Posted tagged ‘Tom Cruise’

Concert Review: Frankie Ballard and Clare Dunn Get “Young & Crazy” in San Jose, California

April 23, 2015

After a day like today, I can honestly say that there could not have been a better end to the day than by taking in a show at the Rodeo Club featuring Clare Dunn and Frankie Ballard.

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To preface this, I lost my step father this morning. I’ve had to watch him suffer through illness for many years now, and I know that he isn’t suffering anymore. But I know that it doesn’t make the loss hurt any less. So what did help lift my spirits, just a little? A night filled with some great music by two young, and up-and-coming artists.

JKFB

I’ve been hearing about Clare Dunn for quite some time now so I was obviously excited to finally see her live for the first time. Dunn has opened for some of the largest country acts, including Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Colt Ford, Parmalee, Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson as well as playing major festivals.

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

First a little background. As she mentioned during the show, Dunn was born on a farm in southeast Colorado where she grew up raising cattle, hauling water, as well as driving combines, tractors and eighteen wheelers. Eventually, she went to Belmont University where she picked up a guitar for the first time and learned to play both the acoustic and electric guitars. And that was a great decision!

What I loved about her performance is that when Dunn took the stage, she owned it. Her vocals were incredible and although she hasn’t been playing the guitar for long, you would think that she’s played it since birth. Very impressive. While her set was the standard, short opening set, the crowd was treated to an array of songs including her debut single “Get Out”, and her latest single “Cowboy Side of You.”

If you get the chance to catch Dunn live, be sure you get there early. A great performer that I believe you’ll see on the big stage shortly. Hell. Florida Georgia Line called Get Out “the best country song out by a female.” Not a bad recommendation to receive.

Photo Courtesy of @KristinToon

Photo Courtesy of @KristinToon

If you want to learn more about her, check out her website and follow her on Twitter at @claredunnmusic.

Following Dunn’s set, it was time for the main event of the evening: Frankie Ballard.

You may have heard of the guy as he’s been featured on the Grand Ole Opry and has played venues across the country where he has opened for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and his longtime idol Bob Seger.

I’ll admit, I know Ballard’s music and I like it. Whether it’s “country”, well that’s a matter of opinion but frankly, who cares. The guy (and his band) can flat out jam and they proved this tonight with a rockin’ and rollin’ set that was non-stop from the moment they took the stage.

Photo Courtesy of @Blueliquid11

Photo Courtesy of @Blueliquid11

As you would anticipate, most of the songs on the setlist were off Ballard’s “Sunshine & Whiskey” album, which was released in February of 2014. Songs such as the title track, “Young & Crazy” and the fan favorite “Helluva Life” were supplemented by great cover versions of “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers and Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”. And sorry ladies, there was no Tom Cruise/Risky Business action onstage.

Photo Courtesy of @lexiwillson18

Photo Courtesy of @lexiwillson18

Now if there is one thing, and one thing only that I get across to people it’s this: I have never, and I mean NEVER, heard a band that was as tight as Ballard’s band was tonight. These guys didn’t miss a note all night long. Everything was in perfect rhythm. Words can’t describe how amazing they played.

One thing that also needs to be said is that Ballard demonstrates a true love for his fans. I had the opportunity to meet him before the show, and it was obvious that the whole “meet and greet” wasn’t just a job for him. Ballard took the time to connect with each and every fan he met. And not just the shaking of the hand and smiling at the camera. He was genuine, and a true gentleman. If there were more artists out there who took the time to actually engage with their fans like this, I believe that you would see a lot more respect across the board. Major kudos to you Frankie!

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

Photo Courtesy of @debrakmartin04

If you want to learn more about this great, up-and-coming artist, definitely go check out his website and follow him on Twitter at @FrankieBallard.

Did you go to the show? Have you seen either Clare Dunn or Frankie Ballard perform live before? Let me see those comments below.

Finally, thanks to the folks at KRTY for another great night a music, and the opportunity for me to forget about life for awhile. You guys always bring the best to the Rodeo Club and we as fans want to thank you for the fantastic work you do! Here’s to the next show!

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Governor Schwarzenegger Signs New Anti-Paparazzi Law

October 14, 2009

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, of California, has signed a new bill into law that will fine paparazzi for taking photos that invade a celebrity’s right to privacy and also targets media outlets who purchase the photos.

