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Pechanga Once Again Hosts SoCal's Largest NYE Party

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More than 75,000 people are expected to descend upon Pechanga Resort & Casino on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 2011, possibly breaking last year’s record of 74,000 people, to take part in seven different celebrations across property. It is the biggest NYE party under one roof and is expected to once again bring in nearly ¼ the total number of visitors as the entire city of Las Vegas over the same holiday period. Tickets for all events will be on sale this Friday, October 22 at 3PM at the Pechanga Box Office.

SoCal’s greatest party will feature Country Superstar Miranda Lambert in the Theater; legendary rapper Too $hort and Dirt Nasty performing in Silk; a New Yorkthemed Gala in the Ballroom; a flashback NYE party in Eagle’s Nest; a Rachel Tran Asian variety show in the Comedy Club; not to mention free live bands in The Cabaret and the big countdown to 2011 at the world famous Round Bar. Pechanga will be the place to celebrate and guests will have plenty of chances to win on one of the world’s largest casino floors, as $30,000 will be given out in casino promotions.

Tickets for all events will be available this Friday, Oct. 22 at 3PM at the Pechanga Theater Box Office, or call 877-711-2946, or visit www.pechanga.com.

Nancy Wilson To Be Honored at Annual Achievement Award Dinner

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Song stylist and humanitarian, Nancy Wilson, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2010 Pioneer of African American Achievement Award by the Brotherhood Crusade. The fete will be held on Friday, November 5, 2010 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills at 7:00pm.

Ms. Wilson’s self proclaimed title of “song stylist” aptly fits as her diverse musical repertoire includes pop style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes and classic standards.

Critics have described her as everything from a jazz singer, to a storyteller and complete entertainer. After years at Capitol Records, her sales were second only to the Beatles, and have even surpassed Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and the Beach Boys.

Ms. Wilson knew she wanted to sing at age four, but her professional singing career began at the age of 15, when she had her own television show and began performing in clubs in the Columbus, Ohio area. She left college in 1956 and met saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. Impressed with her talent and determination, Adderley took an immediate interest in her career and the two kept in touch. When she moved to New York City in 1959, she gave herself six months to attain her goals.

She wanted Adderley’s manager, John Levy, to represent her, and she chose Capitol Records as her desired label.

She called Levy to see a show that she’d landed within four weeks of arriving in New York. Levy was so impressed with her performance; he called her the next day to set up a demo. Nancy recalls, “Ray Bryant and I went in and recorded “Guess Who I Saw Today,” “Sometimes I’m Happy,” and two other songs. We sent them to Capitol and within five days the phone rang. Within six weeks I had all the things I wanted.”

The debut single, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” was so successful that between April of 1960 and July of 1962 Capitol Records released five Nancy Wilson albums. In 1963 “Tell Me The Truth” became her first truly major hit, leading up to her performance at the Coconut Grove in 1964 – the turning pointing of her career. From there she performed on television as well as hosted her own television show which won an Emmy in 1975. She also took on acting roles on popular TV shows throughout the years and hosted NPR’s Jazz Profiles series in 1995.

Among her many awards and honors are three Grammys, two NAACP Image Awards, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, streets and days dedicated in her name, honorary doctorate degrees, the UNCF Trumpet Award celebrating African- American Achievement, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP in Chicago, and Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Award.

Says Charisse Bremond Weaver, president and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade, “We are so excited and honored that Nancy Wilson has been selected the recipient of the Pioneer of African American Achievement Award this year. In my mind, her association with the Brotherhood Crusade has come full circle. In 1971, she chaired our fundraising campaign and concert which laid the foundation for this organization becoming one of the most influential philanthropic organizations today. Her legacy of music combined with her humanitarian efforts from the Civil Rights Movement through her work to assist inner city youth through the Nancy Wilson Foundation raises consciousness and awareness to empower and enhance the lives of those in underserved communities. This makes her the fitting honoree for this year’s award.”

Some of the past recipients of the Pioneer of African American Achievement Award include Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Soledad O’Brien, Berry Gordy, Cathy Hughes, Sandra Evers-Manley, Spike Lee, Rosa Parks, Don King, Tavis Smiley, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Muhammad Ali.

