Archive for June, 2014

Random Friday Thoughts — June 27, 2014

Happy Friday!  This is the kickoff to the last weekend of June.  I cannot believe that one-half of 2014 is already behind us and the Fourth of July is next week!

We have nothing planned this weekend and that’s perfectly fine with me.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I hope you have a great one.

CELEBRATING 90TH BIRTHDAY

A couple of weeks ago, former President George H. W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by jumping out of a plane.

Before the jump, he tweeted, “It’s a wonderful day in Maine — in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump.”

Bush Jumping on 90th

I commend him for doing something that I’d never do.  He also took parachute jumps on his 80th and 85th birthdays.

George H.W. Bush becomes the fifth U.S. President to reach 90-years-old and he’s the fifth longest living President.  He joins the ranks of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, John Adams, and Herbert Hoover.

Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter

God-willing, on October 1st of this year, my favorite President, Jimmy Carter, will become the sixth President to live to 90!

WAS THERE FOUL PLAY INVOLVED IN TAMMY WYNETTE’S DEATH?

I recently read “Tammy Wynette:  A Daughter Recalls Her Mother’s Tragic Life and Death” by Jackie Daly, the country legend’s second oldest daughter.

A Daughter Recalls

Tammy Wynette died in April of 1998 at the age of 55.  While she had health issues, numerous major surgeries, and an addiction to painkillers over the course of her life, the circumstances surrounding her death were very questionable.

This book is pretty one-sided since it’s told by a daughter that went to great lengths to prove that there was a cover-up in her mother’s death.  However, it definitely makes you realize that celebrity deaths are handled much differently than the deaths of average people.  And, even moreso, when there are millions of dollars at stake.

Jackie Daly (with Tom Carter) makes a good argument that it’s very suspicious that Wynette’s husband, George Richey, called his wife’s personal physician in Pennsylvania, hundreds of miles away, to inform him of the singer’s death before the local medical examiner was contacted.

Tammy’s four daughters would go on to file a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Wallis Marsh of Pittsburgh, who had prescribed the drug, Versed, to Wynette.  That drug has been proven that it could cause death if not administered by professionals and under supervision.

Richey was also named in the lawsuit for administering the drug, but he was later dropped.  The pharmacy, Care Solutions of Nashville, was also named in the lawsuit for delivering the painkiller.

Four years after Wynette’s death, a confidential out-of-court settlement was reached between Marsh and the four daughters.

ENOUGH ALREADY

I could care less about Chris Brown’s court appearances and Justin Bieber’s latest run-ins with the law.  Also, “Entertainment Weekly”, move on from “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men”.  There are other things happening in the world of television, movies, music, and books!

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that Ray and I are wrapping up the fifth and final season of “Fringe”, (R.I.P. Walter, Olivia, and Peter), we’re debating what series to watch next.  It’s between “Breaking Bad” and “True Blood”.

fringe-show

I think we’re leaning toward “Breaking Bad” since the seventh and final season of “True Blood” is now underway.

Also, the second season of “Under The Dome” starts Monday night, June 30th, on CBS!

Under The Dome

PICK HIT

Christian pop singer Amy Grant is ready to make a comeback on the pop charts and in the dance clubs.

Amy Grant

On August 19th, “In Motion: The Remixes” is released and it’ll feature remixes of some of her biggest hits by some of today’s hottest DJs, including Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, Ralph Rosario, and Hex Hector.

“Baby Baby”, remixed by Dave Aude, is ready to blast its way into the dance clubs.

Since her first Christian hit in 1977, she’s hit the top of that chart 16 times and she’s also crossed over to the pop chart.

Amy has a total of ten Top 40 hits of the Billboard Hot 100, including five from her 1991 album, “Heart in Motion”, that sold more than five million copies in the U.S.

Of those pop hits, two have topped the Hot 100, “The Next Time I Fall”, a duet with Peter Cetera in 1986, and a solo hit, “Baby Baby”, for two weeks in the spring of 1991.

