Looking back on a week packed with headlines

On my mind ... What a week! It's been one with so many big news happenings that nobody even gets excited when A-Rod climbs out of the ditch he had been in by getting three hits in one game. First came the news that Ed McMahon, 86, the No. 1 second banana and former Marine Corps fighter pilot, had taken his last flight into the heavens. Interrupting serious news comes a seemingly solid thinking governor who confesses to having a crush on a 43-year-old good looker from Argentina. As we read it, this is the kind of crush most of us guys had when we were in our teens. But, we're not here to judge, we're just newspaper readers with an opinion. Days later, the lovely Farrah Fawcett loses her battle to cancer. She was gallant in her fight, the papers said. Now come the shock headlines: "MICHAEL JACKSON DIES!" Through the years we have read just about all there is to know about this strange and unique man. So, what I'll say about Jackson has already been said but I repeat it from my angle: This has to be the most talented, original, world-renowned entertainer this country and perhaps the world, ever produced. He was THE man on the stage and now he joins the other great ones such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, John Lennon and, of course, Elvis in the balcony. The rest of the stuff? Let him be judged up there. Because of this past week's vast amount of important stories, there has to be one realization that must glare out to all of us: JUST HOW UTTERLY IMPORTANT A NEWSPAPER IS IN OUR LIVES! So, please folks, I don't ever want to hear anyone tell me that they no longer read newspapers, and depend on TV and other news platforms for info. Here's the last word: Nobody, nowhere covered these stories better than newspapers and especially ours! That said, I turn to the sports section, where another big story popped up. "Fehr Retires" was the back page line. And, the stories leaned toward blaming MLB Players Association Continue Reading

TV is Americans preferred form of entertainment in 2009, says study: Why we’re tuning in

Americans say they're watching more TV this year, and the survey firm that made this discovery suggests one reason is that it's cheaper than going out. Hmmmm. Next thing you know, a survey will find that most Americans prefer pizza without anchovies because they don't like things that are too strong, salty and fishy. But the logical observation that TV is a cheaper form of entertainment than, say, the movies, doesn't necessarily mean that's the only thing going on with our entertainment behavior. The basic finding comes from the fourth annual State of the Media Democracy Report, compiled by Deloitte and released Tuesday. The report measures a wide range of American media habits and opinions. Unsurprisingly, the headline is that 34% of Americans call TV their favorite medium this year, compared to 27% last year. In addition, the survey found that Americans watched an average of 17.8 hours of television per week this year, up two hours from 2008. Since 72% also said they were looking to cut down on entertainment expenses, that would seem to make TV's case beyond a reasonable doubt. But as long as we're on the subject, let's not overlook a few other things also going on these days. 1. TV is technology we still, for the most part, understand. Okay, we may occasionally press the wrong button on the remote. But a TV set still basically works the way it did 60 years ago. You press the "on" button and a picture flickers onto the screen. Never, never, never underestimate the appeal of technology that people above the age of 18 can understand. This is an age when even people who sort of understand computers can get tangled up for hours because some geek at Microsoft made some simple function unbearably complicated to impress all the other software geeks. An age when turning on an oven timer or setting a $25 alarm clock can require a master's degree in electronics. No wonder we want to go into the den and hug the TV. 2. The hard parts Continue Reading

President Obama to headline Democratic fund-raiser despite economic downturn

WASHINGTON - President Obama will test out whether he still has the golden fund-raising touch, even in a miserable economy, with a major Democratic Party shindig next week, Democratic sources confirmed.Team Obama is hoping to pack Washington's 1,900-seat Warner Theatre on March 25, as he works to fill the depleted coffers of the Democratic National Committee, which is now headed by Obama pal, Virginia Gov. Tom Kaine.The Party seemed to be hedging its bets in the grim economic climate, offering tickets ranging in price from just $250 on up to $2,500. "It is a tough time," White House spokesman Bill Burton told Bloomberg News. "Nonetheless, the president feels a responsibility to help Tim Kaine build a party that will be an effective force for progress in this country."Crooner Tony Bennett, who backed Hillary Clinton before she lost to Obama, will offer the entertainment for the soiree.Democrats have been using Obama's name to raise money through e-mail and online appeals, but this will be his first in-person event since taking office after running an election campaign that hauled about $750 million, shattering all records. But his party is strapped for cash. According to the latest Federal election filings, the Democrats had $5 million in debt remaining on a $10 million loan from the Bank of America, with just $5.27 million in the bank.The GOP had no debt at the end of January, with $22.8 million in the bank. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘Gossip Girl’ stars headline ‘Hollywood’s New Wave’ in August ‘Vanity Fair’

