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Frankie Avalon: The Man and his Music

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By Cheryl Brown –

Frankie Avalon, the singer who many now senior citizens, grew up with performed in San Bernardino on his 70th Birthday at the California Theater last weekend before an enthusiastic audience.

For the past 50 years, he has delighted audiences with his showmanship. Black Voice News spoke with him preceding his performance and asked about his life as a youngster, a family man, now a grandfather and touching on his good friend Mickey Mouse Club’s Annette Funicello.

Avalon said even though he was turning 70, he feels 45-50 years old. What keeps him young is his “work” and the “hope” he has and his “faith”.

He is a practicing Catholic. As a young child, he started in music playing the trumpet. He still has his original trumpet, and as he thought about the question remarked “I should get back to it, but it takes so much practice” he said. That made him reflect on the conditions of today’s schools. “Our schools don’t have music programs anymore.

We had music appreciation of all kinds of music, schools should get back to this,” he said.

As the conversation moved on I asked how long he had been a resident of San Bernardino County - the answer was 23 years. He loves the mountains it is his home away from home.

The question that everyone who remembers is how is Annette Funicello from the Mickey Mouse Club. Avalon said he lives by a mantra that she gave him while battling MS.

That is “whatever happens we should know that God’s delay is not God’s denial.” With that he said, “she has always been the sweetest most giving gal I worked with in my life. She was a friend, a mother and always pleasant to people. She never recognized the fact that people loved her so dearly.”

Unfortunately, he has one regret that he has no communication with her any longer and that has left a void in his life.

Reports are that the Frankie Avalon show was wonderful. He is personable, comes into the audience, and still sings the songs so many of us grew up on.

Experience a Thrill with the Jack Bulik Teen Center

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The Mayor and City Council invite the public to join the Jack Bulik Teen Center for the annual Knott’s Scary Farm Excursion. The annual trip to Knott’s Scary Farm is back and open to all Fontana residents.

Children ages 10 and over are encouraged to attend as well as any parents. The excursion takes place on Saturday, October 9th. The bus will depart the Teen Center at 6:00 pm sharp and return around 3:00 am, Sunday morning.

The cost is $45 per person and includes park entrance and the bus ride to and from the park. Tickets for this excursion are on sale now and may be purchased only at the Jack Bulik Teen Center.

Knott’s Scary Farm, also known as Knott’s Halloween Haunt, is a seasonal event at the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park in Buena Park, Ca.

Beginning in late September the park transforms into an intense, Halloween themed venue with over 1,000 monsters, haunted mazes, and “scary zones.”

For more information about the Knott’s Scary Farm Excursion or other exciting trips please call the Jack Bulik Teen Center at (909) 349-6984 or visit youth.fontana.org.

Concert Promoter Sued Over Michael Jackson Death

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(Reuters) - Michael Jackson's mother and his three children filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday against the promoters of a series of planned concerts by the singer before his death last year.

The civil lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Katherine Jackson, accuses promoter AEG Live of "putting its desire for massive profits" over the health and safety of the "Thriller" singer.

It said that AEG was liable for the actions of Jackson's personal doctor and alleged that the promoter had failed to provide proper life-saving equipment for Jackson.

"AEG's action and inactions led to Michael Jackson's death on June 25, 2009," the lawsuit said, accusing the promoter of negligence, breach of contract and fraud.

A spokesman for privately held AEG Live, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Jackson died of cardiac arrest at age 50 in Los Angeles in June 2009 after returning from rehearsals just days before the planned start of 50 London concerts.

Los Angeles coroner's officials have ruled Jackson's death a homicide and said he died mainly from a powerful anesthetic used as a sleep aid, as we ll as other sedatives and painkillers.

"The purpose of this lawsuit is to prove to the world the truth about what happened to Michael Jackson, once and for all," Katherine Jackson's lawyer Brian Panish said in a statement.

The singer's personal physician Dr Conrad Murray, who was hired by AEG Live, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death and is awaiting trial in Los Angeles.

Jackson's family have previously expressed disappointment at the criminal charge against Murray, saying it does not go far enough. The singer's father Joe in June filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Murray but did not name AEG.

Kenny Ortega, director of the planned "This is It" series of concerts, was also named as a defendant in Wednesday's lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

The suit claims that Jackson appeared drugged and disoriented at rehearsals in the days before his death and that on June 24 he was shivering. AEG, it claimed, was aware of his condition but did not postpone any rehearsals or alter his "grueling schedule."

The civil action also seeks damages for emotional distress on behalf of Jackson's oldest son, Prince Michael, who the lawsuit said had witnessed his father injured and dying and "has suffered great trauma and severe emotional distress."

Jackson's sudden death caused a worldwide outpouring of grief and sent sales of his many hit records soaring after a career slump that had followed the entertainer's 2005 trial and acquittal on charges of molesting a young boy.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Rihanna reveals 'Loud' Album Title, Debuts Single

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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Rihanna unveiled her new single "Only Girl (In the World)" on Tuesday shortly after announcing the title of her fifth studio album, "Loud," on her official fansite.

