Arts, Entertainment, Living

Big Joe & the Dynaflows - "You Can't Keep a Big Man Down"

Thursday, 17 February 2011 12:00 AM Written by

BigManDownWe've got another new CD to talk about today, someone regional enough that you may have actually heard of him.

The band is Big Joe and the Dynaflows out of Maryland with a swinging, jump-blues sound. The CD - released this week - is "You Can't Keep a Big Man Down" (Severn Records).

And Big Joe Maher himself is a veteran drummer/vocalist who lays down a heavy groove behind his easy-rolling vocals. It's a cool little jump-blues sound, with guitar and bass, plus piano or organ, plus sax -- all the right ingredients.

Big Joe carries everything along with his big rich vocals, from original songs like the rollicking title track to the countryish "Evangeline," and then from Jay McShann's classic "Confessin' the Blues" to Jimmy McCracklin's sax-laced "I'm To Blame," some good, old-fashioned R&B.

These guys do whatever the music demands - rock, jump, swing or even moan the blues, as on Johnny Green's plaintive "Someday." 

And the band members are worth special mention: Rob McNeeley on guitar and Bill Campbell on bass keep thinkgs flowing, plus the keyboard work of Kevin McKendree and saxes by Dennis Taylor add an extra dimension that moves the music beyond the ordinary. McKendree and Taylor, by the way, were the subject of a review last week in which they combined for a a stellar album featuring the late Taylor on sax, titled "Steppin' Up."  

Ask your local blues bar to bring Big Joe to town. If not, check out this CD.

Here's a video of Big Joe:


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'Survivor' adds yet another twist

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Rob_MarianoCBS's reality show stalwart "Survivor" returns for its 22nd edition, this one called "Redemption Island" (8 tonight, KDKA-TV), featuring a new twist and two returning players: "Boston" Rob Mariano (at left) and Russell Hantz.

The new twist is thatfor the first time ever, players who are kicked off the island go to a sort of "Survivor" purgatory, "Redemption Island," where they will have the oppotunity to duel with the next evictee. If they win, they remain in exile until the next evictee arrives, then they duel again. The last player standning on Redemption Island will get a chance to return to the game.

Why tweak the format? Allow "Survivor" executive producer Mark Burnett to explain by comparing the show to the works of Joseph Campbell, after the jump. ...


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What To Wear To: A Pens Game

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 12:00 AM Written by


A couple weeks back, I attended my first Pens game at the Consol Energy Center.  It has been about 10 years since I attended my last Pens game and of course when I was asked to go, I immediately thought, “What am I going to wear?”

To answer this question, I took advice from two of my friends who are avid Pens fans.  They both informed me of the following:

  • Pens shirt is a must. Hockey jersey preferred, but Pens logo t-shirt will suffice.  Wearing just the colors black/white/yellow did not go over well with them.
  • Layer up. It can be a bit chilly, so layer, but don’t wear a heavy winter coat. You will have no where to put it because some of the seats are tiny.
  • Dress down and dress comfortably.  Leave the stilettos and tight tops at home. 

So, what did I wear?  A cute Pens t shirt, a fleece zip-up jacket, jeans and UGG boots, for comfort of course.  I was dressed appropriate, however I did see a few women there who looked out of place.  Maybe that was because the game was during the week and they came straight from work or maybe they just didn’t know about the tips above.

Be sure to check back on Friday for another Clutch post!

Photo: Stanley Cup t-shirt available from local company, Fresh Factory ( here

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Chicken Marsala

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 01:20 PM Written by

chicken-marsalaChicken Marsala - when I tried this many many moons ago, it had me at "Hello." So simple and so very tasty! Also very kid friendly! Only one of my kids truly appreciates the beauty and taste of the mushroom. Because the other two scoot them to the side of their plates, it just leaves more for the rest of us!

