Currently viewing the category: "Culture"

By Thomas Brennan

BOSTON — The world is in a state of upheaval and Boston is no exception. Yet, even with empty streets, businesses closing doors, and people sealing themselves inside as part of the quarantining efforts, Boston is finding a way to maintain its spirit and fun in the face of a greater challenge.

Commonwealth Avenue’s colors are often limited to the grey of the cement walkway, the green of the grass, and the brown of the trees, (with an occasional flash of white from a certain legendary squirrel), but in the wake of quarantine there’s been a dash of brighter colors. Kindness rocks have been scattered along several points along Commonwealth avenue. Carrying refreshing bits of lively painted colors with either a painted picture, or an encouraging message.

Kindness Rocks on Commonwealth Mall. Photo by Thomas Brennan

The initial kindness rocks project was started years ago by Megan Murphy, but since then it has taken on a life of its own as a national movement that has made its way to Boston when needed most.

Among the many themes of the Kindness Rocks are words of encouragement for frontline workers. Photo by Thomas Brennan

Quite a few of the painted stones relate to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, providing encouraging messages for frontline workers who are being heroic and providing much needed service in these critical times. What they’re doing is not just heroic, but stands as the epitome of the conviction of humanity and the indomitable nature of the American spirit.

There are quite a few stones commemorating some of Boston’s other moments of fortitude in the face of hardship. A stone bearing Big Papi’s now legendary quote “THIS IS OUR F***ING CITY!” calls back to when Boston came together after two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, April 15, seven years ago, killing three and injuring hundreds. Seeing this message is an empowering reminder of what the city has survived before and is capable of surviving again.

Big Papi’s words still ring true in Boston. Photo by Thomas Brennan

In these times masks are critical, and part of the necessary steps in preventing spread of the virus. Masks are more than an option, they’re outright essential. This new practice (for most of us, that is) of wearing masks can carry some level of insecurities and anxiety but only until you realize how much such measures are needed. Other stones are providing compliments to those taking the safety measures of wearing masks, proving cautious and considerate has become the new fashionable.

A small reminder of the space between us. Photo by Thomas Brennan

Many of the messages on these Kindness Rocks are tied into empowering boosts such as “BE BRAVE” and “ONE STEP AT A TIME.” Though there are more specific references and compliments amongst the bunch. A pair of kindness rocks with a paw print and a heart were put alongside the memorial treat bucket in honor of the late Commonwealth Mall dog, Woodrow. Seeing the memory of a resident dog treated so kindly and paid such kind tribute is more than heartwarming for any passersby, whether they are walking their own dog or not.

Boston has always been a sports centric city as well. Sports events have been the lifeblood of people coming together and enjoying an ongoing event. Even with sports seasons shut down it’s no surprise symbols of Patriots and the Celtics mascots are scattered amongst the kindness rocks, one even calling for the return of a certain high-profile athlete.

The Celtics get some love.
The quarterback formerly known as TB12 gets some love.
And the Patriots’ “Flying Elvis” fits on a Kindness Rock. Photos by Thomas Brennan

Most people have been practicing social distancing for only a few weeks, but these iconic ladies of Boston history, Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley have been seemingly practicing social-distancing since they first returned to Commonwealth avenue 18 years ago. The three women have always been symbols of the great power and potential of the people of Boston. Set several feet apart the statues have been one of the prolific landmarks for the women’s history of Boston.

Sensible even in the figure, the Boston Women’s Memorial is a picture of social distancing.
Ah, Abigail Adams always had a great deal of sense.
Poet Phillis Wheatley showed courage more than 250 years ago and some support for those vulnerable populations.

The Wheatley statue carries that message in another kindness rock with writing “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE” placed alongside Phyllis’s quill, representing her groundbreaking work as a poet during the Revolution. 

Lucy Stone, suffragist, abolitionist, and orator, was known for her no-nonsense style in the mid-19th century and her statue is showing some practicality today. Photos by Thomas Brennan

Even as statues these women are still making history as the first statues to don face masks, reminding passersby the necessity of minimizing the spread of germ transmission. They apparently started a trend amongst other statues in Boston: Antonio Mendez’s statue, Teammates, depicting Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Don DiMaggio is also ready for action with the famed baseball stars sporting bandanas as well as baseball caps. 

