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Hot 97 Summer Jam Lives Up to The Hype



Brian Hester Reporting from Metlife Stadium at Hot 97 Summer Jam 2019

Big names such as Cardi B, Meek Mill, Migos, Lil Nas X and others took over Metlife Stadium for the worlds Premier Hip Hop Event, Hot 97 Summer Jam. I had the pleasure of focusing on the up and coming new artist at the Summer Jam Festival Village Festival Stage made hot by Heineken. One of the unique features of this entire event is that not only do we get to fresh new talent but that Hot 97 provides a platform to these new artist via the Hot 97 Who’s Next Destination Summer Jam contest.

DJ Juanyto started things off before winners of the Hot 97 Who’s Next Destination Summer Jam contest Na Boogz, and Moddagod both hit the stage and showed the crowd why they are two artists to watch. Photo by Brian Hester

Hot 97 Who’s Next Destination Summer Jam winners Moddagod and Na Boogz made the best of the opportunity they tore up the Festival Stage.

Hot 97 Who’s Next Destination Summer Jam winner Moddagod bring the heavy bars on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester
Hot 97 Who’s Next Destination Summer Jam winner Na Boogz pump up the crowd on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester

The Village also featured some pretty fly rides at the DJ Magic Summer Jam Car Show. This is just another facet of how Summer Jam attempts to cover multiple interests within the overall Hip Hop Community. Items such as high end automobiles, unique fashion sense, support for each other and support among all the artists are all hallmarks of this amazing genre.

Fancy sports cars polished to perfections displayed at DJ Magic Summer Jam Car Show. Photo by Brian Hester
Fancy sports cars polished to perfections displayed at DJ Magic Summer Jam Car Show. Photo by Brian Hester
Some of the more interesting and unexpectedly popular fashion items seen in the crowds was this faux? Bullet Proof Vest , proving almost as popular as the old style pro-sports jerseys. Photo by Brian Hester
Fans also showed support for their favorite artists by customized fashion items such as this Migos embroidered denim jacket. Photo by Brian Hester

Artist Nicole Bus, G4Boyz, Pardison Fontaine, Melli, Blueface, City Girls and Trippieredd rounded out the entertainment on the Festival Satage before things moved inside for many more incredible performances.

Nicole Bus pours her heart and soul into her preference on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester
G4Boyz stepped out into the crowd and made it rain, tossing hundreds in $1 bills up in the air, much to the delight of the fans. Photo by Brian Hester
Pardison Fontaine blows up the mic on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester
Blueface had the crowd jumping and was def one of the big fan favorites on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester
Blueface had the crowd jumping and was def one of the big fan favorites on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester
Melii delivered an amped up set match her lyrical skills with incredible moves on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester
Melii delivered an amped up set match her lyrical skills with incredible moves on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester
Melii delivered an amped up set match her lyrical skills with incredible moves on the Festival Stage. Photo by Brian Hester

On to the Main Stage at Summer Jam where the full line up included; Melii Megan Thee Satllion, Kash Doll, City Girls, Casanova, Davido, Rich The Kid, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Tory Lanez, Migos, Meek Mill and Cardi B An incredible that even Mother Nature couldn’t stop, although she did manage to cause a 45 minute lightening delay prior to Cardi B epic set, and capped off the with a stellar set from Tory Lanez.

Inside Metlife Stadium fans get going with early evening acts such as Kash Doll, TT Torrez, and Megan Thee Stallion. Photo by Brian Hester
Megan Thee Stallion, Kash Doll, and Melii heat up the Main Stage at Summer Jam 2019 Photo by Mel D. Cole via
Meek Mill lights up the stage at Summer Jam 2019 Photo by Joe Cap via
A Boogie got the crowd going early in the evening Photo by Jill Chami via
Casanova felling some kind of way on the main stage. Photo by Mel D Cole via

Meek Mill, Migos, Megan Thee Stallion, Tori Lanez, A Boogie, City Girls and many others performed, but there’s no doubt that Cardi’s surprise guests stole the show. For short video clip see See Hot 97 clip

Cardi B brought out special guests Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus to preform smash Old Town Road Photo Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images via

Last but by very far not least were the celebrity sightings which included Naomi Camplbell and Wendy Williams as well as all of the on air personalities. My personal favorite was seeing the cast of the Broadway Smash hit Ain’t Too Proud all together relaxing in the Hot 97 VIP Lounge just relaxing and having a good time, Ain’t Too Proud Pictured below L-R, Derrick Baskin Ephraim Sykes Jawan M. Jackson Jeremy Pope and James Harkness

