'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E8 Wild Wild West Coast, Part 2: Mega Mama Drama

L to R - Abby Lee Miller, Melissa Gisoni, Jill Vertes, Holly Frazier of Dance Moms season 5
L to R: Abby Lee Miller, Melissa Gisoni, Jill Vertes, Holly Frazier of Dance Moms
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) girls auditioned for a MattyB video. When Mackenzie Ziegler scored the lead role, Melissa (her mom) signed the contract without consulting teacher/manager Abby Lee Miller, who didn't want her pop star protégé in the video unless she got featured billing. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 8 titled "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 2," Abby wants ALL of the girls out of the video, but only Melissa and Jill (Kendall Vertes' mom) honor her wishes. It's a bold move for the others, because Abby never forgets. Meanwhile, the news that Abby plans to cut one girl from the team leads to mega mama drama.

Kid Rock Announces Tour and Releases 'First Kiss' Album

Kid Rock's new album First Kiss
Kid Rock's new album, First Kiss
By A.D. AMOROSI

Kid Rock is not a man to do anything small. Along with releasing his brand new album First Kiss on his new label (Top Dog/Warner Bros.) on February 24, he’ll put tickets on sale for his summer tour with Foreigner the same day. To make those shows affordable to all, tickets from the second row to the lawn seats will be $20. There will also be $20 all-in tickets (including parking) offered at participating Walmarts and venue box offices. Plus, the Kid will be on Howard Stern’s satellite Sirius-XM radio show on February 25 to talk about the whole shebang.

'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E7 Wild Wild West Coast, Part 1: ALDC and MattyB

L to R: Dance Moms stars Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler
L to R: Dance Moms stars Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, Holly Frazier scored daughter Nia a recording session with singer Aubrey O'Day but didn't have dance teacher/talent manager Abby Lee Miller's approval, so Nia was cut from the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) group number. This week on Dance Moms season 5 episode 7 "Wild Wild West Coast, Part 1," it's the ALDC's last week in LA. Maddie Ziegler is away taping TV show Austin and Ally, so Abby brings in two alternates, Sarah Reasons and Brynn Rumfallo, who will dance with the girls at competition, and compete against them for a role in a MattyB video. Mackenzie Ziegler lands the lead, but Abby wants to pull her from the shoot unless she gets equal billing with MattyB.

Sports Writer Gabe Oppenheim Releases 'Boxing in Philadelphia' Book

Boxing in Philadelphia by Gabe Oppenheim
Boxing in Philadelphia by Gabe Oppenheim
By A.D. AMOROSI

With his debut book Boxing in Philadelphia: Tales of Struggle and Survival, Philly sports writer Gabe Oppenheim realizes a longtime dream of his by placing the City of Brotherly Love, its classic pugilists and historic events of the fight game alongside other legendary boxing towns and arenas. Oppenheim read from his book in Philadelphia last night (February 17), and will do so again on March 24 at the Muhlenberg Branch of the New York Public Library (209 West 23rd Street, NYC, 212.924.1585).

'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E6: Nia Risks it All to Record with Aubrey O'Day

Nia Frazier, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime
Nia Frazier, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) moved to Los Angeles, but once there, teacher/talent manager Abby Lee Miller left the team on its own for several days. Abby did attend an audition with the girls, but she criticized Nia Frazier in front of the casting directors, a move that led to mom Holly Frazier going around Abby to get her daughter a professional gig. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 6 titled "Nia Risks it All," Holly scores Nia a recording session with Aubrey O'Day, and as a result, Abby cuts Nia from the group routine.

The War on Drugs to Play the Tower Theater on March 27

Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs
Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs
By A.D. AMOROSI

With each of their albums since 2008, Philadelphia band The War on Drugs gets bigger, better and more majestic. There’s a level of restless experimentation between that year’s Wagonwheel Blues and 2014’s Lost in the Dream – guided primarily by its singing songwriter Adam Granduciel – that’s taken the band from their blue collar indie-rock roots to something grander and more nuanced in its arrangements and lyrical output. Now, The War on Drugs is gearing up for its largest tour to date including a show at Upper Darby’s Tower Theater on Friday, March 27. Tickets go on sale on February 9 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EST.