Good! I have to agree with this one. Although I believe that public figures and celebrities have “somewhat” given up their right to privacy, the paparazzi has gotten too far out of hand.

The question is: where does is the line between following celebrity gossip, and the paparazzi, drawn. Should we punish Web sites such as TMZ? Should Perez Hilton not be allowed to speak his views? I think it’s pretty obvious that this law is being put in place to stop the “over the top” incidents that seem to make the news every so often (or every day if you watch the news sometimes).

From CNN:

Throngs of photographers often jockey to get the perfect shot of a celebrity, but that doesn’t mean it’s welcomed. Britney Spears famously had enough one night, taking an umbrella to a photographer’s SUV.

In 1998, Schwarzenegger himself had his car swarmed by paparazzi while he was picking up his child from school.

Jennifer Aniston received $550,000 and an apology from a photographer who used a high-powered telephoto lens to shoot her in the backyard wearing only panties.

While paparazzi may get a bad rap for their methods, celebrity columnist Ben Widdicombe said things are not always what they seem.

“A lot of times the shot you see in the magazine is actually orchestrated by the celebrity themselves,” said celebrity columnist Ben Widdicombe. “Celebrities like Britney Spears, for example, are infamous in the industry for letting their assistants tell the paparazzi when they’ll be leaving the gates.”

Celebrity photos can be big business, especially when it comes to major milestones. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher reportedly pocketed $3 million from OK for their 2005 union. Eva Longoria and Tony Parker received $2 million from OK for photos of their lavish Paris, France, wedding.

Tom Cruise Very Emotional Over Death of Jett Travolta

January 9, 2009

“Horrific” is how Tom Cruise described the sudden death of Jett Travolta, the son of his good friend and fellow Scientologist, John Travolta while taping a segment of “The View” this week.

From MSNBC:

Tom Cruise’s Jan. 8 appearance on “The View” won’t air until Jan. 9, so the prescient nature of Cruise’s remarks about the death of Jett Travolta could be lost somewhat. A visibly shaken Cruise said, “It’s horrific. Here you have a man, both of them doting parents, they’re wonderful people, and….”

Cruise also reiterated the Church of Scientology’s stance on seeking medical attention, one pointed out in this column by Tommy Davis earlier this week. Rumors that the church discourages followers from seeking medical care are false, the actor and longtime Scientologist said.

Cruise’s appearance was pegged to the release of his film “Valkyrie,” which opened Dec. 25. While most press doesn’t go on this long, his visit to the show afforded him the opportunity to do what Cruise does best, interact with fans.

According to one person who attended the show, “he was so nice, so gracious. He stayed for a long time after the show to take pictures and sign autographs with the entire studio audience.”

From the Associated Press:

Cruise struggled to maintain his composure as he spoke on “The View” about last week’s death of 16-year-old Jett Travolta.

“John just adored him, both of his children,” Cruise said haltingly. “… It’s something that I don’t have the words for.”

The 46-year-old actor called Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, “doting parents, just wonderful people.” The couple have an 8-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu.

Jett died at the family vacation home in Grand Bahama. He had a history of seizures and was found unconscious in a bathroom. Results of an autopsy performed Monday were not released, but a Bahamas undertaker said the teen’s death certificate listed “seizure” as the cause of death.

In response to a question from “The View” host Barbara Walters, Cruise defended Scientology, which he and the Travoltas follow, against rumors that have swirled since Jett Travolta died.

The church doesn’t discourage conventional medical care, Cruise declared — “actually, the exact opposite.”

“They say, ‘Get your physical, get your medication, get your physical illnesses handled.'”

Sword-Wielding Man Killed at Scientology Building

November 24, 2008

According to local authorities, a security guard shot and killed Mario Majorski, a man who was wielding two Samurai swords Sunday on the grounds of a Scientology building in Hollywood.

From the Associated Press:

The unidentified man approached three guards around noon in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Terry S. Hara said.

The man was “close enough to hurt them” when one of the guards shot him, Hara said. Detectives were questioning the guard to figure out the swordsman’s motive and determine whether the shooting was justified.

Surveillance tape showed the man arriving at the center’s parking lot in a red convertible, then approaching the guards with a sword in each hand, Hara said.

“The evidence itself, it’s very, very clear,” Hara said. “The security officers were defending their safety.”

The Church of Scientology was established in 1945 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. It teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems and claims 10 million members around the world, including celebrity devotees Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Goodbye TRL…Does This Mean No More Music on MTV?

