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What a novel idea for a musical touring partnership. Blondie and Melissa Etheridge rotating double-billing on a concert stage.  What seemed initially like an unconventional enterprise of divergent musical genres, this hot summer tour features two powerful, iconic, female performers doing what they do best.  With revolving billing at each stop, the night I attended,  Melissa opened and Blondie closed.  Etheridge brought her signature guitar licks, throaty, dynamic, vocal bravado and singer-songwriter talent, while Blondie continues to engage the masses, generation after generation, with her cool, detached punk rocker meets rock and roll stage presence and an infections blend of pop music.

Melissa Etheridge

Etheridge opened her eleven song set at the Ravinia Festival, with her defiant hit  If I Only Wanted To.  “Nice to be here in the winter of July 2nd” she joked to the audience on this unseasonably cool summer day.  After concluding No Souvenirs and I Want To Come Over, it was time to chat with the crowd.  “Was it fun winning the Stanley Cup?” she joked, knowing the intense shared pride the enthusiastic audience would muster.  “I have in-laws in Chicago” she reminded her faithful fans.  Wearing bell-bottom pants, a mustard patchwork vest and a leather jacket, every inch the rock star persona, Etheridge switched to a turquoise guitar before unleashing a newer song, Take My Number.  With such personal lyrics as “Everybody stumbles, everybody hits the ground.  No use running scared when those changes come around.   You really shouldn’t drive, you’ve had too much to drink.  You shouldn’t be alone where all you want to do is think.  So take my number, or I can take you home.” This  modern day Janice Joplin,  Melissa took us to church with her raspy voice, siren’s call, reverberating throughout the venue and into the crowd’s collective souls.

Melissa Etheridge

Joined with band mates Arden Altino on keyboards who Melissa joked has “the most amazing smile in music today,” Brian Delaney on drums, Brandyn Porter on guitar and Jerry Wonda on bass, the band breezed though Chrome Plated HeartLike a Preacher, and the global hit Come To My Window. Continuing the celebration from the Supreme Court’s ground breaking decision to recognize Same-Sex Marriage, Melissa shouted “We can be married from sea to shining sea” to the cheers of thousands.  Up next, the new song  Monster a powerful theme about being ostracized and feared as an outsider, mirrored by her own personal experience growing up gay. “They’ve been calling me the monster, ever since the day I was born. Here come the monster, everybody run. Shouting out loud and beating that drum. I’m gigantic, titanic I might cause a panic. Ready or not baby here I come.” I’m The Only One featured an impromptu harmonica solo and then a group photo taken by Melissa on her very own selfie stick. “Chicago, you know I love you. You are very, very special” she shared before exiting the stage.

Etheridge’s final two encore songs included Bring me some water and Like the Way I Do. With passionate Wild West meets Carlos Santana inspired guitar riffs  Etheridge sang “Tell me does she love you, like the way I love you.  Does she stimulate you, attract and captivate you. Tell me does she miss you existing just to kiss you.  Like the way I do”. The words, fast, furious, heartfelt, sensual, suggestive and delivered with the throaty conviction of a woman “infatuated, haunted, and electrified” by her own all-consuming urges.  “Does she inject you, seduce you and affect you, Like the way I do.” The same could be said for an artist who continually tours, respects and recognizes her own ardent fan base, who is always there, ready for more.   


Celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band, Blondie took the stage next.  If Etheridge is wild, Harry is reserved, nonchalant, a rock and roll Goddess who never lets them see her sweat.  Adorned in a pink suit, sequin black fingerless gloves, black platform heels and dark sunglasses, front woman Deborah “Debbie” Harry appeared at home center stage beginning their set with the classic hit One Way Or Another.  “We are Blondie and we are very happy to be here with Melissa Etheridge” she stated before breezing through No Guarantee,Hanging On the Telephone, and Mile High an ode to all the pilots, stewardesses and lovers up in the air.  


An early voice in the American new wave and punk rock genres of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Blondie represented a fusion of rock and roll angst punk regeneration.  With former Playboy model Deborah Harry as the front woman and Chris Stein, the musical creative genius behind the band.  Backed by Tommy Kessler on guitar, Matt Katz-Bohen on keyboards, Leigh Foxx on bass and Clem Burke on drums next up were the monster hits Call Me and Maria, a new song Rose By Any Other Name and the first song to ever feature rap that chartered at #1, Rapture.  In the midst of Rapture, a surprise mash up that included the Beastie Boys classic, Fight For The Right To Party.

