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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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The 40th edition of the Golden Raspberry Awards (or “Razzies”) was halted last Saturday night in Los Angeles due to city wide COVID-19 restrictions. The annual event, designed to jeer Hollywood’s biggest misfires, was due to take place at the Barnsdall Theatre but has either been postponed or cancelled, according to a statement issued by event co-founder John Wilson.

During an interview with The Maine Edge conducted a few days before the postponement/cancellation of this year’s ceremony, Wilson was in rare form as he discussed some of the nominees in line for a good-natured skewering this year, including “Cats,” “A Madea Family Funeral,” and “Rambo: Last Blood,” all tied for the most nominations with eight each.

It’s been 30 years since James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto, Brian Quinn and Salvatore Vulcano came together as high school friends. They went from making each other laugh in an endless series of practical jokes to TruTV’s top-rated series “Impractical Jokers” in 2011.

After more than 200 episodes, the foursome has taken their hidden camera reality show to the cinema with “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” where they compete in a series of challenges for the opportunity for three of them to redeem themselves for a horrifying incident from their high school days. The movie is currently screening in 1,775 theaters, including Orono’s Spotlight Cinemas.

I had the opportunity to speak with “Murr” and Joe Gatto about how they adapted their TV show for the big screen, and to find out how they managed to pull off some of their most outlandish pranks yet. In true “Impractical Jokers” fashion, the joke is always on them.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 13:09

Out now (and coming soon) in music

Don’t let anyone try to convince you that good music is a thing of the past. Some of these new titles in soul, rock, blues and alt-country are destined to put a little spring in your step, out now and coming soon.

Southern rock legends The Outlaws have just released “Dixie Highway,” the band’s first album of new material since 2012, and the good news for fans is that it’s a corker.

Led by co-founding members Henry Paul on guitar and vocals and Monte Yoho on drums, the band has conjured 11 new tracks that Paul says were crafted the way they’ve always done it: together as a band of brothers.

“Dixie Highway” was released through SPV/Steamhammer on CD, double-LP, digital download, and digital stream.

For nearly five decades, The Outlaws have been one of southern rock’s few standard bearers. Their triple-guitar attack, combined with intricately arranged three part vocal harmonies, and an ability to write and record enduring songs that have spanned generations, has secured the band’s position in the pantheon of greats that includes peers The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and the Charlie Daniels Band.

Grammy-nominated country artist Martina McBride says she is excited to bring her “Livin’ Life Up” tour to Collins Center for the Arts in Orono on Saturday, March 14, at 7 p.m.

The singer tells The Maine Edge that the name of her tour reflects her vision for 2020 of spreading positivity and bringing light into the world.

With more than 18 million albums sold to date, McBride has placed 20 songs in the top 10 – and six at the No. 1 spot – on the Billboard charts. She has been honored with 15 major music awards, including four wins from the Country Music Association and three Academy of Country Music awards for female vocalist of the year.

With nearly 40 hit singles to her credit, including “Independence Day,” “My Baby Loves Me,” “This One’s For the Girls,” “Wild Angels” and “A Broken Wing,” McBride says it’s a challenge to design a setlist, which she was working on when she called for the following interview. She joked that it’s a good problem to have when you have so many hits that fans want to hear.

McBride personally selects all of the opening artists for her tour; that includes singer-songwriter Hannah Ellis, who will open the Orono show. Rolling Stone has named Ellis an “artist to watch” while CMT named her one of the “Next Women of Country.”

TV comedy writer Bill Oakley knows a thing or two about fast food. Best known for his work on The Simpsons during the show’s 1990s golden era, Oakley’s classic “steamed hams” sequence, involving show characters Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers, was a highlight of the 1996 envelope-pushing episode “22 Short Films About Springfield” and has been the subject of countless internet memes in recent years.

Oakley says his favorite hobby is reviewing new fast food and snack items for his Instagram feed and has just announced his picks for the best and worst fast food items of the past year in his latest edition of the Steamie Awards.

