It's tough trying to compete for editorial space against chocolate-covered bacon and deep-fried Kool Aid balls—just two of the artery cloggers offered at the 2012 Eastern States Exposition.
But with the likes of Alan Jackson, Jeff Dunham and Bill Medley on his stages this year, Big E talent buyer John Juliano, Jr. has again managed to grab a few headlines for his efforts, too.
"It's Alan's first year at the Expo, and by the looks of the ticket sales, it won't be his last," Juliano notes. (Jackson's show takes place Sept. 30 and is one of three separate ticketed events this year. The others are Billy Currington, Sept. 28, and comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, Sept. 29). "And what can I say about Jeff, other than the fact that his show is already sold out? What a great talent, who has literally ascended from his local performances at the Hu Ke Lau to selling out arenas."
There will also be nightly entertainment that comes free with paid E admission, with acts ranging from the U.S. Freestyle Motocross National Championship Series (Sept. 14-16) and "I Like It Like That"-ers Hot Chelle Rae (Sept. 21) to Rodney Atkins (Sept. 23) and The Righteous Brothers' Bill Medley (Sept. 14-16). For schedules, ticket information and more, kindly point your browser to thebige.com.
In other news, LGBT Western Massachusetts executive director Suzanne Seymour checked in to report that she is thrilled with the caliber of talent her organization was able to hook for the 2012 Rainbow Riverfest (rainbowriverfest.org), occurring Sept. 21-22 at the Holyoke Canoe Club.
Headlining the weekend-long affair are none other than Melissa Ferrick and Bitch. The former has been featured in Curve, Go and Out magazines, the latter in Showtime's The L Word and the movie Short Bus.
Other artists include America's Got Talent finalist Dani Shay as well as Sister Funk and Karen Grenier.
"The aim of our festival is bringing together people from all walks of life, including young people, who we hope are able to safely experience the LGBTQA community for the first time," says Seymour of the Rainbow connection between the high-profile performances and the event's purpose. "[We] blend music and comedy with unique concepts like a healing Zen Zone for body, mind and spirit, as well as a Youth Tent where young people can connect through innovative workshops and uniting activities."
Riverfest will officially kick off at Northampton's Academy of Music Sept. 21 with a screening of Wish Me Away, starring country-Western singer Cheryl Wright.
"Cheryl showed great courage in coming out as a lesbian at the height of her career in the country music industry, an industry that has not been supportive of LGBT rights," says Academy Executive Director Debra J'Anthony. Rainbow Riverfest tickets are $17.50 in advance/$25 at the gate for adults and $5 advance/$10 at the gate for children ages 13-20, with children under 12 free.
On another front, the Valley's own All That Remains has been tapped to tour with some animated characters, to say the least.
The local metal-meisters will be alternating opening slots on Adult Swim's (adultswim.com/dethtour) new Dethlok tour, featuring the band from the popular Metalocalypse show.
As in past tours, co-creator Brendon Small will help bring his animated Dethlok band to life by assuming guitar and vocal duties with veterans Gene Hoglan on drums, Bryan Beller on bass and Mike Keneally on guitar. Dethlok's Nathan Explosion, William Murderface, Skwisgaar Swkigelf, Pickles and Toki Wartooth are also slated to join the live band via a big screen in brand new animated scenes.
The tour kicks off Oct. 30 in Virginia, with the closest local play thus far being Worcester's Palladium Nov. 4. Michigan decibel-deliverers The Black Dahlia Murder open all shows.
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