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It's That Time of Year: The 85th Academy Awards

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By Lea Michelle Cash

Thousands of people from around the globe watched the Academy Awards each year to witness a legendary golden statue with a name titled Oscar to fall into the hands of a fortunate winner. This is the night of all nights when Hollywood brings out all its glory and richness dedicated to making movies.

Hopes were high that the brilliant young actress, Quvenshane Wallis, nominated for her performance in a leading actress role in Beast of the Southern Wild would clinch the golden statue, however fate had a different plan. An up and coming starlet by the name of Jennifer Lawrence won the prize for her leading role in the highly celebrated film Silver Linings Playbook.

Denzel Washington was nominated for his leading role in the movie Flight. The Oscar went to an emotional Daniel Day-Lewis, for his leading role and brilliant performance in the historical account of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. He received an immediate standing ovation.

The winners were emotional on stage and backstage in the pressroom. Ang Lee, best director, for Life of Pi; Christoph Waltz for best supporting actor in Django Unchained and Quentin Tarantino for best original screenplay Django Unchained; Ann Hathaway for best supporting actress in Les Miserables. The biggest winner of the evening was Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, producers of the movie Argo, winning best motion picture of the year.

The Academy’s Hollywood film industry has long dreamed of creating a museum that will serve as a destination for movie lovers. This dream is coming true making this Los Angeles’ most significant new cultural project, a major global tourist attraction, and a home for education and workforce development towards movie making.

Stars Shine Brightly at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards

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By Natasha Simone Ferguson

The red carpet lit up with a star-studded lineup of Hollywood celebs and other distinguished guests at the recent 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards. Held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the awards ceremony honored achievements of people of color in entertainment, literature and promoting social justice.

Host Steve Harvey noted the significance of this year’s Image Awards being held on the first day of Black History month, as well as being a historic day marking the 105th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Actress Kerry Washington won a trio of awards, most notably the President’s Award for her humanitarian efforts presented to her by NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous along with the elegant and graceful Diahann Carroll. Washington was appointed to serve on President Barack Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She also won for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for “Scandal” and Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for “Django Unchained”.

LL Cool J won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his role on CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles and humbly accepted the award dedicating it to the late Michael Clark Duncan who was a nominee in the same category.

Lance Gross received Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” and addressed the media backstage, saying that he would like to get more rugged and raw action roles in the future.

Onlookers held a gleam of pride in their eyes and gave a long heartfelt standing ovation as they welcomed U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Michelle Howard on stage to receive the prestigious Chairman’s Award, presented by NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock and Image Awards Announcer Dennis Haysbert. Vice Admiral Howard was choked up and through teary eyes gave a memorable speech. She candidly shared the challenges she faced as being the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship and the first African American woman promoted to three-star rank in the U.S. Armed Forces. She is also actively involved in humanitarian efforts through the Habitat for Humanity organization. Vice Admiral Howard ended her acceptance speech with a quote from freedom fighter Harriet Tubman.

“Harriet Tubman said ‘every great dream begins with a dreamer. You have within you the strength, the patience and passion to reach for the stars,’ and for all of you who have written, composed, directed, produced or acted, you let us believe that we could reach the stars…”

Grammy Award winning vocalist Gladys Knight sang a soul-stirring performance of ‘The Way We Were’ during the memoriam portion of the broadcast, which paid tribute to icons who have recently passed away including: Michael Clark Duncan, Whitney Houston, Donna Summers, Al Freeman Jr., Don Cornelius, Chris Lighty and many more distinguished notables.

The most memorable moment of the evening was when two living legends graced the stage. Sidney Poitier, acclaimed multi award-winning actor, filmmaker, diplomat and first Black to win an Academy Award in 1963 for 'Best Actor' — also known as an outstanding orator — captivated the audience when he presented Harry Belafonte with the Spingarn Award honoring outstanding achievement by an African American. At 85-years old, singer, songwriter, actor and social activist Belafonte is still strikingly debonair, and his handsomely statuesque appearance commands attention by all. The auditorium was deafly silent hanging on every eloquently spoken word of Belfonte’s enlightening speech about critical social issues facing people of color today.

“The group most devastated by America’s obsession with the gun is African-Americans. Although making comparisons can be dangerous, there are times when they must be noted. America has the largest prison population in the world. Of the over two million men, women and children who make up the incarcerated, the overwhelming majority is Black. They are the most unemployed, the most caught in the unjust systems of justice, and in the gun game, we are the most hunted. The river of blood that washes the streets of your nation flows mostly from the bodies of our Black children. Yet as the great debate emerges on the question of the gun, White America discusses the constitutional issue of ownership, while no one speaks of the consequences of our racial carnage. The question is ‘where is the raised voice of Black America? Why are we mute? Where are our leaders, our legislators? Where is the Church?”

"Django Unchained" star and Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx closed out the show singing a powerful rendition of Gospel recording artist Fred Hammond's "No Weapon" while accepting his award for “Entertainer of the Year.”

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the oldest and largest civil rights organizations in the United States.

