The Inaugural Relentless Musical Awards Is Happening February 27, 2023
The American Playwriting Foundation (David Bar Katz, Founding Artistic Director) and Building for the Arts (David J. Roberts, President) will present the inaugural Relentless Musical Award on Monday, February 27, 2023 at 8:00 pm at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd St, New York, NY 10036).The annual Relentless Award, created in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman, is presented this year to a musical submission in honor of Adam Schlesinger, an Academy & Tony-nominated and Emmy & Grammy-winning songwriter who passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. Schlesinger had served as an artistic advisor during the creation of the Relentless Award in 2015. In addition to the award presentation, the celebration will include a First Listen to songs from the winning and finalist musicals. Special guests, all collaborators of Schlesinger’s, will perform covers of a selection of his songs. The evening will conclude with a post-show reception. Special guests and speakers will be announced at a later date. Past Relentless Award Ceremony speakers have included Michael Stuhlbarg, Ethan Hawke, Ellen Burstyn, Billy Crudup, and Sam Rockwell. Building for the Arts President David J. Roberts said, “This is a thrilling opportunity for Building for the Arts to bring together two of its diverse programs, Theatre Row and the American Playwriting Foundation. We’re immensely proud to celebrate the Relentless Award’s first musical honorees in this pivotal moment for the American Playwriting Foundation as a new program of Building for the Arts and its mission as a hub for artistic connection and community-building.” The Relentless Musical Award will be presented to winners Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Laura Grill Jaye, professionally known as Grill and Chowder, for their new musical How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia. Songs will be presented from How the White Girl… and from finalist musicals Hills On Fire by Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden, Shoot for the Moon by David Gomez and John-Michael Lyles, and XY by Oliver Houser. As the creators of the winning submission, Grill and Chowder will receive $65,000, the largest cash prize in American theater presented to an unproduced work, as well as opportunities to have How the White Girl… developed at various theatrical institutions, including a series of staged readings at Theatre Row. The winner and finalists of the Relentless Musical Award were selected by a panel of judges including Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), Lynn Nottage (Clyde’s), Thomas Bradshaw (When They See Us), David Javerbaum (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”), Sam Hollander (“Ordinary Joe”), Brontez Purnell (100 Boyfriends) and Stephin Merrit (The Magnetic Fields). The Relentless Award selects finalists from several thousand submissions using blind evaluation, keeping the writers’ identities, gender, race, etc. completely anonymous throughout the process. Approximately 80% of Relentless Finalists have been women. A small number of tickets for the Celebration may be released to the public, pending availability. The Relentless Awards and the American Playwriting Foundation are a program of Building for the Arts. The American Playwriting Foundation, established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his relentless pursuit of truth in the theater, has presented the Relentless Award annually to a playwright in recognition of a new work. In its mere eight years, the Relentless Award has become the most impactful award in theater in terms of launching some of theater’s brightest new artists who are revitalizing the American stage: Obie Award-winner Aleshea Harris, whose plays have been produced non-stop since her Relentless win; Clare Barron, whose winning play Dance Nation went on to become a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize; Harrison David Rivers, whose play The Bandaged Place recently ran at Roundabout Theater Company; and Sarah DeLappe, whose play The Wolves has received over 500 productions. Building for the Arts (BFA) expands access to the performing arts by providing creative space, learning opportunities, and hubs for artistic connection. BFA’s signature projects – Theatre Row, Music and the Brain, and the American Playwriting Foundation– nurture artists, audiences, and youth with a focus on accessibility and inclusion.
The Mayor of Times Square Meets One of the World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivors
I arrived to a packed lecture room at a Library in South Florida. This lecture caught my eye weeks prior and I made sure to have it in my calendar. After all, how many more times will I get a chance to hear a 99 year old survivor tell his remarkable story of inconceivable hell, survival and ultimately impressive success? What I heard in the room that day was hard to fathom it wasn’t part of a Spielberg movie with some creative liberty thrown in to embellish an already unbelievable true story. This was the real deal. A vivid description of hell on earth. What I couldn’t understand is how did this survivor go on to create a vibrant family and a very successful business career and not be bitter every day of his life? Equally remarkable is how someone his age could tell a story from 85 years ago as if it happened yesterday and with energy and charisma of someone half his age. He spoke for 45 minutes without a break. Little did anyone in the audience know that, just prior to arriving at the Library, he fell and injured himself, making his perseverance in even making it to the Library even more heroic. This is no ordinary man. I approached the stage after the lecture, patiently awaited my turn to speak with him and asked if I could interview him for my podcast. I am pretty sure he knew little to nothing of what a podcast was, but he agreed as you are about to learn why telling his story over and over is his divine mission.