The Teammates outside Fenway Park. Here’s hoping that social distancing gives us even a truncated season at the old ballyard on Van Ness Street. Photo by Thomas Brennan

Boston’s spirit is still going strong even in these tumultuous times. These kindness stones and additions to local statutes might be small features, but they’re powerful symbols and reminders for the people of Boston. These efforts display that ultimately the way forward is founded in optimism, practicality, caution and strong will of a united community.

For more information on the Kindness Rock Project, click here.

 

By Thomas Brennan

In the difficult times we all face going forward with “social distancing,” it can get to the point where certain activities run tiresome and the streaming service runs low on fun accessible content. It never hurts to take a step outside one’s comfort zone. It might even be possible to find something to keep going even after this phase the world is going through moves on.

READING: There’s nothing more basic and enjoyable than a good book. Whether it’s something wholly new or revisiting an old favorite, every book is a world of its own. Reading essential pastime that can be occasionally overlooked in modern times. A bit of a plot twist considering its possible to read anything now with e-books and access to various online libraries. There’s plenty of great new releases of any genre, from literary classics like Moby Dick to the newest Stephen King novel, almost anything is readily available to enjoy at your own leisure. 

BOARD GAMES: A childish pastime to some, but that just means it’s a further opportunity for fun if you have a couple of restless kids in the house. Puzzles as well as traditional fare – Jenga, Candy Land, Clue – are all fun and lightly competitive games that can help whittle away time easily. Having a little competition is an easy way to fill the hours with rich fun, You can even for more intellectual strategic games in chess, checkers, scrabble and backgammon. Try taking a crack at Monopoly and the whole weekend is likely to disappear down Park Place. Say a person doesn’t have any material games available, you can access many games online through social media. It’s possible to play a game of Scrabble with a friend on the other side of the planet. 

BRAIN PUZZLES: This one is a little tied into the previous point, but is still relevant enough to have its own spot. Unlike boardgames plenty of puzzles run at the pace of the single person playing it. Games like Sudoku or crosswords puzzles can be a great challenge for the mind. The brain is always seeking things to preoccupy time and there’s plenty of Sudoku and crosswords in the newspaper and online. There’s even the option to turn the brain puzzles competitive; competing with family or roommates to see who can complete certain puzzle sets before the other. It’s possible to spend months on these activities, striving to improve thinking and problem-solving skills.

EXERCISE ROUTINE: A must in the times with a health crisis. Exercise is something everyone should be trying to find a way to practice. This can be rather simple or complicated depending on access to resources and equipment. If you have access to weights or a treadmill it’s a perfect way to work out in simple ways even with gyms closed. Even without equipment there’s workouts like sit-ups, push-ups, air kicks, or even just stretching. If you want to be especially ingenuitive there’s also the option of lifting like large containers of water in arm lifts. Any day spent moving is time well spent.

YOGA OR MEDITATION: A practice that requires patience, but is capable of yielding total serenity. For those dealing with heightened anxiety over the current state of the world outside their home, meditating can be a great option to center themselves. It doesn’t require anything besides a little space, enough quiet to focus and the willingness to look inward. For a lot of people slowing down can be a difficulty, but that just makes it a greater challenge and all that more of an accomplishment when overcoming it. It can be a great feeling to just seek a deeper sense of calm and inner peace.

MUSIC PRACTICE: This one more so requires access to a physical instrument. Working on honing the skills of guitar, piano, violin, drums or even chimes can take years of rigorous practice to master. Though with all the free time many have on their hands, now is as good a time to start. It’s doubtful anyone will stumble into being the next Freddie Mercury, though you might discover a talent, or even more rare than that, a passion. Sometimes there is merely fun to be found in merely trying to practice and creating a sound for the sake of the music itself.

SEWING AND CROCHET: An activity that requires supplies, but can still offer you something for your time that will last beyond the joy of the time spent on the activity itself. Sewing and crochet can be a great skill to hone. It’s a difficult ability to pick up as it relies on repetitive patterns, keen focus, consuming large amounts of time, but these exact factors can be great in yielding something to utilize one’s energy. It’s possible to make something small like a doily to as big as a couch cover. There can be a great sense of pride in seeing the products of labor, revisiting that sense of accomplishment in time spent finding focus through patience.

