Category Archives: Australia

Songs and Bands Stand the Test of Time

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While driving in your car, especially here  in America, we have the

luxury of a radio, sometimes if a newer car, Syrius. I used to have

this feature and would program my ride somewhere with such fun

topics as “Coffee Shop” tunes or “Old Rock and Roll.” I was listening

to Casey Kasem’s “America’s Top 40” program on the radio. Rest in

peace, you good man! (Casey Kasem died in June, 2014, at age 82 of

sepsis.) I was struck by this comment, paraphrased since my mind is

not a recorder nor a computer:

 

“More than 23,000 songs were written and sung during the seventies

in the United States, only 370 were major grossing songs, (making

Top Ten lists). In this time period, only TWO were number one hits

written by a duo of song-writers.

I will come back, from the commercial to tell you who they were. . .”

 

Of course, I tried to memorize this comment, was an a red light and

jotted down the two numbers and waited ‘with bated breath’ for the

answer. Why the excitement in this upcoming response? You may not

know me well, but music is a special part of my life and the 70’s were

my stomping grounds, where music laid its foundation and made a

huge impact on my life.  I was in band from 4th grade on, played in

three bands in high school, marching band, symphonic band, pep

band for the basketball team and homecoming pep rallies, along with

the stepping stone to symphonic band: concert band. I loved the way

current songs on the radio made their way into our performances,

along with learning the meaning of different musical terms and the

way the music would build and pull on my heartstrings and soul,

during crescendo’s.

 

The two songs were “Loco-Motion” and “Go Away, Little Girl”

whose authors were Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

The first song has such an incredible legacy, along with being a

fun song. It is one of the only songs of all time, which has been

number one in three different decades sung by three different

styles or cultures. What a landmark song!

1. Little Eva, who is African American, sang the song, “Loco-Motion”

in 1962. This helped her career in singing really soar.

 

2. Grand Funk Railroad, (rock and roll, Caucasian band), sang it

in 1974 and put their own ‘brand’ on the song, “Loco-Motion.”

 

3. The Austrailan singer, Kylie Minogue, made this song go

international with her 1988 rendition.

Way to go, Carole King and Gerry Goffin for making this song

a catchy tune that went across generations and cultures.

 

The second song, this tremendous duo wrote, “Go Away, Little

Girl” was one of my favorites in my teenaged years. When I had

a crush on a senior in high school, Todd D. of Science Club and

marching band “fame,” I pictured Todd singing this to me, along

with meeting me by the Bay High Rockets’ goal posts in five years

after I graduated from high school. (I was only a mere freshman

when I had this ‘crush.’)

1. “Go Away, Little Girl” was first sung by Bobby Vee in ’62. Soon

to be followed and reaching higher sales, by Steve Lawrence later

the same year, in 1962. This made the Popular Top 20 list.

2. The Happenings sang and got this song into the top selling

songs in 1966. This was also a popular song with my friends.

3. The most popular version and more often played song, “Go Away

Little Girl” is sung by Donnie Osmond, 1971.

 

While listening to Casey Kasem, another time, I wrote down this

short note on a scrap of paper last Autumn.

The “most popular song played at funerals” is Frank Sinatra’s

popular top 10 song, “My Way.” I can imagine a lot of people who

would embrace this in their different life styles and endeavors but

had no idea that this was so beloved.

It would take years to ‘replace’ this song but a new hit being played

at funerals is from the British comedy movie, “Life of Brian.” Who

could imagine choosing a song from this movie? Well, I can tell

you one: my brother Randy still roars in laughter while watching

this Monty Python spoof movie, once a year with my family. I am

surprised though at this musical choice:

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” by Eric Idle of Monty

Python wrote this as a reaction to “Give a Little Whistle” from

the Disney franchise of upbeat movies, “Pinocchio.”

 

I am sure Eric is laughing out loud should he find out how popular

this song has become over the years.  Somehow, I thought a more

popular song would be, “Taps” or “Amazing Grace.”

 

Frankly, I feel this is refreshing and would cheer me up to know

I don’t have to listen to “Candle in the Wind,” at Randy’s memorial

service, should I outlive him. This may irreverent comment, but

believe me, Randy would be amused at this song being played,

so ‘Always Look at the Bright Side of Life,” will be on the playlist,

brother. Oh, that reminds me, I will have to add one of the songs

from his other ‘favorite’ movie, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

 

MORE MUSICAL NOTES:

 

The recent death of the Gospel legend, Andrae Crouch, requires a

respectful “note” and pause. At age 72, Andrae had influenced many

listeners with his heartfelt lyrics and soulful songs. Here are a few

which you may wish to check out:

“Let the Church Say Amen.”

“Soon and Very Soon.”

“Take Me Back.”

Along with being what many considered a fine singer and composer,

Andrae helped influence three legendary musicians. Although, he

may not have helped increase each of their popularity levels; he

undoubtedly changed their lives. This was the kind of man Andrae

Crouch was. The tributes and interviews all held warm memories

and kind thoughts of this man.

Michael Jackson was helped with his own song, “The Man in the

Mirror,” by Andrae Crouch’s adjusting its musical arrangement.

Elton John and Madonna received positive influences upon their

careers, by Gospel leader, Andrae Crouch.

 

 

The James Band was one of the alternative rock groups I sometimes

listened to in the 80’s. Do you have any memories of this different band?

Their roots came from Manchester, England. They took breaks in their

recording and individual careers. Some time off, as you may remember.

The first’break’ was a rather long one, after being popular in the 80’s

and leaving the musical scene in 2001;  they got back together in 2007.

Then, another 7 year time span ensued, until last year (2014).

While the members followed their individual pursuits, the James Band

still played on the alternative rock scene on the  radio, though.

Their sales over the years amount to over $25 million.

 

Imagine my surprise and pleasure to say the James Band are back

on the road and had a new album come out in June, 2014 titled,

“Le Petit Mort” including a popular new song, “Moving On.” This

is a solemn, questioning song, one which shows how aging and time

passing influences how you choose your path. James Band has

changed their sound and song choices.  The wisdom found while

growing older is reflected here in their music. The slow pace rises

and slowly builds into a crescendo, with trumpets and guitars

playing. Here are a few snippets of the lyrics I heard of this “new”

song, “Moving On,”

“Leave a little light on. . .”

