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Archive for November, 2011

Merry Christmas, from the NBA!

When Commissioner David Stern spoke out on Saturday and said that although not yet ratified and finalized, it looked as though the NBA Players Association and the NBA had come to a deal. Pending that finalization, ball would be back in play on December 25, Christmas Day. And while that deal hasn’t yet been finalized, fans are already feeling the holiday spirit and stuffing their stockings with season tickets and their favorite jerseys.

The outlook is good. Players, including free agents, will be able to enter all 30 gyms and NBA facilities as of tomorrow, Thursday, December 1. Along with them, one media relations official per team is allowed in the facilities (so fans can still get all the behind-the-scenes stories.) And while trainers and strength coaches are allowed in, they are not permitted to instruct in any way, being there to strictly assist.

Coaches, general managers, and NBA executives are not allowed to enter any building until the deal is ratified and finalized; and although agents of players can speak to different teams, no contracts can be signed or entered into until December 9, when the free agency period begins.

But with no deal finalized, is it too soon to hope for the return of the NBA? In the words of Kevin Love, forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves, “It’ll be good to see the organization from top to bottom when it’s all said and done, helping us prepare for the upcoming season. Soon after the doors open up on Thursday, I’m hoping to see guys back to work.”

Experience the Blue Man Group Live and in Person

The TV show Arrested Development helped introduce the Blue Man Group to mainstream audiences, but theatre aficionados knew of this group of entertainers well before the 2000s ever began. (In fact, they released their first audio recording in the year 1999) The Blue Man Group actually dates back to 1987 and was founded by Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton.

What is the point of it, besides the whole guys in blue gimmick? The group produces both theatrical shows and concerts, which involve music, comedy, multimedia and tribute performances (music, movies, TV reproductions.). The organization features three members called Blue Men who wear “blue “skin” while performing. The original founders are no longer acting, but have delegated others to adhere to the same principles of the group. Now, over 50 people have taken up the Blue Man skin.

What can you expect from a Blue Man Group show if you have never seen such blue men outside of Avatar, Watchmen or Tobias Funke? The trio loves to explore science and technology in their comedy acts, and love to act perplexed at such artifacts of modern society. They are at once self-conscious and yet naïve when it comes to their “performance.”

Some of their past “hits” include attempting to create an elegant dinner for an audience member with Twinkies, or climbing the rooftop of a venue in order to perform. It’s sometimes postmodern performance, but it’s actually quite funny in the traditional sense. The recurring theme is that the Blue Men are outsiders to the rest of the world, and the way in which the audience sees them is part of the gag.

The Blue Man Group has already performed for major venues such as Las Vegas, The Tonight Show, and even on TV shows like Arrested Development and Scrubs. The latest news in the Blue Man Group world is that the trio may star in a new IMAX 3D movie sometime in 2011 or 2012. The working title is “Blue Man Group: Mind Blast” and is set to be directed by David Russo.

Why not catch these oddities in person and enjoy a show live? It’s quite a thrill and will leave you breathless with laughter…but not to the point that you’re “blue.” Get your Blue Man Group tickets today!

Celine Dion Goes to Vegas!

You may have known of Celine Dion before Titanic (perhaps from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack), but it’s hard to deny that her performance in “My Heart Will Go On” is what captivated the world over. So whatever happened to Celine Dion? This Canadian born singer isn’t washed up and dancing with the stars…she is still touring across the country singing her heart out.

The latest news is that Celine is returning to Las Vegas and Caesars Palace. She will be performing here for at least three years, starting in 2011, meaning we have another two years to enjoy her in Sin City. Celine Deion will do 70 shows a year and will focus on her Hollywood songs, including the famous you know what. She recently sang at the 83rd Academy Awards and performed the song “Smile.”

Now if that isn’t a sign that you’ve made it, then maybe this one is. FlightNetwork conducted a poll, asking nearly 800 people, “which celebrity they would like to sit next to the most on a plane?”, to which the majority replied Celine Dion. Go figure, apparently her gentle and soulful voice is much preferable to someone like Adam Sandler or Fran Drescher, for obvious reasons.

No chance of running off with this heartbreaker though — Celine Dion is married and has been in love with Rene Angelil (now her husband-manager) since her teenage years. They started dating in 1987 and became engaged in 1991. Their first child Rene-Charles Angelil was born in 2001. In 2010, Dion gave birth to twins, Eddy and Nelson.

