Thursday, May 7, 2009


One of the great pleasures of writing a blog like this one is the wealth of material I have to write about. Media is changing and advancing at breakneck speed, while entertainment entities have become so competitive that the real winners are generally us, the audience. Here are a few upcoming media events and products that you need to know about. I’ll keep you posted on more such items as they arise…stay tuned, as they say:

NETWORK TELEVISION: Farrah Fawcett’s intense two-year struggle with anal cancer has been reported in as much detail as Fawcett and her loved ones were willing to reveal. Now, NBC-TV is set to air Fawcett’s own video chronicle of her uphill battle to live. On Friday, May 15, NBC will air “Farrah’s Story.” In a statement released to the media, Fawcett said, “I have never understood why people are interested in anything I do. Until now.” At week’s end, People Magazine reported that Fawcett has ceased all treatment for her disease, which has reportedly spread to her liver and beyond. After undergoing alternative treatments in Germany it appeared she was winning her battle, but a recurrence has reportedly rendered her bedridden. Consult local TV listings for the two-hour program. (Click Here to read an interview Fawcett did with the L.A. Times in August. The interview was published for the first time on Monday, May 11).

HBO, the arbiter of cutting edge programming has given the green light to “Treme,” a drama series about the New Orleans neighborhood of the same name, rich in Creole and musical heritage, located across from the French Quarter. “Treme” (pronounced TRA-MAY) is tentatively set to debut in Fall, 2010, featuring real people from the area, and to keep things authentic, the producers hired Times-Picayune writer Lolis Eric Elie and local author Tom Piazza as part of the writing staff. I happen to live in Treme, and Elie lives right around the block. He is of the area – I’m a recent addition. I was pleased to hear of the inclusion of Elie and Piazza because so often dramas about New Orleans simply don’t get it. Elie, I know, gets it. The show reportedly takes a look at post-Katrina New Orleans through the eyes of local musicians. Tune in – we New Orleanians are nothing if not dramatic.

BROADWAY is abuzz with glowing accolades for Dolly Parton and the stage version of the 1980’s film, “9 to 5.” If you want two good reasons to get yourself to NYC for a weekend, this is one of them, and the other is, of course, Jane Fonda in Moises Kaufman’s “33 Variations.” Parton brings that infectious joy to everything she does, and from what everyone says, her latest effort is no exception. What fun to see "The West Wing’s" starched Allison Janey take on the Jane Fonda role of Violet. Apparently everybody thinks so, because Janey was just nominated for a Tony. So was Parton, for best original score. “9 to 5” is playing at Nederlander’s Marquis Theatre on Broadway. Here’s a sneak peak:

MUSIC: What is it about Gospel that just reels us in, no matter what our ethnicity, socio-economic status or particular musical preferences? Well, let’s not over think it. Let’s just revel in the newly released collection of Gospel tunes called “Oh Happy Day: An All Star Celebration.” The CD is so rich in energy, rhythm and sheer joy that you’d have to be in a coma to resist it. Why didn’t anybody realize before now how obvious it would be to make Michael McDonald a gospel singer? And why did it take so long to put Mavis Staples, The Clark Sisters, Aaron Neville, Patti Griffin, Johnny Lang and the Soul Children of Chicago all in one musical collection. Listen, between you and me, Queen Latifah and the Jubilation Choir’s rendition of “Oh Happy Day” could make even a guy with the last name of Greenberg see Jesus. Okay? Pump up the volume and listen for yourself:

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