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.
SAN DIEGO — One of this town’s biggest and best events took place last week and the celebrities came down to party. The San Diego International Film Festival’s “Night of the Stars Party,” held at the glamorous Pendry hotel, was electrifying in the excitement and buzz around this year’s honorees. Topher Grace, Kenny Loggins (who wowed the sold-out ballroom with three amazing songs to close out the night), John Cho, Kathryn Hahn, Keith Carradine, Zachary Levi and Alex Wolff all made the trip from LA to celebrate film.
Sponsored by Morgan Stanley, Maserati of San Diego, Jamul Casinos, Pendry Hotel and The Nemeth Foundation, the festival screenings and events spanned five days and included films of all genres and subjects that would entice any film lover to this beautiful waterfront city. Check the website for 2019 festival dates and mark your calendars for a premier way to experience one of the most standout film festivals in this Oz-like setting.
By: Anna Paula Goncalves
Season 3 of TV’s number 1 drama (all around show really, if we’re being honest) is already giving us all the feels – as expected – with this first episode. With laughter, tears to some and a bit of curiosity, the touching stories and relatable characters is the consistently winning combination that makes this show the success it is.
It’s all in the “construct of the show,” as show creator, Dan Fogelman said during the panel discussion that followed the premiere screening. It’s a construct that he credits to the writers of the show (which he, and the cast, made a point to honor) for their brilliancy.
With a plot that lives in the past just as much as it does in the present (with this season expected to tackle glimpses into the “future”) there’s a level of excitement in learning about each character and what makes them, them. Like Chrissy Metz’ character, Kate, and how heartwarmingly real her character is depicted. Someone who “can’t catch a break” while battling her weight, guilt, loss, addiction, and how that all ties into her struggle with self-acceptance. Which to that point, Chrissy says, when asked how she feels about her storyline helping others facing the same struggles as she: “I just know things happen as they should. And that everyone has their really beautiful journey and we get to help each other along and through that journey.”
In the midst of laughter and “truth, dare, or ‘swear on Oprah’” (You need to watch S3E1 to understand the Oprah reference), the panel discussed the first episode and how it embraced a more light-hearted relationship between Randal (Sterling K. Brown’s character) and his wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson’s character). They also each talked about their individual characters, the season’s construct and how we’ll “live in the past a bit” during season 3. We will get to learn more about Jack (Milo Ventimiglia’s character) and his past, including his time in Vietnam, and also life following his death as Rebecca (Mandy Moore’s character) navigates as a single parent caring for teenagers. We can also look forward to upcoming “stand alone” episodes that will dive into specific characters that we know little about underneath, like Chris Sullivan’s character, Toby – a character who suggests something deep in connection to his dependency on anti-depressants and after this first episode, also speculates about the trajectory of his relationship with Kate into the “future”. Another character we can all look forward to seeing unfold is Lyric Ross’ character, Deja, now a season’s regular. Described as “the truth” by her cast-mates after becoming a revelation to them while shooting season 3, and to us in this first episode as the embodiment of what boldness and hope looks like.
In true “This is Us” form, the first episode entitled “Nine Bucks”, which falls during the Big Three’s birthday (as it has consistently done in previous season premieres) gives us just enough to make us sink into our seats while looking forward to speculating what’s to come.
Thank you to NBC Entertainment Director Jeanette Eliot for the invitation.
Season 3 of “This Is Us” continues on Tuesday, October 2, on NBC.
HARTFORD, CT — Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthew, and John Mellencamp and other acts performed at the day-long, sold-out annual Farm Aid 2018 concert that took place on Sept. 22 at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. The amphitheater holds 30,000 people and tickets for the benefit concert sold out shortly after they went on sale.
The day’s lineup also included Nathaniel Ratecliff & The Night Sweats, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson, and Ian Mellencamp. There were also demonstrations and farmers on hand to show concertgoers the importance of supporting Farm Aid.
For more on the Somerville, MA, based Farm Aid, read here.
