Posts Tagged ‘Grammy Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet. ¬†I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. ūüôā

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture: ¬†“La La Land”. ¬†I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington. ¬†If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck. ¬†However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

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Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political ¬†regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage. ¬†Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen. ¬†Yet, those people yearned for something better. ¬†They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender. ¬†It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

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She also tweeted: ¬†“ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ‚̧

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts? ¬†I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits. ¬†The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest. ¬†It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it. ¬†What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012. ¬†It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

rihanna-perfume

By the way, Rihanna was just named¬†Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Remembering Whitney Houston

In the past year, we’ve lost 1980s musical icons David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years ago this weekend that the music world was crushed to learn of the passing of Whitney Houston.

whitney

Sadly, a little over three years later, her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, died, too, in an eerily similar fashion.

This Grammy Awards weekend, I’m remembering Whitney by sharing my ten favorite Whitney songs. ¬†(By the way, she won six Grammy Awards and was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, thus seven!)

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Bonus

Since Whitney had so many classics, here are some of my favorites that couldn’t fit it in the Top Ten:

“Saving All My Love For You”, “I’m Every Woman”, “My Name Is Not Susan”, “Love Will Save The Day”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Fine”, “Step By Step”, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, and “If I Told You That” with ¬†featuring the late great George Michael!

As I begin my countdown, you’ll notice her upbeat songs rank higher since that’s when I was a youngster out clubbing and enjoying the dance floor! ¬†ūüôā

10

#9

#8 MOVIE

7

6

#5 MOVIE

4

green 3

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

1

What are you favorites?

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 16, 2016

It’s Friday and another weekend is almost here. ¬†This one is the last weekend of summer 2016 as fall officially begins on September 22nd!

After enjoying my getaway to South Carolina and Georgia, it was back to work this week and it wasn’t bad.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” and, as always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically.

COUGHING, “OVERHEATED”, AND¬†PNEUMONIA

Last Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton left an event commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary of “9/11” because she felt “overheated”. ¬†She went to her daughter’s apartment in New York City and came out a short time later looking much better and waving to the crowd.

chelsea hillary

That evening, her doctor released a statement saying that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier and was finally going to take doctor’s order and rest a few days before carrying on with the presidential campaign.

Dr. Statement.jpg

All of this comes at a critical time in the race when some started questioning whether she’s healthy enough to run the country.

My final thoughts:¬† I wish Clinton’s camp had just come out last Friday and said she had pneumonia instead of adding fire to the conspiracy theories.

However, pneumonia is very common with more than three million Americans getting it each year. ¬†As Clinton said, she tried to work through it and it got the best of her and that’s why she didn’t reveal it. ¬†I see the point. ¬†Would you want to know if she had a yeast infection or if Donald Trump had a urinary track infection?

HEAT EXHAUSTION

While summer is winding down, we may still have some very warm days with humidity. ¬†So, I’ll talk about getting “overheated”, particularly since Clinton’s health scare was front and center last week.

Here are¬†the facts and these aren’t political party facts, it’s science.

While temperatures in Central Park were around 80¬į at the time Clinton felt “overheated” last Sunday, New York City and Central Park had been dealing with stifling heat and humidity. ¬†Here are the actual high temperatures leading into last Sunday.

CP Temps.jpg

 

Once you factor in the humidity, those highs around 90¬į felt more like 95¬į-102¬į to the human body.

If you’re even somewhat familiar with heat, humidity, and the human body (and you don’t have to be a doctor or meteorologist), you know that heat exhaustion cases really rise after days of excessive heat and humidity, which was encountered in New York City — not just on the first hot day.

It’s less relevant that it was only 80¬į at the time.

FAVORITE.AMERICAN.ENTREE.EVER.

As you know, I love food and writing about it.

My favorite restaurant is Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Their Flowering Colossal Onion and Dark Beer-Battered Cheese Sticks appetizers are so tasty.

