Message from Jay Figueroa of the Miami Gay Men's Chorus:
The Miami Gay Men's Chorus will hold Voice Placements beginning this Thursday, January 9th, from 7:00pm to 7:30 pm, and every Thursday through the month of January 2014.
We are looking for a passion for singing, musicality, teamwork, a positive attitude, and a commitment to our mission of inspiring & changing lives, with humor and heart, through the power of music.
Whatever your skills, all we ask is that you embrace singing in all styles and a willingness to wiggle your body a little. We guarantee you'll find people in the chorus who share your interests and voices in the chorus with whom you can blend. We have an amazing season ahead as we celebrate 15 years of making music. This is an exciting time to be a part of MGMC."
Placements will be at All Souls' Episcopal Church, Miami Beach.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Superstar jazz trumpeter Chris Botti attributes his later-in-life success to the “needle in the haystack theory.”
“There are so many unbelievably talented musicians scattered all over the world,” says Botti, 51, whose breakthrough album, When I Fall in Love, happened 10 years ago. “To be able to play an instrument and have a lot of people recognize that sound, that’s a whole heckuva lot of other stuff going on. That’s kind of like luck, or someone looking down on me being very nice.”
Botti, who just finished a three-week, 42-show Christmas engagement at Blue Note in New York City, appears Wednesday at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and headlines this month’s Jazz Roots series concert Friday, Jan. 17, at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.
“I’ve been touring 300 days a year for the last 10 years. The groundswell of that is really a whole helluva lot of luck,” says Botti, who spent decades as a studio and touring musician working with big stars including Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Sting.
“There’s a very common music industry saying that behind every overnight success is 10 years of hitting the road. In my late 20s and in my 30s, I was just well known as being a studio musician, you know,” Botti says. “I was respected by musicians but the general public had no clue. That didn’t really happen until I was in my early 40s. It makes me be incredibly grateful for it, because I see a lot of young pop musicians squander their audience. They think, ‘Oh, I’ve got success,’ then they take five years off and you never hear from them again. If I had had this kind of success in my 20s, I might have handled it completely different, to a negative effect.”
Botti grew up in Oregon. His mother was a classically trained pianist.
“My mom was a piano player and taught me and I rebelled against that. I didn’t like the piano,” he says. “I saw Doc Severinsen on television, years ago when he was in The Tonight Show band, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s cool. Man, he’s cool.’ I said can I get a trumpet? I got a trumpet two years before everyone else got the trumpet. I got a trumpet in third grade. By the time I hit fifth grade — and I realized I never was going to be Michael Jordan, you know my body’s not growing so I’m not going to be this sports guy — I do this trumpet thing pretty good and I’m better than everyone else because they’re just starting, so I’m going to stick with it.
“When I was 12 or 13, I heard Miles Davis and I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ That’s what took the whole thing for me to a personal level, like a knife through butter, it went right through my heart. That sound. That beautiful trumpet playing just mesmerized me.”
At the start of his career, Botti was thrilled to simply be a working musician.
“If I did a recording session and I sat next to [the late saxophonist] Michael Brecker and [his brother, trumpeter] Randy Brecker and we did a horn-section date for Wide World of Sports or something like that, I thought I’d won the Academy Award. And at the same time, I wanted to be the star out in front,” he says. “I did in New York every terrible gig that you could do to make a living. When I scrunched up enough money to pay the landlord, I thought I had won the Academy Award.”
Still, Botti dreamed of being a big name in the music business.
“One step leads to the next. Then you’re like ‘Can I make a living playing in the studios?’ Then, maybe I could do a tour. Then, you become friends with Sting and you go, ‘Maybe I could actually step out with the band,’ he says. “Using that template, I learned so much from him. Appetite for touring. How to do it. That 2½ years in his band, seeing the way his organization is run, aided me an enormous amount to put my little tour together. Start out small. Start out losing money and do it. I always wanted to be the star, but I wasn’t down on myself for being behind the scenes for so long.”
Being an unknown is no longer is an issue. A decade ago, Botti landed on People magazine’s Most Beautiful list and for a while dated Katie Couric. In 2012, he toured with Barbra Streisand. And last year, his CD Impressions won the 2013 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Botti says success has even amazed him.
“I’m a music act that goes around the world and sells concert tickets and never had a hit. I’ve never had one hit! You can go back and look at instrumentalists throughout the course of time. Chuck Mangione or whatever. They have a hit that you can whistle. I don’t have that. So my success is really then who I’ve associated myself with and making our shows spread via word of mouth. That’s really the way it is.”
IF YOU GO
Trumpeter Chris Botti appears 8 p.m. Wednesday at Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Tickets $25 to $105. He also stars 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, in Jazz Roots at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Tickets $55 to $150.
Judy Garland sings Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, The Christmas Song, Winter Wonderland, Till After The Holidays, and Silent Night.
Source: The Judy Garland Experience
The finale to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (1954) starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.
BY ALEXANDER ROSLYAKOV AND NATALIYA VASILYEVA
KRASNOYARSK, Russia -- Two jailed members of the Russian punk bank Pussy Riot were released Monday following an amnesty law that both described as a Kremlin public relations stunt ahead of the Winter Olympics.
Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were granted amnesty last week in a move largely viewed as the Kremlin's attempt to soothe criticism of Russia's human rights record ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.
The third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on a suspended sentence months after all three were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in prison for the performance at Moscow's main cathedral in March 2012.
The band members said their protest was meant to raise their concern about increasingly close ties between the state and the church.
