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3D popup cards to reveal Billboard Music Award winners

dick clark productions and Lovepop announced in a news release that Lovepop will create original 3D popup cards to reveal the “2017 Billboard Music Awards” winners during the awards ceremony. Each card will be one-of-a-kind paper art, designed exclusively for the winning artist and unveiled by the award presenter. This special card reveal will replace the traditional envelope opening.

Lovepop, a maker of hand-crafted, intricately designed cards, is best known for its 3D paper sculptures. After appearing on “Shark Tank” in late 2015, Creators Wombi Rose and John Wise — along with the guidance of businessman and Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary — went on to launch a thriving business providing customers with artistic greetings that create an emotional and personal connection between two people.

In advance of the awards show, Lovepop, the Billboard Music Awards and Lovepop investor Kevin O’Leary invited ABC’s “Shark Tank” cameras back into the design studio to get an insider’s look at the process of drafting, sketching and prototyping the “2017 Billboard Music Award” winner cards. “Shark Tank” will show a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the “2017 Billboard Music Awards” cards on at 9 p.m. Eastern time / 6 p.m. Pacific time Friday, May 5 on ABC. The finished designs will be revealed for the first time to artists and fans during the “2017 Billboard Music Awards,” broadcast live at 8 p.m. Eastern time / 5 p.m. Pacific time May 21 on ABC.

For more information, visit www.billboardmusicawards.com or the Billboard hub at www.billboard.com/bbma.

 

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Nina Simone’s years celebrated with vinyl album remasters

ninaFrom 1964 to 1967, the extraordinary Nina Simone released seven albums on Philips Records, further establishing her peerless artistic expression and singular voice. During this exceptional purple patch, she recorded some of her best and most important work of her career, much of it fuelled by the Civil Rights Movement and the turmoil of 1960s America. In conjunction with their 60th anniversary this year, Verve will celebrate the genius of Simone, the supernaturally gifted singer, pianist and prolific songwriter, and her incredible mid-’60s run with the release of her entire Philips catalog on vinyl.
Released earlier this summer as a box set titled The Philips Years, the seven LPs — Nina Simone in Concert (’64), Broadway-Blues-Ballads (’64), I Put a Spell on You (’65), Pastel Blues (’65), Let It All Out (’66), Wild Is the Wind (’66) and High Priestess of Soul (’67) — will be available individually on Friday, Sept. 30 on heavyweight 180 gram vinyl in facsimiles of the original sleeve art. The vinyl masters for the long-out-of-print titles were cut at Abbey Road using high-resolution audio transfers direct from the analog master tapes and are all in stereo. This marks the first time that Broadway-Blues-Ballads and Let It All Out have been made available on vinyl since their original release. A celebration of Simone’s remarkable talents, these albums contain many of the songs that Simone’s legacy is built upon not only such well-known cuts as “I Put a Spell on You” and “Feeling Good,” but also “Wild Is the Wind,” a song that David Bowie would memorably cover, and Simone’s version of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.”
Since her death in 2003, Simone’s influence, significance and cultural relevance has only grown, especially most recently as issues of race, police brutality and civil rights are once again at the forefront of the cultural conversation. The Netflix feature documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? — which just won the 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary this month — has helped shine a new light on Simone’s immense talents and fearless activism, resulting in a new generation discovering her timeless music and indelible impact. Of her Philips years, NPR drew parallels to the present: “In a time when issues of race and gender are reverberating with a newfound volatility reminiscent of the 1960s — the decade in which Simone forged her reputation as a politically provocative entertainer — Nina’s concerts and recordings feel like urgent bulletins from a brooding heart and a troubled land.”
In 1964, Simone embarked on a new stage of her career. Her rejection by the Philadelphia-based Curtis Institute of Music; time spent as a pianist in an Atlantic City nightclub; her jazz, gospel, pop and classical influences — all these had fused to make her one of the most complex, fascinating and talented artists of the decade. Simone released her debut album in 1958, but when she signed to Philips in 1964 at the age of 31, her creative output was about to dovetail with the Civil Rights movement — notably coinciding with the Civil Rights Act Of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, gender, religious affiliation or nationality. It’s fitting, then, that the first album she released on Philips, 1964’s Nina Simone in Concert, captured some of Simone’s most committed Civil Rights-era material, including her explosive rendition of “Mississippi Goddam.” But this three-year period also saw her satisfy her relentlessly questing muse, with collections that focused on Broadway showtunes (Broadway-Blues-Ballads), pop material (I Put A Spell on You) and more, showing the full range of Simone’s talents.

