Category Archives: Hollywood

Shaun T Hosts ABC’s new My Diet Is Better Than Yours

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*Most of us have some work to do after the holiday eating frenzy. Spring will be here before we know it, and for some of us, if we don’t act with some urgency, the warm weather will bring the reality that last year’s clothes just don’t fit like they used to. Even more importantly, many of us know that we could make far healthier choices for ourselves and those who love us.

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, fitness trainer Shaun T is hosting the new My Diet Is Better Than Yours, airing Thursdays at 8pm on ABC throughout the month of January. The program is one of this year’s mid-season replacements, and it’s one of the best health and fitness-related shows I’ve ever seen. The network has ordered eight one-hour episodes, which are airing in two-hour blocks throughout the month. Continue reading

‘Fly’ Cast Announced for Upcoming Pasadena Playhouse Production on Tuskegee Airmen

The company of FLY with Dr. Roscoe Brown, Tuskegee Airman and Chief Technical Consultant for FLY Click on the image to view the high-res version. Photo by The Pasadena Playhouse
The company of FLY with Dr. Roscoe Brown, Tuskegee Airman and Chief Technical Consultant for FLY. Photo by The Pasadena Playhouse

PASADENA, CA (January 4, 2016) The cast has been announced for the West Coast premiere of The Pasadena Playhouse –Crossroads Theatre Company production of Fly, by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, and inspired by the American Heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Fly began rehearsals last week at The New Victory Theater in New York. Preview performances begin at The Pasadena Playhouse (39 S. El Molino Avenue in Pasadena) January 26, 2016 with the official press opening on January 31, 2016. Fly will play through February 21, 2016 at The Pasadena Playhouse, in honor of Black History Month.

The production will then have its Off-Broadway premiere at The New Victory Theater on March 11, 2016. An earlier, 55 minute version of Fly was presented by Lincoln Center Institute, the educational arm of Lincoln Center, in 2005.

Fly is directed by Khan, the Tony Award-winning co-founder and former artistic director of Crossroads Theatre Company, and choreographed by Hope Clark. Continue reading

It’s a Small, Dangerous, Metal-Detecting World, After All :-(

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*It may be a small world, after all, but it’s an increasing sad and dangerous one, as well.

In a real wake-up call, and in the wake of recent shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, Disney theme parks are installing metal detectors at their entrances. For the first time, they’ve banned costumes for guests over 14 years old, and banned the sale and possession of toy weapons in all of their parks, for fear that they’ll be confused with the real deal.

Disney’s move comes a week after they had to arrest a man for trying to enter the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida with a handgun, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Continue reading

Johnny Mathis Talks Christmas Music — Our Exclusive Conversation!

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*While Christmas shopping recently, I paused while listening to a hauntingly beautiful song recorded by the incomparable Johnny Mathis. It’s called “Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)” and it’s featured on Mathis’ latest Christmas collection, 2013’s exceptional, Grammy-nominated Sending You A Little Christmas.

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Mathis, 80, is one of few artists who has recorded so many Christmas albums over the years, beginning with 1958’s classic Merry Christmas, that you can use the word “latest” to differentiate between them!

Chances are you’ve played — or at least heard — something from Mathis this holiday season. His vast Christmas collection is the soundtrack of, literally, generations of music lovers. As the gorgeous track faded down, I wondered what Mathis himself enjoys listening to at Christmastime. Continue reading

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live, with The Little Mermaid!

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*I don’t care how old you are, or what race, gender or sexual orientation — when a Disney Princess calls you, you have at least a small “freak out” moment.

“Hi, Michael.  This is Jodi Benson.” on the other end of my phone yesterday morning did it for me.

For the uninitiated, Benson is the Broadway star, actress, and singer who gave a voice to Ariel in the Disney animated classic The Little Mermaid.  She gave me a call to tell me about her upcoming gig with the San Francisco Symphony, A Charlie Brown Christmas LIVE.  She’ll perform holiday hits and a hit or two of her own (“Part Of Your World, anyone?) with the San Francisco Symphony, at Davies Hall.   The show runs December 18-24.

“The conductor, Randall Fleischer, and I are old friends,” Benson, 51 told me by phone in her distinctive, still-girlish voice. “We have worked together for almost two decades, and I have sung with the San Francisco Symphony I believe three times, but it’s been several years since I’ve been there! So when Randall got this particular gig, and he told me he would love for me to come celebrate the holidays with him and the San Francisco Symphony, of course I said ‘yes’.”

A Charlie Brown Christmas and Disney’s Little Mermaid? THAT’s a ticket that’ll be hard to beat this holiday season! Continue reading

‘Gods of Egypt’ Director and Studio Apologize for Lack of Diversity in Cast

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*The upcoming Hollywood epic “Gods of Egypt” is the latest in a long line of films to be criticized for its “whitewashed” casting — but this time around, the director and the studio are owning up to, and APOLOGIZING, in the wake of the uproar.

The film, which bows February 26, 2016, casts white actors Gerald Butler (300), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones), and Brendon Thwaites (The Giver) as Egyptians. Backlash was swift and brutal after the trailer for the film was released, revealing that the overwhelming majority of the cast was white.

Now for the record and the geographically challenged, Egypt is in Africa. Af-fri-frickin’-CA!   Afri-Kunta-Kinte-CA!!! Continue reading

Early Gift to Motown Fans: Expanded, Remastered 50th Anniversary Edition of The Supremes’ Merry Christmas

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*Diana Ross fans are getting a second Christmas present this year!

On the heels of the long-awaited, successful release of Diana Ross Sings Songs From The Wiz, Motown Universal is releasing a remastered, expanded version of The Supremes’ classic Merry Christmas album.

In addition to the original mono and subsequently released stereo version of the 1965 album, this reissue delivers bonus tracks including a never-before-heard version of “Silver Bells” that features an additional verse, the rare “Lonely Lonely Christmas”, and a prized version of “Silent Night” that features Florence Ballard on lead vocals. The album also includes a previously unreleased live version of “My Favorite Things” from a 1967 concert at the legendary Copa. The show was one of the final concerts by the original Supremes lineup, before Cindy Birdsong joined the rechristened Diana Ross & the Supremes. Continue reading

Nude Swimmer Survives Shark Attack

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*I love swimming in the nude. Everything free and flopping around. Wearing swim trucks while swimming is, I’d imagine, like women wearing a bra while…doing everything. So I’m sure you don’t begrudge me the pleasure. And in return, I’ll invite you over to swim in my pool sometime.

And that’s the difference between how I spend my days off in the summer and what this dude did: he went swimming nude in shark invested waters off the coast of Hawaii and almost lost a foot doing it.  

Now, I have a size 12 foot, and I’m absolutely certain that a shark watching me from below would see and  go for another part of my anatomy if he saw me swimming in the buff out in the ocean. He wouldn’t be able to help himself.  I’m popular.

But Paul O’Leary decided to go for it. So did the shark. Continue reading