“Will we recognize our friends when this cycle ends?”

“Will it start again?”

There are moments where time is like seeds being planted,

dreams taken for granted.

Welcome back, James Band!

 

Mick Jones poured out his long and winding road life’s path,

in an interview on the 12/28/14 CBS Sunday Morning show.

Mick’s path is one which encompasses being part of a British

“Spooky Tooth” band, playing with “C’est La Vie” and a French

man named Holliday. Mick Jones said Holliday forgives his

leaving the group to find his own way. Holliday was a “French

Elvis,” according to Jones. Then, Jones proceeded to get to the

‘meat’ of his musical career with “Foreigner.” Not being one

who studies musicians’ lives as they are progressing, I was very

interested in how Jone’s compelling journey went. I always liked

Foreigner’s  songs, “Feels Like the First Time,” “Head Games,”

and “I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You.” When the group

‘went soft’ in one of the band member’s eyes, (or ears)- they parted

ways and the band split up back in 2003.

Mick Jones and Ian McDonald were inducted into the Songwriters’

Hall of Fame, June, 2013, with Elton John presenting them this

prestigious award. They have never made it into the Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame.

Foreigner was unique in its combination of three British and three

American band musicians and singers joining forces. The band’s

3 Brits were Mick Jones, Ian McDonald and Dennis Elliot, while

the 3 Americans were Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.

 

Wow, this has been 12 years since then! Their music is still daily

‘in my ears’ on the radio. Foreigner is a group which has stood the

‘test of time,’  I believe. Only one member of the original band,

has passed away. Ed Gagliardi died in May, 2014.

All have not worked together since 1989. They have had a few varied

combinations of the players.

In 2013,  Mick Jones, Ian McDonald and Lou Gramm renewed their

ties and are working on a new collaboration. They were part of the

Summer of 2013 Tour, including Eagles’ Don Felder playing with

Foreigner and the band Styx.

 

What are some “musical notes” you have been listening to?

What musician or group do you feel has stayed the most ‘current’ ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resolve: January Monthly Post

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Resolve: it means a few different things to each person. Sometimes,

it means what will get you to keep a few of your January “New Year’s

Resolutions.” I also like the meaning of being strong and sticking to

one’s convictions. This definition fits this the best: “Decide firmly on

the best course of action.” Following through is implicit in this one.

Great attributes to pass on to your children, while others around you

may see this outstanding characteristic in yourself. It is not pointless

to set goals, I believe. It means you are going to try something new,

let others know your choices for change and set personal expectations

of your goals.

This ‘resolution’ can be something you have added to your resolutions

annually or can be a brand new one. Life is busy. Never so much so to

not fit one more activity, exercise, habit or ‘tradition’ into your routines.

After all, you may have doctor appointments and job responsibilities, but

you may just open and see your  2015 calendar  as a ‘blank slate,’ ready for

exciting and new possibilities.

 

JANUARY, 2015

Flower: Carnation           Birthstone/Gemstone: Garnet

Already, I like the month’s flower, which has such a great and unique scent.

The color of garnet is red, which is also vibrant and snappy for this colorless

month we are facing in our Midwest. Hope your corner of the world will have

both color and beauty in it.

 

January 1-

Happy New Year!

 

January 2-

Bank Holiday (Scotland, England/UK).

“Statutory Day” or “Stat Day” for New Zealand and possibly Australia.

 

January 5-

Full Wolf Moon.

 

January 6-

“Epiphany” or when the Three Wise Men reached the manger to see

the King of Kings, some who worship Jesus Christ will find this day

a special remembrance. Thanks, Doris, for the important reminder!

Feliz Navidad!

 

January 8-

If Elvis Presley had lived, this would be his 80th birthday. I listened

to several of his Gospel songs, some with Christmas in them, over the

holidays. He was a fantastic singer with a lot of heart. If you happen

to live close to Tupelo, Mississippi, you may go enjoy a piece of

Elvis’ birthday cake, served at 1:00 p.m. This was where Elvis was

born.

If you live closer to Graceland, you may go there almost all day, to

receive a piece of his 80th birthday cake, starting at 9:30 a.m. when

the cake-cutting begins! (You may enjoy this live streaming from

http://graceland.com )

 

January 10-

Celebrate Rod Stewart’s #70 birthday. Happy Birthday, dear Rod!

Last year, 2014, while on his world tour, an interviewer asked him,

“Do you ever tire of singing some of your classic songs?” (I still love

listening to ones like, “Maggie Mae.”)

Rod answered,

“I still love to sing ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ and added: ‘It’s so joyous.'”

 

January 13th-

Last 1/4 Moon.

 

January 16- The Persian Gulf began in 1991.

 

January 17-

Benjamin Franklin’s birthday.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests in celebrating Ben, to purchase a

Benjamin fig plant/tree, which helps to remove toxins from indoor air

spaces. (Ficus benjamina).

 

January 19th-

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Schools, public offices, the Post Office and libraries are usually closed

on this day in U.S. I have attended city and town breakfasts which give

the money for the meal to needy causes, in MLK, Jr.’s honor.

 

January 20-

New Moon.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, (2015) suggests this month to “plant bulbs

and destroy weeds during full moon times,” then during new moon to try

a different kind of house plant during the winter months. This month’s

featured plant, the air plant. This is like Spanish moss in its ability to

survive without much care of nutrients. Plant nurseries and some shops

have glass globes which can be suspended in small offices, along with

homes on clear plastic ‘threads’ of varied lengths. This creates a very

decorative and appealing January sight. Care includes, ‘light misting’

and feeding using a folian fertilizer, along with placing where it will

receive bright, indirect light. (Fluorescent offices are perfect in this

respect, while you may separate ‘offspring’ to create more plastic or

glass globes, helping spread positive oxygen into spaces.)

 

January 21st-

Evil Squirrel reminded me this is Squirrel Appreciation Day,

wherever you live in the world that has squirrels!

 

 

January 27-

Australia Day.

Celebrate with the Aussies you know!