This is as close to restaurant quality as you can get. I am sure some of you out there have a family recipe that has been handed down through the years. If you think it is better than this recipe and are willing to share, please do so!!! You can contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or as always, follow me on Facebook - Menus That Save by Kristen Kill Reisinger.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy this bright sunshine!!!


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Lisa Ling brings investigative reports to OWN

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 12:00 AM Written by

LL_Purple_OWN_Jaime_CaryPASADENA, Calif. -- Lisa Ling brings her investigative reporting to OWN with "Lisa Ling's America" (10 tonight), a new series of six one-hour reports on topics that range from faith healers to sex offenders.

"It's ironic that all of these stories are here in America, in our own backyards. Because I can't tell you how many times throughout the shooting, the course of shooting this series, that I felt like I was in a foreign place or a distant place," Ling said at a January press conference. "But the reality is that all of these stories, in their greatest complexity, are in our backyards. And we set out to try and understand or explore what it really means to be an American. And sometimes the answer to that is a very moving answer, but sometimes it's very challenging."

And it can also be a little scary, too.

"When I was with heroin addicts about to go on a drug run, or when my team and I, a team of all women, were in the middle of a sex offender colony in the middle of the woods of Florida, those moments made me a little nervious," she said. "But by the same token, we go into these stories and we spend a couple of weeks in the field, and we're able to go home, but the people who live under these kinds of circumstances have to do so every day. And our job really is to try and immerse ourselves in these worlds, that are essentially our worlds, and try and communicate people's lives and stories to a wider audience."

Read more after the jump. ...

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Pinetop, Big Eyes, Buddy cop blues Grammys

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 12:00 AM Written by

I guess the Grammy awards are old stuff by now, but I didn't want to interrupt Bluzer's Love Songfest yesterday with mere news.

It's easy to deride the Grammys (BlueNotes is nothing if not easy) for their casual treatment of real American music -- the awards are handed out Sunday afternoon, are not televised, and thus leave prime-time viewers with the impression that meaningful music is primarily produced by barely pubescent boys with cute hair and women who wear meat dresses. Sure, Neil Young picked up his first Grammy for music, but heck, he's only been making great music for about 40 years. What's the rush?

But I have to admit that they did a good job with their two blues categories and one Americana award. Even if they didn't show them to their TV audience.

The Contemporary Blues Album award went to Buddy Guy for "Living Proof," one of his best albums in recent years, and those recent years have seen Guy produce a number of fine albums.

The Traditional Blues Album went to Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Pinetop Perkins for "Joined at the Hip," a real tribute to the roots of the music, and to Pinetop's 97 years of blues life -- an astonishing feat in itself. 

And in the Americana category (a musical category, like many others, that tends to defy description), Mavis Staples was a fine choice for "You Are Not Alone."

So, a tip of of the BlueNotes fedora to the Grammys for these well-deserved awards, but a flip of the ole BlueNotes wrist for failing to put at least some of these awards on their televised show and giving the music its due. Without this music, not much of the music they honor would have been remotely possible. It's too bad  they don't make that connection.

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Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - review

Monday, 14 February 2011 12:09 PM Written by

The wait is officially over for one of the most beloved fighting franchises ever.  No it’s not Mortal Kombat and it’s not Street Fighter (but we’re getting closer).  It’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

It’s been more than a decade since the last Marvel vs. Capcom. The monumental fighting game was a staple in any arcade and was even the only video game cabinet in my barbershop back home.  It built more than a cult following in the US and Japan alike, and when there was a playable demo of it at E3 last June, fans lined up for hours just to play one fight.  So MvC3 is kind of a big deal.

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Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 - review

Monday, 14 February 2011 01:12 AM Written by

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 is the latest downloadable game from Capcom and – as you might be able to guess – is the sequel to the throwback title Bionic Commando Rearmed. Both Rearmed and Rearmed 2 are polished and colorful homages to the NES Bionic Commando series, sporting 2D graphics, precision-emphasized controls, and maddening trial-and-error gameplay.

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