Saturday 12/8/2018 8:00 PM
Sunday 12/9/2018 8:00 PM
This British pop icon continues to tour the world with his satchel of pop music melodies. (He says this is his last one) It was in 1975 when Elton John, who is 71-years old now appeared on America's popular R&B dance and music program Soul Train, where he sang Bennie and the Jets that put this singer/songwriter on the map in the black communities. This also some music critics say gave him an entree into the pop Billboard charts. The recording of Bennie and the Jets was also playing on R&B radio stations. It went to #15 on the Billboard Soul Singles chart. Still a feat for an artist with no previous hits with that audience. It is reported John set out to have an R&B hit and he did. His fellow Brit David Bowie was the next pop/rock act to appear on the popular inner city Soul Train.
Elton John was working with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner it was 1967; they had collaborated on more than 30 albums. John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive number one albums in the U.S., 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four which reached number two and nine which reached number one. His tribute single "Candle in the Wind 1997", rewritten in dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and U.S. singles charts. He has also composed music, produced records, and has occasionally acted in.
He has received five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards – winning two awards for Outstanding Contribution to Music and the first Brits Icon in 2013 for his "lasting impact on British culture", an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, a Disney Legends award, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him Number 49 on its list of 100 influential musicians of the rock and roll era.
He has been heavily involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s. In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation and a year later began hosting the annual Academy Award Party, which has since become one of the highest-profile Oscar parties in the Hollywood film industry. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over 200-million dollars. John announced he was bisexual in 1976 and has been openly gay since 1988, entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish in December of 2005 and after same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales in 2014 he married Furnish again in December of 2014. On 24 January 2018, it was announced that John would be retiring from touring and would soon embark on a three-year farewell tour, which began in September 2018. The tour makes it to Houston, TX this weekend (December 8th-9th, 2018).
This holiday season Elton John is making headlines with a commercial he did for the UK department store John Lewis. The U.K. department store chain released a new, emotional holiday advertisement last week — starring iconic singer Elton John.
@The Heights Theatre
Saturday 12/15/2018 8:00 PM
Glorietta was born out of a desire to collaborate with friends says Matthew Logan Vasquez. Vasquez has collected these individuals over the last ten years. Those friends; Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child), David Ramirez, Grammy award winner Adrian Quesada (Brownout, Black Pumas), and Jason Robert Blum came together over the course of nine-day recording session in a rented house in Glorieta, NM - just outside of Santa Fe. “We chose Santa Fe because it was isolated enough to where it would feel like we were at camp” said Vasquez, “the only requirements were that the house had vaulted ceilings and a Jacuzzi.”
Glorietta — a self-titled “friend record” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)— captures rocking, heartbreaking and introspective songs recorded by pals of Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit, Middle Brother) at a ramshackle rental outside Santa Fe over five days.
In a way, though, Glorietta was conceived long before that thanks to a serendipitous Craigslist connection. Grammy-nominated Austin artist Adrian Quesada (Brown Out, Black Pumas) scored a 1975 Fender Super Reverb amp that Vasquez posted online for $700.
As Vasquez tells it, he and Quesada went for a “grown-ass man hang” at Antone’s to catch a set by Texas raconteur David Ramirez. After the show, the three of them had such a good time that Vasquez promised himself not to let the best drunken idea of the night — recording a stream-of-conscious record with buddies — to disappear with his tequila buzz.
“I’ve been making my solo records and wanted to play with friends. I thought fondly of the experience making the Middle Brother record with John McCauley (Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs) and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), and how fun that was. Adrian and David were in on it immediately.”
Vasquez tapped Seattle solo-artist Noah Gundersen and Austin artists Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child) and Jason Robert Blum, a prolific songwriter. To round out the crew, Vasquez called his long-time pal Nathaniel Rateliff, who agreed to pop in along with backing musicians Patrick Meese and Luke Mossman.