Sam Ron bears personal witness to the greatest atrocity in human history. He is one of the only remaining Holocaust Survivors his age who survived four concentration camps…and a Death March. He turns 99 in July. His story is remarkable…and he himself is equally as remarkable.
Here’s what you will learn when listening to this World Exclusive interview on The Motivation Show podcast:
-Where did Sam grow up and what was life like before the Germans invaded his country
-How life changed once the Germans invaded and how long did the changes take
-Why and when did Sam and his family decide to go into hiding and where did he hide
-How did Sam end up in the Krakow Ghetto, how was it different than the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, and what took place in the Ghetto
-When did Sam first realize that the Germans were not just transporting Jews to what they disguised as labor camps, but were actually killing them.
-How many times was Sam transported in cattle cars and what was that like
-Which concentration camps was Sam in & what were they like
-What was life like in the concentration camps and why did they move Sam around to different camps
-What is a Death March, why and how did that happen and how did Sam survive it
-What lessons should listeners take away from Sam’s experience
-What does Never Again mean to Sam and why is it so important for him to share this and other Holocaust lessons
You can listen to this interview on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3KBPe9jhTdYw1iA9UN7UiK WARNING: This interview is GUARANTEED to move you to tears!!!
Events In April Bring Easter, Spring and Flowers Galore.
Photograph: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.
Join the Judy Garland and Fred Astaire tradition with the Easter Bonnet Parade on Fifth Avenue. There is also the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden or right at home the flower show at Macy’s. On select Fridays every month, you can enjoy Free Admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum between 5 pm and 9 pm.
Until 4/9: Macy’s Flower Show. The show includes beautiful, bright floral arrangements, special events including live music, and kids’ activities.
until 4/23: This is The Orchid Show‘s 20th year. Reconnect with nature while experiencing the picture-perfect beauty of the orchids. On select nights, adults can experience the exhibition through Orchid Nights, with music, cash bars, and food available for purchase.
4/1-30: Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival, hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, celebrates Japanese culture and the arrival of spring. It features a variety of cultural performances and activities, as well as a small flea market, tea ceremonies, and crafts. The highlight is the magnificent display of cherry blossom trees, with over 200 trees in full bloom. Visitors can admire the pink and white blooms and enjoy a traditional Japanese atmosphere. Tickets are usually around $40 for adults, though seniors and students get a reduced rate of $35.
4/7-16th: The New York International Auto Show. The first new york Auto Show took place in 1900, for over 120 years now they have been sharing what’s new and interesting in the auto industry.
4/9: The Easter Parade starts near St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 10am. The tradition dates back to the 1870s, where elaborate bonnets and fashion galore is full frontal.
4/9: “Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time,” comes to MoMA.
4/15: The Tartan Day Parade is an NYC tradition that offers attendees a unique way to celebrate and honor Scottish culture. For the 25th year, there will be bagpipes, dancers, and even Scottish dogs marching in the parade. Attendance is free and open to the public. In addition to the parade, expect a whole week of Scottish-themed events and festivities.
4/15: Pillow Fight in the Park at Washington Square Park.
4/15: The New York Restoration Project is giving out 3,500 free trees to New Yorkers across all five boroughs. To get one of the 3,500 free trees that will be given away, register in advance on this website, where you’ll also get to browse through the current list of distribution dates, times and locations.
4/15 and 29: f the likes of udon, yakitori, ramen, and taiyaki make your mouth water, then mark your calendar for Japan Fes in Chelsea. The event will be held from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and is considered a paradise for Japanese foodies and cultural enthusiasts.