For more information on the Brotherhood Crusade or to purchase tickets, please call 323.846.1649 or visit www.brotherhoodcrusade.org

Sponsorships are available and the event is open to the public.

Joyous Gala Celebrates Culver Center Opening

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More than 300 attend the grand opening reception in the UC Riverside ARTSblock in downtown Riverside

Amid the sweet sound of jazz, fiery flamenco music and dance, and hip-hop theater, more than 300 guests celebrated the grand opening of the UC Riverside Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts and reopening of the Sweeney Art Gallery in downtown Riverside on Saturday evening.

The center, located in the 115- year-old Rouse department store building, joins the UCR/California Museum of Photography in UCR ARTSblock on the downtown pedestrian mall.

More than 1,500 people attended two days of free community events that led up to Saturday’s gala reception.

“This has been 10 years in the making,” observed Frances Culver, who with her late husband, Tony, donated $5 million to launch the project. The center is named for Tony Culver’s parents.

“This is everything Tony wanted. I wish he were here to see it. Jonathan Green (ARTSblock executive director) was meticulous in following his dream. Good job!”

Stephen Cullenberg, dean of the UCR College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, emceed the event and said the partnership between the city and university – exemplified by the use of public money and private gifts – made possible the restoration effort that now is a key element of Riverside’s evolution as a center of the arts.

Green said the Rouse building, throughout its history, has stood at the intersection of past and present, a role it will continue to play as a center of the arts. “The Culver Center will have a lasting effect on UC Riverside and the city of Riverside, and the American art scene,” a center that will “incubate, innovate and initiate,” he said. “Tony and Frances Culver dreamed a dream. Tonight their dream is a reality.”

Recalling the high-end clientele the Rouse department store served in its heyday, UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White told the crowd that today, “the Culver Center will feed the hearts and minds and souls of all Riverside citizens.”

Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge said the gala was an opportunity to celebrate completion of the center, the close partnership between the university and the city, and the center’s place in a renaissance of the arts downtown. “Downtown will be a happening place of the arts,” he predicted.

Entertainment during the evening was provided by the Blue Wave West jazz band, whose vocalist is Karen Wilson, assistant director of the Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts at UCR; Riverside Lyric Opera performing a flash opera; modern dancers coordinated by Susan Rose, UCR professor of dance and director of the Gluck program; hip-hop theater directed by Rickerby Hinds, UCR associate professor of theater; flamenco guitarist Walter Clark, a UCR professor of music; and Forever Flamenco dancers and musicians.

Among the Culver Center’s features are: first floor – a 72- seat film and video screening room, atrium gallery for installation, music and performance, and the Sweeney Art Gallery; second floor – two dance studios, and the Culver Arts Research Lab (CARL) for university- based projects that advance artistic, cultural and performative research and study at UCR; and basement – facilities devoted to exhibition and performance support and collections, including seismically stable facilities to store the worldrenown Keystone-Mast collection of stereoscopic glass negatives.

20th Annual Divas Simply Singing

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By Lea Michelle Cash –

Twenty years ago, Sheryl Lee Ralph was told as if it was yesterday, that her special event to raise money for HIV/AIDS was foul and “those people” cannot be helped. She was told that it was a waste of time and to STOP because it is “those people’s” problem…. and that God would not find favor in her actions. Those people meaning gays and homosexuals.

This year at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, a teary-eyed Ralph stated, “I remember the people who could have helped. But didn’t. She has forgiven and is grateful for every ticket bought, every donation made, and red ribbons worn on t-shirts purchased. Over the years, divas from Patti Labelle, Whoopi Goldberg to Melissa Manchester has stood with her lifting their voices in song to fight the good fight against AIDS.

In her presence, after a fewmore words about HIV/AIDS, and how women are one of the fastest growing groups catching AIDS (especially women of color), in a beautiful flowing gown Ralph belts out the classic show tune “Try to Remember.” The audience is spellbound, and perhaps like many in the audience, I let my tears drop and remembered.

