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Every year, at the beginning of June . . .

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The town of Peru, Indiana holds a festival to celebrate the birth of their favorite son, Cole Porter. Just his name alone evokes Manhattan skyscrapers, martinis, and eternal elegance and sophistication, all of which is a far cry from Peru. I know of no other American town that celebrates a composer quite like Peru does. There are statues of Johnny Mercer and Meredith Willson in their home towns, but nothing like the three-day event that celebrates the life and music of Cole Porter in Peru.

Peru is a simple farm town with a main street, which is where all the fun begins in the days preceding Porter’s birthday each year. One can visit his birthplace, featured on the bus tour of Peru, which stops at his simple grave and the Old-Fashioned Garden that inspired his song of the same name. The county museum, which is home base for most of the activities, displays his Cadillac and his specially built couch which could easily accommodate him after his accident. Each year different smaller exhibits display Porter memorabilia.

A few of the highlights of the weekend were presentations by Charles Troy, noted theatre historian who delves into the life and works of American composers with an infectious enthusiasm that has his audience cheering. This year he began with Travels with Cole Porter, which explored Porter’s passion for travel. Chicago chanteuse Elizabeth Doyle chimed in with songs that underscored the presentation. Accompanied by Troy’s carefully chosen photographs and exceptional scholarship, the audience came away with a deeper understanding of Porter.

Sponsor Gary Thomas, Elizabeth Doyle and Charles Troy

That evening Doyle was joined by the vocalizing veterinarian (yes, that’s correct) Ava Logan for an introduction to Porter’s Parisian friend, Bricktop. Outfitted in 20s garb, Logan sang songs made famous by Bricktop and even did the Charleston! Perhaps the most engrossing presentation was Troy’s Porter vs. Sondheim. These two musical geniuses certainly dominated the last century with their virtuosity, and Troy did a compare/contrast of seven of their songs by genre, like Can-Can and Finishing the Hat as examples of how they wrote about artists. Elizabeth supported Troy’s superb presentation with vocal selections, and Charles displayed once again his meticulous handiwork in graphic design.

The two musical Hoosiers, Hoagy Carmichael and Cole Porter, at the Charley Creek Inn in Wabash, IN.

Two other notable presentations were an update on a film in progress called Experiment, by proud Peruvian Ward Roberts which features newly discovered pictures of Porter and modern artists giving Porter’s song their own twist. A panel discussion of Porter & Peru concluded the afternoon, with each evening filled with entertainment of the Peruvian variety. Souvenirs were eagerly gobbled up by Porterphiles.

Elizabeth Doyle, Ava Logan, Polly Dobbs, Lee Glantz, Jason Gornto and Ward Roberts, with Cole’s Cadillac in back.

Cole’s cousins: Polly Dobbs, Jay Kubesch and MaryAlice Williams.

Events

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

ARGENT RETIRES — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Rod Argent, a founder and longtime keyboardist for the British Invasion band the Zombies, has announced his retirement from touring following a stroke.

The group’s management announced in a statement that said: “We are saddened to report that Rod Argent, founder, keyboardist and primary songwriter of the Zombies, has suffered a stroke. Rod had recently returned home from a triumphant Zombies tour of the U.K. and spent a weekend in London with his beloved wife, Cathy, celebrating his 79th birthday and their 52nd wedding anniversary, before the stroke occurred.

“He was hospitalized overnight and released the next day. Doctors have advised that Rod will need several months of rest and recuperation. Rod has asked us to convey that he has made the very difficult decision to immediately retire from touring in order to protect his health. He was already preparing to wind down his live performance schedule after health scares on recent tours.”

In January 2022, the Zombies pushed back tour dates to 2023 after an unnamed member required an “urgent but non-life-threatening” medical procedure.

The band has been active in recent years, following their 2019 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They released their seventh album, Different Game, last year.