Vanity Fair has chosen "Hollywood's New Wave" - and here's hoping they won't get in as much trouble as the last one. Front and center in the next generation of stars: the cast of CW's "Gossip Girl." The wayward TV teens hit the pages of the August issue in a glam photo shoot by Mark Seliger. They appear alongside entertainment whiz kids such as Zoe Kravitz, Olivia Thirlby of "Juno" and the Jonas Brothers. Also packed into the Hollywood yearbook are players in such Judd Apatow films as "Knocked Up" and "Superbad" - even McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) makes the cut. If the mag has one word of advice for these developing talents, who range in age from mid-teens to early 20s, it's "beware." Writer James Wolcott thinks back to Vanity Fair's last young Hollywood shoot in 2003, at which a pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan held court. The new cover boasts a quartet of starlets: Blake Lively, Amanda Seyfried, Emma Roberts and Kristen Stewart. Fans know Lively as "Gossip Girl" heroine Serena van der Woodsen. Seyfried made audiences chuckle in "Mean Girls" and plays Meryl Streep's daughter in this summer's "Mamma Mia!" Roberts, niece of Julia, drew attention in last year's "Nancy Drew," while Stewart cowered with onscreen mom Jodie Foster in 2002's "Panic Room." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Your weekly entertainment calendar, Sept. 8-14

NIGHT LIFE ACOUSTIC/FOLKThe Coffee House: Benefit concert for Riverwest Radio featuring Sigmund Snopek & Mark Borchardt, 7-9 p.m. Sept. 10, 1905 W. Wisconsin Ave.Metro Market: Kim Zick Trio, 6 p.m. Sept. 11, 4075 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood.O’Donoghue’s Irish Pub: The Fourcast, 5-8 p.m. Sept. 8, 13225 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove.Unitarian Church North: Wisconsin Singer Songwriter series presents a “Community Sing” featuring Mark Dvorak, Julie Thompson, and Craig Siemsen, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9, 13800 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon. BLUES Elkhorn Saloon: Carole & the DV8s, 8 p.m. Sept. 9, 9 E. Walworth St., Elkhorn.Fox & Hounds: Reverend Raven, 6-10 p.m. Sept. 9, 1298 N. Friess Lake Drive, Hubertus.Iron Mike’s: Steve Nitros & Friends Jam Session, 8 p.m. Sept. 8, 6357 S. 27th St., Franklin.Italian Community Center: Courtyard Music Series presents Little Davy Max, 6:30-9 p.m. Sept. 12, Groove Therapy, 6:30-9 p.m. Sept. 14, 631 E. Chicago St.Kick Switch: Jonny T-Bird Trio, 9 p.m. Sept. 9, N51-W34950 Wisconsin Ave., Okauchee.Mamie’s: Pee Wee Hayes, 9:30 p.m. Sept. 8, Stokes open jam, 8 p.m. Sept. 12, 3300 W. National Ave.Morton’s: Steve Cohen, Eric Noden, Marc Wilson, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sept. 13, N56-W6339 Center St., Cedarburg. COUNTRYBig Sky Country: Jim and Mike, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14, Goldendale Road, Germantown.Dopps Bar: Billy Spaulding & The TK&M Band, 7 p.m. Sept. 8, 1753 S. 68th St., West Allis.Scotty's Bar & Pizza: Classic Country Duo, 4-8 p.m. Sept. 10, 3921 S. Clement Ave. JAZZ/SWINGO’Donoghue’s Irish Pub: Swing & A Miss, 8 p.m. Sept. 9, 13225 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove.The Packing House: Barbara Stephan Group, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Sept. 8, Martelle Jossart Trio, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Sept. 9, Carmen Nickerson & Kostia Efimov, 6-10 p.m. Sept. 13, Barbara Stephan & Peter Mac, 6-10 p.m. Sept. 14, 900 E. Layton Ave. KARAOKE/OPEN MICBremen Cafe: Comedy Open Mic, 8 p.m. Sept. Continue Reading

