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Color Purple Sees Sellout Crowds in Riverside

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By Cheryl Brown –

Color Purple saw sellout crowds at its first appearance east of Los Angeles at the Riverside Fox Theatre. Saturday night there were no more seats. Many attending from the community expressed joy with the fact that it was local and most reported they had never seen a show like that outside of New York or Los Angeles.

Color Purple originally written by Alice Walker, was a hit. Pam Trotter, whom played Sofia said the play has a new director and there are twists on it that slightly changed what has been seen before. The changes were noticed; Jonathan Bufong, of San Bernardino said “I loved the play and I have seen it before but this one was different. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it was different.” Of the young adults in his group they all seemed to enjoy the evening out.

Trotter said she used to practice the lines of the play with her friends for fun and it paid off, she was awesome. The entire cast was excellent, professional and kept you wondering what is next, even if you had seen the play before. Verna Clayvon said a night out so close to home was a lifesaver for her. “I was so happy to be in the beautiful space (Fox),” she said. She too joined the chorus of others who were chatting away as they left the theatre.

“I attended the Saturday matinee,” said Woodie Rucker Hughes, a Riverside resident and President of the Southern California Conference of the NAACP as well as the Riverside Branch. “As I sat in the beautiful theatre, watching the magnificent well done play, I thought, I’m in River City!!!. If you missed it you missed it,” she exclaimed.

The voices were melodic. Celie, played by Dayna Jarae Dantzler had a strong mellow voice, she carried the show along with Trotter and Taprena Augustine, who played the role of Shug Avery, and when she came to town she changed everything.

Augustine was another hit of the show. Allison Semmes was just right for the role of Squeak. The top of the cast was closed out by Edward Smith as Mister, and he was a convincing bad guy who redeemed himself when he lost all that he had. And rounding out the stars was Lee Edward Colston II playing Harpo. Both men showed contradictions, one trying to do everything to please his wife the other doing everything to hold his wife down. This review wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to the church ladies and the rest of the ensemble cast.

The dancers were top notch. They did more dancing than I remember in other Color Purple presentations. On a scale of 1-5 I give it a The Color Purple at the Fox Theater a 5.

Hotel California Rocks San Bernardino's Sturges Center

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The music of the Eagles, including such hits as “Take It Easy,” “Heartache Tonight” and “Witchy Woman,” will be performed in concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 by Hotel California in “A Salute to The Eagles.”

For more than two decades, Hotel California has been known for faithfully and accurately reproducing the sound of the Eagles studio recordings, while recreating the group’s classic California sound of rock, country, and rhythm and blues.

The band features five multitalented musicians who perform 150 to 200 shows a year, including festivals and concerts, corporate functions, benefits and fairs, both a top of the bill act and opening for some of the most prominent names in the entertainment industry.

Each concert presents a showcase of the Eagles mega-hits, including “Desperado,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Lying Eyes,” “Hotel California,” and “Get Over It.” The group also performs songs from the solo works of Eagles members Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh.

The show incorporates Hotel California’s renowned vocal harmony and authentic instrumentation, including all specialty instruments, in a stage show that has gained recognition worldwide.

The group has performed at Disneyland and California Adventure, the Orange County Performing Arts Pavilion, in New York’s Central Park, the Laughlin River Run, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, Pacific Northwest Expo, Epcot Center, and many other venues nationwide.

Hotel California members are Dicky-Lee Dickinson, guitar and vocals; Wade Hogue, keyboard, guitar and lead vocals; Phil Rowland, drums and percussion; Scott Fronsoe, bass and vocals; and Steve Probst, guitar and vocals.

The Eagles formed in Los AngEles in 1971 with members Frey, Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Don Felder joined the group in 1974.

Leadon left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Walsh. When Meisner left the group in 1977, Timothy B. Schmit joined the band.

The band was considered one of the most successful recording artists of the 1970s. The Eagles had five No. 1 singles, won six Grammys, and had six No. 1 albums. Two of their albums, “Their Greatest Hits (1971- 1975) and “Hotel California,” were among the 20 best-selling albums in the U.S.

The Eagles broke up in 1980 but reunited in 1994, and have toured and recorded off and on since then. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Members Frey, Henley, Schmidt and Walsh all have had very successful solo careers.

Al Green Visits San Manuel

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By Lea M. Cash –


It’s October 2010, and summer has long been officially over. As a reminder, there is a chill in the air, with the sun setting a littler earlier, brings about darkness, a harvest or crescent moon, sweaters and boots, giving indication to the fact that soon it will be time to roll our clocks forward once again.

We are all in this movement together, this understanding of nature’s way. Whether we like it or not, acceptance is mandatory usually by October, producing a swing into holiday cheer or depression.

