Posts Tagged ‘Country Music Hall of Fame’

My Personal Tribute (& Shrine) To Reba

Reba McEntire is coming back to the Quad Cities.  On Wednesday, August 5th, she’ll be playing at the Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport, Iowa.

The last time she was here, October 2011, she played at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

Reba 2011

That was my 12th Reba concert and since I’m going Wednesday, that will be number 13.  Now, I’m not superstitious.  But, if I was, I’d love to say this will be my lucky 13th concert and I’d get to meet Reba again and update my picture with her from ten years ago!

In today’s tribute, I’m sharing my shrine to my idol, Reba.  While it may not be as big as the Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit that I saw in Nashville in December 2013, it’s mine and I want to share it with you.

Anthony Reba

RE-POST FROM DECEMBER 3, 2013

This past March, the Country Music Hall of Fame announced that Reba:  All the Women I Am”, an exhibit showing off memorabilia from Reba’s almost 40-year career, would be on display from August 2013 through June 2014.

Reba Exhibit

A few weeks ago, with a couple of extra vacation days left, I asked Ray if he’d like to take a quick trip back to Nashville to see the exhibit.

On the way, we could stop in my neck of the woods of western Kentucky and eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880’s in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, while it was decorated for Christmas.  I hear it’s really pretty there this time of the year.  It’s been a couple of years since we last dined there and from this picture, you can tell that it was fall.

Pattis Fall 2011

I’m excited about the food and seeing my old college roommate, P-Byrd, who is the Executive Chef there.

As you know from reading my “Random Friday Thoughts” blog last week, that simple, quick trip is now going to be over the top. 🙂  We purchased the a Gaylord/Opryland Hotel package that includes Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas show, a night at the Opry, the Rockettes’ Christmas show, a lunch cruise on the General Jackson showboat on the Cumberland River, and much more.

But, this trip all started with a trip to Patti’s and the Reba exhibit.  So, this got me to thinking about my own Reba exhibit that I want to share with you.

This is the “Meet & Greet” pass that got me backstage to meet my Idol back in 2005, which led to…

Reba Meet Greet

my most prized Reba possession!

Reba Art

I met Reba in April 2005 when she kicked off her tour that year on a very cold and blustery night in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Reba Anthony 2005

I had my ticket, the two pictures of us together, and the shirt I was wearing that she autographed framed, along with the 45 rpm single of my favorite Reba song.

Also, dear to my heart is this painting of the “Read My Mind” album cover from 1994.  It was painted for me as a going away present when I lived in Chicago from 1994-1996 and worked at Charlie’s.  This beautiful piece was painted by my friend, David Krumwiede.  Drop in at Charlie’s and say hello to Fifi for me!

Yes, my bedroom wall is a bright “Autumn Harvest” and there is a reason.

After leaving my television job in Salisbury, Maryland, in late 2005, my old news director, Dawn Mitchell, emailed me one day and asked for my new address.  Since she was instrumental to me meeting Reba in early 2005, I thought she was sending me a promotional poster for Reba’s WB “Reba” show since we were the ABC and WB affiliate.

Days later, a delivery truck showed up with a box that looked like a door!  The delivery man said, “it isn’t heavy”.  I thought, “what could it be”?

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And, this is what it is and it’s absolutely gorgeous!  So, other than orange and yellow being my favorite colors, this is the reason my bedroom is so bright.

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Two more friends, Christopher and Betty, were visiting Nashville back in the early 2000s when Reba was playing Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun” in her Broadway debut that ran from January 26-June 22, 2001.

This “Annie” promotional poster was in the bathroom of a Nashville establishment and Christopher talked the manager out of it and it’s now matted and framed on my wall.

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Also, back in the 1990s, I started collecting Reba 45s.  As you recall, those are the things we used to play on record players and that were in jukeboxes. 🙂  My thought process, at the time, was to collect all of Reba’s 45s and have them framed for my wall for a real personal exhibit.

I have many of them, but I still must search out the others.

Reba 45s

And, I have found a few Reba albums.  Now, I need to get at least one 8-track Reba recording!

Reba Albums

I also have tour guides, calendars, Reba bears, clocks, fan club magazines, Reba Visa credit cards and more.

Reba Fun Stuff

Also, I cherish this Christmas card that Reba sent to her fan club members in the 1990s.

Reba Christmas Card

And, since we’re talking about Christmas.  Of course, I have the Reba ornament that plays “The Secret of Giving” that is already placed on our Christmas tree this year.

