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August 10 1974

In a rock vein, the Toronto quintet Abraham's Children have had two hit singles with UA and will be recording an album in August. 

Canada D'Eh Hollywood 

Ontario Provincial Police

Banjos and gutter punks

Head Heart and Balls

The Malibu Series 

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In 1980 Asher Horowitz , Jimi, Shaun Isenberg,Steve Webster, Gary Breit, made up the Jimi B band.  

 

All THAT JAZZ BASS - When I first started playing bass I thought it was so kool to have a Hofner Beatle Bass. I was the talk of the neighborhood. I had people asking me to play in their band without even knowing if I could play. (read the story)  

Hollywood On The Queensway 

(con't from) Morrow's telephone hype included calls to John Oliver/CHEC Lethbridge: Al Jenssen CHAK Inuvik: Greg Stewart/CKWS Kingston: Mike Christie/CKOM Saskatoon: Dave Hammond CFCY/ Charlottetown: Doug McAllister CHNL/ Kamloops and many others in both principal and breakout markets. Salter received their first boost from radio with CKOC Hamilton who recognized the single as a "Potential Hit". This was quickly followed by CFCF/ Montreal: CHED/Edmonton: CKOM/Saskatoon: CKLC/ Kingston: CKLW/Windsor, and CKCK/Regina. That started the hit churning and created a national breakout with listings from coast to coast. (more)
Below Abraham's Children featuring Will Hare, Glenn Olive, Shawn O'Shea, Gerry Fielding and friends Enrico Colantoni, Armand Assante, Miss Canada,
The Las Vegas adventure could have been made for TV. Setting - The Frisco Saloon, rowdy and ready to rock. Kelvin had missed his flight, tempers flaring, to much booze, to many women, blah blah blah...yes we will write about it one day. 

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Songs are very much like postcards. You attempt to say a lot within a small space. Order your copy now. store
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LONG BEACH, CA - SURVIVING JANIS JOPLIN (cont'd from)- She arrived on the scene before the scent of revolution was even in the air. Growing up in New Orleans, she traveled to New York for a time, and collected many sky-miles as a stewardess before settling in the Bay area. Attending college only lasted long enough to launch her into a new state of awareness, where she found an entrepreneurial finesse that paid off well. Her curious, little boutique was located at 1510 Haight Street and was esoterically named Mnasidika. This treasure trove was a cash cow that will forever mark the map. Historical moments were unfolding as Bill Graham started a musical movement that caught like wildfire. Music was becoming fashionable and rock n roll a part of the mainstream as San Francisco was a prime spot for such performers as Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Crosby,Stills and Nash, Santana and many more. Bands on the scene started to create a buzz for themselves and everyone wanted MORE. It was during this stir of America's melting pot, when civil rights and the topic of equality were at the forefront, freedom of expression through speech or whatever means of protest to get the point across. But let's not forget what got the youth started on this trip--they were blowing their minds on LSD, opening doors, dissolving barriers, eating up the world as if it were a giant peach, giving up all sense of reality to understand "All You Need Is Love." Thus dawned on us the Age of Aquarius, and as the flower children flocked to San Fran, Peggy was sitting pretty with the only hip-store on the block carrying those items that distinguished the psychedelics from the squares. Being off-beat and eccentric was trendy and kids were seeking to stand out from the crowd, taking full advantage of thestylistc choices offered at Mnasidika (aptly named after one of the first lesbians in Greek mythology...(read more)
TORONTO, CAN - ELTON JOHN SAVES THE DAY - It was a cold day. I really don't remember what day it was, only that the night before was filled with all the things that make up rock n' roll and my head was confirming that. The taxi dropped me off at "Eastern Sound" an upper crust studio located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada. It was the Rodeo district of TO as they called it. Expensive cars, clothes and women that just walked out of a Cosmopolitan ad. I tipped the cab driver well, only because I didn't have a smaller bill and besides the driver thought I was some important rock star. As I approached the gate of the recording studio, I noticed this huge mountain of a man standing tall and protective... or so he appeared. I walked towards him and attempted to go around him; he quickly pushed me away and said, "No one is to enter the building".1 tried to explain to him that I was 2 hours late for my session, and that the record company United Artists was not happy with me. He told me to get lost. We started arguing and at one point I made another attempt to go around him; once again he pushed me, except this time I pushed him back. This annoyed the giant and he began to get very physical with me. Web exchanged a few punches, which I can attest he got the best of me. I was probably half his size.A crowd was starting to gather and as I looked up I could see my band members standing over me. They were stunned, this man was attempting to hassle all of us. All of a sudden the door swings open and there he was standing yelling and cursing at the "mountain man". He came over to me and helped me up, asking if] was hurt. I responded, explaining I was fine, but that my butt was sore from landing on a piece of ice. We walked into the studio, he sat down and repeatedly kept apologizing for this man at the door, which I discovered was a security guard hired by MCARecords. He kept asking if I was alright. Saline, the studio manager came in the room with concern and asked if I needed anything. I explained I was ok and that should get in my room and start the session. As I entered the recording room "A", the President of United Artists Records, his A&R staff, and some other important looking characters were waiting anxiously. They were all shocked to see who was standing next to me. With some humor, the President asked if we could get started. "At $250.00 an hour, we'll have to sell a lot of records," he said. I thanked Elton John for caring enough to come outside and rescue me.... He asked if here was anything he could do. 1 assured him that I would live and that if I needed anything I would be more than glad to ask him. Later that evening he introduced me to his band members. Kenny Passerelli had this incredible new bass that he insisted I use on my session. It was an Alembic, the heaviest bass I had ever held, but the sound was like velvet and rock. We met later at the posh, Yorkville Four Seasons Hotel where Elton was still apologizing for this rude brute of a man. The next day I sat in the studio with Elton and some of his band members and listened' to some great tracks that would later become "Blue Moves ". Courtesy of Ciao Magazine USA.  