This is one release I’m looking forward to this fall.

“WALK OF SHAME”

The last comedy that really made me laugh out loud was “This Is The End” last year and that ended up being my fifth favorite movie I saw in 2013.

Now, I can add the box office bomb, “Walk of Shame” to that list of funny movies.  Yes, critics hated it and it was panned by the few movie goers that saw it.  For whatever reason, it was only released in 51 theaters for a week!  Nevertheless, Ray and I thought it was funny.

Elizabeth Banks plays Meghan Miles, a Los Angeles television news anchor, who is dumped by her fiance.  Her two friends force her to go on the town.  After getting drunk and hooking up with the very hunky Gordon, played by James Marsden, she leaves his place when he falls asleep and checks her messages.  The network is coming to see her show for a promotion to do the national news.

When she leaves Gordon’s place, her car is being towed away with her purse in it.  In her quest to get the car back, she runs into altercations with local drug dealer, prostitutes, the police, and that’s only part of the drama and the chaos.

So, it may not be Oscar-worthy material, but I laughed many times and I plan on buying the DVD.

Many of us have done the “walk of shame” and this is one I’d definitely do again!

GRADE:  B

I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

Since I talked about Tammy Wynette earlier in the blog, I’ll feature her in this weekly segment.

In her long career, Tammy scored 44 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 31 reached the Top Ten and 25 of them made the Top 5.

Tammy topped the country music chart 17 times and for a stretch from 1967 to 1969, she had seven consecutive number one songs.  Some of her number ones include “I Don’t Want To Play House”, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”, and “Stand By Your Man”

“‘Til I Can Make It on My Own” is one of my favorite Tammy Wynette songs.  It hit #1 in the spring of 1976.

In addition to her solo hits (and a #1 duet with David Houston in 1967), Tammy also scored 13 Top 40 hits with George Jones.  Of those, eight reached the Top Ten and three topped the Country charts including “Golden Ring” and “We’re Gonna Hold On”.

tammy-wynette

With all the country success, only “Stand By Your Man”, her #1 1968 country hit crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100.  It peaked at #19.

However, that would not be her last appearance.  In late 1991, the British duo, KLF, called up the “Queen of Country Music” to lend her vocals to their hit, “Justified & Ancient (Stand by the JAMs)”.

That song made it all the way up to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached #2 on the Billboard Dance charts.

But, it hit #1 in Austria for five weeks and #1 in Sweden for three weeks.  It also topped the charts in Finland and New Zealand and almost hit the top in the U.K. peaking at #2.

R.I.P. TAMMY WYNETTE

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.   Here’s hoping that we all have a great weekend.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — June 20, 2014

Happy Friday!  I hope you had a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.  Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this week.

SUMMER STARTS SATURDAY MORNING

Today is the last day of spring!  Summer officially begins at 5:51 a.m. CDT Saturday.  If this means relaxing in the backyard swimming pool and anticipating my two fall trips (those details coming at a later date), I’m all for it.

Pool

Every summer, we plant a small garden of mostly tomatoes.  First, it was for Miss ABBA, who loved them.  Now we do it in her memory.

This year, I actually started most of the tomato plants inside when snow was still on the ground!  Most of our tomatoes are “ice white cherry” from seeds I bought on ebay.  We also have a common red ones and peppers in many varieties.

I’m looking forward to making homemade salsa in my new Hamilton Beach Food Processor that Santa brought me.  I wish that I lived in California, or some avocado-producing state, to make fresh guacamole from hand-picked avocados, too.

R.I.P CASEY KASEM

Last Sunday, on Father’s Day, radio legend Casey Kasem passed away at the age of 82.

People around the world grew up listening to that distinctive and distinguished voice count down the 40 biggest songs across the U.S. on “American Top 40”.

Casey_Kasem

The show debuted over Independence Day weekend in 1970 and Casey’s last countdown during his first run was on August 6, 1988.  (He would return to “American Top 40” from 1998-2003.)

