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Archive for August, 2012

Set the Date for “Motown: The Musical”

It’s a documentary! It’s a musical! It’s the story of one of the greatest names in music of all time, playing out right before your eyes! This is what you can expect if you happen to catch Motown: The Musical when it lands on Broadway this spring.

The story is that of Berry Gordy Jr., who in 1959 and at the age of only 30 years old, established Motown Record Corporation, after already having extensive experience in the music business. After starting his own label, he made a name for himself by working with some of the greats including Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder. Motown portrays it all, the successes and failures, and all the great hit songs in between!

Brandon Victor Dixon, who’s most well-known for his work in The Color Purple will be taking on the ambitious role of Mr. Gordy; while Valisia LeKae (The Book of Mormon,) will tackle the role of Diana Ross. Mr. Gordy wrote the book for the project, and he will also take on producing responsibilities. Charles Randolph-Wright will be directing.

The show has been highly anticipated for months now, but a date has finally been set. You can see Motown: The Musical at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, running from March 11 to April 14.

Touching on the story of so many greats, this is sure to be one of the most popular shows on Broadway next season!

Kenny Chesney is Irresistible and in Your Home Town!

Kenny Chesney is simply irresistible to many.  Whether it is that cute country boy look of his, or his sweet country twanged voice, fans cannot get enough of the talented country singer.  If you are itching to hear him sing your favorites live, there is good news.  On September 22, 2012, he will be performing live in Hershey, Pennsylvania at the Hersheypark Stadium.  So get your tickets in advance.

Why Hershey, PA?  Kenny Chesney is being true to his good country roots and helping out farmers in need by performing for Farm Aid.  This is one of the longest running benefits in the whole country, whose aim is to help family farms thrive, and stay on their land in tough times.  To date, the event has raised nearly 40 million dollars for the cause.

Factory farming is a threat to our health and the planet, this is another reason the concert exists, to help spread the word on making better choices, and buying from local farmers.  It also makes for one fantastic show, as Kenny Chesney is only one of the big names performing.  You will also get to see Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Neil young and many others perform live.  This is sure to be an amazing time!

Will Chesney play your favorite songs?  Top songs fans request include the ballad “There Goes My Life” about a new father, the fun and silly song “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”, or the reminiscent “Boys of Fall”, or perhaps even the popular hits “The Good Stuff” or “You Had Me At Hello”.  There may even be a few songs of his newest album Welcome to the Fishbowl.  You might also hear the newest hits “Feel Like a Rock Star”, “You and Tequila”, or “Come Over”.

Come see the great country star Kenny Chesney perform live, all the while contributing to and learning about a good cause.  September is the perfect time for a concert, as the weather is sure to be gorgeous, and the music rocking.  These Kenny Chesney tickets are sure to sell out and the date is looming, so buy yours today before it is too late!

Welcome to the Zoppe Family Circus

Have you noticed the popularity of nostalgic items and past times these days?  You may see new drive in movie theaters opening, and events like fairs and parades becoming more prevalent.  These fun times never really did go out of style, but they are certainly gaining momentum with the masses over the last couple of years.  Another tradition worth renewing is the fun times at the old fashioned family circus!  We aren’t talking about an ordinary circus though, but the Italian Zoppe Family Circus.

This old-fashioned traveling circus is about to grace the shores of the States starting in December 2012.  When we say it is old fashioned, we mean it was founded all the way back in 1842!  This is a circus for those that like to get up close, as each show only has a total of 500 seats around its one big center ring.  A unique feature of this circus is that it actually follows a story rather than just having one act after another.  You’ll still get to see plenty of your favorite circus performers though.  There are clowns, beautiful ladies riding horses, trapeze acts, dancing canines and death defying feats!

When they say it is a family circus, they really mean it.  It was founded by a man named Napoleone Zoppe, a clown, and a young equestrian rider named Ermengilda.  They were madly in love, run away together and founded the circus in Italy.  The circus has been passed down through the family ever since!  With some of the children starting as small as two years old.  Today you can see Nino the Clown, his horse riding sister Tosca, and even grandfather Alberto Zoppe.

This show really does seem like you are taking a step back into the past.  Go back to a time when it wasn’t all smoke and mirrors but actual hard work and years of training being performed right before your eyes.  A hundred years may have past, but a fun time at the circus is still the same when you step into the tent at the Zoppe Family Circus.

Get your tickets before they are sold out, and make some lasting memories with your family!