TORONTO, CAN - MY DINNER WITH LIBERACE Sittng on the edge of the bed in my Toronto apartment, I pulled on my black jeans and Beatle boots. Looking in the mirror, I combed my long hair and straightened the collar of my black leather jacket. It had to have been during the 70's. I was preparing myself for going out to a musical function of some sort when the phone rang. I answered, only to hear a very distinctive, yet familiar, voice. It was Liberace, announcing that he was in town for a week of performances at the O'Keefe Center. He said, "I thought we could maybe get together and have dinner and, since you're the famous one in this town, I'll trust you to make the arrangements." We gabbed for about ten minutes before I decided on a place called Gatsby's in the downtown district.I couldn't remember if I had eaten there or not, but I'd heard good things about it. I made reservations for eleven people. Finally, the time had come. I pulled up around the corner and let the valet park my 1949 Thames, decked out with interior purple and green lights, bean-bag chairs, paisley carpet on the walls and bamboo delineating the front and back seats. I arrived at the restaurant about ten minutes early to make sure everything was kosher. I approached the somewhat feminine maitre'd explaining I had a table reserved for eleven. He took one look at my tight Harley t-shirt and unshaven face and nearly laughed. It looked like this guy thought I was joking or something, that is, until Liberace and his posse emerged from a stretch limo, at which point I announced, "These are my guests that will be joining me for dinner this evening." The group advanced towards us with Lee in front asking, "Is everything all right?" "Oh, everything is just fine Mr. Liberace, perfectly in order, sir…". But our table wasn't ready yet and the host began getting more nervous in the presence of such a sparkly icon. I could have sworn his toupee was going to fall off, at least it appeared to be a rug. Everyone stopped eating to stare as we passed, caught in a moment of awe and breathlessness. We commented on the exquisite interior and colorful décor as each of us were seated. We proceeded to order from their incredible wine selection, bottles of both red and white. The elaborate menu, featuring a variety of delectable choices, made it difficult to decide. We started talking, particularly about entertainment, fashion and my vagabond appearance. Lee then asked, "When are you coming out West?" Little did I know then that only a few years later I would end up in Hollywood, striving to reinvent myself and my craft. The seven-course meal was expensive and extravagant. Thank God for my American Express Card. We stayed until closing time, swapping stories and discussing the details of life among eccentric tastes. As we vacated the restaurant, the maitre'd waved flamboyantly and bid us farewell. On my way out the door he stopped me to apologize for his blatant ignorance. "Maybe you'll think twice before judging a musician by his instrument next time," I said, with a serious sense of satire. JB  

OKAY, LET'S GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING  I'll never forget my first encounter with Liberace. I had been on tour with my band in Canada for over two months and was really looking forward to slowing down. The night before we played the prestigious performing arts Center in Regina, Saskatchewan, to a sold out crowd of screaming teenie-boppers. After the show, while on my way to a comfortable dressing room, I noticed Liberace was set to play on the same stage the following night. A feeling of accomplishment washed over me as I realized my artistry had reach a new level of recognition. We boarded our bus after a hectic autograph signing session. Now don't get me wrong, I like doing all the PR stuff that the radio stations force on us to do; that's why they consistently play our records. I asked our road manager if there was any possible way I could get a hold of Liberace to see the show. He informed me that it would be easy because he was staying in the same hotel as we were. I proceeded to call the information desk from which I was connected directly to his manager's room. Seymour answered the phone in a typical businesslike tone. When I told him who I was his enthusiasm thickened as he jokingly responded. "Oh, so that's why all those pretty girls are hanging around. I knew they couldn't be there for me." After a good laugh, I mentioned that I had a couple of days off and would love to catch the performance tomorrow night. " You know, the show is sold out, but meet me backstage and I'll make arrangements." We said good night and hung up the phone. I could hardly contain my excitement, the anticipation rising with each passing hour. Finally the time had arrived for myself and my date to attend the concert. Being a big-stage performer lends itself to elaborate, costumed attire, thus I spent an earnest amount of time getting dressed and ready for the event. The limousine pulled up to the stage entrance; the guard was familiar with me and was surprised to see me return so soon. I was escorted to Liberace's dressing room by another security person, only to discover it was the same one I had used the night prior. I was approached by an older, dapper-looking gentleman that introduced himself as Seymour. No inquiries necessary, the pink boots and blue streaks in my hair were a dead give-away to my identity. His eyes quickly shifted towards my ravishing date. I introduced her and he graced her gentle hand with his lips and a smile. Before I could say anything clever, guess who walked in...I was blinded by his attire as he entered the room; there he stood with more glitter than a jewelry store. "So your the young man I've heard so much about," he declared in that friendly, gentle manner he is known for. I reached out to shake his hand adorned with rocks the size of ice cubes. The five minute call was announced as Liberace was rushed out of the room. "I'll see you after the show." he said with a smile. Again we were ushered to our reserved seats directly in front of the stage.His flamboyant entrance made the crowd stand and roar. He thanked everyone profusely, accepting accolades of grandeur. The room begins to subdue itself in anticipation, as he moves closer to the audience. He addressees the crowd personally, " Before I start, I want to introduce a friend of mine. He performed here last night, probably for some of your kids. Stand up..." Unexpectedly I stood up and turned around to receive an enthusiastic applause. The lights bounced off my silver, rhinestone lapels and white satin suite. I suddenly felt a tad overdressed and no sooner did Lee, as the cast and crew called him,proceed to ask, "Does he remind you of anyone?" A long laugh ensued as I sat down and found myself mesmerized by the professionalism and charisma of his act. He was truly a great entertainer. After the fact we remained friends for many years. I would often run into him in Malibu.JB

Mantegna...(cont'd from news) ...I set up my Radio Shack cassette recorder, which would later prove to be useless, in preparation for the interview. The walls were decorated with lots of Mr. Mantegna's memorabilia such as film posters and photographs, and tucked in a corner of the room sat a light wood Petrof piano which brought a smile to my face.

