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I Am Strong

6 Jun Dolly & The Grascals. Photographer: John Russell / CMA

MUSIC COMMUNITY GATHERS TO SUPPORT THE GRASCALS & DOLLY PARTON IN RAISING AWARENESS FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER

Lots of updates and changes are taking place behind the scenes of my website which is why I started doing this blog – to update what I can’t update while my wonky webpage is being worked out.  Wow!  I loves me my run-on sentences!  Several months ago, I added a video clip to my “That’s Kentertainment!” website entitled, “I Am Strong” featuring the bluegrass group The Grascals and the guest talents of Dolly Parton.  I first became aware of the immensely-talented Grascals when they were members of Dolly’s band on previous tours, and then opened up for Dolly in various cities, like here in NYC at Radio City Music Hall.

Dolly & The Grascals. Photographer: John Russell / CMA

Here’s a bit of the background behind the song:

“I AM STRONG,” was written by Grascals’ band member Jamie Johnson and his wife Susanne Mumpower-Johnson along with Jenee Fleenor after The Grascals visited the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in Memphis and were inspired by the stories and power of the children being treated there. “I Am Strong” is powerful in its message and artistic vision and brings together vocals from all of the artists who also appear separately with The Grascals on other tracks on this CD.

You wonder where I get it from? Dad's Bday June 4, 2010

This track truly resonates with me as my Dad, Otto “Dutch” Kleiber, passed away from pancreatic cancer about a month before this song was released.  Though it was, and is, a terrible blow to my family and myself (and all those who loved my Dad) he was at least able to live a rather full life.  We can only pray that many of the children at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital get that chance as well, and buying this CD and/or making a donation separately can help these kids live the kind of lives which many seem to take for granted.  My Dad’s birthday would have been June 4th (HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!) so in honor of him (and my Mom, whose birthday is today- June 6th…HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!) and all those affected by cancer (patients and families alike) I am reposting this clip and hoping you’ll donate in any way possible.  Remember, every little bit adds up!

From the press notes:  Two versions of “I AM STRONG” have been recorded. Version 1 (above) includes award-winning, Grammy-nominated group, The Grascals, with special guest Dolly Parton.  Version 2 includes The Grascals, Dolly Parton, Randy Owen, Joe Nichols, Darryl Worley, Terri Clark, Charlie Daniels, Tom T. Hall, The Oak Ridge Boys and Steven Seagal.  The music video was directed by cancer survivor David Corlew of d. corlew films.

In honor of the children and this song, Cracker Barrel is donating a percentage of the proceeds from this CD to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  The album, The Grascals & Friends – Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin, has 13 country music songs on it that you have probably heard before, but most likely not like this.  The Grascals bring their own bluegrass style to the tunes and bring the different tracks to life with eight of their friends, including Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels and Dolly Parton.  The Grascals & Friends – Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin is available exclusively at all Cracker Barrel locations.

Link to St. Jude Children's Hospital

Link to info on The Grascals

Link to Cracker Barrel Stores

Audio Interview: “The Other Steve & Edie” visit “The Kentertainment Report”!

4 Feb Ken with Edie Falco & Stephen Wallem.

Wednesdays at 12:15pm you can usually find me at the Sirius/XM Radio Studios in Midtown Manhattan doing my (mostly)-weekly “Kentertainment Report”.  This takes place during “The Frank DeCaro Show“, which is hosted by comedian/author/host Frank DeCaro (natch) and his ever-suffering sidekick (and producer) Doria Biddle.  Here’s a picture of us at the Sirius/XM Studios in West Hollywood, CA., taken August 8, 2007- the first day I met Doria in person.

Doria, Frank & Ken, together again…for the first time. And not in that order.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I generally dish on the latest Broadway, theatre and showbiz happenings around the US and environs, but also am lucky enough to interview special guests (recently folks like Donna McKechnie, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Sieber, etc.).  This Wednesday Frank and Doria celebrated 7 years together on the air, and as an anniversary gift, I brought in a couple of fantabulous talents as a surprise: Stephen Wallem and Edie Falco (both currently in Showtime’s NURSE JACKIE) a.k.a “The Other Steve and Edie”.  How’s that for a title?  I LOVE THAT THEY THOUGHT THAT UP!  And they even have a few upcoming cabaret dates to show it off.

