Archive for December, 2012


College Football Bowl Games in Full Swing

texas-am-footballWith the holiday season imminent, college football fans also know that their favorite college teams are preparing for their respective bowl games. While a few bowl games have already been played including the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Gildan New Mexico Bowl, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia and Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl St. Petersburg, there are still 28 more bowl games to come. These games will take place from Christmas Eve through January 6th.

Of course, all of these games will culminate in the Discover BCS National Championship featuring No. 1 Notre Dame versus No. 2 Alabama. These two teams are steeped in college football tradition. They both have some of the most storied football history with several epic games. This is Notre Dame’s first chance at a national championship since 1988. The Crimson Tide on the other hand is after their third national title in the last four seasons. Needless to say, this game is going to be a nail biter for college football fans.

Some of the other must see bowl games include the AT&T Cotton Bowl featuring No. 9 Texas A&M with Johnny Manzielle (or “Johnny Football” as A&M fans call him) against Oklahoma State. The game will take place in Cowboy Stadium, aka Jerry’s World, and is billed as one of the most entertaining bowl games this season that is guaranteed to be an offensive shootout.

Another top game to see will be the famous Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with No. 4 Oregon versus No. 5 Kansas State. Some believe this will be the best game outside of the national championship game. Just two months ago, these teams were thought to be the two in the national championship game, but losses along the way changed the bowl game lineup.

Don’t forget you can see all of these games live and in person with tickets from StubPass.com, where you can find NCAA football tickets all season long.

What is the Carnival of Wonders?

carnival-of-wondersWhen you first hear it, “Carnival of Wonders“, the name may sound a bit cheesy.  If you take a moment and give it a chance, however, you will find the name is fitting and perfect for the show, which is in actuality charming and full of class and spectacle.  This is a show you could bring your whole family to and, wonderfully enough, everyone would find something to love about it before the night is through. 

The Carnival of Wonders isn’t just a magic show.  Oh sure, there is plenty of magic to go around, but what it really involves is three gifted performers that call on all types of talent within themselves to make for one amazing theatrical experience.  There is drama, there is laughter, there are even gasps and mystery, and by the end of the night, you too will wonder how they put that smile on your face that can’t be erased. 

The three stars of the show are Jeff Hobson, Jinger Leigh, and Mark Kalin.  Jinger and Mark are a couple, and founded the show back in 1999.  Jeff Hobson joined the act and brought a good dose of comedy and charm with him.  The Carnival of Wonders has won several awards, and Jinger and Mark have even been bestowed with the title Magicians of the Year, one of the highest honors you can get in the profession.  Other magicians bestowed with this honor include the greats like David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and David Blain.    

The scene is almost that of a long forgotten traveling carnival with all the dark mystery and fun surrounding it.  The show typically runs for 90 minutes, and includes death defying feats, well known and brand new magic tricks, choreographed dance numbers, stories, jokes, and plenty of other wonders to keep you amazed. 

The show may be rare to find these days, so be sure to catch the act in your town when they come on tour!  The Carnival of Wonders is set to make its next appearance in Mount Pleasant, Michigan at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.  Give your family a dose of nostalgia or a brand new experience they will never forget by taking them to see the Carnival of Wonders! 

Taylor Swift Releases Bad Girl Image in “I Knew You Were Trouble” Video

taylor-swift-bad-girlTaylor Swift used her 23rd birthday yesterday to show the world that she’s not a little girl anymore by debuting her video for “I Knew You Were Trouble.” In the video for the third single from her Red album you won’t find one sundress, one glimpse of Paris, or even a flower. You will find an all grown-up Taylor Swift, although you may not recognize her at first.

Donning fedoras and flannel, sleeveless t’s and ripped jeans, and perhaps most shocking of all, a pink and blonde dip-dyed wig, Taylor stands in a parking lot looking around at the trouble that has been caused from her latest relationship. Different? Definitely. Believable? Not if you’ve been following Taylor’s career.

Wardrobe aside, this video provides for many of Taylor’s firsts. It is the first time she’s ever had an on-screen kiss in any video, it’s the first time as far as we can tell that she includes a spoken intro to the video, and it’s also the first time we’ve ever seen Taylor in a bar. A really tough, gritty bar.

That bar is one of the many settings in this video that portrays a punk lifestyle that just hasn’t been part of Taylor’s bag of tricks in the past. These settings are used as flashbacks from a time when she was happy with her boyfriend (Broadway star, Reeve Carney), to when she saw him cheating on her. A fight between her and her beau in a broken down apartment is also added in to make certain lyrics even more poignant; and to add to the “rougher side of the tracks” scenario Taylor’s trying to create.

