Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Manilow Lights Up LA 

IMG_0073On Tuesday night one of my dreams came true: I got to meet and have my photo taken with Barry Manilow. Having been a fan of his music for more than 10 years, being able to meet the man himself backstage before the concert was a fabulous experience I’ll never forget.

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Book Review: WWE Ultimate Superstar Guide

 I received an advance copy of WWE Ultimate Superstar Guide from DK Publishing, the same company that produced WWE 50 and 30 Years of WrestleMania. You can buy WWE Ultimate Superstar Guide here. Check out my video review of this great book below. 

Lynne Abraham’s Vision For Philadelphia

Lynne AbrahamPhiladelphia is a city on the rise. Steeped in history and bristling with possibilities, the City of Brotherly Love is poised to become a world-class city. This is why the next mayoral election is so important. With the right person in office, Philadelphia will ascend into the stratosphere. With the wrong person in office, Philadelphia’s potential will barely hover above the ground. After hearing all of the candidates speak on myriad issues, I can confidently say that Lynne Abraham is the right person for the job.

I’ve known Lynne Abraham for many years. We live in the same neighborhood, and I used to ring her up at the food store when I worked there part-time as a cashier. What impressed me about her was that despite her great success, she was always grounded. I’ve had the good fortune to meet many famous and successful people, and I admire those that don’t let it go to their head. Lynne is one of those people. She’s nice to everyone she meets and isn’t ostentatious in any way, shape or form.

Tonight I saw Lynne take part in the Mayoral Candidates Forum on Equitable Development, and she was easily the most intelligent, genuine and compelling person on the panel. While the other candidates have certain qualities that would be good in a Mayor, they aren’t the total package. Lynne is.

Earlier this week I interviewed Lynne Abraham so I could learn more about her vision for Philadelphia. Going into the interview I thought she was a great person. After it was done, I liked her even more. I hope you enjoy it, and make sure to vote on May 19.

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Monster-Mania 30: A Nightmare Worth Living

Meeting Tobin Bell at Monster-Mania 30.

Meeting Tobin Bell at Monster-Mania 30.

Last Saturday I attended Monster-Mania. This biannual event features notable actors and actresses from the horror, action, comedy, and science fiction genres, as well as professional wrestlers. For the thousands that attend, this is an opportunity to meet their idols, get autographs, participate in photo-ops, watch Q&A panels, browse through aisles of cool merchandise, and enjoy hours upon hours of movies.

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Review: Neil Diamond Live in Philadelphia

FullSizeRenderLast night was my first time seeing Neil Diamond live, and he didn’t disappoint. For two hours he played a non-stop setlist of his top hits (“Sweet Caroline,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Kentucky Woman,” “Cherry Cherry,” etc.)  and three terrific songs from his new album: Melody Road. The highlights of the night, for me, included his renditions of “Play Me” and “America,” which I have videos of below. I also loved seeing him perform the absolutely beautiful “Nothing But a Heartache” from Melody Road. If you get a chance to see Neil Diamond live, do so. He puts on a great show.

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Three Books Every Aspiring Fiction Writer Should Read

There are many great writing books to choose from. But if you’re an aspiring fiction writer, below are three that should be at the top of your list.

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A Conversation With Harlan Coben

I’ve interviewed many authors over the past few years, but it wasn’t until recently that I got to interview my all-time favorite: Harlan Coben. With over 60 million books in print and his last seven consecutive novels debuting at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list, you could say Harlan is a favorite among many readers, and with good reason. His thrillers are unpredictable and compelling, and they feature fully-realized characters that stay with you after the final page has been turned.

Harlan’s newest novel, The Stranger, is being released in the U.S. on March 24. Stay tuned for my review of the book, which I’m sure is fantastic. Until then, check out my interview with Harlan below, where we discuss everything from Governor Chris Christie to driving in the fog with your headlights on. Enjoy!

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What I’m Listening To: Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints’ eponymous debut album is the greatest melodic rock record I’ve heard in nearly 15 years. Not since Journey’s Arrival in 2001 have I heard such an infectious, inspired and memorable collection of rock music. It’s an all-killer-no-filler record that grabs the listener by the collar and doesn’t let go until the vestiges of the final chords dissipate.

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Review: You Gotta Love The Life by Melissa Manchester

MManchaster-YGLTL-CDCover-10inchWhen I interviewed Melissa Manchester in December 2013, we talked about her upcoming album You Gotta Love The Life. That album will officially be released tomorrow, February 10, and I’m happy to report that it was well worth the wait. It’s a wonderfully diverse collection of songs that creates an unforgettable musical tapestry that is both modern and classic.

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A Conversation With Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander

132On Thursday night I went to go see the Robin Zander Band (RZB) perform in New York City, and it was a terrific show. I had first seen Robin with Cheap Trick a few months back on KISS Kruise IV, and I also attended one of his solo acoustic shows during the cruise. Both concerts were great, and the RZB performance this past week was just as compelling. It was two hours of fun classic rock in an intimate setting, and I got to meet Robin after the concert. Check out the band’s website for upcoming tour dates as they put on a show you don’t want to miss.

In addition to attending a great concert and meeting Robin, his band and his son, I had the opportunity to interview Robin Zander on Friday right before he hit the stage. We talked about everything from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to KISS to new Cheap Trick music. Also included below are photos and videos from the RZB concert in New York City. Enjoy!

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