I was there for the first Annual Divas Simply Singing, and over the years, I have only missed two. For the 15th Annual Diva Simply Singing, I assisted Ralph as a volunteer in production. I was welcomedwith open arms and I worked, but mostly watched this extraordinary woman wi th her whole heart bring cast and crew together. Producing andwriting a magical evening of song was no easy challenge and the process was difficult. However, when the curtain openedon that Saturday in October 2005 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, there stood this beautiful, poised woman, as though she had not lifted a finger— utterly remarkable and ready to sing and sing she did. I cried then too!

Six years later, 2010, I could only imagine what it must be like to continue this fight against HIV/AIDS. There is no cure, no vaccine as of yet. DIVAS Simply Singing is the longest consecutive running musical AID benefit in theUnitedStates andcontinues to serve as a loving beacon of hope for those living with HIV/AIDS. Twenty years ago, Ralph produced DIVAS (Divinely Inspired, Victoriously Anointed Singers) in loving memory of the many friends that she lost to AIDS and today, the disease has l i terally devastat ing consequences that affected us all. The numbers are in double digits that I have known and loss.

In this year’s, show along with the fabulous other divas there were performances by mothers and daughters. Teena Marie, the artist “Lady Tee” performed in the second Annual Divas Simply Singing. She was pregnant with her daughterAlia Rose. After Lady Tee tenderly sings her classic “Déjà vu I Been Here Before”, out steps her beautiful daughter Alia.

The two sing their tribute song to New Orleans and Haiti. Coco Maurice imitates her mother Sheryl Lee’s booming voice and Shanice Wilson and her mother Crystal Wilson sends the entire theatre into a frenzy with their truly amazing voices.

Other divas were Kelly Price, who aroused the audience with her gospel and hip/hop flare. Jody Wat ley, Desiree Coleman- Jackson Deborah Cox, Loretta Devine, Coko, Gloria Loring, and Judge Glenda Hatchett just to name a few. The charismatic Lisa Raye McCoy was on hand and motivated the audience in passing around the hat. For two years in a row, she has been voted in Black Men Magazine’s “Sexiest Woman of the Year”. She entertained the audience with thoughts of having dinner with her for a donation. A gentleman in the audience, ran to the stage, held out his credi t card, and paid $5,000.00. He was celebrated for donating to the cause. The audience gave him a standing ovation. Pauletta Washington, a singer and classically trained pianist (married to Denzel) stepped out to support DIVAS as wel l by sharing her beaut iful voice in song.

It was most memorable and sobering when a long line of women from all ethnicities introduced themselves to the audience.

They each have been infected with AIDS. Their faces reflected those of all women—somebody’s mother, sister, aunt , or bestfriend.

It was too moving—too in your face about how this terrible disease affects women’s lives. It is reported that every 9-½ minutes, someone in the US, someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, co-worker or friend becomes infected with HIV.

There was a surprise guest and she came at the end of the evening. It was Chaka Khan. If the magical evening of song and entertainment benefit ing the DIVA Foundat ion and Women Alive Coalition did not take your heart, and twist it into a million different directions during the night, by the time Chaka Khan strolled out; your emotions completely fell apart. There is no diva like Chaka!And the audience let her know it. Her voice in song soared. The final curtain call produced a collection of all the divas, with Chaka singing, “I’m Every Woman.”

The fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over and utilizing music and entertainment as a vehicle to inform and educate against the negative social perceptions of the life robbing disease is worthy of everyone support. Every year in the month of October, this special event is held with the intent of raising funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS. Until there’s a cure!

Daz Patterson Provides Inspiration to Overcome Life's Obstacles

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Douglas Miller will Headline "Musical Tribute to Daz Patterson," Friday, November 5, 2010

When people gather next month for the “Musical Tribute to Daz Patterson” at the Sturges Center for the Fine Arts they will be treated to performances by some of the top national and local gospel artists, view the premier of Daz’s new movie “For the Sake of Love” and have a chance to meet and greet this phenomenal singer, producer, director, and writer as she signs copies of her new book “Through the Storm and Rain.”