The song is a good one, and definitely strays from Taylor’s musical roots, as does much of Red. But does this one go too far? While definitely not predictable, this one goes into a nearly surreal side of the sweet country girl we’ve seen with her past tracks, as well as videos. But, is that also the exact point Taylor’s trying to drive home? That’s for you to decide.

Check out the video here.

Get Weirded Out by Weird Al Yankovic

weird-al-yankovicIf you are in the mood for a little comedy but also want to hear some music and can’t seem to make up your mind, then don’t choose!  Weird Al Yankovic provides both that will having tapping your toes until you fall out of your seat laughing.  Even better than downloading a track onto your iPod is listening to the genius live and in person!  Fans are happy to know that Al is back on the road and touring the US once again. 

So just what has the funny man been up to lately?  On September 25, 2012 “Weird Al: The Book” was released.  The book features stories and images of the man himself, spanning from his childhood and throughout his musical comedy life, until today.  As the funny man often parodies the popular things of the day it is also like a pop culture look back, from Madonna to Gaga, and all the good times Weird Al had poking fun at us all along the way.  Weird Al also recently appeared on The Annoying Orange comedy show on Cartoon Network, on the “Generic Holiday Special” singing a duet with the orange one himself.  Al was also a judge for the 10th annual Independent Music Awards, as he understands the importance of encouraging the independent spirit when it comes to music making.  

Then of course there is the music!  In 2011 Weird Al released his 13th album entitled “Alpocalypse” which had songs like “Polka Face” and “TMZ”.  Some of his biggest hits to date are “Like a Surgeon”, “Eat It”, “White and Nerdy”, “Amish Paradise”, “Fat”, and “Don’t Download This Song”.  Of course every fan has their favorite Weird Al Yankovic song.  

Currently the singer has a few shows already scheduled for the 2013 year.  On April 10th he will be in Raleigh, North Carolina performing at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium.  On April 16th he will make his way down to Jacksonville, Florida to the Florida Theatre Jacksonville.  Finally on April 25th he will be at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, Missouri before heading to Canada for some further shows.  Be sure to check him out when his concert tour is near you!  

The Country Legacy of George Strait

geoge-straitThe king of country music is on the road again, thrilling fans with his traditional Western trade mark that shot him to stardom in the 1980’s.  Beginning in his home state, Texas, he’ll be singing his way cross-country, from Oklahoma, to Utah, California, and finally hitting the Eastern Seaboard. 

Born and raised in Texas, Strait began playing music while a teenager, joining a rock and roll garage band.  After his graduation, he signed on with the army.  After a two-year stint, he was stationed in Hawaii, where he began playing country music, initially with a military band called, Rambling Country.  In 1975, he left the army and returned to Texas, intent on finishing his education.  In between classes, he formed his own country band, Ace in the Hole. 

Ace in the Hole never went anywhere, but George Strait had his eyes set on the country music charts.  Determinedly, he knocked on Nashville doors, but with very little success.  His big break came in 1979, when he became friends with Erv Woolsey, a Texas club owner who had once worked for MCA Records.  It was Woolsey who convinced some MCA executives to give the talented young musician a chance.  With Strait’s first single, “Unwound”, released in 1981, he skyrocketed to number one on the country music charts. 

After that, it was platinum and gold for the country music singer, hitting the country music charts over and over again.  He never slowed down.  In 1992, he made his first movie, Pure Country, which featured him in the leading role.  He released a four-disc box set, “straight out of the Box”, in 1995.  By 1996, it had become one of five biggest selling box sets in country music. 

He has continued to perform and produce country music, co-writing seven of the eleven songs on his 2011 album, “Here’s for a Good Time”.  Co-produced with Tony Brown, and recorded at Jimmy Buffett’s Shrimpboat Sound Studio in Key West, Florida, this makes his 39th studio album. 

Tickets are selling fast, with some locations already sold out, so if your love is for country; check your schedule for the next George Strait performance.  Beginning at the United Spirit Arena, January 18, 2013, the tour ends back at his home state at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, June 1st.  Don’t miss your chance to see George Strait live, as it’s a performance you’ll never forget. 

It’s not Christmas without A Christmas Story

a-christmas-storyA Christmas Story began showing on Broadway on November 7 and audiences only have a chance to see Ralphie nearly “shoot his eye out” for a few more weeks, as this one wraps on December 30.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know how this one turns out. Ralphie gets his tongue stuck to an icy pole, the entire family still makes a mess of dinner at a Chinese place, the big pink bunny still makes an appearance, and Ralphie still gets his BB gun. Much of it is done by 12-year old Johnny Rabe that pulls off a brilliant Ralphie with each and every performance, as well as Joe West who steps in for the role on alternating evenings.