ORIGAMI: Folding paper might seem a ‘lil’ boring, but it’s actually quite a difficult skill to nail. It’s possible to fashion next to anything as simple as a paper airplane to as complicated as a unique structure. Colored paper is often a more fun choice, but it’s not a requirement by any margin. There are numerous shapes to work, creatures to make. Instructions for different designs are quite easy to access through online instructional videos. The only real risk in this activity is a papercut.

DRAWING: Illustrating can often be a skill where there is seemingly never any time to practice; thankfully there’s time to spare. The only question is if you have supplies available, and there are many instructional videos to start with for ways to develop the skill and a personal sense of artistic style. Even if pencil and paper aren’t in immediate supply there are online drawing and artistic programs to experiment with. It could range from something simple to mere edits of pre-existing pictures, to something wholly original.

WRITING: A pastime with endless possibilities. If you have an old notebook laying around or access to something to type, writing can be the best escape possible. Whether it’s just journaling and musing about things you miss or want to do in the future, either can be quite easing on the nerves. Having the time to spend alone to explore your own voice might be a little scary, but it’s a truly great way of looking inward and exploring yourself through journaling. There’s also the option to create an original story all your own; whether it’s just an everyday fiction or a whole fantasy universe, the only limits are what the individual person’s imagination sets.

ONLINE VIRTUAL ACTIVITIES: One thing that’s certain is that even in these difficult times there are people willing to step up and provide things to do and explore online. Various musicians are doing online concerts daily via Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube live. If music isn’t quite one’s forte, there’s various live tours being offered through various museums, art exhibits, animal farms and national parks. It’s possible through these means to see the full beauty of a national park or the entire closed off collection of a European historical museum. A lot of full explorations of sites most people wouldn’t be able to reach are being offered readily to everyone. It’s a great show of the capability of technology to be able to bring the world to people even when stuck at home.

 


By Thomas Brennan

Based on a real-life, 1960s, bank heist pulled off by four criminals, the chase by a corrupt law enforcement officer, and the siege where the criminal protagonists make their final stand, Plata Quemada is a play that carries itself on both strong performances and bold direction with its integration of graphic novel elements.

It at first seems like a production where there are no heroes, only a story where each character who enters is competing to be even harsher than the last. This production isn’t content to do that though. It takes its time in humanizing the criminal protagonists while never fully justifying the atrocious actions or depriving them of consequence. The story builds a sense of intimacy and rawness in the criminals’ dynamics. It’s obvious how awful and dark these characters are and that they’re still relying on one another like a castaway to wreckage. Each of the actors play multiple roles in the story, and though it can be hard to track at certain moments, each performance is always either a gut-punch or a heart-wrench in some form.

Plata Quemada is the latest play of the season, adapted from Ricardo Piglia’s novel, and at the Emerson Paramount theatre from March 11 to 15. Directed by Juan Carlos Zagal and is produced by Teatrocinema, which Zagal co-founded.

All of the technical aspects of the production are as much a delight as the performances themselves. The graphic novel elements and animation on a stage seems like a risky concept, but this technical choreography works. The use of lighting and the backscree are done to a masterful degree. From the starting scene it’s obvious the power this play will have with its use of props, angles and lighting. It brings a dynamic and energetic movement to what could have been otherwise straightforward and less interesting scenes. 

The only thing that distracted was the use of subtitles. The choice to assure all the spoken lines were kept in Spanish was definitely the right move as it kept the feel of the production authentic in a historical context and made it feel more immersive. In certain moments the subtitles kept from giving full focus on the performances. It was surprising the play never went the route of word bubbles as traditional graphic novels do; potentially adding even more to the play from the medium they’re pulling inspiration from and sidestepping more inherent issues with subtitles altogether. 