November 17, 2008

After ten years, thousands of videos and squealing young girls, MTV has said goodbye to “Total Request Live”. Was this the only show which still showed music videos on MTV? I haven’t watched in so long that I wasn’t sure.

MTV

Credit: MTV

From the Associated Press:

Carson Daly chatted with Eminem, Beyonce gave a show-stopping performance, girls shrieked at the sight of Justin Timberlake and hundreds of fans lined up outside in Times Square for a glimpse at superstars.

For few hours, it seemed like old times at MTV’s “Total Request Live” — back when the show was not only music’s most powerful force but a dominant part of pop culture. Unfortunately, it took the show’s demise to make it relevant again.

MTV pulled the plug on its most influential franchise Sunday night following years of declining ratings, but not before marking the occasion with celebration and nostalgia, as some of pop’s biggest stars paid respects to the show that helped launch their careers.

“I feel like they’re kinda tearin’ down my home,” Eminem said via phone as he and Daly, “TRL’s” first and most famous host, commiserated during the live, three-hour broadcast from the show’s headquarters.

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” Diddy, the show’s most frequent guest, said as he cried mock tears and gave one of the final waves to the Times Square audience from “TRL’s” glass-encased studios above.

MTV has had other shows that will be remembered for changing the musical landscape, including “Yo! MTV Raps,” but perhaps none greater than “TRL.” It made its debut in 1998, just as the teen pop phenomenon was about to explode, when the rap-rock hybrid was bubbling over, and groups like Destiny’s Child were considered emerging acts.

While its concept of a video countdown show wasn’t new, its model — which included a live show, an audience full of enthusiastic kids and viewer feedback — helped energize the teen fan base and made them music’s tastemakers. Soon, “TRL” would become an integral part of boosting the careers of superstars like Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Eminem and Christina Aguilera. It’s no coincidence that their biggest sales, and pop’s huge sales boom in the new millennium, came during the show’s most potent era.

“If it wasn’t for ‘TRL,’ I don’t think I would have this launching pad for my career,” said a cigar-smoking Kid Rock, who came to prominence as a raucous rap-rocker on “TRL” with his baudy hit “Bawitdaba” but has since morphed into a country-rock career that is more CMT than MTV.

“It’s a big loss, not having this as a platform to promote our music,” said 50 Cent in the show’s waning moments.

In its prime, “TRL” had “American Idol”-like power to influence sales on the pop charts, and became a required stop, not only for those on the road to pop stardom, but those in TV, movies and even sports superstars. Tom Cruise and Will Smith made stops before a new movie; all-star athletes like Derek Jeter mingled with the teens; even legends like Madonna and Michael Jackson made sure they got “TRL” face-time.

From the New York Times:

“TRL,” the afternoon video show that has been an MTV flagship for 10 years, came to an end on Sunday night with the network’s version of a New Orleans funeral. For three hours, a party of pop stars, former hosts and thousands of ecstatic young fans celebrated its legacy with shouts, hits, bling and tears.

For the 2,247th and last episode of “TRL,” Beyoncé sang and danced in the studio, Fall Out Boy played on a temporary stage on Broadway, 50 Cent apparently arrived just in time for his performance (although he made sure to swing by the press room earlier), and Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Nelly shared a stage like a chummy hip-hop brat pack.

“This is like a big high school reunion in a way,” Mr. Timberlake told Carson Daly, the show’s former host, who had returned for the finale. “We kind of all grew up together.”

Not all guests had such wholesome toasts. Kid Rock entered the studio with a glass of beer, a fragrant cigar and a big grin. “I used to come here and they would say, ‘Hey, man, you’ve got to put the cigar out,’” he said. “Well, guess what? It’s over; I ain’t putting the cigar out.”

It would not be “TRL” without Diddy, the hip-hop producer and indefatigable self-promoter who has been the show’s most frequent guest. Making his 38th appearance, he watched a montage of his previous visits and had just begun to speak when Mr. Daly noticed that his eyes were watering behind his dark shades.

“Are you crying?” Mr. Daly asked. “You’re a good actor — I can’t tell.”

Diddy expressed his love for everyone on the show, down to the crew and cameramen, and later managed to plug his new fragrance and a forthcoming Notorious B.I.G. biopic in 15 seconds.

