February 2020

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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  • By Ken Werther

Here’s what happened. I was laying on my bed watching Saturday Night Live. Half distracted, really. Then it came time for the musical guest, and there she was. Lizzo. I was mesmerized. The fact that I’d never seen or heard of her before that moment totally gives away my age, right? Nonetheless, what happened to me is exactly what artists, record companies, and music producers want — I made an amazing discovery and immediately went hunting for more information and more music!

Lizzo (Melissa Viviane Jefferson) was recently nominated for eight Grammy Awards and won three, for Pop Solo Performance (Truth Hurts), Traditional R&B Performance (Jerome), and Urban Contemporary Album (Cuz I Love You Deluxe). In December, Time Magazine named her ‘Entertainer of the Year’ for her meteoric rise and contribution to music. After struggling with body issues at an early age, Lizzo became an advocate for body positivity and self-love, making diversity the focus of her music in regards to one’s body, sexuality, race, and more. Did I mention that she’s also an actress and a classically trained flutist? It’s incredible to think that when her single Truth Hurts (2017) initially failed to catch fire she seriously considered quitting the music industry altogether. Asked about her gender and sexuality, Lizzo said, “I personally don’t ascribe to just one thing … that’s why the LGBTQ colors are a rainbow!” I think I’m in love.

For all things Lizzo, click here.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

  • By Allison Starcher

Dressed all in white, looking somewhere between a bride and an angel, she began to sing, haunting and lilting. Then with tears running down her face she stopped. Demi Lovato took a breath, glanced at her pianist and began again. Her first performance in nearly two years, much like her life, had it’s precarious moments and then ultimately reached a breathtaking crescendo.

Written four days before she nearly died of an overdose, her latest release “Anyone,” sadly states, “Nobody’s listening.” Her feelings of isolation and desperation are heartbreaking but as the French author, Guy De Maupassant wrote, “For those that have fought for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know.” This week everybody is listening.

Demi is back in the spotlight, on The Grammy stage and on Sunday, taking to the field to sing the National Anthem. At 27 she has emerged from her struggles with mental health and addiction battle-tested. Singing the Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl in front of millions is a fitting honor and a risky proposition. Her willingness to take on this challenge is further evidence that Lovato is determined to be heard as an artist and an advocate. Joining her are two superstars who have also lived out there lives in the media’s harsh glare with grace. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira perform at halftime, surely making Super Bowl 2020, the year of the powerful woman.

For all things Demi Lovato, click here.

Post Malone

Post Malone

Post Malone

  • By Dennis Petrone

Post Malone is already being considered by futurist Hollywood beat reporters as a potential contender for a 2021 Grammy Award, and it’s only February! Billboard — among others — point to Post’s (born Austin Richard Post) third album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, topping the charts of the Billboard 200 and the commercial success of his recent hit songs including “Circles” and “Sunflower” reaching Top Single.

The introspect self-identified tattooed Texan has sold over 65 million records so far in the US alone, and that’s only since his first album’s release just four years ago! He’s also received three American Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award, an MTV Video Music Award, and six Grammy nominations. Between his many appearances and touring nationally, he’s been pushing the envelope of what’s considered a safe sound, venturing from the frays of mainstream pop to hard hip hop and even rap.

So what’s next for the New York native rising superstar? Album number four produced under the powerhouse record label Republic. He recently announced it ahead of resuming touring this month through America’s heartland starting in his base trifecta of Nebraska, Indiana and Illinois saying only that it’s “for the fans in 2020.”

For all things Post Malone, click here.

Esa-Pekka Salonen

LA Phil’s Weimar Republic concert featuring Esa-Pekka Salonen

Esa-Pekka Salonen

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of LA Phil

I was so curious when I learned that the LA Philharmonic would be doing two programs featuring the music of Germany’s Weimar Republic 1918-1933. This was an era of unrivaled artistic freedom and intellectual productivity in all areas of the arts.“I have always been interested in the Weimar era for its aesthetic, its humor and open possibilities,” noted Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen. “But I feel there are also lessons and an urgent relevance in looking at that time today.”

Salonen and the LA Philharmonic will present two orchestral programs over two weekends in February when he leads full stagings of important musical theater works from the era:  Weill/Brecht’s The Seven Deadly Sins and Hindemith/Kokoschka’s Murderer, the Hope of Women. Violinist Carolin Widmann joins Salonen for Weill’s Violin Concerto, Hindemith’s Rag Time and Mathis der Maler Symphony, and Schoenberg’s masterful orchestral arrangements of two chorale preludes by J.S. Bach. The concerts are part of Weimar Variations, a larger collection of public programs and installations throughout DTLA that explore the period’s diversity of expression from photography, poetry and ballet to cabaret and film. The Variations were supervised by Stephanie Barron, LACMA’S senior curator for Modern Art.

For more details, click here.

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