The film is provocative and mature in its portrayal of violence, but it balances itself that while it pushes the envelope, that it never feels like a line is crossed unnecessarily. The climax is heartfelt while still feeling like an inevitable path for the story. The end message and its motif of the burning money was also incredibly poignant. It creates the question of how material wealth is able to incite more anger in the populace than the actual gruesome loss of human life along the criminals violent trail.

Plata Quemada is definitely a unique piece with a strong message that amounts to an absolute must see for anyone looking for a great show.

 
Styleboston creator Terri Stanley talked to American Repertory Theater Artistic Director Diane Paulus in 2009 for the TV show’s “Power Player” segment.

CAMBRIDGE – After 10 years and tons (probably, literally) of glitter, The Donkey Show will end its run this week at the American Repertory Theater’s Club Oberon on the fringes of Harvard Square.

The immersive theatrical experience was part of Artistic Director Diane Paulus’ first season in the “Shakespeare Exploded” festival that also included The Best of Both Worlds and Sleep No More, which took over a school in Brookline.

Paulus created The Donkey Show with her husband, theater producer Randy Weiner, and they staged it Off-Broadway in 1999 to rave reviews.

During its run at the ART, the show was extended because of popular demand and later moved to weekends only, where it continued as a destination stop for brides-to-be and superfans. The Boston Globe’s Meredith Goldstein documented the show’s long run. The show succeeded in at least one area, Goldstein writes, it attracted audiences considerably younger than had been seen at the ART.

The show’s closing also opens a coveted timeslot for local or smaller productions and marks a new chapter for Oberon.

Styleboston’s host and creator Terri Stanley interviewed Paulus prior to The Donkey Show’s opening as one of the TV show’s “Power Player” segments. (See clip above.) This segment originally aired 10 years ago this month.

Tagged with:
 
Billy Porter rocks the red carpet

If there was a Tony Award for best dress worn by a presenter, then actor-director Billy Porter would have taken the prize. His flowing custom-made ballgown (created from the curtain of Broadway’s Kinky Boots) – the show that won him his Tony Award – was just one more bold choice by the star of TV’s Pose. Porter will be in Boston late this summer directing the world premiere of Dan McCabe’s The Purists at the Huntington Theatre Company.

At the award ceremony, the most-talked about outfit was worn by singer-songwriter/playwright Taylor Mac, who was on stage in a full-fledged costume created by Matthew Flower, who is known as Machine Dazzle. Mac, who wrote the Tony-nominated Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. He became a hit in Boston for his five-hour show that played at the American Repertory Theater’s Oberon in Cambridge in 2012.

It was a good night for Bryan Cranston, who won for his role as Howard Beale in the stage adaptation of the film Network. Cranston won a Tony two years ago for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in All the Way, which got its start at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge before heading to Broadway. In his acceptance speech, Cranston used the moment to reflect on the state of things, which was very “Howard Beale” moment: “The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”

And while, the Northern Ireland drama The Ferryman won the best play Tony, it was Hadestown, conceived and written by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, who won a Tony for her score that stole the night with eight total awards. Also winning for Hadestown was director Rachel Chavkin, who was at the ART a couple of years ago with Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and returns to the ART this summer to open the 2019-2020 season with Six, a musical about the merry wives of Henry VIII.

Berklee College of Music and its sister school Boston Conservatory at Berklee College alumni and faculty were involved in various capacities with other Tony Award-winning shows this season, including Oklahoma! Hadestown, The Cher Show, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ain’t Too Proud, Ink, and Tootsie

Sergio Trujillo received the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography in a Musical, for the show Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.  He, too, had success in Boston as the director and choreographer for the stunning Arrabal, at the ART for which he won Elliot Norton Awards.  

Sergio Trujillo accepts the Best Choreography award for “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations.” REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Also – finally – winning a Tony for his turn on Hadestown was Broadway veteran André De Shields, the narrator of the show. De Shields stole the show in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of The Jungle Book in which he played King Louie. The Huntington had a lot to celebrate on Sunday night with 23 of its alumni receiving Tony Awards nominations this year.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 6, 2013. [Photo via Newscom]

They both attended Wellesley College and they both faced the usual uncertainty of attending college, surrounded by women of note and, in many cases, privileged. Those campus experiences started both on their paths to serving as the United States’ highest diplomatic position, Secretary of State.