Erin Dilly dons the role of Ralphie’s mom, the first to warn him that he’ll “shoot his eye out” with the beloved BB gun; and Zac Ballard plays the role of Ralph’s little brother Randy. The play also features Eddie Korbich as the Santa Claus that gets Ralphie all tripped up on his Christmas list, Dan Lauria as Jean Shepherd, and John Bolton as The Old Man.

This isn’t the first time the story has made it onto the stage. In 2011 it was on tour before settling down in Chicago for a small run. Now after seeing the success on the Chicago stage, it can be seen at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway.

The World’s Heaviest Band: Megadeth

megadethMetal Trash fans prepare to increase the tempo and turn up the volume in hard-hitting, classical annihilation style; Megadeth style, that is.  It’s the Countdown to Extinction of their twentieth anniversary tour, and the window to grabbing your favorite concert seat is small; very small.  Only three appearances left for this fabulous tour to get your adrenalin rushing and your blood pumping, and what will you say to your friends who thrashed it out live to the vigorous resurgence of hot metal’s favorite performers? 

Dave Mustaine surges forward as the original band creator and only constant member, that has included twenty gifted artists in its long career.  Formally the lead guitarist for Metallica, he was expelled for bad behavior; that is drugs and alcohol and all the bawdy things rock and roll artists often do.  With his ejection, he wanted blood.  He wanted revenge, and formed the heavy metal group that trashes louder, sizzles hotter, and crunches out messages faster and heavier than anything ever heard before. 

“Killing is My Business and Business is Good” muscled through into hot, heavy metal headlines in 1985, securing Megadeth’s place in the classical line-up of heavy metal.  But it wasn’t until they signed up with Capitol Records, who released “Peace Sells…  but Who’s Buying”, that they jumped to the top of record charts, with more than a million copies of the album sold in the United States alone.  The album’s title track, “Peace Sells”, ranked number 11 in VH1’s greatest metal songs, and was chosen as their first musical video to receive regular air play on MTV’s Headbanger Ball. 

Has Mustaine gotten his revenge yet?  In January of 1988, Megadeth released the album, “So Far So Good”, hitting platinum in the United States, and featuring a cover version of the Sex Pistols, “Anarchy in the UK”, with lyrics altered by Mustaine.  Later, Mustaine admitted he simply heard them wrong, but who could blame him when he’s busy winding up the fastest, hottest music on stage?

Megadeth received International acclaim when they rolled onto stage with “Rust in Peace”.  For the first time in their rowdy career, the band remained sober while working on the album, reducing a few of their earlier production problems.  “Rust in Peace” debuted at 23 on the US billboard charts and number eight for the UK.  It sold over a million copies in the United States and received Grammy award nominations in 1991 and 1992 for Best Metal Performance

Countdown to Extinction has been considered their finest performance, and is the theme for their twentieth anniversary tour.  Revel in the clash of the metals, as Megadeth is prepared to rock you down like you’ve never been rocked before.

The Temptations and the Four Tops

the-temptationsThe year 1964 is one heavily marked with history.  It was the year of the Kennedy’s, civil rights victories with the signing of the Civil Rights Act, and of musical highlights.  The Beatles were seizing the charts with number one hits and American pop music had come into its own.  Leading the American pop music industry was the unforgettable rhythm and blues icons, the Temptations

It was quite a heyday.  Young girls screamed at the gates for “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, the Temptations captured national attention with “My Girl” and at the same time, Motown jazz artists, The Four Tops, bumped into the number eleven place on the popular billboard charts with, “Baby, I Need Your Loving.”  Music had set a pace that would last for the next four decades. 

The Four Tops have established themselves quite a career in the music industry.  Beside establishing a number of number one hits of their own, they have been paired with such musical greats as Diana Ross and the Supremes, and featured vocals with the Moody Blues, in the single, “A Simple Game”.  Although the song did not do well on American charts, it made number three in Great Britain.  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997. 

The group has never stopped touring and recently joined forces with the magnificent vocal qualities of the Temptations.  The Temptations, listed by Rolling Stone as one of the top fifty bands of all time, recently completed a new CD, a concept album that features their music from its beginnings to present day, bringing the history of the award-winning group into its music. 

The combination of the two groups on national tour is bound to please anybody whose tastes run deep in jazz, rhythm and blues, and popular music.  Still carrying the big band sound, along with the pleasing, perfect melody of blues artist voices in harmony, they are not only a nostalgic journey into the past, but a statement of modern day easy listening. 

With an opening night at the Wilbur Theater in Boston December 5, the east coast tour winds up June 27, in Vienna, Virginia.  This may be your only chance to hear the two chart breaking groups together, and will certainly be considered history in the making.  Discover the quality that made the Temptations one of the most popular American groups to remain on the top billboard charts and the artistic performance of the Four Tops that put them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

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