The Other Steve and Edie. How clever is that?!

 
They will be performing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC this weekend, February 4, 5 & 6.  (I hear that all the shows are now currently sold-out but there is a waiting-list.)  When asked what the audience could expect, they were mostly mum on the merriment (Edie: “I’m not saying…partially because I really don’t know…We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do on Friday!”) but the Laurie Beechman website has this description:  The Other Steve and Edie is conceived by Mr. Wallem and Ms. Falco, with musical direction by three-time After Dark Award winner, Beckie Menzie and Direction by Tony Humrichouser. Throughout the show, the duo will take on songs from contemporary pop to jazz standards, with a healthy dose of show tunes and original material, and even a salute to the other Steve and Eydie.   Sounds good to me! 
                                          
I first met Stephen years ago when we both lived in Chicago and he was performing in his highly-acclaimed show, “Off the Wallem” (how ’bout that guy and his killer titles?!!) and Edie I know as much (or even more) for her stunning theatre work (SIDE MAN, FRANKIE & JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE, ‘NIGHT MOTHER, etc.) as I do for her award-winning TV work (SOPRANOS, NURSE JACKIE, etc.).  These two are so sweet, immensely-talented and overall good sports…this interview came together at the last minute and Steve and Edie were game enough to come out in the slushy snow, run around the various floors of the studio building, check and re-check in with security (none of whom at that time knew me as I’m usually on an hour earlier which made Edie jokingly [?] wonder if I actually did a radio segment there) and were barely settled into their chairs when they found themselves live on the air.  I found it all to be a hoot and they did too.  Back in Chicago, the wonderful actor Charles Durning told me that the most talented people in showbiz are also the nicest and most down-to-earth because they have nothing to prove and nothing to hide…their talent speaks for them.  I have always remembered this and it has always proven to be true…and this case is no exception.  I hope you enjoy the interview.  Below is a link to the audio track with some pictures thrown in (in case you like your audio a little more “visual”).

 

Ken with Edie Falco & Stephen Wallem.

City Center (sans Encores!)

18 Jan

The other day I posted a blog entitled, “Vegasish” where I promised to post some pix from my recent stay in the Las Vegas area.  Since the only person who knew about this blog at that time was my friend Mary (and she was with me when I took the pix) I figured there wasn’t a rush to get them out there since, well, who needs another forced deja vu.  In any case, here are some of the pictures I took with my trusty phone.  First up, City Center, the new 16,797,000-square-foot complex complete with pool, shopping, dining,  nightclub, Aria Casino, the Cirque du Soleil “Viva Elvis” show, apartments, etc. that cost approx. $11-billion bucks and sits on 76 ACRES!!  This is not to be confused with the New York “City Center Encores” concert series that now costs close to $11-billion bucks for a yearly subscription and sits on 56th Street.

76 acres! Cripes!

Wacky Typewriter Eraser Sculpture-Thingy

Slightly Curved

Look! There's Elvis! And an escalator! An Elviscalator?

Next up is The Cosmopolitan, the $3.9 billion “luxury resort casino and hotel” at which I could never afford to stay.  I wish I could because I’d love to see all the random animals running around the joint as witnessed in their rather stylish TV promo.  The place is outrageously chi chi (not to be confused with the Chi Chi’s Mexican Restaurant chain that now only exists overseas. Darn Hepatitis A!  And did you know that Chi Chi is Mexican slang for boobies ?  Some restaurant entrepreneur had a wacky sense of humor!).

How Cosmopolitan!

Swanky!

Nightclub or Star Wars battleship?

The Cosmopolitan also has this uber-upscale pool that overlooks the Strip.

Anyone for pool?

My friend Mary figured they must have left this part of the hotel open to “show off” as the place is pretty new, and once things get settled-in, we’ll likely never be allowed to set foot in there again.

Poolio!