BlondieA reggae infused The Tide Is High was Blondie’s third career number one song in America, and was still a crowd pleaser as the venue jumped to its feet.  “The tide is high, but I’m holding on. I’m gonna be your number one.  I’m not the kind of girl who gives up just like that.  Oh, no.”  And we are the better for it.  Just turning 70, yes 70 is not slowing Harry and company down.  Finishing their set with AtomicSugar on The Side and the definitive Blondie classic, from the album Parallel LivesHeart Of Glass. “Once I had a love and it was a gas. Soon turned out had a heart of glass. Seemed like the real thing, only to find. Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind.”

A fabulous night of synth pop, rock and roll, female empowerment, and hit records, Melissa Etheridge and Blondie proved extremely suitable tour mates.  Sharing a heavy touring schedule and a career longevity rarely seen in this, or any industry, these pioneers of popular music continue to consistently inspire and entertain.  And what greater gift is there then that?

Melissa Etheridge and Blondie appeared at the Ravinia Festival Thursday July 2, 2015.

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.


The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

FAMILY’S A BITCH-THE END OF SUCCESSION — Sunday’s finale of Succession (HBO) was a mixed bag. I’ll be honest: At first I thought the finale was totally underwhelming, but after some additional thought and reading some other excellent reviews, I’ve come to the point where I now believe it was, pure and simple, how it had to end.

Greg didn’t win the crown; Tom did, but only as a puppet master for the notorious Swede Alec Matsson. One terrific take on the show said that there were never really any heroes; just a family fighting for control and only really fighting with each other.
If you followed this season closely, you knew full well that none of the siblings could really do anything near what Logan Roy did. In the episode where he chastised them all by proclaiming you are not serious people- you – it should have immediately tipped you off that an outsider, yes Tom, would get the crown.
Roman melted down at the funeral; Shiv changed sides so often you never really knew where her loyalties lay and Kendall had him own set of issues. Also, the fact that he killed someone in Season 1 came into play again.
Creator Jesse Armstrong wrote this one (With Open Eyes) and it was as strong, while being a bit confusing, as everything he’s done. Truth be told, he was right to end it now as some of the themes kept repeating. Sure Brian Cox was not in the last few, but his presence still loomed large. Face it, none of the siblings could have done what he did.
Funnily enough, in the next-to-final scene with the three siblings, Kendall said that his father told him years ago, at The Candy Kitchen, that he would inherit the whole shebang. The Candy Kitchen does exits in Bridgehampton, New York and actually is a fine, fine establishment. I bet they’ll be packed this week!
The last scene of he show was a dejected Kendall wandering near the water with Logan’s bodyguard Colin. I wondered, as did many others, whether he’d off himself. He didn’t.
Is there room for a sequel or spin-off? Of course. Tom is the prefect puppet master for Matsson. There definitely is more intrigue to come. Brilliant writing and acting. I can’t see any of the actors ever equaling what they did on this show. Bravo!
SHORT TAKES — Talk about promotion! Q1043’s latest one involves a golden shovel! Sounds like something out of Willy Wonka! … Micky Dolenz jets off to London today for the weekend’s James Burtonevent with Van Morrison; John Oates; Brian May; and more. We’ll have details next column … Eric Clapton’s London-tribute for the recently departed Jeff Beck was just excellent.

Joss Stone

None more so than Joss Stone on “I Put A Spell On You.” What a voice. I’m amazed she’s not bigger; very Janis Joplin.

Gary Clark

Also, Gary Clark delivered a blistering, amazing performance on Stevie Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers.” No question that he’s the next guitar-wizard. Here they both are: and  …

The Flash

I watched all 9 seasons of the CW’s The Flash and the first 5 were pretty terrific. The remaining ones got poorer and poorer as the original cast disappeared one by one. Grant Gustin, The Flash, was there the whole time, but their finale last week was terribly confusing – save for a song by Tony Award winner Jesse L. Martin (for Rent) – a key member of the original cast. The last two seasons had a myriad of costumed villains, some from the comic, some not, but just wildly messed up. The CW was sold to Nexstar last year and big changes are in their future. Sad … and, CNN is reporting that Universal Music is close to snapping up the rights to the Queen-catalog for $1 billion-plus. Good for them.


