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English: Fats Waller, three-quarter length por...

Fats Waller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I've seen a couple of Broadway musicals in my time and more than a few musicals  and plays on stages large and small here in the south.  There's nothing I enjoy more than a small intimate theatre with a local production.  Why?  I guess it's recognizing the talent we have in our own midst. Another reason is I sometimes know the performers and am blown away by seeing them transform themselves into someone so different from their normal selves that I start to forget what they're like in real life.  That takes a lot of work I'm sure, and when it happens it's both beautiful and inspiring.

The other thing I like about small theatres is that I can see, hear, smell, and  sometimes even taste (smoke bombs for instance) what is happening on the stage.  All the while with my attention focused on that actor or interaction I'm most  interested in.  No camera leading me back and forth.  I'm in control of the viewpoint.

One such musical that I saw locally which really impressed me is Ain't Misbehavin'.  It's a story, almost 99% musical, about Fats Waller, a Tin Pan Alley songwriter and piano player that was popular in the 20's and 30's.
Aislin answers my questions as we talk about her acting and performing career both deliberately and thoughtfully. Better than you might expect from someone who is barely a teenager. You can tell she wants to get it right. Her poise is no surprise though as she has been active as a performer since she was 3 years old. That builds character.

The daughter of nature loving and artistic parents, her mother worked at a performing arts school for a time and her father is an art gallery owner in Asheville, North Carolina.  She grew up surrounded by talent and enlightened minds. Not to mention the support she has received from her parents and mentors along the way.  That can make a big difference in the formative years.

 You can tell a lot about a person by the people they regard as role models. For Aislin it is Emma Watson for being a down to earth actor that uses her celebrity to bring attention to the causes she favors and Malala Yousafzai for her bravery in standing up for the right to go to school and get an education in a country where young girls are discouraged from doing so. A refreshing outlook for someone to aspire to.

Photo Credit: Amanda Guy Studio
With the ability to sing, dance, and act Aislin's talents transfer easily to the movie screen where the key to a believable performance is to act but not overact. Here is what her director on several films, Kira Bursky of All Around Artsy, had to say about her.


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Thomas Lorenzo on acoustic guitar

 (Photo credit: Fgil65 via Wikipedia)

If you enjoy music and poetry and have never experience an artists in the round type of performance you should attend this one presented by The Charlotte Singer-Songwriters and Poets Circle.

Five performers present their songs and poetry, taking turns on stage, for your enjoyment.  Sometimes artists that are touring the country are booked to perform and at these in-the-round events.  So you never know what to expect.


One of Tweetsie Railroad's two steam locomotiv...

One of Tweetsie Railroad's two steam locomotives, 2-8-2 #190, on May 20th, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tweetsie Railroad, located between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is seeking entertainers for their 2014 season.

They are needing singers, dancers, actors, equestrians, magicians, and specialty acts.

2014 Local Auditions
January 25 & 26
9:00 am Registration / Auditions begin at 10:00 am
I.G. Greer Hall
Appalachian State University
401 Academy Street
Boone, NC

Crystal Tyler.jpgJade Castle Studios is an asset to the upstate area, the Carolinas, and beyond.  It is a place where actors, performing artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and artists of all kinds can meet and rub shoulders with one another.  You can attend classes or rent space for your projects such as a songwriter's club, writer's club or as a space where you could audition actors for your upcoming film.

Started earlier this year and operated by Crystal Tyler it is just beginning to take hold and needs your help.  If you are able to give just a small amount to assist with this well intensioned project it will help filmmaking and the performing arts thrive in the community and their will be some perks for you as well.

"Crystal and Jade Castle have been a great resource for me in connecting with other professionals. Whenever Other Vision needs to look for talent, I give Crystal a call. Through Jade Castle, she's already helped connect me with so many other great film professionals in the Greenville area." - Collins Abbott White - Other Vision Studios

If you can't afford to donate then please share this message with your friends so they can learn about Jade Castle Studios and how it might benefit them.

Learn more about Jade Castle Studios in the article below by The Greenville News and in my conversation with Crystal.


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KiraBursky by Abbey Sacks.jpg
Photo and Makeup by Abbey Sacks
Kevin Skinner America's Got Talent 2009 in Las...

Kevin Skinner America's Got Talent 2009 in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Casino (Photo credit: bcbusinesshub via Wikipedia)

America's Got Talent is a popular TV series featuring a variety of performers competing to be the winner with a Las Vegas show of their own.  

The finalist and many of the favorite and top acts will also appear in the America's Got Talent Live Tour  after the TV competition ends.  So this is a great opportunity to break into the big time.

Don't miss your chance when they come to a city near you.

Find the city closest to  you below.
John Mellencamp (singer, songwriter, and guita...

John Mellencamp (Public domain photo by Peter Rimar. via Wikipedia)

What do you get when you put John Mellencamp and Stephen King together then add T-Bone Burnett for good measure?  A musical called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.  

Conceived by John who enlisted the help of Stephen King as the writer, it's a southern gothic musical about a sibling rivalry that turns to tragedy.  John wrote all the songs for the musical.  After more that 10 years of collaboration they brought on T-Bone Burnett (music producer of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and many others) to help pull it all together.

The musical will have shows coming this October and November in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa.  In addition it will be released as a digital and hardcover book.  The soundtrack which is available on iTunes includes Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Taj Mahal, Ryan Bingham, Roseanne Cash, and John Mellencamp with Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz.   

See the promotional video for the musical below.

Debbies Angels Logo.jpg

Debbie's Angels Productions is seeking a music director for their Spring theatre classes.  You must be able to read music, teach vocal parts and play the piano.  There is some pay.  Please email your resumes to  Looking for someone in the Onslow County or surrounding areas of North Carolina. 

A ball of fire singer out of Tennessee with an acoustic guitar, and a harmonica playing rhythm section of a fella from Texas punching out the beat.  That's what you get when you see Shovels and Rope.

Cary Ann Hearst
and Michael Trent now call Charleston, South Carolina home and have recently been touring the U.S. in support of their new album O' Be Joyful.

Check them out below in their recent appearance on The David Letterman Show.

To Russia With Love

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Dreamkiller2.jpgLet's send Christy Johnson and the Dreamkiller Band to Russia.  You can help by liking them on the ULikeUs page now through January 31st.  

ULikeUS is a competition where artists compete to bring their music to Russia.  The top twenty bands that gain the most attention at this stage will compete for a panel of judges to see who gets to go to Russia and play their music.  More about that here.

To vote for Dreamkiller go to the ULikeUs voting page.  Find Dreamkiller and vote by clicking on the Facebook or icons.

Check out the Dreamkiller Watch This video below and visit their web page.  Also, like this page so all your friends can vote too!

Nederlands: Darrell Scott @ Paradiso (Amsterda...

Darrell Scott (Photo credit: Erik Joling at nl.wikipedia)

Darrell Scott wowed a packed audience at the McCelvey Center last night with his guitar prowess and remarkable vocals.  The event is part of the Southern Sound  Series being presented at the center over the next few months.  Other performers coming up in the series include The Secret Sisters, Ruthie Foster, Suzy Boggus, and Abigail Washburn.

Keeepers of The Culture Awards were presented to Alan Miller, Pat Veasey, and Joe Zdenek for their contribution in keeping cultural events and education alive in York County, SC followed by Scott's performance.  

Darrell is a Nashville session musician as well as singer/songwriter and performing artist.  He has collaborated with other performers such as Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Tim O'Brien, and Guy Clark.  Scott's song Long Time Gone, from his album Real Time with Tim O'Brien was covered by The Dixie Chicks sending it to number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.


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At the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC

Robert Filion - Carolina Theatre.jpg

English: anthony hamilton Deutsch: anthony ham...

Anthony Hamilton (Image by grgbrwn via Wikipedia)

Tavis talks with R&B artist Anthony Hamilton about his latest CD Back To Love.  What does Anthony think about doing a country or a blues album?

Watch R&B artist Anthony Hamilton on PBS. See more from Tavis Smiley.

Tavis Smiley at

Delbert McClinton will be in Charlotts bringing his soulful blend of blues, contry and Rock to the Neighborhood Theatre.  Also check out Cary Ann Hearst with Shovels and Rope at Snug Harbor.

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2012 Grammy Winners

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Grammy Award

Image by CousinJacob via Wikipedia

Record of the Year
Rolling in the Deep - Adele

Album of the Year
21 - Adele

Song of the Year
Rolling in the Deep - Adele

Best New Artist
Bon Iver

Best Pop Solo Performance
Someone Like You - Adele

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Body And Soul - Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse

Best Pop Instrumental Album
The Road From Memphis - Booker T. Jones

Best Pop Vocal Album
21 - Adele

Best Dance Recording
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites - Skrillex

The Belk Theater, principal home of the Charlo...

Belk Theater (Public Domain image by Rschoneman via Wikipedia)

Tomorrow, the Belk Theater will host A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra where you will see and hear the different sections and instruments of the orchestra and their tonal colors.  Jacomo Rafael Bairos will be conducting this work by Benjamin Bitten, then will lead the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra through some of the tunes by The Beatles.

A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Saturday, February 11th
11:00 am
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Belk Theater
130 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina


Carolina Legend: Peg Leg Sam

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Peg Leg Sam from the film Born for Hard Luck (Permission Tom Davenport)
Peg Leg Sam was born in Jonesville and spent most of his life in and around Spartanburg, South Carolina.  That is, when he wasn't hobo'n or working the medicine shows and fairs.  A busker and a traveler, Peg Leg was known most for his ability to tell a story and blowin' his harmonica.  Those abilities served him well when working the patent medicine shows.

Born with the name Arthur Jackson.  After losing his leg in a hoboing accident in 1930 the nickname Peg Leg Sam  stuck.  Always ready to perform for anyone who would listen.  He was able to blow two harps at one time, one in his mouth, the other with his nose.

Around the age of 10, tired of plowing a mule all day long,  he started running away from home and would be gone for months at a time.  Pink Anderson, who lived in nearby Spartanburg, and Peg Leg were good friends and often played together.  It was Pink who taught him about playing the medicine shows.  Usually he worked alone though.   Peg Leg was a master of singing a phrase then blowing one, back and forth,  to complete a song.  His most popular tune was John Henry which he usually used to began a show as it always drew a crowd.

After having traveling most of the United States by freight train, Peg Leg died in October of 1977,  in Jonesville where he began.