Reba Ornament

There is still another thing that I want and have yet to get for my Reba collection.

Anthony Twitter

Yes, I want the doll and this could be the year!

While I’m talking about my love and admiration of Reba, there’s the saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

Back in the mid-1990s, at Charlie’s, a country bar and nightclub in Boystown, I performed as Reba first for an employee talent night, then for an AIDS benefit, and a third and final time, at my going away party in Chicago.  Fifi, thank you for doing the hair and make-up!

Anthony as Reba

Thank you for taking the time to check out my tribute to my idol, Reba.  I can’t wait to see the Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit Thursday afternoon!

Oh, by the way, earlier when I mentioned that I had the 45 rpm single of my favorite Reba song framed in that my most prized art possession, I didn’t mention the song.

There’s a reason.  In my continuing tribute to Reba, I’m featuring my 20 favorite Reba album tracks and singles that were never officially released tomorrow and then on Wednesday, I’m sharing my 20 favorite Reba hit songs of all time.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — December 13, 2013

Happy Friday!  I’m a little scared today.  It’s not about the snow coming in tonight and Saturday, but about Jason Voorhees.  Yes, it’s “Friday the 13th”, so I hope you have a great weekend.

Here are my random Friday thoughts.

JasonVoorhees

BY THE WAY, SNOW IS ON THE WAY!

Snow is coming in tonight and early Saturday for the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys.  Here’s how much you can expect!

Snow Tonight & Saturday

JASON & SNOW DON’T SCARE ME, BUT ICE + IDIOT DRIVERS DO

Ice Ray

Meteorological winter is already here even if the calendar says we have to wait until next weekend for the winter solstice.  Last weekend, while in Nashville, icy road conditions and speed were responsible for a deadly accident in the metro area.

Driving home was very scary.  Once we got past the fresh coating of ice in northwestern Tennessee, we encountered leftover heavy snow in southern Illinois, and falling freezing rain in central Illinois.  While it was a slow drive for hours at 40-50 miles-per-hour, the interstate was littered with cars and semis in the ditch — some overturned.

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And, yet with all of the accidents and emergency crews working on the side of the interstate to rescue people, there were still idiots speeding past us and the slowing traffic.

People, ice and snow means conditions are not ideal, so slow down!

MISSING NASHVILLE

One week ago, I was looking forward to seeing Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas show, the ICE exhibit featuring “Frosty the Snowman”, a lunch cruise on the General Jackson showboat on the Cumberland River, and the Grand Ole Opry.  Now that we’re back and I put in my five days at work, the mini-vacation seems like it was so long ago!

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I would definitely consider Nashville as a place to retire.

OPRY VALUES AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

I thoroughly enjoyed my mini-vacation and it was cool to visit the Opry at the Ryman.  This is the music that I grew up on in Kentucky.  Most of the show that we saw was entertaining, yet some of it was painful.  But, that’s not the focus of my random thought.

Country music legend Connie Smith was the host of the first 30 minutes of the two-hour Opry show.  Smith, from 1964-1978, scored 40 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts with 20 of them reaching the Top Ten!  She was very entertaining.

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However, my mind started wandering about the Opry and country music’s close ties to Christianity.

While I know there are many open-minded and loving “Christians” out there, the advertisements from sponsor, Cracker Barrel, and Smith’s introduction to a close family friend and medical doctor of Reverend Billy Graham, made me think more and more about homophobia.

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Country singer Chely Wright, who has scored nine hits on the Billboard Country chart with “Single White Female” reaching #1 in 1999 and was a regular performer at the Opry, has not been invited back since she came out publicly as a lesbian in 2010.

Chely Wright

Chely married her partner, Lauren Blitzer, in August 2011, and this past May, Chely gave birth to identical twins.

Last year, Chely told “Nashville Scene”, “I do think that there are homophobic people in the industry — some of them in power.  I feel that the greatest setback that plagues the country music industry is their collective fear of the consumer’s expected homophobia. I call this fearphobia. The industry is afraid of the record buying public’s fear of gays and lesbians. They’re afraid of fear. And that fear is enough to cause silence. And it’s deafening, if you ask me.”

I love Chely and she is a very courageous woman.  I just wish that the country music genre that I grew up listening to would be more welcoming to my LGBT brothers and sisters.

