Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The Boss in San Jose

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Bruce Springsteen’s new concert, featuring songs from his latest recording, ”Working on a Dream,” arrived at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, on 4/1/09, the first stop in a 47-city worldwide tour which runs through August ‘09.  Accompanied by the E Street Band and Patti Scialfa, The Boss delivered a solid, no-frills performance to a sold-out and appreciative crowd in San Jose.  Working on a Dream is Springsteen’s 16th major studio album.  Springsteen turns 60 on 9/23.

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To read more about the Working on a Dream tour, visit the official Bruce Springsteen website by clicking here.  If you want to purchase the CD or the MP3 downdload, visit Amazon.com by clicking here.

Photos taken: 4/1/09

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The Nutcracker Returns

The San Francisco Ballet (SFB) returns to San Francisco this month with their highly-acclaimed production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” under the direction of Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson.  This dazzling new interpretation of “The Nutcracker,” set in 1915 San Francisco during the Pan-Pacific International Exhibition, was introduced by the SFB in 2004 to generally ecstatic reviews.  

Performances at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House run from December 11 through December 28.  Tickets can be purchased by phone from the SFB Box Office at 415-865-2000 or online by clicking here.

As part of its 75th Anniversary celebration, the San Francisco Ballet last month introduced a DVD version of its acclaimed The Nutcracker, filmed December 19-20, 2007 at the War Memorial Opera House.  The suggested retail price is $29.99.  To purchase The Nutcracker DVD from the San Francisco Ballet’s official Online Store, click here.  To purchase the DVD from Amazon.com, click here.

To read the San Francisco Chronicle’s 12/13/08 review of the “The Nutcracker,” click here.  To read The New York Times’s review on 12/21/04, click here.

“Five seasons after the unveiling of Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s luxurious production, the verdict is clear: This is one of the best “Nutcrackers” in the country and, by my estimation, the most visually elegant.”

   –Rachel Howard, The San Francisco Chronicle

If you want a surefire way to get into the holiday spirit, go see the San Francisco Ballet’s beloved “The Nutcracker” this month or purchase the DVD and enjoy it at home.

Photo Credits: The San Francisco Chronicle

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At the Rrazz Room

 

Vocalist, songwriter and musician Spencer Day returned to San Francisco this week for a limited engagement at the Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko to introduce songs from his upcoming album, “Vagabond,” which is targeted for release by a major label next Spring.  His previous CDs include ”Introducing Spencer Day” in 2004 and ”Movie of Your Life” in 2006.   In addition to concert and club dates in the Bay Area, Day teamed up with Rafe Chase on the musical theater piece “Someday, Love,” which premiered at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in 2005. 

Day has been described as a singer/songwriter who combines the talent and style of Harry Connick, Jr, Norah Jones and Chris Isaak.  His musical influences are jazz, soul, blues, country, Broadway, and the American standards songbook.  He gained national fame as a finalist on CBS’s Star Search in 2003.

To learn more about Spencer Day or to view his Schedule of upcoming performances, visit the official Spencer Day website, by clicking here.  Copies of his two CDs (pictured below) are available for purchase online from CD Baby.

 

And, congratulations to Rrazz Entertainment and Hotel Nikko San Francisco for opening the wonderful Rrazz Room following last year’s closure of The City’s beloved Plush Room in the York Hotel.  The new Rrazz Room offers some significant improvements over the old Plush Room, including a larger, more contemporary space with better sight lines, improved acoustics and expanded service bar.  The Rrazz Room is located in the Hotel Nikko San Francisco at 222 Mason Street. 

To view a schedule of upcoming performances at the Rrazz Room or to purchase show tickets, click here

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Linda Eder in Vegas

One of the reasons I visited Las Vegas last week was to see Linda Eder in concert at the Suncoast Casino Showroom on 10/12/08.   She was appearing in three performances in Las Vegas, as part of her ongoing concert tour.