Madeleine Albright, Wellesley Class of ’59, and Hillary Clinton, who graduated from the all-women’s college ten years later, were both on the leafy campus west of Boston for their class reunions. Both women were on stage on Saturday with Wellesley’s president Dr. Paula A. Johnson.

A theme of their discussion was the need to protect democracy from a threat of fascism, something Albright called out in her 2018 book, Fascism: A Warning. “The idea that, ‘Oh it can’t happen here,’ is just old fashioned, my friends,”  Clinton was quoted as saying. “There seems to be no staying power for these really serious threats and that’s part of the strategy. …You say something that’s totally beyond the pale of what should be expected from any public official. And so what happened yesterday is quickly lost in what’s happening today.”

You can read more about the Wellesley talk here.


As part of styleboston’s look back at our launch as a television show in 2009, we offer this Power Player segment with Albright and show creator Terri Stanley.

Linda Holliday knows better than to try to rein in recently retired Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski who took the stage to honor Holliday and Belichick.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL BLANCHARD

BOSTON – 500 guests turned out for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation‘s 14th annual Boston Hot Pink Party, which raised more than $2 million for breast cancer research. The BCRF has awarded more than $8 million in grants this year.

The swanky gala recognized New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, with the organization’s Carolyn Lynch Humanitarian Award for their commitment to breast cancer research that stretches back to several years. This year’s Hot Pink Party was held on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at the InterContinental Boston hotel.

The BCRF was founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993 and she served as the organization’s chairman until her death in November 2011. In 1989, Mrs. Lauder initiated the fundraising drive that established a state-of the-art breast and diagnostic center at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. That facility is known as the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center.

She and her husband, Leonard A. Lauder, who attended this year’s Hot Pink Party in Boston, were committed to providing the most innovative clinical and translational research for breast cancer in the world. Styleboston’s Terri Stanley spoke with Mrs. Lauder at the Hot Pink Party in Spring 2010 about the BCRF and her many roles with The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., including serving as senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development worldwide until her passing.

Evelyn Lauder talks about being a pioneer for breast cancer research and what she loved most about her husband Leonard.


At this year’s Hot Pink Party at the InterContinental Boston, the stars turned out to honor Coach Belichick and our styleboston colleague Linda Holliday.

Gov. Charlie Baker told TV station WHDH that the recognition is well-deserved. “I certainly think if you’re looking for a symbol of excellence over time, which is in many respects what this foundation has been all about, they’re not going to find a better one than what Coach Belichick has accomplished.”

Doug Flutie celebrates with his former coach Bill Belichick and Linda Holliday
Is that a smile on his face? We believe it is…
Photo BY MICHAEL BLANCHARD

Recently retired (it kills us to write this) Patriots player Rob Gronkowski was on-hand to celebrate his former coach, including taking a turn at the DJ table. Gronk brought along his lady friend, the model Camille Kostek. Breast cancer survivor Paqui Kelly and her husband, Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly, presented the award to Linda and Bill.

Among those in attendance were Holliday’s daughters, fashionistas and bloggers Kat and Ashley Hess; now retired (we’re still upset about Massachusetts’ first lady Lauren Baker; football great Doug Flutie and his wife, Laurie; former Patriots defensive coordinator (and current Detroit Lions head coach) Matt Patricia and his wife, Raina; mega-builder John Fish; WZLX 100.7’s Sue Brady; WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben and her husband, Bill; philanthropist Simone Winston; tech and business guru Bob Davis and his wife, Rita; and Pyramid Group’s Rick Kelleher and his wife, Nancy, who hosted earlier Pink Party events at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

For a gallery of  photographer Bill Brett’s party pictures, click here.

Director Georden West on set of “Patron Saint”
Photo by BTS-Shannon Grant

Filmmaker Georden West is getting ready to screen her second fashion film at the Emerson Film Festival this weekend. “Patron Saint” (click here to see trailer) will be part of two programs of student shorts that will be screening in the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount Center ArtsEmerson on Sunday, March 24 at 12 p.m., followed by a red carpet reception open to the public at the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery, located at 25 Avery St. (across the street from the Ritz-Carlton hotel.) West recently completed the Emerson graduate program in Film and Media Arts from what many consider to be one of the top film departments in the country.