Well known for her musical plays including “Talk is Cheap” and “Somebody Say Amen” Dazrene "Daz" Patterson is a native of Victoria, Texas, who relocated to the Inland Empire and graduated from California State University at San Bernardino. Her natural gift of a seven-octave range singing voice provided her entry into the entertainment industry, where she performed popular and R&B music before finding her place in gospel. She has composed, written, and arranged over 300 gospel songs. She has always had a love and concern for people, and before launching her writing and directing career served several years as a juvenile hall counselor and then as a probation officer.

This special tribute will feature the Grammy and Stellar nominated performer Douglas Miller, whose song “My Soul Has Been Anchored” has enraptured many an audience, and whose albums include “Living on the Top” and “Unspeakable Joy” Mr. Miller will travel from his home in Akron, Ohio for this special tribute. He and Daz toured together in Delilah William’s hit musical play “God’s Trying to tell you Something.” You can see him and hear his magnificent voice on YouTube where fans have posted him in live concert.

There will also be special appearances by colleagues and friends, including actor/director/producer Sid Burston (Get Thee Behind Me!, Crown Royale, Walk by Faith, Reunion), actress Nei’Ce Knight-Preuitt (Love Ain’t Supposed to Hurt), Ernest Carter, Jay Olegario, Raheem Mitchell (Get Thee Behind Me!) and perfomances by gospel recording artist and First Lady of Spirit of Love Church Shervonne Wells (Here I Am, Kurt Carr Singers), David Whitfield, Madelyn Patterson-Berry and tributes by special friends Madeline Freeman and Rafael Rawls.

The evening will kick-off with the inspirational gospel concert, followed by the premiere showing of “For the Sake of Love,” produced by PNP Entertainment. According to Daz, “This movie is about spousal abuse and it’s based upon a true story, the experiences of a relative of mine and her relationship with the wrong man.. The film is very intense and very real, with incidents that actually happened.” Just as with all of her works, Daz’s new movie is spiritually rooted. “The Bible says that when a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing. Too many women are out to get a man instead of letting a man find them. These women should have faith that God will send them the right person.”

The woman in the film takes a significant amount of abuse. Daz states that woman took the abuse and ignored its impact on her because she was obsessed with the idea of being able to say she was the ‘wife’; she took overwhelming abuse as long as she could say she had a ‘husband’. Young people don’t realize older people can see what’s good for them.

Her mother begged her not to marry that man. She knew how and what he was, and married him anyway” “We want to share this story with all of America, in order to help women be aware. Women need to know that they can’t change a man. Unfortunately, most women feel they can, even with red flags coming up all over the place!” Daz herself is happily married to the ‘right’ man, businessman Norman Patterson and they have three children.

After the movie, guest will be invited to meet Daz at her book signing for “Through the Storm and Rain,” which Daz describes as “a book on Life Lessons, the things I encountered during my illness.

I was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. The doctors said they caught it all but the cancer came back in 2001. It seemed to be better after treatment, but in 2003, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer which spread to my liver, back, neck, lymph nodes, legs and arms.” You know they say that cancer is silent and doesn’t cause pain. That’s just a myth, a lie.

My symptoms were that I had a lot of pain, in my side and chest. I believe God allowed me to feel the pain so would seek help and live and not die. He did not allow me to sink into a ‘Woe is Me’ attitude. He helps us to work things out through our suffering, and helps us to see life more fully.”

Daz says the most important lesson people take from her book is “Knowing that no matter what you go through, God will not give you more than you can bear. I want readers to see that there is always rainbow.” Sturges Theatre of Performing Arts (www.sturgescenter.com) is located at 780 North "E" Street San Bernardino, CA 92410. Advance tickets are only $15, $20 at the door.

DVDs of the movie “For the Sake of Love” will be available for $10. The book “Through the Storm and Rain” will be available for $12.98. Advance Tickets are available at Bereans Christian Stores in both Redlands and Riverside, at Groovetime Records in San Bernardino 909-8840197; at the Westside Story newspaper in San Bernardino 909-3848131; at L& M in Rialto 909-874- 3229; or by calling Sabrina at 909-230-0016 or Annette at 909-559-3642.

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