Monday, July 31, 2006

TBPAC: bits and bites

Nick Lachey will be on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson on August 15. His tickets for Tampa go on sale the next day. Scoop 'em up while you can!

Angela Lakin, who may remember me eulogizing when she left TBPAC for another opportunity, started back to work with us this morning. YAY! We're all really glad to have her back.

Kid Time and Wee Folk season tickets are on sale now. Those are our two most recent season ticket packages to go on sale. Also on sale now are season tickets to the Suntrust Broadway Tampa Bay Series, the Opera Tampa Homes by Helen Opera Series and the Jobsite Theater Play Series. Look out soon for our Cultural Passport sampler package!

What do we have to do to get some more comments around here? Let us know! (Heh, I realize the comedy there - we don't get too many comments so I'm asking for comments on how to get more comments.)

Hope you're all off to great start to the week.

-David J.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Light in the Piazza tour opening!

The new touring production of The Light in the Piazza launches its national tour in San Francisco in just one week. Press opening for this beautiful production will be on Friday, August 4 at 8:00 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre.

The cast is said to be "sensational" and features Christine Andreas, Elena Shaddow and David Burnham.

If you don't have your frequent flyer miles saved up for a free trip you can always see the production in one of the upcoming cities through July, 2007. The Light in the Piazza plays Tampa Oct. 3-8. Currently it looks like a 50-week tour for the 2006-2007 season with a hope to continue into the following season.

Go here to see photos and video of the show.

Visit this link for a complete list of tour dates.

- David J.

Free season tickets?!

Jobsite Theater, TBPAC's resident theater company, is giving away free season tickets to their upcoming 06-07 season. Check out the contest they have on their blog. Who says nothing's ever free!

- David J.

(Disclosure: I'm also Jobsite's Artistic Director.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Feeding my inner DJ

Back in the dark ages (the late 1970s) when semi-creative types didn't have their own organizations and chamber-endorsed networking events, a merry band of misfits threw the Artists and Writers Ball -- an orgy of dancing, drinking and music that was conceived as a kind of anti-Gasparilla.* The early Daughters of Bizarro theme was all-inclusive and indicative of things to come: Hot Night in Havana, Welcome to the Depression, Cowboys in Space (or did I imagine that last one?).

One of the first party meetings was in that bastion of the counterculture -- The Tampa Tribune -- where 10 people including Bud Lee, Paul Wilborn, David Audet and Ben Brown -- agreed to put up the seed money for venue and sound equipment deposits: $50 in return for 10 tickets worth $5 each. Ten tickets for an event that could never happen.

Only somehow it worked. Conceived as a non-profit event, we were sold out days before and our biggest problem was in what to do with all the money. Since our party was in Ybor City, we did what came naturally: We provided free Cuban sandwiches to most of the attendees.

The live bands were great, but we needed some transitional music so I volunteered. Using my trusty cassette deck (how primitive), I mixed Tommy Tutone, The Beatles and Willie Nile along with dozens of other artists. One of my fondest memories of that night was feeling the floor vibrate as hundreds of folks danced to "Twist and Shout." Jeez, no wonder people want to be DJs. (That, and meeting women. See "Fidelity, High.") What a feeling of power and satisfaction. I ended up providing the recorded music for the first three or four balls.

Flash to 2006 and everybody can be a DJ. iTunes (unpaid product placement) has a feature that allows users to publish set lists on the Apple Music Store. It's very clever in many ways. It's user-generated content, which is very hot right now and builds traffic. And only songs that you can buy on iTunes are eligible for inclusion in your set -- although you didn't have to buy your copy of the song from Apple. So if people see your set and like what they hear, they can click-through to buy the songs from the Apple service. There's also a ratings application.

Since we've been thinking here about Club Jaeb, our 268-seat club at TBPAC, for my first mix I ended up grouping artists who are former Jaeb acts, upcoming Jaeb performers and some who basically are "you wish!" All are wonderful songwriters who make music that matters, no matter what the genre.