Al Pacino to Perform 'One Night Only' at Caesars Atlantic City

Al Pacino
Al Pacino
By A.D. AMOROSI

After wowing crowds with his Shakespearian recitations at the annual Academy Ball and Concert at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, Al Pacino announced an odd and lovely performance event called One Night Only. The show will hit Caesars Circus Maximus Theater in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday, March 28, 2015; pre-sale for tickets begins February 5.

'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E5 Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby: ALDC Moves to LA

Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller in her car
Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller in her car
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, as the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) prepared to move to Los Angeles, dance coach/ talent manager Abby Lee Miller emphasized that the moms shouldn't book gigs without her; the moms wanted assurance that Abby would promote all of the girls, not just her favorites. This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 5 "Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby" the ALDC moves to LA, but Abby is stressed out and emotional and abandons the team. When Abby IS present, she criticizes Nia Frazier in front of casting directors, which leads to Holly Frazier going around Abby to get daughter Nia work. Meanwhile, the team doesn't get a warm welcome from their LA competitors who want to "make Abby cry" and "squash" the ALDC.

Nile Rodgers and Chic Sign Warner Brothers Deal for First New Album in Decades

Nile Rodgers
Nile Rodgers
By A.D. AMOROSI

Nile Rodgers made news this week. On February 3, his biggest hit with his band Chic, 1979's "Le Freak," will be inducted into the 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame with Rodgers receiving the President's Merit Award during the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences' (NARAS) 8th Annual Grammy Week Celebration (the Grammy Awards are Sunday February 8). Better still for Nile lovers, he announced on February 2 that he, Chic, and his Land of the Good Groove label signed a long-term deal with Warner Brothers; it will be their first record in nearly 25 years.

Interview: Marky Ramone on Life as a Ramone, Writer and Entrepreneur

Marky Ramone
Marky Ramone
By A.D. AMOROSI

When it comes to interviewing Marky Ramone, there are many topics to touch on. He was a heavy metal drummer (Dust) who made his bones with transvestite rocker Wayne County and punk avatar Richard Hell. He was the first, non-original Ramones member and has carried on that band’s legend with his act, Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg. He’s a satellite radio host for SiriusXM, a noted culinary entrepreneur selling his own ice cream, marinara sauce, cookies and beer, and now, an author with the release of his autobiographical Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone. Marky Ramone will appear at Philadelphia’s Free Library’s main branch on January 29 at 7 PM as part of his ongoing book tour.

'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E4 Bye Bye Pittsburgh: ALDC Prepares for LA Move

Abby Lee Miller, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime
Abby Lee Miller, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, Maddie Ziegler was in LA working with Sia (Maddie stars in Sia's "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart" videos), so studio owner Abby Lee Miller invited JoJo Siwa (from season 2 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition) to perform with the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC). This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 4 "Bye Bye Pittsburgh," it's the team's last few days before their move to LA, and it's JoJo's last chance to convince Abby to give her a permanent spot with the group. Like the other dancers, Nia Frazier is anticipating the move and wondering how it will affect her career, but she has the added pressure of facing her grandfather's illness. Meanwhile, the moms wonder if Abby will promote all of the ALDC girls in LA, or just her favorites.

Numero Group Releases 'Ork Box' Featuring Punk Rock Pioneers

Numero Group's Ork Box
Numero Group's Ork Box
By A.D. AMOROSI

Ork Records was arguably punk’s first record label, an operation started in 1975 by Terry Ork as a vinyl outlet for downtown New York City bands he managed including Television. The singles label only operated for 4 years and was all but forgotten since that time. Yet, its artists are seminal names within the framework of punk iconography, several of whom continue their mission. So, 40 years after its start, the label gets a comprehensive anthology – Ork Records Singles Collection, lovingly known as the Ork Box – just in time for April 18: Record Store Day 2015.

'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E3: JoJo with a Bow Bow Performs with ALDC

Dancer JoJo Siwa and her mom Jessalyn
Dancer JoJo Siwa and her mom Jessalynn
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller was served with legal documents (she's being sued by former student Paige Hyland), she tangled with dance teacher Jeanette Cota (her daughter Ava was on Abby's season 4 Select Team), and she had a terrible argument with Holly Frazier (Nia's mom). This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 3 titled "JoJo with a Bow Bow," Maddie Ziegler is in LA working with singer Sia, so Abby brings in two girls to perform with the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC): Sarah Hunt from the Select Team, and JoJo Siwa, a contestant from season 2 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition (AUDC).

