming to the U.S., Furlan was a star in her own right, starring in dozens of productions and earning a number of film awards.

Furlan made her television debut while still in her native Yugoslavia in 1976 in the TV movie “Knez”. Since that time she has appeared in over 90 productions. Before coming to the United States her roles included “Rano sazrijevanje Marka Kovaca”, “Cyclops”, “In the Jaws of Life”, “When Father was Away on Business”, “The Beauty of Vice”, “Putovanje u Vucjak”, “Drugarica ministarka”, and “Smogovci”.

Since coming to the U.S. Furlan’s performances include “My Antonia”, the voice of Silver Stable in “Spider-Man: The Animated Series”, 111 episodes of the “Babylon 5” television series; as well as the franchise films; “Sheena”, “Night Stalker”, “NCIS”, “The Abandoned”, “Law & Order: LA”, “Just Add Magic”, “Lost”, and “Space Command”.

Also appearing on the stage, she was a member of the Croatian National Theater; performing at theaters all over the country.

Her theatrical appearances include “Medea”, “Cranes”, “Antigone”, “Baal”, “Don Juan in Hell”, “Yerma”, “L’illusion Comique”, “A Month in the Country”, “Helen”, “Dybbuk”, “The Devil’s Disciple”, “Three Sisters”, “’Tis Pity She’s a Whore”, “Hamlet” “Scapin”, “The Misanthrope”, Mother Courage”, and “Alpha – Beta”.

Best known for her acting prowess, Furlan has also appeared on three albums; as well as, being a published author.

Mira Furlan’s accolades and achievements include a Dramalogue Award, awarded the Best Film Actress of the Year in Yugoslavia, Golden (Zlatna) Arena Awards (Yugoslavian Oscars”), Theatre Critics Awards, Univers Readers Choice Awards for her role as Delenn in “Babylon 5”, and a Nis Film Festival Award winner.

She was born September 7, 1955 in Zagreb, (Croatia) Yugoslavia to a Croatian Jewish mother and a Slovene-Croat father.

Furlan is survived by her husband Goran and son Marko.

Feature photo credit: By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26365678

Delenn photo credit: Babylon 5 Facebook pag

Broadcasting Icon Larry King Dies

Award winning talk show legend Larry King died January 23, 2021 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 87.  While an official cause of death was not released, King had been hospitalized with the Covid-19 virus that required the application of additional oxygen.

King began his talk show career with a syndicated radio program and later moved from radio to TV via the CNN network.  King interviewed thousands of people during his career including world leaders, celebrities, and the great and the good.  In 1995, King was a part of the peach summit between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Jordan’s King Hussein, and the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

An “everyman” host, King had an easy going style when it came to conducting an interview.  He retired in 2010 saying that it was time to hang up the suspenders after 25 years and some 50,000 interviews.

While he retired from his nightly television program, King was a workaholic who was back to work after a few months off.

His accolades include two Peabody Awards, CableACE Awards, and induction into the Radio and Broadcasting Halls of Fame.

Along with his thousands of appearances on his television series, King has appeared in hundreds of television productions including talk shows, game shows, documentaries, award shows, and telethons,

He is also listed as appearing on the daytime drama “The Edge of Night”, “Arli$$”, “Sesame Street”, “Take Two with Phineas and Ferb”, “Miami Undercover”, “Ghostbusters”, “Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!”, “Crazy People”, “The Exorcist III”, “The Simpsons”, “Coach”, “Murder One”, “The Long Kiss Goodnight”, “Murphy Brown”, “Spin City”, “Contact”, “The Jackal”, “Fraiser”, “Primary Colors”, “Enemy of the State”, “The Practice”, “Arthur”, “Shrek 2”, “Fat Actress”, “Law & Order: Trial by Jury”, “Boston Legal”, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”, “Shrek the Third”, “The Closer”, “Bee Movie”, “Ugly Betty”, “30 Rock”, “Shrek Forever After”, and “American Crime Story”.

Lawrence Harvey Zieger was born November 19, 1933 in Brooklyn, the son of Eastern European Jewish parents.  He began his broadcasting career in 1957 at an AM radio station in Miami.  It was the station manager who gave King his new last name; claiming that Zeiger was “too Jewish”.  A year later he began his slow climb from a tiny local station to the national icon the world became to know.

With fame and fortune also came financial difficulties which nearly ruined King.

A three pack a day smoking habit caused King to have a heart attack and led to quintuple bypass surgery.  In subsequent years, King would suffer additional heart attacks, diabetes, and lung cancer; however, he continued to work well into his eighties.

Married eight times, divorced seven times with one annulment; King had five children.  Predeceased by children Andy and Chaia, he is survived by Chance, Cannon, and Larry Jr.

feature photo credit: By Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley. – http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=15661, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2322571

NASCAR Drivers Join Rolex 24

The NASCAR racing season kicks off with the Daytona 500 on February 14; but before that the IMSA IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gets the racing season started at the Daytona International Speedway with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on January 30 and 31.

As in years past, the 24 hour endurance race will include some drivers from the NASCAR racing series.

This year reigning NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott, seven time champion Jimmie Johnson, previous Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon, and AJ Allmendinger will all be participating as team members and driving on the road course at Daytona.

The 50 car field will feature cars in a number of different classes including the GT and prototype classes.

Winners of the annual endurance race receive a Rolex watch.

In the past Casey Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, and Jeff Gordon have all been a part of Rolex 24 winning teams.

Dale Earnhardt Sr, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Tony Stewart have also driven in the 24 Hour race.

Baseball Legend Hank Aaron Dies

This past year has been very tough on the world of baseball.  On January 22, 2021 Baseball Hall of Famer “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron died in his sleep at his home less than a month before his 87th birthday.

While best known for his breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record on the way to 755 homers; Aaron had a career average of .300, a speed demon running the bases, and was as graceful as a dancer in the outfield.  He also racked up 2,297 RBI’s, 1,477 extra base hits, 6,856 total bases – the most in MLB history – and was an MLB All Star 21 of his 23 years as a player.

He earned the National League batting title twice in his career and was a three time Gold Gloves winner.  He was named the National League MVP in 1957 and was a member of the Milwaukee Braves World Series winning team.

During his career Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs… a record that was thought would never be broken.  But on April 8, 1974; Aaron broke the record with home run number 715 in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He added nearly 40 more homers before retiring from the game.

Long time Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully summed up the historic moment with the words, “what a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world.  A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjqYThEVoSQ

He spent 23 years as a player; mostly for the Milwaukee and later Atlanta Braves.

Though he shined on the field of play; Aaron, an Alabama native, lived through Jim Crow laws, segregation, and racism…even as he homered his way to the Hall of Fame.

When Aaron was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1982 – his first year of eligibility – Aaron lacked just nine votes from receiving a unanimous vote.

Former President Barack Obama spoke on Aaron saying, “he never missed an opportunity to lead.”  Adding that Aaron was an, “unassuming man who set a towering example.”

President Jimmy Carter, who often attended Braves games with wife Rosalynn, also spoke on Aaron saying, “a breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come.”

Aaron championed for causes on the field and off.  Just a little over two weeks before his death, Aaron was very visible when getting his Covid-19 vaccine saying, “I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this.  It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country.”

After retiring as a player, Aaron spent 13 years in the front office for the Atlanta Braves; as well as a number of entrepreneurial endeavours.

Along with all of his baseball records, President George W. Bush presented Aaron with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

He was born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama.  He was “discovered” by the Braves while trying out for the Negro League team the Indianapolis Clowns.

Predeceased by younger brother Tommy, Aaron is survived by his second wife of over 40 years Billye; children Ceci, Gail, Hank Jr., Lary and Dorinda.

feature photo credit: By Chris Evans from same, United States – Hank Aaron 2Uploaded by Dudek1337, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31036607

Oscars Honour Tyler Perry

The annual Academy Awards ceremonies have been postponed until April 25 due to the global pandemic, but the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not been idle.

The Academy is honouring actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry and the Motion Picture and Television Fund with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

The Academy is awarding Perry and the MPTF for their “widespread generosity” during the pandemic.  This marks the first time in The Academy’s 90 plus year history that the award has been given to an organization.

While the pandemic has made filming movies and television programs difficult at best, Perry helped to create a safe environment for productions at his Tyler Perry Studios.

The Motion Picture Television Fund has helped thousands of entertainers with their social services program.

Academy president David Rubin spoke on Perry winning the award saying, “Tyler’s cultural influence extends far beyond his work as a filmmaker.  He has quietly and steadily focused on humanitarian and social justice causes from the beginning of his career, caring for people who are most often ignored.”

Speaking on the MPTF, Rubin said, “the work of the MPTF is more vital than ever, and the organization has gone above and beyond to help our community.”

An award not presented every year, Perry and the MPTF joins past Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winners Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey, and Geena Davis.

featur photo credit:By AMFM STUDIOS LLC – https://vimeo.com/187872284#t=1m53s, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88721896



The Academy is honouring actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry and the Motion Picture and Television Fund with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

The Academy is awarding Perry and the MPTF for their “widespread generosity” during the pandemic.  This marks the first time in The Academy’s 90 plus year history that the award has been given to an organization.