Where does one begin with an artist who has a body of work so diverse and a talent that he has been mastering like fine art over the years. It was the classic film West Side Story that evoked the hidden spirit in a young man who would find his true calling. His high school was having open auditions for the production so Joe and his baseball buddy decided to check it out. After getting there his friend decided he wanted nothing to do with the scene. Young Joe, on the other hand, jumped on stage full of enthusiasm when his name was called. "Although I didn't get the part, I knew this was what I wanted to do...be an actor." Joe said he had seen West Side Story, the movie, eleven times. "Back then you could spend the whole day in a movie theatre and watch the same film over and over."

This handsome Italo American speaks directly with a sense of truth and humble emotions that capture one's sincere interest. "What's your favorite Italian dish?" I asked, hoping to get a peek into the archives of his life. "My mother.... was a great cook. She would make these cheese stuffed shells in a red sauce that filled the house with an incredible aroma. By the way, we serve them at the restaurant."

As the father of a daughter diagnosed with Autism this gifted man has faced some challenges in his life,. His positive attitude and approach to this calling has, in many ways, heightened his awareness of life overall. Mia, a beautiful young lady and talented actor has relied on her unique abilities to reach high and accomplish her goals. Joe beams when speaking about his daughters. "I'm a very proud dad. My girls are my world."

This regular Joe is not so regular. His contributions to the countless charities that he supports are a reminder of a man who has given back in so many ways. He shares the honor of hosting the National Memorial Day Concert with his friend and fellow actor Gary Sinise. "I used to perform at the event but since the passing of Ossie Davis I've been asked to take over the hosting duties," he explains. "I'm assuming you don't have to perform naked ," I added jokingly referring to his role in the stage production of Hair where, yes, some things were hanging low. We both had a good chuckle over my comment.

The conversation becomes relaxed and finds its own tempo and feel. It's easy to forget that I'm interviewing someone of Mr. Mantegna's stature. Our discourse over rock n roll perks us both up. "I love music. I was in a few different bands in the sixties and still continue to jam whenever I get the chance," Joe offers. He sings and plays the bass guitar, and had the honor of hosting the 25th anniversary of long-time friends and hugely popular band, Chicago, on IN Concert. Joe is a pro at whatever he does; musician, actor, philanthropist, dreamer."
Believe in yourself and be dedicated and the rest will flourish." In 2011 his success was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Life is unrehearsed we are given the opportunities upon which to take full advantage if we are willing to face even the unexpected. Joe's passages have been travelled with an honest vivacity and his journey continues to reveal itself within a placid sea.

Life is unrehearsed we are given the opportunities upon which to take full advantage if we are willing to face even the unexpected. Joe's passages have been travelled with an honest vivacity and his journey continues to reveal itself within a placid sea.

On a personal note Mr. Mantegna tells me his mother will be celebrating her 99th birthday this year… must be those good Italian genes! Visit Joe at joemantegna.com for all the things we didn't discuss. visit www.italianwalkoffame.com

( THE GREAT CHAMELEON Cont'd from retroiki2 ) ...but when I look at some of these incommodious people wearing $150.00 Nikes I can't help but wonder. I arrived at The Broadway Theatre which still maintains an art deco appearance like so many film houses in the Los Angeles area. After entering the illustrious building I gave my ticket to the person at the door and found my way to the right screen where I sat at the back to insure my view was undisturbed. Although I was familiar with most of the actors and personal friends with a couple, I made an effort to not allow that to cloud my judgment while watching this flick. This one-hour and forty-five minute movie displayed moments of improv and subtle inuendos. The cast includes Nick Mancuso as the undefined FBI senior agent Powers who at times looks like he is going to explode and leave fragments of his body all over the wall. Mr. Mancuso has his art down regardless of the character. His performance is always undertaken with commitment and dedication. Robert Davi is Curry, a parole officer who would trade his mother in for a meatball sandwich if it came down to it, and the ultimate pain in the ass as he tries to bust Joe Murky in whatever manner he can. Davi, no stranger to films, plays his part with a calculated ruthlessness that makes him a likeable and often times obnoxious menace in the scheme of things. Stacey Keach is Max, the eccentric homosexual who gives humour and life to the escapade of fiascos as he continues his imaginary love for Murky, helping him become the Chameleon in pursuit of finding his abducted niece. Murky is played by the talented Victor Altomare who also co-wrote the story. Altomare delivers his comic endeavours with flare and sometimes questionable intrigue. He does not allow himself to be edited to conformity and insults the drowning mainstream without guilt or remorse. FBI agent Katy Simm, played by the sexy Monique Zordan, is like an added topping on the delectable dessert of celluloid, although at times she appears unsure of her presence. Goran Kalezic, the film's talented director, clearly allows the players to display the rawness of their talent and to draw from the reality of everyday life, The Great Chameleon will not be everyone's cup of tea, however those that do enjoy a laugh at society's expense would surely get a kick from it. JB BUBBLEGUM UNDERGROUND 
 THE MUSIC AND THE MAN (Cont'd from)...slowed down a bit but he still continues to attract the dedicated fans who truly admire his music and live performances.
When asked if he has accomplished his goals with his career, he was quick to answer with a “Hell no!” He tours with his Portland band throughout the year. When asked why he had relocated from Los Angeles to Oregon he explained, “I moved in the 90’s. I needed a break from the Hollywood scene. It was becoming redundant for me.”
Besides touring a good portion of the year he also finds time producing and teaching students from all over the globe. “I have about 100 students that I work with and it’s a most gratifying experience for me. ” he said.
We discussed the politics of the industry, a subject to which we both could relate. He offered his opinion by saying, “There is a basic demise in the music business these days. You are either alone or free to explore.” Gino had demonstrated his street smarts at the very beginning of his career when, in a calculated move, he had waited outside the A&M LaBrea offices in the hopes of encountering music mogul Herb Alpert. That meeting would later result in a handful of songs on six albums with the iconic label. “Are you still in touch with Herb,” I asked “I was on the phone speaking with him the other day,” he replied.
Consistency in the music business is often short-lived. Piss off an executive because his tupee has been discovered or due to a difference of opinion on the music and you are likely to get shelved or dropped. Arista Records, with whom Vannelli was once signed to, was one of those uninspired labels led by a man that ruled with a proven track record of hits and perhaps a top ten ego to match. Musicians have a tendency to over react when their music is being threatened or compromised, and rightfully so.
I would have to say that Black Cars was a step in a different direction for Gino. When I first offered my delicate ears to this new musical approach I wasn’t sure if the change was a response to the music scene of the times or a deliberate departure to an era of newness where he could experiment with and re-brand his style.
I’m never sure if you can really access an individual’s life through his or her music. You want to believe that they are revealing to you the innermost secrets in the archives of their lives. But one has to wonder if sometimes artists become so remote and smothered that their words get placed on auto-pilot, creating whatever is necessary to satisfy the listening fan. Gino has explored many avenues of music from pop, classical, jazz to a touch of new wave. If it has a genre, Mr. Vannelli has dabbled in it. “Where is your music taking you these days.” I asked. “I’m working on a new Americana style of music. It’s like very earthy with touches of folk and acoustic, blues based, with jazz and classical.”
Intensely dedicated to his craft, Gino Vannelli’s journey through the cornucopia of life and music has been a rewarding stage for this Italo-Canadian superstar. JB