The collection of strangers and acquaintances didn’t know what to expect, and frankly a few of them almost didn’t show up. Ramirez nearly balked under the weight of “possibly the worst hangover of my life.” Gundersen was in the middle of a break-up induced “meltdown.” Wilson, worried she might not fit in with the guitar-playing boys, needed a nudge, too.
But once the kindred strangers unpacked the gear and poured the tequila, hangovers, heartaches and insecurities faded. Vasquez — their connection to each other — served as maestro of the vibe.
“Basically, Vasquez threw us into a house together and said, ‘We’re gonna do this thing, don’t worry about it. You’re all going to love each other,’” Wilson said. “And that very first night, within the first few hours we had set up, written and recorded a really solid song. That kicked it off. It was like, ‘That’s how this week is gonna go.’ And it never slowed down after that.”
Gundersen described the makeshift studio this way: “Shit was everywhere. Mics were duct-taped to stands. It was … different but there was a certain seamlessness to it that felt very organic and it was special.”
On their first morning together, as Blum fixed a breakfast of migas (and mezcal), the Glorietta crew recorded Gundersen’s “Lincoln Creek,” harmonizing on the chorus, a tender relatable truth for the touring musicians in the room: “Somewhere someone is singing for free/ The tab and a couple of 20s is all they need/ Somewhere someone is singing for free/ Thank god it ain’t me.”
[This narrative is from: https://www.gloriettamusic.com/about.html]
A Christmas Carol
Now Playing thru December 30, 2018
Houston’s seasonal favorite returns! A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas is a family-friendly re-telling of Charles Dickens’ classic story, which follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve. A Christmas Carol instills a powerful message about redemption and the spirit of the holiday season.
Those who have studied Charles Dickens say this about the British novelist, journalist, editor, illustrator and social commentator who wrote such beloved classic novels as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and of coursed A Christmas Carol.
Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol during a period when the British were exploring and re-evaluating past Christmas traditions, including carols and newer customs such as Christmas trees. He was influenced by the experiences of his own youth and by the Christmas stories of other authors including Washington Irving and Douglas Jerrold. Dickens had written three Christmas stories prior to the novella, and was inspired following a visit to the Field Lane Ragged School, one of several establishments for London's street children. The treatment of the poor and the ability of a selfish man to redeem himself by transforming into a more sympathetic character are the key themes of the story. There is discussion among academics as to whether this was a fully secular story, or if it is a Christian allegory.
Last year their was a movie about Dickens, (bio pic) that delved into how A Christmas Carol came about. The plot follows Charles Dickens at the time when he wrote A Christmas Carol, and how Dickens' fictional character Ebenezer Scrooge was influenced by his real-life father, John Dickens.
The film continues telling us two years after the success of Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens is suffering financial hardship from the failure of his last three books. Rejected by his publishers, he sets out to write a new book to restore his finances. Seeing inspiration around London, most notably a rich man's funeral that is largely unattended, he begins writing A Christmas Carol, due in six weeks in order to be published by Christmas. As Charles begins to develop his story, he interacts with the characters he is writing about, most notably Ebenezer Scrooge. Helping Dickens is one of his servants, Tara, an Irish immigrant who is literate and able to provide advice.
While writing his book, Charles is greeted by the arrival of his father, John Dickens, whom Charles views as immature and fiscally irresponsible. Charles' relationship with his family is increasingly strained as he struggles to finish the book in time, as he is unable to resolve Scrooge's story. Hearing that Charles intends to let Tiny Tim die, Tara suggests a resolution for Scrooge by having him save Tiny Tim instead. Charles rejects her help, and soon sends her away from his house in a fit of rage. Additionally, Charles has a falling out with his father and sends him away upon learning that he has been selling Charles' signature.
