Thursday, June 29, 2017

U2 and The Lumineers – MetLife Stadium – June 28, 2017

U2 (l-r The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton, Bono) photo credit: Kara Hrabosky 
I first saw U2 in concert in the fall of 1987 in support of The Joshua Tree.  I can still remember the opening chords of “Where the Streets Have No Name” sending shivers up my teenage spine.  The Joshua Tree went on to sell over 25 million copies and cemented the Irish band’s status as one of the best live bands in the world.  Make all the jokes you want about St. Bono, it’s quite a feat for a band to be intact 30 years later with all of their founding members who started in the late '70s in Dublin.  (For the record, those members are the aforementioned singer Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton, and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr.) 

So when I heard that U2 were touring in support of the 30th Anniversary of their landmark album, I made sure to get a ticket.  Admittedly I haven’t been a big fan of some of their efforts over the last two decades (Pop, anyone?) but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to hear this record live again and to see if the songs held up three decades later.

But first, the openers.  The Denver based Lumineers have become popular over the past five years or so, due to their indie folk rock sing along hit “Ho, Hey.” They played that song along with about a dozen others to warm up the crowd, including “Ophelia” from their 2016 release Cleopatra.  The band, lead by Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, played to the half filled stadium as we waited for the headliners.

The Lumineers
And wait patiently, we did. About 90 minutes later, after a recorded track of The Waterboys' “The Whole of the Moon,” U2 hit the stage, launching into a few of their early hits I used to listen to on WLIR, one of the first radio stations in the US to support  them.   Those songs were “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and "New Year’s Day" (from War), “Bad” and “Pride (in the Name of Love),” their tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King (from 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire).  During “Bad,” Bono had the audience light up their phones and it’s always spine tingling to see a stadium lit up (in ’87 we used cigarette lighters).  All of these songs sounded amazing and laid the road for what was to follow.  



Then the opening chords of “Where the Streets…” started and yes, I did get the chills, as the crowd roared in appreciation.  They continued to play the entire album in order accompanied by stunning HD images of the desert, mostly filmed by famed rock photographer and video director Anton Corbijn.  

After quipping about turning over the record for Side B, the band played rarely heard live tracks including “Exit” and “Mothers of the Disappeared” to finish off the centerpiece set.  The intro to “Exit” was accompanied by a clip from an obscure 1950s TV series where a con man named Trump promised to protect people by building a wall.  (Imagine that!

Bono did not call out our current president by name, but U2 has always been a political (and humanitarian) band and mentioned that America is not just a place but an idea where immigrants are welcome to the land of opportunity.  This point was hammered home during one of the encores, ”Miss Sarajevo,” where a young Syrian refugee was featured on the screens wanting a new life in the US, and then a huge image of her passport photo was literally handed above part of the crowd.

Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
The band also celebrated women with a sharp rendition of Achtung Baby's “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” with Bono mentioning the band’s wives and daughters in attendance and also showing many remarkable women in history across the screen. Some notable names were poet Maya Angelou, punk pioneer Poly Styrene, Gloria Steinem, Madeleine Albright and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The encore included a mix of post Joshua Tree hits including “One,” “Elevation,” "Beautiful Day" and “Vertigo.” U2 closed the show with a new song called “The Little Things You Give Away.”

So, to answer my original question: does The Joshua Tree hold up after all these years?  Yes! The songs don’t sound dated at all, and many of the themes of the record (love, loss, desperation, desire, wanting a better life) are timeless.  I’m paraphrasing here but Bono himself said that songs are mysterious things and when you think you know them well, they can surprise.   By mixing stunning visual imagery with these timeless songs and tight musicianship, U2 still delivers an unforgettable live experience.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy 64th Birthday Cyndi Lauper! ... Happy Birthday to Cyndi Lauper ... lala lala lala ... may your wishes come true .... happy birthday to you

Happy Birthday to Cyndi Laupe ... lala lala lala ... may your wishes come true .... happy birthday to you !

I was so fortunate to briefly speak with Cyndi Lauper, where she was being honored at the in 2013 during the Women Who Care Honoree in NYC May 6, 2013




Below is an allthingsdigitalmarketing.com  reposting from 2013

Cyndi Lauper turns 60; Doesn't look a day over 30 - Happy B-Day to you


“I lucked out when I started to sing. I'd already experienced failing at everything else…I absolutely refuse to reveal my age. What am I - a car?” 
~~ Cyndi Lauper 

 American singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT rights activist.