 

January 29-

Celebrate Tom Selleck’s #70th birthday, with a viewing of one of

his older performances in “Magnum P.I.” (television series), one

of his ‘new’ performances in “Blue Bloods,” with a fine and well

rounded cast of policemen role models, along with a character

that plays his father as a past Police Commissioner and his

‘daughter’ is the District Attorney. This television show is one

which has a huge following, among whom are police around the

country. Tom’s fun character in “Magnum” made him a fixture

in our household television shows and now, “Blue Bloods” is part

of my Mom’s (and when I am home on a Friday night) my own

favorite shows. You may have followed Robert Parker’s mini-series,

where Tom played “Jesse Stone,” from R.P.’s past books. Sadly,

the author, Parker, died so the series must end. This can be found

at the library, in individual. Jesse Stone releases. I like the setting

of New England and there are a couple ‘bizarre’ murder mysteries.

In his personal life, you rarely hear anything about his life, since he

married his wife (Jillie Mack) in 1987. He is not known for too many

controversies, although, he has stood up for the N.R.A. which means

he supportsgun rights.

As far as movies with Tom Selleck go, my all time favorite has to

be the fun one he made with two other special men, Steve Guttenberg

and Ted Danson, called, “Three Men and A Baby.” My children and

grandchildren are very amused with this wild and unbelievable plot

line, but it is also heart-warming and sweet. I liked him in the comedy,

“Her Alibi,” while “Lassiter” and “Quigley Down Under” are good

action movies. (This became a rather long monthly tribute to the actor,

Tom Selleck!)

Happy 70th Birthday, dear Tom!

 

As always, you may add some dates that mean something to you or

your country in the comments for the month of January.

Thank you for making this monthly visit a fantastic one. I enjoy

all the additions I received last year to this monthly post.

 

Sir Basil the Great quotation:

“He who sows courtesy, reaps friendship.

He who plants kindness, gathers love.”

(Greek Bishop who lived from 329- 379 A.D.)

 

What challenges will you set out, for you or even your family?

Help get us motivated by sharing this with us, please.

 

I will make a friend out of an ‘enemy’ or one who I have had past

disagreements with.  I will give to a new, special charity, along

with continue to find more positives in my life than negatives.

 

A time of new beginnings, promises and resolutions is emphasized

in this Flavia, (poet and inspirational writer) 2003 quote:

“Our time on earth is woven of infinite moments,

Each holding a promise and its own exquisite beauty.”

 

In honor of the New Year of 2015,

Thanks to T. S. Eliot:

 

“Not fare well,

But fare forward, voyagers.”

 

 

 

Youth Ruled at the AMA’s on 11/23/14

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If you have been around my blog awhile, you may know I have always

enjoyed the splendor and elegance of watching people on the Red

Carpet. I ‘made deals’ with my parents to be allowed to stay up and

watch the Academy Awards and the Kennedy Center Awards, as well

as the Miss America beauty (and talent) show. I thoroughly enjoyed

the AMA’s which stands for the American Music Awards. I know you

already have seen some of the beautiful dresses and attractive tuxes,

along with some of the performances. . .

Here is a summary of my viewing pleasure with some details which

may support what you watched, if you are one who enjoys this, or may

disagree with what some of the newscasters and entertainment emcees’

may say.

On the RED CARPET:

Here is my list of my favorite nine FEMALE performers or award

presenters’ attire.

1. Fergie (of solo performer and Black-Eyed Peas’ fame) wore a classic

black Halston dress, with a silver belt around her waist. It cinched in

nicely and what made her my favorite? Her special story she shared

with the E commentator, Juliana G., she talked about her two year

old son, who is also her husband, Josh Duhamel’s . He is currently

loving his guitar and drum set, while his favorite song is (and Fergie

sang it so sweetly), “Row, Row, Row Your Boat. . .” Being kind on

the inside and beautiful on the outside made me really smile and

vote for Fergie to get ‘Best Dressed.’

2. Heidi Klum, who is not only a past model, but a mother and one

of the coaches on the clothing design show. Also, she is one who is

very open and funny, just a special and talented woman. Her dress

had ‘cut-outs’ which showed her shoulders and a little bit of her skin.

The colors of her gown made it unique- pink, black, gray and white

geometric designs. If you have ever seen her interview children on

her talk show, she has a real knack, as good as Art Linklater. That is

saying something!

3. Kate Beckinsale was a presenter but is one of those famous women

who make you feel she is both classy and genuine. She did not appear

the least bit in a hurry, as she embraced and talked to the interviewers.

She wore a sexy, (Deep V-d neck) white dress. I feel she is ‘timeless,’

wearing the Kaufman Franco dress.

4. Julianna Hough is a country singer, dancer and actress. She is presently

employed as a Judge on dance show. She wore a vibrantly colored red,

pink and orange-ish colored dress which showed a mature side of this

young lady. (She was in a serious movie, along with the remake of

“Footloose.”) I think she is open and honest, while having dated Ryan

Secrest, she did not let interviewers ‘dig up any dirt’ on him, then or

now. She also is protective of her family and particularly, her brother

who still continues to dance on the show. She is sporting a short hair

style, with blonde highlights, this evening was wearing it ‘slicked back.’

5. The woman in Yellow, the only one all night. She was gleeful that

she was unique, while looking stunning. Her name it Rita and is from

the Broadway production of “Finding Neverland,” arriving with Matthew

Morris, who was the chorus teacher in “Glee,” while having been in

musicals for quite some time now.

6. Taylor Swift, gorgeous in a copper-bronze shimmery dress, which she

took the skirt off and made it shorter, while performing her song, “Blank

Space.” I enjoy all of her new album, which has ventured into the Pop/Rock

genre and away from Country Music. She holds her stories and weaves them

into her songwriting, which I deeply admire this multi-talented young lady.

Her short, wavy with a little curl in her hair style really made a big change in

her appearance since the last awards ceremonies. Her performance was my

second most favorite of the entire evening.

7. Nicki Minaj shocked me, no not by being daring or rebellious, but by being

such a stylish fashionista. Nicki is not known for this! Her more reserved, classic

look was in a black dress, with long, straight black hair. She has been known to

have wild hair dyes and sometimes showing up blonde. If she has not used her

distinctive and raspy voice, I would have possibly not identified her.

8. Mary J. Blige looked very attractive in a black fishnet, lacy styled top of her

overall black dress. The black lace was sexy yet not revealing, while there were

sequins sprinkled on this dress.