While the pandemic has made filming movies and television programs difficult at best, Perry helped to create a safe environment for productions at his Tyler Perry Studios.

The Motion Picture Television Fund has helped thousands of entertainers with their social services program.

Academy president David Rubin spoke on Perry winning the award saying, “Tyler’s cultural influence extends far beyond his work as a filmmaker.  He has quietly and steadily focused on humanitarian and social justice causes from the beginning of his career, caring for people who are most often ignored.”

Speaking on the MPTF, Rubin said, “the work of the MPTF is more vital than ever, and the organization has gone above and beyond to help our community.”

An award not presented every year, Perry and the MPTF joins past Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winners Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey, and Geena Davis.

Glastonbury Off Again

For 50 years the Glastonbury Music Festival in England has been entertaining sell out crowds with tickets selling out even before the musical lineup is released.

The Festival was put on hold last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic in hopes of reviving the annual event in June.

But unfortunately, the pandemic continues to rage and the Glastonbury organizers have once again cancelled the annual three day musical event.

Organizers Michael and Emily Eavis spoke on the festival saying, “in spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year.”  “We are so sorry to let you all down, “ they added.  The Eavis thanked fans for their support and promise better things to come.

Music lovers who have put deposits down for the 2020 show had those deposits transferred to the 2021 festival.  Those deposits have now been moved to the 2022 festival.

The Eavis have held the festival at their family farm in Worthy since 1970.  The festival consistently draws 150,000 music fans.

feature photo credit: By jaswooduk from UK – Glastonbury 2011, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18498961

NFL Names 1st Female Super Bowl Official

Six years ago Sarah Thomas made history when she became the first female to join an officiating team in the NFL.

When two of the four remaining teams – Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – take the field on February 7 at Raymond James Stadium for Super Bowl LV, Thomas again will be making history when she joins the “zebra crew”.

Thomas has been named the down judge for Super Bowl LV.

NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent Sr spoke on Thomas and her historic assignment saying, “her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor.”

Long time NFL referee Carl Cheffers will lead the seven person crew.  An officiating crew member for 21 seasons, Cheffers will be working his second Super Bowl.

Umpire Fred Bryan, line judge Rusty Baynes, field judge James Coleman, side judge Eugene Hall, and back judge Dino Paganelli fill out the on the field crew.  Mike Wimmer will serve as the replay official in the press box.

The veteran crew has a total of 88 years of NFL officiating experience and a total of 77 playoff games combined.

This is the first Super Bowl for Sarah Thomas and James Coleman; while the remaining crew members have appeared in a previous Super Bowl.

Speaking on the officiating crew Troy Vincent said, “their body of work over the course of a 17-game season has earned them the honor of officiating the biggest game on the world’s biggest stage.  They are the best of the best.”

Hall of Fame Pitcher Don Sutton Dies

Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Don Sutton died January 19, 2021 at his Rancho Mirage, California home as a result of cancer at the age of 75.

The four time All Star was one of just a handful of pitchers to surpass the lofty number of 300 wins.  With a career record of 324 wins and 256 loses and an ERA of 3.26 Sutton played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and the California Angels.  Fifty-eight of those wins were via the shut out. 

Ranking number three in the number of career starts at 756 (5,282 1/3 innings), Sutton never missed a start in the rotation.  He follows only Cy Young and Nolan Ryan have made more starts than Sutton.

He was born Donald Howard Sutton on April 2, 1945 in Clio, Alabama to sharecroppers and raised in North Florida’s panhandle.  While he showed an aptitude for baseball at a young age, Sutton was a three sport star in high school.

Signed by the Dodgers while still in Junior College in 1963, Sutton made his “Big League” debut in April 1966 and earned his first win in his next start, four days later.  He became the fourth starter in a rotation that featured Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen.

He went on to be a part of seven League championship teams; four with the Dodgers and a World Series team.   Sutton’s number 20 Dodger uniform number has been retired.

After his long career on the field, Sutton worked as a broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves; joining Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Ernie Johnson Sr, and Ernie Johnson Jr before retiring at the end of the 2018 season.

Along with his baseball career, first as a player and later as a broadcaster, Sutton tried his hand at acting in an episode of “Fantasy Island” and some game show appearances.

Sutton is survived by his second wife Mary and children – Daron, Staci, and Jacquie.

feature photo credit: By Adam Fagen – Don Sutton, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16312815

NFL Names More Super Bowl Music Talent

The stands may be over half empty at Raymond James Stadium for the Super Bowl on February 7, but there will be plenty of action on the field before, during, and after the game.

For months football fans have been hearing that award winning artist The Weeknd will be performing during the halftime festivities.  But there will be plenty of music going on prior to the game as well.

R&B artist Jazmine Sullivan will join forces with award winning Country music artist Eric Church to perform the National Anthem; rapper Warren “WAWA” Snipe, who is also deaf, will be performing the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful” via American Sign Language.

Grammy Award winning Rock artist H.E.R. will perform “America the Beautiful” as a part of the pre-game festivities.

Blimp Baby Finds a New Home

While the soon to be former President of the United States searches for a new home outside of the White House, his giant baby blimp has found a permanent home.

Born in the United Kingdom in 2018, the giant balloon has found a home in The Museum of London.  The giant orange baby wearing a diaper and holding a mobile phone in a tiny hand was a part of the protests that sprouted when Donald Trump made a visit to England.

The Museum of London director Sharon Ament spoke on the new acquisition saying, “by collecting the baby blimp, we can mark the wave of feeling that washed over the city that day and capture a particular moment of resistance.”

The baby blimp will become just one of the exhibits in the museum’s “protest collection”.  The collection also includes artifacts from women’s suffrage, Iraqi War protests, and spending cuts in Britain.

Created in a London pub, a group of friends were looking to express their displeasure over the U.S. President’s policies.

Since its birth, the baby blimp has flown over the Houses of Parliament and made an appearance in the United States.

feature photo credit: By Steve Bowbrick from Radlett, United Kingdom – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74992129

Daytona 500 Taps More Drivers/Luke Combs

As the NFL season approaches the end of its season, NASCAR fires its engines and prepares for another season of racing.

In football the season ends with the Super Bowl” but in NASCAR the season begins with one of the biggest races of the season – the Daytona 500.

NASCAR kicks off the season with a two week event known as Speedweeks that features half a dozen races across the three racing series; culminating with the 500.

Among the teams fielding cars for the “big race” is Spire Motorsports who has tapped NASCAR veteran Jamie McMurray to drive the number 77 car.  An analyst for FOX Sports, McMurray has not been behind the wheel full time for a number of years.  He last raced in the 2019 Daytona 500.

McMurray spoke on his opportunity to drive the number 7 car saying, “it doesn’t get any better than the Daytona 500, and I am so excited to have the opportunity, thanks to AdventHealth, to run this race one more time. I have enjoyed my time out of the car as an analyst covering NASCAR, but nothing can replace the feeling of actually racing.”

Also gearing up for a run in the Daytona 500 is Ty Dillon – younger brother to Austin Dillon and grandson of car owner Richard Childress.  Dillon will be driving the number 96 car for Gaunt Brothers Racing.

Dillon spoke on his chance to run in the 500 saying, “Gaunt Brothers Racing has given me a great opportunity to compete in the Daytona 500 and I couldn’t be happier.  I love superspeedway races and the Daytona 500 is the biggest of them all. Toyota has certainly proven itself in our sport and in the Daytona 500. I’m looking forward to racing with them and reuniting with Bass Pro Shops and Black Rifle Coffee Company.”

As a part of the pre-race festivities before the 63rd running of the Daytona 500 on February 14, award winning Country music artist Luke Combs will perform.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Combs will perform live before a limited number of fans while millions of other will watch via their television sets.

Combs spoke on his upcoming performance saying, “I grew up watching the NASCAR race every Sunday with my granddad; that was our thing.  I never could have imagined back then that I’d be playing the Daytona 500 one day, so this is super awesome and is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile also spoke on Combs upcoming performance saying, “the tradition of the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show has been an incredibly popular hit with race fans.  Luke has been one of the most influential country music stars over the last few years and his fan appeal is incredible. It’s a bonus, too, that he loves our sport. He will help get another thrilling DAYTONA 500, as well as a new NASCAR season, off to an exciting start.”

The Speedweeks festivities kick off on February 9 with the Prime Time running of Busch Clash at Daytona.

Speedweeks racing schedule:
Feb 9 – Busch Clash
Feb 10 – NASCAR Cup Series qualifying
Feb 11 – Cup Series Duals
Feb 12 – Camping World Truck Series qualifying and NextEra Energy 250
Feb 13 – Xfinity Series qualifying and Beff, It’s What’s for Dinner 300
Feb 14 – Daytona 500

Allman Betts Band

With the new year comes a new hope that artists and musicians can return to live performances and tours. 

With that in mind, the Allman Betts Band has planned a long list of shows beginning later this month.