Your weekly entertainment calendar, Sept. 1-7

NIGHT LIFE ACOUSTIC/FOLK Bremen Cafe: Tawny Hawk, 10 p.m. Sept. 1, 901 E. Clarke St.Metro Market: Tres Acoustico, 6 p.m. Sept. 4, 4075 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood.Pizzeria Piccola’s: Texas Dave Trio, 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 2, 7606 W. State St., Wauwatosa.BLUES Caroline’s: On The One Band, 8:30 p.m. Sept. 7, 401 S. 2nd St.The Cheel: Junior Brantley, Steve Cohen, and Bob Mueller, 9 p.m. Sept. 1, Olivia Gonzales Trio, with Pflughoeft & D'Agostino, 9 p.m. Sept. 2, 105 S. Main St., Thiensville.Delafield Brewhaus: Steve Nitros Solo, 9 p.m. Sept. 2, 3832 Hillside Drive, Delafield.Iron Mike’s: Steve Nitros & Friends Jam Session, 8 p.m. Sept. 1, 6357 S. 27th St., Franklin.Mamie’s: Stokes & Old Blues Boys, 9:30 p.m. Sept. 1, Motown at Mamie’s with Spin Scapes DJ Kima Hamilton, 9 p.m. Sept. 2, Stokes open jam with Carole & Craig, 8 p.m. Sept. 5, 3300 W. National Ave.Milwaukee Ale House: Zoot Suit Boogie, 9:30 p.m. Sept. 2, 233 N. Water St.Tonic Tavern: Third Coast Blues with Lil Rev, Jim Liban and Junior Brantley, 4-7 p.m. Sept. 3, 2335 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.Von Trier: Junior Brantley, 7 p.m. Sept. 2, Lil Rev Band with Steve Cohen, Guy Fiorentini, Marc Wilson, 7 p.m. Sept. 7, 2235 N. Farwell Ave.COUNTRY The Cheel: Jay Matthew, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 105 S. Main St., Thiensville.Scotty's Bar & Pizza: Billy Spaulding & Friends, 4-8 p.m. Sept. 3, 3921 S. Clement Ave.JAZZ/SWING Ally’s Bistro: The Kaye Berigan 4Tet, 8-10 p.m. Sept. 1, N72-W13350 Lund Lane, Menomonee Falls.The Bay: Rick Aaron and the Men in Black Jazz Trio, 8 p.m. Sept. 1, 342 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay.Bubs Irish Pub: Pete Sorce and the Swing Explosion Big Band, 7 p.m. Sept. 5, N116-W16218 Main St., Germantown.The Cheel: Junior Brantley, Steve Cohen, and Bob Mueller, 9 p.m. Sept. 1, Olivia Gonzales Trio, with Pflughoeft & D’Agostino, 9 p.m. Sept. 2, 105 S. Main St., Thiensville.Clarke Hotel: Dick Eliot, 6-9 p.m. Sept. 1, Continue Reading

News Headlines give YES headache

The saga of Joba Chamberlain became an exercise in reading comprehension yesterday. Yet even a debate over a play on words cannot hide the fact the Yankees' bullpen is bull without him. No one connected with the Yankees, including the voices working the mikes at the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, will present that harsh reality in such a blunt fashion. Johnny Damon's assessment of the situation, reported by Daily News baseball columnist John Harper in yesterday's editions, is about as close as anyone from Hankenstein Tech has come to publicly dumping on the move.The nature of Damon's protest did not totally escape Al Yankzeera operatives. Still, they tried to cloud the issue by making it about a Daily News back-page headline ("It's Bull! Damon questions Joba's move out of pen") rather than the shabby state of the Bombers' Pig Pen.On yesterday's YES pregame show, host Bob Lorenz said: "I guess what stands out is on that back page the headline read, 'It's Bull.' Some people might think Johnny said that so let's clarify this.""He definitely didn't say it's bull," said Kim Jones, in attempt to restore order to the world. "That's not in quotes on the back page. So leave it to a headline writer to cause a stir in New York, right?"Duh. This just in: Gerald Ford never told New York to "drop dead" either. That was another memorable Daily News headline (Oct.30, 1975): "Ford to City: Drop Dead," written after the then-President said he would veto any legislation designed to bail the city out of its fiscal crisis.This was a far more weighty matter than any Chamberleak in the Yankees bullpen. Nonetheless, the White House didn't react by saying: "President Ford really didn't tell New York to drop dead."Only on YES.Daily News deputy sports editor Bill Price, who collaborated on the headline with assistant sports editor Will Pakutka, said they were trying to boil the story down to a back page-sized message."It was making a play off of 'bull----' and 'pen,' "Price Continue Reading