Opry, it’s time for you to do the right thing and welcome Chely back with open arms.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

LollipopCookie Swap

Eggs Milk Bread

REMEMBERING JOHN LENNON

While dignitaries around the world are paying respect and mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died last week, this past Sunday marked the 33rd anniversary of the shooting death of another man who was a voice for peace and love, John Lennon.

John Lennon

John, what you believed in, and Yoko, what you still fight for, is still achievable.  We may not see world peace, but I know that some are living more peaceful lives because of your efforts then and our efforts now.  No one has said it better that you — we just have to “Imagine”!

Happy Christmas everyone!  While this video contains disturbing images, we need to step outside our comfort zone to see how much work there is left to do in our lifetime.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Elton John and John Lennon were great friends.

Elton John and John Lennon

After the Beatles broke up and Elton John was dominating the pop charts in the early-1970s, John Lennon was working on his solo music career.  He reached #3 with “Instant Karma” in 1970 and #3 with “Imagine” the following year.

But, it would be his seventh solo hit that would become his only #1 hit in his lifetime after the Beatles.  “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” featured his friend, Elton, on harmony vocals and piano.  And, John surprised Elton by appearing on stage during Elton’s Thanksgiving concert in 1974 at Madison Square Garden in Lennon’s last major concert appearance.

In 1982, Elton dedicated “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” to his friend, John Lennon and the song reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

ELTON PREACHES TO RUSSIA

And, while I’m talking about Elton, he’s making news after his recent concerts in Russia.

Calling it “inhumane” and “isolating”, Elton took time out of his Moscow, Russia, concert last Friday night to talk about the anti-gay laws that were implemented in Russia this summer.

Elton John Performs at Madison Square Garden

Elton told the crowd, “I have always loved coming here, coming to this country, ever since I first played here in 1979. I love Russia – I love its art and its culture. But most of all, I love you, the people. You took me to your hearts all those years ago, and you have always welcomed me with warmth and open arms every time I have visited. You have always embraced me, and you have never judged me.  So I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating.”

Vladislav Tornovoi

And, before he closed his condemnation of Russia’s homophobia, he asked for harmony to build “a future of equality, love and compassion” and he dedicated the show in memory of 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi, whose naked body had been dumped in a Volgograd courtyard this past May.  His skull was smashed and he had been raped with beer bottles.

Take three minutes to watch this compelling and heartbreaking story here from Sky News about Tornovio and the blatant homophobia that exists in Russia.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Joan Rivers cracks me up!

Joan Rivers Joan Rivers - Lindsay Lohan

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

“Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas special, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale” earlier this week on NBC.  It features Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood and is on Kelly’s “Wrapped In Red” holiday album.

TAKE DOWN THOSE DAMN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!

Christmas lights brighten the holidays in multi-colors, solid colors, and clear bulbs.  However, if those lights are rainbow, it can cause some to freak out, especially in Rome, Italy.

RomeRainbow

This almost mile-long stretch of rainbow-flag lights decorate the Via del Corso, Rome’s main shopping street, to take a stand against homophobia following the recent suicide of a gay teenager.

The right-wing party, Fratelli d’Italia, calls the logic behind the decorations “provocative and ideological” and asked that they be replaced by the colors of Italy’s flag.

That was rejected and the lights will stay up as a dedication to the late South African President Nelson Mandela.

WE NEED MORE MAYORS LIKE ROME’S LEADER
While we’re on the subject of Rome, the city’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, says the “Eternal City” needs to stop living in the past when it comes to marriage equality.
Rome Mayor
Marino told HuffPost Live, “I believe that if a couple loves each other, they should get married.  I don’t see where the problem is. I guess it’s a problem with people thinking in the past — people belonging to the previous century. The last century is gone. It’s surprising for me that this is open for discussion.”
Thank you, Mayor Marino!

PICK HIT

“Work Bitch” is a fun song and Britney Spears looks amazing in the video.  However, it didn’t blow Top 40 radio away.

However, the follow-up, “Perfume”, is already one of the hottest songs in the country and is still racing up the chart.  The video debuted this week and Britney is incredible playing up vulnerability and insecurity.  And, I don’t know who is hotter — her or hot “boyfriend”.

“Britney Jean”, Britney’s eighth solo album debuted at #4 on the Billboard album chart this week with sales of 107,000 copies.

Britney Jean

While that’s a soft opening for Britney, she didn’t do any live performances to promote the album while she’s still rehearsing for her two-year Las Vegas residency that begins later this month at Planet Hollywood.