Allman Betts Band tour dates:
Jan 29 at ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, TX
Jan 30 at The Kessler in Dallas, TX
Feb 1 & 2 at Dosey Doe in The Woodlands, TX
Feb 3 at Lafayette’s in Memphis, TN
Feb 4 at the Saenger Theater in Mobile, AL
Feb 5 at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC
Feb 6 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine, FL
Feb 9 & 10 at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, FL
Feb 11 at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, FL
Feb 13 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN
Feb 14 at the Riverfront Live in Cincinnati, OH
March 5 at The Egg Center in Albany, NY
March 7 at the Wall Street Theater in Norwalk, CT
April 11 at the Hawaii Theater Center in Honolulu, HI
April 17 at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux Falls, SD
April 20 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, MS
April 24 at The Martin Centre in Douglas, GA
April 27 at Duling Hall in Jackson, MS
April 28 at the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge, LA
April 29 at the Acadiana Center for the Performing Arts in Lafayette, LA
May 1 at the First Financial Music Hall in El Dorado, AR
May 27 at the Francis Marion University PAC in Florence, SC
May 28 at the Papa Joe’s Banjo B Que Music Festival in Augusta, GA
May 29 at the Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN
June 1 at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, TN
June 2 at the Mars Music Hall in Huntsville, AL
June 4  at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL
June 10 at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC
June 26 at the Kate Wolf Music Festival in Laytonville, CA
June 26 at the Steamboat Springs Summer Concert Series in Steamboat Springs, CO
June 27 at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, CO
July 1 at the Kunstrasen in Bonn, Germany
July 11 at the Bospop in Weert, Netherlands
July 16 at the St Louis Music Park in Maryland Heights, MO
July 17 at the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, IL
July 18 at the PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati, OH
July 22 at the Rockland Bank Trust Pavilion in Boston, MA
July 23 at the Maine Savings Pavilion in Westbrook, ME
July 24 at the R10 Venue in Long Creek, New Brunswick
July 27 at The Rooftop at Pier 17 in New York City, NY
July 29 at the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland, OH
July 30 at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, IN
July 31 at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, MI
Aug 1 at the Rose Music Center in Huber Heights, OH
Aug 5 at The Toyota Music factory in Irving, TX
Aug 6 at the Landers Center in Southaven, MS
Aug 10 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL
Aug 12 at the Mecu Pavilion in Baltimore, MD
Aug 13 at The Sonte Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, NJ
Aug 15 at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater in Charlotte, NC
Aug 17 at the Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC
Aug 18 at the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount, VA
Aug 19 at the CCNB Amphitheater in Simpsonville, SC
Aug 20 at the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN
Sept 3 at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA
Sept 4 at the Crystal Bay Club in Crystal Bay, NV
Sept 5 at the Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafeal, CA
Sept 7 at the Grass Valley Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, CA
Sept 9 at the Roseland Theater in Portland, OR
Sept 10 at the Temple Theater in Tacoma, WA
Sept 11 at the Fox Theater in Spokane, WA
Sept 21 at Knuckleheads in Kansas City, MO
Oct 9 at the King Buscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AR

2021 Critics’ Choice Awards Nominees

In a normal year, award season would have already begun with the presentation of the Golden Globes and nominee lists for some of the other awards.

But as we have all seen, this has been far from a normal year…

On January 18, the Critics’ Choice Association announced the nominees for the 2021 Critics’ Choice Awards.  The winners will be revealed on February 7 with Taye Diggs serving as host of the event.  The results will be aired in a television broadcast on March 7.

“Ozark” and “The Crown” lead the way with six nominations each with “Lovecraft Country”, “Mrs. America”, “Schitt’s Creek”, and “What We Do in the Shadows” follow with five nominations each.  “Better Call Saul”, “The Plot Against America”, “Perry Mason”, and “This is Us” also garnered multiple nominations.

One notable omission from the nominees is Ellen DeGeneres and her highly successful talk show.  DeGeneres is a staple of the nominees in the Daytime Emmys.

And the nominees are:
Best Drama Series:
“Better Call Saul”
“The Crown”
“The Good Fight”
“Lovecraft Country”
“The Mandalorian”
“Ozark”
“Perry Mason”
“This is Us”

Best Actor in a Drama Series:
Jason Bateman for his role in “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown for his role in “This is Us”
Jonathan Majors for his role in “Lovecraft Country”
Josh O’Connor for his role in “The Crown”
Bob Odenkirk for his role in “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys for his role in Perry Mason

Best Actress in a Drama Series:
Christine Baranski for her role in “The Good Fight”
Olivia Colman for her role in “The Crown”
Emma Corrin for her role in “The Crown”
Claire Danes for her role in “Homeland”
Laura Linney for her role in “Ozark”
Jurnee Smollett for her role in “Lovecraft Country”

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
Jonathan Banks for his role in “Better Call Saul”
Justin Hartley for his role in “This is Us”
John Lithgow for his role in “Perry Mason”
Tobias Menzies for his role in “The Crown”
Tom Pelphrey for his role in “Ozark”
Michael K. Williams for his role in “Lovecraft Country”

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Gillian Anderson for her role in “The Crown”
Cynthia Erivo for her role in “The Outsider”
Julia Garner for her role in “Ozark”
Janet McTeer for her role in “Ozark”
Wunmi Mosaku for her role in “Lovecraft Country”
Rhea Seehorn for her role in “Better Call Saul”

Best Comedy Series:
“Better Things”
“The Flight Attendant”
“Mom”
“PEN15”
“Ramy”
“Schitt’s Creek”
“Ted Lasso”
“What We Do in the Shadows”

Best Actor in a Comedy Series:
Hank Azaria for his role in “Brockmire”
Matt Berry for his role in “What We Do in the Shadows”
Nicholas Hoult for his role in “The Great”
Eugene Levy for his role in “Schitt’s Creek”
Jason Sudeikis for his role in “Ted Lasso”
Ramy Youssef for his role in “Ramy”

Best Actress in a Comedy Series:
Pamela Adlon for her role in “Better Things”
Christina Applegate for her role in “Dead to Me”
Kaley Cuoco for her role in “The Flight Attendant”
Natasia Demetriou for her role in “What We Do in the Shadows”
Catherine O’Hara for her role in “Schitt’s Creek”
Issa Rae for her role in “Insecure”

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
William Fichtner for his role in “Mom”
Harvey Guillen for his role in “What We Do in the Shadows”
Daniel Levy for his role in “Schitt’s Creek”
Alex Newell for his role in “zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
Mark Proksch for his role in “What We Do in the Shadows”
Andrew Rannells for his role in “Black Monday”

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Lecy Goranson for her role in “The Conners”
Rita Moreno for her role in “One Dayh at a Time”
Annie Murphy for her role in “Schitt’s Creek”
Ashley Park for her role in “Emily in Paris”
Jaime Pressly for her role in “Mom”
Hannah Waddingham for her role in “Ted Lasso”

Best Limited Series:
“I May Destroy”
“Mrs. America”
“Normal People”
“The Plot Against America”
“The Queen’s Gambit”
“Small Axe”
“The Undoing”
“Unorthodox”

Best Movie Made for Television:
“Bad Education”
“Between the World and Me”
“The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel”
“Hamilton”
“Sylvie’s Love”
“What the Constitution Means to Me”

Best Actor in a Limited Series or Made to TV Movie:
John Boyega for his role in “Small Axe”
Hugh Grant for his role in “The Undoing”
Paul Mescal for his role in “Normal People”
Chris Rock for his role in “Fargo”
Mark Ruffalo for his role in “I Know this Much is True”
Morgan Spector for his role in “The Plot Against America”

Best Actress in a Limited Series or Made to TV Movie:
Cate Blanchett for her role in “Mrs. America”
Michaela Coel for her role in “I May Destory”
Daisy Edgar-Jones for her role in “Normal People”
Shira Haas for her role in “Unorthodox”
Anya Taylor-Joy for her role in “The Queen’s Gambit”
Tessa Thompson for her role in “Sylvia’s Love”

Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Made to TV Movie:
Daveed Diggs for his role in “The Good lord Bird”
Joshua Caleb Johnson for his role in “The Good Lord Bird”
Dylan McDermott for his role in “Hollywood”
Donald Sutherland for his role in “The Undoing”
Glynn Turman for his role in “Fargo”
John Turturro for his role in “The Plot Against America”

Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Made to TV Movie:
Uzo Aduba for her role in “Mrs. America’
Betsy Brandt for her role in “Soulmates”
Marielle Heller for her role in “The Queen’s Gambit”
Margo Martindale for her role in “Mrs. America”
Winona Ryder for her role in “The Plot Against America”
Tracey Ullman for her role in “Mrs. America”

Best Talk Show:
“Desus & Mero”
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”
“The Kelly Clarkson Show”
“Late Night with Seth Meyers”
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”
“Red Table Talk”

Best Comedy Special:
Michelle Buteau with “Welcome to Buteaupia” 
Fortune Feimster with “Sweet & Salty”
Hannah Gadsby with “Douglas”
Marc Maron with “End Times Fun” 
Patton Oswalt with “I Love Everything” 
Jerry Seinfeld with “23 Hours to Kill”

Best Short Form Series:
The Andy Cohen Diaries”
“Bett Call Saul: Ethics Training with Kim Wexler”
“Mapleworth Murders
“Nikki Fre$h”
“Reno 911!”
“Tooning Out the News”

feature photo credit: Chritics’ Choice Awards Facebook page


Phil Spector Dies

Grammy Award winning Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame music producer Phil Spector died January 16, 2021 in a California state prison hospital at the age of 81.  According to prison officials, the death is listed as natural causes.