 

 

 

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Little Tony (cont'd from iUpdate... and the US. The man responsible for the success of "Bye Bye Bambina Occhi Blue", as it was called in Italian, was none other than Johnny Lombardi. Johnny helped break the record on CHIN Radio, a multicultural station that catered to the ethnic groups of Toronto. BBBOB became one of the most popular songs on the station.
"I will never forget receiving that desperate call from Johnny," said Jimi Bertucci. AC was in the studio recording their new album when they received an urgent call from the King of College Street. I took the call and I could feel the desperation in Johnny's voice. "Jimi, I have a problem, perhaps you could help me out." I assured him I would do whatever I could to help. Over the phone I could sense that Johnny was pacing. His artist, Little Tony, was scheduled to perform that night at Maple Leaf Gardens and the show was sold out to a capacity crowd of twenty thousand fans. Little Tony was the Elvis of Europe at that time. From his wardrobe to those familiar movements and sexy sideburns, this dedicated artist was selling millions of pop records and touring the world. Johnny continued to explain his dilemma. The problem was that Angeli Neri, Tony's back up band, was at the American border and was having problems getting across due to insufficient paperwork. It was three o'clock in the afternoon and the show was to start around 8:00 p.m. I spoke with band members Ronnie, Brian and Bob. We were all in agreement that we would do our best to quickly learn a few of Little Tony's songs.
We met up at Maple Leaf Gardens in a cold damp dressing room that smelled like sewage gone hard. It was four o'clock, the hour was approaching and the intensity in the air could be cut with a knife. There were moments of silence that deafened the room. Johnny displayed diplomacy on the phone while we strummed our unplugged electric guitars to the humming of one of Little Tony's songs. The pressure was overwhelming. The fans started filling Maple Leaf Gardens and the sounds of the excited crowd were beginning to get louder. I could see Little Tony's disappointment, but he showed great restrain considering the situation.
Somehow the band managed to quickly learn a couple of the old Elvis standards. We were now only an hour from show time and the crowd had progressed to full screaming mode. The sound of the roar and stomping of feet would become even louder whenever a roadie would go on stage to check out the equipment. This was truly a Little Tony army consisting of young girls in their teens waving photos of the super star while chanting TONY. TONY. TONY
"How are you guys feeling? Can we pull this off?" Johnny asked as he entered the room. I assured him that we would do whatever it took to make the gig successful. It was now thirty-five minutes before curtain call. We sat around with Little Tony going over some backing vocals and trying to comfort some of his discouraged concerns. You could see a bit of hesitation in his eyes, but he was very confident that we could do this. In Italian, he began to tell us how much he appreciated our help. The MC was preparing to make the announcement that Little Tony would be on stage in minutes. Just when our anxiety had reached its max and only 10 minutes before we were to go on, Johnny received a phone call from the stranded band members explaining that they had crossed the border and were on route to their destination. They were just twenty minutes away. Tony let out a big sigh of relief and everyone involved in the production cheered. Moments later the band arrived and they were rushed to their dressing room to change into their rock n roll attire…Ladies and gentlemen please welcome…JB
 ( REBORN CONT'D) ... One of life's little pleasures is having the opportunity to converse with interesting people and, if they happen to be intelligent, well spoken, as well as beautiful, the ride of discourse becomes an enjoyable journey. Jennifer Dale, whose real family name is Ciurluini, is the perfect tête-à-tête companion. She speaks with confidence and directness regarding her life and a career that has spanned over four decades.
"So tell me Jenny, when did you get the acting bug?," I asked. "I've been acting since I was a child. I started when I was nine years old." Her stage debut was in 1965, the year Ed Mirvish purchased the Royal Alex Theatre and brought in a series of American road musicals. "I played Baby June in a production of "Gypsy" that starred a great American singer-actress named Julie Wilson and that's how I got the bug."
She and her also successful sister, actress Cynthia Dale, who is probably best known as lawyer Olivia Novak in the long-running hit TV series, "Street Legal", were inspired at a very early age. Their mother was the buttress and cultivating navigator who guided their talents and helped them achieve their goals. At eighteen, the adventurous Ms. Dale would embark on a career-challenging move when she made the decision to attend The National Theatre School in Montreal. There, she was allowed to gain a better understanding of her craft. "I was able to hone in on a much more concentrated focus of learning of how to become a real actor." Three years later she would find herself on a month-long workshop at the infamous Stratford Festival, one of the world's most respected classical repertory theatres. "Maggie Smith was in the company and, as an actress, I got to work under her and also under Robin Phillips, who was then the artistic director," she explained. My search to explore her first feature film, "Susanne" left me dry. I scoped the internet and nada. You will not find this flick anywhere. Judging by the risque promotional poster and mixed reviews, I would not be surprised if the film has been shelved.
From 1980 to 1986 she was married to Canadian film producer, Robert Lantos, with whom she has two children. I asked her how Hollywood played in her life. "Not really. I had my children when I was comparatively young as an actress. "I wasn't waiting to to do that when I was older. It happened. I embraced it. I have a life here as mother as well. The more she shared of herself, the more I could feel her nurturing compassion and sincere depth of honesty." It just always felt like I was being too split apart, I couldn't live both lives. I couldn't fully commit myself to try and find work in Los Angeles when I knew I really had to come home and be with my children."
Ms. Dale's popularity in Canada has made her a staple in televison and film more than enough to still keep her active. Over the years she has continued to maintain and keep her fingers in the perpetual pie of film and TV. She spoke of her fascination with Italian actress Elenora Duce which led her to Italy to learn more about the introverted and private woman. After obtaining the rights to a play about Duse, she and actor Nick Mancuso translated and rewrote the script. This would result in a one woman show at the famous Tarragon Theatre for Dale. "One of things that is so exciting now is to receive this sidewalk star and tribute from your organization because I had felt, particularly at that time, that I was so embraced and supported in my work on that play by the Italian community in Toronto."
Jennifer is reborn and ready to confront whatever developments come her way. She considers the honor of a star on the Italian Walk of Fame the gift of a challenge to re-commit herself. In the meantime, she will be continuing with her Italian studies at the Italian Cultural Institute and volunteering her time reading for Canadian National Institute for the Blind. JB

