Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blue Eyed Soul Man Rocked Market Square on July 20, 2012

Billy Price in Market Square

Blue Eyed Soul Man 

Rocked Market Square on July 20, 2012

Review by Good News Reporter

John Pournaras

It was a dark and stormy night…. (I always wanted to write that in a story).   But the rain did not keep the fans from dancing in the plaza in Market Square once it cleared.

I received a call from my good friend Joanne Quinn Smith who said that Billy Price was playing at Market Square, in Pittsburgh.  In this era of pop music that isn’t so pleasing to my ears, I agreed to (rather quickly) to an evening of sweet soul music, from Pittsburgh’s Soul Man, Billy Price and his band.
We got there right after the down pour and shuffle off to Nola’s.  Once they squeegee off the table and chairs, we order something to drink.  The rain cooled things off.  We decided to have some soup and right when we ordered it a familiar face walked by us.  I excused myself and went to see if that familiar face was indeed who I thought it was.  Indeed, it was!  It was George Takai!  You might remember him from Star Trek as Mr. Sulu or Celebrity Apprentice.  I introduced myself and gave him a hug and George resounded with his trademark “Oh My!”  After we talked a bit I asked him if he would meet a friend of mine.  He agreed and we went to see Joanne.
George Takai sighting at Nola's On the Square
She was star trek star struck when I introduce George to the Techno Granny herself.

Joanne Quinn-Smith, The TechnoGranny
and George Takai, Zulu

Ok Mr. Sulu, back to the Billy Price Band……The Billy Price Band started the show with their soulful version of Eric Clapton’s “Further UP The Road” and they never stopped until they were done with their playlist for the evening.  As Geoffrey Himes of the Washington Post has written, "Unlike so many blues revivalists, Price is not an imitation of better singers--he's the real thing."
Members of the Billy Price Band are Steve Delach (guitar), Jason Hollar (bass), Dave Dodd (drums), Jimmy Britton (keyboards), Joe Herndon (trumpet), Eric DeFade (tenor sax) and Rick Matt (baritone and tenor sax).  Joe, Eric and Rick blew their brains out with their horns that evening.  And for Billy, he is still the blue-eyed soul man from Pittsburgh.  He is an institution!

After the show Billy and I chatted and talked about his current tour throughout the area.  It was good to see you again my old friend.

John Pournaras is the owner of 63 year old family accounting business in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.  He is an accountant and info marketer who has invented a trademarked system for Notaries and Accountants to Market Their Business Year Round.  He also serves as a notary and is connected with Penn Dot for titles, transfers and plates.
John Pounaras Agency
651 Merchant St
Ambridge,PA 15003
(724) 266-7078

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Three Sisters" Makes Me Glad There is Divorce!

"Three Sisters" Makes Me Glad There is Divorce!
Anton Chekhov
Presented by the
Pittsburgh Irish Classical Theatre
Review by JoAnn R. Forrester, ‘Empress of Biz

Ah Chekhov…he makes me glad there is divorce!
Let me first say---- that I am truly delighted at the excellent quality of productions that the Pittsburgh Irish Classical Theatre presents to our city.  PICT gets it Right!   They are a true asset to the arts in our city.   PICT’s presentation of the play Three Sister by Anton Chekhov is another example of an exceptional high quality production.

I personally have a love/hate relationship with Chekhov.  I recognize he is, was and always will be recognized as a comedo-tragic genius and as such is revered for his work and the impact he had on the development of theater in the 20th century.
Cast of Three Sisters with Adrian Blake Enscoe
 and Vera Varlamov in the forefront as Fedotik and Irina
Photos by Suellen Fitzsimmons
 Chekhov was writing in a time of rigid class structure and social restrictions reigned.   The role of women was very limited and personally I find this annoying.  The  recurring theme in the play was the desire of the three sister, Olga,(Nike Doukas) Masha (Allison McLemore) and Irina (Vera Varlamov) to return to Moscow, the city of their birth and childhood were there was, arts, culture, refinement and excitement.  They were waiting for their scholarly brother, Andrei (Christian Conn) to take them to Moscow.  They were forbidden by the social mores of the day to pick up and go there by themselves, which of course I was ready to stand up and yell, “Get on that train and go to MOSCOW!”  This of course from my vantage point of 100 plus years of discrimination to women with so many of our restrictions.  Now of course these have changed (except our own internal ones) have been removed or highly modified.  Fortunately I did not stand up and yell that.although I was heard to mumble it and I was “shushed” a couple of times.