Because I did it on a rainy Sunday morning, the mood reflects that a bit. It's pretty quiet. And somehow e e cummings wrote the summary of the playlist.

So if you're an iTunes person, check it out and let me know what you think. You can find it here.
- Michael K.

* Disclaimer: That whole Artists and Writers Ball thing was a very long time ago, but this is how I remember it happening. Considering the nature of the beast, I can imagine a whole lot of people having completely different recollections. As they say, if you can remember those nights you probably weren't there.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's not over until ...

Time magazine says she lost the equivalent of Mariah Carey, but no matter how you measure it opera superstar Deborah Voigt is in fighting shape to play Ariadne in Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" in London.

In 2004, she was fired because the director couldn't see her in the "little black dress" he planned as her stage costume.

One gastric-bypass surgery later, Voigt has lost 135 pounds and has a new Glamour Shotz photo to prove it. And the Royal Opera House has rehired her for the 07-08 season.
Now, maybe people can again start talking about the soprano's voice, which The New York Times has called "blazingly powerful, deeply expressive and, as always, musically scrupulous."

- Michael K.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Clerks II

It appears I'm all set to go to the 7:40 showing tonight. Snoogans.

I note my boss wasn't very kind to Jersey Girl in his post this morning (not like many others were), but I feel a need to defend it. Not just because it's a Kevin Smith film and I genuinely do count myself a very big fan (ok, probably an outright fanboy), but because I respect what he was going for in the film - which really is quite sweet - and also because there are some genuinely fine performances.

Rachel Castro, George Carlin (who might actually have his best acting work to show from this film) and Stephen Root are all completely on the money. JLo is barely in the movie and Ben Affleck, well, he's Ben Affleck. Like Smith said on his college tour DVD, he think's Affleck is the best actor in the world and if they were remaking JAWS he'd cast him - "Affleck could be the shark!"

Oh, and did anyone else check out Kevin Smith's scathing appraisal of Joel Siegel? Story has it that Siegel walked out of the screening of Clerks II, which marked the first time he'd ever done that in his 30-year career. Smith's issue was not Siegel walking out of the film, but the way he chose to go about doing it - yelling, creating a scene, etc. The next day Smith was on the Opie and Anthony show and so they decided to call Siegel up. I probably shouldn't make a direct link from this post, in fear it might get me in trouble with the ol' bosses due to the adult language, but I will say the url is exactly like "Silent Bob Speaks" but if you just typed it out as a one big word. Enjoy that.

Kevin Smith, just four years my senior, represents a real renaissance not only in film-making, but in storytelling and modern American pop culture. Jobsite's very-much beloved play The March of the Kitefliers, set to make a return in the spring of '07, is undoubtably influenced by Smith's style. We even sent an invitiation to Smith for the original production, which we know he probably never got but was worth sending anyway. This year we intend on trying to get to him even sooner. Hey, we always thought it would make a great film ... so long as I don't get replaced with Affleck.

- David J.

More Twinkies ...

Slasher (writer/director/actor) Kevin Smith is back with "Clerks 2," 10 years after his original slacker film.

Since then, he flopped with "Jersey Girl," starring Ben Affeck and Jennifer Lopez, otherwise known as "The Curse of Bennifer," or "Don't Ever Make Movies Using Stars Who Annoy the Heck Out of Us."

In a brief Time interview, Smith said how he'd changed since then. "I'm getting more bald. From the front, you can't pick it up. But when I turn around it's like I'm wearing a skin yarmulke."

He also offered his opinions of his fans.

"They tend to look like me -- boys and girls. We're all very sedentary and we like Twinkies."

- Michael K.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Endings and new beginnings

Two Broadway hits recently closed after good long runs.

"Doubt," the story of a nun and the priest she accuses (perhaps correctly, perhaps not), finished strong on July 2 with about $28 million on total sales over 25 previews and 525 performances.

