Wednesday, July 1, 2015

'Magic Mike XXL' Bulks Up and Strips Down


By Darlene Donloe

The 2012 hit, Magic Mike, took the world by storm with its innovative and raw story about male strippers.  It made Channing Tatum a sex symbol, a household name, a box office giant and a movie star.

Three years later, the follow-up, Magic Mike XXL, out in theaters today, tries to recreate the magic of its predecessor.

Unfortunately, the latest offering is a stripped down (pun intended) version of the first.  The story is thin and weak, but female fans probably won’t even realize the absence. They don’t need no stinkin story!

The reason is simple. There are so many hunky, good-looking gyrating, pulsating, sweaty, sexy male hard bodies in this movie – who cares about a story.  

Ok, so here it. Magic Mike XXL picks up the story three years later. Mike, who was at the top of his game, has left the life and is now running his own furniture business.

The rest of the Kings of Tampa have their sights on one last hurrah performance at a convention in Myrtle Beach. The gang’s all here. There’s Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Ken ( Matt Bomer), Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) and Tito (Adam Rodriguez).  The crew piles into a yogurt truck and make there way to South Carolina.

Of course along the way shenanigans ensue. These guys welcome any opportunity to dance - even in a convenience store simply to get the clerk to smile. The stop at a gay strip club and show them how its done. They also attend a beach party. At the beach party Mike meets Zoe (Amber Heard). The two make a connection.  It’s all about women and dancing, dancing and women. Once on the road they make their way to Jacksonville and Savannah.

Eventually Mike makes it to his old stompin grounds where Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), his old friend and old flame, still reigns. Their friendship is quickly rekindled when Rome shows up to emcee the guy's last blow-out performance.  The last dance, featuring all of the guys in individual sets, is sensational. It's wild, raunchy, sexy and, at times, messy.  Some of the scenes will leave women with heart palpitations.   

The movie is good fun. The dance numbers are on fleek. It’s worth a big bag of popcorn with extra butter!

Magic Mike XXL, directed by Gregory Jacobs, stars Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabriel Iglesias. It features Stephen ‘tWitch” Boss, Elizabeth Banks, Amber Heard, Andie McDowell, Donald Glover and Michael Strahan. 


Magic Mike XXL (Warner Bros) is Rated R (for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use.  Running time: 1 hr. 55 min. 

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Magic Mike XXL gets an O (oh, yeah).

 #MagicMikeXXL


'The Perfect Guy' Set For September 11 Release


Sony/Screen Gems has made it even harder to date in 2015 with the release of its latest suspense thriller, THE PERFECT GUY, starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, and Morris Chestnut. THE PERFECT GUY is an intense, heart pounding film surrounding a woman (Lathan) who quickly jumps into a relationship after leaving a man who she thought was “the one” (Chestnut). Upon meeting a “perfect” gentleman (Ealy) she soon learns that her new man is psychotically infatuated and will do just about anything to keep her. Michael Ealy is in a role that we have never seen him in before, as the charmingly handsome villain.
  
Watch THE PERFECT GUY trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CikoxQ4ytI4

#ThePerfectGuy

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Schwarzenegger Returns In 'Terminator Genisys'



By Darlene Donloe

The Terminator sci-fi franchise has long been a solid vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger.  His most famous role ever, the films made him one of cinemas most popular action heroes – ever!

His signature phrase, ‘I’ll Be Back,’ has become part of the pop culture lexicon.

Well, Arnold, who is 67, is back in the latest installment of the five picture franchise, Terminator Genisys, in theaters nationwide July 1, 2015.

This time the story goes something like this. John Connor
 (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future. Of course, that’s no easy fete, especially when an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline which finds Sgt. Reese in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission: To reset the future.

With the use of cutting edge technology, this part sequel, part remake, part reboot, has its moments of fun, particularly watching Schwarzenegger go up against a 30 years younger version of himself. Brilliant!  

While the story is a bit confusing (you really have to pay attention to the dialogue because the timelines seem to be off), it’s still fun.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are twists and turns and eye-opening surprises.

