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Boy George

Boy George

I am happy to report the 1980’s are alive and doing quite well, thank you. Chicagoland’s Summer of 2016 is playing host to tours from Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, Berlin, The Go-Go’s and the internationally renowned, Culture Club. Yes, Boy George and his bandmates are back, bringing those amazing, synth pop standard’s to a new generation. Although glancing quickly around the near sold-out Chicago Theatre audience, the generation in attendance was most definitely the MTV formative years,  for which I am a card carrying member. As a brief reminder to the history of Culture Club, flamboyant front man George Alan O’Dowd, drummer Jon Moss, guitarist and keyboardist Roy Hay and bass guitarist Mikey Craig are the quartet who originated in London, England, then quickly segued to define the sound and the look of popular music of the early 1980’s.

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Culture Club will be forever linked with leading the second British Invasion on the pop charts. Fusing their distinctive sound; a mixture of synth pop, Jamaican reggae, and a powerful blue-eyed soulful balladeer, as front man.  This new wave group also became globally famous, due in no small part to the creation and development of MTV, back when the channel actually played music videos in regular rotation. “I want my MTV!” commercials ran around the clock, with George’s likeness center stage.  The group produced 5 studio albums including 1982’s Kissing to Be Clever, certified triple platinum 1983’s Colour by Numbers, and 1986’s From Luxury to Heartache, 10 compilation albums, 3 box sets and 20 regular singles. They were even awarded the prestigious 1984 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Regrettably, drugs and infighting lead to the band going their separate ways for years. Fast forward to 2016 and the band has reunited for the first time in over a decade to tour the world. Joined by nine additional musicians, including a sax player, trombonist and trumpeter, a trio of lovely and talented back up singers and additional guitarists, Culture Club blew through the Windy City Friday evening, much to the delight of their loyal legion of fans.

Jon Moss

Jon Moss

Their 20 song set began with a thunderous version of “Church of the Poison Mind.” This song may be from 1983, but it was just as fantastic to hear now as it was then. George sounded a little hoarse, but his trinity of back up singers helped to fill in any of the rough edges. At song’s end he quipped the night would be filled with “something old, something new, something borrowed and a lot of blue.” It is no secret Boy wrote most of his songs about his well document and tumultuous relationship with drummer, Jon Moss.  Who cannot relate to a song about unrequited love? After a quick spin though “It’s a Miracle,” O’Dowd surveyed the audience and commented, “This is a nice turn out” to a nearly sold-out Chicago Theatre crowd. “We are right in the thick of it America” O’Dowd teased before the band blasted though “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” 1986’s “Move Away,” “Human Zoo,” and the Bread cover “Everything I Own.”  It would not be a Culture Club show without discussing the band’s look.  While Jon, Mikey and Roy all chose versions of basic black and white stage costuming, Boy George embraced every color of the rainbow, quite literally. He was a human walking Pride Flag. Rainbow trousers, jacket, walking stick and derby hat to match. It will never be said the Boy doesn’t like to stand out. “Black Money” featuring a lengthy instrumental interlude concluded the first set, allowing Boy time to change outfits offstage.

Mikey Craig

Mikey Craig

Boy George

Emerging next with a bright yellow hat, black jacket adorned with dayglow yellow buttons, layered over a multi-colored kimono shirt, the band entertained with Time (Clock of the Heart), a song that has the distinction of being included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the 500 greatest songs that shaped rock and roll. Chatting with a few members of the audience in the front row, a rambunctious woman shouted, “I am a psycho-crazy bitch who loves you.” Takes one to know one, I guess. The band performed “Like I Used To,” “Different Man” and  “Miss Me Blind” before George returned to sharing short stories with the audience. He credits Sly Stallone as a “musical hero” and the leader of a “multi-cultural club.” He found he could personally relate to Stallone’s infamous quote  “I have many regrets, but I just can’t think of one.” Singing on a stage swathed in soft pink and turquoise lighting, George entertainment with one of his few solo hits featured on the night’s set list, the title track to the Oscar nominated film, “The Crying Game.”  Reflective upon the song’s conclusion, George shared, “you have to make a choice to get smarter.” Whether he was discussing politics, relationships, or the world in general would be left up to the concert goer to decide for themselves.

