Category Archives: Arts ‘n’ Entertainment

Brad Goreski Visits Mohegan Sun for Reality Check Event Friday Night

Last night celebrity stylist and star of Bravo’s It’s A Brad, Brad World, Brad Goreski, made his first trip ever to Connecticut to star in the latest Reality Check event at Mohegan Sun as part of Diva Fridays.  The night began with a Q&A session followed by a free autograph signing by the fashion icon himself who was dressed in a bowtie, white, seersucker blazer and all topped off with his signature black frame glasses.  After meeting dozens of people lined up to meet him, Brad stopped by Shine 360 for a quick photo using hoola hoops as props and even taking a photo with some of his fans who were very excited!  As the night drew to a close, Brad stopped by VISTA Lounge for a quick sparkling water before heading back to the city.  He was, after all, headed to Paris in the morning to make the most of his last days of vacation before Fashion Week begins.


Brad gears up for a photo inside Shine 360 Friday night at Moheagn Sun following his Reality Check event in The Shops concourse. photo provided by Mohegan Sun

Brad gears up for a photo inside Shine 360 Friday night at Moheagn Sun following his Reality Check event in The Shops concourse.
photo provided by Mohegan Sun

Artist’s Jam Brings Creativity To Center Stage in New London

story & photo
by Jon Persson

Stephanie, no longer shy, dances in the lead of an Artist’s Jam at New London’s Harbour Towers. She moves with easy grace and smiling confidence between actual performance, and as the framer of the improvisations which are the theme of this evening, inviting the audience to join her in the creative process of living art.
For those who have known the young woman both behind and in front of this open forum, her blossoming from quiet, reticent figure to the energetic, outgoing presence with an easy laugh is both touching and inspiring. It is in part testament to the power of a calling to a life of artistic expression.
Stephanie is joined by Christine, a vibrant dancer whom she connected with through the recommendation of mutual friends. They have rehearsed “three or four times,” Stephanie says, during which they “planned the structure of the evening.” This includes a demonstration of “Throw and Catch,” where one dancer improvises a short routine (the Throw), which the second dancer repeats with added movements of their own (the Catch). Demonstrations of techniques used by dancers and choreographers follow.
“I wanted people to have a place to come together to play,” Stephanie explains. “I don’t want this to be just ‘Stephanie’s Artist’s Jam,’ I want it to be our Artist’s Jam,” she adds. Following this lead, six of the 50 or so people in attendance take their place on the mirror-side of the stage; Justin to read with conviction his poem 12 a.m., Wall St., NYC; Cristin to dance gracefully to a melodic violin solo. Guitarists and a player of a Chinese instrument perform as Stephanie and Christine dance, an interaction which was the objective of this evening.

Stephanie, left, dancer and creator of the January 27th Artist’s Jam, with dancing collaborator Christine.

Stephanie, left, dancer and creator of the January 27th Artist’s Jam, with dancing collaborator Christine.

“I want this to be a place where two poets can combine their work, or a poet and musician can get together and create a song,” Stephanie says. “This is like AA for artists,” she tells the gathering lightheartedly, and the evening proceeds on a first-name basis only.
The Jams themselves are works-in-process. Organizing this Artist’s Jam has been a learning process for Stephanie, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Temple University. Answering emails and talking to interested people required about 40 hours of her time, leading her to consider doing future Jams “on a seasonal, rather than monthly, basis.” This first event, which raised funds for the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, also revealed an expectation by attendees to be entertained by a “finished” performance. But, Stephanie emphasizes, “its not a ‘show,’ it’s a Jam. It depends on the people who show up” to make it a successful, creative event.
In addition to seeking out artistically talented participants, Stephanie would be appreciative of help from people with skills in networking and the organizing of events. Stephanie has also begun giving dance and movement lessons at the New London Healing Arts Center.
At the evening’s conclusion, Stephanie asks the assembly of people to join hands in a circle. “Arts have a momentum which helps in the rejuvenation of the city,” she says. “Tell a stranger you had a really good time,” she adds; “there are a lot of ways to be talented.” And, she concludes, the arts provide many opportunities for us “to love each other.”
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WineFest’s Tenth Delights All

Bruce “Two-Dogs” Bozsum

Bruce “Two-Dogs” Bozsum

by John Stratton

What’s not to like?   Great wines and beers, great food, great friends old and new. And a tenth anniversary swirl and glow in the air in the Uncas Ballroom at Mohegan Sun…which means lots to see and enjoy.

