Album Review – Procol Harum – Novum

I was originally supposed to review this album, the latest by Procol Harum, back in April, you know, prior to its release. That would be the normal review process.  Listen to album, read the liner notes, and give your critical opinion. The reason I have been so tardy in delivering said review is that I’ve really been enjoying this album, it’s that good. Now, before you jump to any conclusions, I’ll tell you that this isn’t another “rock band from the 60’s tries to make yet another comeback” kind of album. The band never really left, they just took a fourteen-year hiatus.  Yes, this album does coincide with the band’s 50th anniversary, but that’s kind of beside the point.  This is so old school (in a good way), it kind of makes me wish that I had it on vinyl so I could burn it out like I did with all my other choice albums.  If that’s not enough throwback for you, the band is touring the U.K. and Europe in support of the album.

One might be tempted also to say that “Oh, there’s only one original member in the band”, but the band has been an ever-evolving entity, and they’ve been keeping on for a long time.  Led by founding member Gary Brooker, this particular iteration has been playing together since the early 1990’s, which is longer than a lot of bands stayed together.  They’ve got a pretty stellar lineup; Matt Pegg (Jethro Tull) on bass, Geoff Dunn (Jimmy Page, Dave Stewart, Van Morrison) on drums, Geoff Whitehorn (Paul Rodgers, Roger Daltrey) on guitar, and Josh Phillips (Pete Townsend, Midge Ure) on keyboards.  That in itself is a stellar lineup, and honestly the album kind of takes me back to Steely Dan.  It actually sounds in some ways like Steely Dan meets The Doobie Brothers.  The production is very lush and unlike most modern albums, it doesn’t sound dead-ended by compression.  It’s clear and crisp in much the same way that the aforementioned groups were.

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Steven Wishnoff’s “Life Interrupted” Garners nearly 20 Awards in 11 Festivals to Date Before Preliminary Voting in Emmy Ballot Opens!

Photo Courtesy of Borgasmord Productions

Ever hankered to meet a clan that outmoded even Modern Family? Ever miss that ol’ skool sitcom feel combined with more evolved and progressive sensibilities? Evered wondered what Ozzie and Harriet might look like if it were Harriet and Harriet? Well look no further than the new indie sitcom created by Steven Wishnoff himself in the form of Life Interrupted.  Starring Mason Reese and featuring Alison Arngrim as Reese’s ex-wife, now paired with Erin Murphy as a married lesbian couple, everybody’s soon-to-be-favorite post-modern family is well on its way to TV screens and more copious computer platforms all across America! Throw in Dawn Wells as Arngrim’s sexy, sassy mother and Michael Learned as Murphy’s elegantly reserved (yet comedically clamorous) matriarch and you’ve got yourself a sitcom to rival that of Diffren’t Strokes and Modern Family all in one… “Diffren’t Family?”  “Modern Strokes”?

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‘It’s Only Life’ and it’s Beautiful at the Chromolume Theatre

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Photo by Daniel L. Wilson

First off I have to say I absolutely loved this show and it definitely falls into the ‘must see’ category.

‘It’s Only Life’ was originally conceived and directed by Daisy Prince with music and lyrics by John Bucchino. If you’re unfamiliar with this extraordinary composer, he has written songs that have been recorded and performed Judy Collins, Patti LuPone, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra MacDonald, Liza Minnelli, Art Garfunkel and many other great artists.

‘It’s Only Life’ is a musical revue about longing, fulfillment, loss, triumph and ultimately wisdom. According to the New York Times, Bucchino’s ‘flowing, finely made piano ballads describe an urban life in which relationships come and go in cycles of yearning, fulfillment, heartbreak and healing’ – where romantic love is anticipated with “high expectations, high anxiety and open hearts.”

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‘Emmitt & Ava’ A Tale of Love, Loss and Acceptance

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Photo by Ed Krieger

“Emmitt & Ava” is a play written and directed by two-time Ovation winner Dominic Hoffman. The story is about two families, unacquainted with one another, who suddenly find themselves forced to communicate on the most intimate of terms.

When the play opens we meet an upper middle class white couple, Emma (Stephanie Schulz) and her husband, Wyatt (Tom Schanley). They have just returned home from their daughter’s funeral and are grieving their loss. The last thing they expect is a visit from a stranger that will change their lives forever.

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Don’t Miss Taste of Eagle Rock! It’s Happening Today!

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‘Dog Fight’ From The Musical Team Who Brought You ‘La La Land’

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Photo by Nicole Priest

‘Dog Fight’ now playing at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood is from Benj Hasek and Justin Paul, the Academy Award-winning musical team responsible for ‘La La Land’ and the smash Broadway hit ‘Dear Evan Hansen’.

The date is November 21, 1963. The place, San Francisco. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, a Marine Corporal, Eddie Birdlace (the terrific, Payson Lewis)  and his two best friends, Bernstein (Trent Mills) and Boland (Spencer Strong Smith) set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery  This includes playing a game called ‘Dog Fight’. The guys throw a party where all the male attendees put fifty dollars in a pot and whoever brings the ugliest date to the festivities,  wins all the money.