9. Selena Gomez, looking very mature, with pretty solid black satin dress from

the front, while from the back, it was squared off and totally backless to her

waist. She sang one of her songs, very nicely. I did not write it down, but I did

see on our television set at break time, an overview of all the performances,

with hers featured.

One Direction won my favorite dressed and fun filled group award, on the

Red Carpet. They allowed us to see their meeting with Kate and William, while

one of the men admitted he pointed out, “Nice bump,” to Kate. They won the

following awards, but if you wish to add another you can do so in the comments’

section! They wore black slacks and varied patterned black shirts. No matching

each other for this British group. They mentioned, “The UK,” in conversation,

too.

1. “Best Pop Song.”

2. “Best Pop Rock Album.”

3. “Entertainers of the Year.”

While they are far behind in their ages, much younger but energetic and so

much fun also, I cannot help but say I adore the group of Australian ‘lads’

known as, “5 Seconds of Summer.” Although the song is not uniquely theirs,

since it has been performed by others, I enjoyed their version of, “What I

Like about You.” I got up and danced to their riotous and lively song, which

had the entire audience joining in. They are like the Ramones, started out

in a garage band practicing together.

The A Capella group which starts with P and has a lot of strange letters behind

it, (somewhat like Punxatawney Groundhog, which I can never spell correctly

either!) stopped and won my heart with their in prompt singing of,

“Santa Claus Is Coming  To Town.” Wow! This is probably from the A Capella

television show, which I don’t watch, sadly.

They sure did give Bruce Springsteen a ‘run for his money,’ which is really a

high compliment from me. Their blended voices eliminated any need for a

band accompaniment.

“E!” channel also had an homage to Boy Bands, showing the old photos

of New Kids on the Block, Boyz 2 Men and the fairly recent Jonas Brothers.

(Of course, our generation would have begun the homage or tribute to

all male singing bands with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and you

know the rest of the long list of entertainers who began the “Boy Bands.”)

It was a great way for those in their 30’s like my own two older children

to remember the period of time when these bands came to be. They were

passing the baton on to “One Direction,” Imagine Dragon, “5 Seconds of

Summer,” and “One Republic.”

I also liked Julianna G. who intervied One Direction asking them a great

question: What would you be doing if you had not joined a band?

One of the ‘lads’ mentioned being a teacher before, had completed his

college, another mentioned he would have liked to become a fireman and

the last one who spoke, was acting a little loopy, falling backwards off

the “E” stage platform which caused Julianna to say, ever on her toes,

“Things would be kind of ‘off kilter’ or you would not be the same,

without your musical group, would you?”

The Four Men I admired their clothing and fashion styles were:

1. Neo, who is ‘hip hop’ I feel. You may challenge this and let me know.

He was not on the singing parts I watched, so I am talking off the top

of my head. Neo looked sharp in a black suit and his words warmed my

heart. He embraces all musical genres saying that he admires country

stars and feels they are ‘humble’ and also says ‘rock and rollers’ are also

genuine and give to us all. Neo wore an Anthony Franco suit.

2. The GQ Cover model, actor in two famous and recent movies, who

played the character, “Gus,” in “The Fault is in Our Stars,” is gorgeous.

He also is popular in the movie, “Divergent.” This young man had a

unique short jacket and shirt, along with unmatched pants. It was all

put together in a way he described as from the past.

3. Brantley Gilbert, accompanied by a woman I should know with the

first name of Amber, looked great with his fashionable look. He is a

nice looking country musician who said to the interviewer, “I don’t feel

that fame will ever change me.” He went on to say he feels he is still

the same man under the expensive clothing.

By the way, Luke Bryan won the award for “Best Country Male Artist.”

He looked nice, but not on my short list of best dressed, accompanied

by a female who I should recognize named, Caroline.

4. Matthew Morrison is always attractive and wore a nice suit. I felt

this awards ceremony did not try to blow us away with wild costumes,

except during performances.

An announcement was made that Katy Perry will be performing 4-5

songs at the Super Bowl Intermission. There is a website set up, where

you may vote which songs she should choose to sing.

 

Here are some outstanding performers who did not win any awards

but I feel should be checked out:

1. Ariana Grande who trills like a beautiful songbird, accompanied by

a saxophone. This solo performance was simply lovely.

2. Ella Henderson wowed me, with her 70’s folk song voice, which had

some bluesy and throaty characteristics. She has been compared, which

is a huge compliment to Ella, to Adele!

3. Iggy Azalea, who was ‘discovered’ or sponsored by the hip hop/ rapper

known as, “T.I.” I did not particularly love her rapping song, nor the one

she did with JLo, but I can hear she is versatile and is a beautiful woman.

4. Charlie XCX, who did the song from the movie, “The Fault is in Our Stars,”

which is over-played, (but my three granddaughters love her, almost as

much as they did Idina M. who sang, “Let It Go,” for the movie, “Frozen.”)

Her song that is silly but catchy is called, “Boom Clap (Sound of my Heart)

which really does remind me of “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies and also,

the song, “I Think I Love You,” by the Partridge Family. Charlie XCX

is young and also does a little more racy song about not liking school

and uses a vamp, sexy style while singing, “I Just Want to Break the

Rules.” (Reminds me of several of the songs from my teenaged years.)

 

I am always pleased to listen to “Imagine Dragons” and they have been

at all the musical awards shows of 2014. I liked their 2013 song which

won awards, “Radioactive,” but strongly recommend your listening to

their newly released (and first performance on television) song:

“I Bet My Life,” which starts out quietly, like a hymn, soulful and

intuitive, building and becoming a stand-up party anthem. Wonderful

and worth checking this one out. I would have liked to replay it again,

but do know this will be on all the radio stations and will set records.

 

My favorite duet, which was nicely and sweetly intertwining the older

musician, Wy Clif Jean, with the younger one named “Magic,” who is

famous for his song, “Rude.” How it starts out, was so clever! Magic

began the duet by singing the he wishes to “Marry that girl… for the

rest of my life,” and is asking for permission. Wy Clif Jean’s deeper

and throatier voice responded just like the father of a young woman

would, “No, you will not marry that girl and keep her for the rest of

her life…” Then, of course, the song goes into, “Why do you have to

be so rude? I’ll marry her anyway.” Outstanding performance and

my Favorite one of the night. (Taylor’s would be my Second Fave.)

 

Sam Smith, will be my Third Pick for Favorites of the Evening.