Disney had it previously, but Queen’s music is more popular than ever before. It’s a real shame Freddie is not her to share in it. If you wondered the record for the biggest previously was for Bruce Springsteen’s catalog at $500 million.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — William Schill; Crimshaw; Joel Diamond; Katherine Clarke; Terry Jastrow; Anthony Pomes; Barry Fisch; Mark Bego; Dave Sholin; Les Bider; Lush Ice; Steve Walter; Peter Abraham; Jack Cunningham; Randy Alexander; Howard Bloom; Ken Dashow; Norena Barbella; Angela Tarantino; and BELLA!
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Tribeca Festival Set to Thrill with Roxstar Entertainment with Cinema Center



Roxstar Entertainment, who’s executive team has produced dozens of red-carpet premiere events for top selections at the Tribeca Film Festival, will be bringing their newest hospitality platform, the Cinema Center to New York City after successful launches at Sundance and SxSw.

For Tribeca, the schedule of high-profile red carpet premiere parties will be held across multiple New York City restaurant and nightlife destinations including Bar Feroce at the Moxy Chelsea, Serafina Upper West 77th Street, and Common Ground NYC for a selection of the top films in competition at the Festival including: “eric larue” directed by Michael Shannon and starring Judy Greer, Alexander Skarsgård, Alison Pill, Tracy Letts, and Paul Sparks; IFC celebration for “Suitable Flesh” + “The Perpetrator” with Heather Graham, Barbara Crampton, Johnathan Schaech, Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Reeder, and Kiah McKirnan; Sony Pictures Classics celebration for “TheMiracle Club” with Director, Thaddeus O’Sullivan and cast Laura Linney, Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, Agnes O’Casey, Stephen Rea; Sony Music celebration for “Let The Canary Sing” with Director, Alison Ellwood and music icon Cyndi Lauper and other special guests; as well as Sony Pictures Classics celebrating “SHORTCOMINGS” with Director, Randall Park and cast Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola, Ally Maki, Debby Ryan, Tavi Gevinson, Sonoya Mizuno, Jacob Batalon, and Timothy Simons.

“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 likeminded 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.”

Each venue will be serving VIP guests with its special brand of service, atmosphere, and culinary delights.  Libations will be provided by the Cinema Center ‘s generous sponsor partners.  The all-important wine services for the program will be provided courtesy of Sommsation, a trusted wine experience brand and direct-to-consumer marketplace bringing together independent wineries and sommeliers who curate access to limited production wines.  On-site, Sommsation will provide guests with a tasting experience.  Sommsation invites wine enthusiasts to explore their online shop of exceptional and one-of-a-kind wine offerings that ship directly to your door.

Sponsors include: Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Italy’s premium lager, will be serving its award-winning lager as well as Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%— a premium non-alcoholic lager.

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Galit Ventura-Rozen Hosts Enlightening Dinner in New York City



On May 18, Galit Ventura-Rozen hosted a lovely and enlightening dinner in New York City. Trendsetters and influencers gathered in Manhattan at The Flying Cock for an evening of enrichment and mindful conversation. Her passion and energy during the evening made her mission clear. Her inspirational and motivating energy was felt throughout the room.

The globally recognized public speaker and award-winning entrepreneur was on site to discuss her book The Successful Woman’s Mindset. Guests at the event eagerly listened to her advice and recommendations. Whether by using lessons from her book or from her motivating lessons, she is known for helping raise the productivity of others.

She began her successful career as a commercial real estate broker where she has sold over $700 million in commercial property in Las Vegas over the past 25+ years. After enjoying a very lucrative career as a real estate expert, She began to experience sleepless nights with racing thoughts. As a then working single mother of three, she wanted to find a way to support women, and returned to college at the age of 37. She earned a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northcentral University and graduated with honors. Galit began a one-woman mission to empower, inspire and motivate others to believe in themselves.

Here is to women making a positive difference in the world today.

