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Archive for October, 2011

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is Still a Stage Classic

It started as a simple dinner with friends, and gradually deteriorated into a night of shouting, humping, murder and madness. You won’t understand what that means until you see the reality behind George and Martha’s illusions. If you haven’t seen Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in person then you haven’t truly experienced the madness.

Yes, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is still touring all across the United States, and perhaps in a city near you. It may well have been decades since you’ve last seen the story unfold, and you’re probably thinking of the classic 1966 films with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. While it’s hard to imagine topping these two manically great performances, the true brilliance of this story is in the dialogue and subtext, as written by Edward Albee. It is definitely worth another viewing, as each new production you can enjoy different “flavors” of interpretation from a brand new cast.

For example, consider that in the new 2004-2011 tour, the play has been performed by the likes of Kathleen Turner (as Martha) and Bill Irwin (as George). Irwin’s part was so masterful he even won a 2005 Tony Award for his retreaded and yet powerful role. New actors in these roles don’t channel Burton and Taylor–they truly make the part their own, they usurp the identity and leave a part of themselves in George or Martha.

The latest production of the play was by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the original production’s opening night, so make your plans to be there, to take part in George and Martha’s madness. In newer productions, lesser-known Hollywood names play the roles, which allows for a brand new experience. Mostly recently, veteran actors Amy Morton and Tracy Letts have taken up the roles and have earned the respect of Edward Albee.

Make no mistake, Albee is not one to sit back and collect residuals. The playwright has often times rescinded permission to have his works performed. Therefore, each time you see a production, rest assured it has the blessing of one of the 20th century’s greatest playwrights.

Jay-Z & Kanye Announce Extra Dates For Throne Tour Amid Lawsuits

Jay-Z and Kanye West have been heavily promoting their “Watch the Throne” tour ever since the beginning of summer, and they’ve been successful at it too, despite an ever-changing tour schedule. Now, even though the pair has recently been sued by a bigwig in the music industry, they’ve just announced new dates — and they’re coming soon!

The new dates include a two-night performance at Madison Square Garden on November 7 & 8, before they head to the already-scheduled show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida November 14. And while the duo was already making a stop at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on November 30 they’ve extended their stay in the Windy City and will now turn that into another two-night show, with the new second night being December 1. Another arena they’ve decided to extend their stay at is the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Still playing their December 12 date there, they’ll also play another show the following evening on December 13.

Jay-Z and Kanye West may just be adding a couple more dates along the way of this already very busy schedule though — court dates! Jay-Z and Kanye West, along with their record labels, Universal Music Group and Def Jam Records, are being sued by blues musician, Syl Johnson. Johnson says that the two illegally used his song, “Different Strokes,” on the track “Joy” off their “Watch the Throne” album. Interestingly, Kanye West had asked Johnson for permission to use the song on one of his earlier solo albums, but had never received permission.

Syl Johnson is not a stranger to the courtroom, having sued Michael Jackson, Jefferson Airplane, and Cypress Hill for copyright infringement. In addition to those, Johnson has also successfully brought lawsuits against Wu-Tang Clan and Kid Rock.

Korn’s Goin’ Clubbin’ Later this Fall

Korn has been busy this past year traveling with Disturbed, Sevendust, and In This Moment, along with traveling around Europe and North America performing at various festivals. But with their tenth studio album, The Path of Totality, coming out on December 6, Korn’s taking no time off to relax. The band is performing this weekend at Mobile’s Bayfest, and that’s the kickoff date for their 14-stop club tour that will take them all around America.

The tour includes mostly stops along the East coast including Boston, New York, and Miami; although the band will also hit four clubs in Texas along the way. The biggest news is that stadium shows these are not, with all venues being some of the trendiest clubs in those cities. This may give Korn a chance to test out their new album live before taking it to larger crowds; but it’s also going to give fans a chance to hear one of the most iconic rock groups of our time in a small, intimate setting — an opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime.

And the club scene isn’t the only thing that might not come around again — the very sound of this album is something unique and special. As the band’s front man, Jonathan Davis, said, “The title of The Path of Totality refers to the fact that in a full solar eclipse, you must be in the exact right place in the exact right time. That’s how this album came together. I’m not sure it could ever happen again.”

The first single off the album, Get Up!, was released earlier this spring and the second track, Narcissistic Cannibal, is due out later this week. Just in time for fans to get a sneak peek before catching the live show!

Joan Rivers – Still Alive and Kicking and Joking

It won’t offend Joan Rivers if you ask if she’s still alive — Joan Rivers was the “queen of mean” long before Lisa Lampanelli usurped that title.  Joan Rivers has been a shameless, politically incorrect, and sassy comedienne since before the golden age of human behavior.  Er, we mean comedy.  Seriously, it’s hard to imagine the word sensitivity and Joan Rivers in the same sentence. 

She is a woman who has seen, heard and done it all.  He traded barbs (and heated words) with Johnny Carson.  She’s starred on The Carol Burnett Show.  She’s hosted Saturday Night Live.  She even listened to all those filthy mouths on the Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers insult her and her daughter Melissa.  And of course, her personal life has been just as disastrous and well publicized as her career highlights.

Still, even years after The E! True Hollywood Story of Joan should have ended, this 78-year-old New York broad still keeps them rolling in the aisles.  Even though she has worked as an author, a theater performer and an actress, her first love has been and always will be standup comedy.  Rivers actually made a name for herself by performing standup comedy routines in Chicago and New York, impressing the likes of Carson and Jack Paar.

