Archive for January, 2011

I love lots of our Palladium shows but as a piano player myself, the Boogie Woogie Blues Piano Stomp has to be my favorite night of the year.

We first presented the show last January and it returns on Saturday, Jan. 29, with four more rockin’ pianists. This year’s model features Joe Krown, the New Orleans piano master; Los Angeles’ own Rob Rio who has played and recorded with lots of blues legends; the 82-year-old legend of Boogie Woogie piano, Bob Seeley, who studied with the great Meade Lux Lewis and  played Carnegie Hall; and St. Pete’s own Liz Pennock, along with guitarist Dr. Blues.

Liz and I put the show together last year based on her history with a similar show in Cincinnati. The Arches Boogie Piano Stage at the Cincinnati Blues Festival started 16 years ago and Liz and Doc have played all but one since then.

“Cincinnati has a long tradition of blues and boogie woogie players,” Liz said. “Pigmeat Jarrett was in his ‘90s when he played the stage. Big Joe Duskin was another famous one. I was in heaven hearing my favorite kind of music all in one place.”

The stage was so popular it spawned the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame, which inducts one of the players each year. Four of our players this year – Liz, Dr. Blues,  Bob Seeley and Rob Rio – are inductees and Joe Krown has been a featured player.

Liz met Bob Seeley in Cincy at the 1995 fest.  Bob lives in Detroit and vacations in Florida in the winter and Liz thought we should put together a show. Bob and Liz did a sold-out show in our Side Door Cabaret in 2009 and that spawned the 2010 Stomp that featured Liz, Bob, Ricky Nye (of Cincy fame) and Key West’s Barry Cuda.

Like last year, we’ll have two grands on stage and each pianist will do a 20-25 minute set. They’ll be some duets through the show and a big jam at the end.

Tickets for this one are going fast. And advance tickets are only $20.

If you love great boogie woogie and blues piano please join me at the Stomp!


Read Full Post »

Times arts writer John Fleming did a wonderful preview of Buglisi Dance Theatre’s upcoming performance in Sunday’s arts section. The New York City company, which features St. Petersburg’s own Helen Hansen French, appears Thursday night at 7 p.m. If you missed it here’s the link:


Fleming also wrote a rave review of the St. Petersburg Opera’s production of Rigoletto. That show closed Tuesday but SPO will return to the Palladium in June with a production of Madame Butterfly. Here’s the link to the review:


Read Full Post »

When the call came offering Helen Hansen French a job as a professional dancer in New York City she didn’t have to ask who was calling. Jacqulyn Buglisi had been one of Helen’s instrutors at Juilliard.

Buglisi wondered if the new graduate  would like to dance with her company – Buglisi Dance Theatre. Looking back nine years later,  Helen says the company was a perfect fit for her as a dancer and a person.

“There is a dramatic component to it that touches me and my humanity. That’s where I found my voice as an artist.” she said.

But at age 21, with a boyfriend urging her to move to Ottawa, all Helen knew is that instinctively, going to Buglisi felt like the right move. She had not only studied with Buglisi at Juilliard, but with two of the other founders of the company – Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin. All the founders had been dancers with one of the greatest names in modern dance – Martha Graham.

Hansen French, who attended Gibbs High and grew up in the Old Northeast section of St. Petersburg, is spending more time in Florida these days. Last March she married Jonathan French. She is an dance instrutor and choreographer at St. Petersburg College but she still tours with the Buglisi company and dances during their New York season.

Though recovering from an injury, Hansen expects to be on stage at the Palladium when the Buglisi Dance Theatre appears on Thursday, Jan. 27.

For details visit www.mypalladium.org or visit the Buglisi website at: http://www.buglisi-foreman.org/

Read Full Post »

A couple of years ago Doug Wilson brought his Elvis tribute show to the Palladium. The world of Elvis tribute artists is a mixed one at best. I had seen some bad versions and some great ones – particularly El Vez, the Mexican Elvis. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Doug.

I was impressed from the first note to the last.  That night he was focused on Elvis’ gospel material. It was a smaller, more intimate show in our Side Door Cabaret and the place was packed.

Now Doug is returning to celebrate Elvis’ birthday with his full show and 16 musicians and singers known as the TCB Band of Ohio.  They are guaranteed to raise the roof of our historic theater. They’ll also be a great showcase for the Palladium’s brand new, state-of-the-art sound system.

Tickets are going fast for the show this Saturday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. It’s our first big show of 2011. Doug, who is based in Largo, has a huge local following and a national reputation. He and his band have performed with many of the artists who shared  the stage alongside Elvis including The Jordanaires, Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, The Stamps Quartet, and The Blackwoods.

Doug and the band – which includes a gospel quartet, and full horn section – authentically re-create the sights and sounds  of an Elvis show. For more details and some great video clips check out this web site:


Read Full Post »