Toni Braxton Comes to San Manuel Casino Feb. 14

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A Special Valentine’s Day Treat For Socal Residents

Thursday, February 14th, San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino welcomes renowned R&B singer Toni Braxton for a Valentine’s Day concert to remember.

Her distinctive sultry vocal blend of R&B, POP, Jazz and Gospel became an instantaneous international sensation when she came forth with her first solo recording in 1992. Today, with more than 40 million albums sold worldwide and six Grammy Awards, Toni Braxton is recognized as one of the most outstanding voices of this generation.

Today, Braxton balances the demands of her career with the high priorities of family, health and public service as she raises her two sons Denim and Diezel. Regarding her youngest child’s autism, Braxton is giving a message of hope that wasn’t quite the case for her a few years ago. “Today, Diezel is talking and attending a mainstream school. He still needs occupational therapy, but he is a wonderful example of what can happen with early detection and intervention.”

In addition to being a spokesperson for Autism Speaks, Braxton also is active with the American Heart Association. Braxton was most recently diagnosed with Lupus. She announced her health struggle publicly as she accepted the Lupus LA award for “Women of Achievement“. Most recently, Braxton is enjoying huge success with her Braxton Family Values reality show on the WE network.

Tickets are on sale December 14th and will be available at Ticketmaster.com and the San Manuel Box Office for $45, $55 and $65.

Every Thursday night with headliner entertainment, San Manuel gives away $1,000 just for seeing the show. To be eligible to win, guests only need a ticket to the show, a Club Serrano card and to be 21 or older. Guests can enter beginning at noon on such days. Three drawings will be held on those nights: $250 at 7:20 p.m., $250 at 10:00 p.m. and $500 at 11:00 p.m. Winners must be present.

Note: Doors open at 6:30. Must be 21 to enter Casino. Please gamble responsibly.

LMAO Comedy Tour: 2 Stops at The Citizens Business Bank Arena

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Sunday, January 20th, 2013, Ontario, Ca. will host the biggest comedy tour ever to hit the Inland Empire; the LMAO Comedy Tour 2 presented by 93.5 KDAY and produced by BLW Entertainment. The Citizens Business Bank Arena will be transformed into a house of what is expected to be total laughter.

BLW Entertainment, executive producer Barry Wallace, has cornered the market for bringing laughter entertainment to So. California with sold out comedy shows featuring the hottest comedic talents for decades including Kat Williams, Joe Torry, Kevin Hart, DL Hughely, Mike Epps, Tommy Davidson and many, many others.

Gracing the stage of LMAO COMEDY TOUR 2 are the WHO’S WHO of comedy! Recently seen on Shaq's ALL STAR COMEDY JAM, HBO, SHOWTIME and COMEDY CENTRAL, the Inland Empire will experience what the LMAO Comedy Tour is all about… TOTAL LAUGHTER w: Lavell Crawford, Earthquake, Sheryl Underwood and Corey Holcomb.

CITIZENS BUSINESS BANK ARENA: 4000 East Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764 Phone: (909) 244-5500

TICKETS: $29, $49, $69 ***HOLIDAY SPECIAL... 4 for $100!!!

TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED: BY PHONE OR ONLINE: (909) 244-5500

ONLINE: http://www.cbbankarena.com/default.asp?cbba=33&urlkeyword=event-detail&objId=1014

Catch The Dream: 'Dreamgirls' Coming to Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside Jan. 10

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Riverside - Fox Operator Bill Malone of FX Arts is thrilled to present the second production of its 2012-2013 Broadway Series of shows with the Tony Award-winning masterwork, Dreamgirls. Dreamgirls will dazzle audiences on Thursday, January 10 at the Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside.

Full of onstage joy and backstage drama, this new multi-media driven production of Dreamgirls tells the story of “The Dreams,” an up-and-coming 1960s girl singing group – inspired by the career of Diana Ross and The Supremes – as they experience the triumphs and tribulations that accompany their pursuit of fame and fortune in the tumultuous music industry. The recent film version won an Academy Award for Jennifer Hudson!

Winner of six Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards, DREAMGIRLS premiered on Broadway in December of 1981. The Broadway version also featured additional Material by Willie Reale; Original Broadway Production Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett with orchestrations by Harold Wheeler.

Dreamgirls was originally produced on Broadway by Michael Bennett, Robert Avian, and David Geffen of Geffen Records and the Shubert Organization. Through several revivals and an award-winning 2006 motion picture adaptation, it has remained an audience favorite for more than three decades.

Dreamgirls features unforgettable hits by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger – including "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," "One Night Only" and "Listen" – and book and lyrics by Tony and Grammy Award winner Tom Eyen.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at the Fox Performing Arts Center Box Office which is located at 3801 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside.

Ticket Prices range from $30 - $67.

The Box Office is open Monday -Friday from Noon to 6:00 PM, Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on all show days from 10:00 AM to Show Time. The Box Office Phone number is: 951-779-9800.

For additional press info and high res photos – please visit http://foxriversidelive.com/private/show-info.html

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