rooting for…the underdog

America's Got Talent

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I’ve been catching glimpses of America’s Got Talent in between getting chores done, like ironing clothes that had been sitting on top of the dryer for ages. And I’ve been tidying up the kitchen, here and there as well. What brought me to my laptop was something Piers Morgan said to one of the contestants, a Black girl of 12, Monet who sang the song “Home.” She and her family are homeless, having lost everything in a hurricane. Morgan correctly, I thought, advised Monet that unlike a former contestant who finished as a runner-up a year or so ago, Jackie Evancho, Monet needed a few more years to grow into a more mature singer. To which she replied, that if she made it to the next level, she would show him that she was already there.

Earlier in the show, another singer, a Black man in his 30s, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., was acclaimed by the 3 judges, Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan, as being the real deal…a star. While I agree that Landau has all the makings of the next Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra, I kept thinking that someone needed to help groom the singer into the next biggest thing. A car washer in his hometown of West Virginia before garnering a spot on America’s Got Talent, it would be a great loss to music if Landau’s natural ability was not developed, and that he disappeared back from where he came… oblivion.

Nine-year-old Jackie Evancho deserves the fame she is now enjoying. She is a phenomenon. But what I couldn’t help thinking is that she lives a wonderful life with doting parents and loving siblings in middle-class suburbia. And she’s a trained singer, having had a coach, before she ventured onto the stage on Amerca’s Got Talent. Compare her background with those of Monet and Landau. Obviously the playing field is anything but level.

Life is what it is…but we have to cheer the underdog who has to make it to the finish line pretty much on his or her own. So I am rooting for Monet and Landau, that life gives them a handup as a result of their worldwide exposure on America’s Got Talent.

reality shows offer hope to some…and helps them…help themselves   …hugmamma.

Portrait of Nat King Cole, New York, N.Y.

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this generation…”the voice”

If, like me, you feel totally disconnected from ” whassup?” with this generation, I highly recommend you start watching the latest, reality talent phenom, The Voice. It airs Tuesday nights on NBC. The first in the series ended last night with one of four challengers being hailed as “the voice,” in addition to walking away with $100,000 and a recording contract.

Trust me when I say, I knew very few, if any, of the songs that were sung throughout the course of the competition. Every once-in-awhile I recognized a piece of something from having heard it on my car radio, as I ran errands. Fortunately I love music with a beat, or tunes that have heart. I can be-bop to almost anything. I love singing; I love dancing.

Christina Aguilera performing during the Sanre...

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Of the 4 judges, who also coached the challengers, I’d only heard of Christina Aguilera. And it was only recently when I saw her starring with Cher in a film, that I became a huge fan of the blonde songstress. She is one amazing vocalist! But as I tuned in faithfully to watch The Voice each week, I became a huge fan of Blake Shelton, country crooner, and Adam Levine, pop rocker, who served on the panel with Aguilera. I’m still not familiar with Shelton’s songs, can only recognize a couple by Levine, and am well acquainted with only one by Aguilera, Beautiful.” Knowing who they are now, still doesn’t give me entree… into this generation. But at least I can step up to the peep hole and be a “peeping tom” into what makes the young folk tick.

Adam Levine from Maroon 5

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Adding to my credibility as an honorary member of this generation, is the fact that I’m the one who got my 25-year-old, professional dancer daughter hooked on The Voice. Like me she really wasn’t committed to watching any of the other talent shows. But The Voice definitely persuaded us to delay our phone conversations until we’d both watched it in our own time zones. Now that’s saying something!

I heartily encourage seniors and anyone wanting to “get with it” to watch the next season of The Voice. By the way, the talent crosses all generations. One of the TV audience favorites was a 42-year-old, bald, Lesbian, with tatoos, who got the studio audience on their feet, moving to her powerhouse vocals. Beverly McLellan could belt it out with the best of them. She was one of my favorites.

Blake Shelton - 1

Image by tncountryfan via Flickr

While I liked many of the singers, my favorite was Dia Frampton. Coached by Blake Shelton, she succeeded in coming into her own as a performer, right before our eyes. Though still shy and exceedingly humble, Dia showed her creative genius for songwriting, versatility at playing the piano and guitar, and exquisitely different tonal quality which ranged from barely audible and raspy, to scintillatingly explosive. It didn’t hurt that she was Miss U.S.A. caliber either. While she wasn’t voted the winner by America, Dia wasn’t far behind. Only 2% separated her from Javier Colon, the guy who already had “the voice,” even before he joined the show.

I don’t think there was a doubt in anyone’s mind that Javier should’ve walked away with
the grand prize. Evidently he’d had a couple of non-starters at a musical career. With the unfailing love and support of his wife and 2 young daughters, as well as other family members, Javier continued to search for his breakthrough moment. Luckily for him, and for music afficionados, he found his way to The Voice, and a win he very much deserved.