Credited with changing the way music fans listened to rock and roll, Spector was convicted of murder in 2009 for the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson.

Channeling his inner Richard Wagner, Spector created the “Wall of Sound” into pop and rock music where songs featured vocal harmonies and orchestral arrangements that included overdubbing and sound effects.

Former Beatle and songwriter John Lennon referred to Spector as “the greatest record producer ever”.

Over the course of his career Spector has worked with numerous artists including The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison, Darlene Love, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell, Hal Blaine, Glen Campbell, Sonny Bono, Cher, Leonard Cohen, The Ramones, and Ronnie Spector.

He is listed as a co-writer on the hit song “Spanish Harlem” and lent his guitar skills to The Drifters for their smash hit “On Broadway”.

Despite his years of success, Spector’s name appears on only one gold album – his own “Back to Mono”.

Spector’s music appears in over 200 film and television productions including “American Dad”, “The Simpsons”, talk and late night shows, “GLOW”, “Pose”, “Screen Queens”, variety shows, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, competition reality shows, “Glee”, “Pretty Little Liars”, “How I Met Your Mother”, “Gilmore Girls”, “My Cousin Vinny”, “Cheers”, “Dirty Dancing”, “Top Gun”, “The Partridge Family”, and “I’ve Got a Secret”.  Spector also has two acting credits in “Easy Rider” and an episode of “I Dream of Jeannie”.

Harvey Phillip Spector was born December 26, 1939 in New York City to an iron worker and seamstress.  While still fairly young, Spector’s father committed suicide.  A short time later, his mother moved the family across country to Los Angeles where Spector formed a band whith some mates.  The band, who called themselves the Teddy Bears, saw their first success with the original song “To Know Him is to Love Him”.  After high school Spector returned to New York City where he became a part of the music scene.

Predeceased by his father and young son Phillip Jr; Spector is survived by his children – Gary, Louis, Donte, and Nicole.  He was married and divorced four times.

Phil Spector discography:
“A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector”
“Phil Spector Wall of Sound, Vol. 5: Rare Masters Vol. 1’
“Wallpaper of Sound: The Songs of Phil Spector and the Brill Building”
“Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound Retrotspective”

feature photo credit: By Kingkongphoto & http://www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA – Phil Spector, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74876017
 

Trackhouse Racing Gets New Co-Owner

NASCAR has made the news several times lately for the new ownerships with some big name sports figures. 

On January 15, another high profile figure joined the world of NASCAR when Armando Perez signed on as part owner in Trackhouse Racing. 

The Latin music world best knows Perez as the award winning, chart topping artist as Mr Worldwide himself – Pitbull. 

Pitbull joins Justin Marks as the owners of Trackhouse Racing with Mexican born Daniel Suarez as the team’s driver.  Suarez will drive the number 99 car.

Pitbull spoke on his new venture via a team release saying, “as soon as I met Justin, (team president) Ty Norris and Daniel, we were on the same page.  They welcomed me aboard, and now we’re going to show the world NASCAR is not only a sport but it’s a culture.”

Trackhouse owners Marks and Pitbull plan to go beyond just fielding a Cup Series car; they are looking to collaborate on other philanthropic efforts including education programs in inner cities.

Justin Marks said, “from day one of creating Trackhouse Racing, I wanted our team to be a platform for purpose, to transcend the sport and positively impact all races on and off the track.  I am proud that in just a few months we are here announcing a partnership with one of the most influential and recognized artists in the world. Within the first 10 minutes of our first meeting, it was clear Armando and I share a vision and passion for impacting the lives of the underrepresented. We are creating and compelling a movement of positivity and possibility, using the platform and excitement of sports and music.

NASCAR also spoke on the new partnership with Marks and Pitbull via a statement saying, NASCAR is excited to welcome international recording star Pitbull into the NASCAR family, as he joins Trackhouse Racing and an incredibly talented driver in Daniel Suárez.  Pitbull is an iconic talent in the music industry and has tremendous passion for NASCAR racing.  We look forward to working with him to further engage diverse audiences and introduce new fans to our great sport.”

Trackhouse noted that Pitbull plans to be on hand at Daytona International Speedway on February 14 for the Daytona 500.

feature photo credit: Pitbull’s Facebook page

NHRA Alters 2021 Schedule

The NHRA drag racing season doesn’t even begin until the middle of March; but they are already having to rearrange the schedule for the 2021 racing season.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic issues, the NHRA has had to cancel the April 23-25 Arizona Nationals event at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona.

The NHRA is looking at other venues to fill the open date including adding an event at a track that has previously not hosted an NHRA event.

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park general manager Mark Grado spoke on the decision saying, “we have enjoyed being host to the NHRA Arizona Nationals for the past 36 years.  However, due to many circumstances beyond our control, including current COVID-19 restrictions, unfortunately, the event is not feasible for the 2021 season.”

The pandemic hit the NHRA events hard last season, permitting only eleven of the season’s events.

2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule:
March 12-14 – the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL
March 26-28 – the NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, GA
April 9-11 – the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, CA
April 16-18 – the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Fur-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas, NV
May 14-16 – NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Fur-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, NC
May 21-23 – the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals in Houston, TX
June 4-6 – the Virginia NHRA National in Richmond, VA
June 11-13 – the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, NH
June 24-27 – the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Morwalk, OH
July 16-18 – the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, CO
July 23 -25 – the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, CA
July 30-Aug 1 – the Flav-R-Pac Northwest Nationals in Seattle, WA
Aug 13-15 – the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, KS
Aug 19-22 – the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, MN
Sept 1-5 – the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN
Sept 10-12 – the NHRA Nationals in Reading, PA
Sept 17-19 – NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, NC
Sept 24-26 – the NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis, MO
Oct 7-10 – Texas NHRA FallNationals in Dallas, TX
Oct 29-31 – Dodge NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, NV
Nov 12-14 – the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, CA

feature photo credit: NHRA’s Facebook page

Siegfried of Siegfried and Roy Dies

Illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher died January 13, 2021 in his Las Vegas home as a result of pancreatic cancer at the age of 81.

Fischbacher was half of the illusion duo Siegfried and Roy.  Partner Roy died last year at the age of 75 as a result of complications form the Covid-19 virus.

Siegfried and Roy spent years entertaining audiences on the Las Vegas strip with their illusions.  The act was in danger in 2003 after Roy was attacked by white tigers used in the act.  Siegfried and Roy were known for using exotic animals in their acts.

The duo officially retired in 2010.

The duo first teamed in while still in Germany in 1957 on a cruise ship with Roy as Siegfried’s assistant.  They gave their first performance in Las Vegas in 1967.

Besides making magic, Siegfried was one of the executive producers for 13 episodes of the television series “Father of the Pride”.  He is also credited as an actor in “Showboy”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Vegas Vacation”, and “Lookin’ to Get Out”.

He was born in Rosenheim, Germany on June 13, 1939 where he began learning magic tricks while he was still a small child.


feature photo credit: By Carolhi at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Quadell using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=98862051

Grala & Gragson Get New Rides

With less than a month before the Daytona 500 kicks off the 2021 racing season, the car owners are getting the teams ready to race; including signing part time drivers to run a limited number of races in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Kaulig Racing has announced that Kaz Grala will be driving a limited number of races in the number 16 car; including the Daytona 500.

Grala spoke on his opportunity via a team statement saying, “this is a huge opportunity for me both personally and professionally.  I’ve grown up dreaming of reaching the NASCAR Cup Series, so it will be really special to get more chances to race against my heroes, with Kaulig Racing being the perfect team to take that next step with. I can’t thank Matt Kaulig and (team president) Chris Rice enough for trusting me in their Cup program, as well as RCR for helping shape my career the past couple seasons.”

Kaulig Racing president Chris Rice also spoke on the signing of Kaz Grala saying, “we’re super excited to have Kaz join our team in 2021, and we can’t wait to get started with him at Daytona.  He has had some great success in different series and layouts at Daytona, so we think he will be a great addition to our team beginning with the Daytona 500.”

At age 18, Grala became the youngest drivers to win at Daytona in 2017 driving in the Camping World Truck Series.

Grala also ran the road course at Daytona last year when he filled in for Austin Dillon.  Most recently, Grala drove a limited number of races in the Xfinity Series for Richard Childress Racing.


Beard Motorsports has also made a new driver announcement with the signing of Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson  for a run in the Daytona 500.

Gragson is a full time Xfinity Series driver for JR Motorsports (owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr); driving the number nine car.

Gragson has already seen success at Daytona by winning the Daytona race in the Xfinity Series last season.

Via a Beard Motorsports team release, Gragson said, “I’m excited and humbled to have this opportunity with Beard Motorsports.  As a young racer from Las Vegas, I had always dreamt of racing in the Daytona 500. I’m very appreciative of the faith the Beard family and Brendan have in me, and equally appreciative to JR Motorsports for allowing me to pull double duty and compete for them in the Xfinity Series and also Beard Motorsports while we’re down in Daytona.”

