Richard Wesley, author of The Richard Wesley Play Anthology, will be taking his politically driven play, Autumn, to the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, New York. This will be Wesley’s first full-length play in over 27 years.
Autumn is a political drama that explores the conflicts that arise when aspirations collide across a generational divide marked by sharply different political agendas. The concept comes from Wesleys observation of the evolution of Black politicians against a changing political landscape.
Although Wesley has not had a full-length play in 27 years he is no stranger to the stage. His stage works include: The Black Terror, The Talented Tenth, and the Broadway production, The Mighty Gents. He’s also a noted screenwriter for classic films that star Sidney Poitier including: Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again, and Mandela DeKlerk along with Native Son starring oprah Winfrey and Akosua Busia. He has write for televisions series as well.
What a thrill to return to The Billie Holiday Theatre and to Brooklyn with the New York City premiere of Autumn. This is a timely work that raises questions about the responsibilities politicians have to the public, an especially important issue in this age of hyper-partisan politics and legislative stalemate.
Autumn will be directed by award-winning director Water Dallas. The cast includes Jerome Preston Bates (Seven Guitars, Stickfly), Terria Joseph (Empire, Cornerstone), Brent Langdon (House of Cards, The Program), Dorian Missick (Southland, Deliver Me from Evil), Count Stovall (A Streetcar Name Desire, Driving Miss Daisy), and Pauletta Washington (Beloved, The Watsons Go to Birmingham).
The Richard Wesley Play Anthology featured, in addition to Autumn, The Black Terror, The Sirens, The Mighty Gents, and The Talented Tenth. Each of the plays included in this anthology was born out of the idea of the public thinker, and what Arthur Miller would refer to as the importance of an individual conscience – as well as the belief that each generation must give back, must inform and inspire the generation that follows. No people – and certainly not the African Americans still striving and struggling in the 21st century – can thrive if they fail to adhere to that simple idea.
The play will run from October 21st to November 6th. For more information on the show and to buy tickets, click here.
Deke Sharon, author of The Heart of Vocal Harmony, shares his insight on a cappella and how groups need to feel instead of constantly focusing on the technicality of it all. He is a world-renowned arranger and producer with television credit’s Pitch Slapped and The Sing Off in addition to movie credits for Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2.
Deke Sharon has been heralded “The Father of Contemporary A Capella” and he is passionate about music. The goal with tis latest book is to inspire groups to take that extra step with their vocals. It goes beyond being a great singer and sounding ‘pretty.’ What emotions an you exude to your audience? What can you do to make a difference in their lives?
He has said that the difference between a rehearsal sounding great on one day and then horrible on the next has to do with emotion. Most rehearsals spend time focusing on notes, rhythms, and precision. There is too much focus on the musical and vocal techniques and not enough on the emotional technique.
This book is like no other a cappella book that has been released. Most of the other a cappella books have been about teaching people how to sing technically well. The Heart of Vocal Harmony focuses on the process of delivering an emotionally compelling performance. His previous book A Cappella Arranging was instructive, providing insight on how to create the music, this book turns those notes into passion.
The Heart of Vocal Harmony is not just for a cappella groups –
it is also for vocal harmony groups, ensembles, and choirs atall levels, with or without instruments. In addition to the process, the book features discussions with some of the biggest luminaries in vocal harmony: composers, arrangers, directors, singers, and groups – including Eric Whitacre, Pentatonix, the Manhattan Transfer, and more!
Figure out how can we consistently create music on stage that inspires and transforms an audience.
Dave will be the vocal orchestrator for the first ever a cappella Broadway musical, In Transit, debuting this November.
Bobby Borg and Michael Eames, two of the authors of Five Star Music Makeover: The Independent Artist’s Guide for Singers, Songwriters, Bands, Producers, and Self Publishers, sat down with Taxi TV Live to talk music publishing, promotion, and more. Taxi TV Live provides interviews with songwriting tips and music business information along with special interviews with industry guests, and more. Be sure to take a listen below.
I didn’t think a book with five authors would be this good.
Interviewer, Michael Laskow, had an amazing conversation with both Bobby and Michael who provided deep insight and tips to the music industry, promotion, and for all those up-and-coming artists out there, how to survive.
