Interview: Entertainment Reporter Nelson Aspen Comes 'Full Circle' with Cabaret Act


By A.D. AMOROSI

Nelson Aspen isn’t just an entertainment reporter with nice teeth and a sunny disposition. The one-time Hollywood-based producer/reporter for TV GUIDE Television, occasional on-air contributor to syndicated programs such as Access Hollywood, Extra, Inside Edition (in America), NEW with NELSON! (Ireland) and Sunrise (Australia) is a singer and storyteller as well. Nelson has traveled the cabarets of Manhattan, Los Angeles and Chicago with Full Circle, a music-filled, comedy-rich, gossip-laden cabaret showcase in which he partners with his favorite actresses. At Philadelphia’s Rrazz Room at the Prince Theater, Sunday, April 30 at 5 PM, he’ll be performing with Monica Horan from TV's Everybody Loves Raymond. We spoke to Aspen about television assignments, musical favorites and more.

Record Store Day Celebrates 10th Anniversary


By A.D. AMOROSI

When Record Store Day (RSD) started 10 years ago, it immediately became a great way for labels and artists to show their appreciation to their vinyl fans who loved the form, feel and pure sound of vintage LPs and 7-inch singles. Eventually, the masses embraced vinyl again; Forbes Magazine reports that sales shot up to nearly $1 billion by 2017.  On April 22, RSD 10 has its grand brand ambassador (St. Vincent), its honoree (Elton John) and finally, comedians to cherish (George Carlin, John Cleese).

Comedy Caper 'Going in Style' Remade for the Trump Era


By A.D. AMOROSI

When Martin Brest – the funny man behind the Robert DeNiro/Charles Grodin caustic action comedy Midnight Run – wrote and directed the first Going in Style in 1979, the world was a different place. Its three stars – George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg – were still-living legends of vaudeville, television and the dramatic stage, respectively. Morgan Freeman, lead actor in the new Going in Style, opening April 7, was still a member of PBS’ kid show The Electric Company. Zack Braff, director of the updated film was but four-years-old.  Donald Trump, a running punchline in the movie, was just starting to get negative press.

Interview: Comedian and Author John Heffron Stands Up


By A.D. AMOROSI

Stand-up comedian John Heffron will always be known as the winner of the second season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2004, and for a brand of blue-collar humor he calls “middle class funny” (a term that also doubles as the name of his live DVD). Beyond that, however, Heffron is the author of advice book, I COME TO YOU FROM THE FUTURE: Everything You’ll Need to Know Before You Know It, based in part on his time as a psychology major at Eastern Michigan University, studies he still uses in his comedy.

HBO’s 'Big Little Lies' Soundtrack Hits No. 1 on iTunes


By A.D. AMOROSI

The only thing as haunting and suspenseful as the finale of HBO’s Big Little Lies limited series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoë Kravitz, is its harrowing soundtrack, a digital-only release from ABKCO Records that hit #1 on the iTunes soundtrack chart (and #3 among all albums) on April 3.

Interview: Ritch Shydner on the 1980’s Stand-Up Comedy Boom

Ritch Shydner

By A.D. AMOROSI

With producer Jim Carrey’s television version of I'm Dying Up Here coming to small screens in June, the illustrious, notorious past of America’s stand-up comedy scene of the 1970s and the 1980s has come sharply into view. Not only was comedian Ritch Shydner a longtime part of that golden era, he’s been one of its keenest documentarians. In addition to writing on series such as The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Roseanne and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Shydner authored 2007’s I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics, as well as the recently-released Kicking Through the Ashes: My Life as a Stand-Up In the 1980s Comedy Boom, the latter book released the same time as his General Maladies live stand-up album.

Philly Restaurants Named as Semifinalists for James Beard Awards

Photo of food from Saté Kampar ©Reese Amorosi 2015

By A.D. AMOROSI

Philadelphia is a world-renowned culinary destination with annual nominations for James Beard Foundation Awards for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States. For 2017, a handful of new and lesser-known (for now) in Philly’s restaurant scene join several notable veterans on the semifinalist list.