For the Baby Boomers, those in this special generation who remodeled society it is simply the recognizable beginning of the close to another year in the autumn of their lives. They have reached their golden years and retirement is the order of the day.

Recently, I attended the Al Green concert at San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in Highland. I watched the grey-haired Boomers parading into the sold out venue. Many groups of hard working men with names like Bob, their wives or significant others to reminisce through old school music and song. The women, they came in groups, by the droves, dressed to the nines in October gear. Right on the dot, it is 8:00 PM. Their anticipation is over and the legendary Al Green appears.

He is 64 years old, pleasingly plump, extraordinary in every way. He displays his infectious wide grin, and is holding his signature red roses that he throws throughout his performance to the ladies. The audience explodes in pandemonium for a man who sings their language.

Which is why, several times during his performance, he says to the crowd, “Ya’ll are going to make me forget the words.” For the Boomers with their excitement, with each song, out sang him. It was an honest-hearted singing along, completely off key, yet word for word, a simple way to tell a legend, “Hello dear friend. We love you.”

I am a Boomer as well. So, I had my moments. I thought back to 1972 when my best friend Sharon and I went to an Al Green concert. We were freshmen in college, thinking we were all that God had created.

We wore hip hugger pants, sky-high afros, large hoop earrings, fake eyelashes and halter-tops. We made it backstage to Al Green, and got a ride home in his plush white limousine that evening.

Sharon and I talked about it for days until something new happened in our lives. Still to this day, Sharon who I met in seventh grade and who still lives in Boston, where I was raised, reminds me of our Al Green concert, and how we made it back stage and spent the evening with Al Green. I wondered if he would remember being nice to two college girls, giggly and in awe of him. Naw! That was so long ago.

When Green performed his string of legendary hits from the early 70’s, taking the Boomers back to a time and place, three decades removed, the sing along, with folks dancing in the aisles as if no one was looking, lifted the spirits and warmed the heart.

With every yell, or sway of Green’s hips the audience went crazy which motivated the legend to sing louder, producing a voice full of falsetto swoops, booming louder than the funky bass and horn arrangements.

Green says to the audience, “Some people want to know do I still got it?” “Well, let me show you,” he continues. The Boomers are in ecstasy. They cheer him on, the louder the applause the faster his legs moved—an entertainer of the highest order.

Green once told a reporter, “I’m not trying to fool anybody. I’m a Christian, but I’ve lived a life that full. I’ve been married a couple of times, been up and been down, been right and been wrong. You go through in life these things. But at the end of the day it’s about family, it’s about kids. Life is about devotion.”

Words spoken like a true Boomer, healing the old wounds of living a full life, causing a ripple effect that touches the lives of his fans.

Unquestionably, a soul music legend who was born on a farm in Arkansas, April 1946, knew his audience. He has been singing professionally since the age of nine with his brothers, The Greene Brothers, a family gospel quartet. Years later in his solo career, he dropped the (e) and became Al Green. His breakthrough came in 1971 with “Tired of Being Alone.” Then followed a slew of hits that kept him in the Top 10 and Top 40 through 1976. Hits like “Let’s Stay Together”, “I’m Still In Love With You”, and the all time classic “Love and Happiness.”

He performs them all.

There is a list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” that Rolling Stone Magazine presents. Al Green is number 65. In 1995, presented by Natalie Cole, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll, Hall of Fame from shaping a sound that has defined its own place in pop and R& B music.

Richard Valles, 59 from West Covina said, “Old school, soul music is real music.” He continues, “Nothing these kids sing about today relates to me. Al Green speaks my language.

I teach my kids old school music.” In one hour, the concert is over. The Boomers scatter to all four corners of San Manuel. Many are still humming their favorite Al Green tune and remembering their lives in days gone by.

San Manuel November 2010 Thanksgiving Specials

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Turkey Shoot Season Drawing - November 1-24

Starting November 1, for every buy-in players purchase they will be given tickets to be entered to win four drawings, where the winners take home a portion of $6,000! Tickets given out until November 24, when the drawings take place. The more you play, the better chances of winning.

Stuffin’ Night - November 21

On November 21, players in attendance at bingo, receive $51 in free bingo ‘stuff’ with their buy-in. 15-game regular session, buy-ins are $25 for a regular pack, $45 for a double with payouts of $1,500 or $3,000 each game. The day also includes three giant jackpots!

Turkey Shoot Special - November 24

In addition to the Turkey Shoot Season Drawings, November 24 features $25 buy-in for 15 regular- session games pays $1199, and also 2-for-1 floor sales.


Play Win – November 25

Thursday, November 25, every half hour from 10AM to 5PM, when players’ Club Serrano cards are properly entered into a slot machine, they are eligible to win $1,000! $15,000 total will be given in cash!

