August 17, 2016 |
It is a tricky proposition to be the first of your race, religion, gender, etc., to accomplish something - especially on a stage as magnified as the Olympics. Take, for example, the stories of U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel and U.S. gymnast Simone Biles during the first week of the 2016 Rio Olympics. At the core, what these two African-American athletes accomplished during the first week of the Games was basically the same. The narratives, however, became quite different. Manuel never wanted to be known as the "African-American" swimmer.
August 10, 2016 |
If a movie ever seemed blessed right out of the gate, it's the clever, classy, musical comedy Florence Foster Jenkins . The true story of the New York socialite who came to be known as the "Diva of Din" after singing - terribly - at Carnegie Hall, it's powered by world-class talents. Stephen Frears ( The Queen , High Fidelity ) directs, and film greats Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant grace the screen as the Wilkes Barre-born Florence and her husband, St. Clair Bayfield. But somehow - and almost miraculously - the picture, which opens Friday, truly comes alive when the leads are joined by costar Simon Helberg.
August 7, 2016 |
By this time, the Democrats have long come and gone, but Simon Powles, 51, chief executive of the Starr Catering Group, is still marveling at the sheer size and scope of the work his company handled for the Democratic National Convention. "This is the first time we've done something like this on this level," Powles said, sitting at a table at the CNN Grill during the convention. CNN rented the Victory Beer Hall within the Wells Fargo arena security area, rebranded it as the CNN Grill, and turned it into a pop-up restaurant and broadcast studio serving 800 meals a day, with catering and menu planning run by Starr Catering Group.
July 24, 2016 |
It's a hairy moment for Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott: The crew of the Starship Enterprise has crashed on an unknown, unfriendly planet, and the spacecraft's chief engineer, separated from Kirk and Spock and the rest of the gang, is dangling from a cliff, an abyss below. We never get to see how Scotty extricates himself from the situation, but - no spoiler here - he does. "Sheer forearm strength," says Simon Pegg, explaining how the Starfleet engineer from Aberdeen hoists himself from the precipice.
June 22, 2016 |
As a unit, composer Tom Kitt, lyricist/librettist Brian Yorkey, director Michael Greif, and producer David Stone do not make run-of-the-mill, feel-good musicals. Next to Normal is their Pulitzer- and Tony-winning chamber ensemble work on bipolar disorder. And the tender If/Then - which comes in a national tour to the Academy of Music on June 21-26 - is a Paul Simon-meets-Stephen-Sondheim orchestrated tale of one woman's parallel lives. This creative quartet takes a complex but successful road to the Broadway musical.
June 13, 2016 |
It will be a song-and-dance summer in our region, from the Lehigh Valley to the Shore, with dramatic gems studding the landscape. Below are some standout song-and-dancefests, summer Shakespeare - including four gentlemen of Verona (see below) - plus summer Neil Simon, summer Noël Coward, and more. Riverdance (June 14-19, Academy of Music) The 20th-anniversary world tour comes through Philadelphia, looking back at the show's history, and adding costumes, lighting, projections, and a brand-new number, "Anna Livia" (embodiment of the River Liffey flowing through Dublin)
June 5, 2016
Stranger to Stranger (Concord ***1/2) Given his four-and-a-half-decade, post-Simon & Garfunkel career, Paul Simon's durability is beyond question. What's more impressive though, is his enduring ability to surprise. The 74-year-old songwriter's latest is an 11-song set that brings his various world-music proclivities, playful love of language, and new interests in digital music-making to bear on a percussion-happy collection alive with rhythmic energy. "Wristband" cleverly uses a story about being banned from the backstage area as a metaphor for the American dream's being accessible only to elites - "If you don't have a wristband, then you can't get through the door.
March 7, 2016 |
Jamal Goode thought he had let his teammates down seconds before Simon Gratz won a Class 4A first-round overtime thriller, 63-61, against Lower Merion on Saturday. Goode, a 5-foot-8 senior for District 12's third-seeded Bulldogs (16-9), plucked the ball from an offensive player as the Aces tried to overcome a one-point deficit in the waning seconds of overtime at Harriton High. However, Goode controlled the ball only briefly before losing it out of bounds with 27.9 seconds remaining.
March 4, 2016 |
Nina Simone 's family isn't "Feeling Good. " A biopic starring Zoe Saldana as the R&B/Jazz chanteuse who died at age 70 in 2003, is due in April and the family is not pleased. A fresh round of criticism for the film erupted after the trailer and poster for "Nina" were unveiled Wednesday. Saldana posted a quote from the singer and civil rights activist on Twitter, and Simone's estate responded with: "Cool story but please take Nina's name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.
February 14, 2016
Simon's Fund is all about awareness and raising fun and funds, but most important, about getting to the heart of the matter, which means providing tests ahead of time to detect heart problems and sudden cardiac arrest. On Jan. 30, more than 300 attended the annual Simon's Soiree at the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel to eat, drink, raise funds, and honor Brian Hainline, chief medical officer of the NCAA, with the Protect This Heart Award. Hainline was recognized for his efforts to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest in students.