Britney’s last album, “Femme Fatale” sold 276,000 copies in its first week in 2011, but it had a huge smash at radio at the time, the #1 hit, “Hold It Against Me”.

A FINAL NASHVILLE THOUGHT

While I thoroughly enjoyed the “Reba: All The Women I Am” exhibit and the rest of the displays at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville last week, there was something that had me scratching my head.

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Whose idea was it to put the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith memorabilia in the came display case?  Really?

Some days you just gotta dance if you’re not ready to make nice. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 6, 2013

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope you’re having a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.  Here are my random Friday thoughts.

GREETINGS FROM “MUSIC CITY USA”!

When we left the Quad Cities Wednesday, it was 47° and we drove seven hours to Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to check out the Christmas lights and have dinner at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880’s and the temperature there was 72°.

Lights at Patti'sAnthony's Dinner

That’s my dinner.  It’s called “Ella Mae’s Chicken”:  freshly grilled asparagus over grilled chicken breast topped with black forest ham and sautéed mushrooms covered in homemade cheese sauce.  This was after appetizers of homemade cheese sticks and a blossoming onion and before we ate dessert!

On Thursday, we drove the final two hours to Nashville, Tennessee, dropping my sister off in Clarksville, about an hour northwest of Nashville, so she could spend the weekend with her kids and two granddaughters.

REBA EXHIBIT

Our first stop in Nashville before checking into the Opryland Hotel was a visit to the Reba McEntire exhibit, “All The Women I Am”, at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Anthony Reba

These are various “Fancy” performance dresses.

Reba Fancy Dresses

IT LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS AT OUR HOTEL

Opryland Hotel

THE ROCKETTES’

Last night, we saw the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes”.  The sets were incredible and the dancing was festive and fun.  Sadly, no pictures were allowed!

REST OF THE WEEKEND PLANS

Tonight, in a major ice storm, we’ll see “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas & Dinner Show”.  Tomorrow, it’s a lunch cruise on the Cumberland River on the General Jackson and tomorrow night, Opry at the Ryman, with Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Chris Carmack (who plays Will Lexington on ABC’s “Nashville”) and many others.

Chris Carmack

SINGER BECOMES BIG TIME SONG WRITER

Shane McAnally

25-year-old Texan Shane McAnally was signed to Curb Records and released his first single, “Say Anything” in 1999, which peaked at #41.  The follow-up single, “Are Your Eyes Still Blue” was his only Top 40 country hit, peaking at #31.

I loved both of those songs and I was probably one of the few people who took a chance on the newcomer and bought his debut and only album. After that, Shane dropped off the radar and moved to West Hollywood, California, and started bartending and performing as “Shane Mack”.

Shane Mack

In California, Shane was able to be openly gay.  Since he started living his life openly, he married his partner of six years, Michael Baum, in September 2012, and the couple welcomed a daughter and a son in December of last year.

I was pleasantly surprised this fall to see “Entertainment Weekly” give Shane the much overdue recognition that he deserves.

Shane returned to Nashville in a big way in 2008 as a co-writer of LeAnn Womack’s Top 15 hit, “Last Call”.  Since then, he has written #1 songs for Kenny Chesney, Jake Owens, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert.  He also penned three songs for Reba McEntire’s 2010 album, “All The Women I Am” album.

Music Review Kacey Musgraves

And, this year, he co-produced my favorite country album 0f 2013, the #1 “Same Trailer Different Park” by Kacey Musgraves.

Shane, I wish you, Michael, and your children much happiness in 2014 and here’s to continued success in country music.  I hope to hear more of your singing in the future, too.

MEANWHILE, NOT SO GOOD TENNESSEE NEWS

While we’re having a good time in Nashville, a recent report from “24/7 Wall Street” doesn’t paint a rosy picture of Tennessee, ranking it as “the most dangerous state” in the United States.

It’s followed by Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, and Oklahoma!

Tennessee Violent Crimes

The site ranks Tennessee #1 for aggravated assaults and in the top ten for murders and robbery.  In 2012, there were 388 murders, which is up for the second straight year.

Across the nation, Memphis ranks fifth and Nashville is at #18 for violent crimes.