Argent and the Zombies had their first hit in 1964 with “She’s Not There.” The Hertfordshire, England-formed band, featuring singer Colin Blunstone, scored three Top 10 singles by the end of the decade, including “Time of the Season” from their classic 1968 album Odessey and Oracle, their last before a 1991 reunion LP.

During the break, Argent led the band Argent, which had a Top 5 hit in 1972 with “Hold Your Head Up.”

Argent and Blunstone, along with original bassist Chris White and original drummer Hugh Grundy, got back together for a 50th anniversary tour of Odessey and Oracle in 2017. (Original guitarist Paul Atkinson died in 2004.) The quartet has since toured with other current members of the band.

The statement concluded, “We don’t know what the future holds. What we have to tell fans today is that all upcoming performances by the Zombies will be canceled.”

SHORT TAKES — Watched the cast of Stereophonic perform two numbers on Thursday’s Today show.

This is the show that openly boasts that the play is a performance of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and how it was recorded. I was actually surprised by just how closely it sounded like that album. If I was Mick Fleetwood, I’d ask for some of the profits. Amazing! …

Nicky Hopkins

You may not know the name Nicky Hopkins, but in the 60’s and 70’s he played with everyone from Joe Cocker to John Lennon and George Harrison.

He also put out a killer solo album called The Tin Man Was a Dreamer in 1983. He passed away years ago, but there’s a new doc on him (Session Man). He was a great player. Check out the trailer: https://thesessionmanfilm.com

… A Broadway-play on the life of Muhammad Ali is in the works … Saw the first commercial yesterday for back-to-school. does that mean the summer is officially over? …

Kevin Costner’s Horizon is going to MAX shortly. Sadly, it has not been the smash everyone desperately wanted. Check out Deadline’stake on it: https://deadline.com/2024/07/horizon-2-delayed-1236006327/

The Alec Baldwin trial has begun in Santa Fe. Will he testify? Hard call. Again, I think it was just a terrible accident. Should gun-safety be increased on movie sets? Of course …

Jeff Zucker

The Zuck returns? Rumors spread like wildfire Thursday that Jeff Zucker (NBC and CNN) will now run CBS News. He’s a visionary for sure … Happy Bday Shep Pettibone … RIP Shelley Duvall

NAMES IN THE NEWS —– Jackie Stander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Owen Bradley; Jon Bon Jovi; Brad Balfour; Jordan Gray; Steve Immerman; Tony Seidl; Frank’s Steaks; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Freda Payne; Brenda Lee; Mike Campbell; Veruca Salt; Bonnie Culpeppersmith; Roy Trakin; Daryl Hall; Jonathan Wolfson; Carl Perkins; Tommy James; Carol Ross; Marty Ostrow; Jann Wenner; and BELLA!

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

JON BON HISTORY —- (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Bon Jovi’s new album Forever certainly didn’t live up to its name on the charts. As noted by Forbes, after debuting at No. 5 in its first week of release, the album fell all the way out of the Billboard 200 album sales chart the following week. Unless it returns in the future, Forever will be the first Bon Jovi studio album to only last one week in the Top 200.The band’s previous album, 2020’s pandemic-delayed 2020, only notched two weeks on the chart. It debuted at No. 19, then fell 126 spots the following week before departing for good.

With their touring future in doubt due to singer Jon Bon Jovi’s medical issues, the band promoted Forever with a multi-pronged media campaign that included the release of the documentary series Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi story. The series showed Bon Jovi being diagnosed with loose vocal cords after he was unable to perform up to his usual standards on the band’s most recent tour, then undergoing surgery and a rigorous recovery program.

Last month, Bon Jovi confirmed that he was still unable to mount a full-scale tour in support of Forever. “It’s a work in progress,” he told The Guardian. “There’s no miracle. I just wish there was a fucking light switch. I’m more than capable of singing again. The bar is now: can I do two and half hours a night, four nights a week? The answer is no.”

