Flagpole Radio Café Press Release
NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS
August 20, 2009
NEWTOWN CULTURAL ARTS COMMISSION PRESENTS
THE SEASON TWO PREMIERE OF
THE FLAGPOLE RADIO CAFÉ
TO BE PERFORMED IN THE EDMOND TOWN HALL MAIN THEATRE
GUEST ARTIST R&B SENSATION
WILL PERFORM AT SEASON OPENER
For information call 364-0898
NOW AVAILABLE ON-LINE
Newtown, CT - the
Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce the beginning of Season Two of The Flagpole Radio Café on
Saturday, September 12 in the Edmond Town Hall Theatre at 7pm. Rhythm and Blues sensation Vaneese Thomas will be the Guest
Artist. Ticket prices for this
performance are $15. Reservations can be
made online by visiting the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission home page at www.newtownartscommission.org
and clicking on the Flagpole Radio Café link. If further information is needed,
please call 364-0898.
Music Director Jim Allyn noted, “We’re thrilled to have the talented Vaneese Thomas performing at the
premiere of our second season. She is an
extraordinary R&B singer and the band is very excited to back up her vocals.
The audience is in for a great evening.”
Born in Memphis Tennessee,
the daughter of R&B legend Rufus Thomas, Vaneese Thomas has cultivated her own style by blending all the
influences of her background including R&B, gospel, blues and jazz. Regarded by many industry insiders as an
accomplished performer, songwriter, producer and actress, Vaneese Thomas is above all a vocalist extraordinaire. Throughout her rich career, Ms. Thomas has worked with an array of
internationally known performers including Sting, Luciano Pavarotti, Stevie
Wonder, Natalie Cole, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony,
Chaka Kahn, Luther Vandross, Joe Cocker, k.d. lang, Jonathan Butler, Jewel,
Celine Dion, Joan Osborne, Annie Lennox and Patti Austin. She has produced recordings, created vocal
arrangements or written songs for Austin as well as Freddie Jackson, Bob James,
Larry Coryell and Melba Moore.
Geffen Records released Vaneese,
which included the Top Ten R&B hit “Let’s Talk It Over,” followed by Many Voices in 1993. Ms.
Thomas’ movie soundtrack credits include Mighty Aphrodite, The First
Wives Club and the Oscar nominated Seraglio
among others. In 1995, Diana Ross
scored a Top Ten hit in the UK
with “One Shining Moment,” a song written by Vaneese. In 1999, Ms.
Thomas’ When My Back’s Against the
Wall, a gospel crossover record, was released on her own Peaceful Waters
Music label. Billboard Magazine hailed the record as, “A small label masterpiece
that begs for attention from savvy majors.”
to 1996, Ms. Thomas appeared as Grace the Bass on the PBS
series Shining Time Station, and
in 1997 was recruited to be the singing and speaking voice of Clio, Goddess of History in the Disney
production Hercules. Her other TV appearances include The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Rosie O’Donnell Show and NBC’s Today.
The Flagpole Radio Café is
an ongoing variety show produced by Newtown
residents Jim Allyn, Martin Blanco and
Barbara Gaines, in conjunction with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission.
Returning to the Flagpole Radio Café is music
director Jim Allyn, musicians Rick Brodsky, Dick Neal, Grammy
Award-winning Stacy Philips, host and guitarist Chris Teskey, and performers Martin
Blanco, Barbara Gaines, Jennifer
Rogers and David Wheeler.
Music Director Jim Allyn’s music roams the landscape of American
roots, rock, country, blues and Celtic music.
A seasoned stage performer, songwriter, and studio musician, “he plays a
lot of good bluegrass too,” according to the legendary Bill Monroe. His intuitive
songwriting and singing are matched by his freewheeling improvisations on
guitar, mandolin, piano, and harmonica.
A “mandolinist extraordinaire” according to the Danbury News-Times, he has performed with Arlo Guthrie, Bela Fleck,
Chris Hillman of the Byrds, Newgrass Revival, Vassar Clements, and many
others. His song The Colors recently
won first prize in the Acoustic Alternative category of the 2008 International
Acoustic Music Awards. Another
original, We Got the Mo, has garnered
rave reviews and tens of thousands of views on YouTube. He is featured on recordings by many artists,
including Grammy-winning Dobro player Stacy
Phillips and singer/songwriter Terence Martin. With Terence Martin, he co-wrote and played
on the title track to the CD Familiar
Mysteries which is one of the annual CDs issued by the Garland Appeal in
memory of Linda McCartney. Mr. Allyn is also prominently featured
on the 2008 album Steel and Stone by
based band Goldrush.
Newtown Cultural Arts Commission member Martin Blanco produces and directs the The Flagpole Radio Café. Mr. Blanco has been a stay-at-home parent for
almost a decade. Prior to parenthood, he worked as an arts administrator, stage
director, teacher and dramaturg for cultural institutions such as the
Huntington Theater Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater
Center, Management Consultants for the Arts, the National Endowment for the
Arts, Belmont Italian American Playhouse, Boston University and American University. His current freelance project has been
producing and directing a delightful comedy called Irish Authors Held Hostage,
which enjoyed a successful run this summer in Washington, DC.
Blanco is a graduate of the Yale
School of Drama.
The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission was created by a town ordinance
to stimulate, facilitate, coordinate and cooperate with existing artists and
arts organizations in order to further the development of the cultural arts in Newtown. The
Commission began its work in June of 2007 and meets monthly. The current Newtown Cultural Arts Commission comprises the following Newtown residents: Commission Chairperson Jennifer Johnston,
Recording Secretary Donna Mangiafico, Treasurer Linda Watson, Town Liaison Debbie Aurelia, Martin Blanco, Emily
Howard, Joseph Grasso, Robert Kaiser and Jennifer Rogers. Anyone interested in filling vacancies on the
Commission or joining the Auxiliary Board should contact the First Selectman’s
Office in Town Hall at 203.270.4201.
The Flagpole Radio Café will be performed on September 12th
at 7pm at the the Edmond
Town Hall, 45 Main Street, Newtown,
CT. Tickets cost $15. There will also be
performances on October 24, December 5 and three dates tba in the winter and
spring of 2010.