Take this ranking and the information from “24/7 Wall Street” with a grain of salt, since the “Crime in Chicago” website reported 537 murders in the “Windy City” in 2012.  (As of December 1st, the site reports there have been 422 murders in Chicago in 2013.)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ice Hole Deer  squirrelSnow's a comin'

ICE STORM SOUTH, SNOW IN THE QUAD CITIES

Two rounds of ice will be heavily glazing the Nashville, Tennessee, area tonight and, again, Saturday night.  It’s going to get scary down here.  Meanwhile, on Sunday, several inches of snow are expected in the Quad Cities.  It looks like, at least, two inches are likely.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow to keep you ahead of the snow in Illinois and Iowa.

FRESH VENDING MACHINE SALAD

I know it’s easy to grab fast food or something out a vending machine when you’re working and eat it at your desk.  However, if you had the option, would you choose a fresh salad from a vending machine for a healthy alternative?

That is the option for people living or working near the Loop in Chicago near Clark and Lake.

Farmers Fridge Chicago

Farmer’s Fridge has installed its first vending machine salad, fruits, and vegetables prepared fresh daily and packaged in recyclable plastic jar.

The $8 salads are available at 10 a.m. and come in seven varieties including North Napa, Mediterranean, Crunchy Thai, The Cheater, and three other flavors.  The dressings include lemon tahini, spicy soy peanut, red wine vinaigrette, and four other flavors.

ISRAELIS TAKE A STAND AGAINST RUSSIA

As you know from reading my blog, I’ve been very outspoken against Russia’s homophobic laws and the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which are two months away.  There’s now a new Israeli campaign speaking out about the bloodshed and violence against the LGBT community in Russia.

Red Flag

“Red Flag”, similar to the American NOH8 campaign, was started by David and Jonathan, the publisher of the international lifestyle magazine, “F.O.D.”, for the Tel-Aviv gay man community.

Actors, singers, activists, drag queens, and the LGBT community were encouraged to take part in the photo shoot wearing Russian army uniforms with blood coming out of their mouths to bring attention to the violence brought against Russian and Ukrainian LGBT people.

Red Flag2

Organizers say, “Russia 2013 is a death trap for the LGBT community. This discriminating law is backed up with aggressive enforcement by the army and the police. Arresting activists in the LGBT community or any person suspected of being involved in “propaganda” has become a normal routine. This law refers to tourists from out-of-state and even athletes participating in the winter Olympics.”

PICK HIT

Earlier in the blog, I profiled Shane McAnally and mentioned that he co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ debut album.

He also co-wrote nine of the album’s twelve songs, including the first three singles:  “Merry Go Round” (#14), “Blowin’ Smoke” (#31 peak), and her current single, “Follow Your Arrow”,which is at #28.

“Follow Your Arrow” is witty and poignant.  Here’s a sample of the lyrics:  “You’re damned if you do/and you’re damned if you don’t/so you might as well do whatever you want, so make lots of noise/kiss lots of boys/kiss lots of girls/if that’s something you’re into”

Cheers, Kacey & Shane!

DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB

“And, the Academy Award for Best Actor Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”.

Dallas Buyers Club

The movie is based on a true story.  Ron Woodruff was a homophobic, hard-living, good ol’ Texas boy who loved his liquor, drugs, and women.  In 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had 30 days to live.

He tried to get on the AZT trials that were being rushed onto the market to fight the AIDS pandemic.  Since he was denied that opportunity, Woodruff started buying it on the black market.  When he almost died, he came up with a plan to smuggle medications out of Mexico to try to stay alive.  Since Ron couldn’t sell the drugs, he started a membership only “buyers club” to distribute the Food & Drug Administration-unapproved medication.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

McConaughey, who plays Woodruff, lost about 50 pounds for the role and his co-star, Jared Leto, who plays transgender AIDS patient, Rayon, who befriends Woodruff, lost about 40 pounds for the role.

Both actors were electrifying and sold the story.  After initially gasping at McConaughey’s first appearance in the movie, I was sold for the next two hours that both actors were HIV-positive people fighting for their lives, while the government dragged its feet.

If you lived through the 1980s and saw friends getting sick and dying, you saw those friends in Ron and Rayon.  If you know people who have become HIV-positive in the past decade, where with medication, healthier living, diet, and exercise, it’s become a manageable disease, there’s a sense of relief that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.

GRADE:  A

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

I just added “A Mary Christmas” by Mary J. Blige and “Christmas, With Love” by British singer Leona Lewis to my holiday collection this week.

Leona Lewis  Christmas With Love

Leona’s fourth album and her first Christmas colelction featured seven classics and three new songs, including the first single, “One More Sleep”.