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Movies Till Dawn: Spotlight on Kino Lorber (Uptown Edition)

The Frontier” (2015) Mystery girl Laine (Jocelin Donohue), who may have killed a man in Phoenix, decides to lay low in the titular motel, where she schemes to separate the other occupants – a cross-section of desperate types – from the $2 million they’ve recently stolen in a high-profile heist. Debut feature from Oren Shai maintains a baseline of interest through gritty atmosphere and lots of hints and allegations as to Laine’s past and who among the attendant criminals will double-cross whom. He’s less successful in avoiding the pitfalls of neo-noir (well-trod plot path, purple pulp dialogue), though Kelly Lynch (as the motel owner) and the great Jim Beaver (“Deadwood,” “Breaking Bad”), as a lippy tough, do their best to smooth over the rough patches. Kino’s Blu-ray includes commentary by Shai and co-writer Webb Wilcoxen, as well as interviews with Donohue, Beaver and co-star AJ Bowen (who also co-starred with Donohue in “House of the Devil”).

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LA Food Fest Suggests You Put on Your Stretchy Pants this Weekend

McConnell’s Ice Cream at at LA Food Fest

Cancel your plans, because the 8th annual LA Food Fest is happening tomorrow, June 10th, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the theme is Bigger Bites, Bigger Bars and the Biggest Festival of them all! After testing out a series of smaller events last year, LAFF is consolidating all of the greatness back into one huge event featuring over 100 vendors, LA based craft beer and wine gardens, live entertainment, sweepstakes, and our favorite part — the ice cream social.

We are especially excited about the “Nuevo Gastropub,” with chefs from Mexico and LA (like Christian Page of Cassell’s, and Chris Oh of Hanjip and Seoul Sausage) doing all of their prep and cooking of a whole cow, two goats and two pigs on site! Other participating restaurants include Con’i Seafood, Ensaymada Project, Little Jewel of New Orleans, Pot, Aqui es Texcoco, The Chori Man, Cousin’s Maine Lobster, and too many more to name. Wait…what’s this? Starry Kitchen is making their world-famous and rarely seen Singaporean Chili Crab & Buttermilk Beignets from their brand new cookbook??? You had better get your ass down there!

This year’s festival runs from 2pm-7pm (VIP doors at 2pm, GA doors at 3:30pm). To avoid long lines and overcrowding, the LA Food Fest sells only 5,000 all-inclusive (pre-sale only) tickets. Children under 7 years of age free with an adult. General admission is only $65 and VIP tickets with early entry and exclusive access to an expansive VIP lounge are only $95. Get your tickets here!

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“Jersey Boys” at the Ahmanson Theatre – Oh, What A Night

6f_Walk-Like-A-Man-12MAY17-18-Edit.jpg“Jersey Boys” is what I call a feel good jukebox musical. Whether you’re a fan of The Four Seasons or not, by the time you leave the theatre, you’ll be singing many of the great songs the group wrote and recorded.

The show opened on Broadway in 2005 and ran till 2017.  “Jersey Boys” has toured all over the world and won four Tony Awards in 2006 as well as the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.  The idea for the show came from original Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio, who wrote the music. He hired writers Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman to write the book, Des McAnuff to direct and Bob Crewe to write the lyrics. Crewe wrote some of the group’s bigger hits including: “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “My Eyes Adore You.” He was also the record producer that signs the group when they were basically unknown.  Continue reading

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Sylvia Brooks, Dale Fielder, and More: June Jazz in L.A.

Dale Fielder, photo by Craig Johnson

Jazz, despite any malicious gossip you may have heard to the contrary, remains alive and well in Los Angeles in 2017. Here are some upcoming shows we are looking forward to this summer, starting with one this very evening in Hollywood.

Sylvia Brooks, Catalina Jazz Club. June 7th, 8:30 p.m.
Sylvia Brooks sings with a voice that is clear, sultry and classic. This concert celebrates the release of her third CD The Arrangement, a terrific collection of songs arranged and performed by some of the best musicians in L.A. She will bring many of them with her tonight, including pianists Christian Jacob, Otmaro Ruiz, Quinn Johnson and Jeff Colella.
Catalina Jazz Club, 6725 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. 8:30 p.m, $20, two drinks or dinner minimum. http://www.catalinajazzclub.com

Dale Fielder Quartet, Hotel Normandie. June 17th, 8:00
The great saxophonist Dale Fielder is in his 22nd year with the Quartet, whose excellent current release is Resilience. The quartet is rounded out by Bill Markus on bass, drummer Thomas White and pianist Jane Getz, who has worked with everyone from Charles Mingus to Nilsson in her storied career. Joining the DFQ for this edition of their monthly gig at the Normandie will be vocalist Rita Edmond.
Hotel Normandie, 605 S Normandie Ave, Los Angeles, California 90005. 8-11 p.m, $20. http://www.dalefielder.com

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