Five Star Music Makeover is an engaging all-in-one guide designed specifically for aspiring artists. Written by five experts with over 100 years of collective experience, both on and off the stage, this unique book covers five key skills every musician needs to succeed: (1) improving vocal production/technique; (2) writing memorable and marketable songs; (3) recording your ultimate EP; (4) navigating the publishing world; and (5) promoting music effectively. In addition to Bobby Borg and Michaels Earnes their are three aditonal authors: Eric Corn, Anika Paris, and Coreen Sheehan.
As for who wrote what, Anika covering writing music, Eric, recording; Coreen, performing; Michael, licensing; and Bobby, promoting. This interview covered everything from motivational tips for an artist to attract an audience to branding themselves. There was discussion of royalties, licensing, pay to play. If you’re into music, of course this interview is for you, but for those with hopes of becoming an entrepreneur, the information shared goes beyond that.
In the music business of today, as the independent DIY, you need all these skills; you need t be aware of them.
The interveiw was an amazing, organic conversation that’s definitely a must listen!
Check out the interview in its entirety here.
Congratulations are in order! Recording Unhinged: Creative & Unconventional Music Recording Techniques, by Sylvia Massy, has been nominated for a NAAM Technical Excellence & Creativity (TEC) Award at the 32nd annual show. These awards will be presented January 21, 2017 in Anaheim, California.
Sylvia has worked with the likes of Tool, System of a Down, Johnny Cash, and Prince. In addition she’s received a multitude of gold and platinum awards for her work with Sevendust, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and and Tom Petty. Aside from music she’s an accomplished fine artist, columnist, educator, and entrepreneur. Why not add author to that list?
Recording Unhinged: Creative and Unconventional Music Recording Techniques dares you to “unlearn” safe record-making, to get out from behind the windshield, stick your head out the sunroof, and put the pedal to the metal! Sylvia Massy and her cohort of celebrity music industry producers, engineers, and recording stars discard fixed notions about how music should be recorded and explore techniques that fall outside the norm and yield emotionally powerful, incredibly personal, gut-wrenching, and even scary recordings.
Recording Unhinged contains captivating, eye-popping illustrations by Sylvia herself. As if being a celebrated producer isn’t enough, Sylvia’s iconic illustrations bring real and imaginary recording situations to life.
The NAMM TEC Awards are presented annually in celebration of the pro audio community by recognizing the individuals, companies and technical innovations behind today’s sound recordings, live performances, films, television, video games and other media.
The nomination process began with a two-month call for entries of standout technical and creative products and projects that have made a significant impact on modern sound and music. A panel of respected industry voters from pro audio publications as well as members of professional music, technical and creative organizations, along with select NAMM members carefully evaluated each entry before selecting the nominees.
Author Alisha Gaddis along with Alessandra Rizzotti, Leah Mann, Jamison Scala, and Ilana Turner sat down with Barbara Dillon with Fanbase Press to discuss the book: LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That are Actually Funny. They each shared their inspirations behind the collection of monologues, their approach to creating it, experiences performing the pieces, and more.
Congratulations on the recent release of LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny! What was the inspiration for this collection of monologues?
Alisha Gaddis: Thanks so much! After the release of five other books in the series “Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny (Women’s, Men’s, Teen Girls’, Teen Boys’ and Kids’),” my agent, Sara Camilli, and I discussed the possibility of doing an LGBTQ edition. There was no book of monologues out there for LGBTQ actors, or actors auditioning for LGBTQ roles, and with the urging of one of the contributors, Alessandra Rizzotti, I went into action and made the pitch. It is so incredibly important that this book exists for LGBTQ actors and their allies auditioning for LGBTQ roles. The book is chock-full of hardy, hilarious roles for truly anyone and everyone.
Alessandra Rizzotti: As a current volunteer and former Communications Manager of The Trevor Project, the only national accredited suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization serving LGBTQ youth under age 25, I found it important to give young people a positive outlet that could serve as a form of self-care, inspiration, and passion. I was frustrated that I didn’t see enough LGBTQ theater or media out there, so I reached out to Alisha Gaddis with this idea. I’m happy to know that the work of one of my fellow Trevor volunteers is also in this book — and he happened to train me at Trevor when I started.
Leah Mann: I’m inspired by people. It’s as simple as that. Everyone has their own perspective on the world and way of moving through it which is colored by their experiences. Love is love, hate is hate, and heartbreak is universal. It was great to give a funny take on the things every human — regardless of gender and sexuality — goes through, in voices that have been so severely under represented.
BD: How would you describe the creative team’s approach to creating fully fleshed out characters for the actors to perform in such a short period of time within each monologue?