Cast members of the Tony nominated smash Broadway hit Ain’t Too Proud Pictured L-R, Derrick Baskin Ephraim Sykes Jawan M. Jackson Jeremy Pope and James Harkness enjoying Hot 97 Summer Jam 2019 Photo by Brian Hester
Cardi B brought out special guest Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X to preform Old Town Road. Photo by Walik Goshorn via

Brian Hester is a New York City based freelance photographer covering any nature of event including but not limited to; breaking news, sports, entertainment, fashion, nature and whatever may catch his wandering eye. Since 2011 Brian, has been covering community events and high school sports for North Jersey Media Group and their successor Gannett USA Today. His clients include Rutgers University and Monmouth Athletics. ​You can see more of his work at

Book Reviews

The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

A CHER STEAL — This year’s 97th edition of the Macy’s Day Parade was a rather underwhelming one, save for Chicago – inexplicably singing “Your My Inspiration” – and the always, indefatigable Cher, singing a track “DJ Play a Christmas Song” off her new holiday-themed album. The first few bars will terribly auto-tuned, but that seemed to disappear and Cher’s vocals rang full and bold.

She was, typically, a pro. Mixing effortlessly and emotionally with the dancers in a terrific set. Some pundits reported the clip was shot days earlier, but she was live and, just sensational. I wish more of today’s performers possessed her vigor and skills. That’s why most of the current acts, here today, will be gone tomorrow.

As we went to press, we learned that this parade was Macy’s most-watched edition ever! Congrats.

Sacred Songs/Daryl Hall

HALL VS. OATES  Some terrible news appeared in Wednesday’s media that Daryl Hall had taken out a TRO against partner-John Oates. I’ve loved what these two have done for decades and I loved Hall’s solo albums; especially the one he did with Robert Fripp in 1977 Sacred Songs.  His record company at the time (RCA) hated it so much, they held up its release for three years.

I also well remember them in the 80’s when it seemed you could’t turn on a radio without hearing their music. 29 of their 33 singles were major chart hits on Billboard. But I do go back to them even in the 70’s, with their terrific “She’s Gone” which basically launched them. And, my favorite album of their War Babies, produced by Todd Rundgren. Quick note: That album sounds as good and relevant as it did when it came out in 1974.

The problem seems to arise from Oates wanting to sell his portion of certain songs to Primary Wave Artists – which ironically owns several of their songs already. It’s a small point, but that seems to be the issue. In all actuality, it’s another case of a classic-rocker selling his music.

In Oates’ book several years ago (Change of Seasons: A Memoir), he hardly mentioned Hall and regrettably that animus has apparently reared its angry head. They’re Philly boys, I’m from Philly and it’s just an awful coda to what was one of music’s major success stories. Sad all around.

SHORT TAKES — Terrific article in this week’s Closer on Micky Dolenz. Check it out here:

btw: Dolenz tapes KTLA’s Countdown To 2024 this week in LA …

Phil Quartararo

I first met Phil Quartararo in the lobby of the old Mondrian Hotel in LA with John Sykes and we struck up a friendship that lasted until he passed last week. He was at Virgin for a time and worked with the artists there including The Spice Girls and Paul Abdul. In these fast-changing-times in the music business, he remained somewhat behind the scenes of late, but admitted he missed working with the artists. Phil was a guy you never ever heard a bad word about. Huge loss. Here’s Billboard’s take on Phil:

… As you’ve not doubt read, there is trouble in the Marvel-comic kingdom. The latest Captain Marvel movie (The Marvels) didn’t perform nearly as well as everyone hoped for and their newest star, Jonathan Majors as Kang, is tied up in several court matters.

Dr. Doom

So, we hear that Kang is out and Doctor Doom is in. Stay tuned …

Last week for David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love. If you’ve not seen this, it is a must-see one. Sad to see it go …

And Forbes’ James M. Clash has released Amplified; culled from his terrific interviews with the icons of rock ‘n roll; including Grace Slick; Art Garfunkel; Ginger Baker; Micky Dolenz; and Roger Daltry.  Here’s the Amazon link: NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Leeds; Kate Hyman; Bono; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Bobby Bank; Dina Pitenis; Frank DiLella; Donnie Kehr; Steve Leber; Don Wardell; Anne Adams; Billy Smith; John Boulos; Kimberly Cornell; Sam Rubin; Nexstar; and ZIGGY!

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Tin Pan Alley American Popular Music Project and The Madison Square Park Conservancy Holiday Tree Lighting



Did you know the first public Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the country’s history took place in Madison Square Park? Celebrate the 111th anniversary of the first holiday tree lighting, with MSPC, the park community and neighborhood partners on December 6th from 4 – 6 PM

Enjoy this free joyful event with a photo op, baked-goods, and live music performances by acapella group, New York Life Singers, from New York Life Insurance Company and featuring guest vocalist Gabrielle Lee with Broadway Pianist and Musical Director, Alvin Hough Jr. in partnership with the Tin Pan Alley American Popular Music Project.