IN JUNE 2013 MS. DALE WAS GIVEN THE PRESTIGIOUS COMMON SPIRIT AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AND ALSO RECEIVED A STAR ON THE ITALIAN WALK OF FAME.
(From news) The uninspiring drive to Indio had its regular bleak landscape, sand and windmills. I was headed to the Frank Sinatra Starkey Hearing Foundation Celebrity Invitational (SHFCI) Golf Tournament Gala in thePalm Springs desert. Affectionately tagged “Franks little party in the desert”, this celebrity hoopla has been happening since 1988 and attracts more movie and television stars than most Hollywood shindigs. Mr. And Mrs. S. founded the foundation to help raise money for Barbara Sinatra Children's Center at Eisenhower whose purpose is to provide counseling, community education and positive ways to prevent future domestic violence. The SHFCI is one of the most respected and successful fundraising events of its kind. Each year celebrities, contestants, participants and spectators from all over the country look forward to returning to this unique event at The Fantasy Springs Hotel to help make a difference. I used to be a cynic when it came to these bold elaborate gatherings, but the more of them I attended, the more I realized how much good they do. The familiar faces were charming. Joe Mantegna and I discussed this year's upcoming IWOF event. It was quite the buzz meeting the handsome Michael Dante. His real name is Ralph Vitti and he has appeared in over 30 films and 150 television shows. This recognizable TV icon is currently the host of a syndicated radio talk show, On Deck, The fundraiser was a huge success and once again the power of Sinatra echoes. JB
THE BASEMENT - The musty smell was enough to send anyone running, but not us. We were self-made inventors and champions of keeping ourselves occupied. The old noisy furnace was like some creature out of a bad B movie and the paneling on the wall…well there wasn't any. This was our crib. If we wanted to share our thoughts, our pleasures, or just get away from the big folks we could. The basement, a word synonymous to the Italian culture with cantina and serious family gatherings was our club med. We ruled this archaic dungeon and what we lacked in design and modern comforts we made up with ball hockey and pretend theatre. Mike, Sam and I were the three amigos. A weekend never went by without a visit from the dapper compari Brunino and the gang. We would eat, drink the fruits of our fathers labors, laugh and eat some more at a table that always seemed brimming. Then we would retreat to the old couch, undo a few belt knotches and chill while we digested the never ending meal. Those days were filled with imagination and creativity that far surpassed the mindless techno environment we face today. Mike and Sam were like brothers to me. We shared many curious thoughts and when we weren't bouncing off the walls or playing floor hockey in the basement, we were busy manufacturing wooden hockey games that kept us occupied for hours. My memories of Mike are filled with the youthful adventures of inquisitive boys who were determined to explore life and whatever it threw at us. The basement was our world, defined by the many hours we invested in developing our characters that we would carry us into adulthood. We embarked on our journeys, destined to taste the victories and challenges, knowing that we would meet once again in the basement of Heaven. JB 
 

 

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VAUGHAN ,ONT - BEVERLY D'ANGELO - THE NATURAL Have you ever felt a rush of silent energy that moves your inner soul? At seven in the morning, with eyes wide shut, I flopped myself onto the black leather couch against the mixing console that had probably seen a lot of rock n roll. Recording studios were designed to be dark for many reasons. The usual suspects shuffled in, all dressed in tasteful seventies garb, ready to lay down some tracks that would eventually become classic hits. The flower powering era was mostly a continuation of the sixties, with some new flavors du jour. I was introduced to this petite, angelic looking, young woman with soft blonde hair and a slight sexy overbite. Her manners were polished and her professional attitude was clear as I handed her the music and lyrics sheet.