Schwarzenegger still fills the screen with his presence. He’s campy, funny and heroic – everything his fans have come to expect and to love.

Terminator Genisys is no Terminator, but fans of the franchise will probably have a good time.

Terminator Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor, stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke (Sarah Connor), Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese), & Alan Taylor (director).  David Ellison and Dana Goldberg produce. Writers are Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier. 

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Terminator Genisys gets an L (likeable).



The Cast Is Set For 'A Night With Janis Joplin'


July 21- August 16, 2015 at The Pasadena Playhouse

PASADENA, CA (June 25, 2015) – The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director) announced today full casting for A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN.  Conceived, written and directed by Randy Johnson, with choreography by Patricia Wilcox and musical direction by Tyler Evans.

 A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN stars Mary Bridget Davies, following her Tony Award® nominated Broadway run.  Pasadena native Kacee Clanton, also from the Broadway production of A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN, will alternate the role of Janis Joplin with Davies.  

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN features: Sharon Catherine Brown as Joplinaire/Chordette/Swing (Broadway’s DreamgirlsJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Yvette Cason as Joplinaire/Aretha Franklin/Nina Simone (Broadway’s Play On!, Under My Skin at The Pasadena Playhouse), Sylvia MacCalla as Joplinaire/ Bessie Smith/Odetta (Original Broadway tour of RentRay Charles Live! at The Pasadena Playhouse) and Jenelle Lynn Randall as Joplinaire/ Etta James (Broadway’s All Shook UpKiss Me Kate at The Pasadena Playhouse).

The acclaimed musical will perform July 21 – August 16, 2015 with the official press night on Wednesday, July 22, 2015.  A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN is produced by The Pasadena Playhouse, Michael Cohl, Todd Gershwin and Daniel Chilewich in association with The Estate of Janis Joplin and Jeffrey Jampol for JAM, Inc.

Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse, says, “The return of JANIS is highly anticipated.  It will be a thrill to have Mary Bridget Davies on our stage once again along with Kacee Clanton, who also joins us from the original Broadway company.  The fact that  JANISwill now be ‘lifted up higher and higher’ by four Playhouse favorites, builds even greater anticipation for vocal and theatrical fireworks.  I know that this cast will bring incredible richness to Janis' songs and to the musical influences that made her artistry so dynamic and literally soul-stirring!"

A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN has been hailed by critics and has audiences leaping to their feet and dancing in the aisles. The critics have raved:"Keeps the house rocking...with a throbbing fervor." (The New York Times); "This electrifying concert musical resurrects the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll." (Los Angeles Times) and “This new musical provides a rockin’ good time.” (Associated Press).

The show is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends.  Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  The unmistakable voice filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock.  Audiences will enjoy Joplin’s favorites, including “Summertime,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby,” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” among others.

Tony Award® nominated singer Mary Bridget Davies’ journey began in her hometown of Cleveland in 2001 when she first started singing in local bands, and she hasn’t slowed down since. Upon gaining local acclaim for her work in various rock bands, she was asked to sit in with Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s original band, with whom she would later tour), as well as legendary blues guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. Her travels have taken her around the world, including a two year pre-Broadway run with A Night With Janis Joplin. She received her Tony® nomination for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical” when the show debuted on Broadway in 2013.
Kacee Clanton played Janis Joplin in the musical Love, Janis and was the alternate lead on Broadway in the original Tony Award® nominated production of A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN. She has worked as a background vocalist for recording artists Beth Hart, Joe Cocker, and Luis Miguel and toured as lead vocalist with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Both her music and vocals have been used in a variety of films, TV shows, and video games. Additional theatre credits include Love, Janis at San Diego Repertory, Kansas City Repertory, and Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, and Your Town Follies and a Cirque Comique at The El Portal Theatre.

Sharon Catherine Brown’s Broadway credits include Dreamgirls, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Maggie Flynn. She also starred in the National Tours of Dreamgirls, Jekyll & Hyde and The Wiz. Film and TV credits include “A Chorus Line,” “Legend,” and “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.”