National Geographic Channel’s hit series “Wicked Tuna” returned this week, with new episodes airing Sundays at 9 p.m. The show’s ninth season features faces familiar to regular viewers, along with some new competitors, including two Maine fishermen from Saco.

Filmed on location in and around Gloucester, Massachusetts, “Wicked Tuna” follows groups of fishermen in pursuit of elusive and lucrative Atlantic bluefin tuna. The competition and drama can become fierce as teams attempt to out-fish each other in hopes of hooking the ultimate payday.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020 13:04

Nik Wallenda set for volcano tightrope walk

High-wire artist Nik Wallenda says he may not be able to top his next feat: An 1,800-foot tightrope walk over Masaya Volcano - an active lava and sulfur-spewing volcano in Nicaragua. On March 4 at 8 p.m., ABC plans to air “Volcano Live! With Nik Wallenda,” a two-hour event culminating in Wallenda’s longest, highest and most challenging tightrope walk to date.

The seventh generation of The Great Wallendas (and Flying Wallendas) family aerial troupe of high-wire artists, Nik Wallenda holds 11 Guinness World Records, and is the first person to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls and the first to cross a Grand Canyon gorge. Last June, Wallenda became the first person to cross New York City’s Times Square on a tightrope strung 25 stories above the streets, during a performance with his sister Lijana.

During a 2011 joint tightrope walk with his mother Delilah, Wallenda successfully navigated a wire strung between the twin towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico – a 121-foot high walk that took the life of his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda during an attempt in March of 1978.

As Nik revealed during the following interview with The Maine Edge, he lives each day by the words of his great-grandfather: “Life is on the wire, and everything else is just waiting.”

Wallenda’s training regimen for his upcoming walk across the Masaya Volcano has been fraught with new challenges being discovered on a daily basis, he says, while apologizing if he sounds tired during the interview. A newly discovered challenge kept him awake for most of the night before, as he explains.

Former Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider has always been one of rock’s most engaging and entertaining interview subjects. The heavy metal band’s farewell concert took place nearly four years ago, but Snider’s devotion to all things rock is as strong as ever.

The man who wrote and sang the immortal words “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in 1984 (the same year his band was famously “banned in Bangor” after a performance at Bangor Auditorium) says he’s on a mission to bring real rock and roll back to the biggest stage in all of entertainment – the Super Bowl halftime show.

Snider isn’t talking about reviving his band for the performance; he wants the NFL to book iconic hard rockers AC/DC for next February’s Super Bowl halftime performance in Tampa, and he has devoted several days for interviews to promote the concept, including this interview with The Maine Edge, which aired on BIG 104 FM (104.7, 104.3, 107.7 FM).

The idea began with a tweet and a petition at www.Change.org, and Snider says he is stunned at how quickly a little tweet has evolved into a movement. In a little more than two weeks, the petition had garnered nearly 30,000 signatures as of February 23.

Comedian and actor Tommy Davidson’s journey has been marked with exhilarating highs and soul-crushing lows.

Thirty years after appearing in the groundbreaking sketch comedy show “In Living Color” with Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx and members of the Wayans family, Davidson has penned the truth about his life in and out of the spotlight in the candid memoir “Living in Color: What’s Funny About Me” (Kensington Publishing), written with Tom Teicholz.

During an interview with The Maine Edge, Davidson discusses the white family that adopted him after his birth mother abandoned him at the age of two in a pile of garbage, as well as the woman he considers his real mother, who pulled his battered body from that trash pile to raise as her own.

Davidson speaks of the painful early lessons he learned about race, his break into standup comedy and his five incredible years as a featured cast member on “In Living Color.”

Davidson opens up in “Living in Color” about his recovery from addiction, his remarkable adoptive parents, his interactions (good and bad) with some of Hollywood’s biggest names and how it felt to finally meet his birth family, including the woman who had left him for dead.

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