Reborn Cleveland International Records opens up merch shop

Owners of Meat Loaf’s 1977 blockbuster album debut Bat Out of Hell--and over 40 million copies have been sold worldwide--know its striking Cleveland International Records releasing company’s landmark logo. Steve Popovich, Jr. relaunched his late father Steve Popovich’s label in April with the reissue of the 13-track Cleveland Rocks compilation of roster artists including, besides Meat Loaf, Ian Hunter, Ronnie Spector & the E Street Band, Iron City Houserockers, The Boyzz, and Bat out of Hell collaborators Jim Steinman and Ellen Foley. Popovich, Jr. has since released the Cerny Brothers’ album Looking for the Good Land and reissued several vintage catalog titles digitally—in addition to maki

Authors Johnny Farraj and Sami Abu Shumays go deep 'Inside Arabic Music'

Johnny Farraj, left, and Sami Abu Shumays For adventurous world music explorers, Arabic music can be a daunting challenge—even among its practitioners. Two New York-based musicians, Johnny Farraj and Sami Abu Shumays, have now tackled the immense and complex subject with Inside Arabic Music: Arabic Maqam Performance and Theory in the 20th Century, a 444-page tome from Oxford University Press that delves deeply into both the theoretical and practical aspects of a genre that spans centuries, not to mention the 22 Arabic-speaking countries that make up the Arab World—not to mention, too, the many bordering countries that have also impacted the music. But no matter where it originates, Arabic mu

Pat Benatar, Thin Lizzy, T. Rex and Motörhead among new names nominated to the Rock Hall

Pat Benatar performs her 1980 hit "I Need a Lover," written by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp. Lot of new faces in the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction nominees announced today—nine of 16, to be exact. Of the newbies, Pat Benatar is the most overdue—and as a pure rocker from the late 1970s and ‘80s, one with maybe the best shot of going in as a first-timer. Then again, pop/R&B superstar and fellow first-timer Whitney Houston could join her--if voters have short memories, and are impressed by Houston’s huge non-rock hits and are sentimentally swayed by her tragic demise. Of the other freshmen—all men, by the way—Motörhead seems the strongest candidate, as the memory of b

Author/researcher Alexandra Horowitz discusses the 'singular bond' between dogs and humans a

Alexandra Horowitz, right, speaking with Melissa Dahl at New York's Mid-Manhattan Library “Somebody has a bagel, and it’s not you. And it’s not gonna be you with that kind of behavior!” This quote, spoken by a man to a rapacious hound and taken from Alexandra Horowitz’s recent “Things People Say to Their Dogs” essay in The New York Times (itself adapted from her new book--Our Dogs, Ourselves--The Story of a Singular Bond) was a fitting way to begin her “Author Talks” conversation Wednesday evening (Oct. 2 at New York’s Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street. Horowitz, who serves as senior research fellow and head of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, Columbia University, and is the auth

Island Hopper Songwriter Festival showcases songwriters and splendid Beaches of Fort Myers & San

Rodney Atkins performing at Island Hopper Songwriter Fest's closing show poolside at Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina Known informally as “the Mayor of Downtown Fort Myers,” Lisa Sbuttoni, the executive director of the River District Alliance nonprofit that promotes the historic downtown of the Southwest Florida tourist destination in between Sarasota and Naples, had plenty to show an out-of-town visitor she’d just met on First Street last Friday (Sept. 27). The visitor was in town for the sixth annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, a 10-day affair staged on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Island that began Sept. 20 and ended Sept. 29. The festival took place at venues in Downtown Fort M

Nellie McKay steps out as singer/performer in Ethan Coen's new 'A Play is a Poem'

Nellie McKay in A Play is a Poem (Photo by Craig Schwartz) The playwright told her to “stick to the standards,” and singer-songwriter/actress Nellie McKay did in fact include “In My Solitude” and “The Sunny Side of the Street” in her song selections as the singer in playwright Ethan Coen’s new A Play is a Poem, which is running through October 13 at The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. But Coen was joking, of course. As much a fan of McKay as she is of him, Coen, along with the play’s director Neil Pepe, knew what they were getting from McKay, whose own songs and musical biographical plays (including I Want to Live!, the story of Barbara Graham—the third woman executed in the gas chamber at

Ethan Coen returns to the theater with 'A Play is a Poem'

“It’s a different medium,” says Ethan Coen, stating the obvious—but not so much. He’s speaking of A Play is a Poem, his collection of five short one-act plays now running together at The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Coen, of course, is with brother Joel, the Academy Award-winning director/producer/screenwriter of such landmark movies as No Country for Old Men, Fargo and The Big Lebowski. But Ethan Coen has also written books of poetry and other plays, including three other evenings of one-acts likewise directed by A Play is a Poem director Neil Pepe. Presented by the Center Theatre Group, the new one, according to artistic director Michael Ritchie, offers no thematic thread other than wr