Years have slowly written the tales of hardship and triumphs on the many faces that have had a hunger for success in the arts. Beverly D'Angelo has been a visible and important spoke in the wheels of entertainment. From her humble beginnings as a singer in local bands and studio sessions, she maintained a true sense of artistic integrity. Her voice was fresh while at the same time mature, unintimidated by the mechanics of the room or record company suits that constantly got their cheap thrills by hanging about. My eyes and ears felt her desire to satisfy my musical needs as she complimented the previously recorded lead vocals. You can't help but be excited when you recognize true talent. I asked Beverly if she was available for the next few days to finish the backing vocals. Her warm smile and friendly nod expressed her deep appreciation. She was a 'natural' as they say. I followed her career from "Every Which Way But Loose" with Clint Eastwood, another one of my favorites, to the more recent series "Entourage." I was blown away by her performance and vocal contributions as "Patsy Cline" in the acclaimed A Coal Miners Daughter. It was and still is classic singing. Her acting accomplishments are endless. Now, her biggest role is that of mom to her twins with Al Pacino. One can't help but feel a connection even if it's only a tiny one. JB (Photo by Mike Bellissimo)
 
HAMILTON, CAN - The Police Busted - Two members of the band The Police were busted outside a concert hall in Hamilton, Ontario. The lead singer bass player and keyboardist for the group were caught behind the venue they were to perform in. While on a routine inspection of an alley outside the concert hall, two officers turned their headlights on what appeared to be, two characters sitting and smoking a cigarette. Upon investigation the officers asked the two men to show them identification. The one man said we are performimng here and our id are in the dressing room. When the officer asked what group it was, they said The Police. Everyone snickered and joked. The officers continued to ask what they were smoking noticing that both men had something in their hands. One officer asked them to hold out their hands open. The two were booked for possession of marijuana. They were given a citation and were told that they would get a court appearance date in the mail. The two officers proceeded to take the roaches and place them in an evidence envelope. This is not the end of this story. Read how Jimi and Laurie were picked up by four police officers during an appearence at the Picadilly Tube while The Police from England played half a mile away in another club. They were cuffed and spent the night in jail at the 52 division in Toronto. The next morning two officers from Hamilton picked up the criminals and drove them to the courthouse for their hearing.    
VAUGHAN, ON - THE SILENCE THAT ROARED - He was a military man, a father, a husband and an individual that reached out and captured his dream. The tall trees became taller each day as Salvatore would wipe his brow and stare up at the blue sky. The local mill was an opportunity for this handsome young man, just out of the service, to work and envision a new world and life adventure for himself and his loved ones. The plans were set to make the big move. He and his small family would embark on a journey that would be etched in the minds of all future members of his clan. Like so many of that time he landed at the infamous Pier21, which has since become of historical importance in the development of a country that welcomed its new people. Canada was on a power move. Industry, growth and opportunity were enticng enough to anyone that could see the potential prosperity. Salvatore grabbed the bull by the horns. He settled in the downtown area of Toronto which would soon be known as "Little Italy." He took what little money he had and bought an old 3-story home on Grace Street. This would mark the beginnings of social acclimation and change for his family. He enrolled his son, Jimi and his daughter, Mary, in the local public school. Salvatore wanted his kids to have what he had been unable to have, an education. He was proud that his dream had been achieved with all his children, with the exception of Jimi, and we all know that story. He enjoyed his leisure time by sipping espressos and chatting with friends at the Diplomatico Cafe. His awareness of fashion was as notable as his trademark pencil-thin moustache. Although reluctant to sign Jimi out of school at an early age to pursue music, he realized the importance of passion by surprising a young Jimi with a Hofner Beatle Bass. He encouraged all his kids to reach high and to use common sense. Salvatore set out to build a strong foundation of beliefs and integrity within his family. He accomplished that and so much more. His marriage and devotion of 65 years to his lovely wife Alfonsina could be written as a romantic fairy tale, how the boy from the bario swept the uptown princess off her feet. He will be missed only to be remembered forever  JB   
 THE TORNADOS - CHELSEA LONDON, ALAN CADDY - It was in the early part of 1972 that I first met Alan. I recall he was a slender man, that stood about 6' tall, with a very heavy British accent. He was introduced to us by Gary Salter, then president of Avenue Of America record label. Upon my initial encounter with Alan we hit it off and I could see that I would like this man. Gary had mentioned that he would probably be producing our album which we were ready to start. This would be the follow-up to our first commercial hit single, "Goodbye Farewell". Before I get into the session, let me give you a bit of history on Mr. Caddy. He was born in Chelsea, London, was classically trained, and served as a soprano in Westminster Abbey. He studied violin and was the leader of the orchestra at his school in Battersea. Alan joined a skiffle group called the Five Nutters as a guitarist. In 1958 he would join Johnny Kid and The Pirates and was regarded as real rock n roller musician. He made his first TV debut with that band on ITV's Disc Break in 1959 with their song "Please Don't Touch", a moderate hit that established the group. In 1960 the Pirates would come out with "Shakin All Over" that would comfirm them as a staple pop band of the time. The song would knock Cliff Richard from the top of the charts. After about a year the band would begin to fade and soon decided to pack it in. Alan would go on to form The Tornados. The band's hit "Telstar" would stay on the British charts for over 25 weeks with 5 of those at number one. It was released in the US and Canada on the London label and would be the first British record to reach number one on the Billboard Charts. The Tornados would continue to release records but none of them could achieve the success of "Telstar". By 1964 the group was going through changes and Alan was well-placed to make a living as a session musician, and even become a star in his own right. In the early 70s he moved to Canada and started producing cover albums for Avenue of America. Ok... back to AC. We began recording the TIME album and the idea of having a British producer was exciting and at times elevating from the standards that Canadian bands were used to. His arrangements were magical. I would spend many hours even after the sessions just watching and listening too him work. Over the next couple of months we became really good friends and shared many private moments together. When the album was completed he came up to me and said, "I really enjoyed working with you and I believe you are going to be a star". I was wowed and thanked him for a incredible experience. We would go on to begin a second album that would never see vinyl heaven, but my memories of Alan are as vivid as if it were yesterday. I was very sad when I heard of his passing in 2000. He will be missed but can always be heard on "Gypsy", "Thank You" and the rest of TIME. JB  
