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5 reasons country music needs Brad Paisley now more than ever


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Few artists in country music can combine the magic of pop culture with the rhythm and roots of what makes the genre great. Brad Paisley is the exception. Paisley recently closed the first leg of his Crushin’ It Tour at Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach Oct. 3. This was my sixth time seeing Paisley live and his show never disappoints. Paisley pulled from his extensive catalog of hits including “Water,” “Celebrity,” “Beat This Summer,” “Perfect Storm,” “Ticks” and “Old Alabama.” Newcomer Mickey Guyton shined on her “Whiskey Lullaby” duet with Paisley. The angelic-voiced 32-year-old singer also opened for Paisley on this tour alongside Justin Moore, who revealed he just bought a home in Florida.

Here are 5 reasons Paisley is currently country music’s most valuable asset:

1. He is socially aware. Paisley is on top of national news trends as well as cultural issues. His 2009 album, American Saturday Night, was a love letter to the magical melting pot of America’s culture. He is erasing stereotypes in country music one lyric at a time with songs such as “Southern Comfort Zone” and “Accidental Racist,” where he addresses the controversy of the confederate flag, its different meanings and how leaving one’s comfort zone is the only way to grow and experience the world.

2. He’s a techie. Brad has been creating his own animation videos for concerts for years and doesn’t miss the chance to try out a new way to deliver a song. In lieu of a Carrie Underwood hologram he used for previous tours, he now sets up his duet on the road of “Remind Me” with Carrie as a FaceTime call on the big screen behind him. On the Crushin’ It Tour, Paisley also introduced a segment of the show where he invites a fan to come on stage to play Mario Kart. “This is what happens when a bunch of rednecks get a 60 foot television screen,” Paisley joked at the West Palm beach show. He’s also known to take selfies with fans in the middle of song or grab their cell phone or video camera to records some once in a lifetime videos on. 

3. He’s not afraid to break new artists. Paisley always tours with special guests and typically invites these guys to perform a song or two with him during his own set. Paisley has toured with everyone from Taylor Swift and Easton Corbin to Guyton, who rocked Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre Oct. 3.

4. He doesn’t forget where he comes from. For every concert, Paisley always makes a point to travel to the back of the venue to play for the people in back where he said once sat for concerts.

5. He can really play guitar and he never holds back at live shows. While many famous musical artists who are mainly vocalists who use a guitar as a mere prop they occasionally strum melodies on, Paisley really plays his fleet of Fender Telecasters. He’ll throw in random riffs from “Foxy Lady” or “Hot For Teacher” and always uses a bottle of beer to play slide guitar on his usual closing song, “Alcohol.”

The Crushin’ It World tour picks up again Jan. 21, 2016 in Arkansas. 

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Amy Schumer drops plenty of vagina jokes at the Oddball Comedy Festival in West Palm Beach, FL

_1430252992When your friend buys an extra ticket to see Amy Schumer and asks you to go, you grab life by its big beautiful balls and you seize that opportunity. Such was the case when my very fabulous friend, Kari Barnett, asked me to accompany her to the Funny or Die Oddball Comedy Festival at Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Fla. I have never seen a comedy show in a venue as large at Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre. At first, I was worried the laughs would never make it to the middle of the ginormous amphitheatre let alone the lawn or hand job hill, as emcee and roast king Jeff Ross deemed it. But it worked and dear God, did we laugh all night long.

Frankly, I needed it. Life has been even weirder than usual lately, so it’s nice to just sit back sometimes and laugh at someone else’s insanity. In addition to Schumer’s stellar set, which included everything from baby jokes to Michelle Obama’s post-sex strut to the master bathroom in The White House, there were some other bombshells unleashed on the crowd. Bridget Everett didn’t disappoint when she declared “You may not know me, but you’ll never forget me.” The six-foot-tall buxom blonde went braless for her set which included, parody songs, dance and plenty of motor boating men in the crowd.

Dozens of comedians performed throughout the festival with a variety of sets as well as musical numbers to please a plethora of comedic appetites. It was truly a festival and an oddball one at that.

Aziz Ansari closed the show with a sidesplitting routine on his two year relationship and how he wishes his girlfriend would just invest in her own toothpaste and stop stealing his. But let’s get back to the wonder of Schumer. Here are five reasons I am so glad she’s in the spotlight.