Kim Fowley, Music Impresario, Dead at 75

Kim Fowley
Kim Fowley
By A.D. AMOROSI

On January 15, music impresario, artist and producer Kim Fowley died at age 75 in Los Angeles. Fowley famously discovered and produced The Runaways and co-wrote their biggest hit, “Cherry Bomb,” and was one of music’s great eccentrics, a chatty raconteur who could go on for hours at a time (as he did in several interviews I conducted with him). He was a font of information with strong opinions on Hollywood and music including garage psychedelia, bubblegum, glam rock and early punk, topics he discussed on his SiriusXM radio show on Little Steven’s Garage channel. Kim Fowley will be missed.

'Dance Moms' Recap S5 E2: Abby Got Served

Dance Moms makeup mirrors
Dance Moms season 5, episode 2 featured several backstage arguments
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) learned that Chloe Lukasiak and her mother Christi quit the team, Kalani Hilliker re-joined the ALDC, and Abby Lee Miller found out former student Paige Hyland was suing her. This week Dance Moms season 5, episode 2 is titled "Abby Got Served" because a process server hands Abby legal papers, but that's not her only problem: she has a run-in with Jeanette Cota (mom of Ava Cota, whom Abby dismissed last season), and she has an explosive argument with Holly Frazier (Nia's mom) after Jill Vertes (Kendall's mom) reveals that Abby said that only Kalani, Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler will book work in LA.

Morimoto and Vetri Collaborate for Two Night Dining Event

Chef Benjamin Dayag of Morimoto Restaurant
Chef Benjamin Dayag of Morimoto Restaurant
By A.D. AMOROSI

On January 21 and 22, 2015, two of Philadelphia’s best known culinary powerhouses –  Stephen Starr Restaurants and Marc Vetri Restaurants – will showcase their establishments, Morimoto and Vetri, and send their esteemed chefs into a first-time collaboration. The 8-course, 16 dish Italy & Japan event, surely this year’s first great chef pairing, takes place at Morimoto at 723 Chestnut Street on the 21st and Vetri’s namesake restaurant at 1312 Spruce Street on the 22nd.

Pennsylvania Farm Show Opens this Weekend in Harrisburg, PA

Butter sculpture at the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show
Butter sculpture at the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show
By A.D. AMOROSI

The 99th edition of the Pennsylvania Farm Show starts in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, January 10, 2015. With it comes everything from lumberjack competitions, hay bale tosses, a sheep-to-shawl contest and an appearance by Food Network chef Aaron McCargo Jr. (from Big Daddy’s House) making dishes from Pennsylvania-preferred goods on the Culinary Connections stage of the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center. Before this week long celebration, the event’s annual butter sculpture was unveiled on January 8 with raw materials donated by Land O’ Lakes Butter of Carlisle, PA.

'Dance Moms' Premiere Recap S5 E1: 99 Problems but a Mom Ain't One

Abby Lee Dance Company banner
The Abby Lee Dance Company begins its 5th season on Dance Moms
By REESE AMOROSI

Last season, Dance Moms closed with teacher Abby Lee Miller announcing she was opening a studio in Los Angeles and dismissing her new Select Team because they came in 2nd to her original Elite Team, who won their 4th consecutive National title. Also, sadly, the lovely Chloe Lukasiak and her mother Christi left the show after several years of discord. On the Dance Moms S5, E1 (season 5 premiere) titled "99 Problems but a Mom Ain't One," Abby and the dancers of the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) deal with Chloe's absence, a lawsuit from former student Paige Hyland, and the return of Kalani Hilliker.

The First Annual National Bobblehead Day is January 7

Bobblehead
National Bobblehead Day is January 7, 2015
By A.D. AMOROSI

Wednesday, January 7, 2015, is a banner day for the oversized headed doll known as the Bobblehead. That date happens to be the first annual National Bobblehead Day, an occasion which comes complete with a proclamation from the Registrar of the National Day Calendar recognizing the celebration for all spring-connected head-bobbing figurines. Look for sports teams across America to commemorate the day with promotions, Bobblehead unveilings and contests.