Noah Gragson replaces Brendan Gaughan who retired last season.

Kennedy Center Names 2020 Honors

A December tradition, the Kennedy Center Honors was moved to May due to restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

The five artists being honoured in the 2020 KCH feature award winners that include an actor, a dancer, and three musicians.

The Kennedy Center Honors pays tribute to members of the entertainment world for their lifetime of artistic achievement.

Highlighting a week of events is a medallion ceremony and live performances on May 17, the Kennedy Center has a week’s worth of events planned with limited audience attendance.

Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein spoke on the 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honorees saying, “the Kennedy Center Honors serves as a moment to celebrate the remarkable artists who have spent their lives elevating the cultural history of our nation and world.  Debbie Allen moves seamlessly between artistic disciplines and is a cultural ambassador for all while having a monumental impact on dancers of color everywhere; folk icon Joan Baez breathed new life into the genre and powered rock music’s turn toward social and political consciousness; as one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Garth Brooks heightened country music’s profile like no other singer before him; with an international presence for over 35 years, violinist Midori combines graceful precision and expression for performances building connections between art and the human experience; with a charm that has made him one of the most cherished performers in show business history, Dick Van Dyke has brought us beloved film, stage, and TV characters adored by generations of fans, for more than seven decades.”

Many fans will recognize Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant in the hit television series “Fame”.  But Allen has also appeared on a number of television shows; as well as the Broadway stage.

Joan Baez is a folk music icon who has been the voice of social consciousness for many years.

Country music icon and legend Garth Brooks not only has a room full of trophies; he also leads the way when it comes to Diamond Awards for albums selling at least 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Violinist Midori has been entertaining Classical music fans for over 30 years with her graceful precision and expressive performances.

Award winning actor Dick Van Dyke has been entertaining audiences on stage and screen for over 60 years.

NY Governor Aims to Restart NY’s Cultural Economy

It has been 10 months since the lock downs began in hopes of quelling…or at least slowing down…the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  The entertainment sector has been the hardest hit with the closure of theatres, no live performances, and sporting events without fans.

As a part of his State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the issue  that includes initiatives to get the economy started once again.

The New York Arts Revival will officially begin February 4 and is set to be a joint public and private initiative that will include performances and events.

According to Governo Cuomo; award winning performers Renee Fleming, Hugh Jackman, Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Wynton Marsalis, the National Black Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake, and Arts Nova are among those joining the initiative.

While details have yet to be laid out,, the performances will follow Covid and health protocols including outdoor venues and social distancing.

New York and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will be joining forces for the Creatives Rebuild initiative to put 1,000 artist back to work.

In his address Cuomo said, “safely Bringing Back the Arts with Pop-Up Performances and Events: New York is the cultural capital of the world. Our unique cultural assets — Broadway, museums, film, comedy, dance, and music — are fundamental to both the economy and the spirit of New York.  He noted that the cultural industry of New York brought in $120 billion and 500,000 to the state of New York and with the onset of the Covid pandemic tens of thousands of jobs have been lost; as well as, billions of dollars in revenue.

The recently passed Open Culture bill will also help to provide support artists presenting outdoor ticketed  events and is set to begin in March.

After being cancelled last year, the Tribeca Film Festival is scheduled to return in June.  Currently the timetable for Broadway to reopen is also this June.

Currently there are many cultural programs available via the internet and streaming; however, there are many low income households who cannot afford the high price of internet service.  Cuomo plans to introduce a first of its kind bill to offer affordable “Internet for All” with service as low as $15 per month.

Needtobreathe to Play Outdoor Shows

Rockers Needtobreathe have not been on the concert stage since last January but will be taking the stage in March when they perform two outdoor concerts.

The concerts will become a live album set for an April release.

In 2015 the rockers released “Live from the Woods Vol. 1”  On April 16 they will be releasing “Live from the Woods Vol. 2”.

In a socially distanced outdoor event, Needtobreathe will play The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee on March 13 and 14.

Tickets for the event will go on sale January 15 beginning at noon central time.  Seating in the above ground amphitheater will be in two, four, and six person pods beginning at $80 per person.

NCAA Sets March Madness Location

After the 2020 NCAA Basketball season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NCAA has taken a play out of the NBA playbook and will hold the entire post-season in a single location.

The Hoozier state of Indiana will host all of the March Madness games (67 of them) in an attempt to keep down the possible outbreaks and spikes in the Covid-19 virus.

So far this season, several teams have had to postpone and cancel games due to positive Covid tests.

NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke on the decision saying, “there are a number of world-class facilities in a close location and that was critical because you have to run a large number of games simultaneously that you can manage and control.  There were a number of cities that were very interested in hosting this event, but the immediate opportunity to do this in Indianapolis was pretty self-evident for several reasons. For one, we were already going to be there.”

The Final Four games had already been scheduled for Indianapolis.

In a normal year, the March Madness games are scattered about the country in over a dozen locations.

Louisville coach Chris Mack said, “I really don’t care if they play the tournament on Saturn or in Indianapolis.”

Selection Sunday is currently scheduled for March 14 where the 68 post season teams will be announced with the championship game set for early April.

Due to Covid-19 protocols, the NCAA will most likely have fewer games per day in order to give to for cleaning and sanitizing  between games.  While some family members of players will be allowed inside to see the games, the number of fans allowed in the arenas will be determined according to local mandates.  Covid tests will be conducted prior to each game and the teams will have their own designated areas for gathering in their hotels.

Along with the various facilities designed to playing basketball in and around Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Field – home of the Indianapolis Colts – will also have two basketball courts constructed for tournament play.

Evansville, an southern Indiana city just across the Ohio River from Kentucky, will host the Division II championship, while Fort Wayne, in northeastern Indiana, will host the Division III championship.

Similar protocols are expected for the women’s tournament with information being released soon.

Another B’way Show Closes

As the closure of theatres on Broadway continue, the risk of more shows not making a return to the stage once productions open once again.

After presenting over 800 performances in the August Wilson Theatre, producers have decided to close the musical “Mean Girls”.

However, once performances and touring will be allowed to resume, the national touring production of “Mean Girls” will go on.

The musical, which was based on the 2014 film by the same name, has a film adaptation of the musical in the works.

“Mean Girls” follows in the wake of the musical “Frozen” which had previously announced in May that it would not reopen once Broadway was allowed to resume.

When the Covid-10 pandemic caused a closure of Broadway on March 12, 16 shows that had been scheduled to premiere never made it to the stage.  While some of the shows have moved their opening dates to 2021, others like “Hangman” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” have scrapped production plans.


Grammy Awards Date Moved

Ten months after the first signs of trouble and lockdowns, the Covid-19 virus still has the nation in its grip.  As cases continue to rise on the west coast and has California under a massive lock down, the Recording Academy has made some changes to the annual Grammy Award presentations.

Normally scheduled for the final Sunday in January or the first Sunday in February, The Academy has moved the 63rd annual Grammy Awards to March 14, 2021.

In a joint statement, members of the Recording Academy released a statement saying, “after After thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear, we are rescheduling the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® to be broadcast Sunday, March 14, 2021. The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show.”

The statement continued, “we want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.”

For a list of the 2021 Grammy Award nominees go to: https://wordpress.com/posts/wordsmusicandnews.com?s=Grammy

GH’s Sean Donely – John Reilly – Dies

Veteran actor John Reilly died January 9, 2021 at the age of 84.

His daughter Caitlin announced Reilly’s death via social media but gave no details about the cause of death.

Reilly appeared in over 80 film and television productions but was best known to daytime drama fans for his role as WSB agent Sean Donely on the daytime drama “General Hospital” – a role he held for eleven years and 76 episodes.

He made is television debut in 1956 in an episode of the daytime drama “As the World Turns”.  He went on to appear in a wide variety of programs including “Gunsmoke”, “Kojak”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, the original “Hawaii Five-O”, “How the West Was Won”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “The Love Boat”, Roy Ralston on six episodes of “Dallas”, “Newhart”, “Dynasty”, “Paper Dolls”, 20 episodes of “Iron Man”, Bill Taylor in eight episodes of “Beverly Hills 90210”,  “Mortal Kombat: Conquest”, Del Douglas in 22 episodes of “Sunset Beach”, Mike Armstrong in nine episodes of “Arli$$”, and Alistair Crane in 107 episodes of “Passions”.

He was born John Henry Matthew Reilly on November 11, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois.

Reilly is survived by his second wife Liz and three daughters.

feature photo credit: “General Hospital” Facebook page

Steve Wynn

As the Covid-19 restrictions drag on, artists continue to put tour plans on hold.  But rocker Steve Wynn has planned a tour of another sort…a virtual tour.

Keeping it in the family with his wife Linda Pitmon on drums, the “Impossible Tour” begins January 17 and “travel” to 13 cities around the world.

The performances will actually take place at their rehearsal space “The Chimp Factory” in Queens but the duo will be performing the shows as if they were actually in the advertised city.