When the show started, it was broadcast on seven stations.  At its peak, it was broadcast on more than a thousand stations in the U.S. and in 50 countries around the world.

For those listening to that first show in 1970, Casey opened with “Here we go with the Top 40 hits of the nation this week on “American Top 40”, the best-selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico.  This is Casey Kasem in Hollywood, and in the next three hours, we’ll count down the 40 most popular hits in the United States this week, hot off the record charts of “Billboard” magazine…”

Sadly, he gained media attention recently in a very nasty, public dispute between his children and his second wife of almost 34 years, Jean, as he battled Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Here is a blog that I wrote two years ago about how much I loved listening to Casey and how a long distance dedication could go terribly wrong!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/when-cusswords-outnumber-the-top-40-hits/

“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

R.I.P. Casey!

POOR STATE OF POP RADIO

Since we’re talking radio, I have to say that I’m not a fan of Clear Channel Communications’ promotional synergy of pushing a new song by playing it at the top of every hour for a certain period of time.

Madonna-Give-Me-All-Your-Luvin

While that helped Madonna secure her record-extending  38th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2012 with “Give Me All Your Luvin”, along with Britney Spears debuting at #12 last year with “Work Bitch”, and Michael Jackson earning another Top Ten hit this year with “Love Never Felt So Good”, it also dooms the songs.

It’s debatable whether those three songs are worthy of hitting the top of the chart, but constant initial airplay pushes those song to a high debut and then they usually drop off quickly the next week and rarely rebound to a higher chart position on the airplay chart.

Why can’t it be like it used to be when Casey Kasem counted down the hottest songs in the land.  When you heard them, you knew you’d hear them during the week on your local radio station because back then a song had to build airplay week to week!

KUDOS TO RICKY MARTIN

To protest Morocco’s antigay laws, Ricky Martin changed the pronoun in his ballad, “She’s All I Ever Had” to “he” while performing at the 13th Mawazine World Rhythms Festival in Rabat, Morocco.

He sang, “It’s the way he makes me feel / It’s the only thing that’s real / It’s the way he understands / He’s my lover, he’s my friend / When I look into his eyes it’s the way I feel inside / Like the man I want to be / He’s all I ever need.”

Homosexuality is still a crime there and just last month, six Moroccan men were convicted and each face up to three years in prison.

This is the original that reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999.

And, if you’re a Ricky Martin fan, his autobiography, “Me”, is amazing.

Here’s the blog that I wrote about it if you want to know more about it or Ricky.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/me-personifies-ricky-martins-compassionate-life/

WAS ANTHONY PERKINS “PSYCHO”?

I just finished reading “Split Image” by Charles Winecoff about the life and death of movie and stage legend Anthony Perkins, who died of AIDS in 1992.  The book was published four years after the “Psycho” star’s death.

Split Image

As I was reading the very lengthy book (480 pages), I was so ready for it to end.

I never met Tony Perkins, so I don’t know if he was a shy, introverted, strange man or not.  However, I can’t believe that Winecoff spent so much time and effort interviewing people and pulling quotes from Perkins and many of his fellow actors to piece together such an unhappy, unflattering book.

It was as if Winecoff disliked Perkins so much that he took joy in making him look as bad as possible after the actor’s death.

I love reading biographies or books about real events.  But, it was hard for me to read about Perkins’ life from someone who didn’t interview the star for the book.

The book did not change how I feel about Perkins since I was named after him, after all!  I still think the lanky, 6’2″ actor was gorgeous in the 1950s and 1960s!  See for yourself.

The song featured in that video was “How About You” from Perkins’ 1957 album, “Tony Perkins”.   He reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957 with “Moon-Light Swim”.

Beyond his career defining role as serial killer Norman Bates in 1960’s “Psycho” and its three sequels, Perkins was nominated for an Oscar in 1957 and he won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award in 1961.

