Category: Entertainment - Original Written by RJ Barnhill
Love to laugh? Well you are in luck! Southfield will soon be home to the comedic stars both on stage and off. The Comedy Zone, a national, live-comedy theatre chain, will soon be opening next door to Southfield’s AMC Star Movie Theatre. It is the first and only of the chain’s 65 U.S. venues to be located in Michigan.
The Comedy Zone’s grand opening show, June 6-8, will kick off with a three-night engagement by world renowned comedian, writer and actor Charlie Murphy, and his show “Charlie Murphy’s Acid Trip.” Comedian Freez Luv will open the show.
For budget friendly entertainment, all seats at The Comedy Zone are equally and modestly priced. The comfortable and intimate design of the 300-seat showroom ensures that each patron gets a good seat.
The Comedy Zone will feature celebrity comics from all over the country. With weekly shows that include nationally touring acts, it promises to establish the city of Southfield as Metro Detroit’s premier venue on the live comedy circuit.
The club’s debut show, “Charlie Murphy’s Acid Trip,” is expected to set the stage for a continuing line-up of star acts to follow in coming months.
Murphy has headlined sold-out shows around the world. He spent several years performing as part of various critically acclaimed tours with fellow comics Joe Rogan, John Heffron, Mike Epps and former fellow Chappelle show cast members Bill Burr and Donnell Rawlings. His headlining tour “I Will Not Apologize” was released on DVD and premiered on Comedy Central in the No. 1 slot.
Murphy’s writing career spans more than two decades. His autobiography, “The Making of a Stand Up Guy,” was published by Simon and Schuster, and he has written several screenplays, including “Norbit,” starring Charlie’s brother, Eddie Murphy, which opened No. 1 at the box office.
His current tour, “Charlie Murphy’s Acid Trip,” will also be released on DVD.
The Comedy Zone is located at 25333 West 12 Mile Road in Southfield. For more information on this and other shows there, visit detroitcomedyzone.com or call (248) 506-1946.
To purchase tickets or to get show times, visit ticketmaster.com or call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 01:38
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
If you watched “American Idol” on Thursday, May 2, you witnessed one of the most remarkable performances ever seen on television.
The artist was the amazing, always inventive will.i.am — with a lot of well-choreographed accompaniment — performing “Bang Bang” from the motion picture “The Great Gatsby.” It was a feast for the eyes and the ears as will.i.am and company, snazzily dressed from head to toe, brilliantly created a 1920s scenario. No one who saw it will ever forget it. (You might still be able to watch it on YouTube.)
But that is the sort of thing we have come to expect from will.i.am (and yes, he lowercases the “w”). Think for a minute about those wildly imaginative Black Eyed Peas TV performances and videos.
There seems to be no limits to this man’s talents — producer, rapper, songwriter, dancer, choreographer, voice actor and on it goes. He has been richly rewarded for his efforts, including seven Grammy Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, three World Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award and a Teen Choice Award.
Those were all Black Eyed Peas projects, produced by will.i.am, but he has also produced an array of other acts, including Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Earth, Wind & Fire, Usher, Britney Spears and U2.
The Black Eyed Peas reached their highest peak with the 2009 release of the mega-selling album “The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies)” which was loaded with exciting hits such as “Boom Boom Pow,” “Rock That Body,” “I Gotta Feeling” and “Meet Me Halfway.” The group even performed at the Super Bowl.
BORN William James Adams Jr. in predominantly Hispanic East Los Angeles, will.i.am had a mother who was a staunch believer in her son cultivating his musical skills and making a point of being unlike anyone else. She also instilled a sense of independence.
“Most singers in the industry have managers, producers and A&Rs. I manage myself and produce myself,” he said, adding this playful zinger: “Singers don’t know any better.”
Interestingly, in high school he met and became friends with Allan Pineda (stage name: apl.de.ap) who would later become one of the founding members of the Black Eyed Peas along with will.i.am.
will.i.am and apl.de.ap were still in high school when they and three others formed a socially conscious rap group strangely called Atban Klann. At the time he was known as Will 1X. The group’s name was changed to the Black Eyed Pods and later to the Black Eyed Peas.
THROUGH the years there had been a series of personnel changes, but the group line-up stabilized with will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo (Jaime Gomez) and Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson).
Will there be another Black Eyed Peas album? Yes, but only when the time is right. Meanwhile, the members are involved in other projects. will.i.am’s solo album is titled “#willpower.”
As would be expected, will.i.am is also involved in the world of fashion but, of course, not mainstream fashion. He is a man who is turned off by the thought of dressing like anyone else. Before the formation of the Black Eyed Peas, he attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, which is located in Los Angeles.
In 2005 he introduced a clothing line of his creation, i.am. He introduced it in Las Vegas at the Magic Apparel Trade Show.
Considering the technical aspects of his videos and stage show, it is also not surprisingly that he is very much interested in robotics, computers, etc. He was named director of creative innovation by Intel Corp. in 2011, which meant having input in developing tablets, laptops and smartphones.
On the philanthropic side, he founded i.am.angel, an organization committed to “transforming lives through education, opportunity and inspiration.”
Looking at everything will.i.am does, the title of that Black Eyed Peas song comes to mind: “Boom, boom, pow!”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 01:36
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins, Entertainment Editor
After eight years of litigation, music industry giant Sony BMG Music Entertainment has settled a lawsuit filed by leading industry entertainment Attorney James L. Walker, Jr. In his lawsuit [case 3:05-CV00560(SRU), US District Court, Bridgeport, Connecticut], Walker alleged that the music industry giant refused to allow urban artists effective legal representation.
“We felt strongly all along that this was a case we had to fight in order to protect artists and their right to choose effective legal representation and other forms of representation including the best manager, attorney, publicist, accountant in protecting themselves as artists,” said Kenny Walker, spokesperson at the firm.
Filed nearly a decade ago in 2005, the Connecticut/Atlanta based Walker & Associates law firm alleged that Verity Records, Provident Distribution, Zomba (now owned by Sony), and Max Siegel, tortuously interfered with contractual relationships that the law firm had with dozens of artists. The case received national attention because no firm had challenged Sony before and won in this manner. (LA Times http://articles.latimes.com/2005/may/02/business/fi-gospel2). Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
In the complaint (which is shown in full at http://www.walkerandassoc.com), the Plaintiffs named numerous examples of inappropriate conduct by Sony including intentionally omitting of the firm’s name on album credits, defamation about the firm, and a refusal to pay artists top dollars for the use of their copyrights and intellectual property.
For example, during 1999-2002, Walker had secured top payment for nearly 2 dozen artists on the popular “WOW Albums.” Then Sony reps, according to the lawsuit, instructed those artists to terminate Walker or face a possibility of not working on projects at the label.
Specifically, the lawsuit insisted that a number of well known clients were directly told not to use the top-rated attorney, including many high profile clients Walker represented like Grammy winners Hezekiah Walker, Donald Lawrence, and Twinkie Clark to name just a few. Legendary songwriters like David Frazier and V. Michael McKay were also told not to use Walker on their mega publishing and copyright deals, according to the suit.
“Often labels want artists to use attorneys that the labels can control –this avoids paying the artists their worth and saves the labels millions of dollars and is clearly a conflict of interest. When you decide to tell untruths about this firm and threaten our artists, you have crossed the line,” said Attorney James L. Walker, Jr. (@jameslwalkeresq).
Verity Records, now called RCA Inspirational, is the largest mainstream gospel label in the world. Based in New York, it is or has been home to gospel music stars Fred Hammond, Richard Smallwood, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee, and Marvin Sapp to name a few.
Walker has worked with some of the leading names in the music industry including Jamie Foxx, Freddie Jackson, Rick James, DMX, Shirley Caesar and BET's Bobby Jones, among others. He recently co- chaired the legal team in the successful litigation and settlement between Disney's Kyle and Chris Massey and A&E/Lifetime networks over the Bristol Palin show. Walker is the author of “This Business of Urban Music” (Random House/Billboard Books), the #1 urban legal reference book and teaches a very popular entertainment law related class, "Michael Jackson: The Business of Music" in Atlanta. Walker will also be headlining the T.B.O.U.M. Entertainment Book Camp this summer (http://www.thisbusinessofurbanmusic.com), which will educate artists, songwriters, and entertainment professionals on navigating the entertainment industry.
“The suit was not about money; it was about the rights of artists to have competent legal representation, be paid for their work, and the rights of artist representatives to work in this business without fear of intimidation and defamation.” said Walker business partner, J. Richard Byrd
Last Updated on Saturday, 11 May 2013 14:43
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
One of the strangest news items to surface recently is Tina Campbell, one half of the gospel music superduo Mary Mary, telling a national publication that she was at one time considering “killing” her husband, Teddy, because he was cheating. Let’s hope she didn’t really mean that.
Sometimes you expect more (not a lot more) from people who are always singing and/or talking about “the Lord,” but I guess being a human being supersedes anything else in many respects.
“Once I became aware, I initially wanted to kill my husband,” said Campbell. “I did physically try to stab him. Several times.”
But then again, such things can happen anywhere. Back in 2007, Prophetess Juanita Bynum was physically attacked on an Atlanta hotel parking lot by her husband — Bishop Thomas Weeks.
If Bynum is truly a prophetess, as I said at the time, seems she would have been able to “prophesize” that her husband, the good bishop, was likely to jump on her — and then stay away from him or have the police on stand by if she did decide to meet with him.
I guess the bottom line is that people are people, with all of our shortcomings and periodic unexpected behavior, but with some people it goes to extremes.
KEITH SWEAT has been a successful recording artist since 1987 but, surprisingly, has only received one major award, a Favorite Male R&B/Soul Artist award at the 1997 American Music Awards. You’d think he would surely have one or more Soul Train Awards.
By the way, time sure flies. Keith Sweat will be 52 in July.
If you’re in the market for an apartment in Los Angeles, you might want to get in touch with famed record company executive, producer and songwriter Antonio “L.A.” Reid. He is selling his six-bedroom apartment and the asking price is only $18.9 million!
Some artists take something like ten years to make a new album (Stevie Wonder, Sade, Anita Baker, Maxwell), but Justin Timberlake’s “20/20 Experience, Part 2” is scheduled for late September release. The first “20/20” came out in March.
FLAVOR FLAV (William Drayton, Jr.) the annoying rapper from Public Enemy, goes to trial in September for chasing and threatening his girlfriend’s son with a butcher knife. Officially it’s a “weapon and child endangerment” charge. He could get up to 12 years.
Meanwhile, another rap star, Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins), got out of federal prison early this month. He had gotten two years for illegal gun possession.
These rap stars sure set a good example for young people!
Usher will portray famed boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in the soon-coming movie “Hands of Stone” which is about another famous boxer, Roberto Duran. Usher said, “I think my dancing skills will make it easier for me to pick up his moves.”
Usher has been in several movies: “The Faculty,” “Light It Up” and “In the Mix.” And in addition to that, he was a smash on Broadway in “Chicago,” being responsible for a significant boost at the box office.
Kudos to Harry Connick Jr. whose new album, “Every Man Should Know,” consisting entirely of songs he wrote, will be released June 11. Jokingly yet with a large element of seriousness, he said, “I’m tired of being a slave to the record company. I’m just going to sing music that I like to sing, and I’m just going to write and create.”
HAD TO chuckle when I got to the part of Cissy Houston’s fascinating book, “Remembering Whitney,” where she talks about the time when, as a little girl, Whitney blackmailed her brother, Michael.
He had been taking their father’s car and Whitney said if he didn’t let her drive, she was “gonna tell.” He let her do it (her feet barely reached the pedals) but Michael, seated next to her, was understandably terrified.
Cissy Houston just found out about this very recently when Michael, the oldest of her two sons, confessed.
She said, “If I had known about this then, Michael’s butt would still be sore!”
Here is an interesting quote from the always outspoken Cher: “If you’re Black in this country, if you’re a woman in this country, if you are any minority in this country, what could possibly possess you to vote Republican?”
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that when she was very young, Whitney Houston “wanted to marry Michael Jackson.”
MEMORIES: “We’re in This Love Together” (Al Jarreau), “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” (Ann Peebles), “Silly” (Deniece Williams), “On the Wings of Love” (Jeffrey Osborne), “Don’t Let Go” (Isaac Hayes), “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” (Barry White), “The Whole World is a Stage” (the Fantastic Four), “Native New Yorker” (Odyssey), “She Works Hard For the Money” (Donna Summer).
BLESSINGS to anyone reading this column at this very moment.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Queen Latifah: “Do things your way and surround yourself with positive people.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 01:33
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins, Entertainment Editor
E! News recently reported that Beyonce and Roc Nation Sports owner Jay-Z are expecting their second chance. Multiple souces close to couple have confirmed that there is a baby on board after Tuesday when Beyonce had to cancel a Belguim show during the Mrs. Carter World Tour due to exhaustion and dehydration.
The Carter's are known for their secrecy and they work hard to keep their private life out of the public eye. Neither Jay Z's or Beyonce's camp have commented on the reports, however, considering Bey announced Blue Ivy during the 2011 MTV VMA's, this announcement seems a little anticlimatic. I wonder who let the cat out of the bag?
Last Updated on Friday, 17 May 2013 15:45
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!