Many of you probably remember Leona from her debut #1 single in 2008, “Bleeding Love” and its followup, “Better In Time”.

“SHELTER”

While I love “Dexter”, “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story”, love stories are at the top of my list, too.  “Pretty Woman” (1990), “Latter Days” (2003), “Shelter” (2007), “Weekend” (2011), and “Out in the Dark” (2012) are the ones that I can watch over and over and over.

Shane Mack (Shane McAnally) performed five songs on the “Shelter” soundtrack and since I’m in Nashville and I’m a strong advocate for being out and proud, here’s another one from Shane.

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND

Have a fantastic weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts this week.  Let me know what you think.

Bundle up if you live across the eastern part of the country.  It’s going to be cold.

Anthony

My Own Personal Reba Exhibit

This past March, the Country Music Hall of Fame announced that Reba:  All the Women I Am”, an exhibit showing off memorabilia from Reba’s almost 40-year career, would be on display from August 2013 through June 2014.

Reba Exhibit

A few weeks ago, with a couple of extra vacation days left, I asked Ray if he’d like to take a quick trip back to Nashville to see the exhibit.

On the way, we could stop in my neck of the woods of western Kentucky and eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880’s in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, while it was decorated for Christmas.  I hear it’s really pretty there this time of the year.  It’s been a couple of years since we last dined there and from this picture, you can tell that it was fall.

Pattis Fall 2011

I’m excited about the food and seeing my old college roommate, P-Byrd, who is the Executive Chef there.

As you know from reading my “Random Friday Thoughts” blog last week, that simple, quick trip is now going to be over the top. 🙂  We purchased the a Gaylord/Opryland Hotel package that includes Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas show, a night at the Opry, the Rockettes’ Christmas show, a lunch cruise on the General Jackson showboat on the Cumberland River, and much more.

But, this trip all started with a trip to Patti’s and the Reba exhibit.  So, this got me to thinking about my own Reba exhibit that I want to share with you.

This is the “Meet & Greet” pass that got me backstage to meet my Idol back in 2005, which led to…

Reba Meet Greet

my most prized Reba possession!

Reba Art

I met Reba in April 2005 when she kicked off her tour that year on a very cold and blustery night in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Reba Anthony 2005

I had my ticket, the two pictures of us together, and the shirt I was wearing that she autographed framed, along with the 45 rpm single of my favorite Reba song.

Also, dear to my heart is this painting of the “Read My Mind” album cover from 1994.  It was painted for me as a going away present when I lived in Chicago from 1994-1996 and worked at Charlie’s.  This beautiful piece was painted by my friend, David Krumwiede.  Drop in at Charlie’s and say hello to Fifi for me!

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Yes, my bedroom wall is a bright “Autumn Harvest” and there is a reason.

After leaving my television job in Salisbury, Maryland, in late 2005, my old news director, Dawn Mitchell, emailed me one day and asked for my new address.  Since she was instrumental to me meeting Reba in early 2005, I thought she was sending me a promotional poster for Reba’s WB “Reba” show since we were the ABC and WB affiliate.

Days later, a delivery truck showed up with a box that looked like a door!  The delivery man said, “it isn’t heavy”.  I thought, “what could it be”?

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And, this is what it is and it’s absolutely gorgeous!  So, other than orange and yellow being my favorite colors, this is the reason my bedroom is so bright.

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Two more friends, Christopher and Betty, were visiting Nashville back in the early 2000s when Reba was playing Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun” in her Broadway debut that ran from January 26-June 22, 2001.

This “Annie” promotional poster was in the bathroom of a Nashville establishment and Christopher talked the manager out of it and it’s now matted and framed on my wall.

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Also, back in the 1990s, I started collecting Reba 45s.  As you recall, those are the things we used to play on record players and that were in jukeboxes. 🙂  My thought process, at the time, was to collect all of Reba’s 45s and have them framed for my wall for a real personal exhibit.

I have many of them, but I still must search out the others.

Reba 45s

And, I have found a few Reba albums.  Now, I need to get at least one 8-track Reba recording!

Reba Albums

I also have tour guides, calendars, Reba bears, clocks, fan club magazines, Reba Visa credit cards and more.

Reba Fun Stuff

Also, I cherish this Christmas card that Reba sent to her fan club members in the 1990s.

Reba Christmas Card

And, since we’re talking about Christmas.  Of course, I have the Reba ornament that plays “The Secret of Giving” that is already placed on our Christmas tree this year.