Anthony Perkins Psycho

I’m glad that Winecoff used this quote from Anthony Perkins as he lay dying that he dictated to his sons:

“There are many who believe this disease is God’s vengeance, but I believe it was sent to teach people how to love and understand and have compassion for each other.  I have learned more about love, selflessness, and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life.”

AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR MYSELF

While I have an amazing celebratory trip coming up in October to usher in my 50th birthday (details are coming soon), I bought myself concert tickets to see my favorite band of all time for the first time.

The band is Erasure and here’s one of their biggest hits in the United States from 1988.

If you’re not all that familiar with the band and would like a crash course in who they are and learn more about me and my younger days, check out the blog I wrote about them.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-fall-just-got-more-exciting-with-erasure/

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Tonight, we’re off to Clinton, Iowa, just outside the Quad Cities, to see the “Grits and Glamour Tour” with Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis.

Grits Glamour Tour

Since she scored her first country hit in 1988 with “Trainwreck of Emotion”, which reached #20, Lorrie Morgan has amassed 25 hits on the Billboard country charts.

Of those, 14 reached the Top Ten, and three topped the charts:  “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).

“Watch Me” reached #2 on the Billboard Country charts in 1992.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Throughout the 1990s, Pam Tillis scored 22 Top 40 hits on the country chart.  Of that great accomplishment, 13 of those songs made the Top Ten and 10 of them making it all the way into the Top 5.  (She also had a Top 30 hit with Dolly Parton, “Romeo”).

Her only #1, “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)” topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

One of my favorite Pam Tillis songs is “Spilled Perfume”, from the “Sweetheart’s Dance” album.  It hit #5 on the Billboard Country chart in 1994.

HAPPY PRIDE WEEKEND, CHICAGO PEEPS

It’s pride weekend in Chicago and I want to wish all of my friends there a safe and fun weekend!

pride-martini-collection

It’s been a few years, 2010, I think, since I last celebrate Pride in the big city.  So, friends, have a drink or a shot for me!

I want to close out my blog with three “Pride-worthy” videos to kick off the weekend.

The first is a song that I saw performed on television in April 1993 for the “March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation” while I was living in small town Kentucky.

Seeing Rozalla sing “Everybody’s Free” while hundreds of thousands of people just like me making themselves visible was such an incredible feeling.   Unfortunately, I can’t find a video from the 1993 “March”, but the song’s message is still the same from the music video.

The second is by the late Sylvester, a legend in the LGBT community.

In 1978, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” was #1 Billboard Dance hit and a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

And, the last video is one of the sexiest and most life-affirming, “be proud” messages I’ve seen in a video by a straight, but not narrow friend of the LGBT community, Kylie Minogue.

I guess the Kylie video is powerful.  I had a high school classmate delete me on Facebook when I posted the video a couple of years ago.  He said it was part of the moral decay in this country!

THAT’S IT

My friends, whatever your persuasion, I hope you have a fantastic first weekend of summer.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

My Fall Just Got More Exciting With Erasure

I’ve seen some fun and amazing concerts this year (Cher, Shania Twain, and Olivia Newton-John), but I’m really psyched to see my favorite band of all-time this fall for the first time — a week before my monumental 50th birthday!

It’s not ABBA, Culture Club, The Human League, Duran Duran, The Carpenters, New Kids on the Block, Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive, or Depeche Mode, although I do want to see Pet Shop Boys and Culture Club in 2015 and I’d love to see The Human League again.

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke, better known as Erasure, will be hitting the road this fall to support their 16th studio album, “The Violet Flame”, that comes out this September.  The first single arrives in July.

The Violet Flame Erasure

I have pretty decent seats to see them in Chicago in early October.  Unfortunately, since I was buying my tickets from an airport rushing between flights, I didn’t score “pit” tickets and I wasn’t fast enough to get VIP tickets!  Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see the show.

Until now, it’s never worked out for me to see them live in concert.

However, I did have the pleasure to say “hello” to Andy and Vince from across the “Fox News Chicago” newsroom where I was working as a news writer back in 2002.  They dropped in to make an appearance on our morning show when Erasure was playing in Chicago.