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Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack, Kim Cattrall Scheduled for Tribeca Festival 2023 Audio Storytelling



The 2023 Tribeca Festival, presented by OKX, has announced its audio storytelling lineup, including 18 world premieres from independent and established narrative audio creators and 11 “Live-from-Tribeca” events. This year’s Festival, which takes place June 7-18, will highlight its audio storytelling selection from June 12-16, connecting creators and listeners in-person at Tribeca.

The lineup includes 11 “Live-from-Tribeca” events, from exclusive conversations with audio creators to live tapings of hit shows, such as an audio artists panel hosted by Avery Trufelman (Articles of Interest, 99% Invisible); a live taping of Crooked Media’s Pod Save America with guest co-host Alex Wagner; a 25th anniversary rewatch event of Will & Grace followed by a live taping of SmartLess Media’s Just Jack & Will featuring Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack; a live taping of Selected Shorts with New York Times Bestselling author Roxane Gay; a live taping of New York Times Audio’s Modern Love with Kim Cattrall; and a live taping of Sonic Union’s Perreo 101 followed by a musical performance by Cuban artists Yotuel and Beatriz Luengo.

Additionally, the 2023 Audio Storytelling program showcases 16 official selections, including eight from independent creators and eight from established creators–evenly divided between fiction and narrative nonfiction series. World premieres from independent audio creators include the fiction series The Fabulists and These Were Humans, as well as the narrative nonfiction series Abridged and Magic on a Winter’s Night. World premieres from established creators include The Unmarked Graveyard: Stories from Hart Island (Radio Diaries and Radiotopia from PRX), Free from Desire (Paradiso), The Very Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen (Wolf at the Door Studios), and Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto (Crooked Media). Official selections will be previewed at the Emerging Audio Artists Panel hosted by a special guest and the Established Audio Artists Panel hosted by Avery Trufelman, and available the following day at and @TribecaAudio.

Audible is the audio entertainment sponsor of the 2023 Tribeca Festival. It celebrates the Tribeca creative community and showcases bold creators who develop innovative, cinematic audio entertainment.

The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Programming Sharon Badal and VP of Shorts Programming Ben Thompson; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz, Faridah Gbadamosi, and Jarod Neece; Programmers José F. Rodriguez, Casey Baron, Jason Gutierrez, and Jonathan Penner; VP of Games and Immersive Casey Baltes and Immersive Curator Ana Brzezińska; Curator of Audio Storytelling Davy Gardner; Music Programmer Vincent Cassous; EVP of Artist Relations Nancy Lefkowitz and VP of Artist Relations Meredith Mohr; and Chief Content Officer Paula Weinstein, along with a team of associate programmers.

The full audio storytelling lineup is detailed below. For more updates on programming follow @TribecaAudio on Twitter and @Tribeca and #Tribeca2023 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Purchase passes for the 2023 Tribeca Festival at


Cover art courtesy

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Natasha Bedingfield Thrills at Frederick Anderson’s Nebula Fashion Show



We love the nightlife!

 Frederick Anderson Resort 2024 Fashion Show Featuring Natasha Bedingfield at Nebula in New York, NY on May 24, 2023. (Photo by David Warren /Sipa​ USA)

The thrill of old-school New York City energy came out swinging in a glorious way last week during Frederick Anderson’s 2024 Resort collection presentation.

 Frederick Anderson Resort 2024 Fashion Show Featuring Natasha Bedingfield at Nebula in New York, NY on May 24, 2023 with Nicole Miller and Mayor Eric Adams. (Photo by David Warren /Sipa​ USA)

On May 24, pop sensation Natasha Bedingfield opened up the beautiful runway at the fantastic hotspot Nebula in Midtown Manhattan. Wearing a bold crochet dress by the designer, the music matched her luxurious look and set the tone for an electric night.

Frederick Anderson and Natasha Bedingfield at Frederick Anderson Resort 2024 Fashion Show Featuring Natasha Bedingfield at Nebula in New York, NY on May 24, 2023. (Photo by David Warren /Sipa​USA)

The 33-look collection was seen by a chic and notable group of uptown clients and downtown personalities including Mayor Eric Adams, Nebula owner Richie Romero, Nicole Miller, Peter Som, Young Paris, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin and Janna Bullock amongst well-heeled crowd.


Photos by David Warren


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