KING OF SOUL AND THE DEATH The year was 1966 if my mush of a brain recalls and excitement was in the air. My new band, The Death, was scheduled to open for none other than the king of soul, Mr. James Brown and the Famous Flames. It would be an unusual line-up. The Death was like a psychedelic in-your-face type of a band and The Flames were as tight as a cork in a bottle of Chateau Palmer Bordeaux wine. Nevertheless, we felt like we were pros. Our dressing room had the sweet sent of jock essence and the different names carved in the old wooden benches gave me a deja vu of my hockey days. I was sitting waiting for the stage manager to come and give us the cue when the man himself walked by. Noticing me, he stopped and asked, "you know where our dressing room is brother?" Ah, ah yeah, it's the one right across from the restrooms", I replied. "You must be the opening act," he said. "Yes sir, we are", I answered. "Sir? Come now, call me James." Wow, James Brown asked me to call him James. It might seem odd but, to a 14 year-old kid, being in the same room with one of the most famous musician entertainers in the world was a moving experience. The crowd was kind and tried to understand why a group like ours was opening for an R&B icon. We played our 45 minutes to polite applauses, but it was apparent that they were there for "the man". After the show, as I sat in my dressing room with sweat pouring down my face, James walked in. He shook my hand and said, "you boys rock". Years later, while performing at The Roxy in Hollywood, James happened to be sitting outside the club in a white limo. Our bass player, Kelvin, knocked on his car window and told him an old friend of his was inside the Rainbow Room. His curiosity led him to come in and see who this old friend was. I watched him approach the table where we were feasting on the famous pizza for which the Rainbow Room was known, followed by four very large body guards. As I introduced him to everyone, he looked at my brother-in-law Gary and said "aren't you that guy from Alien Nation?" He then sat down, had some pizza and proceeded to bring up that gig at The Mimocombo. JB ( photo google )
BRAMPTON, ON - ANDY & ME - Ah sugar sugar na na na na na na ah honey honey...it's bubblegum heroes Jimi Bertucci and Andy Kim. The two met up at the Ontario Provincial Police 100th anniversary bash in Brampton, Ontario. The Black and White sold-out gala was a who's who of Ontario politics and the jewel rattling crowd. With 1600 in attendance the place was rockin'. O.P.P.Commissioner Julian Fantino and about 50 of his loyal officers added color and entertainment to the exciting evening. Andy performed all his hits, filling the room with nostalgic sediments and at times a sing along. Now I would have to say that Andy takes the prize as bubblegum king..I mean, let's face it, Sugar Sugar, was one of his biggest hits. Originally written for the Archies, it was Mr. Kim who not only sang lead on it but managed to sell a few million copies to boot. He even included one of my own favs, Rock Me Gently. VDB  Photo by Georgie O     SAN DIEGO, CA What would a great concert be without friends getting together after the show to share a couple of drinks and some old tales? Gordon Lightfoot's songs still stand the test of time, as witnessed the other night at The Pechenga Casino. After almost 4 decades the man can still deliver these songs as if they were fresh from the market. Long time friend and drummer Barry Keane has known and worked with Jimi for..well, let's say a heck of a long time. Jimi met up with Gord at the CHUM's 50th anniversary bash, at Nathan Phillip Square, where he performed and Jimi signed many autographs for enthused fans. VDB Photo by John Rowlands  
RESEDA CA - Yes it's the ageless Dick Clark. Back in the seventies Dick heard of a young upcoming band named Abraham's Children. He had heard one of the bands songs on the radio and inquired who and where they were from. An executive from Buddah Records the bands label in the USA sent Dick a copy of their hit song Thank You. He was quick to put it on his show. The song went on his famous Rate A Record. Bandstand would play two artists and the audience would decide which one was better and would be a hit or miss...well we would like to tell you that it won, but we're not sure. Ironically when Jimi moved to Malibu, California Dick was his neighbor and although the question did pop up he couldn't remember if it did win....so for all the trivia buffs out there we put this task on to you..  WOLFMAN JACK became a big fan of THE CHILDREN. His intro of the band at Toronto's Center Island that attracted over 25 thousand fans almost caused fan hysteria.The band received incredible audience attention that security guards had to be called in. A group of young ladies found their way into the The Children's dressing room. Todd Rundgren, Manfred Mann, Canned Heat, Rory Gallagher, A Foot In Coldwater. Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show were also appearing. This was the third time that Abraham's Children appeared on Center Island. The first time they were called Captain Midnites Dirty Feat.  
TORONTO SUN Seventies-era Toronto bubble-gum pop band Abraham's Children are reuniting tonight for a show at the George Weston Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The performance is part of the fourth annual Alli's Journey Take My Hand Gala, a charity that aids young cancer victims between the ages of 18-35, and was founded by Alli Shapiro before she passed away from the disease in 2006. It was her brother Shain Shapiro, who knows Jimi Bertucci, the lead singer of Abraham's Children, that got the band involved. "I'm not really into nostalgia (but) when Jimi called me and said, 'Hey, why don't we get together, we haven't played in 30 years, and it's for cancer,' I went, 'Yeah, okay,' " said Abraham's Children guitarist Shawn O'Shea, whose day job is working at the Toronto Sun. "I'm not really into going back to the '70s (or) Herman's Hermits, or some old band standing up there playing to 15-year-old girls. "I find that kind of obscene, actually. All the stuff that I've done in the last 10 years is more like rock, like The Stones or The Black Crowes, heavier riff-rock. And Abraham's Children was definitely a pop band when we were in our 20s." The reunion has meant three band rehearsals for Abraham's Children, who will be performing four songs tonight -- Gypsy, Goodbye Farewell, and Thank You -- and a new song written by Bertucci. "The strangest thing for me is that, back in the day, when we