All photos are by Steven Tackeff
Willie Nelson at the pre-concert press conference
Neil Young plays late in the night at Farm Aid 2018
Photo by Steven Tackeff
Neil Young performs at Farm Aid
Photo by Steven Tackeff
John Mellencamp, at the pre-concert press conference, above right, and performing at the concert.
Jamey Johnson at Farm Aid 2018
Ian Mellencamp got things started at the Farm Aid 2018 concert.
Photo by Steven Tackeff
Chris Stapleton at Farm Aid 2018
Photo by Steven Tackeff
Dave Matthews, right, with Tim Reynolds
Photo by Steven Tackeff
Kacey Musgraves performs at Farm Aid 2018.
Photo by Steven Tackeff
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real at Farm Aid 2018.
Margo Price at Farm Aid 2018.
Photo by Steven Tackeff
Nathaniel Ratecliff & The Night Sweats at Farm Aid 2018.
Photo by Steven Tackeff
Ian Mellencamp was the day-long concert opener.
Photo by Steven Tackeff
The fans get to the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford hours before the start of Farm Aid 2018.
Photos by Steven Tackeff
The pre-concert press conference featured Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews. Photos by Steven Tackeff
The crowd stayed all day to see the acts at this year’s Farm Aid. Photo by Steven Tackeff
By: Anna Paula Goncalves
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.
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.
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.
By Anna Paula Goncalves
LOS ANGELES – With the 2018 Emmy Awards right around the corner, (September 17th) ‘pre-Emmy’ events are already in full swing out here in Los Angeles. So, of course, it was only right that we’d also get in on the festivities. And that I did – at the Coded PR Emmy’s Suite Happy Hour.
I got a chance to browse some of their ready-to-wear accessories and formalwear collections, mingle, get a facial by CryoCafe, try a Peachberry detox water for the first time and, naturally, see beautiful people – fashionistas, influencers, male, females, and teens – stopping by to hang out.
A beautifully organized event put on by a team of powerhouse women that are on deck ready to get you red carpet ready-to-make-a-statement ready with the help of their clients: Lacoste, JustFab, Watters, Rime Arodaky, Le Marche by NP, ShoeDazzle, artTECA, CALLIDAE, Chooka, Staheekum, Sophie Voila and so many others.
As VP of Social + Influencer, Claire Barthelemy (left) and Senior Account Executive, Arlene Guerrero (right) both agreed on: they are the “one stop shop” for all red carpet needs. So if that’s you and you want to step your fabulous game up to an even higher level, these ladies are taking on appointments. All you have to do is head on over to their website for showroom requests and pulls.
And now… I’ll leave you with a few words once spoken by the one who was never shy about making a statement:
Happy Emmy Season everyone!
ALL PHOTOS and VIDEOS by Joane Nelson
By Anna Paula Goncalves
LOS ANGELES — I’ll just cut straight to the chase:
Go catch “Mile 22” in theaters, Aug. 17! As you can see from watching our fun “black” carpet experience, maybe these 22 [no spoiler, here] reasons of why I think you should, means you will.
Ready? Here we go.
1) This is Mark Wahlberg and Director Peter Berg’s fourth collaboration (“Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon,” and the Boston-set “Patriots Day,” about the Boston Marathon bombings) yet “Mile 22” is their first collaboration on a fictional story.
2) Mark Wahlberg’s character, James Silva, will give you a little bit of everything you love about Mark.
3) Lauren Cohan. I was already familiar with her work on ‘The Walking Dead,’ but she was a revelation to me in this film. And she may just end up being one to you, too.
4) Iko Uwais. WHAT?!?!? Where did this guy come from and why wasn’t I familiar with his work before?!
5) Ronda Rousey. I personally love seeing her reinvent amd rebrand herself. If you dig her as much as I do, you’ll appreciate her character, Sam Snow.
6) John Malkovich. Need I say more?
7) Nikolai Nikolaeff. I got a taste of his work and definitely want to see more.
8) Every single cast member that was on that carpet loved being there and it showed. That made me much more excited to see them on the big screen. And after watching them on the big screen? Yup, that was some great casting.
9) In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and give credit where it’s due and where it’s usually not given: Casting Director and guru, Sheila Jaffe, for her and her team’s work.