4/16: Holi in The City demands food, music, dance, and fun while embracing people and organizations from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
4/22: Earth Day celebrated in NYC with a festive, family-friendly outdoor fair in Union Square. There will be dozens of exhibitors, interactive displays, a green-vehicle show, family activities, music, and entertainment. 12-6pm.
4/27: Attend The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience
4/27- 30: Antiquarian Book Fair now in its 63rd year, this festival for book collectors at Park Avenue Armory for a full weekend of first editions, maps, manuscripts and other treasures from literary epochs past from nearly 200 exhibitors.
Inside The PR Brain
For PR-guru David Salidor, late-February proved to be as hectic a week in his 40+-year career as ever. With client Micky Dolenz in tow; Monday night was The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; Tuesday held four different interviews at SiriusXM; later that night was the premiere for actor Willem Dafoe’s new movie Inside; and, Wednesday held an early spot back at NBC for NY LIVE with host Sara Gore.
For the music industry veteran, it was the latest chapter in a career that was sealed back in 1967 at Long Island’s Lido Beach Club when he saw a new group, The Who: Says Salidor, “My father who worked for Decca Records asked if I wanted to accompany him and go see a new group the company had just signed. Believe it or not, it was The Who, playing around the club’s swimming pool. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; Keith Moon with day-glow drumsticks and Townshend literally destroying his guitar at the end of the set. For me, that was it, this business was for me.”
Salidor also worked for the legendary My Father’s Place club in Roslyn, New York, that launched everyone from Bruce Spingsteen, to Todd Rundgren and Hall & Oates. “If The Who whet my appetite, My Father’s Place solidified my journey,” Salidor adds.
His first job out of college (where he was music director the college-station) was for the much-missed London Records. “All of a sudden, I was working with the Rolling Stones and Moody Blues, Al Green and Gilbert O’Sullivan. I was the new kid in town, but learned about everything all at once. I was doing ad layouts, writing press releases and taking the artists to radio stations. It was a trial by fire for sure, but I loved it,” adds Salidor.
He went onto to work for other labels like Atlantic and the PR-firm the Howard Bloom Organization, which at the time was the hottest pr-firm in the country, with clients including Billy Joel; Prince; Genesis. Genesis stands out for him. “It was right when Peter Gabriel left the band and there was a tour which I went on. Imagine every night not only seeing a terrific show, but also a dazzling visual show. No question, they were the tops at that point,” he says.
He also formed a relationship with Tom Silverman – then running a very influential tip-sheet called Dance Music Report. He and Silverman, who was also his first and only partner for a spell, went onto create the New Music Seminar, which became a focal point for all the new labels and artists to network. Adds Salidor, “That first event was held at SIR Studios in NY and everyone who was anyone attended. It’s funny now to recall that we started it because we couldn’t get properly accredited for the Billboard Music Forum, which was then the featured industry event in the business; but really neglected the up-and-coming acts and labels.”
A two-year stint with indie ZE Records was also a fascinating run. “This was during the burgeoning new-wave/no-wave movement and I just loved it. Kid Creole & The Coconuts; Cristina; Material; Suicide ; james White and the Blacks and it introduced me to the The Mudd Club, which became an instant favorite.”
A life-long association with August Darnell and his Kid Creole & The Coconuts began as well. “August is without a doubt one of the most creative artists I’ve ever worked with, Totally unique.”
He decided to start his own firm in 1984. He adds, “I learned very quickly that working for someone else is a double-edge sword. If a good campaign happens, the head of the firm gets the credit; if the campaign doesn’t work, you get called on the carpet.”
His first success via his dis Company was with Profile Record’s Run-DMC. “Profile was an amazing label back then. Cory Robins was one of the premiere music guys and had a prescient nuance. Together we got Run-DMC on the cover of Rolling Stone and made them a major marquee attraction. They started the whole urban, hip-hop era. I know it was a long time ago, but they were the first along with Kurtis Blow. No question.”
The next big project to come his way was with a 15-year-old from Merrick, Long Island, named Debbie Gibson. “This was something I had never encountered before; a performer who wrote her own music; produced it and had just an engaging personality. Needless to say, she was a smash. Tours, videos, hit singles followed. Totally engaging and creative. I remember being in Bremen, Germany, when I sat with her at a piano and she played me her entire second album … that hadn’t even been recorded or released yet. Totally amazing talent,” adds Salidor.