Know before you go:

  • Giveaways while supplies last.
  • No stroller parking is available so please consider leaving strollers at home if possible.
  • Free and open to the public, no reservations are necessary.


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Events For December



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Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For December



Tis the season to be entertained. Here are picks:

92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 12/2 – 4: Lyrics & Lyricists In the Key of Life: The Genius of Stevie Wonder. Led by Broadway’s Darius de Haas; 12/5: Recanati-Kaplan Talks Death, Let Me Do My Show: Rachel Bloom in Conversation and 12/14: Sharon Stone and Jerry Saltz Talk About Art.

Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks and 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 12/11: Karen Mason for her annual Christmas show “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!”; 12/12 – 16 Stacy Kent; 12/18: James Barbour returns to Birdland with his annual Holiday Concert: 12/21 – 25: “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” starring Birdland regulars Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch and 12/28 – 31: Marilyn Maye.

Sutton Foster

Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 12/1 – 9: Sutton Foster; 12/12 – 16: Gavin DeGraw and 12/19 – 31: Michael Feinstein.

Michael W Smith and Amy Grant

Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 12/5: Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith; 12/6: Dee Dee Bridgewater with Sean Jones and the NYO Jazz All-Star Big Band; 12/13: Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet and 12/22 – 23: The New York Pops The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis

Steven Reineke by Michael Tammaro, Norm Lewis by Peter Hurley

Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 12/8: Mariann Meringolo and 12/9: A Christmas Special Robert Bannon.

Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St.

Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street.

The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas. 12/28: Lee Taylor

Christine Ebersole with Billy Stritch

54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 12/3: The Cast of Sweeney Todd, feat. Gaten Matarazzo, Maria Bilbao, & more! 12/4: Brandon Victor Dixon: Soul of Broadway; 12/5: We Love the Winter Weather: Songs of the Season with KT Sullivan, Stacy Sullivan, Jeff Harnar, & Todd Murray; 12/5 and 29: Christine Pedi: Snow Bizness; 12/8 – 10: The 13th Annual Joe Iconis Christmas Extravaganza, feat. Annie Golden & more!; 12/12 – 17: Christine Ebersole with Billy Stritch: I’ll Be Home For Christmas ; 12/19 – 20: Lisa Howard’s Holiday Special!; 12/21 – 23: A Very Countess Christmas with Luann de Lesseps; 12/24, 26 – 30: Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway: Yuletide Revelry! and 12/31: New Year’s Eve with Aaron Tveit!

The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 12/2: Sally Mayes; 12/11: Mamie Paris; 12/13: Danny Bacher and Dawn Derow.

José Feliciano

Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 12/22: José Feliciano

Theatre at the West Bank Café: 407 West 42 St. 9/28: Alison Angrim

The Triad: 158 W. 72 St. 12/2 and 5: White Christmas at the Triad: A Celebration of Irving Berlin;

The Town Hall:
 123 West 43rd Street. 12/18: The 43rd John Lennon Annual Tribute starring Graham Nash, who will receive the 2023 John Lennon Real Love Award and play some of his favorite John Lennon and Beatles classics. Nash will be joined by a stellar line-up including Rosanne Cash, Judy Collins, Marc Cohn and Bettye LaVette; 12/5: A Very Darren Crissmas Meet & Greet Experience and 12/22: Rufus and Martha Wainwright’s Nöel Nights.
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Christmas in Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and Kelly Clarkson



The Christmas in Rockefeller Center special will air on NBC and Peacock at 8 p.m. ET on November 29, 2023 with the iconic Christmas tree lighting taking place at the end of the special.

The 2023 Christmas in Rockefeller Center special will be hosted by Kelly Clarkson, who will also be performing. Clarkson recently moved her talk show from Los Angeles to New York, where it shoots in 30 Rock. That makes her an obvious host for the tree lighting as it will be glowing right outside her office. Clarkson announced the new gig on her show on October 26, 2023.

Look for Cher!, Chloe Bailey, Adam Blackstone, Keke Palmer, David Foster, Katharine McPhee, Liz Gillies, Darlene Love, Seth MacFarlane, Barry Manilow, Carly Pearce and Manuel Turizo.

The Christmas at Rockefeller Center special will be available to watch on the NBC app, on and on Peacock as well as NBC.

The tree is lit daily from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. On Christmas Day, it’s lit for a full 24 hours and on New Year’s, it stays lit from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m.



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