Roy Hay

Roy Hay

Before starting the song that began their renowned career, 1982’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” George articulated to the audience “It was genius. The record company released our first single with just a white sleeve. People got to make up their own minds about the music.” Unheard of in today’s world of pre-packaged, Disney Pop-Tarts. Many people even thought George was an African American singer, just from listening to his soulful vocal range, before the band’s first video was ever released.  Defying convention from the very beginning, I recalled their acceptance speech from the Grammy Awards as George observed, remarkably off the cuff, “Thank you America, you’ve got taste, style and you know a good drag queen when you see one.”  After a subtle version of the 1983 song “Victims” and “More Than Silence,” Boy George discussed his personal song writing process. “When you are 21 writing these songs, you don’t know what is what.  When you are 55, you really don’t know”  to the howls of cheeky laugher from both the artist and the audience.  Finishing with 1984’s “The War Song” it was time for a final costume change of the night.

Culture Club, Boy George

Back in black and white, with hundred’s of little X’s and O’s adorned on his jacket, trousers, hat and coordinating gloves, it was time for “Runaway Train” and the T. Rex cover, “Bang a Gong (Get It On). It is still astonishing to me that Culture Club was the first band since the Beatles to achieve three top 10 hits from their debut album on the Billboard chart. No small feat. They wrapped their show with the global #1 hit, “Karma Chameleon.” Obviously about George and Jon’s relationship, the audience sang “You string along, you string along” in unison with the band. “Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream. Red, gold and green. Red, gold and green.”  Culture Club brought out all their colors for a Chi-town musical walk down memory lane. Sustaining his ever evolving androgynous style and biting wit, Boy George and this (Culture) Club are still very much open for business. The business of making music.

Culture Club, Boy George

Culture Club appeared at the Chicago Theatre Friday, July 22, 2016

Culture Club, Boy George

Culture Club, Boy George

Culture Club, Boy George

Culture Club, Boy George

Stephen S. Best is currently a freelance writer for the Times Square Chronicles, covering the performing arts scene in the greater Chicagoland area. He has been a theater aficionado for years, attending his first live production, Annie, at the tender age of six. After graduating from Purdue University, Stephen honed his skills attending live theater, concerts and art installations in New York and Chicago. Stephen's keen eye and thorough appreciation for both theater patrons' time and entertainment dollar makes him a valuable asset and his recommendations key. Stephen currently lives in downtown Chicago.

Events

Baccarat and Basil Hayden Host Glorious Speakeasy at Tony Awards

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Talk about a glorious night!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: (L-R) Taraji P. Henson and Anna Wintour attend Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Baccarat x Basil Hayden VIP speakeasy room at the Tony Awards this year kicked things off in a lavish way.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: (L-R) Adrienne Warren, Nick Jonas, Billy Porter and Elle Fanning attend Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

It was where celebrities from Anna Wintour to Julianne Hough to Daniel Radcliffe to Ekin-Su Cülcülogu relaxed, sipped a Basil Hayden 75 cocktail, mingled and took selfies.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: Ashley Park attends Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Inside the exclusive speakeasy, Anna Wintour donned her signature oversized onyx sunglasses but this time with a smile as she giggled with Taraji P Hensen – perhaps it’s Taraji’s contagious personality shining through, her mesmerizing Oscar De La Renta gown or maybe the result of a few Basil Hayden 75’s but either way, the queen of fashion was beaming.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: (L-R) Jeremy Strong, Jessica Lange, Andrew Rannells and Eddie Redmayne attend Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Elle Fanning, Billy Porter, Nick Jonas and Adrian Wallen dazzled as they posed for pictures while Ben Platt and partner Noah Galvin received some ‘awwws’ from the elite crowd as they embraced each other.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: Shaina Taub attends Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy at the 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Ashley Park was ready to rock in a mind blowing Harris Reed floor length gown and Pandora jewelry as she toasted the camera while Daniel Radcliffe quietly made his way around the room chatting with other nominees before winning his Tony later on that night.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 16: Ariana DeBose attends Baccarat x Basil Hayden Speakeasy At The 77th Annual Tony Awards at David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center on June 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Three cheers for this very Tony-licious moment!