Also, a life-long association with celebrity-scribe Mark Bego began. Called the “prince of pop bios” by Publisher’s Weekly. 62-books later, their relationship continues to this day. Bego will be releasing a bio on Joe Cocker later this year via Yorkshire Publishing – also a client.
Bego would go on to pen several books on Salidor’s clients; including Debbie Gibson and Madonna. Also, Bego wrote the authorized bio on Micky Dolenz (I’m A Believer) in 1993 and Salidor set up a launch party at NYC Hard Rock Cafe. That was the first time Salidor met Dolenz,which foreshadowed a Dolenz/Salidor PR-connection down the road.
He was also involved with Madonna in her early stages. “Madonna was always a star. You could just feel it. Repping her then boyfriend and producer John Benitez was key. She and I would constantly discuss pr and together we accomplished a lot. Signing her to Seymour Stein’s Sire was a major move for her.”
Salidor also recalls repping a number of prominent DJs turned producers as well, including Jim Burgess; Arthur Baker; Shep Pettibone and Mark Berry. Remembering, “It was an interesting time; people today forget the amazing contributions they made to music. Pettibone’s production and writing of ‘Vogue’ is still a gem to this day.”
Amid so much success, Salidor also recalls the low-points of a career. “When a client leaves after so much success, there’s certainly a mourning period, but it’s also part of the business. Loyalty is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but is not as evident as one would assume in this business. I just read where a major music personality personally delivered tour bonuses to his road crew. In all my years, I’ve never heard of something like that happening … never. Loyalty and professionalism are rare, rare traits.”
Gibson and Profile would eventually leave his purview; although he worked for Gibson on many of her other endeavors.
In 2004 Salidor met Micky Dolenz and they began working together. “No shade to former clients, but Micky is the most professional client we’ve ever had. Certainly, growing up in the family business, as I had, had everything to do with it. Last year Dolenz did a sit-down with CBS Morning’s Anthony Mason which was sensational. Mason, a fan, did a no-holds barred interviews that was universally embraced by not only Dolenz’s huge fanbase, but by other PR-persons as well, which is always an interesting development – having other experts compliment you!” Salidor recalls.
“When you set a campaign up, three things can happen. #1, everything goes well and it’s a smash. #2: It doesn’t go well, and, #3. It happens, but there’s no feedback. The reality is that sometimes, even bad feedback is good. It’s a funny business, but your reputation, contacts and experience is key.”
Regrets … he’s had a few: “There was a jazz/rock/fusion band that made some terrific records, on SONY of all places and though they had a #1 jazz album, they just did not get the respect that they should have had. I love jazz and watching them perform live was just great. The powers-that-be there had their own ideas, which weren’t at all realistic.”
And, “When Debbie Gibson was a hit, every parent that had a child who they thought could sing called us. 99% of them didn’t have it. Talent, success, know-how … it’s something that I’ve always been able to recognize. We’ve worked with several young female-singers, but they just didn’t have the right people in place. One from New Jersey had her father paying for everything, but doing exactly what he wanted and he just didn’t have any idea about the business. He installed solar heating panels!”
Continues Salidor, “Management is key and finding the right one is often not easy; there are a lot of people who profess to be a manger and they’re clearly not. Organizing a campaign is a lot of meticulous work; knowing what the client is capable of is key too. Being a PR-person is akin in some ways to being a closet-psychiatrist – you’ve got to know your limitations. That NYC-week with Micky Dolenz was prodigious because I knew exactly what would work and I knew how well he’d perform.”
Salidor is also currently repping involved writer Terry Jastrow (Anne Archer’s husband); Donnie Kehr’s Rockers on Broadway and writer C.W. Hanes.
What does Salidor see in his future. “Certainly, more of the same. Identifying the talent and trying to develop it to the point of releasing it in the most effective way. Many of my peers say the music business has changed and not for the better. I disagree as there are more opportunities for music and musical artists than ever before. bring it on!
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