It is revealed that much of Charles' animosity towards his father is from his childhood embarrassment of working in a blacking factory after his family was taken to debtor's prison. Returning to the long-abandoned factory, Charles is forced to confront his own insecurities through Scrooge. Charles realizes that his story should be one of redemption, and races home to finish his manuscript. As he leaves to submit it to his illustrator, he encounters Tara, and invites her back. His wife suggests he do the same with his father, who is about to board a train to leave London. Reconnecting with his family, Charles submits the manuscript in time for publishing before Christmas. The film ends with the Dickens family celebrating the holidays, while a title text explains the overnight success of A Christmas Carol, and its lasting impact on the Christmas holiday.
Now that you know the background of this holiday classic enjoy the Alley's theatrical version of the Dickens classic this weekend.
Houston Ballet Presents
Now Playingthru December 29, 2018
Every year this holiday ballet classic comes alive in the Bayou City via the Houston Ballet. But how did this Nutcracker tale begin?
"The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" is a story written in 1816 by German author E. T. A. Hoffmann, the story is about the young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, a Nutcracker that comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. It was in 1892, Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov turned Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of the story into the ballet The Nutcracker.
Here's how it goes...
Although the original production was not a success, the 20-minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was. However, the complete Nutcracker has enjoyed enormous popularity since the late 1960s and is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season, especially in North America. Major American ballet companies generate around 40% of their annual ticket revenues from these performances of The Nutcracker. The ballet's score has been used in several film adaptations of Hoffmann's story.
The ballet is performed in two acts . . . Act I
It is Christmas Eve. Family and friends have gathered in the parlor to decorate the beautiful Christmas tree in preparation for the party. Once the tree is finished, the children are sent for. They stand in awe of the tree sparkling with candles and decorations.
The party begins. A march is played. Presents are given out to the children. Suddenly, as the owl-topped grandmother clock strikes eight, a mysterious figure enters the room. It is Drosselmeyer, a local councilman, magician, and Clara's godfather. He is also a talented toymaker who has brought with him gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls who dance to the delight of all. He then has them put away for safekeeping.
During the night, after everyone else has gone to bed, Clara returns to the parlor to check on her beloved nutcracker. As she reaches the little bed, the clock strikes midnight and she look up to see Drosselmeyer perched atop it. Suddenly, mice begin to fill the room and the Christmas tree begins to grow to dizzying heights. The nutcracker also grows to life size. Clara finds herself during a battle between an army of gingerbread soldiers and the mice, led by their king. They begin to eat the soldiers.
The nutcracker appears to lead the soldiers, who are joined by tin ones and dolls who serve as doctors to carry away the wounded. As the Mouse King advances on the still-wounded nutcracker, Clara throws her slipper at him, distracting him long enough for the nutcracker to stab him.
The mice retreat and the nutcracker is transformed into a handsome Prince. He leads Clara through the moonlit night to a pine forest in which the snowflakes dance around them, beckoning them on to his kingdom as the first act e
Act II The Land of Sweets
Clara and the Prince travel to the beautiful Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Prince's place until his return. He recounts for her how he had been saved from the Mouse King by Clara and transformed back into himself.
In honor of the young heroine, a celebration of sweets from around the world is produced: chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China, and candy canes from Russia all dance for their amusement; Danish shepherdesses perform on their flutes; Mother Ginger has her children, the Polichinelles, emerge from under her enormous hoop skirt to dance; a string of beautiful flowers perform a waltz. To conclude the night, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a dance.
A final waltz is performed by all the sweets, after which the Sugar Plum Fairy ushers Clara and the Prince down from their throne. He bows to her, she kisses Clara goodbye, and leads them to a reindeer drawn sleigh. It takes off as they wave goodbye to all the subjects who wave back.
In the original libretto, the ballet's apotheosis "represents a large beehive with flying bees, closely guarding their riches". Just like Swan Lake, there have been various alternative endings created in productions subsequent to the original.
Everyone enjoys this Houston holiday ballet classic performed by Houston's Ballet presented by Methodist hospital.
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