Lou Reed and Joan Jett among the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees

Lou Reed
Lou Reed is among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees for 2015
By A.D. AMOROSI

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its newest inductees for 2015 and it’s a doozy of a list: Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Green Day, Bill Withers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Philadelphia-born Joan Jett along with her band, the Blackhearts. While Ringo Starr will receive the Award For Musical Excellence (making him the last of the Beatles to get a solo Hall of Fame accolade), 1950s R&B vocal group the "5" Royales will be honored with Hall’s Early Influence Award. The induction ceremony is held at Cleveland's Public Hall on April 18th, 2015, and tickets go on sale December 18.

Remembering Keyboardist Ian McLagan: 1945-2014

Ian McLagan, Donal McCoy, Jon Notarthomas at Tin Angel, Phila PA
L to R: Ian McLagan, Donal McCoy, Jon Notarthomas at Tin Angel, Phila PA
By A.D. AMOROSI

Ian McLagan and Bobby Keys, two of the Rolling Stones finest sidemen, passed away this week (Keys, age 70, died from a liver ailment; McLagan, age 69, died from a stroke). Each man had his signatures: Keys, a raw, honking sax sound, McLagan, a soulful piano stride and a Hammond organ’s hum. While I had seen and heard both men on numerous occasions, the last time I saw both McLagan and Keys was 24 hours apart from each other in June of 2013 when the Stones played Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center and McLagan played the intimate Tin Angel.

Philadelphia Christmas Tree Lightings, Events and Attractions 2014

South Street's Christmas tree at the historic Headhouse Square Shambles
South Street's Christmas tree at the historic Headhouse Square Shambles
By REESE AMOROSI

In the city of Philadelphia, various neighborhoods and landmarks have hung their holiday decorations and invited Santa to stop by and flip the switch on the dazzling displays. With numerous Christmas tree lightings, Macy's famous light show and Dickens Village, RiverRinks' Winterfest (where even Claus himself will be ice skating!) and Love Park's Christmas Village, Philly's 2014 holiday events and attractions will leave revelers with the joy of the season and visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

Missing Dog 'Louie' Reunited with Owner in Philadelphia

JJ Pierce and Louie
After six weeks apart, JJ Pierce and Louie were reunited on November 21, 2014
By REESE AMOROSI

On October 9, J.J. Pierce brought her dog Louie along on a quick errand to Home Depot in South Philly to get keys made for her dogsitter. When she exited the store minutes later, her car and beloved dog were gone. The vehicle was recovered in North Philly on October 14, but Louie, a 2-year-old black lab, was lost. He remained missing for six weeks until November 21 when Pierce posted an update on her "Help Louie Get Home" Facebook page announcing that she and her pup had been reunited. For "Team Louie," a 15,000+ strong group of followers dedicated to finding Louie through organized and private searches, a flyering campaign and social media, it was a dream come true.

En Vogue Stars in Christmas Movie on Lifetime

L to R, Cindy Herron, David Alan Grier, Terry Ellis and Rhona Bennett in An En Vogue Christmas
A scene from Lifetime's An En Vogue Christmas
By A.D. AMOROSI

Hit-making R&B divas En Vogue have had their ups and their downs since forming in 1989. On the positive side, the harmony-filled quartet was Grammy-nominated with top-selling smashes like "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," “Free Your Mind” and "Giving Him Something He Can Feel.” On the downside, for a harmony group, there’s been much disharmony between original members Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson, Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron as they’ve broken up, reunited, and sued each other several times. This year, current members Ellis, Herron and Rhona Bennett team up for An En Vogue Christmas airing on Lifetime starting Saturday, November 22, at 8pm ET/PT.

'Foxcatcher' is One of 2014's Best, Most Disturbing Films

Anthony Michael Hall and Lucia Oskerova at Philadelphia's Foxcatcher premiere
Anthony Michael Hall and Lucia Oskerova at Philadelphia's Foxcatcher premiere
By A.D. AMOROSI

Foxcatcher, the true crime story of Delaware multi-millionaire John du Pont and his 1996 murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz in Newtown Square, PA, unfurls on screens across America starting on November 14. Starring an unrecognizable Steve Carrell as du Pont along with Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz and Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, the film goes beyond mere biography to plumb the psyche of its lead characters and what it means to live in another family member’s shadow.