Sep04

Glynn Washington Set For Live Show In L.A.

Glynn Washington, host and creator of hit NPR radio show Snap Judgment, is coming to L.A. for a night of “live compelling stories mixed with raw tales and killer tunes.”

“L.A has been the most supportive audience,” he said. “This is going to be the biggest show we have ever done.”

The one of a kind show, Snap Judgment Live will take place at the Nokia Theatre on October 12th at 8pm.

Since it’s launch in July 2010, Snap Judgment has become the first big public-radio hit since 2002. According to Atlantic Magazine, it can be heard on 250 stations, reaching nine of the top 10 public-radio markets and its podcast is downloaded more than half a million times a month.

“A lot of my own strength as a storyteller comes from the fact that I get bored so easily,” says Washington, who brings guests on his show to share intimate and personal details in which they made a snap decision. “I want to really push the envelope and find out new ways.”

The community activist, educator, musician, and poet refers to the Oakland-based show’s diversity as a “type of cultural anthropology.”

“We have to deal with a lot of different cultures. And there’s an aspect of our country that doesn’t just tolerate that, but they embrace it.”

A native of Michigan, the father of two was raised on a rural farm and grew up in a sect.

“It was my parents decision to join an apocalyptic cult,” he tells L.A. Focus. “You basically believe that Jesus is gonna be here any minute.”

“When Jesus does not show up—the storytelling that is necessary to keep the group together is pretty intense. I studied at the feet of masters of storytelling,” says Washington, who escaped the cult to study in Japan and then law school at the University of Michigan.

As for his future endeavors, Washington likens his show to Burger King. “We want to serve it up your way.”

He describes film, novels, creative non-fiction, and television as different mediums Snap Judgment might pursue.

“We’re excited to give people stories in the medium that they best want to digest them.”

To purchase tickets to the live show visit www.nokiatheatrelalive.com. Tickets. Or tune in to 89.3 Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 3pm to listen.

Sep04

Tina Turner ‘tired of singing and dancing’

During an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter, 73-year-old legendary performer Tina Turner opened up about her recent wedding and iconic career.

Turner made headlines last month when she married her partner of more than 25 years, German music producer Erwin Bach. The lavish wedding took place at their home in Switzerland, with more than 120 guests, including Oprah.

The most shocking revelation during the interview came when Turner talked about her farewell tour in 2009, and confessed that she was “tired of singing and dancing.”

“It’s work,” Turner said. “The body had started to react on working on high blood pressure. I was taking medication, which pulled me back. I couldn’t get into that second gear to fly. I couldn’t hit my notes… I really wanted to hit those notes, and I had to fake it somehow.”

Turner did not rule out a return to the stage, but doesn’t think her fans would accept a toned down version of her routines, as she ages

“I don’t think they would accept me standing in a wonderful gown singing. That’s not me.”

­Denzel Washingtons To Lead Broadway Revival of ‘Raisin in the Sun’
The supporting cast has been set for the revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin In The Sun, starring Denzel Washington and Diahann Carroll, who is making her first Broadway appearance in 30 years.

Added to the cast are David Cromer, Tony-winner Anika Noni Rose and more.

According to Deadline.com, a  Sept. 21 on-sale date is set for tickets to the 14-week limited engagement, which opens April 3, 2014 at the Barrymore Theatre—where the original production opened in 1959, which will be 55 years ago when the revival opens.

Set on Chicago’s South Side, A Raisin In The Sun revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family.

Sep04

Tamela Mann, Tosha Cobbs Lead In GMA Nominations

Nominations for the 44th Annual Dove Awards were announced last month and Lecrae, Tamela Mann and newcomer Tosha Cobbs were among the artists who scored big.

Cobbs was nominated in five top award categories for her hit praise and worship anthem, “Break Every Chain” and her Top 5 Billboard album, Grace.  Nominations include New Artist of the Year, Gospel Performance of the Year, Contemporary Gospel/Urban Song of the Year, and Contemporary Gospel/Urban Album of the Year (Grace).

Tamela Mann also pocketed five nominations including Gospel Performance of the Year and Artist of the Year, where those she will go up against include Toby Mac and Lecrae.