Speaking on his upcoming “tour”, Wynn said, “2020 was the first year that I spent mostly off the road, and I felt it was time to get back out there. For the Impossible Tour, I’ll be playing back-to-back shows every Friday – one in Europe and then, a few hours later, one in the U.S.” 

Wynn will be using StageIt as his performance/streaming platform which will allow him to appear to paly a show in the U.S. and then another in Europe a few hours later; all without leaving the comfort of his home…er, rehearsal studio.

The brick and mortar venues will sell tickets for their respective virtual shows just as they would for a live show and receive compensation for the tickets sold.

Wynn continued, “I was hoping to simulate normalcy until normalcy is normal again, and it’s a way to help out favorite venues who are struggling mightily at the moment, just like artists who make their living from touring are. It is my hope, too, that the venues will also enjoy the fun of putting on, promoting, and hosting a show.”

The Impossible Tour dates:
Jan 17 at the Germi in Milan, Italy
Jan 17 at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH
Jan 24 at Pop Torgal in Ourense, Spain
Jan 24 at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle, WA
Jan 31 at the Tiki Bar in Athens, Greece
Jan 31 at SPACE in Chicago, IL
Feb 7 at Loppen in Copenhagen, Denmark
Feb 7 at Kiki’s House of Righteous Music in Madison, WI
Feb 14 at Ekko in Utrecht, Netherlands
Feb 14 at 3Ten in Austin, TX
Feb 21 at the Bronson in Revenna, Italy
Feb 21 at the Turf Club in St. Paul, MN
Feb 27 at the Mercury Lounge in New York City, NY

Dodger Legend Tommy Lasorda Dies

Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda died January 7, 2021 in Fullerton, California as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest at the age of 93.

The long time Los Angeles Dodger’s manager was on hand when the Dodgers took home the World Series trophy after beating the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field in Texas in 2020, after a 32 year dry spell.

The man who once said he “bleeds Dodger blue”, had hoped to live to see 100, but heart issues cut that dream short.  It was those same heart issues that forced Lasorda to retire from coaching in 1996.

At the time of his death, Lasorda was the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  That distinction now goes to 89 year old Willie Mays.

The 2021 baseball season is still a couple of months away, but that did not stop the Dodgers and fans from honouring Lasorda.  The flags were lowered to half mast, his number two jersey hung in the dugout and the number two was painted on the field.  Fans stopped by the stadium to leave flowers, candles, and Dodger memorabilia.

He began his career with the Dodgers while they were still in Brooklyn as a pitcher.  He later turned to coaching and then spent 21 years as the team’s manager where he led the team to two World Series championships.  After he retired in 1996, Lasorda became a baseball ambassador and a special advisor to Dodgers owner Mark Walter.  At the time of his death, Lasorda had spent a total of 71 years with the Dodgers.

During his 21 year career as the manager for the Dodgers, Lasorda racked up two World Series championships, four National League titles, eight division titles, was the manager in four All-Star games,  and a record of 1,599 wins and 1,439 loses.

His accolades include induction into 17 Halls of Fame including the National Baseball Hall of Fame, a gold medal for the baseball Team USA at the Sydney Olympics, the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, has an asteroid name after him, and has eight honourary doctoral degrees.

While best known as the manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lasorda made numerous appearances on television including sporting events, variety shows, talk shows, “Hee Haw”, “A Yabba-Dabba-Doo Celebration!: 50 Years of Hanna-Barbera”, “Who’s the Boss”, documentaries, the jerry Lewis Telethon, “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, “Rome is Burning”, the daytime drama “The Young and the Restless”, news shows, “Fantasy Island”, “Hart to Hart”, “Police Squad!”, “CHiPs”, “Simon & Simon”, and the voice of Lucky Lasorda in “Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco”.

He was born Thomas Charles Lasorda on September 22, 1927 in Norristown, Pennsylvania the son of Italian Immigrants.  His baseball career began in 1945 as a Philadelphia Phillies but missed the next two seasons while serving in the military.  After his service, he returned to the Phillies before being traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  After losing his spot in the rotation to a young Sandy Koufax, Lasorda played for the Kansas City Athletics, the New York Yankees, and the AAA Denver Bears before making a return to the Dodgers.  Before becoming the Dodgers’ manager, he was a scout and a third base coach for the team.

Predeceased by his son Tom Jr, Lasorda is survived by his wife of 70 years Jo, daughter Laura, and granddaughter Emily.

feature photo credit: By Djh57 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10613940

Santino Ferrucci Moves to NASCAR

The news that a race car driver switching from one racing format to another is no longer a rare event.  NASCAR champions Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon both came to NASCAR from IndyCar racing.  And seven time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has just retired from NASCAR to begin driving in IndyCar.  Danica Patrick also made the switch from IndyCar to NASCAR.

The latest driver to make the switch is IndyCar Series driver Santino Ferrucci who will be making the move to NASCAR and the Xfinity Series for the 2021 season.

With a focus on the intermediate and short tracks, Ferrucci is scheduled to make 20 race starts beginning with the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on February 27.

The young driver has never run a race in a stock car but recently completed a road test in a Super late Model car at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina.

Like many other racers, Ferrucci will be running in the Chili Bowl Nationals next week.  Currently 20 current and former NASCAR drivers will be competing in the annual Midget car races in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ferrucci spoke on his new venture via a team release saying, “I’m incredibly proud to join Sam Hunt Racing.  I think together, we will have a ton of success. Working with Sam these past few weeks has been fantastic and his drive to put out a great racecar and team is second to none.”.

He continued, “the transition to NASCAR will be tough especially with no practice, qualifying, or testing but I welcome the challenge. My limited experience before the green flag in Miami will be the Chili Bowl and my Super Late Model test.”

Ferrucci continued with, “so far, everyone at NASCAR and the people that make up the NASCAR community have been very welcoming to me, the testing that I’ve done has gone really well, and I am excited to start racing!”

Ferrucci has spent three seasons with IndyCar, making 35 race starts and winning Rookie of the Year honours at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.

Prior to racing in IndyCar, the Connecticut native spent time in Europe as one of the development drivers for Haas Formula 1.

Team owner Sam Hunt spoke on his newest driver saying, “Santino’s passion and drive was apparent the first time we sat down together.  I had heard about him, seen some stories from open wheel, but waited to form my opinion until we spent some time together one on one. He’s a great kid. He’s passionate, and he’s ready to learn the race craft of NASCAR.

Hunt continued, “he’s situationally aware and works hard for every sponsor and investor he has. I have no doubts that he will be a strong competitor for us once he learns how these heavy cars drive, and how these races run. We are all excited to get to work with him.”

feature photo credit: Santino Ferrucci’s Facebook page

NASCAR Allows Practice, Qualifying for Some Races

the Circuit of Americas race on May 23
the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 30
the race at Nashville Superspeedway on June 20
the race at Road America on July 4
the Road Course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 15
and the final race of the season at Phoenix Raceway on November 7

Whether or not practice and qualifying and the races involved for the Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series will be determined at a later date.

After NASCAR returned to racing after a seven week absence, the field was set by a random draw based on standings.  That format was later replaced with a formula based on a driver’s performance to determine the starting grid.  NASCAR will announce what formats will be used to determine the starting grid for the remaining races in the coming weeks.

Whitesnake Gets the Blues

On February 19 rockers Whitesnake will release the final album in their trilogy “Red, White, and Blues” with “The Blues Album”.

The album will feature hit songs and deep album tracks from the albums released between 1984 and 2011.

Best known for their hard rocking music, Whitesnake’s albums also featured some Blues Rock which will comprise the tracks for the new album including “Slow An’ Easy” and “Give Me All Your Love”.

https://youtu.be/rdRahZssqso

Sammy Hagar Releases Lockdown Songs

Two thousand twenty was a rough year all around, but especially for musicians and performers who could no longer perform.  Many of them turned to live streaming gigs via social media and streaming platforms simply to keep in touch with their fans and just to keep making music.

Sammy Hagar; along with Vic Johnson, Michael Anthony, and Jason Bonham were a few of these musicians.

Hagar has compiled those “lockdown” performances into a new album titled “Lockdown 2020” set for a January 8 release.  The album includes music by The Who, David Bowie, Van Halen, Bob Marley, and AC/DC. 

https://youtu.be/s6KTHHnr5uU

Proceeds from the sale of the album will be donated to various food banks around the country.

Hagar spoke on the project saying, “when we first started doing these lockdown sessions, it was only meant to stay in touch with the fans until we could get back out on the road again.  But as the weeks and months drew on, it also became a fun way to keep the band together, musically and creatively.”

“Lockdown 2020” tracklisting:
“Funkyh Feng Shui
“Won’t Get Fooled Again”
“Good Enough”
“Three Little Birds”
“Whole Lotta Rosie”
“For What it’s Worth”
“Keep A-Knockin’”
“Right Now”
“Don’t Tell Me What Love Can Do”
“Sympathy for the Human”
“Heroes”

feature photo credit: By Simon Davison from Los Gatos, United States – P9030177, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5136288

Anthony Alfredo Gets a Cup Ride

Anthony Alfredo is the latest Xfinity Series driver to make the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series for the 2021 season.