Dolly Parton unveils new Dollywood venue, entertainment for 2018 season

PIGEON FORGE — Dolly Parton came to Dollywood on Friday and revealed a host of new entertainment experiences and a new venue coming to the theme park in 2018.An investment that's "$1 million greater than any season-long entertainment schedule in the park’s history" will fund these new additions to the park, according to a Dollywood press release.The venue, the Plaza at Wilderness Pass, will occupy the spot where the park's River Battle Ride was and sit in between roller coasters Mystery Mine and FireChaser Express. The venue will house different events that correlate with the park's many festivals, according to Dollywood Public Relations Manager Wes Ramey."So what will happen is throughout the year we'll be able to take the programming for each of the festivals and theme that area so that guests have an immersive experience they can sit down, take a break and just enjoy the atmosphere for whatever festival we're in," said Ramey.In addition to the venue, several musicians and entertainers will make the trip to Pigeon Forge in 2018 to perform at the park. A new three-week-long festival, the Spring Mix music series, will take place from April 11-29 and feature a week of classic country music, a week of inspirational music and a week of classic rock and folk music.The event will have performances from Pam Tillis, Connie Smith, Shenandoah, Amy Grant, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Larnelle Harris, David Phelps, Chonda Pierce, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, Debby, Firefall, Al Stewart and others. Individual concert dates and show times will be announced later, according to the press release.Dollywood’s Rock the Smokies event on Aug. 25 will feature Christian music artists TobyMac and Crowder serving as headliners. "Well it's good 'cause a lot of them are the oldies from my time and a lot of them I know personally ... but I think that it's good," said Continue Reading

Iggy Azalea’s headlining gig in Pittsburgh’s Pride in the Street festival slammed by LGBT activists

LGBT activists aren’t taking a fancy to the idea of Iggy Azalea headlining a Pittsburgh Pride festival. Azalea and Pride in the Street organizers are under fire ahead of next month’s 13-day event over since-deleted tweets by the Australian rapper deemed homophobic and racist, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Critics from several area LGBT groups are launching a grass-roots protest against Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, which organizes the event, a symptom of a deeper divide over the handling of the largest pride event in the region, according the report. The uproar stems from a series of questionable tweets Azalea made long before her breakout hit, “Fancy,” made her a star. “When guys whisper in each others ears I always think its kinda homo,” she tweeted in October 2010. Four months later, she posted another cringe-worthy missive, “Wondered why my butt felt like it was about to grow legs, flip me off & walk away. then I remembered i played soccer yestrdy w 5 dyke bitches.” Delta’s director of marketing and development told the Post-Gazette that the festival has had a diverse lineup of headlining acts in recent years, including Melissa Ethridge and Patti LaBelle. “I think if [Azalea] was racist or homophobic she wouldn’t come to perform at an LGBT event,” said Bryan. “She is in the entertainment industry, which is difficult. Twitter has not always been kind to the “Trouble” rapper: Azalea got into a vicious social media feud with rival Azealia Banks in December. Continue Reading

Lester Holt earned his promotion for solid reporting — and staying out of the headlines

Lester is more. The only patch of clear, clean high ground for NBC amid the deepening Brian Williams quicksand has been the man who will now replace him as anchor of "The Nightly News," Lester Holt. Holt stepped into the tarnished anchor chair in February and gave the network just what it desperately needed: solid professionalism on the air and zero headlines off it. That may seem like an odd prescription for success in this personality-driven age, but you know what? It worked. When the network officially gave the job to Holt — with a nice raise, we hope — no one anywhere can say he hasn't earned or doesn't deserve it. Holt was a pro long before Williams started spinning self-glorifying fairy tales. If there was any complaint about Holt, it's that he didn't have the flash or elan that networks sometimes want in their most visible on-air hosts. But over four months in the anchor seat, Holt has eased such concerns, showing enough of a human touch to reassure viewers there's a person behind those crisply delivered news stories. It's a nice bonus, and in a curious way perhaps a mark of progress, that there's been only minimal attention to the fact he will be the first black solo anchor of a network nightly newscast. He's getting the job because he's shown he can do the job. Everything hasn't gone perfectly during Holt's interim tenure. Having him anchor the newscast from a helicopter after May's Amtrak derailment felt like a silly gimmick that added nothing to coverage of the story. But in general he's done what network news anchors have tried to do for the last 60 years: identify the day's most important stories and report what we know about them. He’s been doing that since he joined the network family in 2000 — and immediately made a splash with his reporting on the contested 2000 presidential election when he was a nightly fixture on MSNBC. "Anyone who's watched MSNBC in the past week will no doubt have noticed Continue Reading