To hear Cyndi Lauper's signature Queens New York accent, see her curly to spiked trendy hair-dos of ever-changing colors from pastel hues to flaming reds, you understand how her fashion flair and eclectic style top her complete head-to-toe pop icon status. Cyndi Lauper is the epitome of individual expression, philanthropy and accomplishment -- thanks to Lauper, there are many firsts for women including her latest -- Sunday, June 9, 2013, at the Tony Awards in Radio City Music Hall, New York City -- legendary Lauper became the first women ever to win (exclusively without any co-writers, co-composers, etc.) the prestigious Tony Award for best original score (music & lyrics) for Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” which won 5 other Tony Awards. 

"... I can't say I wasn't practicing in front of the shower curtain for a couple of days for this speech,"
an emotional Lauper said as she accepted her Tony Award. She stressed her hard work ethics and how inspired she was by the "Kinky Boots" folks, then thanked her family, producer Harvey Fierstein, and fellow nominees. "...I wrecked all her Broadway musicals when I was a kid, the cast albums. That's how I learned how to sing..." Lauper explained thanks to her mother.

Legendary Lauper has been producing so many meaningful lyrics about acceptance and individuality, and after seeing her in person at a recent fundraiser where she was among the honorees, she doesn’t look a day over 30. Happy birthday Cyndi Lauper! Happy birthday to you! Thanks for all you do for women.

Born Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper on June 22nd in Ozone Park, Queens, New York City. Her father, Fred Lauper, was of German and Swiss descent and her mother, Catrine, Italian American (from Sicily).

She has an older sister, Elen, and a younger brother, Fred (nicknamed Butch).

Photo right of Cyndi Lauper on the red carpet, Honoree at Women Who Care Gala, NYC on May 6, 2013, by Gloria Buono-Daly.



Lauper first achieved success in the early 1980s with the release of her debut solo album She's So Unusual in 1983, which was an instant commercial success. It spawned four top five hits on the Billboard Hot 100—"Girls Just Want to Have Fun", "Time After Time", "She Bop", and "All Through the Night".

It became the first album in history recorded by a female artist to achieve this, and earned Lauper the Best New Artist award at the 27th Grammy Awards in 1985. Her success continued with True Colors in 1986, which included two Billboard Hot 100 hits: The number one "True Colors" and "Change of Heart", which peaked at number 3. She also earned two nominations at the 29th Grammy Awards in 1987.

In January 2010, American toy company Mattel released a Cyndi Lauper Barbie doll as part of their "Ladies of the 80s" series.

In March 2010, NBC began airing the ninth season of The Celebrity Apprentice featuring Lauper and other celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne and Bret Michaels. The show had been filmed from October 19, 2009 to November 12, 2009. Donald Trump fired her on the May 9, 2010, episode, leaving her in sixth place. Lauper donated her winnings to her own True Colors Fund. In the season finale, she performed her upcoming album Memphis Blues in front of the boardroom live.

Lauper has been married to David Thornton since 1991. They have one son, Declyn Wallace Thornton (born 1997). Lauper was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic school. She refers to herself as a "Recovering Catholic.”

On June 24, 2012, Lauper appeared as a Grand Marshall for the annual Gay Pride Parade in New York City. She also discussed the contributions of her organization the "True Colors fund" to the LGBT community, and later performed that evening for a Pride event as well.

Lauper composed music for the musical show Kinky Boots with Harvey Fierstein, based on the 2006 independent film "Kinky Boots". The musical opened in Chicago in October 2012 and on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 4, 2013. The musical leads the 2013 Tony Awards with 13 nominations including best original score. In May Lauper won for best score for Kinky Boots at the 63th annual awards by New York’s Outer Critics Circle, the show also won Best musical and Best Actor for Billy Porter.

Lauper made international news in March 2011 while waiting for a delayed flight at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires. There, she gave an impromptu performance of Girls Just Want to Have Fun, as other passengers joined in and sang along with her. A video of the performance was later posted on YouTube.

Will Google celebrate Lauper’s 60th with a doodle?