hit the first chord of our hit Gypsy, thousands of people would come to their feet," said O'Shea. "And now we're sort of a bunch of middle-aged guys in the basement in our socks learning these songs again. It's very weird to me. It's surreal. The fact that we're dipping into the past, for a guy who can't stand nostalgia, it's interesting." In the years since Abraham's Children disbanded, O'Shea has been a working musician, producer, written a pop musical, Crazy Nights, and sci-fi book, Sister Snow. He most recently released a second solo album, Rebel Station, on May 2. Still, despite his obvious desire to move on from his bubble-gum pop music days, O'Shea will admit Abraham's Children accomplished a lot during its short tenure. "The band, in the short time it was around, was kind of legendary," he said."No one could stand on stage with us because Jimi was the most charismatic frontman I've ever seen in Canada. He was like Elvis. Women fainted when he walked in the room. LIKE THE BEATLES "Now, he's like a middle-aged Italian guy, but back in the day Jimi was incredibly star-like and charismatic. And Abraham's Children, every place we played, whether it was 20,000 people or 15,000 people, it was like the Beatles. The girls went insane. So for the short time we were together, the band was incredible." JANE.STEVENSON@SUNMEDIA.CA Also on the same bill was Ian Thomas and Rock Plaza Central. 
AC ROCK AND SPARK CENTRE FOR A GREAT CAUSE - The George Weston Recital hall is just that, a recital hall. When I walked into this incredibly designed structure per l'arte de l'arte at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, I was quickly reminded of my days in Europe sprinting from one acoustically perfect theatre to another. There is almost a spiritual aura when you're standing in rooms still emanating the essence of music that has the ability to reach out and touch the inner soul. I was early and decided to try and catch the sound check. As I approached the back stage I was stopped by a security guard asking me for credentials. I showed him my press pass and satisfied his curiosity. In an authoritative tone he expressed that the band did not want anyone present during sound check. I said "ok" and walked to a local restaurant to kill some time before the concert. I knew AC was closing the show and decided I need not rush. An hour and a bottle of Masi red later I returned to the event, entering like a church mouse and found myself in the presence of what I presumed was the MC for the evening. I was just in time. I could hear the amps being turned on and a slight static sound coming from the stage. As soon as I heard the first chord I knew it was Gypsy, that haunting tune that sent the band on to international heights. Jimi sang the song with dedication in this live version although, originally, it was the late Brian Cotterill who crooned on the record. The crowd was mixed, young, old and a few who mistook the venue for an amusement park. They played Thank You, which I believe is the band's signature song. My mind was running like a greyhound and the emotional wheels of my youth began to spin as I recalled kissing a young woman to this song. Then, the almost sold-out crowd was treated to a new song as was indicated by Jimi as he struggled with his monitor. Wishing On A Star seemed so apropos to this wonderful occasion. I did not need to hear more than a couple of verses to realize that this is another great tune that Mr. Bertucci has penned both lyrically and musically. By the end of the song it was clear that the audience members agreed with me as they enthusiastically demonstrated their approval with thunderous applause. The evening was shaping up to be perfect until Ms. Mc appeared onstage and began to thank Abraham's Children. I could see the confused look on each of the band member's faces. The sign-off was obviously unexpected and premature on their behalf. Jimi interjected announcing that they would like to properly say good night to the pumped-up crowd who was still applauding and proceeded to asked them to clap to the groove as the next tune started, a song which I soon recognized as Goodbye Farewell, another in their string of top ten hits. It was at this point that the sparks began to fly. I could see the chaos and someone who appeared to be in charge asking the soundman to cut the power. Nevertheless, the band was not discouraged and they kept playing and singing like the motley crew that they were known to be. Finally, the sound engineer turned the mics back on as AC's heightened energy ripped right through the velvet seats of the theatre and the crowd of people clapping and singing along like it was the national anthem of pop. The song ended and the musically thirsty ticket holders applauded in appreciation of the memories.The new AC line-up included Shawn O'Shea on guitar, Glenn Olive on bass, Gerry Fielding on drums, Will Hare on keyboards and special guest Roxanne Tellier on background vocals. I would have to say this is the probably the best version of the band I've had the pleasure to hear since the original "Fab Four" members back in the day. With some of Canada's top musical acts performing, like Abraham's Children, the charity event benefiting Alli's Journey was a night not to be easily forgotten. JB courtesy www.thechildrenrock.com    
 A Gutter punk is a homeless or transient individual, often a juvenile, who is in some way associated with the punk subculture. The term has traditionally been used to describe homeless juveniles who display a variety of specific physical traits. These characteristics are often, but not always, associated with the punk subculture . They include unkempt dreadlocks, nose rings or mohawk hairstyles. In certain regions, gutter punks are notorious for panhandling and often display cardboard signs that make statements about their lifestyles Gutter punks reside in all major metropolises, though many congregate in the former hippie enclave of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, California. Gutter punks are generally characterized as being voluntarily unemployed. As such, gutter punk is a term that is generally only applied to able-bodied individuals with no signs of physical or mental disabilities. The term gutter punk has also been used as in the field of social science to describe a specific demographic group, which consists of the traditional gutter punks as described here. Gutter punks often do seek work, however, they often search for or are limited to short-term employment. Other innovative methods of procuring income, such as panhandling, are generally considered "last resorts" but are often used due to the average gutter punk's difficulties in finding stable employment. Those associated with the gutter punk way of life generally do not ascribe to the crust punk ideology, however, due to its name crust punk is often confused with gutter punk. Gutter punks tend not to involve themselves with peace, autonomy, veganism or other activist ideals promoted in the crust punk or peace punk scenes. Regardless of their differing ideologies, however, groups of gutter punks, crust punks, and peace punks share a common bond. JB Photo by Jimi Bertucci 

 

 

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