Russian parliament passed the amnesty bill last week, allowing the release of thousands of inmates. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova, who were due for release in March, qualified for amnesty because they have small children.
There has been an international outcry over Russia's human rights record, including for passing a law earlier this year that bans so-called homosexual propaganda among minors, which gay groups in Russia and abroad say feeds the existing enmity toward gay people in the country.
The festival showed Scrooge & Marley, "a modern day gay variation of Charles Dickens’ classic story of the holidays,A Christmas Carol.”
Click here for more pictures from the holiday party. Photos by STEVE ROTHAUS / Miami Herald Staff.
December 19, 2013 in Arts, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Film, Florida, Food and Drink, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Music, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Television, Theater, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
Video | 'Defying Gravity as sung by Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' by Miami's Matthew Daniel Gordon
Matthew Daniel Gordon, a student at Miami's New World School of the Arts, has released a music video, Defying Gravity as sung by Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer':
Santa has just told Rudolph that he will guide his sleigh through the foggy night skies. Blitzen is not pleased, but Rudolph convinces him that this is his moment to shine.
December 16, 2013 in Arts, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Film, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Music, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Television, Theater, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko has based his new work, Black Male Revisited: Revenge of the New Negro, on an exhibit from his youth nearly 20 years ago at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
“In 1994, we’re situated in the backlash of the Rodney King situation in L.A. We have O.J. Simpson, we have the Million Man March. We have the aftermath of the AIDS pandemic,” says Kosoko, who performs beginning Friday at the Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores, part of the Sandbox series co-sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “All of these important issues are happening. … Really interesting moments in cultural history. And really affecting the way black men are seen, specifically in this country.”
Kosoko identifies as queer. Miami Theater Company chose him to perform “because his project adds multiple dimensions to challenging dialogues about race, gender, and sexuality,” says Stephanie Ansin, MTC’s founder and artistic director.
This five-show engagement marks the first time Kosoko, a 2011 fellow at the DeVos Institute of Art Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., has appeared in Florida.
The Miami Shores performance features a symbolic scarecrow image of Trayvon Martin.
“I don’t want to call him literally a scarecrow, but I guess he is. He’s a fallen soldier in a way, at least how he’s positioned in this installation,” says Kosoko, a Nigerian-American artist who grew up in Detroit and Mississippi.
After Kosoko got the South Florida booking, he decided to include a representation of Trayvon, the unarmed black Miami Gardens teen shot to death in 2012 in Sanford, Fla.
“His experience was already so deeply embedded, not just in my consciousness but the American consciousness. He was literally a martyr for any number of wounded black men, children, that happen every day in this country,” says Kosoko, 31.
Kosoko begins the one-hour-long Black Male Revisited with a tour of the performance space. Throughout the show, he is chained to a basketball.
“Much of my mission creatively is to create space for the contemporization of history. It feels so important for me to have this sense of advocacy embedded in my work,” he says. “So much of this show there is a sense of re-branding, taking a lot of old stereotypical tropes and rethinking them and how we view these ideas in the contemporary moment.”
Kosoko says “this work is really looking at my own trajectory over the past 10 years and really putting into focus key moments, key performances that have really resonated with me. I’ve mashed them all up together.”
Black Male Revisited is scripted, but no two performances will be exactly alike.
“You choose your mission with each piece. I certainly have a lot of text that hint at LGBT and queer issues,” he says. “The costumes that I wear are very over the top, flamboyant and fun.”
Kosoko describes himself as “a dork.”
“I’m always reading. I’m deeply engaged with history,” he says. His artistic influences include 1920s writer-philosopher Alain Leroy Locke and Thelma Golden, current director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Last week, Kosoko performed during one of the big Miami art fairs. The experience devastated him.
“Being the only black performance artist in the fair, I cried. I took a moment and called a couple of friends to really mourn this situation because this is 2013. This is one of the most famous art moments in the world that happens annually and yet there is still so little representation of any kind of diversity, to be completely honest,” he says. “I know there are some folks who are advocating to see more black work, more Latino work, more artists of color, more feminist work, more queer work, whatever.
“But more of it needs to be situated in this fair. I felt his huge — I don’t want to say burden — but I felt this huge weight because I felt, ‘Here I am having to represent the entirety of this complex situation and there are so many different perspectives.’
“Right now we have this whole radical presence, black performance in contemporary art has taken over New York City right now. On any given night, I feel like I can experience black culture, black performance art, conversation, visual art,” he says. “I’m coming from this very diverse and multilayered experience and I’m engaging with a lot of different kinds of work and artists and then to come here and not really see that … I’m sorry, it was a great experience but I was very disappointed. I was very sad. It was really emotional for me.”
IF YOU GO
Black Male Revisited will be performed 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Dec. 20 and 21, and 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. Tickets $15 and $20. Seating is limited and this production contains nudity and sexual themes. www.mtcmiami.org or 305-751-9550.
Two LGBT-oriented groups have received grants in the 2013 Knight Arts Challenge sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
From a foundation news release:
In all, $2.72 million was awarded to local artists and organizations, big and small, including the newly opened Perez Art Museum Miami, ArtCenter/South Florida, Cannonball Miami, the Miami Music Project, the Bass Museum, Indie Film Club, and more. Their ideas will blend art and technology and bring art into Miami’s many neighborhoods.
Among the recipients:
To engage South Florida’s GLBTQ youth through the arts by growing the annual Out in the Tropics Performing Arts Festival to include educational workshops in high schools and community centers
Miami Gay Men’s Chorus, $10,000
To strengthen choral leadership by expanding the annual South Florida Choral Festival to include professional development workshops