THOMPKINS DELIVERS — One of the legendary voices of Philly Soul, the original lead singer of the Stylistics, Russell Thompkins Jr, debuted at the newly opened Long Island Supper Club, My Father’s Place, in the Roslyn Hotel last weekend.
Thompkins, 67, now leads the New Stylistics (featuring the vocally gifted Raymond Johnson & Jonathan Buckson), who formed in 2004. Thompkins possesses one of the most impressive and sweet sounding falsetto voices in the history of popular music. Having noted from stage that he is currently celebrating his 50th anniversary in the entertainment business he proceeded to deliver spot on performances of his lengthy musical resume: “You Are Everything,” “Betcha By Golly Wow,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “I’m Stoned In Love With You,” and “Break Up to Make Up.” Tom Cuddy, who has been programming NYC radio stations for over 30 years and is now the Program Director of iHeart’s 710 WOR was on hand Saturday night, told us “Russell does not get the full recognition he deserves. He has maintained one of the most memorable tenor voices—ever. During his two 45 minute sets at My Father’s Place he delivered every one of his hits in the original key. It’s an outstanding achievement.”
Thompkins band, featuring a brass section and two keyboardists, is a polished, well-rehearsed musical contingent, led by remarkable Kenny Thompson. Russell has just released his 2nd solo CD, available at Amazon. The collection of romantic tunes is called Between the Love Songs and showcases 14 new recordings.
THE DOUGLAS METHOD — The last few years have brought forth a slew of TV shows that focus on … yes, aging. TNT’s Men of a Certain Age (2009) was the first – with Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and, Andre Braugher; then Netflix’s Frankie and Grace and last Friday, Netflix brought forth The Kominsky Method with Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. This is Douglas’ first foray back into TV since he was on Streets Of San Francisco, with the great Karl Malden, eons ago.
For me, the great hook was that Chuck Lorre, Mr. Big Bang Theory himself, was behind this show; creating it and writing it. Deadline’s headline review of this show, somehow said it all: All AARP’d Up and Nowhere To Go. Great line for sure.
I’ve watched the first four episodes and have these observations: One: Douglas is simply outstanding. His comedic timing is superb. Two: Arkin too, is just super. He’s in the show way less than Douglas, but with just a brief facial expression, he can bring you to tears. Third: Even though a joke about the cast of The Big Bang Theory was in the opener … and, funny … Lorre has a terrific hand with sentimental material. Exceptionally well written … I was thoroughly impressed.
Arkin’s ill wife passes in the opener, but not before she elicits a promise from Douglas to look after her husband. Douglas is Sandy Kominsky, an actor who work has dwindled, so he has become an actor coach … and, he’s not bad. In the opener, when Arkin visits him at his studio and gets into a heated dialogue with Douglas, his assembled class think it’s a lesson and applauds the two afterwards. It’s a great scene and works so well because of both actors’ experiences. Face it; they’re two screen legends there.
The ongoing jokes about prostates and all are a bit much, but I guess it goes with the territory … or so they keep telling me.
The other comment I kept reading is that these 8 episodes of The Kominsky Method are enough. Still, from me, Lorre gets props … simply terrific writing. And, veteran-Nancy Travis as Douglas’ student and possible girlfriend is superb as well.
SHORT TAKES — Fresh from his Pete Townshend-fronted Rockers On Broadway last week. Donnie Kehr appeared last night on the Marc & Myra Show on SiriusXM. Kehr’s seen here with Ann Dexter Jones on last night’s outing … Micky Dolenz, headed to New York in two weeks, was interviewed by Robin Hilton for NPR yesterday … After nearly 80 years, the monthly print edition of Condé Nast’s Glamour women’s magazine is ending. Glamour’s last regularly published print edition, the January 2019 issue, is scheduled to hit newsstands next week, the company announced Tuesday. It’s another move by Condé Nast away from declining print businesses to pivot to a mostly digital future, a trend that has cut across the entire publishing biz. Glamour has a print circulation of about 2 million, but the brand reaches an audience of around 20 million online, according to the company. “We’re doubling down on digital — investing in the storytelling, service, and fantastic photo shoots we’ve always been known for, bringing it to the platforms our readers frequent most,” Samantha Barry, who joined Glamour in January as editor-in-chief, wrote in a memo to the magazine’s staff. “We’ll be expanding video and social storytelling, with new and ambitious series and projects” … Joe Perry has canceled his fall tour to take time off after recently being hospitalized with breathing problems. The Aerosmith guitarist’s publicist said in a statement Tuesday the 68-year-old will take the rest of the year off. He had expected to return to the road starting Nov. 30 through Dec. 16. Perry felt short of breath after a guest performance with Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden in New York. Paramedics backstage gave Perry oxygen and used a tracheal tube to clear his airway before taking him to the hospital. Perry had joined the 69-year-old Joel on stage for a rendition of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” Perry says he apologizes to fans who planned to attend his shows. He expects to return next year …Iggy Pop and Norah Jones will perform at Bluesfest 2019 as well as 12 other artists. Bluesfest boss Peter Noble said, “With our third artist announcement for Easter 2019, featuring 14 great artists, it brings us to almost 60 artists announced to date – with plenty more to come! You can now start to see the great headliners and depth of talent that are joining us to celebrate our 30th Anniversary, including the incredible Iggy Pop and nine-time Grammy winner Norah Jones!” … and, CBS has cancelled Salvation; their two-summer-season sci-fi epic. While the show bordered on being a tad too cheesy at times, there was some terrific writing and acting (Santiago Cabrera, Jennifer Finnigan and Charlie Rowe) and some clever writing. The asteroid-that was heading for Earth, turned out to be a spaceship. What was inside? That would have been the premise for a third season. Salvation joins the list of TV-sci-fi cancellations. Check out this article from Keith Girard’s Improper: https://www.theimproper.com/film/19378/sci-fi-often-gets-short-shrift-tv-but-finds-new-life-cable-streaming/ … and, author Mark Bego appeared on Tucson’s The Morning Blend yesterday, talking about his Aretha Franklin tome and his in-store appearance at Barnes & Noble on Black Friday. Check it out: https://www.kgun9.com/morning-blend/meet-author-mark-bego-get-a-book-signed?fbclid=IwAR0r-1WBcqc7b3q5QFvcOKKDDqEGYA6aRvkpAseyfJuuKgrjbh5i43qn7sQand, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Names In The News — Mike Greenly; David Spero; Micky Dolenz; Elvis Duran; Larson Sutton; James Edstrom; Chuck Pulin; Jeff Smith; Bobby Bank; Cori Gardner; Jake McCoy; Jacqueline Boyd; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Keith Girard; Jason Elzy; and, Chip.