April 2013 001

Andy and Vince were kind of enough to sign my VHS copy of  “Wild!  Live”, their 1989 concert at the London Arena.

If you’ve only listened to mainstream Top 40 radio since the 1980s, you’re probably not too familiar with Erasure.  Sadly, radio missed the boat on the group.

They’ve hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 three times.  “Chains of Love” peaked at #12 in 1988.

That was followed by “A Little Respect”, which made it to #14 that same year, and “Always” reached the Top 20 in 1994.

However, my love for Erasure goes back a few years before they had their first hit on American radio.  In 1985, they released their first record, “Who Needs Love Like That”/”Heavenly Action”, which was a Top Ten U.S. dance club hit.

erasure

I had just turned 21 and I no longer had to sneak into the my local gay bar, Rumors, in Paducah, Kentucky.  When I started spinning record there in 1986, I couldn’t get enough of  “Oh L’amour”, the third single from their debut album, “Wonderland”.

That song reached #3 on the U.S. Dance charts and #2 on the charts in South Africa and #3 in Singapore.

“Oh L’amour” is still my favorite Erasure song to this day.

erasure2

Luckily, for Americans Erasure fans, the duo made it big in the clubs scoring 22 Top 40 dance hits with 16 hitting the Top Ten, and two topping the charts: “Victim of Love” (1987) and “Breathe” (2005).

In their native U.K., they’ve had 32 Top 40 hits with 15 reaching the Top Ten.  Interestingly enough, their biggest hit in England was “Sometimes” in 1987.  It’s another one of my all-time favorites, but it missed the top.  It stalled out at #2.

While I’ve always been “out”, being born and raised in small town Kentucky, I admired Andy Bell from the beginning for being himself — out, proud and fabulous.  He didn’t change himself or conform his look or stage presence to be “safe” for American audiences.

Now, I did wear some interesting clothes in my 20s that provoked second looks and “under the breath” comments, but compared to Andy’s style, it was very subtle!

If you have any doubt about Andy’s eye-catching style, check out this performance, “Star”, from “Wild!  Live”!

And, if I didn’t totally love Andy and Vince before 1992, I was in gay heaven that year when they released “Abba-esque”, a four-song EP of ABBA tunes.  It hit the top of the charts in Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Before Erasure broke onto the music scene, ABBA was my favorite band.  I loved the Swedish band so much that, in 2000, I named my golden retriever after them!  🙂  Shortly after she went to “puppy heaven” in early 2012, I got a tattoo of Miss ABBA!

Anthony ABBA Tattoo

“The Violet Flame Tour”, which kicks off in September in Miami, Florida, then heads across the U.S. (and Toronto, Ontario) through early November before heading to Europe and then back to New York City for two shows to ring in the New Year!

erasure 4

This is Erasure’s first tour since 2011’s international “The Tomorrow’s World Tour”.

While Andy may not wear as many sequins and the costumes may not be as revealing as back in 1989, from this video from Offenbach, Germany, in November 2011, Andy and Vince’s performances are still energizing and incredible.

erasure3

I’m already looking forward to July to hear the first single from “The Violet Flame” and for the album’s release in September.

But, most of all, I’m counting down the days until October 4th, when I get to see Erasure at the Chicago Theatre for the first time.

Andy and Vince, I’ll be screaming and singing along from the Main Floor B section.  I’ll pretend that you’re singing to me when I hear the first notes of “Oh L’amour”!

♫♪ Oh l’amour/Broke my heart and now I’m aching for you/Mon amour/What’s a boy in love supposed to do?

♫♪

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts – June 13, 2014

Happy Friday and Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week and have a great weekend!

ACCEPTING JONAH HILL’S APOLOGY?

It’s been almost two weeks since two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill (“This Is The End”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and “Moneyball”) screamed out a homophobic remark to the paparazzi that was hounding and berating him in a Los Angeles neighborhood near Hollywood.