Another multiple nominee, Lecrae also received nods for Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year, Rap/Hip Hop Album.  Charles Jenkins and his Fellowship Choir garnered three nominations, including Gospel Performance of the Year for his smash hit, “Awesome”. John P. Kee, Israel Houghton, and Isaac Carree earned two nominations each.

"The Doves recognize the best of the best -- in all genres of Gospel music, celebrating talent, ministry and outstanding performances,” said Gospel Music Association Executive Director Jackie Patillo. “The excitement and energy of the Dove Awards show is something we all look forward to -- and this year will prove to be better than ever."

The awards take place on October 15 in Nashville and will be broadcast on the UP! Television Network on October 21.

Fred Hammond Makes Off Broadway Debut
Award-winning gospel recording artist Fred Hammond made his Off Broadway theatrical debut performance last month in JD Lawrence’s Cain & Able. Inspired by actual events, Cain & Able is the story of two brothers, the arrogant and tenacious Cain and the modest Able (Hammond), who are left their father’s fortune.

However, after Cain blows his half of the fortune on bad business deals, including a million dollar wedding, he sets his sights on his younger brother’s share. With time and money on short supply, Cain finds himself backed up against the wall and forced to consider drastic measures; even if it means taking his own brothers life. Hammond not only starred in the production but is credited with writing the lyrics and music, while also producing the play with Lawrence.

Speaking of Donald Lawrence, the Grammy-award winning gospel artist, songwriter and producer, the cover of Volume 1 of his new 20th Anniversary album showcases the clothing designs of Phineas Cole for Paul Stuart. This marks the first time Stuart has collaborated with a gospel artist.  Due out on September 24th, Best for Last is a celebration of Lawrence’s more than two decades of success in the music industry. Recorded live at Living Word Christian Center in Chicago, Best for Last features guest vocals from Karen Clark Sheard, Natalie Grant, Kierra Sheard, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Faith Evans, Lalah Hathaway, Coco (from SWV), Kelly Price, Bishop Hezekiah WalkerTed & Sheri and The Company on new songs and some of his biggest hits as well.

Briefly: Grammy-nominated gospel recording artist Dottie Peoples was honored by the City of Atlanta last month with the Phoenix Award, which is the highest honor an individual or group can receive from the Mayor of Atlanta, recognizing outstanding achievements and service to the city, state, nation or world. "I am thrilled to be honored by the Mayor's Office and City Council of Atlanta, and I continue thanking the Lord for His many blessings," said Dottie. "Praise In The Park is always an incredible event to be a part of, and I want to thank Radio One for their continued love and support of my music." Peoples is currently promoting her new CD, I Got This - Live!

Aug06

Back By Popular Demand: Don B. Welch’s ‘Bachelor Party’

Singer turned writer and director Don B. Welch is bringing back his acclaimed stage play The Bachelor Party to Los Angeles with a star-studded cast.

Starring Grammy nominated singer Kenny Lattimore, Young and the Restless’s Darius McCrary, Dreamgirls’ Keith Robinson as the bachelor party pals and 8-time Grammy nominated R&B artist Ledisi, leads as Lance’s son-to-be wife.

“People kept asking for it,” sais Don. B. Welch who hadn't brought ‘The Bachelor Party’ since 2009. “It’s always an audience favorite when it comes back to Los Angeles.”“And I’m excited because I’m loving this particular cast, the actors come from different areas—television, film, stage and music. It all comes together.”

In what Welch describes as one of his “favorite” productions, a harmless night of fun brings drama, laughs, and secrets to the surface. “It’s a universal story,” he says. “It doesn’t matter whether you have an African American cast, a Hispanic cast, a white cast, an Asian cast, the story’s the same—it’s about a guy who decides to get married and his buddies decide to throw a bachelor party for him.”

“It is real. This is a real play,” adds Flex Alexander (Sister, Sister, Snakes on a Plane, CSI: Miami, The Hills Have Eyes 2), who plays the leading role as the bachelor, Lance. “A lot of people go to Don’s plays looking for family fun, and this play has that, but this is also real to the core.”

“If you can walk away and relate to one of the characters, we’ve done our job,” Flex says. “All of the characters have a lot of levels.”

The Bachelor Party opens at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on August 23rd. Tickets are on sale now and available through Ticketmaster.

