Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

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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Review: The Divorcees Club

The Divorcees ClubToday my girlfriend and I went to go see The Divorcees Club at Penn’s Landing Playhouse. This production marks the U.S. premier of the incredibly successful French comedy Le Clan des Divorcees, which has been seen by over three million people since it debuted 10 years ago.

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A Weekend of Rock & Wrestling

Billy Idol PhotoLast weekend was a whirlwind of rock and wrestling. As you can see from the photo above, I saw Billy Idol live and met him and guitarist Steve Stevens after the show. The concert, as expected, was a high-energy, fist-pumping affair, and I followed this up by attending several meet and greets with professional wrestlers that were in town for the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble. For your enjoyment, below are photos from this epic weekend.

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A Conversation With Deen Castronovo

Revolution Saints: Doug Aldrich (left), Deen Castronovo (center) and Jack Blades (right).

Revolution Saints: Doug Aldrich (left), Deen Castronovo (center) and Jack Blades (right).

Today, I interviewed one of my all-time favorite drummers, Deen Castronovo of Revolution Saints, Journey and formerly Bad English. Deen was a pleasure to speak with and we covered a lot of ground, everything from his drumming as a child to his current project with Revolution Saints. Speaking of which, make sure you pick up a copy of their debut album when it’s released on February 24. It’s the greatest melodic rock album I’ve heard in years – stay tuned for my review of it. Until then, enjoy my interview with Deen.

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