Yvette Cason’s Broadway credits include Play On! and Dreamgirls. Previous credits at The Pasadena Playhouse include The Little FoxesStormy Weather, Ray Charles Live! Play On! and Sisterella. Film and TV credits include “Dreamgirls,” “ The Bold and the Beautiful,” “ER,” and  “King of Queens.”

Sylvia MacCalla played Joanne in the original Broadway tour of Rent. Other theatre credits include the national tours of HairsprayThe Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Ray Charles Live! at The Pasadena Playhouse.  Film and TV credits include “Rent,” “Scrubs,” and “The Wayne Brady Show.”

Jenelle Lynn Randall’s Broadway credits include All Shook Up and Brooklyn The Musical. Her regional credits include Dreamgirls, Once On This Island, Smokey Joe’s CafĂ© and Kiss Me, Kate at The Pasadena Playhouse. TV credits include “Boardwalk Empire,” “All My Children,” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

The creative team for A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN includes Rob Bissinger (Set Designer), Mike Baldassari (Lighting Designer), Amy Clark (Costume Designer), Ben Selke (Sound Designer), Darrel Maloney (Projections Designer), and Leah Loukas (Hair and Makeup).

The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.  The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Joplin on Tuesday through Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Kacee Clanton performs the role of Janis Joplin on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday Evenings at 7:00 p.m. Mary Bridget Davies performs the role of Janis Joplin at all other performances. Tickets, priced from $55.00 to $150.00, are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org; by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529; or visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office.On non-Performance dates the Box Office is open Monday - Friday 12:00pm - 6:00pm, and Saturday - Sunday 1:00pm - 6:00pm. On Performance dates the Box Office is open Monday - Friday 12:00pm - 8:00pm, and Saturday - Sunday 1:00pm - 8:00pm.  For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

In Person: On non-performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  On performance dates, the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sunday.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rev. Jackson To Attend 'Dream Makers' Forum

Rev. Jesse Jackson

LOS ANGELES, CA - June 29, 2015 -  Rainbow PUSH Coalition , in partnership with Google , presents the"Dream Makers, Risk Takers and Money Makers: Diversity and Inclusion in Tech Forum" in Los Angeles. The third event in a national outreach effort to support Rainbow PUSH Tech 2020, an initiative which identifies ways to achieve diversity in STEM industries. Rev. Jesse Jackson will lead a discussion on diversifying the technology field with notable executives of color Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Erica Campbell

In addition, multi-award winning gospel singer/songwriter and television personality, Erica Campbell will be interviewed to discuss launching and growing her YouTube channel and content creation. 
 
" Rainbow PUSH continues to open doors in corporate America to seize this moment of opportunity and access. Diversity + Inclusion = Innovation. Let's connect talent with access to capital and opportunity," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., founder and president, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
 
Added Nancy Lee, Vice President of People Operations at Google, "We continue to work on advancing diversity at Google and throughout the tech ecosystem as a whole. Making computer science education accessible and available to everyone is one of our most important initiatives, as is helping all communities share the benefits of the web and to have access to the informational and economic engine it provides. Our June 30th event is about creating opportunities for all communities to realize the impact of technology and the web." 
 
Jamaal Finkley, President, Black Tree TV
Technology Executive Participant

Last year, Rainbow PUSH successfully engaged over two dozen technology companies to release their EEO-1 report and workforce diversity and inclusion data. In a few short months, a new climate of transparency and change emerged and more than 20 companies publicly posted their workforce diversity data. The  data showed the glaring under representation of African Americans
and Latinos in every company.
 
As one of the preeminent leaders in Silicon Valley, Google is one of the first technology companies to make a commitment to inspire and educate organizations, business leaders and up-and-coming tech professionals on how to engage and access technology. Google's collaboration with Rainbow PUSH is one of the many initiatives created to further the conversation and provide insight into key diversity and inclusion strategies in the technology space.
 