Hernandez Makes Mariners’ History with Perfect Game

When Felix Hernandez pitched the perfect game yesterday afternoon, it was the first time a perfect game had ever been seen in Mariners‘ history. But, another historical event was also written in the history books — it was the first time in MLB history that three perfect games had been pitched in less than four months. And the fact that it was on the same field that Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox started off the perfect pitch run on April 21.

It was the Seattle Mariners against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday and from the beginning the Mariners didn’t stand a chance. With a fastball that topped out at 95mph, and a curveball that “no human” could hit, according to catcher John Jaso, Fernandez struck 12 of the 27 hitters out; and five of those strikeouts came during the last six at-bats. He threw 113 pitches over all and had a three-ball count on only two of them in total. It might be nothing new for Hernandez, but a perfect game is something he’s worked awfully hard for.

“I don’t have any words to explain this,” Hernandez told Seattle reporters after the game. “When Phil Humber threw the perfect game here, I said “I’ve gotta throw one. I have to. I’ve been working so hard to throw one and there it is. This is pretty crazy. It doesn’t happen every day.”

That it certainly does not. But with the run Major League Baseball is having this year, it’s certainly happening more days than ever before.

USA’s Gold Medal Match to be “All About Soccer”

They nearly lost a match to opponents that they never lose to. Then after obtaining victory against Team Canada on Monday afternoon, instead of celebrating they had to deal with Canadian players crying foul over a game they said should have been theirs. But now, for the women of the American soccer team, all of that drama is behind them. Today they face Japan in the gold medal game; and as Abby Wambach put it, today’s game will be “all about the soccer.”

Hearing Wambach’s words, you may think she was going to meet old friends. “Our teams respect each other so much,” she said. “The Japanese team is so good, and we are so good, and that’s what’s going to be so awesome.” But not all her teammates feel that way.

Carli Lloyd, who had said after the game with Canada that one of the women on the opposing team had stomped on her head, may be bringing some of that residual anger with her. Respect, yes; but Lloyd isn’t forgetting that now they’re up against the team that beat them in the World Cup last year.

“It’s definitely redemption,” said Lloyd. “But it’s also the opportunity to show that we’re the No. 1 team in the world. This game is going to be different. We’re a different team. Japan’s a different team, and we’re ready to bring it.”

And even though the drama of their soccer game against Canada may be somewhat behind them, there’s no doubt that the American team has a lot of revenge to go on. And that it might be just enough to bring home the gold.

Douglas and Raisman the Talk of the Beam

After the balance beam competition yesterday, all the talk is about Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas — but for completely different reasons.

Douglas was the talk of the Olympics last week, and had instantly become America’s sweetheart after making history in getting gold during the all-around gymnastics competition. But her tired performance on the uneven bars — an event that she’s usually got cornered — had many wondering what awaited for her on the balance beam yesterday. Unfortunately, it was more of what was seen on the bars.

Gabby just about screamed that she wanted to go home after slipping during her performance on the balance beam; showing that for young athletes, giving your all for two weeks straight is just too much. But if there was anyone that challenged that line of thinking, it was Aly Raisman.

While Raisman may not have put on an obvious gold medal-winning performance, she clearly outperformed many of her competitors; yet she came in fourth place after the final scores were in. Everyone was surprised by the announcement, but none more than Raisman and her coach, Mihai Brestyan. Brestyan immediately filed a protest and after the judge’s revisted Raisman’s performance, she was awarded the bronze.

The beam was a big day for China, as well. Deng Linlin won the gold while her teammate, Lu Sui, took home silver. Still, there’s no talk bigger than the disappointment, and the determination showed by Team U.S.A. on the beam.

Drink Up at the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival

Anyone who enjoys a truly excellent glass of wine needs to get tickets for the Okanagan Wine Festival!  This festival is currently run four times a year, once per season, so there is a festival in spring, summer, fall and winter.  These festivals are usually held after the harvest of the seasons.  The spring festival welcomes in the new year of wines with a glass or two, the summer fest is all about picnics, cheese and wine, while the winter festival is all about ice wines.  The current festival, the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is the favorite of many.

The festival is held in British Columbia, Canada, in a beautiful area surrounded by the local wineries.  There are well over 100 events during the fall version of the festival, which runs during the last weekend of September and through the first full week of October.  Some of the events include seminars, including ones teaching how to properly pair your food with the best wines.  The blind wine and cheese soiree is sure to be a popular event, as you can see if you can guess the highest number of wines and cheese and be crowned as the best taster.  Of course, there will be plenty of tastings to be had!  All the area’s best wines will be opening their doors, many with special chef appearances so that you can wine and dine to your heart’s content.

