Life is moving very fast these days for 25-year-old Gabriela Isler of Venezuela. Last month, during ceremonies in Moscow, Isler (a popular TV personality back home) was crowned Miss Universe - the seventh time a Venezuelan has taken that honor in the pageant’s 61-year history.
Isler moved into a new apartment in New York City shortly before this interview was conducted. Although her command of English is impressive, Isler apologized throughout our conversation while searching for the words to best convey her thoughts.
For many fans of holiday music, the name Mannheim Steamroller has been synonymous with the season since 1984, when the group by that name released their first disc of Christmas music. With 19 gold records (sales of more than 500,000 copies), four platinum (1 million sold) and four multi-platinum Christmas albums, Mannheim Steamroller has become one of the most successful independent musical groups in the world.
Mannheim Steamroller is currently on an 80-city tour with a Christmas show called “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis.” A performance at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor is set for Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
James Tague was a 27 year old on his way to meet “a cute redhead” for lunch on Nov. 22, 1963, when he unknowingly stood in the path of a bullet intended for President John F. Kennedy.
“I was stopped in traffic and got out of my car to see what was going on,” Tague told me in a phone interview this week. “I heard the pop of a firecracker and it turned out to be the first shot. “I’m wondering what kind of idiot would be throwing firecrackers? Then I heard the crack of two rifle shots and something stung me in the face.”
In 1990, Troy Dunn assisted his mother in locating her birth mother and discovered his life’s calling. Since then, Dunn has helped more than 40,000 people find lost or estranged loved ones, family members and friends. Some of their stories were profiled through five seasons of WE TV’s highest rated program, “The Locator.” Relationship insights gained through years of bringing people together informed Dunn’s bestselling book “It’s Never Too Late.”
Dunn is currently at work on a new series called “APB with Troy Dunn,” scheduled for a Jan. 17, 2014 premiere on TNT. The cases for the first season of the series have yet to be selected by Dunn and his staff.
A few weeks ago, area hip hop fans lit up social media when news broke that N.O.R.E. and Reks have scheduled a show set for this Friday, Nov. 15 at Tantrum Event Center on 193 Broad Street in Bangor.
The evening’s headliner, N.O.R.E. (born Victor Santiago Jr.), burst onto the rap scene in 1996 as one half of the duo Capone-N-Noreaga. After going solo, N.O.R.E. released the eponymous, platinum-selling “N.O.R.E” in 1998. Featuring cameos from fellow New York rappers including Busta Rhymes, the disc peaked at #3 on the Billboard album charts.
For a number of years, the acclaimed Maine band Nevah have been approached by audience members who ask the question, “Hey, do you guys have any CDs?” This would usually be followed by a tongue-in-cheek response from the group such as, “I think we have a Beach Boys CD out in the car - maybe some Jimmy Buffet too. I’ll go get ’em for you.”
After promising to issue an album for nearly as long as the band has been together, Nevah’s first CD, “Tales From Nevahland,” is available now at live shows and through their website, www.Nevahband.com.
Legendary band set to perform at Cross Insurance Center on Nov. 2
On Jan. 30, 1969, the seven members of Chicago (then known as Chicago Transit Authority) emerged from a New York City recording studio after four fierce days of recording for their debut Columbia Records album. Strict time constraints dictated by a label already nervous about issuing a two-record set by an unproven band necessitated swift results.
When the musicians left the 30th Street studio, where Miles Davis had recorded “Kind of Blue” 10 years earlier, they had an introduction packed with carefully crafted songs that merged pop with rock, jazz, soul and some wicked guitar.
For 27-year-old Blair McMillan of Guelph, Ontario, his girlfriend, Morgan, and their two young boys, life is simpler these days - and McMillan says he has his young son to thank for it.
On a beautiful spring day last April, Blair asked his 5-year old son, Trey, to join him outside for some playtime in the sunshine. “He said, ‘No, daddy. I want to play on the iPad,’” said McMillan. “I started to realize how times had changed and how different it is now. When I was a kid, me and all of my friends lived outside.”
“That’s just funny right there. I don’t care where you’re from,” a friend of mine said recently after seeing a YouTube clip of comedian Juston McKinney. He was right - McKinney’s comedy is universal.
Whether he’s talking about life with his wife, children and dogs or growing up on the border of Maine and New Hampshire, McKinney, a veteran of “The Tonight Show” (both Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien) and two Comedy Central specials, is as relatable to an auditorium of college students as he would be to a convention of seasoned firefighters. Perhaps an Amazon.com review of McKinney’s recent DVD “A Middle Class Hole” sums it up best: “He’s clean and he’s hilarious.”
Dynamic Bangor-based rock-pop-punk duo When Particles Collide (Sasha Alcott: guitar, bass, lead vocals; and Chris Viner: drums, vocals) are set to unveil their fourth recorded musical statement. “EGO” is the aural equivalent of a fireworks shop, delivering five tracks of colorfully charged incendiary rock inside 20 minutes. Prepare to give your speakers a workout - these new songs sound massive.
“EGO” will be available beginning Sept. 3 through Bull Moose ($6.98 both in-store and at www.BullMoose.com) for an exclusive two-week period before being made available elsewhere.
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