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Dinner Theatre and Topless Dancers Oh So Paris Cabaret Style

December 21, 2014 by  

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You know you’re in Europe when a 12 year old boy is attending a Paris cabaret show. This is going to be a night he’ll remember for a while as he goes home slightly tipsy and dreaming of boobies. Somehow I have found myself in the odd situation of attending a dinner theater cabaret show solo. I have done a lot of things in my life solo and it normally doesn’t phase me – however I must admit I was slightly self conscience as I was seated at my table for one at the Paradis Latin theatre. The good news was that I was going to get loaded – I had a bottle of champagne and a bottle of wine all for solo me. The bad news – I only had 3 hours to drink it and I knew I probably wouldn’t even be able to make a dent in it. I was at the show for two reasons – first because I am a Viator Ambassador and I was there to do a Paradis Latin review of the show, and second I am a dance voyeur. Yes, if you want to make me very happy, tell me there’s a…

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Be a Scot for a Day at Highland Games Festival in New Brunswick

December 10, 2014 by  

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“Whiskey makes the bagpipes sound better, “ said Frank our whiskey tasting MC for the day. I laughed, but I actually like the sounds of bagpipes, however I had never heard them played for this long of period before. You could hear them echoing through the park all day as the music competitions seemed to be never ending. Festivals are a great way to understand the culture of a country or area. When I arrived in Fredericton with my parents for our New Brunswick holiday, I was excited to find out that one of New Brunswick’s big festivals was being held – New Brunswick Highland Games. The Highland Games Festival is made up of two equally important halves – the Highland Games (piping and drumming, highland dancing and traditional athletics) and the Scottish Festival (entertainment, clans and workshops) . The event draws 7,000 visitors and hundreds of competitors/performers from across Atlantic Canada, Ontario and the Eastern seaboard.

Be a Scot for a Weekend

Not only was there constant music around the festival grounds, but I was surrounded by tartan plaids, men wearing kilts and socks with tassels, and haggis was being advertised at the food tents. I had been transported…

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Get Ready to Tap Your Feet with the Harlem Gospel Choir

December 9, 2014 by  

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I wouldn’t call myself a classic gospel music lover — in other words, I don’t listen to gospel CDs or go to gospel concerts on a regular basis….in fact, it’s rare that gospel falls on my radar and yet when I hear it, I always find my spirits uplifted immediately. It’s not hard to see why since its enthusiastic, happy and peppy and when it’s not, a gospel version of Amazing Grace with a little blues and jazz thrown in, can be life changing. Since I’ve been trying to cover other New York City boroughs and less traveled to areas in recent months, I found myself taking in some of the best brunches in Harlem and exploring the foodie scene in the Bronx. On that adventure, I discovered the Harlem Gosepl Choir, which is touted as the top gospel choir in America. Who knew? I then learned not long after that discovery that they were performing in a week’s time at BBK Blues in Times Square, and so, we got tickets and off we went. Imagine an invigorating performance that is a cross between a musical, a jazz and blues performance and the hippest church service you can imagine attending.…

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5 Top Picks on Broadway Shows for the Holiday Season

December 6, 2014 by  

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I give my regards to Broadway, (and Off-Broadway), as much as humanly possible.  I see a lot of shows, so narrowing them down for a seasonal roundup is no easy feat, as you can probably imagine.  But, despite all the really great theater that’s out there right now, here are five really great shows that struck our hearts a little bit deeper, made us laugh a little bit harder, and had us talking a little bit longer than most. They’re all pretty different, but we’re certain there’s one here that will speak to you.