"Yes it is called 'Loud'," the pop star told fans while appearing on Ryan Seacrest's morning radio show on Tuesday. "Get loud everybody. Get crazy. Get excited. 'Cause I'm pumped. I'm just gonna be me."

"Only Girl (In the World)" aims squarely for dancefloor domination, as the 22-year-old pop star whose hit songs have included "Umbrella" and "Disturbia" pours her heart out to one man over a full-throttle production by Norwegian hitmaking duo, Stargate.

"Want you to make me feel/Like I'm the only girl in the world," Rihanna belts on the chorus. "Like I'm the only one that you'll ever love/Like I'm the only one who knows your heart."

The R&B singer hit the headlines last year when her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown attacked her and was sentenced to five years probation before she released a new album, "Rated R."

Producer Stargate is also responsible for previous Rihanna hit singles "Please Don't Stop the Music," "Hate That I Love You" and her most recent No. 1 hit, "Rude Boy."

If "Only Girl" is any indication, Rihanna's "Loud" will be a departure from the edgier fare of "Rated R," which has sold 975,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

In a recent interview with Billboard.com, Alex Da Kid -- the producer/songwriter behind Eminem's current No. 1 "Love the Way You Lie," which features Rihanna -- said the pop star's new material is "like a mixture of her two sides. It's commercial, but at the same time it's got an edge to it -- it has substance."

Rihanna echoed that sentiment during her chat with fans. "I'm gonna miss the Rated R era too, but nothing compares to the album I just made," the singer said, adding, "I wanted the next step in the evolution of Rihanna, and it's perfect for us."

(Editing by Christine Kearney)

Little Diversity at Emmy Awards

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By Lea M. Cash –

I was twelve years old when I first watched the Emmy Awards on television. The glitzy glamour of Hollywood and its dazzling array of Red Carpet star power while living in Brighton, Massachusetts, a million miles away, were so magical and majestic to me. One day as an entertainment reporter, I told myself at 12, that I was going to be there— smack dab in the middle of it with all that glamour and star power. In the last decade, I have attended two previous primetime Emmy Awards celebrations, and every time I have attended, it feels like I am living my dream—but, not this year.

This year, at the three-hour telecast of the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards hosted by Jimmy Fallon, at L.A. LIVE Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, I felt differently. I recognized that people of color were noticeably missing in a large way.

Perhaps, I was too caught up in the dream to notice it before. I began to have an uncomfortable feeling in my spirit, and that feeling in my heart grew to disappointment, sadness and finally hurt as the evening evolved. I kept asking other media folks, “Where are… all the hard working, outstanding celebrities that work on television that look like me?

Many answered, “Well, this is the Emmys and there is a whole different mindset here.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (The Oscars) have come a long way with their “Black Out”. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (The Emmys) has a long way to go with their “Black Out”.

Therefore, I adjusted my heart, and focused on those celebrities that everybody loves—the ones that transcend color: Like Susan Sarandon, Ed O’Neill, Betty White, John Lithgow, Eva Longoria and Glenn Close. I even said hello to the legendary actress Ann Margret who won an Emmy Award, previously on Saturday at the Creative Art/Emmy Awards, a subset handed out to behind the scene actors for guest starring roles. She received an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.” She had a guest-starring role on Law & Order. Then, I was given the opportunity on the Red Carpet to meet Tom Hanks. What an extraordinary experience. On the Red Carpet, I gave handshakes and hugs to so many celebrated faces that I somewhat lost count. I snapped photos of the people of color I did see, except for LL Cool J and his wife.

The shocker of the evening was meeting the godfather himself Al Pacino. Other larger than life notables were Tom Selleck and George Clooney. Clooney said playfully backstage in the media room, “Hey with those guys, I was reduced to fourteen years old. As a teenager I had a poster of Al Pacino and Tom Selleck on my wall.” Pacino and Clooney usually duck and dodge the media. They both were questioned about that and told quite honestly, how media was happy to see them tonight. Pacino won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. He played the role of Dr. Jack Kevorkian in HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack.” In addition, George Clooney was honored with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. He has been the driving force behind “America”, “A Tribute to Heroes”, “Tsunami Aid”, “A Concert of Hope” and most recently the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon.

The television drama to receive the most nominations was “Mad Men”, with 17. The comedy to receive the most nominations was “Glee”, with 19. The miniseries to receive the most nominations was “The Pacific”, with 24. The Outstanding made for Television Movie was “Temple Grandin”, The Outstanding Drama Series was “Mad Men”, and the Outstanding Comedy Series was “Modern Family”.

Another winner worth noting was Jane Lynch who plays the villain Sue Sylvester on “Glee”.

It is my hope that I will continue to live my dream, which includes one day the Academy of Television Arts & Science changing its reflection of television excellence, into the brilliant and colorful real deal as it is and not as it once was. There should be nominations of a wide diverse nature, which reflect what all American viewers are watching. In my own silent way of rebellion towards the Emmys, I went home immediately after the show.

While walking the long distance to the media parking lot an African American male in a tuxedo, security, (an off duty police officer), on a golf cart pulled up beside me. “Tired?” he asked. “Not too many of us out tonight. Thought I’d give my sistah a ride.”

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