In fact, as we walked around, we kept seeing Security Guards (a.k.a. Models) who we were certain were ready to evict us from the premises since we left our Model Cards at home.  Nearly everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was dressed to the hilt in swanky couture and 7-in. heels.  And you should have seen the ladies!  The place seemed to be crawling with the kind of rich socialites you’d see on some Bravo reality show, only without the hair-extension pulling (in all fairness, it was still early).  Even as we first entered into City Center, a chiseled greeter was handing out some sort of card advertising the nightclub but took one look at us in our jeans and casual attire and decided that we were suddenly see-through.  It was pretty hilarious.  In fact, it was so hilarious I found myself stepping all over his Berluti’s.  Thank goodness we were invisible so he didn’t know who did it.

All-in-all, City Center and Cosmopolitan Towers is très chic (not to be confused with Trey Songz or even Trey Lorenz …what’s he been up to lately?) and next time I’ll be bringing you some highlights of the shopping gallery and the Las Vegas Serendipity 3 where the menu actually tops the NYC menu!  (There was a topping joke I was going to make here butt…never mind.).

;)

I’m a-scared of Bonnie Raitt

14 Jan

OK, I’m not really a-scared of Bonnie Raitt.  I rather enjoy Bonnie Raitt, and not in a horror-flick kind-of-way.  But I was reminiscing with my friend Ashley tonight about the time I was in East Tennessee with my friends Angie & Susan.  We decided to visit the Forbidden Caverns located in Sevierville, TN which is Dolly Parton‘s childhood neck-of-the-woods and not too far from Dollywood.

Dolly's neck

We were getting ready to start our tour when we overheard two tour guides chatting.  One of the guides mentioned that he would often run into Dolly around town.  The other tour guide, who was a fella in his early twenties, volunteered, “‘I’d have no problem meeting Dolly Parton but if I ever ran into Bonnie Raitt I’d be so a-scared I’d probably scream mah head off, hitch-up and run in the other direction!”  Well, Susan, Angie and I thought that the notion of somebody being terrified of Bonnie Raitt was just hysterical and we did the best we could to contain our laughter, but, well, we were in a cavern, so the sound traveled rather easily and loudly.  Now every time Bonnie Raitt comes to mind, I also think of that poor guy.  I thought it might be fun to find a life-size cut-out of Ms. Raitt and return to the caverns to terrorize him, howling, “Bonnie’s gonna cut ya!”  but he really was a nice tour guide.

This got me to thinking about what Bonnie Raitt might look like these days.  I imagine she would not be the kind of gal who would go in for all sorts of fillers and plastic surgery, and that possibly her natural-aging might just be what scared the guy (since it seems every celeb of a certain age has been tinkered with).  So, I found a pic of what appears to be of her latest press photos.

I ain't a-scared-a no Bonnie Raitt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She looks amazing!  No fear here.  In fact, she looks younger than she did in 1971.

Bonnie Raitt's gonna cut ya!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever she’s doing, it’s fantastic.  Besides photoshopping, it must be mostly natural since us redheads with fair skin don’t fare too well with cosmetic procedures (scarring, etc.) so hopefully I’ll meet Ms. Raitt one day, check behind her ears and find out her secrets.

You know, there’s really no point to this post other than for today it gave me something to talk about (I know, I know…have a heart! It’s just a blog- not a love letter!  Besides, I can’t make you love me if you don’t…however, I am ready for the thing called love.  I’m not the only one!  And you never know when love will come sneakin’ up on you!).

OK, OK.  I’m done.  Just in the nick of time.

:)

Vegasish

11 Jan

Armed with my Mom’s laptop and my friend Mary‘s suggestion that I do a little blogging, I come to you (and by “you” I mean Mary, since no one else knows I’m beginning to post blogs) from Henderson, just outside Las Vegas.  I took a bunch of pix the other night when Mary and I ran around the new City Center and Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino on The Strip and made a bunch of cracks along the way (the joking kind of cracks…I promise you we didn’t dent the $11-billion CC or the $3.9-billion CRC).  Since I have yet to upload the pix from my phone (didn’t think to bring my actual camera) I’ll instead post this pic that I took a few weeks ago and has made me giggle ever since.

What were they thinking?  Apparently not what I was thinking.  But then again, I’m always thinking poop.

More later.  I promise I’ll get the crap up rapidly.  :)

Ken

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