Reba Ornament

There is still another thing that I want and have yet to get for my Reba collection.

Anthony Twitter

Yes, I want the doll and this could be the year!

While I’m talking about my love and admiration of Reba, there’s the saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

Back in the mid-1990s, at Charlie’s, a country bar and nightclub in Boystown, I performed as Reba first for an employee talent night, then for an AIDS benefit, and a third and final time, at my going away party in Chicago.  Fifi, thank you for doing the hair and make-up!

Anthony as Reba

Thank you for taking the time to check out my tribute to my idol, Reba.  I can’t wait to see the Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit Thursday afternoon!

Oh, by the way, earlier when I mentioned that I had the 45 rpm single of my favorite Reba song framed in that my most prized art possession, I didn’t mention the song.

There’s a reason.  In my continuing tribute to Reba, I’m featuring my 20 favorite Reba album tracks and singles that were never officially released tomorrow and then on Thursday, I’m sharing my 20 favorite Reba hit songs of all time.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 29, 2013

I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving and that you ate plenty of food.  I’m ready to make another turkey since I didn’t have enough.  I’ll have to enjoy the other leftovers!  December is almost here and now it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.  Along with that, here are my random thoughts of the week.

HALLMARK DONS UGLY APPAREL

It appears that Hallmark wants to have fun this Christmas, as long as you don’t associate fun with “gay”.

The song, “Deck The Halls” dates back to the 16th century, but the lyrics, “Don we now our gay apparel“, must be too gay for the company to use on a new ornament.  It’s been changed to “Don we now our FUN apparel“.

Hallmark Sweater
While they will probably sell many of them, it’s turned into a comedic punchline.

Joan Rivers Hallmark

And, Ellen had the best solution to changing lyrics and the meaning of words!

Hallmark says, “When the lyrics to ‘Deck the Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800’s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry.  Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation.”

Each Christmas, Betty (Mom) buys me a “son” ornament from Hallmark.  However, I advised her to buy me an ornament from anyplace except Hallmark this year!

ILLINOIS MOVES TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY

Last week, Illinois became the 16th state (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage equality law.  This was a happy time for many, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel who stopped by Sidetrack, a Chicago gay bar, to congratulation patrons there and he tweeted:

Illinois

Not everyone was happy with this new law.  A Springfield, Illinois, priest performed an exorcism (I’m not kidding!).

Cardinal George

And, Cardinal Francis George said this in a letter that appeared in church bulletins throughout the Chicago Archdiocese, “The law has made some gays and lesbians happy, and that is not a bad thing in itself. The law, however, is [a] bad law because it will contribute over the long run to the further dissolution of marriage and family life, which are the bedrock of any society… We have lived with bad laws before, and we will do our best to adjust to this one for the sake of social harmony.”

Cardinal George plans on staying on the job for another to three years.  As for me, with his close-minded views over the years, sooner would be better than later.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Turkey Facebook Turkey Moooo turkey_thanksgiving

HAPPY THOUGHT FOR THANKSGIVING

Here’s a fun little video for your Thanksgiving weekend from 1993’s “Addams Family Values”.

CHRISTMAS ROAD TRIP

Since I had a few days of vacation left this year, I mentioned to Ray that I’d like to drive back home and eat my favorite restaurant, Patti 1880’s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, and then visit the Reba McEntire exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.  This would be a simple three-day trip and we could visit my hometown (Mayfield, Kentucky) and where I went to college (Murray State).

Opryland Hotel

As we started looking for hotels, we came across a package deal with the famous Opryland Hotel.

It included tickets to see the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes”, the Opry at the Ryman, a Cumberland River luncheon cruise aboard the General Jackson showboat, a night at the Opry at the Ryman (featuring Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, and more) and “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner and Show”, and several other events.

So, late next week, I’ll be Christmasing in Nashville for a few nights.

FIFTY SHADES OF “HEYYYYY”

I haven’t read E.L. James’ erotic novel series, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, and I have no interest in seeing the movie in theaters Valentine’s Day weekend 2015.

However, because of former Calvin Klein model and actor Jamie Dornan, I’ll definitely rent it from Redbox.

In case you don’t know Dornan.  He’s a 31-year-old, married, soon-to-be dad.  He’s starred in six movies and two television series, including the crime thriller, “The Fall”, with Gillian Anderson.