AG: As the editor of the anthology, it is incredibly interesting to work with all the different writers and see their different approaches. Some writers sent me fully fleshed out pieces, complete with stage directions, character descriptions — the whole package. Some contributors sent an idea for a sketch of a person, in a place, and we worked together to craft a deep, interesting character that an actor can really dig into it. It is fascinating to see how different people create.
For me as a writer, I let the character talk in my head for a bit. I picture her in place, having the conversation. I see the scene around her — what does it look like, feel like, what does she look like, what does she have on? I let the character write herself. Then, I go to the paper and let her into the world!
Jamison Scala: I approached my writing coming from a background of improv. The art is instantaneous and quickly erased, never to be seen again. In improv, we’re taught to create a world as quickly as possible so it can inform our characters and our scene work, and I lent that approach to the monologues I wrote.
LM: I generally brainstorm various characters and scenarios that speak to me, creating a long list before sitting down and pulling specific elements together. I want each piece to have a clear and specific voice, high stakes (fighting for love, your life, revenge…) and a funny setting. Strong choices and small details let the actor and audience know who this person is, where they are, and who they are talking to right off the bat.
Ilana Turner: Monologues are almost always written for an actor to perform as though their character is talking to someone else — it’s just the audience can’t see the other person. (Soliloquies are written to be performed as though the character is talking to themselves — “To be or not to be,” being a classic example.) As people, when we talk to or at someone for a long time, we are usually trying to get something from them — and we usually reveal an awful lot about ourselves, even if it’s not what we expected to reveal. For my piece, Sugar Coat It, I kept the character, a middle-aged figure skating coach, focused on his what he wanted from his student, and then let all the details he maybe didn’t plan to reveal leak into his monologue.
Click here to read the entire interview.
Shelly Peiken, author of Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, sat down with Bonnie Wallace of Hollywood Parents Guide for the podcast Hometown to Hollywood. Shelly discussed the songwriting process, being an artist, todays music industry, and more. Listen to the podcast below.
Todays music industry is not what it once was and Shelly Peiken was able to dive deeper into that change and the future for upcoming songwriters. Early in the interview she defined what being a serial songwriter meant:
Somebody that’s just passionate and faithful to just getting up and writing a song everyday and then saying, ‘ok where can we pitch this.’
When it comes to her songwriting she stressed how organic it needed to feel. She wrote a song, ‘Rotten to the Core,’ for Disney Channel’s, Descendants. Bonnie’s daughter, Dove Cameron, starred in the film so there was a personal connection there. Shelly feels that she is a vessel and the connection that she has to her younger self which was the reason she began writing. Making money is always a plus, but it ultimately boils down for her to feel valuable and authentic.
When I wrote my book I thought, you know, it’s not me. It’s the industry and I’ve gotta change the way I’m navigating it and stay in touch with my joy.
What advice did she have for young songwriters? She urged them to be proactive. Find out how they can make a difference. There’s a problem within the industry as far as the streaming epidemic taking away from the compensation of artist and all those that come together to make the music. Young songwriters must be aware and act now to keep ensure the future of being a songwriter. Most importantly, they must continuously tap into their creativity and never be afraid to step outside their comfort zones.
Do everything. Experiment. Test the waters. Write with people who you’re not sure you’re gonna love working with. You might love. Just do everything.
This interview is full of gems that will inspire anyone of any age.
David J. Hogan, author of UFO FAQ, takes a look at a moment in UFO history from September 1964.
September daytime temperatures in Sacramento, California, average about 87 degrees, with nighttime lows of 58. Typical September rainfall there amounts to less than half an inch. In 1964, that splendid weather, plus the allure of the heavily wooded Cisco Grove campground inside nearby Tahoe National Forest, encouraged a local boy, 28-year-old Donald Shrum, and two friends to head out for a late-summer weekend of bow hunting.
Not long after becoming separated from his companions (a common-enough occurrence among hunters), Shrum witnessed a brightly illuminated 150-foot cylindrical UFO—and then spent the long night of September 4-5 treed by a pair of extraterrestrial humanoids. The 4- to 5-foot-tall creatures stared up at Shrum and shook the tree. Shrum hung on tight. When they tried to scale the trunk, Shrum retreated higher into the branches.
