March 07, 2013

By Kathy Williamson

LAWT Contributing Writer


LOS ANGELES — Comedian George Lopez is taking over as master of ceremonies of the 35th annual Playboy Jazz Festival.

The announcement and the reveal of this year’s lineup was made Thursday at the iconic Playboy Mansion on the rear lawn near the pool and grotto.

“I’ve never been here before,” chuckled Lopez as he glanced around the grounds. “I was married for 17 years. I couldn’t even have a Playboy air freshener.”

Last year Bill Cosby stepped down as the host after serving since the inaugural festival in 1979 and introducing audiences to his “Cos of Good Music,” his handpicked band of jazz greats. Lopez said Cosby offered this advice, “Don’t let the musicians in your dressing room because they’ll eat all your food and drink all your drink.”

The two-day lineup will surely satisfy all jazz palates with performances by the Sheila E., India.Arie, Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Gregory Porter, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Robert Glasper Experiment and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

Music legend Quincy Jones will celebrate his 80th birthday on Sunday with the special performance by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra featuring Patti Austin and Hubert Laws.

This year’s show will offer some great collaborations featuring George Duke with Jeffrey Osborne; Naturally 7 with Herbie Hancock; Angelique Kidjo with Hugh Masekela; Ole Coltrane with Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band, James Carter; Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band with Lee Ritenour; Grace Kelly Quintet with Phil Woods; Pedrito Martinez Group with Ariacne Trujillo; Bob James/David Sanborn, Steve Gadd, James Genus; Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with Patti Austin, Hubert Laws; Taj Mahal and the Real Thing Tuba Band; and Elew and Jazzantiqua Dance Ensemble.

Student band performances include the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Jason Goldman and The LAUSD Beyond the Bell Jazz Band under the direction of Tony White and J.B. Dyas.

Playboy Jazz will hold two free community concerts in Beverly Hills on Sunday, May 5 and at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on June 2.  The Playboy Jazz Festival is scheduled for June 15 and 16 at the Hollywood Bowl.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 28, 2013

Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American


First singer Mary J. Blige defaulted on $250,000 in loans earmarked for her charity, and then she was sued by Signature bank for defaulting on $2 million in personal loans followed by an identical suit from Bank of America after she defaulted on another $2 million personal loan.

Now comes news she is reportedly having trouble paying her rent.

According to The New York Post, The “No More Drama” singer’s reported money problems have gotten so bad, she was slapped with a notice on the door of her upper West Side apartment building after it was discovered that she “had a rent-paying problem” last November. The Luxe building, the Ashley, boasts a basketball court, state-of-the-art gym and bowling alley.

 “It was for not paying back rent,” a real estate source who has leased apartments at the building told the newspaper. A three-bedroom apartment at the Extell Development site, similar to the one Blige was renting, rents for $9,000 to $12,000 monthly, depending on the view and amenities. The source told the Post that the 42-year-old singer was there for a little more than a year before the note was plastered on the front door of the pad.

According to reports Mary’s finances are in a shambles because she’s being bled dry by a mountain of copyright lawsuits.


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 28, 2013

Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper


Actor Lou Myers, best known for his role as ornery restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the television series “A Different World,” has died.

Tonia McDonald of Myers’ nonprofit, Global Business Incubation Inc., said Myers died Feb. 19 at Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia. She said he was 76.

McDonald said Feb. 20 that Myers had been in and out of the hospital since before Christmas and collapsed recently. An autopsy was planned.

A native of Chesapeake, W.Va., Myers had returned to the state and lived in the Charleston area.

His TV credits included “NYPD Blue,” “E.R.,” “The Cosby Show,” and “Touched by an Angel,”. He also appeared in a number of films, including “Tin Cup,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” and “Wedding Planner.”

 “A Different World” ran from 1987-93 and originally starred Lisa Bonet from “Cosby” fame. Myers said he owed his introduction to Hollywood to Bill Cosby.

Myers also appeared on Broadway including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” African American Style and “Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple.”

In 2005, the Appalachian Education Initiative listed Myers as one of 50 “Outstanding Creative Artists” from the state of West Virginia and featured him in their coffee table book Art & Soul.

He began singing jazz and blues with the touring company of “Negro Music in Vogue,” according to a biography provided by McDonald.

His Cabaret show has been acclaimed in Berlin, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York, as well as Los Angeles at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Myers was chairman of Global Business Incubation that helps urban small businesses and chairman of the Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute/Theatre.

He won a NAACP “Best Actor” award for playing the Stool Pigeon in “King Hedley II,” a play by August Wilson.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 28, 2013



Get in touch with those who can help you achieve your goals. Place the accent on initiative. Romance, passion and work are singing in harmony this week and tonight. Soul Affirmation: My love for myself is the most important love for me to have.



Joy this week comes from love. You are especially attractive. Stage your week so that you spend time around people you want to attract. It is easy for you to bring harmony into your relationships. Your ability to communicate is greatly enhanced. Use it to your best advantage. Soul Affirmation: The success of others is the investment I make in myself.