Front Row Motorsports signed Alfredo will driver the number 38 car, previously driven by John Hunter Nemechek who left the team at the end of the 2020 season.  He will be joining Michael McDowell, who drives the number 34 car, as the second full time driver for Front Row Motorsports.

After retiring from full time driving, David Ragan will join the FRM drivers for the Daytona 500 on February 14.

Known as “Fast Pasta”, Alfredo spoke on his new ride via a statement saying, “this is really an unbelievable moment.  When you start out racing karts as a kid, you dream of making it to the sport’s top level. I want to thank Bob Jenkins and everyone at Front Row Motorsports for making this dream a reality. I know the challenges ahead, but I’m here to work hard and prove myself.”

Alfredo will qualify for the  Sunoco Rookie of the Year honours in the coming season.

feature photo credit: Anthony Alfredo’s Facebook page

NASCAR’s Larson Loses Spotter

NASCAR driver Kyle Larson knows all about the power…or damage of words.

Last year the driver was suspended after uttering a derogatory word over an open radio.

After being re-instated, Larson was signed by Hendrick Motor Sports to fill out his team of four drivers as the driver for the number five car which is replacing the number 88 car.

Even before the 2021 racing season begins, Kyle Larson’s team has already lost a member…over words.

Larson’s spotter, Monez, has been let go from the team over some Tweets including one that appears to promote a QAnon conspiracy theory.

Hendrick Motor Sports will announce a new spotter for Larson in the coming weeks before the teams head to Daytona International Speedway.

NFL Wild Card Games Set

Despite numerous issues surrounding the Covid-19 virus that resulted in multiple postponements and the rescheduling of games, the NFL completed all 256 games…and on time.

The regular season is over and it is time for the playoffs to begin with two days of triple header Wild Card games this weekend.

Due to the virus, the NFL has altered the format for the playoffs; allowing for only the number one seed to have a buy weekend.

In the AFC – American Football Conference – the Kansas City Chiefs get the weekend off.  On the NFC – National Football Conference – the Green Bay Packers get the buy.

The Wild Card action kicks off  at 1pm on Saturday (Jan 9) with the Indianapolis Colts traveling to Buffalo to take on the Bills in Orchard Park, New York.  New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo is allowing some six thousand fans into the stadium for the game on a cold but sunny afternoon.

Next up the Los Angeles Rams travel north to Seattle to take on the Seattle Seahawks for their third matchup of the season.  During the regular season, each team took a game to a win.

In the night cap, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head out of sunny Florida for a trip to Landover, Maryland to take on the Washington Football Team who clinched the AFC East title after beating the Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of the regular season to end the year with a record of seven wins and nine losses.

On Sunday (Jan 10), the Tennessee Titans get the day of football started with the second game of the weekend in Maryland against the Baltimore Ravens.

In the second game of the triple header, the Chicago Bears head south to the Crescent City to take on the New Orleans Saints in the Super Dome.

Wild Card weekend concludes with a rematch between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Steelers lost to the Browns in Cleveland on week 17; but this time around the Brown will travel across Lake Erie to play the Steelers at “The Big Ketchup Bottle” (Heinz Field).

NFL Hall Names Finalists

As the 2020/21 NFL playoff season is set to begin, the NFL Hall of Fame has whittled down the list of candidates for the 2021 class of nominees for induction into the Hall of Fame.

From the long list of candidates 15 have been selected as finalists from which the newest class will be selected.

Leading the list of the Modern Era candidates is two time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning.  During his career, Manning played for the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos and won a Super Bowl with each team.  Manning also holds the record for winning the most MVP’s with five, was named to the Pro Bowl 14 times, is a seven time All-Pro selection, and is a member of the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

The remaining finalists for the NFL Hall of Fame are:
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson
St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Torry Holt
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne
Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders and Green Bay Packers defensive back Charles Woodson
Tampa Bay Bucaneers defensive back Ronde Barber
Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos free safety John Lynch
Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Carolina Panthers defensive end Jared Allen
New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders defensive end and tackle Richard Seymour
Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Zach Thomas
Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons linebacker Clay Matthews
New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers linebacker Sam Mills

NFL Coaching Carousel Begins

The NFL regular playing season means more than just the end of play for many of the teams; it also means a number of coaches and general managers will find themselves looking for a new job.

While a team teams did not wait until the end of the season, January 4 was indeed a “Black Monday” for others.

Last October the Atlanta Falcons fired both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after the Falcons started the season with five losses.  Quinn had a record of 43 and 42 over a five season tenure.

After a brutal Thanksgiving day loss, the Detroit Lions went on a firing spree with general manager Bob Quinn, head coach Matt Patricia, and special teams coach Brayden Coombs all losing their jobs.  Patricia had a record of 12 wins with 29 loses and one tie during his time with the Lions.

After starting the season with four losses, the Houston Texans fired general manager and head coach Bill O’Brien.  O’Brien had a record of 52 and 48 while with the Texans.

The Los Angeles Chargers finished the 2018 season with a record of 12 and four; but have finished the past two seasons with a losing season.  As a result; the Chargers have fired head coach Anthony Lynn.

With just one win in the 2020 season and cementing the number one draft pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars have fired head coach Doug Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell.  After four season with the Jaguars, Marrone had a record of 23 wins and 43 losses.

After starting the season with 13 straight losses and finishing the season with a record of two and 14, the New York Jets have fired head coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  IN two years with the Jets, Gase had a record of nine and 23.

After a tumultuous season that resulted in a four and 12 record, the Carolina Panthers have fired general manager Marty Hurney.  Hurney was fired on December 21 when the Panthers had a four and 10 record.

It was a rough first year in a new stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders who finished the season with an eight and eight record.  After a blow out win by the Indianapolis Colts, the Raiders fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

The coaching carousel has begun and is sure to see plenty of movement among coaches and teams during the off season.

SRX Racing Announces 2021 Schedule

NASCAR Hall of Famers Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham have created a new racing series called SRX – Superstar Racing Experience.

On January 4, the short track series released the racing schedule for the inaugural 2021 season.

Featuring some Saturday Night Racing, the series will run for six weeks in the summer beginning June 12.  Included in the series is a dirt track race at Eldora Speedway.

While he retired from racing in NASCAR and continues to be part owner in Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart has continued to run short tracks every chance he got.  He will be one of the drivers participating in the new SRX series.  Other drivers currently scheduled to be a part of the new racing series are former IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves, Paul Tracy, and Tony Kanaan; retired NASCAR drivers Bobby Labonte and Bill Elliott; Willy T. Ribbs, Mark Webber; and Ernie Francis Jr.

SRX co-founder Ray Evernham spoke on the series saying, “with a six-week back-to-back schedule that crosses America, visiting some of the most historic and challenging short tracks in auto racing, the SRX series will be a must-watch, and I am so excited to see these legends on the track.”

Fellow owner Tony Stewart also spoke on the series saying, “our goal in crafting the inaugural SRX schedule was to feature tracks that are challenging, unique and have a strong motorsports history. This six-race series does just that.  Four renown pavement tracks in Stafford, Lucas Oil Raceway, Slinger and the Nashville Fairgrounds and the two most prestigious dirt tracks in the country – Eldora and Knoxville. All demand respect and each forces drivers to adapt. What works at one track won’t necessarily transfer to another.”

Using a format similar to the old IROC series with multi series drivers, Stewart continued, “these venues have seen some of the best racers in the country, but this will be the first time drivers from so many different disciplines will be racing on these historic tracks all at the same time. We’re proud to deliver another exceptional event to each of these tracks’ already rich histories.”

Races are set to begin at 8pm and will be broadcast on CBS.

SRX Racing schedule:
June 12 at Stafford Motor Speedway
June 19 at Knoxville Raceway
June 26 at Eldora Speedway
July 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway
July 10 at Slinger Speedway
July 17 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

feature photo credit: SRX Racing Facebook page

F1 Champ Gets Knighted

Seven time Formula One racing champion Lewis Hamilton now has a new accolade to add to his list…and name; that of Sir after being named in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s year end list of honours to citizens of the Commonwealth.

The Honours list, issued twice a year – once for the New Year and again for Her Majesty’s birthday, recognizes performers, politicians, sports figures, and other notable citizens for their contributions to their field and the Commonwealth.  Awards include Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and Knight/Dame.

With his seventh championship, Hamilton ties retired German driver Michael Schumacher for the record.  American NASCAR drivers Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr, and Jimmie Johnson also have earned seven racing championships.

Hamilton used his championship status to champion causes against racism this past season.


Other notable Queen’s List honourees include comedic actress Sheila Hancock was knighted and carries the title of Dame.
Influential makeup artist Pat McGrath was also knighted with the title of Dame.
Academy Award winning cinematographer Roger Deakins was knighted.
Actress Lesley Manville was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Florence Nightingale Foundation chief executive Greta Westwood was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Actor Toby Jones was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Writer Jed Mercurio was award with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Footballers Jimmy Greaves and Ron Flowers each received the Member of the Order of the British Empire.
The list also honoured numerous Britons who made significant contributions during the global pandemic.

Def Leppard to Enter The Vault

Live performances are on hold for the foreseeable future and traditional recording is a study in logistics; but for veteran rockers there is a musical vault of material that didn’t make the cut on previous albums.