This man wrote the song that many performers have sung, he is

to be given credit for creating a classic. It is reminiscent of many

people’s all time favorite song, “Stand by Me.” Sam’s song is titled,

“Stay with Me.” He acknowledges his favorite artist who sings his

song is Ed Sheeran. I have featured Ed S. as one of my new 2014

favorite singers, and I do like his version of Sam Smith’s song.

Sam has a high falsetto voice, which is heart-wrenchingly and

hauntingly beautiful.  Sam Smith won Best Pop Male Artist. His

newest song, also one to check out is, “You Say I’m Crazy.” I did

feel his duet last night with the new song was exciting and good.

 

Lourde won her First AMA award for “Best Pop Female Artist,”

for her song last year, 2013: “Royals.” She just completed the

soundtrack for the movie, (Hunger Games), “Mockingjay.” The

song with her bizarre and gloomy performance was not nearly

close to how I felt about her fun and mocking song about the Royals.

 

Trying to get this in before everyone goes to watch the news and various

entertainment shows tonight. Let me know if I missed a great one

who performed or looked outstanding…

 

Roses, roots, and thorns

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The letters in the word, “rose” can be rearranged to spell “Eros.” How appropriate

that one of the most beautiful flowers has the letters who form the Greek “God of

Love.” The Peace rose was named 50 or more years ago. It is a pale yellow-tinged

rose with pink tipped petals.  Thorns can also help you to reach another letter

combination: “sore.” You may be sore from the needle-like thorns or you may be

sore, filled with heartache. While the rose still gives us light and lovely radiance

in its flowering.

 

In the 15th century, Henry VI declared a War of Roses. How sad and upsetting to

label anything that is filled with death and killing, with the word, rose, in its title.

 

In Medieval times, a white rose suspended from the ceiling of a room meant there

would be ‘secrets’ shared or imparted. It designated conversations which must be

totally private. The term, “subrosa,”  means “confidential.”

 

Roses have been found much longer ago than Medieval times. There were drawings

of flowers on cave walls. Particularly, historically discovered on cave walls, was

a five-petaled “rose” drawing found in Crete during the period of 1450 B.C.

 

Traveling even farther back in time, roses have been discovered by archaeologists,

in fossilized form. The rocks have been preserved and photographed have come

from the beginning of Earth’s plant life, possibly the oldest ‘flower’ ever. This is

dating back 30 million years ago. One could almost, truthfully, exclaim that roses

have been around forever.

 

In 76 A.D., the Roman writer named, Pliny, included 30 different remedies and

medicines derived from roses. Roses were used in ancient times for healing wounds,

treating insomnia (rose tea), stomach disorders and “toothaches.” Rose petals also

helped to cover the awful smell of death or illness. By scattering rose petals around

enclosed spaces, you could tolerate the odor of diseases, including the Plague.

 

 

 

In the Talmud, it is written only pink roses were allowed to bloom in Jerusalem.

The city’s name means, “Paradise,” which makes sense the pink roses be there

to fill the air with their aromatic, floral scent. Visually and using senses of all kinds,

to be immersed in Paradise. This is how some gardeners feel in their gardens.

 

The 13th century rose was brought back to Europe, from the Holy Land crusaders.

This is considered “the Old European” traditional rose. Another ‘root’ history of

the rose is it may have come form Italian travelers, from the Gulf of Salerno. The

trail of the rose, also has possibilities with the Roman Emperors cultivating them

after bringing them back from their Middle East travels.

 

The Chinese have incorporated roses in their artistry and have been given credit

for those beautiful “tea roses,” since they have for 1000’s of years compared the

scent to the aroma of the hearty tea leaves.

 

Explorers of the 1800’s, also have been considered ones who brought the first

seedlings of roses from Asia. These explorers brought these to Europe, which

then American settlers brought seeds of all kinds of plants, including seedlings

of roses to our continent. While traveling across the ocean, in 1692, explorers

discovered roses prevented sea-sickness.

 

The belief of the rose as an aphrodisiac is more than just a romantic novel’s

idea. The appearance of this belief goes back centuries using rose hips as

part of a mood enhancer. The rose hips are also known to have Vitamin

C which is considered a natural way to help prevent depression. It is also

considered to be a way to prevent ‘apathy’ and ‘resignation,’ in books of

old folklore and medicinal texts.

 

Marie Antoinette’s good friend, Pierre Joseph-Redoute, was a wonderful painter

and artist, along with being one who enjoyed gardening. One of his famous rose

paintings is hung in one of the French Art museums. The artist is known for his

botanical paintings, which have become made into prints for decorating homes,

along with the Palace. In France, roses are included in 12th century cathedral

stained glass windows.

 

In the story, “Sleeping Beauty,” the rose vines with their thorny protection make

it very difficult for the Prince to wake Beauty from her sleep. The vines grow and

surround the castle while she is deep in slumber.

 

Withering roses mean that love is transitory and love can fade. There are many

ways the flower is used as a metaphor  in books, poetry and stories. Blue roses

come from a gene from a blue petunia injected into a white rose. I think you may

remember in the play, “The Glass Menagerie,” the brother calls the invalid sister,

“Blue Roses,” which indicate the possibility that she has pleurisy.  Australia was

the country given credit for having the clever horticulturalists and scientists who

managed to ‘create’ this blue rose. Symbolism of the rose would take many pages

of writing, along with intensive research.

 

When Carl Jung analyzed a rose depicted in a church stained-glass window with a

magical circle surrounding the rose, he described it in quite mythological terms.

Jung said the rose symbolized,

“Our mortal yearnings for Union with the Cosmos.”

 

Dreamers sometimes are accused of looking through “rose colored glasses,” which at

times, sometimes I prefer them.

 

The expression, “second hand rose,” may have its roots from the days when Henry II’s

mistress (who would have been considered ‘second class’ or less worthy of his time,

since the wife was given preferential treatment) died an early death. Poor Rosamunda.

 

Tough times or parts of our life that are challenging make our lives, “No bed of roses.”

 

“Rosy” cheeks may depict a ‘picture of good health,’ as the children in the Campbell

Soup advertisements display round, rosy cheeks  while they entice us to warm up with

their product.

