Abby Travis Releasing New Singles for Abby Travis IV

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Abby Travis IV is a new series of digital singles.
“Imagine a smoky, mid-1920s speakeasy, a shapely alto crooning ironic love songs as she drapes herself along the length of the piano. Then she kicks you in the nuts.”

   ~Philadelphia City Paper

Abby Travis, singer, songwriter, and bass player has great news:

"I am going to release Abby Travis IV as a series of digital singles.  A new song will be released...


A Heartwarming Story And A Bangle-y Thankyou

Sunday, July 25, 2010

As many fans of The Bangles know, there are many friends of the band who help to make the Bangle magic sparkle ever brighter. One of these talented friends is Greg Hilfman, otherwise known as "Harpo", the mysterious funmeister who supplies his keyboard talents to the lovely band members Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson, Debbi Peterson, and former member Michael Steele.

A few months ago, Harpo's beloved wife Cindi Hilfman became very ill and needed both kidneys replaced. The benefactor who came to her rescue was none other than Harpo himself who graciously donated one of his own kidneys to save his wife's life. Because of the intense cost of the surgery, medical bills, and post-operative care, Cindi is presently unable to work, so fans of The Bangles have joined their beloved band in organising a fundraising charity Helping Cindi Hilfman which aims to help provide the much needed funds.

On July 30, 2010, The Bangles are performing a special charity concert at the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, CA. The proceeds will also go to helping the Hilfman family.

The news item on The Bangles website gives all the relevant information, including this snippet:

All proceeds raised from this concert will go directly to Cindi and Harpo - so we hope to see you there! Tickets are only $100 - and you'll get a fabulous dinner, wine and drinks, the chance to bid on amazing auction items, and then you'll enjoy an intimate one-of-a-kind concert with the Bangles - featuring solos from Harpo! It's sure to be a very unique evening that you won't want to miss!

Also, Vicki Peterson, lead guitarist for The Bangles recently sent a heartfelt letter of thanks to all the fans who were able to help in the various fundraising activities, and those fans who have not yet, but would like to do their part.

I wanted to take a second and thank all of you who’ve been involved with our drive to help raise money for Cindi Hilfman. Today was the big day when our Harpo went under the knife and donated a kidney to his lovely wife. I can’t say enough about the love that exists there; it is humbling and extraordinary.

The initial reports are that everything has gone well today. Harpo is being his silly, irreverent self and Cindi is recovering. Thus far the transplant (such a miraculous thing, really) seems a success, but let’s keep those prayers and thoughts-of-healing-white-light (or however it is you choose to trade in good vibrations) coming in for our Hilfmans.

And if you live anywhere near Topanga, CA, please join us on the 30th of this month for our very special night of celebrating Cindi (and ‘Po!). If you can’t make that show, please continue to help by donating any amount, or joining in on the special auctions, which we’ll continue to run into the foreseeable future.

This is such an exquisite love story: a tale of love, sacrifice, IV drips, and health insurance paperwork. Thank you for being a part of it and for helping in any way that you can.

We’ll keep you updated as the days go by...

With love, Vicki


Whoopi Ain't Breaking The Habit

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hold on to your habits, sisters, Whoopi Goldberg is set to return to the convent, when she takes over the role of Mother Superior from Sheila Hancock, in the revamped London stage musical, Sister Act, of which Goldberg is also the producer. In the movie version from the early 1990's, Goldberg previously played the role of struggling lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (now played by Patina Miller) who is forced to hide out in a convent as Sister Mary Clarence after witnessing a murder. It is interesting that Goldberg will now be watching someone else play her iconic character, and boy will she have fun being a thorn in her side, much like the original Mother Superior (played by Dame Maggie Smith) was a thorn in hers.

In 1992, Touchstone Pictures approached The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler with a role they felt she would be perfect for. In the movie version of Sister Act, the story would focus on a rebellious lounge singer with a near-nonexistent career and a married boyfriend, who after seeing her guy waste a limo driver for squealing to the law, fears she will be next on his list. Christy Van Cartier (the character's original name) would be forced to hide out in a convent pretending to be one of the nuns presided over by the very stern and strict Mother Superior until she could testify against her mobster boyfriend. The movie would be a mix of comedy interspersed with musical numbers.

Midler, however, felt that nobody would feel she was very convincing as a nun, even in a comedy, so she turned down the role. Knowing they had a potential hit on their hands and wanting someone in the role who could handle comedy and sing up a storm, with Midler now out of the picture, the studio then had an idea that seemed even more incredulous, they turned to Whoopi Goldberg to see if she would be interested. They even changed the lead character's name to one better suited for Goldberg's personality. Christy became Deloris Van Cartier, and later Sister Mary Clarence when she was undercover. Goldberg is perhaps the only performer who can match Midler at her bawdy best, and like Midler, Goldberg had proved herself to be both a marvellous comedienne and a powerful dramatic actress. However, what nobody knew at the time was the answer to the all-important question, could Goldberg sing like Midler.

The answer is no. Nobody could sing like Bette Midler, but Whoopi Goldberg could sing like Whoopi Goldberg and that in itself turned out to be a fantastic revelation. At first, Goldberg was reluctant to handle the vocal duties, fearing that she might not be able to perform to a reasonable standard. However, at the urging of singer/actress Jenifer Lewis who played one of Goldberg's back-up act in the lounge singing scenes (along with Charlotte Crossley), Goldberg amazed everyone with her proficiency as a singer and gave her all to a performance which turned out to be perfection. So popular was Sister Act, that the following year gave rise to a sequel, Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit, which was as much a smash hit as its predecessor. Both films also provided a CD soundtrack album in which Goldberg once again shined as a singer. Another interesting fact is that Jenifer Lewis and Charlotte Crossley (better known now as Charlo Crossley-Fortier) were both one-time members of Bette Midler's Staggering Harlettes troupe. Another link between Midler and Goldberg is that they both worked with Kathy Najimy around the same time, with Hocus Pocus and Sister Act 2 both being made in 1993.

What I feel would be a great idea, and I am sure there are many Sister Act fans who would agree with me, is if Whoopi Goldberg were to make a third movie in the series and possible have Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence become the new Mother Superior for a new generation of nuns, after the emergency exodus of the Maggie Smith character (for whatever reason) from the first two movies. Complications could ensue when it is discovered that not only is Sister Mary Clarence unqualified for the position in either legal or theological respects, but she isn't even a real nun. There are so many great plot lines from this scenario, so hopefully someone may be interested in adapting this fantasy of mine.


The Heartfelt Harlette: Rhae Ann Theriault Helps Save The Leadwell Kitties

Monday, July 5, 2010

She has shared the screen and stage with the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, and even on her own she has given the world beauty and pleasure with her amazing talents in song, dance, acting, and comedy. Now, Rhae Ann Theriault has another mission in her life, one she feels as deeply and passionately as anything she has ever accomplished in showbusiness. Her latest endeavours may not see her name emblazoned in lights, but will earn her a place among the angels, and in the hearts of everyone who knows her.

Theriault's new project Save Leadwell Kitties came about due to a colony of cats she and other friends in the animal rescue vocation found in desperate need of rescuing. There are many cats (and dogs) living in substandard and appalling environments, and Leadwell Kitties is just one of many operations that Theriault has been personally involved in, together with friends like Eldad Hagar from Hope For Paws, another inspirational organisation.

This lovely feline pictured left is one poor individual that has made it important for Theriault to get the message across that treating animals like this is completely unnacceptable and must be dealt with.

Theriault states: "To the "rescuers" who abandoned these helpless should be ASHAMED of yourselves! Especially for obstructing my attempts to do something to REALLY help them!! If this colony was "under control" - as you put it - than how the hell do you explain the 51 cats & kittens that I've removed from there??? And I've yet to make a DENT in their population."

In regard to the specific Leadwell Kitties project, Theriault describes the work she does in her website's mission statement as such:

"Since January of this year (2010), I have been trying to get a large-scale cat hoarding colony under control. At the time of making the commitment, I had no idea what a huge undertaking it would be. The location is a run-down, abandoned apartment complex, overgrown with weeds, strewn with debris. This is home to some 50-60+ cats, kittens, and the property owner's daughter - who is mentally ill. The 'complex' sits one block over from where I currently live in Van Nuys, CA and has been a menace to the surrounding neighborhood for well over ten years. Police & Animal Control officers have served warrants, innocent cats & kittens have been seized & destroyed, & other rescuers have tried to intervene and help cut down the numbers. Unfortunately, without proper follow-up & support, this is only a temporary fix.

Without spaying & neutering the entire colony they continue to reproduce. Although I've rescued/removed approximately 45+ cats/kittens since February of this year, I’ve barely made a dent! There are many kittens that are now over 8 weeks-old and are not going to be socialized, adoptable, nor easy to catch. Once they reach 4-5 months of age, they will begin to reproduce - along with the countless other litters within the remaining colony. By the next “kitten season” their numbers will have gone right back up.

The mother (who owns the property & lives off-site) and daughter (who is extremely unpredictable & difficult to deal with) pick & choose which animals I can remove. The nights that I have trapped there is, typically, tremendous interference...if not a complete lack of cooperation.

Meanwhile, these innocent creatures live in deplorable conditions, & never receive any type of vet care. Dozens have suffered & died due to illness, disease, neglect, human cruelty, hit by cars, etc. It has gotten to a point where some of the surrounding neighbors have taken matters in to their own hands & are fed up with the overpopulation, stench, flies, feces, urine, debris, & general eye sores.

This is why I've embarked upon a large-scale TNR project with help from: Eldad Hagar (founder of Hope For Paws), Sarah Coatts, & volunteers: Hali Burton, Anna Raner, & Barry Preston. In the process I'm finding there are MANY tame/adoptable young cats & kittens. Foster homes are URGENTLY needed. Temporary housing is vital for me to remain focused on spaying & neutering. Can you HELP???"

To further show the horrors facing these cats, Theriault has a special YouTube site for hosting videos she has made of her rescue efforts. Many of these videos are disturbing in nature and will break your heart, but there is hope and inspiration offered by the people like Theriault who literally risk life and limb to save these unfortunate victims.

Here is another video link Theriault has added to her page, the situation is critical and as wonderful as she is, Theriault cannot do everything alone and will need help to make this project succeed.

Theriault has recently updated the crisis with new information about just how serious this issue is and how she faces opposition from some very despicable people:

"I'm hoping & praying to be able to pass this torch on to a foundation or entity with the legal power & resources that I, as a private citizen, do not have. When the media wanted to come in and do a story on this situation, 'certain' people in the rescue community did what they could to block that from happening. The same day I received a call from one of the local news stations, asking if I was willing to go on camera the following day - I also began receiving nasty, hateful emails & phone calls (from only a 'few') but their opinion was 'shining media attention on this will only get the animals euthanized.' Meanwhile, those 'rescuers' have not lifted a finger to help in any manner - not even so much as cross posting a plea or picking up a phone! ALSO, meanwhile, months of continued breeding, suffering, and dying has been going on - at an alarming rate - as it has been for YEARS!"

Watch this video & you'll get the picture:

or this one:

or this:

~Michael Holloway


Blast From The Past - "The Allnighter" Available On DVD - August 3

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sun, surf, sex, and Susanna Hoffs. Sounds like a winning combination, doesn't it? Although the movie critics back in 1987 didn't think so, The Allnighter has a loyal fanbase, albeit mostly comprised of hardcore fans of Hoffs' famous band The Bangles.

This fluffy but delightful campus comedy, directed by Hoffs' mother Tamar Simon Hoffs was made a couple of years before The Bangles broke up in 1989, although they would regroup in 2000, release a much-loved album in 2003 called Doll Revolution and bid farewell to their longtime bass guitarist, Michael Steele, who retired from the music business a year later.

Now fans of this underrated and sometimes even forgotten gem can look forward to the movie's DVD release on August 3, 2010. I personally have seen this movie more times than I can count, so much so that my old VHS recording is wearing out fast, so the news of the DVD is a welcome one.

Hoffs plays Molly Morrisson, a shy young co-ed at (fictional) Pacifica College who yearns for that one earth shattering, everlasting college romance. She does have an on again-off again relationship with a hot blonde surfer CJ (played by John Terlesky - pictured left - now more at home behind the camera as a writer/director.) Molly laments that CJ spends more time with his best beach buddy Killer (James Anthony Shanta) than with her.

Molly's best friends are  the aspiring filmmaker Gina (a hilarious performance by the evergreen Joan Cusack) and Val (Dedee Pfeiffer, the younger sister of movie legend Michelle Pfeiffer) who is engaged to - and incessantly mooning over - the man she thinks is "Mr Right" (Phil Brock). Molly tries to make CJ jealous by entering into an affair with the enigmatic musician Mickey LeRoy (Michael Ontkean) who only has eyes for her college counsellor Connie (Kaaren Lee). There is even a wonderful cameo for Pam Grier as a smart and sassy police officer who can spot a con a mile away.

The action takes place on the night before graduation, and for those who wonder what could possibly happen in one night, this film is a riotous romp which has all the answers. From hotel room trysts and hiding on top floor balconies, to spending a night in jail with prostitutes, a near drowning for one of the surfer boys, and the heartache and longing of making your crush realise you're even alive...this movie is packed with adventure, romance, a killer music score featuring songs like "No TV, No Phone," "Shangri-La," "Dangerous" (performed by Ronnie Spector with guest vocals by an uncredited but unmistakeable Susanna Hoffs), "Who's Gonna Dance With Me," "All In My Mind," "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," "Never Thought", and even a little "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.

Here is just one of the many side-splitting scenes and quotes from the movie where Gina and Val (actress Dedee Pfeiffer pictured left) wind up in jail with some rather loose ladies.

Val: "Gina?"

Gina: "Yeah?"
Val: "What... what time do you think it is now?"
Gina: "It's time to ask about Brad again!"
Val: "Oh just FINE! FINE!"
Gina: "No, I don't mean that. I just mean, just ENJOY this! I mean Molly's gonna get us out of here. All we have to do is enjoy this. Look at this place... I mean would you look at that toilet? It's the most disgusting toilet I ever saw! What if you had to pee right now?"
Val: "Just shut up, I DO have to go pee right now!"

For a classic slice of 80's life from an eternally young point of view, you cannot beat The Allnighter for fun, frivolity, fizz, and frisking.


Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Pat Benatar Pens Her Memoirs

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One of the bestselling female rock artists of all time with megahits like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” Pat Benatar shares the story of her extraordinary career, telling the truth abut her life, her struggles, and how she won things her way.

Check out the latest, Between a Heart and a Rock Place.


Git Along Little Dogies...Suzy Bogguss Comes A-Courtin'

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

She's a guitar-totin', banana-hatin', sassy helluva gal with beauty and talent that shines brighter than a prairie sunrise, who just happens to also have a degree in metallurgy. With a penchant for blue martinis and bluegrass tunes, Suzy Bogguss is a frontier firebrand whose every show is a barn-raisin' hootenanny from start to finish.

Bogguss is working on a fabulous new project that will once again fill hearts with the love and infectious joy of country rhythms with the future release of her latest slice of Americana, sure to set toes-a-tappin' and folks-a-hoppin' in a grand tribute to the nostalgic songs of the golden west.

Throughout 2009 and 2010, Bogguss has been compiling songs from her childhood and introducing them into her live shows, interspersing them with her own repertoire of original signature tunes. This has led her to rightfully believe that it is time that these songs should be given a fresh new lease on life, and in these troubled modern times, perhaps it is time that America (and the rest of the world) take a look back at a simpler era when lives were possibly less complicated and people treated one another better. In 2003, Martina McBride released a similar-themed album, Timeless which was an astounding success, so there is no reason why Bogguss' album will be any less spectacular.

Bogguss states that "schools have moved away from teaching many of the "heritage" songs that were once taught as part of grade school music programs which have also often fallen prey to program cuts over time. We also hope [the album] will inspire a renewal of interest in this wonderful music penned in a simpler time but no less relevant today."

Bogguss will be unveiling Wildwood Flower: A Collection Of American Folk Songs due for tentative release in the Spring of 2011, the collection will also feature a hardcover companion book filled with sheet music and a comprehensive history of the songs. The album is only being offered for sale at the live shows in the United States and United Kingdom and currently only has 10 songs, but the mainstream release next year will feature at least 17 songs. Some of the songs include the irresistably bouncy "Froggy Went A-Courting" and "Git Along Little Dogies", to the perennial favourites "Red River Valley" and  "Shenandoah" (most previously covered brilliantly by Gia Ciambotti on her delightful children's/Americana songs hybrid album Snowflake.)

In the meantime, Brian Clough of The American Connection webcast series is offering Bogguss' fans a sneak preview of several songs from the forthcoming album which was nominated as Album Of The Week during the Taste Of Country series of shows.

Whether touring with chums Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg as part of the delightful Wine, Women And Song trio, or square dancin' her way to solo stardom, Suzy Bogguss certainly deserves this glowing accolade from Brian Clough:

"From her first appearance at the Wembley International Festival of Country Music in London in the late eighties she has proved that she deserves a place in the great chanters league. With a voice as clear as a mountain stream she has provided us with a musical mix of traditional and modern country, crossover pop, blues, jazz, western swing and in the company of Chet Atkins some brilliant classic and contemporary songs. If you think you already know ‘the voice’… be it of any musical genre, treat yourself to a remarkable singer/songwriter who may change your mind forever. If you like a sprinkling of magic in your music, you will certainly not be disappointed after you’ve heard Suzy Bogguss."


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