Philly’s Most Romantic Valentine’s Day Date: Morrissey Karaoke

Morrissey Karaoke Valentine's Day TLA Glamorosi Magazine

By A.D. AMOROSI

Of all the grandly romantic things you can do - and all the money you could spend doing so – for Valentine’s Day 2017, one of the most curious events is its most musical and lyrical: a night spent dancing, drinking and doing karaoke to the sad songs of Morrissey and The Smiths with MOZZAOKE. The party is at TLA (Theatre of Living Arts), 334 South Street, starting at 7 PM,  and the cost of admission is $8. The music of Morrissey, solo or with The Smiths, has always revealed the deepest of yearnings while remaining cleverly caustic. What could be better then, than lifting your voice in song to “Hairdresser on Fire” or “Every Day is like Sunday?”

Loving and Hating the 2017 Grammy Awards


By A.D. AMOROSI

On a yearly basis, critics, industry insiders and viewers ask the musical question, “Are the Grammy Awards relevant?”  For the 2017 Grammy Awards hosted by James Corden (The Late Show), there is controversy, with some artists declining to attend due to lack of diversity; there are triumphs, like Chance the Rapper’s historic nomination for his streaming-only album and Sturgill Simpson's spot in the Best Album category; and there are blunders, like David Bowie being relegated to the “Alternative Music” categories. Here's what we’re loving and hating about The 59th Annual Grammy Awards including our Grammy drinking game.

Best Albums of 2016: This Year's New Classics

David Bowie Blackstar album cover

By A.D. AMOROSI

It has been a hard year for music with so many beloved icons passing away: David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Alphonse Mouzon, Merle Haggard, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leon Russell and George Michael are among the greats we've lost. Despite such sadness, 2016 was a year of brilliant and inventive recordings, two of which came from Bowie and Cohen, who died after releasing wise, world-weary work as last wills and testaments to their genius. They top our list of 2016's best albums: read on for my baker's dozen of this year's new classics.

Like Mother, Like Daughter: A Conversation with Debbie Reynolds


By A.D. AMOROSI

The world barely had time to mourn the death of actor-author Carrie Fisher – a woman famed for roles ranging from her iconic Princess Leia in the Star Wars saga to the recent comedy series Catastrophe, and books including Postcards from the Edge (also a film released in 1990) and The Princess Diarist – before her mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away. Renowned for her boundless energy and roles in classics such as Singin' in the Rain, The Tender Trap and her Oscar-nominated turn as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Reynolds was a queen of Hollywood with Fisher as her princess. In January 1997, I met with Ms. Reynolds to interview her about her title role in the Albert Brooks film, Mother, for the now-defunct Philadelphia City Paper.

Childish Gambino's Stunning 'Awaken, My Love!' Debuts at Number 1


By A.D. AMOROSI

There has been much to hail in 2016 when it comes it music and television, but only one man had such a fascinating lock on both mediums with equal doses of daring and brilliance: Donald Glover. His FX Network series Atlanta was a subtle, assured socio-political comic triumph. Just as engaging, Glover’s newest album, Awaken, My Love!, recorded as his alter-ego Childish Gambino, ends the year with soulful, stylish, stunning and sexy innovation. Gambino made a real show of such sensuality on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on December 14, with a shirtless performance of the jittery, Prince-like “Redbone.”

Review: Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg Virginia by Tim Scullion


By REESE AMOROSI

Although American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare recently aired its finale, fans of haunted houses don't have to travel far for a scare. Just 150 miles north of Roanoke, North Carolina, lies Williamsburg, Virginia, and within it, Historic Colonial Williamsburg, an area so reportedly rife with paranormal activity that there are guided ghost tours. While working as a tour guide, author and photographer Tim Scullion was inspired to document sightings, and this led to his latest book, Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia: with Breakthrough Ghost Photography.