For those worried about feeling a bit too “relaxed” for the long trip back to the hotel, the festival has thought of everything as free taxi rides are provided.  They didn’t get to be ranked as one of the top 100 events in North America for nothing!  Just in case you couldn’t make it to all the wineries you would have liked to have seen, the Grand Finale event will have over 80 wineries present with some 240 different samples available.

If you want to come and try BC’s best wines, make some new friends, and dine on meals from some of the top chefs that will leave you utterly speechless, then you better get your tickets in a hurry.  This event has been known to sell out even weeks in advance!

Gabby Misses Out on Uneven Bars

They were said to be her forte. And fresh off her gynmastics all-around gold victories in the all-around and the team competitions, Gabby Douglas had the gold for the uneven bars all but wrapped up. That is, if you believe all the talk that led up to this morning’s event. But when there are team competitions and individual competitions, and heat after heat after heat, athletes can sometimes lose steam. They’re simply tired. And that’s what happened with Douglas as she faced the bars.

Gabby Douglas’ routine came just after that of Russia’s Aliya Mustafina. Mustafina performed brilliantly, with twist after twist and perfectly bouncing from bar to bar, Mustafina was nothing but grace and form. But it was her dismount that left the judges most impressed, and contributed to her score of 16.133. After that dismount, it was clear that Beth Tweddle, of Great Britain and with a score of 16.916  would be knocked down to at least third; after Mustafina and China’s He Kexin, who scored 15.933 with a nearly perfect routine.

And still, Gabby Douglas had yet to take the bars.

Douglas was saved for last, but even as she stepped up to the mat, something was wrong. It just seemed ‘off.’ She still looked confident, yet seemed somewhat unfocused as she waved to the crowd just before taking off down the mat. Was it sheer focus? Or was Douglas getting tired?

It was hard to tell, especially as she first leapt up, gaining her usual impossible heights and seemingly perfect in form. But just seconds into a routine that’s only a minute or so long, Douglas missed a pirouette, coming down on the wrong side of the bars. Had this been Day 2 of the Olympics, Douglas may have been able to recover. And though she did a pretty good job of covering up the mistake, and the rest of her bar performance was flawless, her dismount is really what cost her the most.

Taking a small step onto the mat, a glaring mistake in the judge’s eyes, was a much bigger error that being on the wrong side of the bars, and it was one she paid for. Posting a final score of 14.900, Douglas finished last in a competition of eight on the uneven bars.

After the event Douglas was quoted as saying, “I made a little mistake and I paid for it. You get toward the end of the Olympics and you get kind of drained.” She’ll have to rest up, though because she’s not done yet. She still has to take the balance beam on Tuesday.

But letting this one slip through her fingers might not be as bittersweet as it would be for some athletes. Gabby Douglas’ big Olympic moment came last Thursday, as she won the gold in the women’s all-around competition, and made history.

Chinese Badminton Player Quits After Scandal

Who ever thought that the biggest scandal of this year’s Olympics would take place in badminton? It was on Tuesday that four teams competed, or at least faced off against each other and tried to prove who could be the worst.

During the women’s competition a South Korean team, an Indonesian team, and two Chinese teams were all disqualified for throwing their matches and trying to lose the game. All of this so that they could be paired up against easier matches in the next round, and move on to the highest podium. Instead, eight women are headed home. And now, one of those Chinese players, Yu Yang, has quit the game altogether.

It was during Yang’s match that things practically came to a standstill. Yang had already won a gold medal in 2008, and playing with equally skilled partner, Wang Xiaoli. Together they faced off against South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na; but neither pair on either side of the net was putting up any fight. Or movement at all, really. Time after time each team served birdies directly into the net, or let it drop out of bounds completely while standing there and watching it. Clearly something was up, and the officials knew it.

First came the warning from the ref at the side of the net that the crowd was booing, and they really should just get on with it and play. When that wasn’t enough and the abysmal play continued, an Olympic official had to come out and warn them of disqualification. When they wasn’t enough, disqualification from the competition it was — them and two other teams.

South Korea and Indonesia are appealing the disqualifying decision of The Badminton World Federation. However, China says that it fully understands and respects their decision; and that an investigation of their own is also under way.

Perhaps already fearing the consequences of that investigation, or perhaps just bitterly disappointed at having her London Olympic dreams shattered, Yu Yang has already quit the game of badminton.

“This is my last time competing,” Yu Yang wrote on her own personal blog after the decision had come down. “Goodbye Badminton World Federation, goodbye my beloved badminton. You have heartlessly shattered our dreams.”