Vershinin (David Whalen) & 
Masha (Allison McLemore)
photo by Suellen Fitzsimmons
Three Sisters opening act at the Prozorov house sets the stage, with all the character, seen and unseen are introduced, with their yearnings, desires, weaknesses, infidelities and betrayals being set into place. It is a birthday party for the youngest, Irina, who has just turned 20 and is filled with joy and expectation of what life, love and finding the purpose of her life in “Oh my” work.  As each sister and the men who love or interact with them are introduced we see the roles they are assigned in life and are unable to break.  The older sister, Olga teacher and spinster! Masha, middle sister the one with the caustic wit, married at 18 now at 25, dreadfully bored with her husband and drawn into affair with the new commander of military Vershinin, (David Whalen)! Commander Vershinin by the way is a very unhappily married man with two little girls.  This is where my line about divorce is appropriate. And many theatre goers commented on exit, “Why didn’t he just divorce his wife?”
The brother Andrei who has such hopes but marries so badly and lives a life of lost dreams!   His wife Natasha, (Megan McDermott) is the original mean queen and made one to yell again.”Stop her she is a bully, stand up to her you people.” Again I did not.  But isn’t that the goal of the playwright, to get us to react.  I was so mad at Natasha; I wouldn’t even talk to her if I met her.  Kudos to the excellent acting of Megan McDermott!
 For the next three acts over a four year time, we see, love bloom, affairs of various sorts, boredom, frustration, acts of charity and cruelty, characters develop and blossom, hopes dash and dreams changed..All the stuff of life… yet so ably presented by the cast of PICT! And react we did, so much so that we are silently screaming:
Get on that train folks..and go to Moscow! Or at least to PICT’s presentation of "Three Sisters."  The play runs through August 26th in the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland. You can find full details at:  http://picttheatre.org

JoAnn Forrester is the Host of Empress of Biz, Reinvent in Rugged Times, a business Talkcast syndicated on PPLMag, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network.  You can hear JoAnn at Business friends every Thursday at 9 AM on the TalkShoe network or archived later at:  http://pplmag.com 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Turban Groove, Black Mahal and Godfather of Dohl in Pittsburgh

Turban Groove, 

Black Mahal and Godfather of Dohl in Pittsburgh

by Roving Pittsburgher Reporter

John Pournaras

A few weeks ago (7/13/2012), I went to the Thunderbird Lounge in Lawrenceville, PA to watch the Banghra dancers.  Sid Pandit, my videographer, has a Banghra dance troupe.  So I went to support him and the troupe.

I must admit that when I went to get his grandmother a coke, the dance troupe started and I couldn’t watch the troupe dance because the stairs leading to the second floor were jammed with fans.   I later apologized to Sid.

 godfather of the Dohl –
Ustad Lal Singh Bhatti.
The  band, The Black Mahal, from San Francisco, performed.  Now although I have seen and heard Bollywood films and heard the music, I never thought that I would ever see a show with the Godfather of Punjab funk! Part P-Funk, partly Punjabi-Funk, The Black Mahal is a live music experience complete with drums, DJs, horns, hip-hop MCs, and the godfather of the Dohl – Ustad Lal Singh Bhatti.

I met the Godfather of Dohl, prior to the show.  Although I was not aware that this man was the Godfather of Dohl, I was aware the he was a Seik by his turban.  A very gentle man who blesses you when he meets and greets you!  After doing some research, Lal Singh Bhatti has performed for a lot of Presidents. 
It was an incredible show of funk, jazz, Punjabi-Funk!  The Black Mahal is a band that gets you on your feet and makes it fun.  They did their hit “Save the Flavor” which really brought smiles to everyone. 

This is a must see band!  The experience is awesome.  What impressed me the most is they brought their version of the terrible towel and passed them out to everyone!  Such respect from a San Fran group performing in the Burgh!
Turbin Groove!

Turbin Groove! 

John Pournaras is the owner of 63 year old family accounting business in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.  He is an accountant and info marketer who has invented a trademarked system for Notaries and Accountants to Market Their Business Year Round.  
John Pounaras Agency
651 Merchant St
Ambridge,, PA 15003
(724) 266-7078