Perhaps anxious to get their hands on Shrum and then depart, the aliens brought out a burly, human-shaped robot—dully metallic, with a smooth, helmet-shaped head dominated by two orange glowing eyes and a hinged jaw. The thing had an intimidatingly expansive chest, broad shoulders, and large, articulated hands. Gusset joints at the robot’s shoulders, elbows, and knees allowed enough flexible mobility for some particularly vigorous shakes of the tree.
Hey, who’s hunting who here?
Shrum tightened his grip.
A second robot soon joined the first, and for the remainder of the night Shrum floated in and out of consciousness when vapor emitted from the robots’ mouths drifted up into the branches and knocked him senseless. Shrum was an experienced hunter who knew how to sleep in a tree without falling out, so despite the blackouts, he stayed put. During waking interludes, Shrum notched arrows and fired down at the robots, striking sparks but doing no apparent damage.
Shrum found a pocketful of coins, which he methodically threw at the visitors.
Then the young hunter remembered his matches. He began to peel off his clothes (even his cap), and set each article aflame, dropping them onto his tormentors. By the time he was done, Shrum wore nothing but his socks and underwear, and that 58 degrees began to feel a little chilly.
The vapor periodically came up into the branches, and Shrum continued to pass out and then revive. Finally, as dawn approached, Shrum awoke—hanging from the tree at an odd angle and held in place by his belt. But the belt was with my pants. Did the spacemen finally drag me out of the tree? And if they did, why put me back?
The Air Force has some ideas
In the tradition of many dramatic UFO/ET sightings reported since “flying saucers” became big news in 1947, Shrum’s account was his alone. Nobody but Donald witnessed the immense ship and its aggressive occupants. Disinclined to be laughed at, and fearful of losing his job at Aerojet Engineering, Shrum shared his story with his hunting companions but chose his other confidantes carefully.
Well, check that. He did say something about his adventure to his mother-in-law, who was on the phone to nearby McClelland Air Force Base in a hot minute. Soon after, when two USAF investigators paid Shrum a visit, the young hunter stuck to his account. The Air Force men listened, and instead of making threats—which seems to happen more often in movies than in real life—they made a heroic attempt to convince Shrum that he hadn’t seen aliens and robots at all. No, one investigator explained, You ran into a Boy Scout troop doing a prank.
Shrum ran that through his mind for a long moment. Why would he have spent all night in a tree, lighting his clothes on fire, for a bunch of Boy Scouts?
Doubt must have been painted on Shrum’s face, because the Air Force men quickly tried another tack: It could have been Japanese tourists. We get a lot of them around here. Japanese tourists. They’re pretty curious, you know.
Well, sure, that could be it. The Japanese tourists discovered Shrum up the tree and gathered ’round for some picture-taking. Japanese tourists. In the woods. All night.
Because Shrum suggested no eagerness to spread his story around, the Air Force investigators stopped offering explanations, and wrote Shrum off as harmless. But they did take with them the two arrowheads that Shrum had bounced off the robots’ metallic hides.
The Air Force never returned the arrowheads.
Make mine Marvel
Neither Donald Shrum nor his friends ever tried to profit from his harrowing experience. There is no solid reason to doubt Shrum’s truthfulness. Still, there is this:
The March 1963 issue of Marvel’s Tales of Suspense comic book (#39) introduced a superhero named Iron Man. As conceived by writer-editor Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Don Heck, Iron Man wore a bulky, helmeted iron suit, dull gray in color with gusseted joints and large metallic hands. This so-called “Mark 1” suit—very like the ones described by Shrum—continued through Tales of Suspense #47, cover-dated November 1963 and on sale in late summer, just one year before Shrum’s ordeal.
Submitted here are the cover of ToS #39, and an anonymous artist’s rendering (with Spanish-language notations) of the robots described by Shrum. Could Marvel’s bit of pop culture ephemera have been deep within Shrum’s mind when he embarked on his hunting trip?
If anyone knows for sure, they’re not talking.
Led Zeppelin – who hasn’t heard of them, one of the legendary giants of the Hard Rock genre? Many stories, myths and legends have been told of the band’s history. Probably one of the most featured bands and most written about bands ever!
Music journalist and award-nominated author Marc Roberty sat down with Mark Dean of Spill Magazine to discuss his latest book, Led Zeppelin: Day by Day , along with his writing career.
What would make this book different from other Led Zeppelin books? Roberty discussed the balance he found in creating a book that not only reached fans that had never read a Led Zeppelin book, but for the hard core fans as well. There was a lot of information released in previous books which would seem difficult to create new content, but he was able to add new information that had not been released in addition to correcting incorrect information.