  1. She is totally famous now but she is not taking it for granted. The 34-year-old comedian who had a box office hit with the recent rom-com Trainwreck said during her stand up show in West Palm, “I know I’ll only be famous for like a year or something, so I’m trying to enjoy it while I can.”
  2. She’s not afraid to go there…about anything. Even the most taboo topic is not off limits for Schumer. That’s hot and refreshing.
  3. She’s real. Amy was visibly sweating in the South Florida heat just a few minutes into her set and asked for a towel almost immediately. She asked patrons not to snap photos of her looking like a hot, sweaty mess because she knew they’d surface by morning anyway and they didn’t have to waste their time.
  4. She admits she’s 160 pounds and said she ‘can Catch a d**k whenever she wants.'” Let’s face it, 160 pounds in anorexic Hollywood might as well be 260 pounds. Amy is 5-foot-7 and at a normal weight for her height. She is beautiful and a great role model for body-conscious women of all ages.
  5. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and voice her opinion even on hot button issues like gun control. Schumer teamed up with her cousin Chuck Schumer to push for stricter gun laws after two women were shot dead by a suicidal gunman after a Louisiana showing of her film Trainwreck.

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Being a mama means getting puked on at the AT&T store

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Before I became a mom, I used to have laundry night. Now laundry night is every night. Yes, I live in a Dreft-soaked land. My son has a knack for puking on my clothes in the most random environments. I went to the AT&T store tonight to order my new iPhone, the rose gold 128 GB iPhone 6s plus and the second I walked into the freestanding AT&T store, the clerk told me I’d be better off dialing 611 and ordering the phone using the iPhone 5s I was already holding. OK, way to go bricks and mortar store clerk!

Eventually, there will be no need for a freestanding store with service like this. Just as I was about to dial the number, my son puked up a little bit of his most recent bottle of Enfagrow. The clerk wished me “good luck” as he walked away. I retreated to my car to put my son back in his car seat and order my new phone over the phone. The first phone clerk I spoke with told me the iPhone was back ordered for 35 days in the model I wanted. Then, I decided to roll the dice again and call back. I got a different AT&T employee this time who said he had the phone in stock and could ship to me over night at no extra charge. When one door slams in your face, always try to open another. Eventually you’ll get what you want, even if you’re covered in puke.

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Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice English Muffins…it’s what’s for breakfast

IMG_0399It’s no secret pumpkin spice-flavored products dominate the fall season. I recently wrote an article for my Life In The Fab Lane column about it. I’m constantly searching for new breakfast foods and I was excited to try Thomas’ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice English Muffins. The breakfast treats, which are made with real pumpkin, make my South Florida kitchen smell like a perfect autumn day while toasting in my toaster oven. A six pack costs $2.48 and is sold at stores such as Target, Walmart and Publix. There is also a Thomas’ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bagel pack available now through November 2015. My guilty pleasure is topping the Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice English Muffin with Einstein Bros. Bagels Pumpkin Shmear Cream Cheese.

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Mean Girls Candy?????? It’s so fetch!

1392710461313723 9470-PRODUCT_01-500_500-1439921089164 9469-PRODUCT_01-500_500-1439921081927It’s hard to believe “Mean Girls” made its way into movie theaters and into our hearts 11 years ago. The evil trio of high school’s most popular beyotches is now immortalized with a candy and accessory collection by Dylan’s Candy Bar. The clever line offers popcorn-flavored jelly beans, “Burn Book” cookies, “You Go Glen Coco” pink hot chocolate, chocolate bars, lollipops and an authentic “Kalteen weird nutrition bar” that made Regina George gordo in the movie! There are also hair ties, a T-shirt and a tote bag all featuring classic Mean Girls sayings.

But one of my most favorite pieces of in the line is the “I’m not a regular Mom, I’m a cool Mom” plastic wine tumbler. I definitely know I’ll be getting that.

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I interrupt the normal fashion forecast in South Florida to inform the locals with an update on Tropical Storm Erika

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This is a press release I received this afternoon from Bryan Koon, FDEM Director.

Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties are currently at an EOC level.

There is currently no evacuation order, no open shelters and schools and government remain open.

Visit Floridadisaster.org for further updates.