Aug06

Hollywood Buzz

Fruitvale’ Director & Star To Reunite for ‘Rocky’ spin-off

Actor Michael B. Jordan and first-time director Ryan Coogler are having their best year ever, so far, thanks to the critically-acclaimed Oscar Grant biopic ‘Fruitvale Station’.

Recently, news broke out that Coogler is in negotiations with MGM to direct Jordan in the film ‘Creed’, a spin-off of the wildly successful Rocky franchise.

According to Deadline.com, Jordan will star as the grandson of legendary Rocky Balboa opponent and friend Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers in the original Rocky).

Sylvester Stallone, who created the Creed character and wrote all of the original Rocky films, may also come on board to reprise his most memorable role, this time as a trainer and mentor to Jordan’s character.

“The new Creed character has been “raised in an upper-crust home thanks to the ring riches earned by his grandfather… he has the natural instinct and gifts and potential that made his grandfather the heavyweight champion until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979′s Rocky II. Creed’s grandson needs a mentor and turns to Balboa, who is out of boxing completely and not eager to return,” reads a

Pitched by Coogler, Stallone reportedly “loved” the concept.

Oprah Tops Forbes’ Celebrity 100
Forbes has released their 14th Annual Celebrity 100 list with Oprah ranking No. 1 of the world’s most powerful celebrities. The queen of entertainment reclaimed her throne after placing second for two consecutive years. Pop queen Lady Gaga made it to No. 2, thanks partly to her massive social media presence, which moved her up from the fifth spot last year, followed by director Steven Spielberg (No. 3) and Beyoncé (No. 4).  Madonna (No. 5) is a returnee to the list, rounding out the top five. JLo ranks No. 12 with  pop princess Rihanna (pictured above) placing No. 13. Tiger Woods and LeBron James come in at No. 15 and No. 16 and Tyler Perry and Kobe Bryant fall at No. 22  and No. 24.

Subsequently, Forbes also published their list of Highest Paid Actors. With an estimated networth of $75 million Robert Downey Jr placed No. 1. Channing Tatum has come a long way and at, $60 million, placed second. Hugh Jackman came in at No. 3 ($55 million), No. 4, Mark Wahlberg ($52 million) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rounds out the top 5 with $46 million. Our favorite, Denzel Washington worth $33 million, ranks No. 9.

Briefly, Newlywed Kerry Washington, who held a top secret wedding to San Francisco 49ers cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha last month in Idaho, became the first African American woman to earn a Best Actress Emmy nomination in 18 years … Don Cheadle and Alfre Woodard also received Emmy nods … Chris Brown donates 1,000 sneakers to kids in Compton.

Aug06

ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ Wants to Cast More Minority Businesses

Network executives and producer Mark Burnett of One Three Media, have announced they are looking for minority and women-owned businesses to appear on the next season of “Shark Tank”. Producers will hold an open call at the Kingonomics Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Investment Conference in Washington D.C. on Friday, August 23.

“Now thousands of minority and women entrepreneurs will have the chance to audition for ABC’s Shark Tank, providing an opportunity for them to gain the much needed capital for growing their businesses,” an conference organizer said.

“Shark Tank,” which averages close to 7 million views, features a panel of potential investors called “sharks” (such as the billionaire founder of FUBU Daymond John), who review offers from aspiring entrepreneurs seeking investments for their business or product.
For more information about the conference and casting call, visit www.mlk50mow.com

Applications Open for the 2014 Disney Dreamers Academy

Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine is now accepting applications for its next installment, which will take place March 6—9 in Florida.

U.S. high school students ages 13-19 are encouraged to apply to attend this innovative educational and mentoring program at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida where they will engage in life-changing sessions and enjoy Disney’s theme parks.

Each year, 100 students and a parent or guardian receive an all-expense-paid trip where they participate in hands-on, full-immersion workshops related to career paths ranging from animation to zoology and learn important skills such as communication techniques and networking stategies.

“Disney Dreamers Academy gives hope and inspiration and exposes youth to a world of possibilities”, said Steve Harvey.  “We are excited about another opportunity to transform lives and give students an inside look at what their future can hold.”

To apply, visit www.disneydreamersacademy.com now through October 31, 2013.

First Ladies High Tea
November will mark the 20th Anniversary of our Annual First Ladies High Tea, honoring the contributions of female leaders and women of faith to the Los Angeles community. For more information, visit www.firstladieshightea.com
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