 

The oldest living rose bush is the size of a tree. This may be found by a cathedral in

Hildesheim, Germany. There is a historic document which provides proof of it dating

back to possibly 815 A.D. It is considered, “The Thousand Year Old Rose Tree.”

The story or legend of the Lower Saxony, Germany tree, is that during WWII, the

bush caught on fire from Allied bombs. The root system was removed, undamaged.

It is still flourishing and flowering in Hildesheim, Germany.

 

From the history of roses through the ages, it seems that they are meant to continue

to grow against all odds. While we are meant to benefit not only from their beauty and

romance, but admire their longevity and endurance. The Peace rose radiates its power

of Hope to us all. The rose holds a special place in our lives and it is amazing to learn

from its very existence.

Roses have flourished from the beginning of time and will continue to do so,

until the Earth stops spinning.

~reocochran 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings Found Daily

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In an Australian photographer and filmmaker, Hailey Bartholomew’s

documentary, “365 Grateful,” you will find blessings. This, of course,

is referring to there being 365 days or chances to show your gratitude.

You will start to believe in possibilities and living on the ‘sunny side of life.’

A woman inspired by Hailey, named Lori Portka, embarked on her own

project, “A Hundred Thank-You’s.”

 

Do you see how this ripple effect can keep on going?

 

Lori Portka had not been painting since she was younger.

She was in tenth grade when a personal tragedy struck.

She gave up her love of art and beauty, in ‘one fell swoop.’

 

By viewing Hailey’s documentary, something loosened up inside her.

This moving and visceral film helped to put her back on a better path.

She chose to put her hidden and deeply rooted sorrow to better use.

To think she had quit her passion, back in her 15th year of life, to carry

around her anger, denial, hurt, and pain is so sad, to me. Her refusal to

experience true happiness until her thirties made her original loss, deeper

than ever.

 

Actions speak louder than words. Such ‘trite’ words, but they can make

you decide that there is more to life than mourning.

‘You are alive,’ Lori finally felt.

 

She started to take delight in her favorite parts of her daily routines.

She was inspired by nature, yoga, traveling, animals and friends.

She had not pursued art as her primary focus, in going to museums or

any other attachments to it.

 

Those were of her past life.

Lori had obliterated all of it from her life.

 

What started her thinking about her own way of handling being grateful,

was to decide she would paint, create and give 100 art pieces away.

This project became her motivation to engage in life, art and spreading

happiness to those who she wished to ‘thank.’

The ones who had ‘touched her life in a beautiful way,’ received their own

unexpected joyful gift back.

 

Lori Portka can be found at LoriPortka.com,

Listen to these words from a changed woman,

“I feel like I am on the right path, doing what I am supposed  to do.

Art feels like home to me.”

Consider finding your bliss, spreading it around by engaging some lucky

participants in your activity or ‘craft,’ and discover how the gifts come

back to you, in unexpected ways.

Lori was a former counselor and educator, she became a fine artist.

One who had stopped painting due to that particular, personal  loss.

You may feel inspired by the film, or Lori’s thank you project, or some

other impetus, that will get you started.

Feeling again, enjoying simple things that sometimes are more meaningful

when you realize, in one moment, your ability to carry out those tasks,

could be swept away.

Loir’s art now pours forth, boldly expressing her joy. Each image is filled

with saturated pastels, paints, chalks and inks. The bursts of color and

vibrant patterns remind me of several artists. But to compare to others,

sometimes is not a necessary part of feeling the emotions rendered by

the artist. It sometimes, in my mind, takes away the individuality of each

artist’s heart and soul.

Lori Portka’s quote for the day can become yours:

“I make artwork that is a reflection of gratitude and joy to the world.”

 

What is your passion or how do you find your ‘bliss?’

Will sharing it broaden and expand your life and horizons?

Will it bring happiness to someone else?

 

Tony Came and Left Me Breathless

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The 68th Tony Award Ceremony held plenty of outstanding, shining exhibits

that were thoroughly satisfying entertainment. Some name-dropping and

my overall impressions will ensue, if this is not your ‘cup of tea,’ don’t worry,

skipping this is totally understandable!

Hugh Jackman utilized comedy and hopped, literally, from one famous person

to another, on his path into the auditorium. He passed, “Sting” along the way.

He was one of a few that got singled out, in performances, since he ended up

sitting in the front row.

The scene shown from the musical, “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,”

was exhilarating and you would have enjoyed this trio. The man caught between

a blonde haired woman, who he would like to marry, and a brunette he enjoys her

company, standing in a hallway, leaning into one room to sing and then the other,

was quite amusing. Juggling two women, reminded me of the way Shakespeare’s

“Comedy of Errors, ” can bring the audience to roaring laughter.

From the audience, Tyne Daly, never looked more radiant. She has chin length

blonde toned white hair with her smile lighting up the room along with her golden

dress.

Set designs and costumes were all presented beautifully.

The man who played, “Genie” character in the musical, “Aladdin,” won and his

show-stopping performance on stage showed he truly earned “Best Supporting

Actor” in a musical production. He had the audience clapping to the song, giving

the rhythm and capturing the man’s enthusiastic energy.

The scene from “Cabaret,” was bawdy and well-choreographed. The image of Joel

Grey’s portrayal of the “Host” that ‘welcomes you’ to “Cabaret,” floats into my mind.

The actual line is done in German, so it is “Wilcommen…” In the reprisal of this

musical, Allan Cummings performed in the position of “Host,” on Broadway.

“Best Supporting Actress” was earned by an actress portraying a character in “The

Raisin in the Sun.” Sophie Okonedo made a joke about her cultural heritage and ‘the

chance’ the director took on her being able to play an American woman in that

period. I have seen the movie and also, the play on stage. It was remade recently,

for a television version. Always a thought-provoking period piece that depicts a part

of American history.

The “Best Actress” Tony was given for the sixth time to the same woman, making

Audra McDonald a ‘record breaker.’ She was playing Billie Holliday, in “Lady Day

at Emerson’s Bar and Grille.” Her singing is effervescent and gives me chills. After

I listened to her singing, I feel she certainly deserved to take home “Tony.” I loved

the credits she gave to her family and the memorable female singers, actresses, and

poetess who came before her. This is the essence of Audra McDonald’s speech:

“Thank you to my parents who did not medicate me for being hyperactive, but

instead persuaded me to explore acting in the theatre. I give honor to the women

who I am standing on their shoulders: Lena Horne, Maya Angelou, Dionne

Carrole, Ruby Dee and of course, the legend I was fortunate to portray, Billie

Holliday.”