West identifies herself as a queer woman and a queer filmmaker and what lead her to making fashion films was the opportunity to speak to groups neglected and often left out of the mainstream conversations. Fashion films can be used to magnify expression, exploring and pushing bounderies, especially with regards to gender.

“The queer community is hungry for representation” says West. “In a society where so much of how we perform gender and sexuality is based on media representation, we actively seek ourselves in the visual arts and are consistently let down. This is why I make fashion film. I am passionate about building visual experiences reflective of the subculture and history of queer people. I want to craft stories in new ways that surface historic and contemporary marginalization and builds community around art that resists universalization and commodification.”

Fashion films have been evolving over the last few years into a way to make a social statement with a new look and language that showcases fashion and lifestyle brands in a more creative and narrative way. Acting as an alternative to traditional promotion and marketing of brands, such as print photo shoots and :30 fashion ads for television, the brands behind the films can be emerging designers or well-heeled names.

For “Patron Saint,” West is collaborating with emerging designer Jamall Osterholm, who is currently a contestant on Bravo’s “Project Runway” and who will be debuting on New York Fashion Week’s official schedule in September. A Rhode Island native, Osterholm graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and his focus is on futurism and borrowing from the past.

Fashion by Designer Jamall Osterholm
Photo by BTS-Shannon Grant

“Jamall is a designer whose work speaks to a need for fashion to recognize its own political nature” West explains. “He makes beautiful work while remaining relational to history. Jamall is brilliant and he brings out the best and challenges the teams around him; I know when I work with him nothing will be less than exceptional and intentional. Nothing we say is for beauty’s sake alone.”

“We deserve characters and media art with complexity beyond the tropes of coming-out and romance. I long to see queer stories told in interesting and challenging ways that bring queer cinema to the forefront of the film industry without having to assimilate into its narrative demands that manifest in stereotypes and conventionality,” says West. “To me fashion does this. As an experimental and atmospheric filmmaker, I have an ambitious approach to queer cinema that would allow a narrative to be told with magical realism, challenging the medium of filmmaking as well as presenting original content with novelty.”

Patron Saint will be screening on Sunday March 24th at 12pm and on March 29th at Distillery Gallery.

“A Star Is Born” Producer Billy Gerber with Tony Finn /Trenton Badillo Photography

SAN DIEGO — The owners of TCL Chinese Theatre, known to most as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, are behind San Diego’s newest hot spot, The Theatre Box, a luxury theater, dining and entertainment complex. 

And, the new venue was kicked off in grand style, with a private screening of “A Star Is Born,” which recently was nominated for eight Oscars. Noted movie producer Billy Gerber made the short trip form LA to welcome the guests and lead a question and answer session before the film’s screening. 

The night was held in partnership with the San Diego International Film Festival, which launches its 2019 season this month with the “Film Insider Series” and its Annual Awards Viewing Party (watch the Academy Awards in style!) star power fundraiser on Feb. 24th.

Theatre Box was the perfect venue for about 400 attendees who played on the red carpet and sipped cocktails from the large bar upstairs. “For the theater itself, Theatre Box plans to host world-class Hollywood film premieres and hand- and footprint ceremonies in the long-standing tradition of Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre,” said a representative. “We will surprise you by bringing Hollywood to San Diego.”
  

Pitbull and Nick Canon celebrate at Theatre Box

Pitbull and Nick Cannon celebrate at Theatre Box

Sugar Factory American Brasserie, the high-profile eatery is one of the stars of the show, with plenty of  celebrity endorsements behind it. Britney Spears, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and many others have been seen licking those lollipops, but there is so much more on the table here. The Sugar Factory offers a menu created by world-class chefs that promises to satisfy any palate, offering items from yummy pancakes to mouth-watering burgers, pizza and salads. 