Saying 'I Do' with Celebrity Wedding Officiants

Timothy “Chio in the Morning” Acosta re-married wife Shawn with Celebrity Wedding Officiant Mike Jerrick

By A.D. AMOROSI

We've noticed a wealth of weddings officiated by someone not ordained or elected – not a priest, rabbi, judge, mayor or ship’s captain – but rather, someone regal in his own fashion. Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead married Live Nation's Geoff Gordon and Sayeeda Kibria (now Gordon) between sets during his show at Philadelphia's Tower Theatre. Good Day Philadelphia host Mike Jerrick presided as Mix 106.1 FM’s Timothy “Chio in the Morning” Acosta re-married his wife Shawn. Throughout November, Grammy-nominated blues pop singer Elle King will be marrying couples during her "Matrimony Tour."

Comedian Murray Hill Looks to the Future and Tour with Bridget Everett

Comedian Murray Hill

By A.D. AMOROSI

Since the 1990s, alternative comedy has had a voice in Murray Hill, the cherubic Downtown NYC drag king entertainer known to one-and-all as "Mr. Show Biz," as well as the self-proclaimed "hardest-working middle-aged man" in comedy. Though a longtime fixture of the East Village's pre-gentrified performance art/comedy scene, it's only now that Hill is seeking greater fame with a Hollywood agent and a tour with Bridget Everett, the bawdy singing comedian who admits to having Hill as a nurturing inspiration. Their tour kicks off November 4 at The Fillmore in Philadelphia.

Henri David Hosts 48th Annual Halloween Ball on Mischief Night


By A.D. AMOROSI

For Halloween aficionados along the East Coast observing that this year the holiday falls on a school night, Henri David offers up his 48th Annual Halloween Ball on Sunday, October 30 (Mischief Night), at Philadelphia's Sheraton City Center Hotel. Rest assured that this party isn't just for locals: David's event is renowned for bringing in costumed revelers from as far away as New Orleans and Los Angeles.

Late Comedian Sam Kinison Still Enraging and Engaging in New Box Set

Sam Kinison
Sam Kinison
By A.D. AMOROSI

The late Sam Kinison was black comedy's scourge: a whip-smart ex-minister who turned religion and relationships into vicious screeds, all screamed at the top of his lungs. The comedian passed away at age 38 in a 1992 car accident, but his growl and ungodly hurtful jokes live on in a new box set, The Sam Kinison Definitive Comedy Collection of 3 CDs and 7 DVDs. While the audio-only portion of the box features Kinison's vintage comedy LPs (Louder Than Hell, Leader of the Banned, Have You Seen Me Lately), its video portions including HBO specials ('87's Breaking the Rules), posthumously discovered live shows and several documentaries offer fellow comedian's outlook on the infamous, brilliant comic.

Review: George Carlin 'I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die'

George Carlin: I Kinda Like it When a Lotta People Die
George Carlin: I Kinda Like it When a Lotta People Die
By A.D. AMOROSI

The late, legendary comedian George Carlin was renowned for his love of language: censored, like the famed "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" from his Class Clown album (1972), and commonly used and manipulative words and phrases that bugged him. Carlin was also known as a bit of a hoarder whose unused material is being divvied between the National Comedy Center (opening in Jamestown, NY in 2017) and the MPI label who, on September 16, will release I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die, a new album of never-before-heard Carlin routines

Interview: Stand-up Comics Sean Donnelly and Rus Gutin

Comedian Sean Donnelly
Comedian Sean Donnelly
By A.D. AMOROSI

On Sunday, August 21, stand-up comedian Sean Donnelly (notable for Comedy Central's The Half Hour) and Rus Gutin – comedian and promoter – will share the bill at the recently-opened Punch Line comedy club in Philadelphia. The lineup, which also features Luchana Gatica and James Mattern, also serves as the debut of Rus Gutin's Fishtown Premium, a showcase he hopes to bring to Punch Line on a regular basis. We spoke with Donnelly and Gutin about their long-time friendship and comic inspiration.