That’s 32—count ‘em 32—celebrity chefs, vintners, brewmasters. And about 900 distinct wines and brews offered to the diligent taster seeking to develop higher ranges of  connoisseurship.  But who’s counting? You have to pick and choose, and learn. And perhaps share your responses with more than 10,000 others like you, ready with a good word as friends meeting new friends.

Mark and Bridget Freeman of Tolland attended with another couple, Kevin and Renée Furbush of Glastonbury. They’d been to WineFest’s before, for the past five years.  “It’s a great weekend,” they said, just about in unison as they took a break to sample some eats. And the ladies laughed, “Without the kids—it’s a bonus!”

Two friends from the Hartford area were there for the first time, Dan Tarvell of Windsor and Brian Pitney of Enfield. Would they come back next year?  “Absolutely, yes!” they said.

Among familiar local faces were Sandy Chianzi of Mystic and Crystal Merritt of Stonington. They describe themselves as “the two favorites at the Steak Loft,” where they tend an active bar with many regulars.

Sandy Chianzi and Crystal Merritt.

Sandy Chianzi and Crystal Merritt.

Likewise, Lynn Malerba, 18th Lifetime Chief of the Mohegan Tribe, stopped in with husband Paul and daughter Angela and fiancé Matt, as did Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council,  blending with the throng in the expansive ballroom.

Robert J. “Bobby” Soper, President and CEO, Mohegan Sun, was on hand as well, noting the camaraderie that makes the event a special one.

“This event has become the premier wine festival in the Northeast, if not the East Coast,” said Bobby, who added that there was something for everyone to enjoy. “Whether you want to attend a private tasting event or activity, or enjoy the unmatched variety of offerings at the Grand Tasting, or just mingle with the top celebrity chefs in the world—it is truly a remarkable event for wine and food enthusiasts. Or even for people like myself who do not have distinguished palates, and just want to have a great time.”

(l-r) Paul and Lynn Malerba with Angela and Matt.

(l-r) Paul and Lynn Malerba with Angela and Matt.

Bobby also sees the WineFest in a larger context, attracting many new visitors to the complex in Uncasville.

“We are constantly refreshing our property,” he said, “and have had a flurry of openings of new establishments in the past several months.

Restaurants and nightlife choices such as Hash House a Go Go, Landsdowne Pub, Mist in Casino of the Wind, Vista Lounge at Wombi Rock, the Bow & Arrow Sports Bar in Earth Casino and the new Clay Pipe cigar lounge have all joined us.”

À votre santé!

Fashion in the Ballroom & Other Hygienic Events

CoryMendenhanwebSalon des Indépendants (Hygienic Art Galleries, 79 Bank Street)

January 26 through February 9
Art drop-off: Sat. Jan. 26 8am-6pm; Show opens 8pm

Pick-up: Sun. Feb. 10 Noon to 4pm

Visual artists are invited to submit work to the 34th Salon des Indépendants exhibition to be held at the Hygienic Art Galleries. The rules are simple: one piece per artist, no judge, no jury, no fees, and no censorship!  More than 400 artists are expected to have their work on display in the galleries for this unique and inspiring exhibition.


Hygienic Young Artists Exhibition (The Garde Gallery, 305 State Street)
January 26 – February 2, opening celebration Sat, Jan 28 from Noon to 4pm

Art drop-off, Thurs, Jan 24 & Fri, Jan 25 4-7pm;

Pick-up Sun. Feb. 3 Noon to 4pm

Young artists are encouraged to submit work to the junior salon hosted at the Garde Gallery space on State Street.  There will be many hands-on arts related activities and performances throughout the day on January 26 celebrating the opening.