The interview went on to discuss Roberty’s journey in writing this book and others.
My forte is more in the research,and finding stuff that people possibly have not known before. That is really what I enjoy doing. I have done a lot of research of music, films. I try and find old footage or old studio material that to all intents and purposes has disappeared. I try and track things down. That is probably my forte: really to try and get to the bottom of things. Follow the story through to its ending. Sometimes the search carries on. That I do find enjoyable.
Led Zeppelin: Day by Day includes details of all the concerts why band performed with known set lists in addition to reviews of significant hows throughout their career. Recording sessions for each album and session work by individual members are listed chronologically. There are also quotes from recording engineers and staff to give further insight into what it was like to be in the studio with the group.
Mark Roberty has written for the Guitarist, Rolling Stone, Financial Times, and others. In addition to his latest work about Led Zeppelin he has written several books about Eric Clapton along with co-authored the autobiography of Bobby Whitlock.
Learn more by reading the full interview here.
Chuck Gunderson, recently sat down with Publishers Weekly to discuss his limited-edition two-volume set, Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How the Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours 1964-1966. The timing could not be more perfect with the release of Ron Howard’s, Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. Listen to the podcast by clicking the link below.
Chuck Gunderson is the country’s leading expert on the Beatles’ three North American tours. Over nearly three decades, he has amassed what is arguably the most comprehensive collection of American tour-related memorabilia and artifacts in the world.
Gunderson has taken the tour that changed the concert industry and created an amazing two-volume set. The Fab Four: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Greg Harrison, and Ringo Starr, began their journey in the United States in February 1964 after landing their first #1 hit, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ on the Billboard Hot 100. After their successful and impressive performance on the Ed Sullivan Show with an estimated 73 million viewers, their careers catapulted to another level and the ‘British Invasion’ and ‘Beatlemania’ began.
Volume 1 of Some Fun Tonight! covers the beginning of their journey in 1964. There were 32 shows, 26 venues, 24 cities, and that was just in 33 days. The group garnered over $1 million, equivalent to $7.5 million in todays industry, which was unheard of at that time. Volume 2 continues their journey throughout 1965 and 1966 ending with their show at Candlestick Park.
There’s a chapter for each tour stop along with chapters for the supporting acts. The images included feature some unpublished, but there is plenty of memorabilia from each city including: tickets, programs, handbills, posters, newspaper ads, contracts, and documents. Gunderson was sure not to shortchange any fans by expanding the book to two volumes instead of one to pack in all the information he had collected over the years.
Some Fun Tonight! captures the heart of the tour with over 800 images over the course of 600 plus pages at the retail value of $160. Gunderson leaves nothing out within this 13 pound box set with accompanying slipcase. Fans young and old will surely be entertained for years to come.
Bob Carlin, author of Banjo An Illustrated History, was on WLRN Radio where he spoke with Michael Stock. He spoke about how the book came to be, his fascination with the banjo, and lots more! Click on the link below to hear the entire interview and let us know what you think!
The banjo is emblematic of American country music, and it is at the core of other important musical movements, including jazz and ragtime. The instrument has been adopted by many cultures and has been ingrained into many musical traditions, from Mento music in the Caribbean and dance music in Ireland. Virtuosos such as Béla Fleck have played Bach, African music, and Christmas tunes on the five-string banjo, and the instrument has had a resurgence in pop music with such acts a Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers.
In Banjo: An Illustrated History (June 2016, Backbeat Books, $35), author, broadcaster, and acclaimed banjoist Bob Carlin offers the first comprehensive, illustrated history of the banjo in its many forms. He traces the story of the instrument from its roots in West Africa to its birth in the Americas, through its coming of age in the Industrial Revolution and beyond.
Banjo: An Illustrated History profiles the most important players and spotlights key luthiers and manufacturers and features 100 “milestone instruments” with in-depth coverage, including model details and beautiful photos. It offers historical context surrounding the banjo through the ages, from its place in Victorian parlors and speakeasies through its role in the folk boom of the 1950s and 1960s to its place in the hands of songwriter John Hartford and comedian Steve Martin.
Folk, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rock – the banjo has played an important part in all of these genres. Lavishly illustrated, and thoughtfully written Banjo: An Illustrated History is a must-have for lovers of fretted instruments, aficionados of roots music, and music history buffs.