Ms. Eder is a vocalist who gained fame in the original role of Lucy in the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde, which is based on the novel, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” by Robert Louis Stevenson.  The original stage concept was by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn.  The music was composed by Wildhorn with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.  The show opened on Broadway in April 1997 and closed in January 2001, following 1,543 performances, which made it the longest-running show in the history of the Plymouth Theatre.  I saw the show on Broadway in December 1997 with the original cast, which included Linda Eder, Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll/Hyde) and Christiane Noll (Emma).  Since that time, I’ve seen about four of her live concerts, including this intimate performance at the Suncoast Casino, one of the smaller venues in her tour schedule.

Linda Eder’s recording of “A New Life,” from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Jekyll & Hyde, is ranked No. 9 on my list of Top 10 Favorite Songs.  To view my complete list of Top 10 Songs (from a previous post), click here.

You can view Linda Eder in a recorded performance of “A New Life” from Jekyll and Hyde below.  To view the video, click the Play icon.

Over her career, Linda Eder has released nine solo albums.  The three most recent albums, including the release of “The Other Side of Me” last month, are shown below. 

 You can learn more about Linda Eder and check out her concert schedule at her website, LindaEder.com.

To view Linda Eder’s complete list of recordings, click here.  All recordings are available in CD format via The Linda Eder Store at amazon.com or for downloading via iTunes.

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Go, Speed Racer, Go!

Given the critical drubbing and disappointing box office results ($43-million) that Speed Racer (2008) received earlier this year, despite its enormous budget ($120-million) and impressive directorial team of the Wachowski Brothers (of The Matrix trilogy fame), I thought it would be good to re-visit the charming 1960’s anime that inspired the 2008 live-action movie.  For those of you who may not remember, Speed Racer is an English adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime, Mach GoGoGo, which aired on TV starting 1967. 

The principal character of both the anime and manga is Speed Racer, originally named Go Mifune.  He is known for his love of racing and his bond with his family.  He drives the Mach 5 and always manages to wind up in extreme danger (such as encountering thugs, race fixers, gangs, etc.) with his younger brother or his girlfriend.  Of course, Speed Racer manages to overcome each obstacle and triumph in the end.

This animated show was one of the highlights of my afternoon TV viewing as a youngster.

Here’s a short video (1:08), courtesy of YouTube, with the animated opening sequence of the TV show and the highly-popular theme song.  Enjoy!

 

Long live Speed Racer!

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Cher at Caesar’s

Cher, 62, and still going strong, opened her new show in May at Caesar’s Colosseum in Las Vegas, in what is now a “perfect storm” of pop divas, comprised of Cher, Bette Midler and Elton John, in rotation over the next two years.  (On a combined basis, the three performers are 185 years old.  Yikes!)  I saw the show on 8/31/08, in a packed house of 4,300 people, where Cher delivered a solid, 90-minute show of what her fans demand– a retrospective of her big hits, lots of razzmatazz, and over-the-top, practically bare-all Bob Mackie gowns.

Through a series of costume changes (12 or more, perhaps), Cher takes her audience on a time travel through her four decades of singing, including an emotional and highly-effective segment featuring video images of Sonny Bono projected on huge screens onstage. 

The audience was filled with an interesting mix of people– soccer moms with their drag-along husbands, retired couples who may have been expecting re-runs of the old Sonny and Cher shows, groups of “girls gone wild,” as well as core, die-hards from her touring concert base, and of course, her gays.

 

 

In a review of the opening night performance, the Los Angeles Times said “One last tribute must be paid to the Colosseum’s new goddess.  Any sixtysomething who can wear flesh-colored body stockings, even with the hint of a corset beneath, is truly supernatural.   Maybe she really is immortal.”

To purchase tickets from Ticketmaster, click here.

“Lavish, nonstop fun, with the usual array of outlandish Bob Mackie costumes…”

   –Los Angeles Times

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