January 21, 2016 |
The pianist arrives as the food court clock strikes noon. A jazz man at heart, the pianist exudes class. In his sweater vest and tie, Mark Randall sits down at his Baldwin, his sweet, battered Baldwin, nestled among the marble tables and plastic ferns, under the neon lights of the China Pagoda restaurant and the Hair Express salon. He begins to play. A standard, always. Porter. Gershwin. Jimmy Dorsey, perhaps. Some barely notice Randall as they pass through the old Lit Bros.
August 16, 2015 |
Much has happened to Billy Joel since his sellout shows last summer at Citizens Bank Park, which was also Thursday night's venue. Once each month, in an amazing display of audience loyalty and personal dedication, Joel has been packing them in at Madison Square Garden. Then Wednesday, at age 66, Billy became the father of another daughter, Della Rose Joel, after recently having married (in April) his 33-year-old then-girlfriend Alexis. So there was much to celebrate Thursday night, and Joel hit the stage in kinetic, fired-up form from the start.
August 15, 2015 |
Much has happened to Billy Joel since his sell-out shows last summer at Citizens Bank Park, which was also Thursday night's venue. Once each month, in an amazing display of audience loyalty and personal dedication, Joel has been packing them in at Madison Square Garden. Then on Wednesday, at the age of 66, Billy became the father of a baby girl, Della Rose Joel, after recently having married (in April) his 33-year-old then-girlfriend Alexis. So there was much to celebrate on Thursday night, and Joel hit the CBP in kinetic, fired-up form from the start.
August 14, 2015 |
Get a good look at Danny Kean - pounding the keys as his dog, Mo, snoozes atop his piano, jammed in the bed of his old red pickup truck. Because he won't be in Philadelphia for long. Gray-haired and goateed, Kean may be the last of the hard-core troubadours. He talks fast, thinks deep, and moves on. He has no home, no job, and no money. What he's got is a 1987 Toyota, three-quarters of a tank of gas, and a belief that bringing piano music to people across the continent affords them, and him, a certain kind of enlightenment.
July 29, 2015 |
Some call it a house party, others a "sing-in. " Whatever it's called, the musical event that goes on every Tuesday at D'Angelo's Ristorante Italiano in Center City is hard to fit into two words. Certainly there are other open-mic sessions out there, but none just like this, the only one of its kind in Center City. Every Tuesday night for five years, an accomplished pianist/accompanist named Tom Adams, who has worked closely with the likes of Bette Midler and Cybill Shepherd, accompanies a group of singers, mainly amateur and semipros, who sing songs from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway musicals past and present.
March 27, 2015 |
Say the name "Liberace" and a dozen smiling images - each campier than the one before - pop into view, all fabulous, rhinestone-encrusted, fur-lined, and sprinkled with stardust. When he was part of the entertainment landscape from the 1950s through the 1980s on television or stage, Liberace's keyboard repertoire was one of showy pop/classical sides and willowy, winking conversational asides. And he was beloved, particularly by women, his sexuality rarely questioned (he won libel suits against Britain's Daily Mirror and Confidential magazine in the mid-'50s when they implied he was homosexual)
February 23, 2013 |
Piano man "Bobby Chic" was part of the finger-snapping soundtrack for the Age of Cool. Born Robert M. Cicalese in South Philadelphia, he romanced the ivories from the Jersey Shore to Las Vegas and back again over a career that lasted until a couple of years before his death Wednesday, Jan. 30, at age 76. In the 1960s, he was one of the cats setting the casino surge to music along the Strip. But his favored haunt was Atlantic City, where he played Paul "Skinny" D'Amato's 500 Club, a heady mixed drink of mobsters, showgirls, Rat Packers, and backroom gamblers.
March 19, 2012
B MOVIES NEED LOVE, TOO Secret Cinema proudly offers two worthy examples of the underappreciated genre: "Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome," a 1947 take on Chester Gould's comic strip police detective starring Ralph Byrd; and "The Brute Man," starring (and sort of about) disfigured actor Rondo Hatton. Free. 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Chestnut Hill Branch of the Free Library, 8711 Germantown Ave., 215-248-0977. SUPERTRAMP MAN Guitar virtuoso Carl Verheyen (Supertramp, zillions of sessions)
November 8, 2011 |
BILLY AND Philly. We've always been a team. Billy Joel has played and sold out more shows (56) at our South Philadelphia arenas and stadiums than any other solo artist. And while this brashly gregarious, immensely gifted singer/keyboardist/composer has moved more than 150 million albums worldwide, local fans have been in his corner and buying his music the absolute longest. For proof, look no further than the gatefold Billy Joel CD package hitting stores today and also available in download form, with liner notes by yours truly - but more on that later.
February 4, 2011 |
FORT WORTH, Texas - It is so much simpler and safer out there, where the biggest threat is a helmeted 300-pound sociopath who spent all week preparing to hurt you. "I'm always trying to get better," Ben Roethlisberger said. "I'm trying to make better decisions, smarter decisions that help this team. I try not to put us in a bad situation. " The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was talking about out there, on the field. He was talking about throwing a football. But his words would resonate all the more when applied to the rest of Roethlisberger's life, the part that takes place away from the controlled chaos of the football field.