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Events

Tribeca Festival Wraps Up with Big Apple Moment with ‘Satisfied’ Premiere

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The final day of the 2024 Tribeca Festival closed out with the film “Satisfied” at the Beacon Theater. The night also showcased a “Hamilton” pre-Tony anniversary moment with Renee Elise Goldsberry. After the premiere and performance guests gathered at Allure Lounge to sip on Hendrick’s Gin cocktails and to honor the indelible moment.

Roxstar Entertainment’s popular Cinema Center finished its premiere party run with the late-night soiree attended by director Chris Bolan and actress Kelli O’Hara as well as the fleet of producers on the film including executives from Stick Figures Productions and Amblin Documentaries.

Guests enjoyed a gourmet selection of canapes catered by Allure Restaurant as well as featured cocktails by Hendrick’s Gin including the Hendrick’s Grapefruit Collins.

“Roxstar Entertainment is pleased to continue to support independent filmmakers and distributors especially in its mission to get movie fans back into their true intended viewing medium, the movie theaters.  We are so grateful to be able to work with like-minded companies to sponsor and support the events and help drive the promotion and celebration for the films, filmmakers, and respective casts,” says David Manning, Roxstar Entertainment’s Executive Producer of the Cinema Center.

 

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Broadway

And The Winners Of The 77th Tony Awards Are: The Outsiders, Merrily We Roll Along, Stereophonic and Appropriate

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Hillary Clinton did show and the Tony’s gave her a standing ovation, but against all odds the best musical of the year The Outsiders won. I have never been so happy to be wrong in my predictions as The Outsiders was my favorite show this year. I am so proud of this industry for honoring this amazing production.

Merrily We Roll Along, Stereophonic, Sarah Paulson, Appropriate, Maleah Joi Moon and so many other predicted choices took home the coveted award.

Ariana DeBose hosted the night, where the surprises were Jeremy Strong, Danya Taymor for The Outsiders, Kecia Lewis for Hell’s Kitchen.…yeah! 

The playbill for the night and the 77th Tony Awards, had speeches that were powerful. Especially in Act One. The theatre before the event.

In the show a tribute to Chita Rivera, Chita you will be missed.

Here is the list of the winning shows and performers:

BEST MUSICAL: The Outsiders

Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez in NYTW’s Merrily We Roll Along. Photo: Joan Marcus.

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL: *Merrily We Roll Along

BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL): *Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen

BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL): *Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along. 

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (MUSICAL):***Kecia Lewis — Hell’s Kitchen

BEST FEATURED ACTOR (MUSICAL): *Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along

BEST DIRECTOR (MUSICAL): ***Danya Taymor — The Outsiders. This win gives me such hope as Danya Taymor directs with heart. Her directorial performance in Jonah also was a tour de force. Taymor makes you feel.

BEST BOOK Of A MUSICAL: *Shaina Taub for Suffs

BEST MUSICAL SCORE: * Shaina Taub for Suffs

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: *Jonathan Tunick, Merrily We Roll Along

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: *Justin Peck, IIinoise

SCENIC DESIGN (MUSICAL): Tom Scutt — Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

COSTUME DESIGN (MUSICAL): *Linda Cho, The Great Gatsby 

LIGHTING DESIGN (MUSICAL): ***Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim — The Outsiders

SOUND DESIGN (MUSICAL): ***Cody Spencer — The Outsiders

PLAYS

Tom Pecinka and Sarah Pidgeon Photo by Julieta Cervantes

BEST PLAY: * Stereophonic

Sarah Paulson and Elle Fanning in 2ST’s Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

BEST PLAY REVIVAL: *Appropriate 

BEST ACTRESS (PLAY): *Sarah Paulson, Appropriate

BEST ACTOR (PLAY): Jeremy Strong — An Enemy of the People

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (PLAY): *Kara Young, Purlie Victorious

BEST FEATURED ACTOR (PLAY): **Will Brill, Stereophonic. Thrilled for this win. One of my favorite performances of the year.

