Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Shudder December Highlights

Thanksgiving is almost here, which means December is right around the corner. With a new month on the horizon, Shudder is gearing up to end the year strong with a bevy of holiday gifts for one and all. Joe Bob’s Red Christmas and several of Wes Craven’s films—including the highly entertaining Shocker—will be available, as will The Lost Boys and Mick Garris’ Sleepwalkers. And what would Christmas be without some holiday-themed slashers? You can enjoy Black ChristmasChristmas Evil, and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, just to name a few. Below is the full rundown of what to expect from Shudder in December.

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Jonathan Cain Releases “Wonder of Wonders” and “Something Greater”

Journey’s Jonathan Cain recently released two new singles, one of which is a brand-new, original Christmas song entitled “Wonder of Wonders.” The second song, “Something Greater,” coincides with the release of Cain’s wife’s book of the same name.

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Dionne Warwick Releases New Christmas Album

Dionne Warwick, my favorite female vocalist, is back with her second Christmas album, which is appropriately titled Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas. This collection of 12 songs is comprised of 10 duets and two solo tracks by Dionne that begin and conclude the album. I positively adored Dionne’s first Christmas album, My Favorite Time of The Year, when it was released in 2004 and it was a day-one purchase for me. Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas is an excellent follow-up holiday album that features Dionne tackling songs she’s never recorded before, as well as approaching ones she has from a new angle. As for those she sings with, you can expect to hear Johnny Mathis, Aloe Blacc, Michael McDonald, and others. All of the arrangements are slickly produced with the vocalists front-and-center in the mix, as they should be, making for a highly enjoyable early Christmas present.

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Joe Bob’s Red Christmas Coming December 13

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thrillers and the supernatural, announced today that Joe Bob Briggs, host of The Last Drive-In, will return on December 13 with an all-new special, Joe Bob’s Red Christmas. The triple feature of holiday horrors will stream live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Shudder in the U.S. and Canada. It will also be made available on demand later in December. The special will be Briggs’ second of the year, following Joe Bob’s Halloween Hootenanny, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Shudder in the U.S. and Canada.

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A Very Barry Christmas

Photo by Dana Holland.

For the first time ever, Barry Manilow took his Christmas show on the road. This special concert typically only takes place in Palm Springs, where Manilow resides. But this year he decided to bring it to a handful of locations, including New York. I made it a point to attend Manilow’s New York performance, and it exceeded my expectations.

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A Christmas Tradition Comes To An End

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/570/38229448/files/2014/12/img_1994-0.jpgFor as long as I can remember I’ve had my photo taken with Santa. Not for myself, but for my Father. It makes him happy and reminds him of when I was a child and believed in the magic of Christmas. Now that I’m approaching my 30th birthday (next March), I figured I’d get my photo taken with Santa one last time.
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Rod Stewart – Live in Philadelphia

Rod Stewart LiveRod Stewart was the first concert I ever attended, and on December 11 I saw him live for the fourth time. As always, he put on a terrific show. While not quite as powerful as it was back in the 1990s, Rod’s voice still sounds great and he knows how to wrap himself around a song and convey emotion like very few singers do. He also jumped, danced and kicked soccer balls around the stage – dressed in dapper attire, of course – with such energy and enthusiasm that it’s hard to believe Rod’s almost 69.

Steve Winwood opened the show with an unremarkable set list that included only two hit songs: “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “Higher Love.” He didn’t perform “Valerie,” “Back in the High Life Again,” “While You See a Chance,” “Roll With It,” or “The Finer Things.” When you’re an opening act, you have to knock people’s socks off and give them what they want. Winwood did neither. Yes, he’s a great musician and performed well, but there was much left to be desired.

Thankfully, Rod knows how to work a crowd and please his fans. He kicked off the show with two upbeat hits and rolled into classic material, including deep cuts like “Sweet Little Rock & Roller” and “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Rod also highlighted his new album, Time, with two great tracks: “Can’t Stop Me Now” and “Brighton Beach.” He also brought out his daughter, Ruby, to sing a song on her own, “Just One More Day,” and one with him, “Forever Young.” However, the highlight of the show was Rod singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” while backed by an orchestral ensemble, with snow falling down from the ceiling.

If you have a chance to see Rod Stewart live, go. He’s an iconic singer that still puts on an excellent show that won’t leave you disappointed. He had the crowd on its feet and kept everyone dancing and singing along from start to finish. He wasn’t inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice (once as a solo artist and the second time as lead singer of the Faces) by accident; Rod was honored two times because of his spectacular body of work and legendary live performances. Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket next time he’s in town. You’ll have a blast.

Below is the set list from the show and four videos I shot. Enjoy!

Set List

  1. “This Old Heart Of Mine”
  2. “Having a Party”
  3. “You Wear It Well”
  4. “Stay With Me”
  5. “Tonight’s The Night”
  6. “Some Guys Have All the Luck”
  7. “Rhythm of My Heart”
  8. “Just One More Day” (sung by Ruby Stewart)
  9. “Forever Young” (sung with Ruby Stewart)
  10. “The First Cut Is the Deepest”
  11. “Brighton Beach”
  12. “Have I Told You Lately”
  13. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
  14. “Can’t Stop Me Now”
  15. “Sweet Little Rock & Roller”
  16. “I’d Rather Go Blind”
  17. “Proud Mary” (sung by Rod Stewart’s backup singers)
  18. “You’re In My Heart”
  19. “Hot Legs”
  20. “Maggie May”
  21. “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

Franklin Flea

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If you’re looking for a fun holiday shopping destination in Philadelphia, make sure to stop by Franklin Flea. Located on the first floor of the historic Strawbridge’s Building at 801 Market Street, you’ll find a uniquely curated collection of local vendors, as well as live music and food. The days and hours of operation are on Saturdays from November 16 to December 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, a special weekday market is taking place on Friday, December 20 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, check out FranklinFlea.com.

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Spending time with one of the most iconic parts of the old Strawbridge’s building, Il Porcellino, a replica of the famous bronze boar fountain in Florence, Italy.

Christmas Day

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The barren streets are filled with snow.

The aroma of pines, wines and homemade treats hang in the air.

Through frosted panes of glass, lights are gleaming and hearts are beaming.

One and all come together to spread love and good cheer.

Gifts are given, tales are told, while memories are created between young and old.

Patti LaBelle – ‘Twas Love

Patti LabelleWith Christmas almost one week away, many of us are being assaulted with holiday standards everywhere we turn. While I enjoy timeless Christmas standards, I’m a big fan of original songs. One of my favorites is Patti LaBelle’s “‘Twas Love.” It’s a perfectly crafted pop song with an infectious melody. Below you’ll find a link to it on Spotify as well as a video of Ms. Patti singing it live. Enjoy!

 

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