Black Friday Cash – November 26

Friday, November 26, every half hour from 10AM to 5PM, when players’ Club Serrano cards are properly entered into a slot machine, they are eligible to win $1,000! $15,000 total will be given in cash!

Serrano Buffet
It’s an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving Feast at the Serrano Buffet on Thursday, November 25 from 10AM to 9PM. Main course selections include turkey and prime rib in the carving station, honey glazed ham, smoked salmon, grilled chicken, and gaucho steak. Desserts include home-made pumpkin pie with fresh whip cream topping and Grand Marnier® crème brulee, as well as the Chef’s special selections of baked delights. This feast is $22.95 per person. SportsWatch Grill Through the entire month of November, celebrate Thanksgiving at SportsWatch® Grill with a Grilled T-Bone and Shrimp Skewer. The 16 ounce tbone is topped with herbed butter along side the shrimp skewer.

This feast comes with vegetables of the day and baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes or steamed rice all for $23.95. Restaurant is open daily at 10:00am.

SportsWatch Grill also provides 11 TV screens to enjoy live and pay-per-view events, including the Thanksgiving day football games.

The Pines
On Thanksgiving, The Pines

offers a tender herb-butter-basted free-range turkey wi th housemade brioche and currant stuffing; Meyer lemon cranberry sauce; Yukon gold potato puree; Blue Lake beans with mushroom Madera cream and crispy onions; and an exquisite chardonnay gravy all for a pleasing $24 per person. Other entrees will also be available. The Pines is open from 5PM to 10PM, reservations are recommended: 909-425-4889 To become a Club Serrano cardholder and start receiving the monthly mailer, which includes other dining offers and discounts, please contact San Manuel Guest Services to fill out the application or visit www.sanmanuel.com. Club membership is free.

Color Purple Stars Speak About Riverside Production

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By Cheryl Brown –

For years local groups have boarded buses, car pooled or drove into Los Angeles or Orange County to see the best live theater shows. Color Purple is one of those top named shows and it will play next week October 29, 2010 at the newly refurbished Fox Theatre in Riverside.

Two of the lead actors for the show based on the novel written by Alice Walker in 1982, and the 1985 Steven Spielberg movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.

In speaking with cast members about the upcoming show they say it is the same story with a different presentation.

They state it is a fresh new take on the story.

“This is a fresh look at the story Color Purple,” said Dayna Jarae Dantzler who plays Celie in the upcoming production. Dantzler said that this is a great experience and fulfills what she has wanted to do all of her life. “I’ve been acting since I was seven years old and I have a BA in Theatre Arts,” she said.

Dantzler said that her inspiration came from her high school drama coach. He inspired her with his concepts.

But it is her mother’s unconditional love that keeps her grounded and helps her succeed today. “My mother believes in me and supports me with words of encouragement.

I need her more now that I am older,” she said. Dantzier is from Warren, MI and now lives in New York. Of her character Celie who is given to widower “Mister” when she was just a teenager to marry and raise his children, Dantzler said she loves Celie, because she is curious, has spirit and an inner beauty, she is also smarter than anyone gives her credit for, the care she gives others and she is not afraid to ask questions.

Pam Trotter, (Sofia) said she identifies with her character.

“Sofia was not going to let anyone walk over her. Her character is so strong and she is a big woman,” said Trotter.

“She is loud and speaks her mind,” she continued. For Trotter playing Sophia is a dream come true. “My friends and I used to meet and watch the Color Purple movie and we would quote lines from the movie. When I saw it on Broadway, I said, I can totally do this. We actually would sit down and write the lines,” said Trotter. When asked who her inspiration was she said with out a doubt her sister Rita. She is 12 years older and I watched her on television all the time.” The closest her sister comes to acting now is the drama ministry at her church.

The reason she loves her role is because of her misunderstood character. “Sofia was abused by men in her family and said she will not be misused again.

She even stood up to Harpo’s dad when he tried to keep the pattern (of abuse) going,” she said. Trotter said she has never been abused but she was quiet and shy and as she got older she began speaking her peace. “I feel liberated with this character,” she said.

Dantzler’s recent credits include, Barter Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors (Ronnette), Frankenstein (Servant), Theatreworks/Two Beans Productions’ James and the Giant Peach (national tour), and the Negro Ensemble Company’s Chronicles of Color (NYC tour). Trotter is originally from St. Louis MO, now residing in Los Angeles. Her credits include Hawthorne, Chuck, Dollhouse, Everybody Hates Chris, My Name is Earl, Dreamgirls (the movie, Effie) Ain’t Misbehavin, Smokey Joe Café’, Big River, Blues, In The Night and numerous others.

Both the women say Color Purple is a great story.

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