Hy-gienic Photo-gienic (Expressiones, 84 Bank Street)

Opening reception February 1, 6-8pm

The Visual Scavenger Hunt! Calling all photographers! Come join us for a photographic scavenger hunt! Grab a Photo-gienic packet at the Hygienic Art Galleries on Saturday January 26th from 9am-3pm. The packet contains a list of words to be interpreted throughout the New London Historic District. Return the packet with your 5×7 photographs and be part of the PHOTO-GIENIC IV Exhibition. Packets are due Wednesday, January 30th and may be returned to the Hygienic. The opening is Friday, Feb 1 and runs through Sunday, Feb 10th at Expressiones Gallery directly across from the Hygienic Art Galleries!


Fashion in the Ballroom (Crocker House Ballroom, 35 Union Street)
Friday, February 1, 8pm

Haute couture comes to New London for its fifth year in this exciting event that will showcase new work from local designers Susan Hickman, Cristin Gallagher, Christina Dempsey, Susan Gorra, Vintage Chic, and special designs from Ruben Elijah Reiser Johnson in the gorgeous and historic Crocker House Ballroom. Doors open at 7pm with a $10 suggested donation at the door.  Show will be accompanied by the local DJ styling of Kid igloo, Newsflash!, and #dagYO.


Mayfly Playhouse 24 (Crocker House Ballroom, 35 Union Street)
Saturday, February 2, 8pm

It is the lure of the Unknown that drives us to explore outside our boundaries, to discover new worlds, to look beyond our universe, gives us life, moves us forward towards…our beginning? It is the Unknown at the heart of the Mayfly Playhouse. Stories, yet unwritten. Actors not yet cast. Words unspoken. An empty stage. Until the last, the last day, the end times. In 24 hours, seven plays, conceived, written, rehearsed, come together under the lights, never witnessed before, never again. Will it happen, become reality, or is it all just illusion, imagination? When that can be answered, it’s too late to ask the question. You need to see for yourself. It is the Great Unknown.


Hygienic Poets (Hygienic Art Galleries, 79 Bank Street)

Saturday, February 9, 7pm

Hosted by Rhonda Ward.  Open mic reading followed by a poetry slam with cash prizes judged by members of the audience.


Rock Lobster Band-O-Matic (Oasis Pub, 16 Bank Street)
Saturday, February 9, 10pm

A pick-up game for musicians! Interested parties sign up for one of five categories: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, or Other.  On January 26, we’ll draw one name from each category and create up to five new bands.  The groups will have two weeks to get together and work up one cover and one original (and name their acts and work out wardrobes) before performing at the closing party for Hygienic XXXIV at the Oasis Pub on February 9.

Epic Records’ “Dead Sara” Hit The Road In February

Dead SaraRising Los Angeles rock band and recent Epic Records signees Dead Sara will hit the road with Muse in February as support on the British trio’s 2013 U.S. arena tour. In addition to thrilling L.A. fans their high-octane live performances, Dead Sara have also built a national fanbase by performing with Chevelle, The Used, The Offspring, Neon Trees, and Bush, as well as spending last summer as part of the Vans Warped Tour.

Dead Sara have attracted major buzz for a supercharged sound propelled by guitarist Siouxsie Medley‘s monster guitar riffs and Emily Armstrong‘s powerful, wailing vocals. Rounded out by bassist Chris Null and drummer Sean Friday, the band has attracted attention from such media outlets as Rolling StoneRevolver, AP, and The Los Angeles Times, which called their performance at the 2012 Sunset Strip Music Festival “the best of the breakouts,” noting that “the band delivered huge, energetic rock songs that harnessed the grunge power of Nirvana and Foo Fighters with a healthy dose of arena rock expansiveness and a hell of a lot of riffage.”

Dead Sara were also selected Close to Home Artist of the Year by 98.7′s KYSR, whose program director Julie Pilat remarked: “Dead Sara rocks so hard they remind me of the days when alternative bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains got played on Headbangers Ball. It’s by far our staff’s favorite New Music Discovery of 2012!”