10) Did you realize just how many of the actors come from TV series? Some of which didn’t have film credit at all prior to “Mile 22”! As someone involved with the casting world, I love seeing professionals appreciate talent and hunger over a resume. Hence my point No. 9.
11) Sound effects team made me really take in everything that was happening.
12.) You will want to applaud… (I lost track of how many ‘applauding’ moments happened in that theater.)
13.) You will be ‘shook’…
14.) You will also laugh, though…
15.) And yes, you will probably want to shout, too…
16.) You won’t want to look away. In fact, you may get mad at yourself if you do or if anyone walks in front of you. I saw it happen three times (one being with me, I’ll admit it.)
17.) You will be caught off guard…
18.) You will want to watch the sequel. Oh yes, there’s a sequel already set to happen you guys! That should tell you something. For more, read here.
19.) Lea Carpenter and Graham Roland. Intentionally left these two toward the end because every point made here was thanks to their original story.
20.) Screenwriting was also well done (Lea Carpenter).
21.) Although we see a lot of this kind of theme, these two really wrote something that was unexpected. You have to watch to know what I mean.
22.) Left the best for last: A reminder, even through a fictional film, of how sacrificial it is for our service men and women to sign up to give their lives as a shield to protect others.
And there you have it! My 22 reasons why you should drive however many miles to your nearest theater to catch this film on Friday, Aug. 17!
SOUTH BOSTON — Enough NHL players to fill an All-Star roster turned out the other night for the Summer Happy Hour party at Coppersmith in South Boston to support The Corey C. Griffin Foundation.
The host committee included: Brian Boyle (New Jersey Devils); Paul Carey (Ottawa Senators); Charlie Coyle (Minnesota Wild); Ryan Donato (Boston Bruins); Mark Fayne (Edmonton Oilers); Brian Gibbons (Anaheim Ducks); Steve Greeley (Buffalo Sabres AGM); Noah Hanifin (Calgary Flames); Jimmy Hayes (New Jersey Devils); Kevin Hayes (New York Rangers); Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils); Jimmy Vesey (New York Rangers); Chris Wagner (Boston Bruins); Miles Wood (New Jersey Devils); and
Keith Yandle (Florida Panthers).
All photos by Bill Brett
To view full gallery, click here.
Susan Hassett, CEO and creator of a new brand of casual footwear called “Cocktail Sneakers” is surrounded by women. Hassett says that she did not intend to work exclusively with women in this new Boston-based venture, but as it turns out that is exactly how the company is getting off the ground.
“I did not set out to involve only women but the timing is incidental. …It wasn’t pre-planned,” she says. “It started out with creating a beautiful, more feminine sneaker for women who want a look that is effortlessly chic-whether she is a stay at home mom or business woman.”
Hassett was very clear at the beginning on what she wanted to create and why. Three and a half years ago she identified a void in the women’s shoe market for an attractive sneaker, one where women could have a shoe that actually transitions all day from casual to elegant without a hiccup in their wardrobe.
Once the idea for the shoe was in place, she built a team that would help her launch the new brand. Through a series of serendipitous introductions she found her designer, Mar Espanol of Shoe Girls Studio in Brooklyn, who introduced her to a woman-run, woman-owned factory, the marketing team Grier Park with Daniella Vollinger and Bianca Brown, and the creative/branding duo Dames, founded by Jemme Aldridge and Emilie Hawtin, who all happen to be very accomplished women.
The introductory selection of cocktail sneakers comes in white, black, navy, blush, and red and range in price from $195 to $225. They can be purchased online at CocktailSneakers.com and at a select number of boutiques on the East and West Coast.
“I feel like I am re-defining sneaker culture for women. Every woman should have a few great pairs of fashion sneakers–this is what we all want to wear. It will never take the place of a beautiful stiletto but the fact that you can put on an outfit now and go to a cocktail party or out to dinner, take off those heels without people looking at you and saying you’re wearing sneakers? No more. ”
So to all fashionistas, when you find yourself on your feet you can get there from here, even if your path is walking through Quincy Marketplace cobblestones, and still look like a perfect ten.