Calvin Klein Jeans Fall 2009 Ad Campaign

BACKSTREET’S BACK & SHIRTLESS

I will not lie.  I was mildly intrigued two summers ago when the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block teamed up for the album, “NKOTBSB”, which included five hits from each group, two new songs and a mash-up.  That was about it.

BSB

While I loved the Backstreet Boys back in the late-1990s and early-2000s (Kevin and Nick were my favorites), I didn’t care this past summer when they released their new album, “In A World Like This”.

However, I decided to give their new video and song, “Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of)”, a look and a listen since the headlines read “Backstreet Boys Go Shirtless …” and “Backstreet Boys show skin…”.  The gimmick worked and the song is pretty good!

Since the headlines that roped me in were shallow, I’ll say that A.J. needs to seriously maintain that out of control nasty-looking beard, Brian and Nick still look incredible, Kevin is showing his age (he’s the oldest at 42), and Howie is hotter now than he was in the band’s heyday!

DOWN TO EARTH FUTURE KING

I never paid that much attention to 65-year-old Prince Charles, except I did take notice when he and Princess Diana married and divorced.  Back in the 1980s, I crushed on his younger brother, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who is about four years older than me.

andrew-navy-pilot

Recently, I read an interesting article about Prince Charles that stated that while he’s very wealthy (his total annual income is about $32 million U.S. in the last U.K. financial year), he’s very frugal.

“Time” (November 4, 2013) states that he keeps his “residences frigidly underheated, saves his bathwater for the garden and wears garments so mended, they are more patch than original.”

Prince Charles

While he may be rich and tight with his money, his charities, “The Prince’s Trust”, raises, directly and indirectly, about 161 million U.S. dollars annually!

“CLOUDBURST”

82-year-old Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis (“Moonstruck”) will always be Clairee Belcher (“Steel Magnolias”) and Anna Madrigal (“Tales of the City”) to me.  However, after seeing “Cloudburst”, alongside Oscar winner Brenda Fricker (“My Left Foot”), I have to add her character, Stella, to my list of favorite Olympia roles.

Cloudburst

Stella is a tough, tequila-swilling lesbian that talks like a sailor and she’s faced with taking care of her blind partner of 31 years, Dotty.

When Dotty’s clueless niece commits her aunt to a retirement home, it’s up to Stella to get Dotty out of the home and out of the situation.  She comes up with a plan to drive Dotty to Canada and get married so she can make the decisions.

Ryan Doucette

Along the way, they comes across Prentice, a very sexy hitchhiker trying to get back to Canada to see his dying mother.  While it seems very “Thelma & Louise”-ish with two ladies on the run with a young stud accompanying them, it’s a very touching and original story.

By the way, to prove the movie isn’t totally ripping off the aforementioned Ridley Scott-directed movie, Ryan has a beautiful hairy chest and Brad Pitt didn’t. 🙂

While the movie does have many heart-tugging scenes, there’s plenty of humor, too.  And, it’s a hoot hearing to the vulgarity coming out of Olympia’s mouth!

GRADE:  B+

FLASHBACK TO THE ’90s, PART 1

“Peeps’ ’80s Friday Flashback” is taking a break this week and will return next week.  This week, I’m showcasing two, not just one, videos from the 1990s since I featured songs earlier from the Backstreet Boys and Lorrie Morgan.

Lorrie Morgan

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).

I have several favorites from Lorrie:  the three number one hits, along with “A Picture of Me (Without You)” (#9, 1991), “Except for Monday” (#4, 1992), “I Guess You Had To Be There (#14, 1993), “Go Away (#3, 1997), and “Do You Still Want To Buy Me That Drink (Frank) (#50, 2003).

FLASHBACK TO THE ’90s, PART 1

The Backstreet Boys have been nominated for eight Grammy Awards, sold 37 million-plus albums in the U.S., and more than 130 million albums world-wide.

“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” hit #1 in Switzerland and Austria and #2 in the U.K in 1996.  A year later, it was released in the U.S. and peaked at #2, selling two million copies.

The Backstreet Boys would go on to chart 12 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with six of them reaching the Top Ten.  “Quit Playing Games” would be the biggest.

FINAL FORECAST

While I worked Thanksgiving morning and this morning, here’s a weather forecast that is suitable for all weekend as we devour the leftovers.

Thanksgiving Forecast

Let me know if you agree or disagree with some of random thoughts this week or just want to share one of your random thoughts.

Until next week, have a great weekend.

Anthony