Review: Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks

Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks
Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks
By A.D. AMOROSI

To most people, singer Bobby Rydell is a happy voice from their past, a joyful, rock n' rolling presence best known for early 60s hits such as "Volare" and "Wild One" as well as Hollywood musicals such as 1963's Bye Bye Birdie. Now, you can add author to that list as the crooner – with fellow musician and writer Allan Slutsky – has penned and published his autobiography Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks.

Hall & Oates to Stream Concert from Camden's BB&T Pavilion

Hall & Oates receive plaque for platinum sales
L to R: Hall & Oates celebrate platinum sales with execs Jeremy Holiday and Adam Block (Legacy Recordings) and manager Jonathan Wolfson
By A.D. AMOROSI

Daryl Hall and John Oates may not currently spend much time (OK, any time) recording new music as a duo. Yet, as Hall & Oates, the Philadelphia-born, blue-eyed-soul twosome continue to create new work apart, host new milestones as a unit and tour together. On Sunday, July 10, 2016 beginning at 9 PM EST, the newest Hall & Oates show will stream live from Camden, NJ's BB&T Pavillion exclusively on Yahoo Music. Live Nation TV will present the July 10 show with a stream lasting for 24 hours at this Yahoo.com link. To see Hall & Oates tour in person (with opening acts Trombone Shorty and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings) visit Ticketmaster.com.

Interview: Don Rickles Discusses His 70+ Year Career in Comedy

Don Rickles and Regis Philbin
Don Rickles and Regis Philbin
By A.D. AMOROSI

Don Rickles may have just celebrated his 90th birthday in May of 2016, but the legendarily caustic stand-up comedian – famously a friend to show-biz greats such as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Bob Newhart and Martin Scorsese – is not about to sit down. Known throughout his career as "Mr. Warmth" and "The Insult King," the comic who all but invented politically incorrect humor returns to Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on Saturday, June 11. This time he'll appear with his old pal, Regis Philbin. "I don't need him there, you know, I can do it myself," deadpans Rickles on suddenly having a comic foil for his act.

Lakaye Studio Brings Henna and Jagua Tattoos to the Masses

Earth Jagua Premium Kit from Lakaye Studio
Earth Jagua Premium Kit from Lakaye Studio
By REESE AMOROSI

Mehndi, the practice of temporarily staining the skin with plant-based dyes – usually ground henna leaves – is an ancient art with origins in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Many people associate mehndi with India, where pre-wedding celebrations often include ceremonies to paint intricate designs on brides (and sometimes grooms). In the 1990s, mehndi became popular in the West, largely due to being seen on celebrities like Madonna and Liv Tyler, and is now appreciated by a new wave of patrons and practitioners who often call the designs "henna tattoos." Along with using henna that results in a reddish-brown stain, Lakaye Studio offers jagua, a gel that develops into a blue-black color.

'Daily Show' to Broadcast from Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah
The Daily Show host Trevor Noah
By A.D. AMOROSI

When Philadelphia plays host to the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center July 25th through the 28th, potential nominees Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders won't be the only celebrities in town. On April 14, it will be announced that Comedy Central's late night The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will also be in Philly, broadcasting live from University City's Annenberg Center from Monday July 25 until Thursday July 28.

Interview: Andrew Bird on Old Songs, New Songs and Fiona Apple

Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird
By A.D. AMOROSI

Violinist, composer and singer Andrew Bird has been making swinging, folkish, art pop as a soloist since 1996. Beginning with his first album, Music of Hair, and continuing with each recording and project (e.g. the soundtrack of the Louis C.K. produced FX Network sitcom Baskets) proving to be more intriguing than the last. No less is true of his newly released Are You Serious album, one that finds him singing his most personal, least cryptic lyrics yet (getting married and having a son can do that), crooning a duet with Fiona Apple and generally sounding as if he's loving life more than ever.