“TRL,” which began as “Total Request Live” but has long since been known by its initials, was an old-fashioned video variety show, with viewers voting on the most popular songs of the day. At its peak, in 1999 and 2000, when it was in perfect symbiosis with the teenage pop of Britney Spears, ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, the show had an average of more than 700,000 viewers a day, according to Nielsen.

Paul Newman Dies of Cancer at 83

September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning actor who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as ”Hud,” ”Cool Hand Luke” and ”The Color of Money”, and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn maker has died at the age of 83.

Jim Cooper, Associated Press

Credit: Jim Cooper, Associated Press

From the New York Times:

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

In May, Newman had dropped plans to direct a fall production of ”Of Mice and Men,” citing unspecified health issues.

He got his start in theater and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world’s most enduring and popular film stars, a legend held in awe by his peers. He was nominated for Oscars 10 times, winning one regular award and two honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 motion pictures, including ”Exodus,” ”Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” ”The Verdict,” ”The Sting” and ”Absence of Malice.”

Newman worked with some of the greatest directors of the past half century, from Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston to Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers. His co-stars included Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and, most famously, Robert Redford, his sidekick in ”Butch Cassidy” and ”The Sting.”

From the Associated Press:

He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood’s rare long-term marriages. “I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?” Newman told Playboy magazine when asked if he was tempted to stray. They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in “The Long Hot Summer,” and Newman directed her in several films, including “Rachel, Rachel” and “The Glass Menagerie.”

With his strong, classically handsome face and piercing blue eyes, Newman was a heartthrob just as likely to play against his looks, becoming a favorite with critics for his convincing portrayals of rebels, tough guys and losers. “I was always a character actor,” he once said. “I just looked like Little Red Riding Hood.”

Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon’s “enemies list,” one of the actor’s proudest achievements, he liked to say.

A screen legend by his mid-40s, he waited a long time for his first competitive Oscar, winning in 1987 for “The Color of Money,” a reprise of the role of pool shark “Fast” Eddie Felson, whom Newman portrayed in the 1961 film “The Hustler.”

Newman delivered a magnetic performance in “The Hustler,” playing a smooth-talking, whiskey-chugging pool shark who takes on Minnesota Fats — played by Jackie Gleason — and becomes entangled with a gambler played by George C. Scott. In the sequel — directed by Scorsese — “Fast Eddie” is no longer the high-stakes hustler he once was, but rather an aging liquor salesman who takes a young pool player (Cruise) under his wing before making a comeback.

He won an honorary Oscar in 1986 “in recognition of his many and memorable compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft.” In 1994, he won a third Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his charitable work.

His most recent academy nod was a supporting actor nomination for the 2002 film “Road to Perdition.” One of Newman’s nominations was as a producer; the other nine were in acting categories. (Jack Nicholson holds the record among actors for Oscar nominations, with 12; actress Meryl Streep has had 14.)

As he passed his 80th birthday, he remained in demand, winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the 2005 HBO drama “Empire Falls” and providing the voice of a crusty 1951 car in the 2006 Disney-Pixar hit, “Cars.”

But in May 2007, he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” he had given up acting, though he intended to remain active in charity projects. “I’m not able to work anymore as an actor at the level I would want to,” he said. “You start to lose your memory, your confidence, your invention. So that’s pretty much a closed book for me.”

Tom Cruise Sued By Valkyrie Extras

August 27, 2008

Twelve extras are seeking $11 million in damages from Tom Cruise and his production company after suffering injuries during the filming of Cruise’s latest picture “Valkyrie“. The film is based on World War II and was filmed in Berlin last year.

From Reuters:

The extras were injured on August 19, 2007, when the side panel of a period German army truck burst open as it drove around a corner in central Berlin.

A lawyer for the extras told Reuters Television on Tuesday that witness statements indicated the truck’s side panel had not been properly secured.

Cruise was not on the set at the time.

“A new letter has been sent to Tom Cruise, (business partner) Paula Wagner and United Artists, in which we set out the facts of the case again and put a figure on the legal demands of our clients … of $11 million,” said lawyer Ariane Bluttner.

“Valkyrie” is named after the codename for a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler concocted by senior German military officers during World War Two. Cruise plays ringleader Claus von Stauffenberg.

The film’s original release date has been postponed to December 26 from July 4 this year.

The movie is being produced by MGM’s United Artists banner, which Cruise runs with business partner Wagner. It’ll be interesting to see how this story develops. I assume that an out of court settlement is approaching. Thoughts?