Dia Frampton

Following YouTube videos are of Dia Frampton singing “Heartless,” Dia and Blake Shelton singing I Won’t Back Down,” and Javier Colon singing “Stitch by Stitch.” Hopefully these videos will convince you to tune into season two of “The Voice.”

…celebrating the voices…of this generation…hugmamma.

 

for sure, outrageous fun!!!

Teatro Zinzanni, a cabaret dinner theater acro...

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Found a YouTube video ofTeatro ZinZanni that I wanted to share with you. As much as I tried to explain its spectacular brand of zaniness in conjunction with great performances by amazing professionals, topped off by tasty eats, I know I didn’t do it justice. You have to see it to believe it. So enjoy an appetizer of the real thing.

Madames e mesieurs (my French?)………………….welcome to Teatro ZinZanni

…hmmm…i may be going again soon…hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: invite

This is a fun challenge, although it’s not always easy to come up with the perfect photo for the “word-du-jour.” But it’s great trying. So if you’d like to join the fun, check out the details on the blog, my life in photos: 365 challenge. She’s always got great stories to go with her pictures.

Teatro Zinzannia blend of Cirque du Soleil and Broadway, fulfills its promise of a night to remember. The fast-paced spectacle caters to adults because of its bawdy humor, but I find it no more objectionable than films that are rated PG-13. When we’ve gone, the master-of-ceremonies, different each time, has embarked on a classy, but definitely gay, modus operandi. God help the men in the audience! They’re easy pickings for some good, old-fashioned, tongue-in-cheek humor. Throughout the show those who have involuntarily “volunteered,” find themselves the center of attention. Women needn’t hold their breaths nor keep their eyes averted, for they’re rarely called upon to make a special appearance. While I’ve relaxed completely, my husband has tried to appear invisible, sitting back into the shadows of our booth. But it’s all in good fun, and nobody is maimed in the delivery of a great show.

Duffy Bishop belts out the music in "Radio Free Starlight" at Teatro ZinZanni. The costumes are gorgeous, colorful, whimsical, over-the-top! Audience members are welcome to dress up as well. In fact, the gift shop is equipped to accessorize those who want feather boas to drape around their necks, or glittering masks behind which to take refuge, or stylized hats to add the finishing touch to a woman’s “crowning glory.” Baubles glitter within glass cases, perhaps a ring for each finger, or bangles that swath the length of one’s forearm, or a tie awash in crystals to accent a simple, black dress.

The minute I step inside the front door of Teatro Zinzanni, I find myself whisked back to a time when an evening out included dark, velvet curtains, a glass of bubbly, an underlying excitement barely contained, eyes darting everywhere soaking up the circus-like atmosphere, women dressed for the occasion, men minding their p’s and q’s, performers mingling, heightening everyone’s expectations of a fantastic evening.

And by the way, a wonderful dinner of several courses is part of the act. The night’s entertainment unfolds around the appetizer, the soup, the salad, the entree and the dessert. What an imaginative way to help the digestive process. I’ve heard that laughter is good for the waistline. Believe me you’ll be skinnier at the end of the evening, what with all your belly-laughing.

So for an uproarious good time………………………………………..you’re invited      

and tell them………………………………………………………..hugmamma sent you!!! 

“lemon tree,” a folk song

While puttering around, I listened to folk songs on the PBS station on TV.  Wow! Did that bring back some great memories. Had me humming along in some cases. Here’s one song that got me reminiscing. You don’t have to hum though, I’ve added the lyrics below the video. “Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.” La, la, la, la la la la…

When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me,
“Come here and take a lesson from the lovely lemon tree.”
“Don’t put your faith in love, my boy”, my father said to me,
“I fear you’ll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree.”

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

One day beneath the lemon tree, my love and I did lie
A girl so sweet that when she smiled the stars rose in the sky.
We passed that summer lost in love beneath the lemon tree
The music of her laughter hid my father’s words from me:

Lemon tree flower in Vietnam

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Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

One day she left without a word. She took away the sun.
And in the dark she left behind, I knew what she had done.
She’d left me for another, it’s a common tale but true.
A sadder man but wiser now I sing these words to you:

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

did you sing along?…hugmamma.

short films, michael jackson’s

Below my blog’s photo header is a new “page” entitled “mj’s short films.” Because readers often overlook the pages, I’m including this post to alert you to the new addition, in the hopes that you’ll have a “look-see.” I’ve recopied the text below, and included a few of the youtube videos…to entice you. You can view more on the page “mj’s short films.”