"The Light in the Piazza," with its lush, romantic score and slightly tangled love story, closed the same day with closer to $29 million in total sales over 36 previews and 504 performances.

Both were slightly surprising hits when they opened in the spring of 2005, and now both will take to the road in national tours.

- Michael K

TV Watch

I can't say I've made that many standing appointments for TV shows since I moved out of my parent's house.

We had a weird little Red Dwarf/Doctor Who thing going on in college - but we were in college and that's what you do when your day is basically over at 3pm.

I completely missed Twin Peaks the first time around. I tried watching it once and didn't get it. I'm easily frustrated, and much prefer to watch things from the beginning so I know what the heck is going on. It's the reason I didn't watch the X-files until almost the last season, it took me going all the way back and getting season 1 on DVD then catching myself up.

I just got DVR 2 weeks ago, and I'm already wondering how I lived without it before, and am beginning to worry about how much more TV I'll now watch as a result. No tapes to mess with, no dual setting of a cable box and VCR. Just pull up the menu and select record. Handy ...

I've got my DVR tuned to record all episodes of two shows, and all new episodes of a third. I really enjoyed the first season of Deadwood (a show with language so coarse Lenny Bruce would blanche), but probably missed half of the second season. I was really dismayed Monday to learn that the third season started up about five weeks ago. I probably wouldn't know what was up, so now I need to go back to season two and watch forward to catch myself up.

Lucky Louie is another really good HBO product. Like Deadwood, it would never work on network TV for the subject matter and language alone. It's like Friends, but with people who actually look like me and my friends. The show is written, produced and starring Louis CK (who also has a really funny half-hour special out right now) and features some other great talent from week to week.

And my final fix right now is Entourage, like Deadwood also in it's third season. I could watch Jeremy Piven's character of Ari all night. Heck, Ari deserves his own spin-off. Hug It Out, or something like that. I was listening to the local sports radio station the other day, and someone referred to it as "the rebirth of Man TV." That's pretty appropriate.

I'm not sure what it says, but consistently now for the past five or so years, the bulk of what I've been interested in watching on TV has come from HBO. I wonder if it'll last?

- David J.

Share the shame

A Los Angeles stage show that combines stand-up comedy and audience participation has spawned in other cities, as well as leading to an upcoming book, bar and home versions and -- no doubt -- a reality TV show in the near future.

Called "Mortified," the show features audiences members (pre-selected at auditions) who relate their most embarrassing moments on stage.

Since we already know that people will do almost anything to be famous for two minutes, let alone 15, the possibilities are endless.

As related in Newsweek, groups are playing at "Cringe Night" at Freddy's Bar in Brooklyn and "The Salon of Shame" at Rendezvous in Seattle.

Got an embarrassing moment you want to share with us? Send it in.

- Michael K.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

'Avenue' is Quite the thing

"Avenue Q," late of Las Vegas and soon for the U.S. road market, has opened in London in a theater owned by Cameron Mackintosh.

You have to wonder whether the tales of these characters on the edge of society will translate (yes, I know it's still English, but still) to the Brits.

The show, which is sort of Muppet theater for adults and one of the funniest -- and smartest -- shows I've seen in a long time, won the Tony for Best Musical. But instead of touring the country, they opted to play in Vegas for a very long engagement, which turned out not to be not as long as they thought or hoped. Not surprising, really, 'cause it's still Vegas.

It's still a red-hot ticket in New York. London will be another test of its enduring popularity.

Regardless, "Q" will roll American audiences when it begins a long-awaited national tour.

In the meanwhile, you can go to and send Qcards to show people that you Qare.

Disclaimer: The use of the word Muppet above does not in any way constitute approval or endorsement by the company founded by Jim Henson. They're not connected. Really separate. Not even close.

- Michael K.

Dirty rotten scoundrel?

We heard last year that there was a Broadway musical in the works based on the Spielberg film, "Catch Me If You Can."

Now, Variety has announced that Nathan Lane will star in the show's workshop performances as federal agent Carl Hanratty, whose thankless task was to chase down Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Frank Abaganale.

Abaganale wrote the book the movie was based on, "Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit."
Music and lyrics are by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, who won a Tony for Best Score (and Best Musical) for "Hairspray."

At a 2005 theater conference in Miami, Shaiman and Wittman provided a sneak peak of one of the songs, which might or might not be called "50 Checks."

Shaiman sang the lyrics from a piece of hotel stationery. In his big finish, he threw the paper to the floor.

If this show hits it big, look for those prototype lyrics on eBay. I reclaimed the stationery and had Marc and Scott sign it for -- as Abaganle might say -- posterity and profit.

- Michael K.

New "creative class" website: Oddpodz

I had an interesting link forwarded on to me yesterday for Their introductory email states:

Tampa businesswomen Karen Post and Jocelyn Ring are following in the footsteps of social network sites such as and by launching, an online community dedicated to the Creative Class. released its beta test last week with hopes of capturing the roughly 150 million global Creative Class market.

Their website's About Us page goes on to say:

The concept was birthed during a work/play excursion to New York City in December of 2005 while splitting an incredible piece of flourless, dark chocolate cake and drinking a fine cabernet at Nolita House. Nolita House is a campy joint that feels like a schoolhouse — you can write on the walls, misbehave and drink good vino, nosh on sweet stuff and cook up big ideas. Marc, the owner, is now a best pal.

After the second glass of wine came our epiphany: how cool would it be to have a community for people like us—smart, fun, brave, always curious and a bit odd—where you could express yourself, get inspired, find uncommonly cool things, resources and content, and meet other oddpodz?

So that’s how the story goes. Two chicks who love life, laughing, ethnic food, fashion, sports, dogs, business and creating cool things.

The appear to have a marketplace and a blog up and running as well as areas for profiles/interviews and a "vent" area for people to complain, muse, share their work or do whatever they have to do to get whatever's on their chest off.

Give it a look. If they can keep up with it, it might be habit forming.

- David J.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Craig's quick music plugs

Tilly And The Wall's new album "Bottoms of Barrells" is amazing. :)

Cursive is releasing a new album on August 7th. We have the new single on 7 inch - it's pretty awesome too. (Editor's note: Wow, people still really do listen to vinyl ...)

- Craig R.

Behavior modification

I've talked about theater etiquitte on this blog before. I've even put together shorts for our CenterTV show on the subject (that would be me with the bag of Funyuns) and I'm now working on a few different pre-recorded curtain speeches for the various halls here. So with my sensitivity to the subject, I was delighted this morning to see a local critic get into the act with a bit of commentary on bad behavior:

"The only things that marred this excellent production were a few examples of unfortunate audience behavior.

Folks, if you get up during the show, be advised that those of us still in the theater can hear your loud lobby conversations - and we would rather listen to the people on the stage.

Also, if a cell phone should happen to go off during the performance, try to express your horror silently. This also applies to discussions about the play, which would be best reserved for intermission or afterward.

When a production is this good, the least we can do is hold up our end of the bargain."

In the live curtain speeches I do here, all those points above are usually covered ahead of time. I'm never looking to be insulting to anyone straight away (that's not saying the fangs won't come out on the second or third offense), and I think using humor is often the best route when trying to remind folks about how they should behave in a theater - for their own enjoyment, for the enjoyment of everyone else there and out of respect for the artists on stage.

It's not just Tampa, I've seen comments about audience members in New York and in Chicago, but we do seem to need a bit more encouragement than some other places I've been.

My most recent brush with bad behavior came when I went to see Dave Chappelle just a few weeks ago. At the beginning of Dave's set, a guy behind me with a cellphone starts yelling "HEY! HEY! YEAH, I'M AT DAVE CHAPPELLE ... NO, HE JUST STARTED ... WHAT ARE YOU DOING? COOL. NO, THIS IS AWESOME ..." Good thing that only went on for about 3 minutes before the girl sitting next to him burned a hole in his forehead with her stare and he hung up.

Feel free to gently remind those you're traveling with or sitting near in the theater if they're ruining it for everyone. Let's make this a group effort, ok?

Got a horrible theater behavior story? I sure would love to hear it ...

- David J.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Nick Lachey - what's left of him?

Pop singer (and one-time star of the hit reality show Newlyweds) Nick Lachey has just announced a solo tour that's playing across the country this fall in smaller, more intimate venues. Most of the songs deal directly with his breakup with Jessica Simpson.

The What's Left of Me Tour hits the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on October 17. Tickets go on sale to TBPAC members this Friday (July 14) at noon. The public onsale is Wed., Aug. 16 at noon.

- David J.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Cure for a rainy afternoon

Earlier this week, on the 4th of July, the missus and I - not quite beach or big public fireworks sorta folks - decided to head out for a movie. We decided on Nacho Libre, as we'd been hearing good things for a while, and I'd pretty much watch Jack Black re-enact the bombing of Dresden.

Sparing you a play-by-play or another plot synopsis, I'll leave it briefly that the movie was a ton of fun, surprisingly appropriate for most ages and it even had a warm-fuzzy message buried in it. It was a great surprise, particularly after watching what I thought was a very overrated movie in Napoleon Dynamite.

It's a pretty dreary day out there, and we are in Tampa after all - it might be like this all weekend. If you're looking for something to do it's a great way to spend an hour and a half in the air-conditioning. Try the Muvico at Centro Ybor, it's never busy. Ours was a private showing of Nacho Libre - there wasn't another soul in the theater.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

- David J.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

India.Arie's "Testimony" Debuts at No. 1!

We were all excited to hear today (after most of us returned to work from a very long holiday weekend) that India.Arie's new album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. That's a first for this incredibly talented neo-soul songstress! Pretty exciting stuff ... Also, in sharing the great news to local "industry insiders" I've been told that bar-none this is her best effort yet, and that it hasn't left one individual's CD deck since he purchased it.

Tickets for her Aug. 10 show go on sale Friday at noon (they're already on sale to TBPAC members). This will be Ms. Arie's second visit to TBPAC. We're glad to have her back!

I also just noticed she's running a contest from her website. Grand prize is a swank autographed acoustic guitar and the new CD. Check it out. Her opening act, Lorenzo Owens, was a finalist on Oprah's Popstar Music Challenge.

- David J.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

John Philip who?

The July 4 holiday brings out countless patriotic songs, including “the official march of the United States” by John Philip Sousa, Stars and Stripes Forever.

But songwriters are unable to resist the temptation of using Independence Day as a symbol, whether it’s a reason to leave a bad marriage or for making a troubled relationship work.

Sometimes July 4 actually figures into the story, sometimes not.

As you start firing up the grill, consider these independence-based songs … even if they’re not suitable for fireworks.

4th of July – X. Punk bands need holidays, too.

Independence Day – Ferron. So do singer-songwriters. (I still can’t get enough of Ferron’s’ Almost Kissed and Misty Mountain, so I wanted to mention them.)

4th of July – U2. And so do Irish superstar bands, although this song’s instrumental.

Almost Independence Day – Van Morrison. Speaking of Ireland, Van gets into the mood during San Francisco Bay fireworks on this moody track from Saint Dominic’s Preview.

Fourth of July – Dave Alvin. A member of X, Alvin put out a great relationship song on King of California. Or you can catch the Robert Earl Keen version. Also, check out Alvin’s Surfer Girl from the same CD. You’ll never think of that song in the same way again.

Independence Day – Martina McBride. The birth of a country inspired this country anthem. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But sometimes Independence Day is a declaration of personal liberty.

4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) – Bruce Springsteen. This one still gets me all these years later. The details of the dusty arcades and the summer heat and the factory girls, and his plea of “Oh, love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever” even if the “forever” is a bit strangled on some versions, as if he can barely even say the word.

Be safe out there.

– Michael K.