Of course, most people know, love, (and sometimes loathe) the incorrigible Joan for her pre-Oscar and pre-Emmy interviews.  She is very a funny woman who destroys feminine clichés, even while proving that comedy is not just a boys game.  In fact, she’s been turning heads, squinting brows and evoking laughter and horror for 60 years! 

Rivers’ comedy is loud, raspy and mean-spirited, though she practically invented the now “chic” perspective of poking fun at other celebrities.  However, she’s a sport and just as easily turns the tables on herself, proving she can dish it and take it. 

Come and see one of America’s most famous and infamous comediennes live and in person.  Come give respect to one of our country’s true feminists.  And come see the woman tough enough to survive an entire season of The Apprentice–a game she actually won in 2009!

It’s a one-woman show that you will remember for the rest of your life!

John Fogerty to Play 3-Night CCR Tribute

John Fogerty knows full well just how his former band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, helped form the music scene, and he also knows that as such, that band deserves to be honored. And that’s why he’s now bringing not just a few of the classic hits to fans, but two full CCR albums in a matter of three shows.

The three shows that Fogerty has set to play will all take place in either New York City or in Atlantic City; although fans in NYC will have more chances to catch him live. The 3-show gig is called “Looking Out My Back Door: John Fogerty Performs Live! The Albums of Creedence Clearwater Revival.”

Both shows in New York will be set at the Beacon Theatre. The first show will be held on November 17, during which the legendary rocker will perform the band’s fifth album, Cosmo’s Factory, in full. The next evening, fans can catch Fogerty performing the band’s third album, Green River, from which come some of their most famous songs including “Bad Moon Rising,” “Commotion,” and “Wrote a Song for Everyone.”

On November 20, Fogerty takes his act to the Maximus Theater at Caesars in Atlantic City, where he’ll play out the Green River album once again. Along with all of the classics, and some lesser-known CCR hits, Fogerty will also perform bigger hits off other albums, with some of his own solo work thrown into the mix.

Who doesn’t love CCR and who wouldn’t love to see John Fogerty perform their greatest hits live? Get your tickets now for any of these three shows, which are shaping up to be some of the biggest sing-alongs ever!

Lady Gaga Meets President Obama

As David Letterman may have said in 1995 (during his Oscar-hosting gig), “Obama…Gaga, Gaga…Obama!”  Yes the personality of America has changed quite a bit since the legendary moment when Elvis met Nixon.  Now Lady Gaga meets President Barack Obama.

The encounter was short (lasting only two minutes) but clearly President Obama was out of his element in trying to make small talk with the iconic and bizarre Gaga.  The president described his encounter as “spooky”, stating that the eight-foot tall Gaga (thanks to some radical 16-inch heels) was “intimidating.”

The two superstars met in Washington at the yearly Human Rights Campaign, though they had also shared a moment at Obama’s reelection fundraiser one week ago.  Obama ribbed the singer’s fan base and Gaga herself, who was dressed futuristically and ambiguously as usual, by saying “I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader.”

Alien though she might be, Gaga is a great leader for human rights.  Gaga actually had an agenda when she spoke to the nation’s leader.  She wanted to address the issue of youth bullying, specifically in light of the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, one of Gaga’s bullied fans.

Lady Gaga is the “queen of pop” for good reason.  She has the soul of Michael Jackson and Madonna‘s lovechild, while dressing like the offspring of David Bowie and Bjork.  Her musical style is at once, new age, even while it adheres to the disciplines pioneered by Freddie Mercury, Cyndi Lauper and even Britney Spears.  She is the now generation’s musical mutt–and features the talents of everybody you’ve ever loved, even while she puts her own creative, “outside the box” spin on today’s hottest topics.

Don’t miss your chance to experience Lady Gaga in person!  Whether she’s wearing a meat dress, being born from a giant egg, or spurting blood all over the place for the Monster Ball Tour, she is a one of a kind entertainer.  She turns off just as many people as she turns on (most recently inviting criticism from dissident feminist Camille Anna Paglia), but in true Andy Warhol fashion, she always gets them talking.

Paul Simon adds Tour Dates in 2011

Paul Simon delighted fans at the beginning of the year when he went on the spring leg of his So Beautiful or So What tour to promote his album of the same name. The tour gave fans a taste of new music from the album, old classics, and rarities that Simon said he hasn’t performed in years. Fresh tracks, oldie goldies, and rare finds? Fans were given everything they expected and more than they had ever dreamed from this music legend and now, Paul’s bringing the show back and he’s added more dates to the fall leg of the tour!

The fall leg of the tour was originally going to be twelve stops in the southern and southwestern states. But eleven more stops have been added and they reach all four corners of the country — from Milwaukee to Michigan! The tour begins in Arizona on October 17, as was originally scheduled, and it will now wrap up in Akron, Ohio on November 23. The full listing of concert dates can be found on the Paul Simon tickets page.

Ticket sales have been broken up for the shows, with sales for the Memphis, Milwaukee, Columbus, Bloomington, and Akron shows opening on September 30. Tickets for the Omaha, Rosemont, and Moline shows go on sale October 1; while tickets for the Kentucky show will go on sale October 3. Perhaps Paul didn’t think he was keeping us close enough to the edge of our seats waiting for this show, he had to keep us guessing with ticket sale dates too?

Whether you caught the spring leg and are thirsting for more; or you missed this fantastic show the first time around, make sure to catch Paul Simon this time around on the newly-expanded fall leg of his So Beautiful or So What tour!