The band did play a surprise five-song set to celebrate the opening of their frontman’s new Nashville bar and restaurant JBJ’s on June 7, performing Forever’s debut single “Legendary” in addition to classics such as “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Born to Be My Baby.”

With all the media on their Hulu-doc series, new album and almost incessant one-on-one interviews, the new album was either going to be a hit … or a miss. Sad for sure … I hope they don’t blame this on Richard Sambora!

Melrose Place

SHORT TAKES — 32 years since Melrose Place? I was never a fan but some of the original cast have reunited for – what else?

Micky Dolenz

A podcast … From Gold Radio in the UK:  https://www.goldradiouk.com/artists/the-monkees/micky-dolenz-age-wife-children-songs/ … Spent a few days in Waterbury, Connecticut and watched a lot of tennis. Beautiful up there. Stunning in fact …

Race

Congrats to radio-personality Race Taylor on inking a new contract-extension with WCBS-FM. Well deserved …

F1

Here’s the trailer for Brad Pitt’s next film F1


Looks good, but didn’t we just see this covered in James Mangold’s terrific Ford vs. Ferrari? It’ll be out in June 2025 …  

Billy Bob Thornton

Boy, I could have predicted this: Via Deadline – Paramount + has announced the premiere date for its latest Taylor Sheridan drama, Landman, starring Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, will premiere Sunday, November 17. The series will launch with two episodes, and subsequent episodes of the 10-episode long first season will be available weekly on Sundays. Set in the proverbial boomtowns of West Texas, – the show is a tale of fortune seeking in the world of oil rigs. Based on the 11-part podcast “Boomtown,” the series is an upstairs/downstairs story of roughnecks and wildcat billionaires fueling a boom so big, it’s reshaping our climate, our economy and our geopolitics … Finished watching The Veil on Hulu with Elizabeth Moss. Sort of an on-the-road mystery. Moss is great, but the plot is a tad murky. B + … And for all you Papaya King fans (me included) in NYC: https://gothamist.com/news/beloved-hot-dog-hotspot-papaya-king-reopens-on-upper-east-side … 

RIP Joe Egan from Stealers Wheel.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steven J. Immerman; Tony Seidl; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Pat Walsh; Mark Bego; Lamar Fike; Feda Payne; Kent & Laura Denmark; Nancy Ruth; The Church; Teresa Knox; Myles Smith; Chuck Scarborough; Joe Scarborough; Alison Steele; Carol Miller; Dan Ingram; Anthony Pomes; Brad Balfour; and ZIGGY!

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

TOWNE GONE — A few months back I watched the Robert Towne-written movie Chinatown and had exactly the same reaction as when I first watched it in 1974 – simply the best movie of all-time. Well, I still feel that way, although there are a dozen or so other movies that I would now put in that hallowed category.

Version 1.0.0

Towne passed on Friday and leaves just a splendid treasury of his work. Be it Tequila Sunrise or Without Limits or The Firm or Days of Thunder, Towne’s unique perspective and writing-style was pretty awesome.

Robert Towne

Check out Deadline’s take on Towne: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/robert-towne-dead-chinatown-1236059676/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR3I2OAHgnXtKBODQUzXpIr-YzCHJYvPFDW6wrOp6HdEJUx-PQ5JfntN-Hk_aem_Rb9xsnahLuGqZLfRjIpyzA

Dave Mason

SHORT TAKES — Interesting review of the long-delayed Dave Mason bio, Only You and I Know, by Goldmine’s Lee Zimmerman. Check it out here: https://www.goldminemag.com/reviews/dave-mason-memoir-reveals-a-talented-artist-with-a-strong-willed-personality Still wondering if Mason’s former-manager, and Svengali, Jason Cooper (aka The Moke) is discussed at all.

I well remember a show at Long Island’s Calderone Concert Hall, where Cooper passed around a jar of party favors – twice in the dressing room. It was indeed a great show which I watched from the side of the stage! He bolstered Mason’s career to it’s highest degree ever. Can’t wait to read this one … Biden will now not do any work after 8:00 PM? I don’t know, but this sounds a tad crazy, right? And desperate … Remember The Singhs? Randy Alexander did the PR for them. They played a bunch of NY-gigs and then sort of disappeared.