He quickly went into damage control mode expressing how disgusted he was with himself because that’s not how he really feels and that he’s always been very supportive of the LGBT community.

While he’s a solid actor, I can’t say that I’m a fan.  On the other hand, I don’t dislike him.

I feel he’s genuinely sincere with his apology.  However, if he was really pushed into lashing out, he could have still said, “Suck my d***” without the derogatory f-word that precipitated this whole apology tour.

When I’m mad, I may use choice words, but they definitely don’t start with “F” or “N”, because those words are not part of my daily vocabulary and shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s!

BRAD PAISLEY IS AWESOME

I met country music superstar Brad Paisley back in 2001 in Canfield, Ohio, when he was just starting out and was promoting his second album.  (That’s a much younger me in the middle with the microphone).

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

At the time, he was new to business and came across as rather shy.  Now, he’s very outgoing and outspoken.

Here’s how he handled the Westboro Baptist cult outside his show in the Kansas City, Missouri, area back on June 1st.

Brad Paisley WBC

He took a selfie with the group that was protesting him and said that they’d “play loud” enough that night for the group to hear outside.

Awesome!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

At this point, I might as well feature Brad as my weekly country music pick of the songs and artists that I’ve loved or admired when I listened to country music.

Brad first hit the chart in 1999 when “Who Needs Pictures” peaked at #12.  The follow-up, “He Didn’t Have To Be” topped the chart in December of that year.

In all, he’s had 37 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 30 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Of those, 18 have reached #1.  As a matter of fact, he had an amazing run from 2005-2009 with ten consecutive number one hits on the charts!

While I love, “He Didn’t Have To Be”, “We Danced”, and “When I Get Where I’m Going” with Dolly Parton, my pick hit today is convenient.  “Celebrity” reached #3 in 2003.

Brad has sold more than 12 million albums, picked up three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards.

“TONY AWARDS” HUMOR

Hugh Jackman from Sunday night’s “Tony Awards” broadcast:  “There’s the amazing Neil Patrick Harris, nominated for Hedwig.  He is a legendary four-time Tony host.  But, Angela Lansbury has hosted five times. So, Neil is right behind her and I was right behind him, which is still illegal in 13 states.”

Hugh Jackman

Disclaimer:  That picture of Hugh Jackman has nothing to do with the Tony Awards.  Oh well….

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

It’s now June and I’ve only gone to the movies once this year.  I saw “August:  Osage County” back in January.

I still want to see “Godzilla” on the big screen and I’ll wait to see “Neighbors” on DVD.  Other than that, there’s nothing out there or coming out anytime soon that I can’t wait for to watch at home.

The next movie I anticipate seeing is “The Hundred-Foot Journey” with Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (“The Queen”, 2006, Best Actress).

The movie is co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and is directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”).

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” opens August 8th.

CHER IS COMING BACK TO THE QUAD CITIES

This fall, music and screen icon, Cher, will be making another stop in the Quad Cities on October 22nd with her “Dressed To Kill Tour”.  Pat Benatar is opening for her.

Cher 2014 311

I saw her last Friday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Cyndi Lauper opening for her.  The show, from the costumes, the sets, the choreography, and Cher’s humor and voice, was amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi back in 2002 in Chicago on “The Farewell Tour” and the “Dressed To Kill Tour” was much better and more entertaining.

DO YOU KNOW RYAN LEWIS?

Ryan Lewis is part of the biggest act that has hit pop and rap music in the past few years.  He’s the good-looking half of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

But, could you pick him out a crowd?  Obviously, New Yorkers couldn’t.  Lewis is so funny in this clip from “The Tonight Show”.

COOKIE FAIL

I got really excited when I saw that Chips Ahoy had birthday frosting and Oreo creme filled cookies.

Chips Ahoy Filled Cookies

I wasn’t impressed.  I think the cookies would have been much better if they were crunchy Chips Ahoy with the creme frosting filling.  I’ll save my 75 calories per small cookie for something more rewarding.