Additional Resources 

► The 23 Greatest Cyndi Lauper Songs Of All Time, Ranked, TrailBlazers    www.newnownext.com/cyndi-lauper-greatest-hits/06/2017/  
► Cyndi Lauper Web site http://cyndilauper.com/ 
► Cyndi Lauper, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyndi_Lauper"> 
► Cyndi Lauper, Honoree at Women Who Care Gala May 6, 2013 http://myblog.allthingsdigitalmarketing.com/2013/06/one-to-one-with-gloria-and-cyndi-lauper.html 
► Cyndi Lauper’s impromptu airport performance of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Time, March 8, 2011 http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/03/08/watch-cyndi-laupers-impromptu-airport-performance-of-girls-just-wanna-have-fun/ 
► Cyndi Lauper airport performance on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PrBnG9E4I4 
► Cyndi Lauper, The Sex is in the Heel from Kinky Boots on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xDQTDM59TM 



Please share this on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks you enjoy! Thanks!

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia.org unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy 108th Fathers Day America! Sunday, June 18, 2017

This Father's Day blog post is a repost from previous Father's Day posts from this blog.  Enjoy!

Happy 108th Fathers Day America! Sunday, June 18, 2017

"It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father." 
 ~~ Pope John XXIII 
(Latin: Ioannes XXIII), born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (Italian pronunciation: [ˈandʒelo dʒuˈzɛppe roŋˈkalli]; 25 November 1881 – 3 June 1963), reigned from 28 October 1958 to his death in 1963. (photo above right, boy with hand-made gift for his dad, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com)


"My father could have been a great comedian but he didn't believe that was possible for him. So he made a conservative choice. Instead he got a 'safe job' as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job. Our family had to do whatever we could to survive...I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love." 
~~ Jim Carrey, 
Award winning actor, comedian, children's book author, philanthropist, on how his late father inspired him to follow his dreams. Quote taken from his speech at a recent Maharshi University Management Class of 2014 in Fairfield, Iowa, and received an honorary doctorate for his achievements as a comedian, artist, author, and philanthropist. (Photo,You Tube video screen capture; Full speech at http://youtu.be/ajMpfPYlHi4)


Happy 108h Fathers Day America! The first Fathers Day celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910 (107 events ago and 106 years ago)? Incidentally either plural (i.e., Fathers) or possessive (i.e., Father's) can be used.

Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, but it is also celebrated widely on other days. 


This year, Google's animated Fathers Day doodle by doodler, Olivia Huynh, intends to characterize the “universality of familial love.” In 2013, Google celebrated Father's Day with an interactive doodle that shows dads in many different roles with simple clicks. IN 2014, Google's doodle celebrated Father's Day and World Cup with an adorable doodle moustached dad with the letter O (this was one of my faavorites).



While I'm at it, I have to share a photo of my Grandfather (Angelo Buono) circa about 1908 with a similar moustache like Google doodle. Born in Naples, Italy my grandmother would tell me stories of how he became an engineer and seeked a better life by immigrating to the U.S. Around 7 years later, 1915, he moved to New York, NY and opened a fruit and produce business on Arthur Avenue, the Bronx's Little Italy. The business stayed in the family for over 80 years (1915 - late 1990's).

Did you know that "Father's Day" was created to complement Mother's Day, a celebration that honors mothers and motherhood. In addition to Father's Day, International Men's Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 for men and boys who are not fathers.






For those of us whose dads are no longer with us, (an estimate of about 100 million folks in the U.S.A.) and for the many more who still have their dad, there are so many things to do to keep his memory in your heart. Do things that your dad loved and things that brought out the best as well as visiting your dad's friends and family.
(photo left courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com)

I have so many fond memories as a child with my dad and other family members at the Jersey Shore that I was inspired to write a short story in memory of my dad, “The Painting Ballerina".


The short story (published in 1999) was about a young girl by the sea who with the help of her animal friends, creates a new art form “ paint-dancing.”

TESTAMENT TO ALL FATHERS AND VETERANS OF THE U.S.A. 
 Enjoy this article originally written years ago and updated and reprinted a few times in a local Il Progresso about my late dad and his fellow veteran brothers who served WWII with honors. 

 WANT TO GIVE SOMETHING DIFFERENT THIS FATHER'S DAY?

Besides baseball games, brunch in NYC or a beer cruise in NYC, and DadFests, why not celebrate "Father's Day" by donating to NTEN, a membership organization of nonprofit professionals who put technology to use for their causes. This is great especially for all you digital, tech geeks out there.



What things do (or did) your dad enjoy? Are you planning anything special this Father's Day?