The competition was thick for both the best actor and actress roles. The “Best

Actor in a Dramatic Play” went to Bryan Cranston. I predicted this one! So far,

this is the only one that I felt I knew ahead of time, I just ‘knew’ he would win,

if you have not seen a clip of his portrayal of LBJ in the play, “All the Way,” please

check him out! Awesome job and it is a fascinating piece of history, where he

had to take the Presidency, immediately after JFK was shot. He was the one

who should get a lot of credit, for getting the Civil Rights Bill passed, among

other great accomplishments. That Texan drawl that Bryan Cranston does

is very similar to the original.

Ru Paul, as a man, introduced “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” scene. He looks

great these days, he is one of the most famous trans-gender, cross-dressing

men in theater. Ru Paul says the play encompasses ‘love and acceptance’

for all choices in lifestyles. He has probably won a few awards in his lifetime.

This scene incorporated a pulsing, fast-paced rock ‘n roll beat, “Sugar Daddy,”

sung by Neil Patrick Harris, looking unrecognizable in his long blonde wig, his

short skirt, hose and tall pump shoes. N.P. Harris engaged actively with the

front row audience, taking Samuel L. Jackson’s glasses off and leaning into

Sting and then, bouncing on his lap!

Kenneth Brannaugh, the fine British Shakespearean actor, announced the

nominees for “Best Playwrights.” I liked Kenneth Brannaugh in the movie

leading role in “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.”

The dramatic play, “All the Way,” won for “Best Playwright.” The actual

play writer was not there to accept the award, so the two producers, including

Robert Shanken accepted it. He reminded the audience of the tense political

atmosphere in 1964. He called passing Civil Rights bill,” seemingly impossible”

and  gave his own personal summary of the way he felt about class structure:

“Those people who have more money take, at the expense of those who have

nothing and feel good about it.”

There was humor shown in the two plays that showed scenes from, “Casa

Valentina,” and “Mothers and Sons.”

Wayne Brady, comedian and also, improvisational artist, introduced, “Violet,”

with a riveting and rhythmic song, “As I Travel On.” It had the pulse and

emotions of the “Gone, gone, gone” song and the “Cups” song sung by Anna

Kendricks. This had a really ‘current’ sound to it, which would carry over

well on the radio. This led into a revival and rousing gospel song. The story

line is intriguing about a young woman, Violet, who has a disfigured face,

due to an accident, seeking a ‘miracle’ to help her with her face and life.

The scene from “Wicked,” which has the two sisters, Glinda the Good Witch

and the Wicked Witch singing a duet was quite touching. I had seen some

clips of the musical but truly had never heard the entire song before. It

is the ending song, “Because I Knew You,” which includes the line,

“I have been changed for the better”…. then after it has been sung several

verses later…”I have been changed for good.”

I read that huge volume called, “Wicked,” which I passed on to my oldest

daughter and she still takes it out and reads a chapter or two. It is longer

than almost any book that I have read, including, Tolstoy’s, “War and Peace.”

Well, I may be exaggerating a bit. But there is a LOT of story about the two

sisters, years in the making, until the happily ever after conclusion that has

this lovely song, with two excellent women singing it. The musical, “Wicked,”

celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Carole King came out and joined the singer, Jessie Mueller, who portrays her

younger self. I am very pleased to tell you that Carole King impressed me with

her “natural woman” look; her curly, blondish-white hair, her medium build

in a white silk blouse with black trim and black slacks. No plastic surgery, not

even sure her hair has dye in it. She looked amazing for her age! The musical

play, “Beautiful” incorporates Carole King’s life and her music.

She mentioned before her performance, that she did not go to the opening

nor was she ‘too crazy’ about seeing someone portray her.  She says the story

has heartbreak in it, which she was uncertain she wanted to ‘relive this.’She

finally did go to the theater and expressed gratitude for the way the play was

written, her character was portrayed and the presentation of the songs, too.

She highly recommends the musical, of course!

The best performance of the night, for me, was Carole King with Jessica

Mueller singing, “I Feel the Earth Move…(under my feet)” The audience all

stood up, clapped to the rhythm and several famous people were singing

along, their lips moving and showing smiling faces, too. Loved this so much!

(I still have my “Tapestry” music engraved in my head, too!)

A clever and playful rap from the revival of “The Music Man,” was first

introduced by Hugh Jackman. He could do it all from memory, he said and

it is to a fast beat, too. Then, out came LL Cool J and “T. I.” to join him,

turning it easily into a very groovy rap song. This was another timeless

musical, many high schools, across the country, Hugh Jackman reminded

us, put this play on their stages. It is the song about “River City.”

The song that Sting sang, “The Last Ship,” was eerie and haunting, with an

Irish melody. It is telling a mournful tale that includes these snippets of

words, “dark, unholy sight,’ ‘halo of light,’ ‘Calgary Hill,’ and ‘May angels

protect me when the last ship sails.’ Also, describing the ship, ‘mountains

of steel makes its way to the sea.’

This was one of my top three favorite performances. Sting’s ship song was my

second favorite and my third would have to be the rap between LL Cool J,

Hugh Jackman and “T. I.” playing “The Music Man.”

The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama awarded it first Tony for an Arts educator.

This seemed appropriate since many of the acceptance speeches recalled the

teachers in drama, arts and music that had led them to seek their calling in

musical or dramatic theatre. One who had done this, Neil Patrick Harris said,

“When most people in my high school thought that sports were the way to

become popular, I had a special theater teacher, in New Mexico. For her, I

will always owe an extreme debt for her love of teaching and her love of drama.”

(He listed her name, if you look up speeches, I am sure you will find it out.)

Rosie O’ Donnell was recognized for her philanthropic donations to the Arts.

Best choreography went to “After Midnight.”

Best Orchestration went to “Bridges of Madison County.”

I enjoyed the scene with fighting from “Rocky” and the way, the actor yelled

out for “Adriane!” It was a very pleasant evening with the best times being when

I knew the songs and recognized the famous people in the audience.

Did anyone see the Tony’s Award Show?

What were some of your favorite moments?