So although Dion is busier than ever before, she is far from retiring or fading. This performer, who is characterized by a love for sentiment and soul, cites performers like Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, the Bee Gees and Michael Jackson as inspirations. Quite a diverse selection, which does explain Celine’s unique and yet powerful voice.

Why not come experience a belting and beautiful number in person? Yes, a Hollywood song, immortalized by great on-screen memories. Celine and Vegas makes perfect sense and will become one of your favorite memories for a very long time.

Chicago – Differences Between the Movie and the Musical

You may think you’ve already seen Chicago if you’ve seen the film adaptation of the musical play starring Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones. Though the movie is certainly a bold and stylish tribute to Bob Fosse’s original vision, you are missing out by not experiencing Chicago in person.

What are the differences between the film and play? Bob Fosse’s direction and choreography is obviously felt to a greater extent in the play, as the movie is a loose interpretation by Rob Marshall, one more concerned with creating cinematic experience. Just play the DVD and note the stylish and visually dazzling rendition of the Cell Block Tango. Camera presence, lighting and close up focus shots are luxuries musicals cannot afford. Thus, musicals have to make up for it with superior, whole-stage choreography, and–if if we do say so ourselves–better singing and acting.

Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones are not professional singers or dancers, though they did adapt to Marshall’s vision very well, after presumably hundreds of takes. To experience Chicago in person is a delight–it’s a live theatrical performance and there are no other takes.

Speaking literally, the main difference between the film and live musical is the fact that Roxie Hart daydreams all of her success and musical performances in the movie, whereas in the play, it is actually “happening.” There are also many subtle differences in character casting, musical notes and lyrics in several key scenes, and the omission of some songs. For instance, there is a major plot twist involving reporter Mary Sunshine in the musical–not so in the film. In fact, film actress Christine Baranski does not sing as much as the musical actress cast, who has an entire number called “There’s a Little Bit of Good in Everyone.”

We must realize that comparing theater to movies is like apples and oranges, and it’s not really a fair comparison, comparing a musical phenomenon like Joel Grey (who played loser husband Amos in the original) with John C. Reilly who is an actor first, singer second.

The main reason to visit Chicago in person is to experience the “voice” of Fosse and friends Kander and Ebb! It’s time for more jazz and liquor in 2012, coming to a stage near you! Get your Chicago Musical tickets today!

Vince Gill & Amy Grant Planning 12-Day Christmas Tour

It was in 2006 that Amy Grant and Vince Gill started bringing fans the very best of the holiday season with their annual Christmas tour; and they’ve just announced that this year will be no different. The couple has just announced that once again, they’ll be bringing the holiday cheer all across the U.S. with the 2011 tour The 12 Days of Christmas — Amy Grant & Vince Gill.

In typical fashion, the duo will get the audience involved in the two-hour long concert, getting them to sing along with some of the most beloved traditional Christmas carols, as well as some contemporary tunes when it’s time to mix things up. It’s those audiences that both singers have come to love. Amy says on her official website, “Christmas audiences are special. They tend to involve the whole family, and their emotions are a wonderful mix of anticipation and reverence.” Gill agrees, saying, “These holiday tours have become our favorites.” The tour kicks off on December 7 in Baltimore, Maryland and will wrap up in their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee for two dates, December 20 and 21. For a complete listing of dates, you can check out Amy’s official website here.

Vince Gill can be considered one of the founding fathers of country music, with multiple Grammy awards, CMA awards, and other select awards under his belt. When Amy Grant first came onto the scene in the late 70s, she was primarily a Christian singer and was one of the first to make the switch to contemporary music in the early 90s. After making the crossover she became a household name with her hit album, Heart in Motion, which had huge hit singles such as Baby Baby, That’s What Love is For, and Every Heartbeat. Since that time, Amy has gone back to recording primarily Christian and holiday music.

Jimmy Buffett Kicks Off 2012 with New Tour Dates

Fans have seen him, and now they’re begging for more! It was in April of this year that Jimmy Buffett took his Coral Reefer band all throughout Canada and the United States on his “Welcome to Fin Land” tour, and now he’s ringing in the New Year by adding more dates!