Joe McBride, Najee, and Kirk Whalum to headline June music festival in Oklahoma City

The Charlie Christian International Music Festival will feature national artists Joe McBride, Najee, and Kirk Whalum in concert at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Friday and Saturday nights, June 7 and 8 in Oklahoma City.    They will be joined by All Funk Radio Show from Dallas, TX, and Grady Nichols from Tulsa.  Also feature in the lineup are Matt Stansberry & The Romance and the Robert Banks & Classic Edge.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. Friday, June 7, and the show starts at 7 p.m.  On Saturday, June 8, gates open at 3:30 p.m. and the final concert of the week begins 4:30 p.m.  Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at the festival website, www.charliechristianmusicfestival.com or www.okcredhawks.com.  For more information, call Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. at (405) 524-3800.  According to Mark Temple, festival chairman, tickets may be purchased at the following Oklahoma City outlets:  Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Store, Hopkins HairCare and Learning Tree Toys and Books.

The festival runs June 4-8 and has three free events associated with it.  The opening event, “Ralph Ellison Understood Through Charlie Christian,” will beat 7 p.m. June 4 at the Oklahoma History Center.  Music will be provided by TaylorMadeJazz.  This event is free and funded in part by the Oklahoma Humanities (OHS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  Other funding is provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Friends of the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society Archives, Friends of the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society and BancFirst.

Wednesday, June 5 is the date for the Jam Session at Woody’s Sport Bar and Grill at 7 p.m.  Musicians are admitted free, and general admission is $5.  The Battle of the Bands between Shortt Dogg and the 411 Band takes place on Thursday, June 6 in Lower Bricktown, on the Lower Bricktown Plaza and is presented by Chevy Music Showcase.  Deep Deuce’s Urban Roots is the place on Saturday, June 7 for a delicious brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with music by “Miss Muffy” & Friends and stories of Deep Deuce told by Anita Arnold, author, “Oklahoma City Music:  Deep Deuce and Beyond.  This family friendly event will feature non-food and arts and crafts vendors.

 

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble to perform in Oklahoma City

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According to a recent news release, Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. (BLAC Inc.) will present the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Frederick A. Douglass High School Auditorium, 900 N. Martin L. King Jr. in Oklahoma City. The 40-year-old Denver-based company, in the middle of its Spring tour, will travel to Crested Butte, Colo., and Seattle, Wash., before the Oklahoma City appearance.

Led by its founder, executive director and choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson, the company has performed in Iceland, Singapore, Hawaii, Nassau, Belize, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and throughout Europe and Africa. Parker Robinson holds an honorary doctorate degree from Denver University (1991), an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Colorado College (2003) and an honorary doctorate of Public Service from Regis University, Denver (2008).

In 1998, President Clinton named Parker Robinson as one of two artists to be appointed to the National Council on the Arts in Washington, D.C., where she served until 2005. She received a Kennedy Center Medal of Honor during the center’s “Master of African American Choreographers” series.

The dance ensemble will arrive on Feb. 20 and will work with Oklahoma City fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from several area schools. Selected students will perform a welcome dance at Douglass on the same stage as the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble.

This performance is made possible by the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. Major support for the National Dance Project is also provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Local support is provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Ad Astra Foundation.

Tickets for the performance are on sale at Learning Tree Toys, Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Store and Hopkins HairCare at $20 general admission. VIP tickets that include reserved seats and a reception are $50 and can be purchased at BLAC Inc. offices using MasterCard, Visa, checks or cash. Discount tickets are offered at BLAC Inc. For more information, call (405) 524-3800.