Lovingly and appropriately, I did things that my dad enjoyed this FD weekend -- dining out at fine restaurants with friends and having lots of laughs throughout the event. Here's a few photos posted on Facebook - Ladies Night Out to celebrate birthdays of Helen and Rosann.




Things to do and other resources for Father’s Day: 
http://www.active.com/roosevelt-island-ny/running/distance-running-races/running-of-the-balls-5k-and-10k-2017
•http://www.fatherhood.gov/pledge Take the Fatherhood Pledge
• http://www.innewyork.com/fathers-day-2015
• http://www.albanyevents.org/events/Dad_Fest_4_event_main.htm
• http://www.newyork.com/events/fathers-day/
• http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/best-newyork-ny-top10-fathers-day_1ny.html
• http://www.timeout.com/newyork/fathers-day
• http://parade.condenast.com/303824/leahingram/10-freebies-for-fathers-day-2014/ 10 Freebies for Father's Day
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father's_Day Father's Day on Wikipedia
• http://www.neilchethik.com/writings-fatherloss-fathersday.htm
 • www.momanddadday.com
• http://www.ccrny.com/blog/
• http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Fathers-Day.shtml
• http://fathersday2013.net/
• http://www.uncommongoods.com/occasions/fathers-day-gifts/fathers-day-gifts
 • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/bill-clinton-father-of-the-year_n_2447453.html 



This blog posting is a re-post from previous Father's Day blog posts from the AllThingsDigitalMarketing.com blog. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ice Theatre of New York - UNLPLUGGED featuring Adam Rippon

Ensemble Director Elisa Angeli and the ITNY company
New Yorkers like myself who are figure skating fans are lucky that we are treated to occasional free ice skating shows at venues like Bryant Park or the Rink at Brookfield Place during the winter. There are also a few non-profit organizations in the area trying to reach out the next generation of skaters through education, community outreach, and training programs. One of these organizations is Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY), whose mission is “to celebrate and advance dance on ice as a performance art.”

ITNY is known for their free lunchtime performances at Rockefeller Center’s rink featuring their talented troupe of performers who are lead by Elisa Angeli, their Ensemble Director who once skated as a competitive ice dancer for Italy.  Since its inception over 30 years ago, ITNY has created over 80 pieces of repertory choreographed by ballet, modern dance, skating and contemporary choreographers. US Olympic medalists Evan Lysacek, Sasha Cohen and Sarah Hughes (who was in the audience supporting her niece who skated in the show) have also supported ITNY.

On June 8th, ITNY held their annual fundraiser and performance at Chelsea Piers, honoring 2016 US men’s champion, Adam Rippon, with the Will Sears Award. (Sears was a pairs skater whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 20. Sears trained at Chelsea Piers with his partner, Katie Boxwell.) According to ITNY, this award is given to a young skater who has shown exceptional daring and persistence in pursuit of his passion.
Adam Rippon after his performance
Rippon certainly embodies this award.  He is one of the few openly gay competitive figure skaters and a veteran at the age of 27 (many singles skaters are retired by age 25). He recently recovered from an injury which kept him out the second half of the past season.  Although Rippon is based in the LA area where he trains under famed coach Rafael Arutunian, he is affiliated with the Skating Club of New York which shares its Chelsea Piers address with ITNY.

Having never been to Olympics, Rippon hopes to be one of the three American men who will be on the team headed to Pyeongchang next February.  Known as an artistic skater, he gave a captivating performance to the song “Diamonds” by Josef Salvat, highlighting his beautiful spins and lines.


The rest of the performances had something for everyone.  Child skaters participated in the show, including Hughes' niece Charlotte who skated to Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York."  Although she fell a few times, the crowd cheered her on.  A group of teen girls called the Sky Rink All Stars performed an energetic program to "The Battle of Yorktown" from "Hamilton" complete with Revolutionary era costumes and muskets.

The Sky Rink All Stars' "Hamilton" program
One of the more emotional programs was a pairs program performed by two men (Joel Dear and Christian Erwin) to Adele's "When We Were Young."  Although it’s not allowed in competitive figure skating, it was refreshing to see two men skate to a program with romantic choreography.
Christian Erwin and Joel Dear
ITNY’s UNPLUGGED was an inspirational evening of dancing on ice which reminded me that skating is not all about big jumps but great choreography, a passion for art and seeing performers who truly love what they do on the ice.  ITNY will be holding performances for its' 2017-18 season starting in October and recommend that skating fans check out their website and social media for updates.