By Anna Paula Goncalves
Denzel Washington does it again! In his first career sequel, Washington is back as the retired agent Robert McCall in “The Equalizer 2.”
In addition to Washington, director Antoine Fuqua returned to helm EQ2 as did actors Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman. The film also features Pedro Pascal and Ashton Sanders. Talks of an “Equalizer” sequel started months before the 2014 release of the original. The film follows McCall (Washington) as he sets out “on a path of revenge after one of his friends is killed.”
“The Equalizer 2” opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, July 20, 2018.
Filming for EQ2 began in September 2017, with crews spotted in Union Park in Boston’s South End, the North Shore, including Lynn, Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, and Randolph and Marshfield. In 2017, Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen shared a post its Facebook page about EQ2 — with a photo of Washington in the South End eatery.
Getting a chance to catch a sneak peek just a few days before the sequel arrives in theaters this Friday, I’ll say this much [without any spoilers, of course]:
Expect a thrilling, at the edge of your seat ride watching Washington reprise his role as the people’s hero. The character that we loved to love the first time around comes back just as vengeful and just as righteous – contradictory character traits that Denzel can genuinely and successful bridge with ease.
But if Washington isn’t enough of a reason for you to add him to your Friday night plans, I’d suggest you go for the eye candy; for the one that looks beautiful from every angle, day or night…
Yes, I’m referring to Boston! You may or may not geek out a little when recognizing some of our streets and neighborhoods on the big screen, but I am certain that you’ll appreciate it.
Left Coast. La was honored to attend the San Diego International Film Festival’s VIP Film Insider Series featuring HBO’s new “Sharp Objects” starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson and Taylor John Smith. The event was held at the ArcLight Cinemas in San Diego, CA.
Based on the book of the same name by The New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl,” “Dark Places”), “Sharp Objects” is an eight-episode series that tells the story of reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) who “returns to her small hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely,” according to HBO. In addition to Adams, Clarkson and Smith, the series features Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Craven. It is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from scripts by Marti Noxon and Flynn.
PHOTO BY STEVEN TACKEFF
LINCOLN, R.I. — Even after 50 years of touring, Tower of Power certainly comes to play.
Playing many songs from their new album Soul Side of Town including crowd participation in “Stop It” with new lead singer Marcus Scott. Original members Emilio Castillo, Francis Rocco Prestia, Stephen “Doc” Kupka and David Garabaldi played with as much energy and perfection as I remember back in the ’70s. With the crowd on their feet for many of the songs including “It’s not the Crime,” “Your Still a Young Man” and “School Boy Crush” Tower of Power had the crowd singing along with the band most of the way. Long time fans got what they were looking for in Towers megahit “What is Hip” at the end of the show.
Coming out for two encore songs Tower did not disappoint a person in the full house at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI.
Before Tower of Power took the stage, the audience was treated some good old-time funk and soul music from the Average White Band, which performed many of their hits including their signature “Cut the Cake.” As a opening they certainly got the crowd up and dancing and ready for Tower of Power.
REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVEN TACKEFF
LOS ANGELES — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars people) has invited Kendrick Lamar, J.K. Rowling, and Audra McDonald among the 928 actors, writers, casting directors and others both in front of and behind the camera to join its growing membership. Today’s move comes as the Academy is trying to diversify its ranks.
This year’s record-number of new members invited tops 2017 with a previous record of 774 new members and that of 2016 when 683 new members were invited, according to Variety.
Among those invited to join the Academy today are several with Boston and New England ties including actors Cambridge native Mindy Kaling, who graduated from Buckingham, Browne & Nichols; Medford native Julianne Nicholson; and Sarah Silverman, who hails from New Hampshire. Invitees from the casting branch includes Sheila Jaffe, whose work on the Oscar-winning “The Fighter,” which starred Mark Wahlberg as boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, is among her enviable list of credits.
“The expansion of Academy membership to more than 8,200 stems from an ongoing effort to diversify its ranks following uproar over the lack of African-American nominees in 2015 and 2016, which culminated in 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy,” Variety wrote.
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
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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