For 2016 the APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) Conference offered a broad array of performers and entertainment to behold, not only for those members of the organization looking to fill out their calendars for the upcoming year – at arts facilities, festivals, colleges and universities and the like – but for aficionados of the performing arts in general. As the world’s largest networking forum and marketplace for performing arts professionals, APAP features more than 3,600 presenters, artists, managers, agents and emerging arts leaders from all 50 US states and more than 30 countries convening in one place at one time to both celebrate the disciplines they have dedicated their professional lives to, as well as discuss in many forums and panels the issues which impact the production and presentation of culture, both in the US and globally. While the Conference program unfolded over January 15-19 at the New York Hilton Hotel, the showcase performances which energize and thrill both members and general audiences alike took place over a longer period, from January 12-21 (with some showcasing performers in residencies extending for a week or more beyond), and could be seen at a great number of sites around New York in addition to the Hilton.
While so many aspects of Scottish heritage have influenced North American culture that it’s easy to take them for granted, it’s always a grand occasion to celebrate them during Tartan Week, which will be unfolding from April 6-11. The expanding slate of events, featuring daily concerts, parties, and of course capped off by the 17th Annual Tartan Day Parade down Sixth Avenue on Saturday, April 11th, was announced at St. Andrews restaurant, at 140 West 46 Street – a site of a number of the events in store.
One of the inevitabilities of getting older is that it gets a lot harder to keep up with today’s music. Part of the reason for this is that the pop music charts historically have been determined by the tastes of younger listeners and that is by definition going to lead to a disconnect with an older demographic.
In 2012 the surviving Beach Boys put aside their longstanding differences to tour the country in honor of the 50th anniversary of their first Capitol singles, “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfer Girl.” The band had recorded those tunes a year earlier for a small label, Candix.
After hearing “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” and “The Holiday Season” probably more times than I would care to admit to, it hit me that the only time one can hear Andy Williams on the radio anymore is when FM stations such as “Lite FM” (and nearly every suburban music-playing station) switches to an all-Christmas format in November.
In 1990 a number of rock stars were given a chance to record their favorite Christmas songs for an album that would benefit the Special Olympics called “A Very Special Christmas.” Among the memorable tunes were U2’s brilliant take on the rousing Darlene Love classic, “Christmas (Please Come Home);” Madonna’s tribute to Eartha Kitt on “Santa Baby;” Whitney Houston’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and Bob Seger’s “Little Drummer Boy.” Also included was a RUN-D.M.C. original, “Christmas In Hollis.” Two years later a sequel album was released.
The attention that Lou Reed’s death generated surprised me because he was never a big-selling artist, although he was well known particularly around his native New York City. Rolling Stone Magazine put him on its cover last month and its publisher, Jann Wenner, doesn’t do that for just any performer.
Elton John was the biggest rock star of them all in the early to mid-1970s. As disco music started dominating the pop charts in the late 1970s, combined with the success of such bands as Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, Elton’s star dimmed. To his credit, he was able to rebound nicely in the mid 1980s and kept making hits through the 1990s.
Paul McCartney certainly has nothing to prove at this point but he still looks and sounds quite spry at age 71. He has certainly worked hard at promoting it as he gave impromptu concerts in Times Square and at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria.
It has been a decade since Sting released an album of new material before he ended his drought with his recently released album “The Last Ship.”