In April 2012, Dead Sara released their self-titled debut album through their own label Pocket Kid Records. Produced by Noah Shain (Atreyu, Skrillex), the album peaked at No. 16 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Albums chart. They will perform a new single from the album, “Lemon Scent,” along with a cover of Patti Smith’s “Ask The Angels,” on an episode of The Vampire Diaries that airs March 31st.

Dead Sara performed two shows at Cisero’s in Park City, Utah, during this year’s Sundance Film Festival: An after-party for a screening of the Pussy Riot documentary A Punk Prayer on January 18th and a headlining event hosted by the producers of Dave Grohl‘s documentary film Sound City on January 21st.

Brooklyn’s “Lazyeyes” Self-titled Debut LP Out Now

LazyeyesAfter premiering the album last week via Earmilk, Brooklyn’s Lazyeyes officially release their four song, self-titled EP that combines spacious reverb, surf and new wave inspired single-note pop melodies, and technical guitar interplay. Comprised of members of Brooklyn’s DIY art scene, Jason Abrishami, Paul Volpe and Jeremy Sampson, Lazyeyes are set to play Glasslands in Brooklyn to celebrate the release this Friday, February 1st at Glasslands. Post release, the band returns to the studio to work on a follow-up and prepare for a late spring tour.




“Aesthetically, this might well qualify as garage rock, but Lazeyes’ love for complexity in melody blossoms all over the record.” – Earmilk

“Lazyeyes throw the garage-like distortion of the Northwest and the surf-rock vibes of the Left Coast on top of the heavy reverb and atmospherics of East Coast dream pop.” – All Things Go

“On their self-titled EP, Lazyeyes render a cohesive sound while simultaneously proving their dexterity. This band won’t stay under the radar from long.” – Pop Press International



Don’t let the name Lazyeyes fool you – this young project is keenly aware of its contemporary music landscape. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be immersed in the notoriously fertile Brooklyn DIY scene where, committing to the band in the summer of 2012, Lazyeyes has grown tremendously in a little over six months. Playing shows around town with the likes of Oberhofer, Total Slacker and Generationals, the project is beginning to make waves at home and abroad.

The Deli Magazine just named the group the “Best Psych/Shoegaze band in New York” for 2012 saying the album “brings to mind classic mid-90′s dreampop” while Mixtape Maestro proclaimed “Lazyeyes make a promising early bid at joining the top ranks of 2013 blogosphere.”

Meanwhile, debut single “Wait” has recently garnered substantial radio playtime across the UK, as well as American satellite programming. “Wait” is an excellent example of the group’s s ability to erupt at an expansive, pyrotechnic level all the while sharply delivering pop-laden hooks. Which is all to say that despite the band’s ostensible laissez-faire portance, Lazyeyes is anything but.

Miranda Lambert Partners with Pedigree

Miranda Lambert visited ‘The Talk‘ (Jan 21st) to announce a couple of things- first she will be performing on the 2013 Grammy Awards. One can hope it will be the song “Mama’s Broken Heart,” as yours truly will be SO excited to hear this song on the show.

MirandaLambert2013pngMiranda told the ladies on the show, “It means the world to have a nomination and perform.”  Her album “Four the Record,” is up for best Country Album Nomination.

Other Country performers scheduled to perform on the awards show are Taylor Swift & Carrie Underwood, so far.

Another news announcement the busy performer gave was her new project with PEDIGREE®. Miranda plays mom to six adopted dogs, & she knows what it takes to help the nation’s more than four million shelter dogs find their loving homes – access to consistent, professional nutrition so they look and feel their best. That’s why the country superstar is teaming up with the PEDIGREE® Brand to launch a search for the next communities to benefit from The PEDIGREE® Feeding Project, an initiative started in Nashville and Chicago that supplies participating shelters with 100 percent of their core dog food needs, at absolutely no cost.