OnionStix2011

Their two-inch specialty pork chops are amazing and their desserts, especially the Sawdust Pie, make the seven-hour drive from the Quad Cities worth every bite.

SawdustPie

My favorite meal ever was in Tel Aviv, Israel, right on the Mediterranean Sea, two years ago during my 50th birthday week at Benny the Fisherman.

This was just the “salad” part of the experience!

Benny The Fisherman

Now, I have a favorite entree to add to the list.

Last week, we walked an hour from our downtown hotel to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the “Chihuly in the Garden” exhibit, which was phenomenal.

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I bought a Groupon for a four-course meal at Tavernpointe. ¬†It was roughly another hour’s walk from the Botanical Garden through the Ansley Park neighborhood to the Sherwood Forest restaurant and it was worth every step!

From the incredible service from Joey, the bartender who doubled as our waiter, to each of the four courses and the beer and wine pairing for each course, it was the most perfect evening.

My sensational entree was Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

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Thank you, Tavernpointe (and Groupon — otherwise, we would have missed out on this culinary experience)!

WHY EAT AT PAULA DEEN’S?

I know that food mogul Paula Deen would love to put the talk about using the “n-word” and the accusations of racism behind her.

Paula Deen Happy

Two blogs ago, I wrote about Paula and shared my 2014 thoughts when her empire came crashing down.

Last week, I stated that I ate at her Savannah, Georgia, restaurant “The Lady and Sons” and it was amazing for good southern cooking.

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Someone¬†asked me on Facebook after reading the blog, “Can I ask why you went to Paula Deen’s restaurant after all the publicity about her racism and discrimination? Asked respectfully.”

Here’s my reply:¬† “Because I wanted to. I know about her use of the n-word and the circumstances around her usage of it. However, “racism” is a whole new can of worms.”

But, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that I had more to say about the lawsuit, race, and the use of that ugly “n-word”.

I am appalled by that word and I don’t care what race is using it. As I’ve written before, if the woman [Deen] was a “racist” (and I don’t know her to know, but I suspect she is NOT), you can’t tell me that people would not have already come out of the wood works to back up Lisa Jackson’s claims.”

I concluded with this, “I was even thinking of this the day I was eating there. There were many African-Americans working that day, including our server. I cannot imagine that any one of them would value that job so much if they really thought that she felt that way about them. There are other restaurants in Savannah and I honestly don’t think they’d be there.

JIMMY CARTER

Ever since I was an 11-year-old boy that got to pull the lever for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election (with my grandmother), I’ve idolized the former president and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.

While in Atlanta last week, I just missed seeing the Carters by mere days, but I did check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

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The tour at the museum started with a movie of his life from his childhood in Plains, Georgia, to joining the U.S. Navy, heading back to Plains, and then entering the political arena (from Georgia State Senator to Georgia’s Governor to becoming the 39th President of the United States).

The amount of memorabilia displayed in the museum is incredible. ¬†It’s definitely a labor of love — not only to President Carter, but to his fans and the United States as a country.

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It’s also nice to see all the displays of what the Carters have accomplished in life after they left the White House in 1981.

What an amazing couple!

CALLING OUT THE “MAINSTREAM MEDIA”

I’ve known of Canadian comedian Samantha Bee for some time.

She was on Comedy Central’s ¬†“The Daily Show” before leaving to host her own satirical news show on TBS,¬†“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.

I finally caught her act criticizing the mainstream media for not calling out Donald Trump on his blatant lies.  Kudos to you, Samantha.

If you’ve never watched Bee, check this out and, by the way, shame on you Matt Lauer!

Warning: language!

I’ll definitely feature more of Bee in the future because she’s on to something.

Gallap reports thats only one in three Americans trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”. ¬†This is the lowest level since tracking started in 1972.

DIXIE CHICKS

The Dixie Chicks put on an amazing show last night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

dc

This was the second time I’ve seen them perform. ¬†The first was back in 2006, in Chicago, on the “Accidents and Accusations Tour”.

It was so great partying with Natalie, Martie, and Emily again!

“SULLY”

On the afternoon of January 15, 2009, if you had your television on, you were likely watching the incredible, real life events unfolding on a bitterly cold afternoon in New York City.

US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport.

Flight 1549

Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese causing engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. ‚ÄúSully‚ÄĚ Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

It’s now a #1 box office movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as “Sully” and Aaron Eckhart as Skiles.

As always, Hanks is incredible and while the movie covers the landing on the cold, icy waters, it focuses more on the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and whether Sully made the right decision on the water landing instead of trying to make it back to the airport.

In the conversation after the model, we debated and decided that while it was a strong and compelling role for Hanks, it probably won’t garner an Oscar nomination for Hanks. ¬†However, the Academy does like actors playing real-life heroes.

GRADE: B+

PICK HIT

This summer, late-80s English pop star Rick Astley released his eighth studio album (his seventh was never released) conveniently called “50” since he turned 50 earlier this year.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and will be released here in the U.S. on October 7th.

Three singles have already been released in European markets and I’m featuring “Dance” as my pick hit today.

FLASHBACK!

I have to admit that I crushed on Rick when I was in my early-20s¬†and I have to say that he’s aging rather well at almost 51. (I’m slightly older — I turn 52 in October.)

Rick topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart here in the U.S. with his first two songs, “Never Gonna Give You Up” (March 1988) and “Together Forever” (June 1988).

He went on to score three more Top Ten hits, “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man” (#10, 1988), “She Wants To Dance With Me” (#6, 1988), and “Cry For Help” (#7, 1991).

Here’s a little music trivia for you. ¬†He also sang backing vocals on Elton John’s 1994 Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy winning song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King”!

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts –February 19, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the week and are ready for the weekend.

It’s been an interesting week since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” — Valentine’s Day, a snowstorm for Iowa and Illinois, the return of “The Walking Dead”, and warmer temperatures!

Have a fun weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today.

YOUR COMPASSION IS HEARTWARMING

Last Friday, I shared with you a vile response to a blog I posted on why I support Hillary Clinton for president.  It was one of my most viewed blogs on the day it was posted since  I started writing my blog four years ago.

MrazLoveAlbumCover

The feedback and compassion you extended to me was incredible and greatly appreciated.¬† I know there are so many more great people in this world than the jerks — they just spew their hate openly and loudly.

As I told many of you in my responses, rude comments like that tick me off.¬† However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings because being in the public eye, I’ve developed a tough skin.

Something it proves is that as much progress as we’ve made in this country, there’s still so much more work to be done before we reach equality — not just for the LGBT community, but for women, race, pay, and the list goes on and on.

Again, thank you!

LoveEqualityFormula

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DEAD

Speaking of equality, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man that made a career of voting against it, died at a Texas resort last weekend at the age of 79.

Since I was just talking about compassion, I’ll just say that I feel for his wife and their nine children.

Since the word “hate” is such a vile word, I didn’t “hate” Scalia, but I disliked him with strong convictions because of his long history of being anti-gay in his court decisions.

NATALIE COLE’S FAMILY UPSET ABOUT THE GRAMMYS

The family of singer Natalie Cole, who died on December 31, 2015, at the age of 65, is upset with the “shameless”¬†tribute she received at Monday night’s Grammys compared to other musicians that were memorialized.

Cole’s son, Robert Adam Yancy told “Entertainment Weekly”, “Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than a minute-and-a-half tribute.”

Cole was remembered in a photo montage, while¬†Lady Gaga performed a seven-minute musical tribute to David Bowie, who won two Grammys in his career. ¬†(I’m torn writing this because Gaga was incredible. ¬†It’s the principle I’m addressing here!)

There were also tributes to Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, & Fire), winner of seven Grammys, Glenn Frey of the Eagles (six Grammys) and Lemmy Kilmister (of Motorhead) with only one Grammy win.

One one other music tribute was to a musician who won more Grammys than Cole, B. B. King  (15 Grammys).

So, there’s my tribute video to Cole and not the others!

OKAY, I COULDN’T RESIST

Here’s Lady Gaga’s amazing tribute to David Bowie from the Grammys.

STARS READING “MEAN TWEETS”

These always crack me up because the entertainers make the best of a bad situation.  On the other hand, mean people really do suck!

What troopers — to read what idiots say about them!

“THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON”

We all know the story — a savage double murder in the posh Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1994 involving the wife of a famed football star.

A botched (?) criminal case that allowed a murderer (?) to walk free!

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (“American Horror Story”) are behind the new Fox series “American Crime Story:¬† The People v. O.J. Simpson” (notice the similar title).

This 10-episode series event is going behind the story to share details that we may not remember from the headlines or the circus that was the murder trail against Simpson.

After watching the first two episodes, I’m intrigued with the detailed story telling and the acting of Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), and Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran).

However, Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson is a hard sell for me.¬† One, Gooding doesn’t remind me that much of Simpson and, two, the constant whining and ranting is annoying.¬† I’m totally not buying him as O.J.!

Overall, a great show and it hasn’t even gotten to the trail yet!

YES, BEYONCE IS BLACK!

I’m sure you already know that Beyonce is black.¬† If not, she is!¬† And, remember that expression from the 1960s that “Black is Beautiful” and Bey is definitely beautiful.

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The most recent controversy with Beyonce started on February 6th when she released the “Formation” video, which features references to New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina black culture, racism, and police.

She performed the song the next day at “Super Bowl 50” and more controversy ensued from conservatives thinking she was promoting too much black — power, the Black Panthers, and Black Lives Matter.

Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani vented, “This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

While “Formation” won’t have the same radio success as “Crazy in Love”, “Irreplaceable”, and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, pop and R&B/Hip Hop stations are already playing it!

For the record, Beyonce has had huge success on the pop chart (Billboard Hot 100) with 26 hits, fifteen of which hit the Top Ten, and five of those went all the way to #1.

However, she’s had more success on the R&B/Hip Hop charts — 38 hits, 23 of which made the Top Ten, and 8 topped the chart.

And, this is not even counting her hits with Destiny’s Child!

“SNL” NAILS IT AGAIN!

“ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY” IS BECOMING GREEDY

I’m a huge fan of “Entertainment Weekly” and I look forward to my magazine each week even though I can find much of the same information online from their website and tweets.

It used to be that they’d have a feature series with several cover photos and present them all in the issue.¬† You’d just flip the cover and there’d be the next one.

That would have been perfect for this week’s “The Walking Dead” feature with six different collector edition covers.¬† However, they randomly picked which cover you’d get.¬† But, you could purchase the other five covers!

Seriously?

Rick EW.jpg

While I wanted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I got Daryl Dixon.¬† As much as I love the show, there’s no way I’d buy the other five!

Greedy!

29 AND ANCHORING IN NEW YORK CITY?  NO WAY!

If you’re familiar with how the television news business works, you know you start out at small market stations and work there for a couple of years before moving on to a larger market.

You work there for a couple of years and then move on again.  You continue this process until you get to the big markets (New York City is the largest TV market followed by Los Angeles and Chicago).

If you’re very talented and you luck out, you might skip one of these ladder jumping moves. ¬†Or, maybe there’s other factors.

I’m not saying that 29-year-old Stefan Holt, the son of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, isn’t talented, but…

The younger Holt graduated college and interned at KABC in Los Angeles and with¬†NBC News in London before joining the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, as a reporter and fill-in anchor. ¬†This is market ¬†#38 out of 210 (the smallest).¬† It’s unusual to get your first job in a market that size.

After just two years there, he moved on to NBC5 in Chicago (market #3) as a reporter and weekend morning anchor.  Holt was promoted to weekday mornings just months later where he worked for five years.

Again, 29 and anchoring in the biggest television market in the country!¬† What’s next? Filling in for his dad on “NBC Nightly News”?

JUSTIN BIEBER

Okay, first things first about Justin Bieber.

I bought his “Purpose” album last fall and it’s a great album and has already produced four huge hits, including three #1s, “What Do You Mean”, “Sorry”, and “Love Yourself”, and my favorite 2015 Bieber hit, the Grammy Award-winning “Where Are U Now”¬† with Skrillex and Diplo.

And, if you haven’t noticed, Justin is gorgeous and I feel more comfortable saying that now that he’s a man — over 18 years old!

Bieber

However, I was a little freaked out by music executive and producer L.A.Reid’s description of Bieber in his new book, “Sing To Me”.

Reid says, “this kid was beautiful, like a woman can be beautiful and men rarely are, and he turned it on as soon as he stepped into the room.”.

This one sounds more innocent and I totally agree, “Justin was simply beautiful.¬† His superpower was his face.”

PICK HIT

Zayn Malik, another sexy and beautiful man, who left the boy band One Direction for a solo career, is off to a great start.

“Pillowtalk” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is burning up the radio airwaves.¬† It’s already on the short list of my favorite songs of 2016.¬† I know, it’s only February!

The video is pretty erotic and steamy, too!

Malik’s debut album, “Mind of Mine”, comes out March 25, 2016.

“THE MARTIAN”

I finally got around to see this $614.2 million dollar blockbuster that’s nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for star, Matt Damon.

Everyone (and their mother) has already seen this, so I won’t write a long review.¬† I loved this movie much better than “Gravity”, which I didn’t like, and I haven’t seen “Interstellar”.

Damon does a great job in the role, but Oscar winning-worthy?  No.

My biggest complaint — the 2 hour, 21 minute running time was excessive and I think the movie could have been just as entertaining 30 minutes shorter.

GRADE:  A-

“THE OVERNIGHT”

In stark contrast to “The Martian” in running time, “The Overnight” is one hour, 18 minutes long and it works in a lot in that short time.

A couple with a small son move from Seattle to Los Angeles where they meet another father and son playing in the park one day. ¬†Since they don’t know anyone and the boys get along, they’re invited to a pizza party.

At the party, after much alcohol and the boys go to bed, the foursome talk about everything, including sex.  Inhibitions are lowered and tempers flare when insecurities surface.

The question becomes will they or won’t they and how will that change the course of the relationships — between each couple and the two couples’ friendship.

GRADE:  B

“FREEHELD”

This movie is an expansion of the Oscar-winning “Best Short Documentary” in 2007 with the same name.

This 2015 film stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore as Laurel Hester, a 23-year veteran of the police force in Orange County, New Jersey.

She sues after finding out she has lung cancer and her request to have her domestic partner receive her benefits is denied.¬† Oscar nominee Ellen Page (“Juno”) plays her love interest, Stacie.

The acting is superb not only from the female leads, but also from Michael Shannon, Hester’s partner on the police force, and Luke Grimes, a closeted police colleague.

However, watching the movie, it did feel like a Lifetime movie.¬† And, that’s not a bad thing.

This is based on a true story.

GRADE:  B

“TRUTH”

This movie focuses on the authenticity of documents reported by “60 Minutes” on CBS from iconic news anchor Dan Rather during George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential re-election campaign.

The controversy called into question if Bush received preferential treatment while he served in the Texas Air National Guard in the early-1970s.

Robert Redford stars as Rather in the last days of his career at CBS, but the focus of the movie is on Mary Mapes, Rather’s producer on the investigative piece.

Mapes is played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.¬† As expected, she is flawless.¬† Yet, even she couldn’t save this movie and make it a thriller.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough thoughts for one week.¬† As always, thank you for taking the time to check out my randomness!¬† Feel free to share your thoughts with me — as long as you’re diplomatic.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Adele Will Save Christmas & The Music Industry

UPDATED POST:  Monday, November 2, 2015

It was a week ago today that I posted this blog on how Adele will make Christmas brighter for the music industry.  You can read that below.

The first week numbers are out and it validates my theory!

“Hello”, the first release from “25”, debuts at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. ¬†It becomes only the 24th song in music history to top the chart in its first week. ¬†The last song to accomplish that was Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” on September 6, 2014.

“Hello” becomes Adele’s fourth Hot 100 number one songs.¬† (More on that¬†below).

It’s a record-setting week for Adele.

In just the first week, “Hello” was downloaded a record 1,112,000 times! ¬†It becomes the first song ever to be downloaded over a million times in a week.

The previous leader was “Right Round” by Flo Rida with Ke$ha. ¬†That song, in February 2009,¬†was downloaded 636,000 times.

The list of accomplishments will continue to grow throughout November with more radio airplay, video views, and the release of “25”.

And, to think, Adele told syndicated morning radio host Elvis Duran on October 23rd just hours after “Hello” was released, “I was so frightened that no one cared.”

As if!

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Monday, October 26, 2015

We’re heading into the holiday shopping season and are you ready for the biggest album release since last October’s “1989” by Taylor Swift, which has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide?

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Adele rocked the music industry last week and made fans and retailers very happy when she announced that her third album “25” would come out November 20th.

adele

Since Friday’s commercial radio release of “Hello”, it’s been played more than 2,000 times at Top 40 radio stations and the video has been viewed more than 70 million times!

We last heard Adele when she reached the Top Ten with the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Grammy-winning theme song to the James Bond film, “Skyfall” in early 2013.

Adele-21

Adele’s last album, “21”, which was released in early 2011 has already sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and spent 24 weeks at #1 on the Billboard album charts.

It also produced three #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, “Rolling in the Deep”, “Someone Like You”, and “Set Fire to the Rain”.

That album also sparked interest in her 2008 debut, “19”, which has now sold seven million copies around the world.

Christmas 2014

Not only will “25” be the biggest selling album of the Christmas season, it’s also spiking sales of her first two albums.

This morning on amazon.com’s list of Best Selling albums, “25” is at #1, “21” has jumped to #5, the vinyl copy of “25” is #9, and “19” is back up to #22.

christmascocktails

Christmas cheers to Adele for saving the music industry.¬† Taylor Swift shouldn’t have to do all the work.

Anthony

Beyonce Should Ask Kanye Not To Speak For Her

Was Beyonce robbed for “Album of the Year” at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night when she lost to Beck for “Morning Phase”?

Kanye West ran up on the stage to re-enact his sabotage of Taylor Swift’s happy moment at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 when he thought the award should have gone to Beyonce.

Kanye Beck

After the show, West angrily exclaimed, “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”

Beyonce-Album-Cover-750x400

Many in the industry (obviously not the Grammy voters) agree that Beck should not have won “Album of the Year”.

I don’t own any of the albums that were nominated, so I can’t say.¬† I know that Beck had one of the least commercial albums of the nominees, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best.

So, did the Grammys make a mistake or was this just a major upset?

The two biggest upsets that I remember in recent memory were in the same year, 2011, when Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” lost to Arcade Fire for “Album of the Year” and when the award for “Best New Artist” was announced.

The nominees that night were Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, and Esperanza Spalding.

When the envelope was opened and the winner was announced, there was a huge gasp heard around the world.

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show

The winner was jazz performer Esperanza Spalding!

I was one of the shocked people.

Did she rightfully win without ever having a radio hit?

She’s had three Top Three Jazz albums and only one of them reached the Top Ten on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart.

However, she’s now won four Grammy Awards:¬† That “Best New Artist” Grammy, plus two others in 2013 and one last year.

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

While he’s only been nominated twice and lost both times, Bieber has definitely had the most success with radio, album and single sales, concerts, etc.

Florence + the Machine has been nominated three times for Grammy Awards and still has no wins.  Meanwhile, Mumford & Sons has had 12 nominations with two wins.

And, the other “Best New Artist” nominee in 2011, Drake has amassed a total of 22 nominations and has won one Grammy Award.

Beyonce

While Beyonce would have loved to have won “Album of the Year”, she did win three Grammy Awards Sunday night to Beck’s two awards.

Two of her awards were for “Drunk in Love” with her husband, Jay-Z.

Overall, Beyonce is the most nominated woman in Grammy Awards history with 53 and she’s won a total of 20 Grammy Awards, the second most honored woman in Grammy history.

Kanye Beck

Here’s the rest of West’s comment about Beck and Beyonce, “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonc√©.”

Grammy Awards, listen up!

West is a sore loser and he wasn’t even up for the award.¬† Maybe you should not invite him back next year.

Bring Beyonce and Beck back to the party, but lose Kanye’s invitation in the mail next year.

Anthony

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!¬† To those that got a divorce from that loser on this day, I’m happy you’ve declared your independence.¬† What?¬† Oh, the country’s independence from Great Britain.¬† Well, that’s certainly different!

I hope you have fun with your fireworks, your barbeques, or whatever you do to celebrate our country’s 238th birthday!

It’s going to be a nice one in the Quad Cities.

4th

“Fernando” by ABBA is the song that I remember most about the Fourth of July as a kid.

While “Fernando” only reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, it hit #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and would become ABBA’s best-selling single of all time selling more six million copies in 1976 alone!

WORST FOURTH OF JULY

With more than five inches of rain this past Monday night in the Quad Cities, luckily I was inside the house helping Ray fight basement flooding before the electricity went out for about ten hours.

While that wasn’t on Independence Day, my worst Fourth of July was back in 2007.¬† I was caught in a flash flooding event around 2 a.m. after more than four inches of rain in a very short period of time flooded out my car on 19th Avenue in Moline.

FloodingBSticker3flat

Here are the scary details and I was one of the lucky ones to survive!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/my-favorite-least-favorite-fourth-of-julys/

MOST “INCOMPARABLE” GAY NEIGHBORHOOD

Forget San Francisco, Hollywood, Barcelona, and Madrid, Chicago’s “Boystown” has them beat!

I’ve lived in some shady places in life, but now I can say that I spent three of my four years in Chicago living in “Out Traveler” readers’ most “incomparable” neighborhoods.

While it’ll show up as Lakeview on maps, anyone that is anyone knows that the club area near Lake Michigan between Lincoln Park to the south and Uptown to the north is “Boystown”.

I lived there for a year in 1995-1996 (Addison and Lake Shore Drive) and from 2002-2004 (Belmont and Sheridan).¬†¬† Miss ABBA and I spent a lot of time in her “puppy years”¬† playing around Belmont Harbor.

2014 Brackets 001

“Out Traveler” says that Boystown “was the nation’s first officially-designated gayborhood” and that it has “everything you could want: bars, clubs, restaurants, architecture, walkability, its own El stop”¬† and now, marriage equality.

PLEASE DON’T “WIGGLE” FOR ME!

I just heard Jason Derulo’s current hit, “Wiggle”, for the first time today and I hope that I never hear it again!

Sample lyrics:¬† “You know what to do with that big fat butt/Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” and “Hot damn it/Your booty like two planets/Go head, and go ham sammich”.¬† Ugggghhhh!

Jason+Derulo+JasonDeruloCoverTCC

I loved Jason Derulo’s self-titled 2010 album and it ended up being one of my favorite albums of that year.¬† It produced three Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100;¬† “Whatcha Say” (#1), “In My Head” (#5), and “Ridin’ Solo” (#9).

Jason, go back to real music and not trashy, gimmicky songs that you’ll regret having to sing the rest of your career!

MEETING PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN

A couple of Friday nights ago, Ray and I got a chance to see the “Grits & Glamour Tour” with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa.¬† And, we lucked out and got to meet both ladies before the show.

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

We’ve seen them both in concert before separately.¬† On this tour, they performed together and it’s an amazing show.

It’s just sad that country radio is so ageist and sexist that it won’t play new music by women over the age of 40.¬† You think I’m wrong?¬† Think of radio’s reception to the latest recordings by Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, and Faith Hill.¬† And, before them, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and the list goes on and on!

While you may have missed that show, Lonestar and Sara Evans will be at the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton on Friday, July 11th.

“GLORIA”

This Chilean drama is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.

Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee that has to face the single life now that her two children are grown and have moved out.¬† However, Gloria doesn’t spend her life at home feeling sorry for herself.

Watching the movie and seeing Gloria out drinking and meeting men that could possibly be “the one”, I was so impressed with her strength and determination.¬† I spent the first part of my 40s alone with just me and my golden retriever, ABBA, wondering if we’d ever meet “the one”.¬† Like Gloria, there were many empty dates and hook-ups, but I found love again.

I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s.

Garcia’s¬†heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.¬† The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.

When it was in theaters earlier this year, it made $2.1 million in the United States.  You can rent it at Redbox.

GRADE:  A

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Hearing a much different version of “Gloria” in that movie got me thinking of Laura Branigan.

It’s been almost ten years now since the singer died of a brain aneurysm at her home on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.¬† Of those, three reached the top ten:¬† her first hit, the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.¬† It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

MADONNA’S GETTING CLOSE!

I’m only speculating based on recent Instagram posts, but I really think Madonna is getting close to dropping her follow-up to 2012’s “MDNA” album.

She has posted that she’s been working with EDM producer/disc jockey Avicii (who also remixed “Girl Gone Wild”), Natalia Kills, and Diplo.

Diplo tells “Rolling Stone” about Madonna, “I’ve done about three weeks with her, and we‚Äôre gonna do some more projects at the end of July. She‚Äôs just really cool. I think as far as artists reinventing themselves, she did it before anybody else. She kind of began that trend of actually coming back with a whole new look and style and sound and winning it and hitting the top of the charts. Those records are gonna be crazy-sounding. We really pushed the envelope with some of the stuff we were doing.”

And, just this week, she posted this teaser:

Madonna Messiah

There’s also been rumors that the English electronic duo, Disclosure, is also working on the album.¬† While they deny it, they say they’d love to work with her.

And, if that collaboration would sound anything like their current #11 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Sam Smith, I sure hope they do something with Madonna since I love the song and the video!

Something tells me she’s going to silently drop the new album this fall or by the end of the year like Beyonce did last December!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

I saw Martina McBride in concert 2001 as part of Reba McEntire’s “Girls Night Out” Tour in Darien Lake, New York.¬† What a big voice from such a small woman!

Since blasting onto the country scene in 1992, she’s scored 42 hits on the Billboard Country chart.¬† Of those, 20 reached the Top Ten and five topped the chart:¬† “Wild Angels” (1996, one week), “A Broken Wing” (1998, one week), “Wrong Again” (1998, one week), “I Love You” (1999, five weeks), and “Blessed” (2002, two weeks).

“I Love You” was also featured in the Richard Gere and Julia Roberts movie, “Runaway Bride” and it’s her biggest crossover hit, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I couldn’t find it, but luckily, my friend, Christopher found the official video to “Independence Day” for me.¬† It’s one of the most powerful songs ever released in any genre.

Because domestic abuse is a heavy subject matter, the song only reached #12 on the Billboard country chart in 1994, but it did win Country Music Association Awards for “Song of the Year” and “Video of the Year” and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony