Arts, Entertainment, Living

Keep or Cancel? poll comments

Thursday, 03 May 2012 01:24 PM Written by

keeporcancel040608_5f00_330Tomorrow’s Tuned In column will reveal the results of’s annual Keep or Cancel? poll but today I’ll offer a sneak peak at the poll results.

Read more after the jump. …

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roof_remastered_200There's a blues guitar treat coming to town tomorrow night, as Tom Principato hits the stage at the Thunderbird Cafe.

Tom is practically a Pittsburgher, coming out the of the D.C. area, and once did some guitar work with Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band. He's a powerful player, mixing a variety of styles -- should be a good time.

He's touring on the release this week of a remastered edition of 2008's "Raising the Roof" (Powerhouse Records, his own label). A cleaner sound is promised, along with a bonus live recording of "I Don't Wanna Do It," from the 2011ontreux, Switzerland Jazz Festival.

Here's a sample of that track:

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E3 is fast-approaching, and arguably the most discussed and analyzed part of the expo happens before the doors even open.  It’s the big press conferences from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.  There will be plenty of conjecture in the coming weeks, but I thought I’d get the ball rolling early.  I’m going to break down each upcoming presser and examine what each company will present, should present, and I’ll add a couple bold predictions at the end.  Here’s an explanation of each:

Sure things:” These are the surefire talking points for the companies.  If these topics don’t get addressed in the press conferences, I’ll be shocked.

Needs:” These are the topics that the fans are dying to know about.  These are the burning questions that demand answers.  If they aren’t addressed, prepare to hear complaints.

Bold predictions:” Certainly not guaranteed discussion points. These are what I would like to see, but are a long shot.

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'Sherlock' back on the case

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 06:55 PM Written by

sherlockPBS's "Sherlock" returns to "Masterpiece Mystery!" Sunday on WQED (review runs Sunday in TV Week) and the detective quickly meets his mental match in "the woman," AKA Irene Adler (Lara Pulver).

At a January PBS press conference, series star Benedict Cumberbatch discussed what that means for the show's lead character.

Read more after the jump. ...

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Pittsburgh Jazz Legends 5: Barry Galbraith

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 02:57 PM Written by

You may never have heard of Joseph Barry Galbraith, a Pittsburgh jazz legend known mainly to the hardcore jazz guitar fan and to jazz historians.   It doesn't matter.  A native of McDonald in Washington County, born there in 1919, was a Guitarist's Guitarist who made his most meaningful contributions behind the scenes. He was a regular in the recording studios of Manhattan in the 50's. As a guitar teacher, he coached and tutored some top players.

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Pittsburgh Jazz Legends 4: Billy Eckstine

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 05:41 AM Written by

A state historical marker stands at Billy Eckstine's birthplace in Highland Park. He only spent his first seven years here, yet today, he remains one of Pittsburgh's jazz (and pop music) gifts to the world, a vocalist of intelligence, passion and always an undeniable level of class. At seven, William Clarence Eckstein (the original spelling) moved to Washington DC.  He sang as after high school and while attending Howard University.  Winning an amateur contest led him to leave Howard. While singing in Chicago in 1939 trumpeter Budd Johnson brought him to the attention of the city's top bandleader: fellow Pittsburgher Earl "Fatha" Hines.

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Ex-Amish 'Out of Order' on Nat Geo

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:00 AM Written by

horse-and-buggy_51052_600x450Interest in the Amish never seems to diminish. Earlier this year PBS aired a documentary about the Amish and this month National Geographic Channel debuted "Amish: Out of Order" (10 tonight), from the makers of "The Devil's Playground" and "Amish in the City."

This latest entry feels a little slower, a little more character-oriented and less reality-TV-like. It still has the confessional style interviews that sometimes seem if not scripted at least rehearsed but the slower pace of the show gives it less of a feeling of exploitation than "Amish in the City," which seemed entirely contrived.

Read more after the jump. ...

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"All Jams On Deck" DVD cruises with the blues

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:00 AM Written by

jamsondeckI know that a bunch of my readers have been enjoying the benefits of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, those big cruise ships full of bands and fans that sound pretty much like blues heaven. I haven't made one yet, and I know a lot of fans who haven't.

So for all of us who haven't been there (and those who have who want to relive a little), here's an excellent DVD from a 2010 cruise that focuses on the nightly blues jams held on the ships.

"All Jams On Deck" was filmed by noted music documentarian Robert Mugge on the 2010 blues cruise to the Mexican Riviera (maybe you were there), and nominated for for Best DVD in the Blues Foundation's 2012 Blues Music Awards.

The 96-minute film takes a music-filled look at the late-night blues jams on the ship, which seem to have developed into some of the best music of the cruise, where musicians who rarely or never play together join in to make some exciting blues.

The DVD shows one long jam from each of several -- including guitar jams, harp jams, piano jams, horn jams -- and you don't have to look very hard to see how much fun the musicians are having. Marcia Ball, hosting a jam featuring a bunch of great horn players on "I Woke Up Screaming" says later in an interview: "That's the way I hear it in my dreams." She's right, too. It's a great number.

Here's just a short list of some of the musicians in these performances: Tommy Castro, Marcia Ball, Johnny Winter, Elvin Bishop, Commander Cody, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, John Nemeth, Rick Estrin. And many more.

In between the music, there are interviews with some of the artists, who talk about musical jams and musical communication. It's fun to watch Jimmy Thackery speculate how the first jams could have started with some primitive log pounding, and in a more serious way, to watch musicians talk about the kind of communication it takes to create a musical jam session.

Not all of the DVD is late-night jamming. Some include a more standard, but still free-flowing, settings like the performance by Elvin Bishop and John Nemeth, with Nemeth taking the vocals for Bishop's classic hit, "Fooled Around and Fell in Love."

There's a lot of great music on this DVD, and it makes for an exciting musical sea cruise.

If you're looking for CDs that bring the music ashore, I've written about three in the past year or so; one from Tommy Castro, one from Elvin Bishop, and one from Joe Louis Walker.

And here's the trailer for the film:

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