The Los Angeles forum is intended to continue a candid dialogue on the changes, strategies and programs that technology companies can implement to increase and support diversity and inclusion in the industry. 
  
The "Dream Makers, Risk Takers and Money Makers: Diversity and Inclusion in Tech Forum" will take place tomorrow, June 30.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Logan's PinkPoleParty Is A 'Dance For A Cause'


Selenia Logan 
photo credit:  Laura Winkleman 

When Selenia Logan founded PinkPoleParty.org (P.P.P.) five years ago, her goal was to organize and inspire women to dance for a cause, in an effort to raise donations for the American Cancer Society's (A.C.S.) Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Campaign. Her passion and commitment, fueled on by the loss of her best friend to the deadly disease in 2013, now finds her owning and operating PinkPoleParty.org Pole Fitness Mega-Center, a newly opened pole-fitness, aerial arts, and multi-style dance facility located in the heart of Burbank, CA. PinkPoleParty.org officially opened its doors in May at 2422 West Victory Blvd. and is the largest facility of its kind in Southern California.

Logan is dedicated to engaging the community and dance world at large with her vision to "Dance for the Cause, so we can Donate for the Cure." PinkPoleParty.org is 4600 square feet of dance and aerial playground. Creating what Logan calls the "Pink Experience," P.P.P. is designed to add a sense of ease to the workout experience: ease of location, parking, space, finding classes, and availability. The state-of-the-art mega-center boasts three separate studios featuring incredible Sonos wireless sound, a private practice dance room, a spacious lobby, snack-kitchen, merchandise boutique, multiple locker rooms, bathrooms, showers, and amenities.

The 1100 square foot "Studio A" houses 17 "Pole-Away System" X-Poles, professional "sprung" hardwood floors, and dual LED monitors that feature the instructor on screen during classes. The 1150 square foot "Studio B" aerial-fitness room is home to five 10 foot X-Pole "A-Frame" rigs for Lyra (hoop) and silk training. It has padded carpeted floors ideal for self-defense training, tumbling, stretching and other activities. 950 square foot "Studio C" serves as a warm up/cool down social lounge for members before and after classes. It features wall mounted stall bars; mirror mounted ballet bars, and a 65-inch T.V. for entertainment. The center offers free multi-filtered oxygenated water and free internet to complete the packaging toward offering a unique, profoundly comfortable and immersive work out experience for all women.

The lovely ladies of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce take a mini pole 
lesson at the PinkPoleParty.org ribbon cutting ceremony. 
photo credit:  Joyful Chan

"The idea behind PinkPoleParty.org began with team 'Racheal's Roadies' that I formed in 2010 in support of my cancer battling best friend Racheal Brooks. I organized team walks for Breast Cancer at events such as the Los Angeles Revlon Walk, the 3-Day Avon Marathon Walk, A.C.S Relay for Life, and committed annually to the American Cancer Society Making Strides to End Breast Cancer walk. Because I was a pole dance instructor it also just made sense to put on "Pink Pole Parties" to 'Fun!raise.' This grew into what it is today, the pole-fitness mega-center," expresses Logan.

"I am beyond ecstatic to offer women and men a refuge of sorts for all things fitness centered," adds Logan. "The studios are available for private parties, private lessons, a variety of pole classes, aerial arts classes, and a wide range of "workshops" such as belly dance, hip-hop, self-defense, contemporary, salsa, and more. Most importantly, the center will serve as a creative space for fundraising events to support breast cancer research."  

Jordan Buskirk, community manager, A.C.S Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, California Division states, "Selenia has been so supportive of our breast cancer initiatives and community outreach. That even a portion of her fundraising proceeds will go to our patient programs and research is amazing. She genuinely cares about breast health; health living and living life. We can't wait to see our partnership with PinkPoleParty.org grow!"

Selenia Logan was a full time event planner and executive assistant in the corporate world for years, and a part time pole-fitness instructor during her down time. She has since become a certified personal trainer, certified in BarreVite instruction and most recently a Silver medalist at the 2014 Pacific Pole Championships in the Masters Level 3 Division. Her students lovingly know her as "Miss Selenia".  