There are currently just three of them, but it’s enough to get any Parrothead excited, especially considering that Jimmy Buffett is known for traveling and touring often to bring his music to his fans — because that’s what he’s all about! Now living the island lifestyle and having a personal belief that all things should be carefree and fun, that’s exactly the tone that Buffett strives for at each and every concert.

He’s known for starting off shows with some of his biggest hits and having theatrical elements to his shows, which always makes for a great time for everyone! Jimmy is also known for extending his shows into unheard-of lengths, with shows typically consisting of about 25 songs. And among those 25 songs, fans can always count on the “Big 8,” which are some of Buffett’s most famous songs such as Margaritaville, Cheeseburger in Paradise and most recently, his duet with Alan Jackson, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere. And when fans want it to keep on going — it does, typically with not one, but two encores!

The new dates that Jimmy has added to his “Welcome to Fin Land,” tour are: Miami, Florida on January 28; Jacksonville, Florida on January 31; and Charleston, South Carolina, on February 2. The tour is appropriately titled “Welcome to Fin Land,” as Jimmy often asks fans to “raise their fins and wave them back and forth,” much like a shark waves their dorsal fin. This time in the concert usually comes as Buffett prepares to launch into his hit song, Fins.

It is Time to Hear the Lovely Voice of Crossover Superstar Taylor Swift in Person

If you haven’t heard of Taylor Swift, then I have to ask, how is your life living under that rock?  This young (currently only 21 years of age) American singer has some powerful vocal chords and has managed a pop-country crossover, drawing in country fans and teens alike.  Her lyrics are very personal, and she has said “it’s like reading my diary.”  The year 2008 was big for this young singer as her album sales made her the biggest selling musician of the year in the U.S.  So what exactly has Miss Swift been up to lately?

It has been quite an amazing couple of years for this new singing star.  In 2006, her hit “Tim McGraw” reached all the way to 6th on the Billboard Country Songs chart, and when her album followed, her hits kept on coming.  In 2007, Swift became the youngest singer ever to achieve the Artist of the Year Award from the Nashville Songwriters Association.  The year 2008 saw her second album entitled “Fearless” released.  Seven songs on the album went on to top spots on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2009, Swift began to tour, and found many sold out shows of happy fans.  She had a musical guest appearance on Saturday Night Live in 2009 and performed at the 51st Grammy Awards.  Also in 2009, her song titled “Love Story” had the most paid digital downloads of any country song.  She then became the youngest artist to ever win the ACM Album of the Year Award!  The year 2010 saw her newest album Speak Now released to rave reviews.  Finally, in 2011, Taylor Swift is bigger than ever and just about to start her “Speak Now” World Tour starting on November 21, 2011.  Whew, what a ride it has been so far!

Swift has also claimed that she has already written more than 20 songs for her next album, but for now, you’ll have to be content with Speak Now, as her next album isn’t due out until late 2012.  Catch Taylor Swift singing her hits like  “Teardrops on My Guitar”, “Our Song”, “Picture to Burn”, and of course, “Love Story” on her latest tour, as well as new hits from her newest album.  Get Taylor Swift tickets quick as these shows are selling out fast!

Leonard Cohen Releasing New Album – First in 7 Years!

The fact that music legend, Leonard Cohen, has an album coming out is enough to have fans on the edge of their seats. But with a release date of January 31, 2012, it’s going to be here soon too!  Add to this the fact that it’s all going to be brand new material, and fans are practically salivating at the mouth. You can’t blame them; it’s been seven years since Cohen has released anything.

Some of those fans have already gotten a taste of the music. On his lengthy world tour, which took place between 2008 and 2010, Cohen performed some of the new material, including Darkness, Lullaby, Born in Chains, and Feels so Good. When talking about the new album with the press in Spain, Cohen humbly admitted that “I’ve played it for a few people and they seem to like it.”

Varying from folk music to pop to cabaret, and nearly everything in between, Cohen has always been known most for his brilliant songwriting and the lyrics that are more poetry than anything else. But, he says, “it’s a struggle” coming up with new material and that each time, no matter how much you’ve written in the past, “you [always] start from scratch.”

Fans do have some idea what to expect from the album, as Cohen has announced that the album would be titled Old Ideas, perhaps a bit of a play on words, seeing as how the music is all new. And don’t let his 77 years fool you, either. Although his past 2-year tour may have been his biggest ever, he’s always entertaining the idea of going back out on the road; and that he’ll consider going on tour to promote this album as well, although he’s not promising anything.