Nick Cannon is the face behind the new rooftop sports bar and arcade opening up this summer called Wild ‘N Out, and according to those in the know he and other celebs will be appearing from time to time to guest DJ. A 14,000-square-foot hip-hop-themed Wild ‘N Out will feature a complete arcade with interactive games and memorabilia from the hit MTV show and a sports bar that claims to have the largest televisions in the city. TCL has also teamed up with Pitbull “Mr. Worldwide” to collaborate on ILov305 Rooftop Bar & Garden–a 6,000-square-foot Latin-inspired, rooftop Tiki bar and nightclub set to open in 2019.  Known as the place “Where What Happens, Never Happened,” ILov305 fare will consist of a seafood-themed menu to offer in its numerous VIP rooms, several bars and a private lounge, all complete with Pitbull’s ball of fire persona.

So much more than a movie theater, the Theatre Box promises a multi-faceted experience that certainly feels like a giant step forward in the entertainment business. San Diegans should support any venue that shines a spotlight on this beautiful city that is only a stones throw away from Hollywood.

The Theatre Box is in discussions with the San Diego International Film Foundation to partner on several events over the course of the year and film fest CEO Tonya Mantooth is excited about the opportunities to engage with this spectacular venue. 

“We felt really good about partnering with Theatre Box on “A Star is Born” screening, and having the film’s producer Billy Gerber there was fantastic,” says Mantooth. “I’m pleased to announce that we have a number of exciting events planned this year and leading up to the San Diego International Film Festival.
 
“An important focus for both Theatre Box and the SDIFF will be to continue to collaborate on events that will bring more celebrities down from LA, says Mantooth. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
 
The Planetary Chandelier Lights Theatre Box Lobby

The Planetary Chandelier Lights Theatre Box Lobby

BOSTON — Are the spirit of the times and the spirit of the holidays on a collision course? Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been a time of good cheer towards all men (and women), a celebration of our founding fathers giving thanks to their new world, and, for many, the birth of Jesus Christ.

But today it could be said that the feeling among many people this holiday season is not one of joy and hope, but a heightened sense of anxiety that threatens to derail the holiday train and throw it right off the tracks.

One way to return the essence of the season is to see a “Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” which opens on Nov. 29 for a four-day run at the Boch Center-Shubert Theatre.  The unforgettable music of Vince Gueraldi brings people back to this story time and time again and there are several threads to pull on that resonate today-inclusion, tolerance, anti-bullying, and  independent thought and speech.  

This story also works as a reminder of better days and kinder times, when the world seemed a lot simpler and in many ways much safer. Baby boomers grew up with the Peanuts gang and introduced them to their kids, who still love the timeless group of characters. Lucy, Charlie, Linus, and Schroeder are a staple in the line up of holiday must-sees and accompanying the original Peanuts gang will be Rudoph, Frosty, the Grinch and “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Perhaps what remains relevant for so many of us is that in each one of these stories lies the power to defeat the bad guys and believe, in the end, in decency and the basic goodness of mankind.

For those looking for fun ways to celebrate the holidays, Charlie Brown’s Christmas runs from Nov. 29 through Dec. 2. Or, by clicking here.

 

By: Anna Paula Goncalves

Charlie Puth performing live at the Clive Davis Theater

With pop[ular] culture placing considerable focus on the “marketability” of an artist, most would agree that the misplaced focus has weakened the quality of Pop music and jeopardized the potential of what it can become. It’s no longer solely about the raw “talent” anymore. This can – and to some degree, has – made the music we listen to in mainstream radio more commercialized than ever before. So when someone comes into the scene as a “Pop Artist,” whose attention is on reinventing the pop sound with unlikely melodies and chord progressions using a hint of the formulas by timeless musicians before him, I welcome them with open ears.

Clive Davis Theater

Last night, I got the chance to see multi-Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and producer, Charlie Puth, during his candid sit down with Grammy Museum’s Artistic Director Scott Goldman at The Clive Davis Theater. Chances are you’ve heard some of Charlie’s chart-topping hits, when he first emerged about three years ago with, “See You Again,” “One Call Away,” “Marvin Gaye (feat. Meghan Trainor),” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore (feat. Selena Gomez).” But believe it or not, these tracks – although successful – were more experimentation for the 26-year-old; tracks that he jokingly referred to as “crap shoots” as he was still discovering himself as an artist.