On January 13, 2021, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Def Leppard will open up their vault of music.  But instead of compiling a new album, the rockers are turning that vault into a form of museum filled with artifacts, stories, and special installations from the band’s history beginning in 1977.

Def Leppard’s Phil spoke on the project saying, “with the world shutdown at the moment, it was the perfect time to… raid our closets and basements and actually do a collection of kind of artifacts.”

The band has created a video to tease fans of things to come…

French Composer and Pianist Claude Bolling Dies

Grammy nominated Classical and Jazz artist Claude Bolling died December 29, 2020 in Garches, France at the age of 90.  An official cause of death was not released.

A professional musician since he was a teen, Bolling has worked with numerous artists including Lionel Hampton, Yo-Yo Ma, Brigitte Bardot, Juliette Greco, Hubert Laws, Angel Romero, Jean Pierre Rampal, Roy Eldridge, and Kenny Clarke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CjczBrfDUM

His album “Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano” with Jean Pierre Rampal went gold and spent over 500 weeks on the Billboard music charts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-_QOlCJUek

Bolling showed a little humour with his composition “Toot Suite for Trumpet and Jazz Piano”.

Over the course of his career, Bolling has composed music for over 100 film and television productions including “Lucky Luke”, “The Pleasure of Love”, “The Tiger Brigades”, “The Awakening”, “California Suite”, “Take Me to the Ritz”, “The Passengers”, “The Day and the Hour”, and “The Navigator”.

His music also appears on over two dozen soundtracks including “The Joker”, “The Holiday”, “The Thorn and the Rose”, “Holy Year”, “The Probability Factor”, and “Blood on the Streets”.

He is even credited with being an actor in “Chance or Coincidence”, “Ca va plaire”, “The Tiger Brigades”, “The Woman in Blue”, “The Day the Clown Cried”, and “Night Heat”

He was born Claude Jean Harry Bolling on April 10, 1930 in Cannes, France.

Predeceased by his wife of nearly 60 years, Irene, Bolling is survived by his sons David and Alexandre.

Claude Bolling discography:
“Claude Bolling Play Duke Ellington”
“Les Succes de Django Reinhardt”
“French Jazz”
“Nuances”
“Rollling with Bolling”
“Sensas!”
“Bolling’s Band’s Blowing”
“Cat Anderson, Claude Bolling and Company”
“Original Ragtime”
“Original Bolling Boogie”
“Original Boogie Woogie”
“Ragtime, Boogie Woogie & Jazz Classics”
“Swing Session: Claude Bolling and the Show Biz Band”
“Bolling: Concerto for Classic Guitar & Jazz Piano Trio”
“Claude Bolling: Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio”
“Claude Bolling: Suite for Violin and Jazz Piano Trio”
“L’Etrange Monsieur Duvallier”
“Borsalino/Borsalino and Co.”
“The Awaking” (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”
“Bolling: Picnic Suite”
“Bolling: Toot Suite for Trumpet & Jazz Piano”
“Only Have Eyes for You”
“Claude Bolling Big Band”
“Jazz a La Franciaise”
“Louisiane” (Bande Originale du Film)
“Bolling: Suite No. 2 for Flute & Jazz Piano Trio”
“Jazz Brunch”
“California Suite”
“Bolling: Sonatas for Two Pianists”
“Claude Bolling: Suite for Chamber Orchestra & Jazz Piano Trio”
“Netchaiev Est de Retour”
“Flute Suites”
“Bolling Plays Ellington, Vol. 1”
“Bolling Plays Ellington, Vol. 2”
“First Class”
“With the Help of My Friends”
“Cross Over U.S.A.”
“Concerto Pour Violon”
“Guitar Concerto”
“L’Anee Sainte”
“Le Magnifique”
“Black, Brown & Beige”
“The Victory Concert”
“Flute/Jazz Piano Suite”
“Claude Bolling”
“Cinemadreams”
“A Tribute to Duke Ellington”
“A Tone Parallel to Harlem”
“Inspirations”
“Paris Swing”
“Jazz in Paris: Claude Bolling Plays the Original Piano Greats”
“A Tribute to My Favourites”
“Claude Bolling: Sonae pour deux pianistes”
“Live at the Meridien Paris”
“A Tribute to the Piano Greats”
“Crooner’s Dream”
“All Time Favourites”
“A Drum is a Woman”
“Plays Brassens, Bechet, Vian, Becaud”
“Claude Bolling: American Movies”
“L’Ordinateur des Pompes Funebres” (Original Soundtrack”
“Vivre La Nuit”
“Lucky Luke” (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”
“Les Passagers”
“Jazz”
“L’Homme en Colere/Un Papillon Sure l’Epaule”
“La Gitane: Le Leopard”
“Cinema Piano Solo: 21 Classiques de Claude Bolling”
“Big Band Panorama”

feature photo credit: Claue Bolling’s Music Facebook pag

KISS Sets New Records

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band KISS did not let a ban of large gatherings put a damper on their New Year’s Eve plans.  The rockers broadcast via live stream a concert from The Royal Beach in Atlantis, Dubai that not only entertained thousands; but also set a couple of new records in the “Guinness Book of World Records”.

Known for some impressive pyrotechnics during their shows, KISS spent nearly a million dollars on them for the show.  The performance broke the current records for the highest flame projection and the most flame projections launched simultaneously during a music concert.

The rockers were also hoping to break the record for the highest grossing live concert stream by a rock band; but there is no word on whether the attempt was successful.

Fans wishing to watch the performance can go here: https://www.tixr.com/groups/landmarkslive/events/kiss-2020-goodbye-nye-live-stream-20370.

feature photo credit: KISS’ Facebook page

McGuire Sister Phyllis Dies

Phyllis McGuire – the last surviving member of the girl group The McGuire Sisters – died December 29, 2020 in her Las Vegas home at the age of 89.  No official cause of death was given.

Phyllis was the youngest of the three singing sisters; along with Dorothy and Christine.  She was also the lead singer in the group.

Popular before the creation of the Grammy Awards, The McGuire Sisters earned six gold records and were best known for the hits “Sugartime” and “Sincerely”.  Their other accomplishments include command performances before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and five U.S. Presidents; as well as, induction into the National Broadcasting and Vocal Group Halls of Fame.

The girls got their start singing in church as small children and later performed at weddings.

Rising to fame during World War II, the trio performed together for many years before breaking up; but returned on a number of occasions to perform as a trio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRvEHn6fKWE

Phyllis and her sisters made their television debut in 1952 on “The Kate Smith Hour”.  Their other television appearances include “Arthur Godfrey and His Friends”, “The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom”, “The Steve Allen Plymouth Show”, “The Phil Silvers Show”, “What’s My Line?”, “The Hollywood Palace”, and “The New Hollywood Squares”.

As herself, Phyllis McGuire appeared on “The Jack Benny Hour”, “Password”, “Perry Cuomo’s Kraft Music Hall”, “The Mike Douglas Show”, “The Kraft Music Hall”, “The Joey Bishop Show”, “Della”, “The Bob Braun Show”, “The Dean Martin Show”, “The Merv Griffin Show”, “Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson”, “Vicki!”, and documentaries.  She is also credited as being an actress in “The Ed Sullivan Show”, “Come Blow Your Horn”, “The Red Skelton Hour”, and “The White River Kid”.

She was born Phyllis Jean McGuire on February 14, 1931 in Middletown, Ohio.

Predeceased by sisters Dorothy and Christine, she was married briefly in the 50’s.  The couple had no children.

The McGuire Sisters/Phyllis McGuire discography:
“By Request”
“S’Wonderful”
“He”
“Sincerely”
“Children’s Holiday”
“Teenage Party”
“When the Lights are Low”
“Musical Magic”
“Greetings from the McGuire Sisters”
“Sugartime”
“In Harmony with Him
“His and Hers”
“Just for Old Times Sake”
“Subways are for Sleeping”
“Songs Everybody Knows”
“Showcase”
“The McGuire Sisters Today”

feature photo credit: By CBS Television – eBayfrontback, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31687216

Razzies Add New Award

The annual Razzie Awards pay homage to the worst of Hollywood.

For the 41st annual awards ceremony, The Razzies – Golden Raspberry Awards – have created a special category for the Worst Calendar Year in honour of pandemic plagued 2020.  It is unclear as to exactly who will receive the Special Govern’s Award at the April 24 ceremonies, but 2020 will officially be known as “The Worst Calendar Year EVER!”

The Razzies are traditionally handed out on the evening before the annual Academy Award ceremonies honouring the best in film on the “biggest night in Hollywood” with the passing out of “The Giving Out of the Little Gold Naked Men”.

Following the new guidelines released for the Oscars, the Razzies too have adopted some new rules to reflect the changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic…

For the first time in Razzie history, films that were released directly to streaming services will be eligible for Razzie nominations…and  possible wins.

While the nominations will not be released until some time in March; early contenders are the big budges bomb “Dolittle”, “Iron Mask” with Jackie Chang and Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and the Polish “365 Days” which has a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Winners for the Razzies are determined by the more than 1,000 Golden Raspberry members from around the world.

feature photo credit: courtesy of The Razzies and razzies.com