PICK HIT

Swedish music producer and DJ Avicii has produced songs for some of the biggest names in music — Madonna, Coldplay, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Daft Punk, Robyn, and many more.

He even scored his first hit album with himself as the star.  “True” debuted at #5 in the U.S. last fall and was one of my favorite albums of 2013.

The first two songs from that album have made a big impact on Top 40 radio in America and both have topped the Billboard Dance chart.

“Wake Me Up” reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013 and was downloaded more than 4 million times.  The follow-up, “Hey Brother”, peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.

His new song, “Addicted To You”, has already topped the Billboard Dance chart and is now racing up the Top 40 radio chart.

Warning:  the video does include shots of butts!

SPEAKING OF MADONNA

It seems that she is hard at work on her 13th studio album.  While there is no release date set, it appears that she’s working with Avicii,  the English duo Disclosure (who’s scoring big on American radio right now with their Top 15 hit, “Latch”), American DJ and producer Diplo, and English singer/actress Natalia Kills.

I really thought that Natalia Kills would have been big in the U.S. in the wake of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  However, that didn’t happen even with will.i.am on her side.

But, “Wonderland” is still one of my favorite songs and videos.  Warning — it’s disturbing.

THAT’S IT

Have a splendid weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week!

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 6, 2014

Greetings from Las Vegas!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I didn’t post a “Random Friday Thoughts” last week while I was in Vegas.  Trust me that most of it was written, but I was so wrapped up in shows, eating, drinking, and playing slot machines that I didn’t finish it.  So, here goes…

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

THE “KING OF POP” LIVES 

Just hours after we arrived in Vegas last Wednesday, we had dinner and were off to our first show.

Originally, we were just going to see Shania Twain and Olivia Newton-John.   However, we got a great deal to see two Cirque du Soleil shows.

MJ One

First up was “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay.

This show was amazing.  The music, the theatrics, and the energy were incredible.

“ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE”

On Thursday night, it was “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage.

Somehow we lucked out and had second row seats to this sold out show and we just bought them last week!

Like the Cirque du Soleil “Michael Jackson ONE” show, the sets, scenery, and the mind-blowing theatrics were breath-taking.

Even if you’re not a true Michael Jackson or the Beatles fan, you still get caught up in the music and the show.

VEGAS FOOD

As you know, every thing in Vegas is about excess.  Buffets are no exception.

The first night we ate at the Carnival World Buffet at Rio.  The service was great, but there was nothing really spectacular about it.  It was average.

However, for lunch Thursday, we ate at the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas.  And, just like our first visit there, it was incredible.  This is one of my absolute favorites.

Spice Market Buffet Desserts

Viena, our server, was so warm and attentive.  She’s definitely a great asset to the establishment!

On Friday, we lunched at the Paris Le Village and it was tasty.

And, on Saturday, we had our typical weekend brunch at the Stratosphere.  We’ve eaten there all three times we’ve visited Vegas and our server remembers us each time and she always picks up where we left off the last time!

AP Saturday Brunch Stratosphere

Yes, we did eat buffets over the four days we were there (along with unlimited cocktails and mimosas).  However, each day, that was our only meal of the day and we walked a total of 58.4 miles while in Vegas.

With that being said, we gained no weight while there!

After a few non-Vegas random thoughts, I have some pictures and comments about the Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain concerts, too.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Look Married

EMMY AWARDS, EXPAND YOUR HORIZIONS

Over the past few years, the Primetime Emmy Awards have been given kudos for looking outside the box and nominating and awarding newer shows and performances.

However, outside of technical achievement, actors from one show keep getting overlooked.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has been nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards and has won two of them.  However, all of the nominations are in the Prosthetic Makeup, Sound, and Special Visual Effects categories and not for acting.

the-walking-dead-season-4-emmy-ad

AMC is reaching out with its “For Your Consideration” campaign, especially for Melissa McBride’s heart-breaking portrayal of Carol in season four.

Nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced on July 10th and the Emmys will be handed out August 25th.