Charlie Puth and Scott Goldman

The Berklee College of Music alum also graced us with a stripped down performance of three of his tracks, including his latest single (“The Way I Am”) off of Voicenotes – one he credits as his “debut” album since he feels he has fully grasped his artistry this time around. Voicenotes was certified “Gold” only five days after its release, according to Forbes. And has been considered as “one of the year’s best pop albums” by the New York Times.

With the admirable ambition to “write soundtracks to people’s lives,” his musical genius is undeniable. His genuine desire (because it clearly shows) in “making people happy” and believing whole hardly that “what matters to [him] the most is how [people] take the music and apply it to [their] everyday life” is what sets him apart in an age where people are hungry for raw and timeless talent.

Some people are simply born with it and born for it. It has become more than apparent that the self deprecating artist with perfect pitch (he jokingly called out the key to an audience member’s sneeze mid interview) is one of those people.

Thank you to Communications Manager Jasmine Lywen-Dill and her team at the Grammy Museum for inviting me to the show. For more information on the museum and their future events, visit GrammyMuseum.org.

LOS ANGELES – L.A. Live, the entertainment complex with a 40,000-square-foot, open-air plaza that features giant LED screens as well as a red-carpet site for special events, celebrated its 10th anniversary on June 8 in Microsoft Square.

A press conference, hosted by ESPN co-anchors Neil Everett and Stan Verret, kicked-off the festivities while the chemistry between the two filled the outside space with positive energy.

 

Neil and Stan introduced us to the friends and driving forces behind L.A. Live, which includes Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of AEG; Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center and L.A. Live; Curren D. Price Jr., 9th District Council Member of Los Angeles; Luke Walton, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers; chef/restauranteur Wolfgang Puck; and Luc Robitaille, president of the Los Angeles Kings.

The press conference concluded with a special performance by the Conga Room Foundation’s “Conga Kids.” Once the Conga Kids were done wiggling their little hips to “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley, Wolfgang Puck surprised us with the grand finale—a three-foot tall, tiered birthday cake designed especially for the occasion.

Later that evening, L.A. Live transformed into the ultimate anniversary celebration called “Dark Nights Birthday Edition” sponsored by Absolut Vodka. The celebration reflected the name of the location “LIVE” with outstanding performances including Weekend Celebrity, Ryan & Liz Dueling Pianos, and Phobik Vyal.

For the past 10 years L.A. Live has hosted more than 204 million guests and 15,000 events, including 93 award shows, 125 movie premieres, 1,700 sporting events, and more than 2,000 concerts and live events so it’s no secret why L.A. Live is Los Angeles premier sports and entertainment district.

Happy Birthday LA Live and we at LeftCoast.LA wish you many more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We asked photographer Steven Tackeff to select some of his favorite images from the summer radio station concerts that are always a tough ticket in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. Steve picked some of his favorites from Kiss 108’s annual concert, including Alanis Morissette, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, and Lenny Kravitz.

 

IMAGES BY STEVEN TACKEFF

 

Keala Settle’s soaring performance of “This is Me” nearly stopped the Oscar broadcast on Sunday night, but to theater buffs and careful viewers her amazing stage presence and vocal range wasn’t a surprise. Settle, you see, originated the role of Becky in “Waitress: The Musical,” which made its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater in August 2015 before transferring to Broadway.
A Tony Award-nominee, Settle was backed by a diverse choir for her rendition of the Best Original Song nominee “This is Me,” the signature tune from “The Greatest Showman,” in which Settle played the bearded lady. The song (written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won the Tony Award for their score for “Dear Evan Hanson,”) did not win the Oscar.
So what is everyone talking about? You can watch Settle’s emotional performance on the Oscars.com website.

One thing that you can count on when talking about Wyclef Jean is that he is not going to walk a familiar path. From running for office in his native Haiti to leading humanitarian efforts after natural disasters, this Grammy Award-winning performer always seems to be on a road less traveled. For his current “Carnival” tour is making stops from cities as varied as Harrisburg, Pa., to Boston, where Jean will play the Wilbur Theatre on March 1. styleboston pulled our interview with Jean from our archives to share. You can view it here.

https://vimeo.com/257992275.