Posts Tagged ‘Reba McEntire’

My 12 Favorite Mariah Carey Holiday Songs

Santa (and his jovial face) is synonymous with Christmas for kids from one to ninety-two.  But, he’s gotten some beautiful competition that builds each passing year.

When I think of Christmas, two modern singers come to mind:  Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.

While Buble gave us the 2011 perennial favorite “Christmas” (and the 2003 EP, “Let It Snow”), it’s Mariah that dominates Christmas!

It all started with her now classic hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” from the 1994 “Merry Christmas” album.

That album has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and the song alone has sold another 14 million around the world.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-TapeMariah released a second Christmas set in 2010, “Merry Christmas II You”.

There are other singers that have released more Christmas albums (Reba McEntire, Celine Dion, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Mathis to name a few), but Mariah has made herself as much a part of Christmas as egg nog, sleigh rides, and rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

In 2014, she began an annual Christmas concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

This year, while she’ll still do six shows at the Beacon, there are seven other North American dates, plus a five-night residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

And, if that wasn’t enough, the Christmas show is going international with three dates in England and France!

MC ChristmasIn addition to the Christmas concerts, she has a direct-to-video animated feature called “Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You”, (November 14th), for which she recorded a new song called “Lil Snowman” for the soundtrack.

Mariah also has the title song from the upcoming holiday release “The Star” (November 17th), which also features new holiday music from Fifth Harmony and Kelsea Ballerini, which is available now!

MC Christmas Factory

And, if that’s not enough, there’s also the “Mariah Carey Christmas Factory”, a deal with the “Sugar Factory”, that’ll feature more than 100 Christmas-themed retail and candy items created by Mariah!

A Christmas Melody

Plus, you can also look for 2015’s holiday feature, “A Christmas Melody”, on The Hallmark Channel, in which Mariah starred and made her directorial debut.

CONCLUSION:  MARIAH CAREY = CHRISTMAS!

MC SantaI just booked a trip to Vegas to see Mariah’s December 14th show!  That means, I now have to quickly buy a ticket.

So, while I do that, let me be your jukebox as I share my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, oops, I mean my 12 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs!!

12

“CHRISTMAS TIME IS IN THE AIR AGAIN”

11

“WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES”

10

“SILENT NIGHT”

9

“CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)”

8

“JESUS WHAT A WONDERFUL CHILD”

7

“MISS YOU MOST (AT CHRISTMAS TIME)”

6

“JOY TO THE WORLD”

5

“O HOLY NIGHT”

4

“HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS (RIGHT DOWN SANTA CLAUS LANE)”

3

“AULD LANG SYNE (THE NEW YEAR’S ANTHEM)”

2

“OH SANTA!”

1

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” 

Holiday Bonus 2

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

 

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

Anthony

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Reba “My Kind of Christmas”

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

Also, be sure to catch Reba hosting “CMA Country Christmas” on ABC on November 27th!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 18 , 2017

We’re already past the middle of August and most kids are back in school or getting close.  Fall will be here before you know!  Yeah!

Fall

It’s been another contentious couple of week, so if you feel you want to disagree with me, do it diplomatically or don’t say anything at all. 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

WHEN I FIND MYSELF IN TIMES OF TROUBLE…

Sadness

“LET IT BE”

PANAMA CITY LOVE

While I have no friends outside of work here in Panama City after three months, that doesn’t mean I’m unknown.  It’s really nice to finally work at a #1 station!

Last week, I had several people stop me and ask me, “are the weather guy at Channel 13?”

The nicest was at the grocery store last weekend when a man stopped me.  I was wearing a tank top and shorts and he asked me the question.  I always reply, “yes, I’m just dressed down”.

He, like “Barbara” a few weeks ago, told me that it looked good on me.  Some people are so nice.

He proceeded to tell me that I do a great job and they enjoy watching me.  Then, he said, your mannerisms remind me of Tyler Henry, the medium that with the hit E! show, “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry”.

I said, “I’ve heard of it, but I’m not familiar with him”.  He then said, you could be his dad.

Okay, that translates into “You’re supergay”. 🙂  Tyler and I can handle it. 🙂

MY LOVE FOR NICOLE KIDMAN

I recently watched “Grace of Monaco” with Nicole Kidman.

The movie bombed and was panned by critics.  While entertaining and fulfilling, it won’t make my list of 20 favorites movies I’ve watched in 2017.

However, as is always the case with Nicole Kidman, I was mesmerized.

I believe that she, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and Gillian Anderson are the most talented actresses of our time.  You also can’t forget Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Melissa Leo, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Near the end of the movie, Kidman’s Grace gave a speech at a Red Cross benefit in front of a packed house.

The speech was heavily directed to French President Charles de Gaulle (which in reality was not at the event).

It doesn’t matter whether it was Hollywood or not, what Kidman’s Grace said was superb and I wish it could be the basis of today’s world.

If only, just like “Let It Be” and “Give Peace A Chance”!

TELEVISION FUNNY OF THE WEEK

“Look, I think college is a scam anyways.  Bobby, you might as well just join the Church of Scientology.  At least they give you industry connections and a wife to cover up your homosexuality!” — Nekeisha (Tiffany Haddish) on “The Carmichael Show.

I’M READY FOR PIZZA!

It’s been four months since I’ve had pizza.  Yes, they have pizza in Panama City, but I’m ready to go to my favorite pizza place in the Quad Cities again, Wise Guys.  Of course, their dessert pizzas are my favorite and that’s what I mostly eat.

But, I’m wondering if they can make me some of these exotic pizzas that I’ve come across online?

PIZZA

Almond Citrus Seafood”  (Vietnam) The Almond Citrus Seafood pizza is a staple on Domino’s Vietnamese menu and includes shrimps, scallops, orange sauce, almonds, red pepper, mozzarella, cheddar and coriander.

Bavarian (Russia)  topped with marinated cucumbers, salami and mozzarella cheese.

Ayam Bakar (Indonesia) a creamy base of rendang sauce – a spicy coconut cream with lemongrass and garlic. It’s topped with ayam baker (charcoal-grilled chicken), onion, parsley and mozzarella.

Creamy Chicken Carbonara (New Zealand) — New Zealand’s super-creamy feast is topped with all the ingredients of a classic carbonara: chicken, bacon, red onion, mushroom and garlic crème fraiche along with spring onion and Parmesan.

Adalim (North Cyprus) — You may be used to finding dried basil sprinkled on your pizza but how about dried mint? The herb is added along with mozzarella, halloumi, black olive and tomato to this Cyprian veggie classic.

KESHA’S RAINBOW AFTER STORMY YEARS

Kesha’s last studio album, 2013’s “Warrior” was my favorite album of the year.

Last Friday, she released the follow-up, “Rainbow”, after several turbulent years of fighting an eating disorder and legal battles with her manager and producer, Dr. Luke, who was keeping her from releasing new music, and will be in court facing allegations of sexual abuse and other charges.

You can tell that Kesha has been through a lot recently and she’s putting that pain and the strength she’s found in the music.

The first line on the album is “I’ve got too many people/I got left to prove wrong/All those mother f**ckers/Been too mean for too long” on “Bastards” that kicks off the stellar album.

The first single, “Praying”, is already one of the most played songs at Top 40 radio.

The album is a fusion of pop, rock, punk, country, and some dance.

Her duet with country icon Dolly Parton,”Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle To You”)” is incredible.

Other standout tracks include are “Learn To Let Go”, “Hunt You Down”, “Hymn”, “Let Em Talk”, and the aforementioned “Bastards”, “Praying”, and “Old Flames”.

GRADE: A-

PRINCESS DIANA’S DEATH ANNIVERSARY

August 31st will make the 20-year anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.

diana

I was working as the weekend anchor at KLBK-13 in Lubbock, Texas.  We ran a CBS news story at the top of our show that Saturday night telling viewers that she had been in a car crash in a Paris tunnel.

After we signed off at 10:35 p.m. central time, it came across the wires that Princess Diana died.

CBS was asleep and had no one breaking in with the news.  Ny Lynn Nichols, my co-anchor, and I broke into programming with the news.

It’s pretty crazy that two local news anchors in market #147 (small market) were breaking the news to the Southern Plains watching CBS that night that Princess Diana was dead.

By the way, CBS finally got someone on the air well after the fact.

“EASTSIDERS” ON NETFLIX

I recently discovered the LGBT series “Eastsiders” on Netflix.  It’s witty, funny, and perfectly covers the ups-and-downs of relationships.

It’s created, written and directed by the star of the series Kit Williamson.

Most of the episodes are short (10-15 minutes) and season one covers Cal and Thom’s turbulent relationship and also that of Cal’s friend Kathy and her gorgeous boyfriend, Ian.

Season two is much stronger and very realistic and Cal and Thom (Van Hansis) are much sexier!

The series also stars the adorable Matthew McKelligon (from the off-kilter and funny movie “You’re Killing Me”).

In May, Williamson tweeted that season three has already been shot and there’s a Kickstarter campaign to fund getting it on the air.

Check it out!

FREDDIE MERCURY LIVES!

Emmy Award winner Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) will star as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in 2018’s motion picture, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Rami

In late 2010, it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) would play Mercury, but he dropped out three years later.

As 2013 drew to a close, my fantasy husband, Ben Whishaw was chosen to play the gay front man.

Ben_Whishaw

But, he had to withdraw because of production on the next James Bond movie.

There has been some controversy that the movie may try to shift attention away from the fact that Mercury died from AIDS.

HIV AIDS

While Mercury’s illness was rumored, he didn’t publicly admit that he had AIDS until the day before he died on November 24, 1991, at the age of 45.

Bryan Singer (“The X-Men” series) will direct with production getting underway this fall. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is set to hit theaters on Christmas Day 2018.

FAVORITE QUEEN SONG?

What is your favorite Queen song?  For me, it’s definitely not “”Bohemian Rhapsody”!!!!!!!

My three favorite Queen songs are:

3.  “Under Pressure” (with David Bowie) (#29, 1981-1982)

2.   “Another One Bites the Dust) (3 weeks at #1, 1980)

Another number 1

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (4 weeks at #1, 1980)

“HANNIBAL” RETURN?

The three-season series wrapped up on NBC in August 2015.

But, creator Bryan Fuller (now working on “American Gods”) says while it may take time, talks have started about bringing the artistic thriller back!

Fuller says, “I have conversations with (“Hannibal” executive producer) Martha De Laurentiis.”. He adds, “I have conversations with Mads and Hugh. We’re are all excited about the prospect of returning to the story. There’s some hurdles to get through… [But] I just had a great idea for season 4. There’s an interesting next chapter in the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter that would be fascinating to unpack. I’ve shared it with the gentlemen and they’re both keen on it.”

I’m all there as long as Gillian Anderson returns as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

bedelia

REAL LIFE

(*For the record, the next two segments were already written before the Charlottesville, Virginia tragedy*)

Headlines

LIFE IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

Trust me, it’s better!

As you can tell, nine months later I’m still not at peace from last November’s election!

“FROZEN” WASN’T ONE OF MY FAVORITES, BUT…

I know I’m in the minority, but “Frozen” was just okay.  It didn’t blow me away, but I didn’t dislike it either.

However, I’m excited about Walt Disney Pictures’ “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”.

It’s an 11-minute animated short that’ll be shown at the beginning of the new Pixar’s feature, “Coco”, which his theaters November 22, 2017.

CHRISTMAS IS GETTING CLOSER

I know with the hot and humid summer we’re enduring,  winter and Christmas are probably the last things on your mind.  But, the entertainment industry is gearing up.

It’s only four months away now and Reba McEntire, Sia, Hanson, Lindsey Stirling, Cheap Trick, and Martina McBride reportedly have new Christmas albums coming out this fall.

McBride says, “I hired Patrick Williams to arrange it, who is legendary and has arranged for so many people, and he has that classic big band approach. When I made 1998’s “White Christmas”, I wanted to make a classic sounding record. I can’t do that same record again, of course, but this one is going to have several up-tempo things on it. It won’t have as many hymns on it. It will be more things like ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’ and ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.'”

Here’s a flashback to 1998’s “White Christmas”.

REBA’S “MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS”

On my birthday, October 13th, Reba will be releasing her third holiday album, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

This album was released last year through a chain that has a history of homophobic and racist practices and it was the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

But, I can finally buy it now!

Reba has recorded three new songs for the album that’ll feature Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

On this re-release, no portion of the money is going to (“previously”?) unnamed  homophobic and racist chain.

CB

TAKING A BREAK

I’m sure you know how much I love writing and sharing my thoughts, whether we agree or not.

At times, I’ve been accused of being intolerant.  But, in the world we live in, I guess I shouldn’t take it personally (AND I DON’T). 🙂

I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  When there’s something I want to talk about, I’ll blog about it.  Since most of my blog views come from my Facebook posts, you’ll see when I have something new to share.  I’m sure my Friday thoughts will return one day.

FOR NOW…

Before I close, I want to share an upbeat, fun song that I played all the time when I was club dee-jay at Club DV8 (deviate, get it) in Paducah, Kentucky, back in 1986-1987. (I was horrible at mixing beats, but my drunken queens didn’t care too much!)

This was one of my favorite songs.

Click on it and for those of you that remember it, I hope it made you smile and you thought of being 30 years younger.

For my friends that didn’t hit the clubs in the ’80s, enjoy it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 21 , 2017

It’s the weekend and can you believe it’s already late July.  Where does the time go?

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. Please feel free to share yours with me.

PRESIDENT CARTER WAS SPEAKING TO ME

As I shared with you earlier this week, I got to meet the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life — President Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

R JC AP

Here’s that blog about me meeting three of my four idols (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

What I didn’t share with you was a part of his Sunday school sermon that spoke just to me (well, I’m sure others felt he was speaking to them, too).

Four days before meeting President Carter, in my blog “Sugar Coating Life”, I shared with you, “I’m not depressed or despondent, but I’m sad and lonely.  I miss human correspondence and friendship.  However, in life, we never know what’s right around the corner.  Tomorrow, I could meet my new best friend — someone to make me change the way I feel about life, love, and the future.”

President Carter told us that his favorite chapter in the Bible is James.  In James, it talks about if you’re unhappy, it’s your fault.  You are the one that has to change it.

So, with my feelings last week about not loving the direction of my life, it seems like I really needed to be at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, last weekend, for inspiration.

IRONIC?

There was another thought racing through my mind during President Carter’s Sunday school lesson from Ezekiel.

He told us that Ezekiel and Jesus Christ were both “unpopular” in life, but God gave them a second chance.

I couldn’t help but think about President Carter, too.

CarterPres

While I idolize the man (and I’m not alone), he had a very difficult presidency.

He told us that he prayed more in those four years than in his entire life.  At times, he’d say a prayer with his eyes open!

So, like Ezekiel and Jesus, Jimmy Carter got a second chance in life after being president.

In those 36 years, he and Ms. Rosalynn have built houses for Habitat for Humanity, ensured fair elections across the world, brought medication to poor countries and worked to eradicate Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raised awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

Second chances are great!

“THE SNOWMAN” TRAILER IS HERE!

“The Snowman” trailer is finally here!

It’s one of the most anticipated movies for me behind “Beauty and the Beast”, which I saw in March, and next year’s “Mamma Mia” sequel!

snowman

Two summers ago, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

The book was creepy and incredible and a must-read if you like crime novels!

In it, Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

My man crush (well, one of them), Michael Fassbender, plays Hole.  The movie is directed by Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”).

It opens on October 20th.

EMMY NOMINATIONS

I’m thrilled “House of Cards”, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey, and Michael Kelly got some Emmy love with nominations.

Also, my girl crush, Nicole Kidman, was nominated (alongside Reese Witherspoon) for the fantastic “Big Little Lies”, which also got a nod.

However, I most excited that Jessica Lange is nominated for “Feud:  Bette and Joan” (Susan Sarandon was also nominated).

feud

In “Feud”, I was mesmerized by Lange’s transformation into Joan Crawford.  As much as I love Susan Sarandon as an actress, I saw her “Bette Davis” as Susan Sarandon.

What’s surprising is that Lange has never seen the 1981 Faye Dunaway movie, “Mommie Dearest” and she says that she’ll likely never see it.

Let’s hope that Lange picks up the Emmy award on September 17th.

READ MY MIND, IT’S YOUR CALL! OR, FOR MY BROKEN HEART, RUMOR HAS IT…

With her Las Vegas residency, Reba McEntire (with Brooks & Dunn) has a good thing going.  She performs her music a few months out of the year to sold out crowds that come to her.

Sadly, now that ABC passed on her new series from Marc Cherry, I have an idea for Reba.

Back in the  late-1990s, Reba did a non-traditional tour called “The Singer’s Diary”.  It was part theater and part concert.

Lately, many artists like U2 and Bruce Springsteen are touring and performing entire albums and not just the hits and popular songs.

Could you imagine Reba performing most of the tracks of her early 1990s albums, “Rumor Has It”, “For My Broken Heart”, “It’s Your Call”, and “Read My Mind” in a more intimate venue?

Reba

Of course, “Rumor Has It” and “Read My Mind” are my favorite Reba albums.

CHRISTMAS & GOD

Okay, if that’s too far-reaching, how about a Christmas and gospel-tinged show to feature tracks from her 1987 and 1999 Christmas albums and her latest “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”?

reba-faith

There’s little hope of hearing new Reba music on country radio, so I was just thinking outside the box for our favorite redhead.

ONE MORE CHRISTMAS NOTE

Christmas is now only five months away and you know I love me some Mariah Carey.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-Tape

While Mariah is currently on tour with Lionel Richie (I had tickets to the postponed Nashville show, but it was eventually cancelled), I’ve been wanting to go to New York to see her annual Christmas concert.

On Wednesday, Mariah announced that she’s taking the show to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for six nights in December!  I think I need to plan a trip now!

Here’s a couple of version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for my “Christmas in July” friends. 🙂

It should come as no shock why I posted more than just the original video. 🙂

Two words: Hot Elves!

CHEAPER TO DRINK LIQUOR!

Now that I’m getting settled into Panama City, Florida, I’ve noticed a few peculiar things.

I expected produce to be really cheap here and it isn’t.  Well, limes are inexpensive.

Milk

However, I’m always jealous when my sister tells me that milk is sometimes less than a dollar a gallon back in the Quad Cities, when it’s almost $4 a gallon here.

Heck, it’s cheaper to drink liquor, especially when I find a big clearance sale at Walmart like I did here.  This’ll make the Christmas party fun!

Christmas Cheer

MORE “TALES” COMING!

I’ve been missing 28 Barbary Lane for far too long and it’s time for more Tales.

Netflix is bringing Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series back!

Laura Linney (“Mary Ann Singleton”) and Olympia Dukakis (“Anna Madrigal”) are returning.

If you recall, the series made its American debut on PBS in 1994.  It was followed by “More Tales of the City” in 1998 (Showtime), and “Further Tales of the City” in 2001 (also on Showtime).

If you missed it, you’ve got to search it out.

Here’s what I wrote about it before.  (Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/armistead-maupin-thank-you-for-motivating-me/

“A UNITED KINGDOM”

This is another of “based on a true story” movies that I’ve been checking out lately.

It stars David Oyelowo (“Selma”, “The Butler”, “The Help”, and “Lincoln”) and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) as a interracial couple that meets in London during World War II.

He’s in line to become President of a South African tribe when he meets a woman he falls madly in love with and neither of their families approve of the union.

Many of the movies that I’ve loved on DVD this summer failed miserably at the box office, including this one.

Maybe they just play better at home!

GRADE:  A

HUGE BOX OFFICE BOMB THIS WEEKEND

I expect “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” to be a massive box office bomb this weekend — maybe the biggest of 2017.

The sci-fi movie, which opens wide (3,400+ theaters), has a reported $209 million budget!

“Newsweek” reports that it’ll have to make $400 worldwide to break even with all the promotion!

PANAMA CITY DRIVING

Getting around here is interesting.

Drivers in Panama City are crazy.  They’ll be driving along at 40 mph and just slam on the brakes to make a turn.  No slowing down or signal, just stop and turn!

Also, the signal lights here are a nightmare.  I drive to work from north to south on Harrison Avenue and I’m sitting at lights forever.  It seems the lights are set up to keep east-west traffic moving.

In Chicago, you sit in traffic because there’s thousands of cars.  Here, you just sit and wait. 🙂

“BLOOD DRIVE”

This SyFy series has an interesting plot line.  It’s set in the future and cars run on blood!  So, I gave it a try.

After watching a vixen standing outside her car sensually licking on a sucker to entice drivers to stop, she teases a couple of guys that stop and then jumps in her car to have them chase her.

She stops and the one creep attempts to rape her and she stabs him in the privates and feeds him to her car engine.

Blood Drive

This was how the series started and I stopped it at the 4 minute, 57 second mark.  No thanks!

FLASHBACK

James Blunt scored a massive #1 worldwide hit in 2005 with “You’re Beautiful”.  The follow-up single, “Goodbye My Lover” was even better, but it didn’t connect with American Top 40 radio.

Both were from the fantastic album, “Back to Bedlam”.

The first single from the follow-up album, “All the Lost Souls”, was released ten years ago this week.

Sadly, “1973” didn’t bring continued success to Blunt in America.

However, the song is still one of my favorites.

It topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela and reached #2 in Germany and Italy.

Blunt’s new album, “The Afterlove”, came out in March.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Meeting My Biggest Inspiration in Life

My first two idols in life were my my mother, Dessie, and my grandfather, John Henry Peoples.

Dessie Birthday 1989

John Henry

Sadly, their lives were cut short.  I had my mother for 26 years and my grandfather for only 13 years.  But, they still have a strong impact on my life decades later.

In life, we look up to others for guidance or inspiration.  It can be friends and family, politicians, entertainment stars, and so on.

JIMMY & ROSALYNN CARTER

This past weekend, I took advantage of living in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill a life-long dream of meeting the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life.

Plains

Plains, Georgia, is about 180 miles away (3.5 hours).  I got up very early Sunday and drove to Marantha Baptist Church for a Sunday school lesson from President Jimmy Carter.

R JC AP

After his lesson and the Sunday service from Pastor Brandon Patterson, I got to meet the man and woman that I helped put in the White House in the 1976 presidential election.

As an 11-year-old boy, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother Helen back in Mayfield, Kentucky.  She let me choose her candidate and, of course, it was Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

CarterPres

My vote four years later didn’t keep them in Washington D.C. and they headed back to Plains.

It’s incredible how much the couple has done in the 36 years since leaving the White House — building homes for Habitat for Humanity, ensuring fair elections across the world, bringing medication to poor countries and eradicating Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raising awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, thank you for inspiring me for more than 40 years and Happy 71st Anniversary again!

I’ve written about President Carter many times, but this is my favorite.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

REBA McENTIRE

While Reba McEntire became a powerhouse superstar in the mid-1980s, I was all about dance and pop music in my 20s during her rise to super stardom.

Reba 45s

However, I discovered her at Sidetracks in Chicago on country night in 1990.  That voice singing “Rumor Has It” blew me away and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

Regardless of what was happening in my life, good or bad, when Reba released a new album, there were songs that I feel she recorded just for me.

Reba Anthony 2005

I’ve now seen Reba in concert thirteen (13) times and I got to meet her in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2005.

Starting with the November election and, especially, this year, I’ve gone through many changes and not for the better.

So, of course, Reba comes through for me with her 2017 release, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

HILLARY CLINTON

I’ve admired Hillary Clinton since she became the First Lady of the United States in January 1993.

There is no politician that hasn’t been raked over the coals in their career.  And, now with 24-hour news channels and less objectivity in their reporting for higher ratings, it’s easy to vilify people, especially if it’s a strong woman.

If you supported another candidate in the last election, you know what I’m talking about. They were beat up in that divisive, long campaign, too.

Hillary AP

I went to hear Hillary speak on a cold winter’s day in Davenport, Iowa, in January 2016.

When she finished, I politely edged my way through the crowd toward the roped off area in front of the stage.  I lucked out and we talked a little –we exchanged hellos and I wished her success.

You know how much I love Christmas and I was so looking forward to visiting the beautifully decorated Clinton White House this holiday season…

MADONNA

MadonnaCone

My fourth idol is the only one that I haven’t met, and after seeing her in concert four times, that meeting may be elusive.

I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since before her first album came out in the summer of 1983, as her club hit, “Everybody” was racing up the dance charts before Top 40 radio discovered her with “Holiday”.

Madonna 1983 Album

I admire her fight to succeed, her fight for equality, her love of the LGBT community, and for not being afraid to stand her ground on issues that go against the grain.

Sadly, I have two more idols that are no longer with us.

JESSICA SAVITCH

The first is Jessica Savitch, the “Golden Girl” of NBC News.  She inspired me to go into television news.

Jessica-Savitch

I wrote about her in an October 2012 blog on the anniversary of her drowning death.  (The link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/remembering-the-woman-that-inspired-me-to-go-into-television/

HARVEY MILK

The other idol that I’ll never meet is Harvey Milk.

His strength and determination gives me the drive to fight for equality — for my LGBT community and for everyone that’s not getting a fair shake in life.

Milk1

Here’s my blog about him. (It, too, will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/11-3-1977-harvey-milk/

As you can see, my all-time idol and inspiration, President Jimmy Carter and Harvey Milk met.

Harvey Milk meets Jimmy Carter, May 1976

President Carter and Ms. Rosalynn, Reba, Hillary, and Madonna, thank you for the inspiration.

Mom, Granddaddy, Jessica, and Harvey, I hope you’re having a great time up there looking down on us as we try to inspire others.

Anthony

 

 

 

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

champagne

Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

Anthony1982

Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

anger

This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

ABBADecember2007

I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Hillary AP

I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

reba-faith

I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

lake_of_fire

But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Reba Invites You To Church – Country Style

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is Reba McEntire’s 29th studio album, but it’s her first Christian album.

reba-faith

It debuted at #1 on this week’s Billboard County Albums chart and at the top of the Christian Albums chart, too.  On the Billboard 200 Albums chart, which includes all music, it debuted all the way up at #4.

It sold 52,000 copies in its first week!

I’ve always wanted Reba to do a full gospel album after she recorded “Sky Full of Angels” for her 2003 “Room To Breathe” album.

The deluxe version of the new album features 22 songs.

“Back To God” is the first single.

On the gospel classics, Reba’s voice and musicianship are simple and stunning!

There are many songs that, if you didn’t know more about this album, you’d think they were just more Reba country songs.

But, as Reba once joked around the 1995 release of “Starting Over” album, whatever genre of music she sings becomes country when the words come out of her mouth.

The song I love the most on the album is “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.  The album version is four minutes of pure bliss!

My favorite “country” gospel numbers on this album are “I’ll Fly Away”, Hallelujah Amen”, “I Got The Lord on My Side”, “How Sweet Thou Art”, “Sing It Now”, “Oh Happy Day”, and “God And My Girlfriends”.

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is almost perfect.  I think when an artist stretches an album out to 22 songs, there are ultimately a couple that wouldn’t have made the cut on a shorter album.  But, I’ll take those songs here just to have more new Reba music.

With the divisive election last November and the circus of the past few weeks, this album does soothe the soul.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church that preached all about fire, brimstone, and damnation and I still find solace in gospel music!

Reba Anthony 2005

Reba, I’ve been a fan forever.  I’ll follow you down any musical road.

If you’re listening, how about a bonafide dance album next?  Your voice and EDM could be amazing!

GRADE: A-