WEDDING BLUES

Two of the most overrated celebrities were married late last month weekend in Italy.

kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding

From the following wedding announcement, I don’t think that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian should expect a wedding gift from the New York Post!

New York Post

“THE NORMAL HEART”

The film version of AIDS activist Larry Kramer’s 1985’s play debuted this Memorial Day holiday weekend to solid numbers.

The Normal Heart HBO

The Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story” and “Glee) produced drama stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons, and Taylor Kitsch.

“The Hollywood Reporter” writes “As it stands, “The Normal Heart” premiere ranks fifth in viewership among the 17 HBO Films originals to premiere since 2010. Expect a significant boost once time-shifting and HBO Go views are taken into account.”

Since I don’t have HBO, I can’t wait for “The Normal Heart” to come out on DVD.

BIEBS HAS A HEART

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has had his fair share of bad publicity over the past year, including the “racist” joke/song he told a few years ago that has just surfaced.

However, what he did something recently that is setting him back more than one-half of million dollars and that’s a good thing.

amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala, Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI: Red Carpet Arrivals

At an amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) celebrity gala fundraiser in Cannes, when a wealthy gentleman pledged $545,000, Bieber quietly match the bid!  He said he just wanted to do something good.

amfAR is dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and more.

PICK HIT

Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias extends his lead over Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan for the most number one singles on the Billboard Latin chart.

enrique_iglesias

“Bailando”, with Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona, the latest single from “Sex and Love”, becomes his 26th chart topper.  Martin has 13 and Estefan has 11.

The song is now gaining airplay at Top 40 radio stations.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

With temperatures near 100°, it’s only right that we enjoy “Summer Nights” in Las Vegas at the Flamingo with Olivia Newton John in concert.

Olivia 2

Last Friday night, Olivia looked stunning and her voice was so crisp and beautiful.

She was also very personable and funny.  At one point, she told the audience, “I know you probably know the song and want to sing along.  Don’t.  It’ll mess us up”.  That was followed by a cute laugh.

I’ve been a huge fan since “Let Me Be There” blasted from my hometown country radio station, WNGO-AM 1320, in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1973.

That song went on to reach #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the Billboard Country chart, and it won Olivia a Grammy Award for “Best Female Country Vocalist”.

When I bought tickets for this show back in February, I blogged being hopelessly devoted to Olivia.  Here’s the link if you missed it or want to read it again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/im-still-hopelessly-devoted-to-olivia/

Whether it’s the policy of The Flamingo or something written in Olivia’s contract, but no photos were allowed.  I can fully understand prohibiting recording the performance, but no photos.  Really?

I complied until the end of the show!

Olivia

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” (PART TWO)

Here’s a double dose of country and Vegas.

Our final show in our Vegas trip was Shania Twain and her show, “Shania:  Still The One” at Caesars Palace.

Shania Still The One

Shania was amazing and she allowed those in the audience to take selfies with her, including me.  (I really need to work on my selfie picture-taking skills.  I got one, but it wasn’t perfect).

The bottom line is that she was amazing and the show was true Vegas.

Shania

However, there was a scary moment with one of the horses on stage that Shania was riding.  But, the horse and Shania were both okay and the show, as they say, went on.

Back in February, I blogged about Shania and why I loved her as a singer and entertainer.  And, after reading her book, “From This Moment On”, I blogged about it just a couple of days ago.  It is fantastic.

Here’s that link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/shania-is-iconic-but-i-feel-i-know-eilleen-more/

And, here’s the one from back in February.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/after-20-years-shanias-still-the-one/

That’s “Ka-Ching!” form Shania’s “Up” album.  The song reached #2 in Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Switzerland, and #3 in Germany.

THAT’S IT

I have one more whirlwind weekend before I can enjoy a chill out weekend at home.  After work today, Ray and I are heading off to Milwaukee to see the “Dressed to Kill Tour” with Cher and Cyndi Lauper.

Then it’s back to the Quad Cities Saturday for me to judge a Bacon festival that evening.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony