New York is an influential state and city, with millions of tourists flocking there year after year so that they can experience the Big Apple. This is because New York is known for and famous for a variety of things such as its iconic Statue of Liberty, exciting Broadway performances, and exclusive shops. The state and city have captivated people all over the globe, and it’s showing no signs of lessening its grip and influence on the rest of the world.
What about New York and the music scene, however? New York and music go hand-in-hand, with some of the biggest bands and musical performances coming from this high-rise city. In 2021, New York is still influencing the music scene.
‘Never Take a Break From Looking Great’ is the fun tagline for Intermission Beauty, a cosmetics line I discovered while visiting BroadwayCon in late January. The line was created by Douglas Otero, a singer, dancer and actor-turned celebrity makeup artist who wanted to create a line of fabulous lipsticks. Douglas also wanted to team-up with Broadway’s finest stars, and bring awareness to the cause of preventing animal cruelty. He decided that the lipstick shade names would be inspired by the vibrancy of the theater’s fiercest Divas, as well as his own love of musicals. After years of rehearsal, the big red curtain finally lifted and the Broadway Diva Seriesfor Intermission Beauty took the stage.
Intermission’s Broadway Diva Series features lipsticks named after, created and hand picked by the Divas themselves. The lipsticks are paraben-free, gluten-free, and made with as few ingredients as possible so they are good for you and good for the environment. Whether you’re the lead, in the ensemble, or behind-the-scenes, you are sure to find a color that will complement your style. Portions of the proceeds from sales of the Broadway Diva Series lipsticks benefit the ASPCA and The Humane Society, pushing the efforts to end cruelty to animals once and for all!
All long-wearing lipsticks are manufactured in the U.S.A.
Above: Matilda, Hairspray, Hamilton and Kinky Boots Are Just a Few of the Gorgeous Shades!
Intermission has also recently introduced a line of organic, all-natural-ingredient facial mists in two varieties: The Enchanted Rose and Under the Sea. Both are beneficially hydrating, with a pure ingredient list unlike other mist products, which are generally made mostly of water, and can contain fragrance or alcohol. The Enchanted Rose is for all skin types while Under the Sea is ideally suited for drier skin types. Both mists will have you glowing in a few minutes time, which is why Intermission suggests misting after cleansing, and before your skincare routine. You may also mist after applying your makeup or in the middle of the day to recharge and refresh.
Read more about Intermission Beauty products, and shop online, by visiting This Link. If you are a retailer with an interest in selling Intermission Beauty products in your store, you can get more information on ordering wholesale by sending your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To many, comedian and actor John Belushistill feels like a contemporary artist — owing to the tenacity with which his work has embedded itself in pop culture — but the fact is that Belushi has been dead for a long time. A friend who accompanied me to the opening-night performance of a new play entitled With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi wasn’t quite two years old in March of 1982, when the hard-partying performer died of an accidental drug overdose in a Hollywood hotel room. But while she wasn’t even born yet when John Belushi broke comedic ground during the first incarnation of Saturday Night Live, and probably didn’t see Animal House until it had been in the can for 20 years, my friend has a conversational knowledge of all his best bits. That’s what it means to be a legend.
Jack Zullo (Far Right) as John Belushi in a Scene from With A Little Help . . . (Photo By K. Bentley)
The story behind The Rise and Fall of John Belushi is seriously overdue for a stage or screen adaptation, and playwright/actor Jack Zullo — who fully embodies Belushi’s manic energy and uncompromising spirit in the title role — admits that it’s been over thirteen years since he was first inspired to work on John Belushi as a character study, and immersed himself in the comedian’s material. What started out as a spec feature film script evolved into this current stage production of With A Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi, which was previously honed through multiple West Coast performances. With a goal of finding a place in the NYC theater scene, Zullo aspires to reverse-engineer the play back into a feature-length script to tell the story of John’s life in narrative form; something that has been attempted by many, but not successfully executed.
With a Little Help opens quietly on a scene in the bungalow at the Chateau Marmont where John Belushi spent his final moments of life, having just fatally overdosed on a combination of heroin and cocaine. As he collapses on a mattress and takes his last breath, a chorus of disembodied voices ring out in the theater, admonishing the reckless thirty-three-year-old for being such a “dumb sonofabitch.” But the tragic tone quickly segues into a high-energy flashback of John, accompanied by his girlfriend Judy and best friend Steve, on a night in 1967 when he attended his first comedy show at Chicago’s The Second City club. John is visibly bursting with creative inspiration as he declares that he has found his life’s calling and intends to pursue a career in comedy.
From there, we follow John Belushi’s rise to prominence as an iconic American entertainer; working his way up from an indie college performer in 1968, to Manhattan in the mid-1970s, where he was part of the infamous National Lampoon Magazine and its Radio Hour, all the way through his four-year stint as one of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live.
The story of Belushi’s quick ascent to pop culture success shines the spotlight on his struggles to maintain control on the excesses afforded a budding star, counterbalanced with his desire to always be ahead of the curve by keeping the work fresh and exciting, and setting trends rather than following them. With a Little Help effectively revisits a time in American TV when the field of comedy was a Wild West for creative invention. John Belushi’s career was a wild ride while it lasted, but it’s not like we don’t already know how the journey ends.
With a Little Help takes its title from the now-legendary Saturday Night Live skit in which Belushi gives an over-the-top impersonation of British singer Joe Cocker’s eccentrically-mannered performance of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” This skit is recreated in the play, as are musical numbers made famous by The Blues Brothers — Belushi’s band with Dan Aykroyd. The production features the terrific Crazy Tomes Band, who provide a live soundtrack, accompanying the many musical numbers in the show, and playing a set of covers before the play starts.
In addition to the great live music, With a Little Help truly becomes a multi-media production, as it incorporates both newly-produced and archival film and video clips, which further the action in ways that would otherwise be impossible, such as when John and friends experience an LSD trip, or when SNL cast members indulge in drug binges that history tells us were common on that set.
The play’s supporting cast of characters includes John Belushi’s devoted wife Judy Jacklin (Jennifer Lieberman, who also appears as Gilda Radner), as well as a who’s who of the comedian ‘friends’ who supported, collaborated with, and cajoled Belushi on his path to fame, such as the National Lampoon’sTony Hendra (Len Rella), Christopher Guest (Benjamin Batchelder), Brian Murray (Artie Brennan, who also play’s Belushi’s close friend Steve Beshekas), Joe Flaherty (Nicolas Dipierro, who also appears as Lorne Michaels) and Dan Aykroyd, portrayed brilliantly by Keith Saltojanes. All the actors are excellent in their handling of multiple roles, but Jack Zullo as Belushi is so spot-on in his timing and physical comedy, I forgot multiple times that I was watching an actor and not Belushi himself.
John Belushi did not get to live a long life. It’s tragic that his comedic legacy also includes the bleak Hollywood cliche of self-destructive behavior, but With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi is less a cautionary tale and more a celebration of and homage to a phenomenally talented individual whose body of work has been, and will continue to be, endlessly influential. Funny, smart, and deeply nostalgia-inducing, With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi is a story whose time is now.
Directed by Levy Lee Simon With a Little Help . . . It’s John Belushi runs through December 22nd only at Theatre 80, located at 80 St. Marks Place, in NYC’s East Village. Tickets are super affordable at just $30 — $40 and are available via With a Little Help Show Dot Com. Showtimes are Thursdays at 7 PM, Fridays & Saturdays at 7 PM and 10 PM, and Sunday Matinees at 3 PM. A portion of ticket sales from the Theatre 80 run will be donated to The Comedians Assistance Fund and Gilda’s Club charities.
I just got back from a vacation trip to Chicago, where I had all kinds of crazy fun, but also found lots of cool stuff to put on this here blog. Once such cool thing is this lobby standee for an upcoming thriller/horror film called 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, which is due to open in theaters on August 16th, 2019. You can infer that it stars a Really Big Shark and assorted unsuspecting victims, but you may not realize that it is also a sequel to a 2017 film also called 47 Meters Down. So clever.
Take a closer look at the lobby standee and you will see there is a place for your two feet marked right in from of the shark’s gaping maw, so that you can stand there and your friends can snap a pic for The Gram of you looking like you are about to be shark food. Shark Attack in the Lobby!
Do you like drinking? I sure do. If you enjoy drinking and you also like going to the theater, maybe you have wished that there was a play where the actors brought cocktails right to your seat for you to enjoy during the show. That would be insane, right? What a great idea! Well, what if I told you that this is not just a beautiful, utopian dream, but that it is already happening right now? Yes, it is true, and this magical event happens at New World Stages in midtown. The show is called The Imbible: a Spirited History of Drinking, and the cherry on the cake is that it all takes place in a bar!