Are you spending money with little or nothing to show for it? This is because you’re looking for something that money can’t buy. Now is a good time to spend some of your emotional currency, and don’t be cheap. You’ll create a situation in which people will work hard to please you. Soul Affirmation: Friendships are shock absorbers on the bumpy roads of life.



You may like to go to war, but avoid an argument with a friend; it will slow down all the wonderful progress you’ve been making. Your patience will be tested this week, stay on task. Soul Affirmation: I smile and trust in the powers beyond myself.



Skip it! Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’ll only bring you down. Don’t run around inside your own head this week. Focus your awareness outside on something beautiful. Compromise is a key idea this week. Soul Affirmation: Jewelry reflects the beauty of my feelings about myself.



Someone in the family is ready to give you something. Open yourself up to it. Home improvement –mental, physical and spiritual– is this week’s best theme. Seek the simple pleasures from a neglected hobby this week. Soul Affirmation: I love charming, positive head games.



How efficient you are this week! Your busy mind is focused on productivity and achievement. Both come easily to you, so take your advantage and press forward. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.



Entertainment and companionship are high on your list of things to enjoy this week. Use your mental gifts to speed carefully through your work so that you’ll have more time for fun this week. Soul Affirmation: This week silence speaks loudest and truest.



 Your only real caution this week is to watch your budget. Other than that, happiness remains the focus, as relationships heat happily up. Your family is very supportive and loving right now; let them meet your new admirer. Soul Affirmation: I speak my mind knowing that truth is my best defense this week.



 Happiness with partners remains the order of the week. Relations between partners are exceptionally harmonious right now. You are in sync with loved ones. Much is being accomplished by your attitude. Don’t overdo your physical workout. Soul Affirmation: I master fear by knowing that all is well.



The time has come to forgive and forget. Take the first step in reconciling a friendship. You thought no one knew, but you may be romantically attracted to an old pal. Soul Affirmation: Friendships are treasures I cherish.



Romantic daydreams may distract you from work this week; try to stay focused, but also enjoy your mental trips to romantic sunnier spaces. These images will inspire you to take action regarding a trip or get-together with your honey. Soul Affirmation: I let my dreams take over my mind to provide enjoyment.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

February 28, 2013


City New Service


A judge this week issued a tentative ruling that Michael Jackson's mother can move forward with her lawsuit contending that the promoters of Michael Jackson's never-realized London concerts negligently hired Dr. Conrad Murray as the singer's personal physician. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos said she also is leaning toward tossing aside all other claims that could hold AEG Live liable for Jackson's death. Defense attorneys had moved for dismissal of the entire complaint, saying that two years of litigation failed to show the company or its executives did anything wrong. Palazuelos took the issues under submission and did not say when she would issue a final ruling.

The entertainer was set to perform a string of 50 shows dubbed ``This Is It,'' but he died on June 25, 2009, at age 50, of acute propofol intoxication at his rented home in Holmby Hills while rehearsing for the concert series. Katherine Jackson sued in September 2010 on behalf of her son's three children, Michael Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine and Prince Michael, claiming that the company picked Murray to be pop star's personal physician. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's 2009 death and was sentenced in November 2011 to four years in the Los Angeles County men's jail.

AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam maintained his clients never hired Murray and that he, in fact, had been one of many doctors who had treated the singer in the past. He said after the hearing that he was pleased with the work Palazuelos did in preparing her tentative ruling and that he was hopeful she would conclude that the negligent hiring claim also should be dismissed. Plaintiffs' attorney Kevin Boyle declined to comment after the hearing.

He said during arguments that AEG Live, in allegedly hiring Murray, gave little consideration to red flags showing that the doctor was in debt and was not a board-certified cardiologist. Putnam said most doctors are not board-certified and that the fact that he was in debt was irrelevant. Putnam also said Jackson had a drug problem for years before he entered into any agreements to perform on behalf of AEG Live.

Palazuelos also said in her tentative ruling that she is leaning toward dismissing Timothy Leiweke, AEG Inc.'s president and chief executive officer, and that company as defendants. Defense attorneys maintain AEG Inc. and AEG Live are two separate entities. Boyle maintains that the two companies' interests are intertwined.

Leiweke stated that he had preliminary talks with Jackson and his manager in the fall of 2008 about a potential tour deal. He said he did not talk with the singer about any medical treatment and that he never had any conversations with any of the entertainer's physicians.

``I never met or communicated with Dr. Conrad Murray,'' Leiweke stated. ``To my knowledge, no other AEG Inc. employee or agent every met or communicated with Dr. Murray either. Given that I never communicated with Dr. Murray in any way, I certainly had no role whatsoever hiring, training or supervising Dr. Murray.''

The tentative ruling would keep Paul Gongaware, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Concerts West (a division of AEG Live) and AEG Live President and Chief Executive Officer Brandon Phillips in the case, which is scheduled for trial April 2. Gongaware stated in his sworn declaration that he never told Jackson or any of his doctors what medications the singer should take.

``At no point did I ever require Jackson to take propofol,'' Gongaware states. ``I had no idea Jackson was taking propofol until after I learned how Jackson died in press reports. I had no suspicious whatsoever that Dr. Murray was giving Jackson propofol.''

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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