SITUATION REPORT No. 1

Tropical Storm Erika

The Florida State Emergency Response Team

August 27, 2015 – Published at 1230hrs

State Emergency Operations Center Activation Level: 2

Reporting Period: August 27, 2015 0700hrs – August 27, 2015 1900hrs

Information Current as of 1200hrs

CURRENT SITUATION/ WEATHER SUMMARY:  

At 11AM EDT, Tropical Storm Erika was located in the eastern Caribbean Sea 125 miles west of Guadeloupe, or approximately 1,072 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph and the storm is moving west at 16 mph. A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast later today and this general motion should continue for the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Erika will move near the Virgin Islands later today, move near or north of Puerto Rico tonight and pass north of the north cost of the Dominican Republic on Friday. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours. Based on the current forecast, tropical storm conditions are possible as early as late Sunday or early Monday across portions of Florida. Florida’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is activated to a Level 2 due to Tropical Storm Erika.

CONSEQUENCES:

Currently there are no tropical storm watches or warnings in place for the state of Florida; however, a large portion of the state lies within the 5-day forecast error cone.

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Remembering Peter Langoné…

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I first met world renowned photographer Peter Langoné when I was a young reporter in my early 20s. I was working for City Link magazine for Michael Farver, Jake Cline and Dan Sweeney. W. Kelley Lucas was the art director of our publication and he brought me along on several photo shoots for the magazine to Peter’s house on Las Olas Boulevard to dress the models and help style the shoots. It was something I always looked forward to. I enjoyed the energy of watching Peter and Lucas together. And I was in awe of Peter from the first time I met him. He had the coolest living space filled with books, Buddhas and thousands of photographs he had taken over the years. Everyone from Matt Damon, Paul Sorvino, Donald Trump and Jane Lynch to Derek Jeter, Venus Williams and Beau Bridges had gone before his lens for portraits. Peter was a legend on both the local and international art scene. His photos truly revealed the souls of his subjects. He was able to capture a raw, beauty and grace through his work that set him apart from others in his field.

I never met another photographer like Peter and I doubt I ever will. I loved to watch him work. He did everything with purpose yet he always maintained an ease about himself through it all.

I received the ultimate honor in 2014 when I was fortunate enough to have Peter photograph me in his new home photography studio. He had launched a new company with Lucas called Pretty Pretty Photography Studio. Their concept was about giving every woman a chance to have a true modeling experience and receive access to a professional makeup artist, hair styling session, wardrobe and art direction. Peter was behind the camera to capture it all.

This is the cherished image he captured of me that day.

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This was taken a few months after giving birth to my son and I will never forget how special Peter and his team made me feel. #RIP dear Peter and know that you will never be forgotten. Thank you for all the beautiful contributions you left behind. You will be eternally missed.

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Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal deliver a solid performance and memorable reunion with Love Letters

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Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal

 

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw first demonstrated their onscreen chemistry in the iconic ’70’s film, Love Story. The pair has reunited now for a national stage tour of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters. The captivating production involves O’Neal, who plays the studious and sensible Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and MacGraw, who shines as poor little rich girl, Melissa Gardner. The duo’s turbulent relationship unfolds over the course of 50 years beginning as children and then carrying them toward the much later days of their lives.

The play is ultimately an homage to two lost art forms that once dominated our society—listening and the art of letter writing. As Andrew and Melissa look back into the crevices of their hearts and memories, it’s painfully depressing to realize that love stories today can be deleted in an instant and exist only on invisible, intangible clouds.

As a writer, the play made me yearn for the comforting feel of quality cardstock and the graceful, indelible strokes of a fine fountain pen. Love Letters is a must-see show for fans of Love Story but especially the 20 and 30-something generation that has traded love letters for texting and is more likely to snap selfies than listen.

Love Letters runs through July 26 at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Avenue, Ft Lauderdale, FL, 33312.

Tickets start at $41.30.
To purchase tickets, visit Browardcenter.org or call 954-462-0222. To check out shows in additional cities, please visit Lovelettersontour.com.
To read interviews with O’Neal and MacGraw, don’t miss these fabulous pieces written by my friends Rod Hagwood and Linda Marx.
 

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Can you still be fashionable while battling a summer cold?

I am still getting over the summer cold from hell. I would post a pic of myself except I don’t want to scare my readers away. Instead, I will post a shot of the lovely box of tissues that has been helping me through this stuffy time.

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The limited edition Kleenex collection offers four bold patterns by Johnson featuring tissue boxes covered in flowers, kiss prints, rock ‘n’ roll zipper images and animal prints. There was also a hand towel edition I snapped up for my bathroom to keep washing my hands throughout this ordeal.

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While many of the tissues have sold out of Target stores, you can still purchase them on https://www.kleenex.com/expressions.facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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