BEST DIRECTOR (PLAY): *Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic

BEST SCENIC DESIGN (PLAY): David Zinn, Stereophonic

BEST COSTUME DESIGN (PLAY): *Dede Ayite, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding 

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN (PLAY): Jane Cox — Appropriate

BEST SOUND DESIGN (PLAY): *Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic

Audra McDonald

Given special awards were: The Wilma Theatre Outstanding Regional Theatre,

lifetime Achievement to George C. Wolfe, Excellence in Theatre Education to CJay Philip

Harvey Fierstien

lifetime Achievement to Jack O’Brien

Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter

Isabelle Stevenson Award Billy Porter

*our prediction to win.

** our prediction to what should win

*** our prediction for Best but we did not think would win

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Entertainment

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents His Highness Dr. Mag. Prince Mario-Max zu Schaumburg-Lippe of Germany, MAS, LL.M

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We are so pleased to announce our guest this week is His Highness Dr. Mag. Prince Mario-Max zu Schaumburg-LippeI of Germany, MAS, LL.M. Yes, I really do know a prince and he is coming to be my guest.

Prince Mario-Max is an Award winning actor, event and TV-host, Bertelsmann Randomhouse author, public speaker and philanthropist.

Prince Mario-Max is a German, H.H. Dr. Princess Antonia zu Schaumburg-Lippe and H.H. Waldemar Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe

Prince Mario-Max is a German Prince and Royal as the birth son of H.H. Dr. Princess Antonia zu Schaumburg-Lippe and H.H. Waldemar Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe, being descendends from the Royal Danish Nachod Line of The Princely House of Schaumburg-Lippe, Founding Family of Hamburg, Lübeck and Kiel in Germany.
He is now bi-coastal living both in Hollywood and NYC.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a show filmed at the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our past episodes; First episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode click here, sixth episode here, seventh episode here, eighth episode here, ninth episode here, tenth episode here, eleventh episode here, our twelfth episode here, thirteenth episode here, fourteenth here, fifteenth here , 16th here, 17th here, 18th here and 19th here.

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Entertainment

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents: Tina Louise

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We are so pleased to announce our guest this week is Tina Louise.

Tina Louise is widely known for her role as movie star Ginger Grant in the CBS television situation comedy Gilligan’s Island. Louise is the last surviving cast member of the TV series.

Louise got her first role at age two after being in an ad for her father’s candy store. She began studying acting, singing, and dancing at age 17 under Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in Manhattan. Her acting debut came in 1952 in the Bette Davis musical revue Two’s Company, followed by roles in such other Broadway productions as John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, and the hit musical Li’l Abner. She appeared in the live television dramas Studio One and Producers’ Showcase.

Her breakthrough role in 1958 drama film God’s Little Acre for which she received the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year.

Louise left the Broadway musical Fade Out – Fade In to portray movie star Ginger Grant.

Louise had starring roles in The Trap, The Hangman, Day of the Outlaw, and For Those Who Think Young. She also appeared in The Wrecking Crew, The Happy Ending, and The Stepford Wives (1975). Later film roles included a co-starring appearance in the Robert Altman’s O.C. and Stiggs (1987) as well as the independently made satire Johnny Suede (1992) starring Brad Pitt. She appeared in the situation comedy Married… with Children as Miss Beck in episode “Kelly Bounces Back” (1990). In 2014, Louise starred in the spiritual drama Tapestry and the horror film Late Phases.

She also wrote a book that has been re-released called Sunday: A Memoir, a vivid portrait of the betrayal of the heart, trust, and the magical belief that only children have, in a poetic expression of the power of memory and the legacy of a lost childhood, as seen through the eyes of a young girl who became a celebrated actress.

An Audible sample – https://www.amazon.com/Sunday-Memoir-Tina-Louise/dp/0307440176

The below is a good page from her amazing book –

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://tinalouise4ever0.tripod.com/tinalouiseclassicgoddess/id17.html&ved=2ahUKEwjs_f-VmuGGAxVxEVkFHegFCU4QFnoECBEQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1IMp5uBP2YY2SGYXdTqqWu

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a show filmed at the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our past episodes; First episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode click here, sixth episode here, seventh episode here, eighth episode here, ninth episode here, tenth episode here, eleventh episode here, our twelfth episode here, thirteenth episode here, fourteenth here, fifteenth here , 16th here, 17th here, 18th here and 19th here.

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