“I’m amazed every day by the unconditional love I receive from all of my adopted dogs. That’s why it means so much to me to partner with PEDIGREE®, a brand that truly believes in finding dogs loving homes as much as I do,” remarked Miranda Lambert. “PEDIGREE® knows that there are so many communities that have an abundance of homeless dogs, and together we want to help. That’s why we’re asking people to nominate their community at and spread the word about this incredible program. Every nomination helps raise awareness for dog adoption.”

Lambert will officially open The PEDIGREE® Feeding Project “Choose the Next Community” nomination period today at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles, Calif. by unveiling her latest video project that showcases her love of dogs and why this initiative is important to shelter dogs from coast-to-coast.


The Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier

John Neumeier

John Neumeier

As part of its jubilee as well as its outstanding international activities THE HAMBURG BALLET – JOHN NEUMEIER will tour the United States from February, 1st to 19th – 2013 with two of its most renowned ballets: “Nijinsky” and “The Little Mermaid,” choreographed by American-born John Neumeier, Director and Chief Choreographer of THE HAMBURG BALLET.

“Having directed the HAMBURG BALLET – JOHN NEUMEIER for nearly 40 years, it is a very special, nostalgic moment for me, as an American, to present two of my most important works in the United States”, says John Neumeier, the world’s longest director of a ballet company.

Mr. Neumeier is an honorary citizen of Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city and Northern Germany’s prime maritime location and cultural hub. Neumeier is Hamburg’s most important representative, promoting the city’s outstanding cultural landscape. The start of the compagnie’s US tour is also accompanied by Hamburg’s Senator of Culture, Prof. Barbara Kisseler: “In the year of John Neumeiers 40st anniversary in Hamburg, I am very happy to join him and the Hamburg Ballet on a visit to his home country and to our sister city Chicago. The Hamburg Ballet performances in the Harris Theater Chicago mark a wonderful starting signal for another upcoming anniversary: in 2014 we celebrate 20 years of sister city relationship with Chicago.”

John Neumeier has been officially appointed as cultural ambassador for Hamburg – a city that boasts Europe’s longest-standing People’s Opera, top-class museums and an exciting creative and music scene. For example, Hamburg is currently developing one of the world’s most spectacular, daring architectural projects: the Elbphilharmonie concert house in the heart of Hamburg’s port district. But not only lovers of classical music find a home here: After all, Hamburg is the place where the Beatles launched their career more than 50 years ago and where the Reeperbahn Festival every year in September celebrates Europe’s newcomers in pop music. In short, the city offers a various cultural landscape where the HAMBURG BALLET – JOHN NEUMEIER plays a vital part. The audiences of the US tour will be presented with Neumeier’s ballet masterpieces “Nijinsky“ and “The Little Mermaid”.

The Hamburg Ballet - John Neumeier

“Nijinsky“ and “The Little Mermaid”

The ballet “Nijinsky” is based on the life and legend of one of the most exceptional artists of our century: Vaslav Nijinsky experienced popularity, publicity and fame, as a choreographer he established a new direction – a dance vision pointing the way towards modern choreography. The character and destiny of Nijinsky inspired John Neumeier in 2000, for the fiftieth anniversary of the Polish-Russian dancer’s death, to dedicate him a full-length ballet. its first tour to the US, having been performed in New York and Orange County the ballet is now back to America, being performed the Harris Theater in Chicago and in the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.

Neumeiers “The Little Mermaid” was created for the bicentenary of the birth of the poet Hans Christian Andersen. It is a dramatic tale set in two contrasting worlds: The simple, underwater life of the ocean creatures and the flamboyant lifestyle of humans. The central figure of the mermaid travels through both worlds, enduring torment because of her committed love for the prince. The ballet underlines parallels to the fairy tale in the biography of Hans Christian Andersen. “The Little Mermaid” has been danced by the HAMBURG BALLET – JOHN NEUMEIER in Hamburg and Tokyo. For the first time John Neumeier will bring the ballet with his own company to the US, dancing in the Segerstrom Centre for the Arts, Costa Mesa (CA).