The Lion King

3.159802 OK, this show has been on Broadway for the longest.  But I must shamefully confess, until this fall, I had never seen it.  I guess I was just thinking, “hmm, ginormous animal heads on actors strutting around on stilts?  there’s just no way that can ever be on par with beauty and the beast or aladdin.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I seriously had chills during the opening scene as the animals came down the aisles, and those chills didn’t subside until long, long after I left the theater that evening. You’ll love this if: Obviously, if…

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Annette Conlon Reclaims Her Voice on ‘Life, Death and the Spaces Between’

November 19, 2014 by  

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I’ve known songwriter Annette Conlon for nearly as long as I’ve been recording music. The Los Angeles based artist has long been an avid support of other artists as the host of ‘Nette Radio, ‘one of the longest running radio shows dedicated to promoting women in music.’  She’s also hosted many a songwriter showcase over the years and collaborated with her husband in duo The Conlons.
But after a harrowing few years of health challenges, Annette is putting her own voice front and center, embarking on a solo project inspired by the events she’s weathered, “Life, Death and The Spaces Between.” Amidst a crowdfunding campaign to support the project and some unexpected family events, Annette discussed her road to healing and writing her most inspired material.

Q: You’ve been so active in music, I didn’t realize you hadn’t recorded your own solo work. How did you know it was time?
Annette Conlon: I fell and hit my head on a trashcan on April 17, 2014. I suffered a pretty


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The Shinjuku Eisa Festival Comes Alive With Dancing, Drumming & Food

November 6, 2014 by  

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Right outside Shinjuku Station in Tokyo’s very alive, colorful and cultural district of the city named after the station – Shinjuku. The city streets are alive with color not in the same way that New York’s Time Square and London’s Picadilly Circus are, with their brightly lit colored billboard signs, bars and restaurants on every corner that are open until the wee hours of the morning. I randomly came across the annual Shinjuku Eisa Festival by accident as I was walking through Tokyo’s streets this past summer. This colorful festival has all kinds of flavors from Okinawa – with dancing, drumming, and of course, food. Eisa is a form of folk dance from the southern islands, and is usually performed by young men and women accompanied by singing, dancing and drumming, and even folk songs played on the sanshin. Eisa was traditionally performed around obon to honour ancestor’s spirits, but these days it’s just another excuse to celebrate. The parade featured dancers swaying across the Shinjuku roads wearing eye-catching, bright costumes, and playing portable taiko drums. The matsuri had roughly over 20 dance troupes from all over the country (Okinawa and Tohoku included) who took part in this noisy, intoxicating celebration. Thousands of people watched…

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A Private Sacred Organ Concert at Auray’s Basilica Saint Anne

October 28, 2014 by  

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It’s early September and I’m in Auray in the northwest of France where I’m surrounded by some of the most hospitable hosts in France to-date. Cancel the Provence experience I had now twenty years ago, for it was far too long to remember it clearly. Truth be told, I instantly fell in love with the fun-filled and high spirited attitude of the Bretons the moment I set foot on Auray’s soil — they appear to be a little less serious than their Normandy neighbors to the east. Joie de vivre is the order of the day and I learn from Auray’s deputy mayor Regine Fily who was my dinner guest one evening, that Bretons are not shy, they love a good party and they’re keen on dancing, beer and a strong Calvados late at night. It’s ironic to find a community with such passion for living life in Brittany’s spiritual capital. My grandfather would have argued that the two go hand-in-hand however, for if you’re truly living a spiritual life, you’d be more likely to be joyous more often than not. Bretons…ahhh yes, my kind of people. After several fabulous spiritual tours of the…

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UBUNTU Music & Arts Festival at Carnegie Hall This Month

October 21, 2014 by  

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The Ubuntu Festival, which is a tribute to Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s rich musical heritage, launched on October 8, 2014 and runs through November 5 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. South Africa is a dizzying patchwork of cultures and languages with 11 official tongues, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English. From this diversity emerges a dynamic and impassioned cultural life like none other on earth. Carnegie Hall salutes this vibrant nation with a festival called UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa. Roughly translating to mean “I am because you are,” ubuntu is a philosophy from Southern Africa that emphasizes the importance of community, influencing recent moves of reconciliation and inclusion in South Africa that were fostered by the late Nelson Mandela. Dedicated to Mandela’s legacy, Carnegie Hall’s UBUNTU festival celebrates the many threads that make up South Africa’s vibrant musical culture. The festival also extends throughout New York City with events at leading cultural institutions, crossing arts disciplines to include music, film, art exhibitions, and more. “In creating the Ubuntu festival, we were inspired by the cultural life of this incredibly diverse country,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director in a South Africa media…

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