True to her original concept, PinkPoleParty.org will uphold its commitment to support a cure for breast cancer by donating time, instruction, and facility space to Pink Pole Parties, with a portion of all profits donated to American Cancer Society's Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Campaign. PinkPoleParty.org is hoping to build relationships throughout the community and around the country, in a continued effort to support the fight against breast cancer. To support this cause "LIKE" them on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/PinkPoleParty.org. 

PinkPoleParty.org Pole Fitness Mega-Center has applied for a $100,000 grant from Chase's Mission Main Street Grants ® to help further it's cause, and has secured support to be moved on to the next step by receiving 250 certified Facebook votes to complete its eligibility for the grant.

For class offerings and more information go to: http://www.PinkPoleParty.org, email at info@pinkpoleparty.com or call (818) 736-5601.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Steven Davis Asks 'What Happened To Romance'



Los Angeles, California (24 June 2015): The promise and thrill of romance brought a Los Angeles crowd and industry types out en masse last Friday night (June 19), packing trendy Molly Malone’s Irish Pub for a set by jazz crooner Steven Davisduring which he previewed songs from “What Happened To Romance,” the vocalist’s first big band foray that was released Tuesday (June 23) by First Second Records. Dashing in a dapper black suit and crisp white shirt, Davis plied his charismatically classic voice to the refreshingly original songs of love that he wrote with the album’s producers The 88s – Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno. Opening his smitten heart, he shared the timeless tales of romantic ardor that serve as muse on the charming 14-track album while backed by the swinging grooves etched by a tight acoustic jazz ensemble.       

“What Happened To Romance” was recorded in New York City where Davis’s “chairman of the board” voice was buttressed byThe After Midnight Orchestra, comprised of original members of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands, under the direction of Andy Farber, who also deftly served as arranger. The big band setting suits Davis snuggly like his custom-tailored attire. Jazz radio stations across the nation were serviced the album for airplay and early reviews have unanimously embraced the recording.

The summer swoon stirred by “What Happened To Romance” bodes to enchant hearts straight through the holiday season as the regal new disc marks only the beginning of a remarkably prolific period for Davis and The 88s, who met and began collaborating last fall in Nashville. This spring, the velvety vocalist and creative team have been ensconced in famed Los Angeles recording studios East West crafting a big band Christmas collection of original material along with one evergreen, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Also in the vault is an outing in which Davis is placed in the more intimate confines of a jazz trio. Look for the holiday album to be released in time to gift lovers this year while the trio session will be unwrapped next year.     

Below are snippets from some of the album reviews:

“The swinging 14 tracker is an affirmation that romance is always in vogue and sonically the set has its roots in the era of the Great American Songbook.... though of the 14 songs, only two are actually from that era…Such is the quality of the original songs that there's no visible (should that be audible?) hiatus between them and those venerable chestnuts.” – Soul and Jazz and Funk

The album is a throwback to the jazz and swing ‘American Standard’ sound of the ’40s and focuses on sharp melodies and meaningful lyrics.” – East Valley Tribune

“He sounds Rat Pack hip on ‘Love Comes Right On Time’ and has an excellent sense of timing on the Latin ‘Perfectly Perfect.’ Whether he’s shooting for Vegas, Hollywood or Branson, he’s gonna please the crowd.” – Jazz Weekly  

“All at once insist comparisons in a class with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Rosemary Clooney. Steven has a voice suitable for this genre. The songs he and Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno wrote therefore really fit into the list of the repertoire of the aforementioned masters.” – Keys & Chords

“It's a nice comfy fit throughout, especially since Davis doesn't try to make you think he's Sinatra. All that's missing here is the sound of martini glasses clinking.” – Midwest Record

“They bring back the grand sound of the big band era…taking me back to the Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra sound” – The Pulse of Entertainment/EUR Web


For additional information, please visit www.StevenDavisMusic.com.