 

 

 

The Tony’s Are Coming! The Tony’s Are Coming!

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Oh yeah, the place to be tomorrow night is in front of your television set, with

the 68th Tony Awards’ Ceremony about to begin. Or better yet, if fashion,

style and grace are part of your repertoire, before the Tony’s, watch the

outrageous, beautiful and sometimes the most stunning dresses of the year!

After all, the ones who are able to wing it on stage, in front of a Live audience

on a large stage, whether it is Broadway or Off-Broadway, are the ones

to watch!

Here are some television names to watch for:

Tyne Daly, who is known from being part of the police drama, ‘Cagney and

Lacey.’ She has been performing since February in “Mothers and Sons,”

written by Terrence McNally.

Bryan Cranston, who went from playing a bad guy, let’s face it, that we could

not tear our eyes off of in, “Breaking Bad,” to playing a famous man in “All the

Way!” (Hint: He is playing Lyndon Baines Johnson, and doing an outstanding

job!)

Neil Patrick Harris, who has been the Host for the Tony’s has played in the

performance of a lifetime in a dark play called, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Who knew that N.P. Harris could make a strange and dark character come

to life? I always have loved the ‘boy’ who was Doogie Howser and made me

laugh as Barney, in “How I Met Your Mother.”

Tony Shalhoub, has my interest in his role as part of Moss Hart’s play, “Act One.”

Since I have watched him, with my Mom mainly, as “Monk,” the quirky and

rather interesting man with OCD. Apparently, “Psychology Today,” did not

find his real enough nor true to the obsessive compulsive disorder, though.

His role as a police support staff who had to have a companion to settle him.

I liked to watch him while being amused by his techniques. There are OCD

moments caught and featured on Youtube, too. His partner would help him

stay in touch with work, changed and I liked each of his assigned female

‘babysitters’ on that show. The Hart play has been ‘panned,’ also. Too bad.

Idina Menzel has been featured in my posts, since my grandkids love her

voice, raised in song. (In the animated children’s film, “Frozen,” she belts

out “Let it Go!”) Her performances in the show and movie, “Chorus Line,”

along with “Rent” have made her quite a Broadway performer. The 2014

Tony nominated play is called, “If/Then.” I am not familiar with this one,

I have to admit, but knowing the versatility and talent of Idina Menzel,

I will hope it gets an award!

Harvey Fierstein’s gravelly voice can give me chills. He is a fine director

and writer, his 2014 nominated play is called, “Casa Valentina.” This has an

unusual ‘premise,’ men gathering in a cabin in the Catskill Mountains and

tapping into their ‘feminine side.’ Could be fascinating…

His brief presence on the CBS Today Show, this morning, Saturday, June

7, 2014 included asking him what drives him in his writing. Here is his

quote being paraphrased (I am not great at writing each word, but I am

sure that you can look up this and this is the ‘essence’ of its meaning:

If you want to capture my attention and hold it, don’t show me a meteor

going to hit our planet.  Show me people interacting, human connections

and THAT is the show I will watch!”

In other words, Harvey is saying that the human condition is what he has

drawn from,  while writing his plays and screenplays.

One of the most beloved and most performed plays, “The Glass Menagerie,”

is again up for a 2014 Tony Nomination.

I have a personal reason why I follow the different award shows. Some of you

who have followed me for quite some time, may recall that I have always been

a person who followed plays, movies and theater productions. I was very lucky

to have parents  who thought that taking the three kids to these, would be fun,

educational and meaningful. I liked, Musicarnival, The Lakewood Summer

Shakespeare Festivals, and Cleveland productions of Broadway plays. I have

only once been to a Broadway play, to see Joel Grey play as George M. Cohen,

in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” But, my interest went beyond watching, I became

part of children’s plays, worked back stage in makeup freshman year of high

school, set design sophomore year and worked side by side with actors as

understudies. I never was on stage until I went to National Acting Camp

held at Notre Dame University. It was fun trying out and being part of

this, I came back and was senior director of the play, “Take Her, She’s

Mine.” I worked side by side with Miss Marilyn J. Frazier. She was a

beautiful and classy woman, who I believe could have become a famous

actress, had she pursued it.

I would like to give a ‘Shout Out’ to the people who went on stage, under

my direction. All wrote such lovely things on cards and notes, along with

a few special words in my 1974 (senior yearbook), Bluebook.

Hope some of you will be at our 40th reunion this September, 2014!

Billy Bush, (no, not the one on Entertainment Tonight!), Megan Peters,

(she is a Hallmark designer, artist and lovely person), Torry Cavanaugh

(doesn’t that just sound like she should be famous?), Ralph Cutcher

(you stole my heart, but just friends), Lynn Kuhlow (a ‘class act’),

Cheryl Anderson (you played a teenager who was a ‘handful’ just

right!), and good Science Club ‘geek’ and friend, David Frackelton.

When the musical “Hello Dolly” was not available to high schoolers

due to high Equity dues’ cost, we had our other play, “The Matchmaker,”

that year. Alice Cepulo, another Science Club ‘geek’ (I was secretary one

year, my brother president, so we were very active in this club…) was

the student director for this great play. She went on in film making,

after college, joining NASA’s ‘team’ in Texas. She has made a lot of

non-fiction space films. I was so sorry to hear the 1975 graduate and

one of my brother’s and my dear friends, Andy Cepulo killed himself.

in 2013.

That is a summary of my ‘real life’ experiences and I am sure they

are enough ‘credentials’ to let you know that I do know a ‘thing or

two’ about theatre!!

 

Other Tony nominated plays to ‘watch’ and ‘see’ if they get an award are:

“After Midnight,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” (this one has

the most award nominations so far) “Beautiful- The Carole King Musical,”

(which includes two of my favorite songs, “One Fine Day” and “Will You

Love Me Tomorrow?” By the way, I loved her “Tapestry” album!), “Aladdin,’

and Shakespeare’s “Twelth Night.”

Oh, and all the ladies and gentlemen out there who have enjoyed Hugh

Jackman’s singing in the movie, “Les Mis,” and his extremely entertaining

performances in roles like, “Wolverine,” will wish to see his performance

tomorrow night as the Host of the 2014 Tony Awards!

Just to let you know, watching Hugh Jackman is more than enough reason

to be watching the Tony’s!!