Next thing we heard; their new album Science Fiction was produced by Tony Visconti. Then, nada. Here’s a press release from 2013 formally announcing the album. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/science-fiction-the-new-tony-visconti-produced-album-from-boston-area-based-band-the-singhs-is-set-for-release-june-4-via-redstar-entertainment-206756061.html

They actually released a great album in 2008, Supersaturated. Bad management? Dunno, but they were a sensational band. Creative, inventive, it seemed they had it all …

Watched Apple’s Dark Matters and sort of loved it, although as it went on it got way too confusing. Based on the Blake Crouch book, it was really pretty spectacular. Australia’s Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Connelly were fantastic. If you’re a sci-fi fan, I’d say  it’s a must see … Happy Bday Danny Goldberg; Ron Fleeger; and Perry Michael Simon.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — David Duchovny; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tone Scott; Paul Cooper; Tony Seidl; Brad Balfour; Matt Lauer; Harry Burton; Lainey Wilson; Lyndsey Parker; Tony King; Brett Summers; Jane Blunkell; Steven J. Immerman; Lora Evans; Dan Zelinski; Norena Barbella; Ken Dashow; Barry Fisch; Wayne Avers; Victor Kastel; and BELLA.

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Entertainment

Macy’s Out Did Themselves

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I have covered the Macy’s Fireworks before and this year Macy’s out did themselves. Moving to the Westside meant the press was at The Lighthouse at Pier 60.

This venue is spectacular feeling like an open air loft space. The Lighthouse has over 10,000 square feet of event space overlooking the Hudson River. The guests felt they had room to move and to enjoy the phenomenal show Macy’s put on.

We were greeted with glasses of Champagne and a vodka lemonade spritz.

The spritz sounded good, but I am not a fan of  Vodka, so the fabulous Santiago made me a versions with rum.

Santiago

The passed appetizers were fresh and interesting

Marinated BBQ Chicken…..yum

My favorite a gourmet pigs in the blanket

Crab cakes

This was delicious and healthy cauliflower bites

Also healthy kale salad bites

And of course shrimp cocktails

As for the fireworks the space has a glass-enclosed terrace that opens up with outdoor waterfront access. My friends from GMA, CNN, Knockturnal, Variety and I took our chairs to that window opening and had the best seat in the house. Before the event we watch the life out on the water and Macy’s getting ready to surprise.

Performing were Lainey Wilson, Luis Fonsi, Tanner Adell and The War and Treaty, who took to the stage ahead of the fireworks display. We watched on Live Stream TV’s, as we ate our meals that came out of three stations plus a dessert station. The performers were just one pier away and the crowd went wild for Luis Fonsi and The War and Treaty.

Then the fireworks went off, but first a drone display.

These really are breathtaking. We seriously were the closest you could get. When we added our chairs to the end of the balcony, we had to tilt our heads and our camera’s back. This first video, I was taking pictures of the drones and turned it sideways to catch all five barges. It is quirky but it really shows you the set of five barges in full display

In slow-mo you really can feel the magic.

Inspired by “Summer’s Greatest Hits,” Macy’s new summer campaign, the custom 25-minute musical score of the fireworks show, missed the mark in being patriotic, however with songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Landslide” it felt familiar. The score was produced and arranged by Grammy and Emmy Award winner Jason Howland, and featured out and queer artists Brandy Clark and Alex Newell. The whole show felt very inclusive.

The show was conceived, designed and produced by Macy’s Studios in collaboration with Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, the show’s 48th edition featured more than 60,000 shells, more than 30 colors and never before seen effects.

Here’s to July 4, 2025 with Macy’s again!

 

 

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Events

4th of July Playlist

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fourth

For those of us who still love America. Happy 247th Birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

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