More information about THE HAMBURG BALLET – JOHN NEUMEIER: and about the City of Hamburg:

The Source Presents: 13 Standout Artists For 2013

Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$: Joey spent 2012 shutting down stages across the U.S. and even touring out of the country after dropping his well-received 1999 mixtape, and ended the year with a mixtape from him and his talented Pro.Era crew, showcasing his growth as an artist. This young Brooklyn born emcee has proved he’s more than just a one-tape wonder. Expect to see a lot more from him in 2013 as he gears up to drop a new mixtape this Spring, followed by his debut album.

2012 introduced the masses to some artists that may have been around for a minute, but hadn’t appeared on our radars just yet. Now that we see them, though, there are definitely some artists we’re gonna keep our eyes and ears on. We’ve compiled a list of the 13 standout artists that we’re looking out for in 2013. Check it out here.

Connecticut-born author hits bestseller list with Barbra Streisand biography

By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle™

Courtesy of William J. Mann FB

Courtesy of William J. Mann FB

Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand” by bestselling author, biographer, journalist and film historian William J. Mann is as much of a page-turner as a riveting novel. It’s the result of Mann’s masterful story-telling talent and his meticulous research that marks his biographies as definitive in every case.

Mann was born and grew up in Middletown, Connecticut where he earned his master’s degree in English at Wesleyan University. He then worked as a freelance journalist and editor on his way to becoming a best-selling writer of non-fiction and fiction. He credits another Connecticut-born best-selling author, Dominick Dunne, as one of the several mentors who helped him along the way to success.

Mann is always an approachable and down-to-earth guy, as we know from previous interviews, he quickly responded to our questions about the reaction to his Streisand biography saying, “The response has been really great. Unanimously positive reviews. We even made the ‘New York Times’ bestseller list. It’s been very gratifying.”

We knew that the popular gossip columnist for the “Huffington Post,” Liz Smith, raved about Mann’s biography of Streisand more than once and those comments spread like wild fire across the country. We asked him about this invaluable help from The Grand Dame of Dish. He said, “Liz Smith is a huge fan of the book and I’m a huge fan of hers. So grateful for her support and the support of everyone.”

Mann added that “What’s especially rewarding is that the Barbra fans really love the book–and they are a tough group to please. They know what’s been said before, what’s new, and what is fair. And from the comments I’ve been getting and the comments posted on Amazon, the fans give the book high marks. So that’s really terrific.”

“Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand” is one of our favorite reads this year. We highly recommend it to everyone who loves a book that you just can’t put down. We’re not the only ones who feel that way about Mann’s latest blockbuster. The New York Times” book review says it’s “a novelized biography notable for its breadth of detail and fair-mindedness. At his best, Mann vividly evokes the atmosphere of Streisand’s New York.”

The biography also made the “Publishers WeeklyTop Ten Bestseller list. The publication said of Mann, “The best-selling biographer of Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor tells the electrifying story of how Barbra Streisand transformed herself into the greatest star of her era, etching ‘an indelible portrait of the artist as a young woman.”

And the prestigious “Kirkus Reviews” calls it a “surprisingly suspenseful and masterfully paced biography. Mann structures the book by seasons, further dividing these into a series of vignettes that read like scenes from a novel peopled with extraordinary characters. The Barbra legend, it seems, is a scary thing to live up to — making “Hello, Gorgeous” a cautionary tale about the high cost of getting what you wish for.”

Courtesy of William J. Mann FB

Courtesy of William J. Mann FB

Film producer and contributing “Huffington Post” writer, Jay Weston, says. “After reading William J. Mann’s new biography, Hello, Gorgeous — Becoming Barbra Streisand” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), I realized that I knew almost nothing of the inner events of those early years except what I had personally observed and read. Mann, the author of “Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn,” and a work on Elizabeth Taylor, has done a remarkable job of exhuming every single detail (yes, every one) of the years from the winter of 1960 to the spring of 1964, from when the frail young 17-year old girl (with teen-age acne) came from working at a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn to sleeping on friends’ couches in Manhattan while auditioning for acting jobs, to reaching the pinnacle of fame and success four years later with the opening of “Funny Girl.”

Just when you thought you had heard or read everything about any of the famous subjects of Mann’s other bestsellers, you’ll quickly discover that he digs deeper and supplies more documentation than all previous biographers.

The 592-page Streisand biography was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is available online and in bookstores. For more information about William J. Mann, including all his acclaimed biographies, film histories and popular fiction, go to

Award-Winning Broadway Music Director appointed Artistic Director of Summer Program

John McDaniel

John McDaniel

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announced the appointment of Grammy and two-time Emmy Award winner John McDaniel as Artistic Director of the Cabaret & Performance Conference, its third, which will take place July 31 – August 10, 2013.  The Conference focuses on developing new artists and forms for cabaret theater, and closes the O’Neill professional summer season of new work annually.

Executive Director Preston Whiteway remarked, “I am truly thrilled to welcome John to the O’Neill and excited for his leadership of the Cabaret & Performance Conference.  John’s unique talents as both an artist and a producer give him the vision to lead our program and to excite his fellow artists and our local and national audience.  I can’t wait for August.”
The Cabaret & Performance Conference, first formed in 1989 as the Cabaret Symposium and re-launched in 2005, has featured luminaries such as Margaret Whiting, Julie Wilson, Leslie Uggams, Penny Fuller, and provided vital developmental opportunities to The Story of My Life.  Additionally, throughout its history, nearly 250 aspiring cabaret artists have spent 10 days in the Conference honing their skills and launching their careers.
“I have been deeply fond of the Cabaret art form ever since my father took me to Bobby Short’s performance at the Café Carlyle when I was in school.  I was instantly hooked!” says McDaniel.  “I look forward to jumping into the sandbox at the O’Neill, creating a vibrant and compelling season for next summer.”
The Cabaret Junior Fellows program will continue under Music Director Brad Simmons.  Junior Fellows develops cabaret performance skills of teenagers, integrating their curriculum into the broader Cabaret and Performance Conference.
Further details on the Conference, including the schedule, will be released in the spring.

Music Executive And Entrepreneur Gee Roberson Forms New Label

interscope recordsGee Roberson, Chairman of Geffen Records, will transition to create and own a full service record company to be distributed by Interscope Geffen A&M, it was announced today by Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman and CEO Jimmy Iovine and President and COO John Janick.  This move is consistent and in further consolidation of his other highly successful entertainment interests including managerial and artist development company Blueprint Group.

“I’m very happy about the knowledge and experience I gained at Geffen that will be very useful going forward in the future,” said Roberson, noting that Keyshia Cole’s Woman To Woman enjoyed one of 2012′s biggest selling debut weeks for an R&B album.  “Now it’s time to go back to my roots, that entrepreneurial spirit, wrap my arms around my own label and fold it into Interscope Geffen A&M.  Based on the relationship I already have with Jimmy and everyone at the label, this is a very natural move that’s filled with synergies.”

Added Jimmy Iovine, Chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M: “Gee has an extraordinary entrepreneurial instinct and that spirit has always been an important part of our company. John and I are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with Gee on his latest venture.”

Several artists on the Geffen roster are expected to join Roberson at the New York City-based label, called Blueprint, including but not limited to rapper/producer Hit-Boy and Chicago hardcore rappers LEP Bogus Boys.

Roberson began his music industry career under the tutelage of Jay-Z at Roc-A-Fella Records, where he rose to senior VP of A&R. He later moved to Atlantic Records as senior VP of A&R and headed the label’s urban music division.  Meanwhile, in 1998, he co-founded his management company Rock Da World, signing Kanye West as its first artist, followed by Just Blaze.  In 2004, the company changed its name to Hip Hop Since 1978.  Six years later, Hip Hop Since 1978 merged with Bryant Management, which boasted Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj and T.I. among its clients.  Roberson and Cortez Bryant remain co-CEOs of the resulting company, the Blueprint Group.  Last year in 2011 he executive produced the top three selling rap albums: Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne and Drake’s Take Care.  This year he executive produced the top selling rap album of the year with Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.