Michael Jackson invented music videos as we know them today. It is a well published fact that he catapulted MTV into television’s stratosphere with his creations, best known among them, THRILLER. Not only a stroke of genius, but also of magic! Thriller went “outside the box” in its storytelling, its costuming, its haunting lyric and MJ’s unforgettable moves. He went on to create numerous other short story videos, some of which have rarely been seen by the general public, among them, Speed Demon and Captain EO. As you scroll through the youtube videos below, these 2 will appear towards the end. 

Captain EO  was a collaboration with Walt Disney Studios. It had been in place at Disneyland from 1986 through the 1990s. With Michael’s passing, Captain EO has been restored to Disney’s amusement parks. I’ve visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California, numerous times. But my family and I have never ventured to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. Captain EO may just be the excuse I’ve been looking for “a ticket to ride.” I may have finally found the fountain of youth at age 61. As they say, “it’s never too late.”

As with my other page “boogying with mj,” I wanted to extract my favorite short films from the vast intergalactic space known as the internet, for my personal viewing pleasure as the spirit moves me. This is so much easier than having to click endlessly through files and files of videos, to discover the ones I most like. I hope some of you will derive enjoyment from them as well. If you do, you might check back to see if I’ve added others to my personal catalogue.  

Remember, there are more to view on the “page,” entitled “mj’s short films,” under the photo header at the top of my blog.

i’m hoping you’ll boogy on down with michael…and me…hugmamma.

boogying with Michael Jackson

If you’ve read my blog since day one, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s talent as a performer. Singing and dancing have always been in my blood, so I recognize the genius that he was. While the internet is rife with MJ’s videos, it’s not always easy finding my way through the miles and miles of inventory to uncover those that keep me riveted. This page is my own catalog which serves as a reminder of the once-in-a-lifetime entertainer that was Michael Jackson. And it lets me “get down with my bad self,” as my daughter has said of me, once or twice.

Am posting this, as well as making it a permanent page beneath the photo header at the top of my blog. “Pages” aren’t always readily noticed; posts are. There are additional youtube videos on the page, “boogying with mj,” that aren’t on this post. Coming soon will also be another page of short films created by MJ. Hopefully there are some Michael Jackson fans among my readers. If not, bear with me. I’m just “getting down with my bad self.” Even seniors have their moments.

i’ve got music, i’ve got rhythmn…who could ask for anything more…hugmamma.

“mary did you know”

Written by Buddy Greene, Mark Lowlry. Copyrighted 1991, 1993 Word Music LLC. “Mary Did You Know” is one of my very favorite Christmas songs. We sang it in church today, during the “Preparation of the Table.” Telling of the miracles her son Jesus will perform, and that when she kisses him, she’ll “kiss the face of God,” evokes the tender love all mothers feel for their own, special children. For I truly believe that when we look upon the face of an innocent child, God looks back at us, as if to say “This is my child in whom I am well pleased. Love him. Love her. And you will love Me.”

MARY DID YOU KNOW

Mary did you know, that your baby boy, Would one day walk on water.

Mary did you know, that your baby boy, Would save our sons and daughters.

Did you know, that your baby boy, Will come to make you new.

This Child that you are carrying, Will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know, that your baby boy, Would give sight to the blind man.

Mary did you know, that your baby boy, Would calm a storm with His hand.

Did you know, that your baby boy, has walked where angels trod.

And when you kiss your little baby, You’ll kiss the face of God?

Oh Mary did you know.

Oh the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again. The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, The praises of the Lamb!

Oh Mary did you know, that your baby boy, is Lord of all creation.

Mary did you know, That your baby boy, Will one day rule the nations.

Did you know, that your baby boy, Is heaven’s perfect lamb. The sleeping Child you’ll hold,

IS THE GREAT I AM.

 

hug your child, hug God…hugmamma.

wins the contest, and the girl

Two videos of the “guy next door,” Michael Grimm, the first of his win on America’s Got Talent, the other of his commitment to red-headed Lucie, his girlfriend of 3 years. This young fellow may be the 21st century Renaissance Man all women have been praying for, talented, enterprising AND faithful. Can we clone him? Putting in an order for a son-in-law. And 2 major corrections to previous posts, Grimm is from Waveland, Mississippi (not Memphis), and the other semi-finalist Jackie’s last name is spelled Evancho (not Ivancko).

hugs for grimm, and his lucie…hugmamma.

michael grimm, humble beginnings

Wanted to share Michael Grimm’s humble beginnings, on America’s Got Talent. A star in the making, I hope he never changes once fame and celebrity move in. But it’s unlikely his grandparents, gentle southern folk, will allow their child to be other than they raised him, a sweet, young man with enormous talent.