John Black

John Black

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Babbo Hosts Pizza Making Class

Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca Chef Mario LaPosta invites families to learn how to make authentic Neapolitan pizza from a pro.

On Wednesday, February 21st, Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca will host a hands-on pizza-making class for families to attend during February school break. Starting at 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., the afternoon will include a class on what Neapolitan Pizza is, how to make the dough, creation of an individual pizza using a variety of toppings, followed by a meal that includes your own pizza, soda and a variety of gelato for dessert. Kids of all ages are encouraged to come and learn how to make pizza from a certified Pizzaiolo.

Tickets are $12 for kids and $16 for adults. For more information or to make reservations, please visit or contact (617) 421-446-4466.


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Marilyn Manson at HOB

His official website doesn’t give an official bio, so we went to Wikipedia for a definition of Marilyn Manson.

“Brian Hugh Warner (born January 5, 1969), known professionally as Marilyn Manson, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, composer, actor, painter, author, and former music journalist. He is known for his controversial stage personality and image as the lead singer of the band Marilyn Manson, which he co-founded with guitarist Daisy Berkowitz and of which he remains the only constant member. Like other members of the band, his stage name was formed by combining and juxtaposing the names of two American pop cultural icons of the 1960s: actress Marilyn Monroe and criminal Charles Manson.

Manson is best known for records released in the 1990s, most notably Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals, which (along with his public image) earned him a reputation in mainstream media as a controversial figure and negative influence on young people.”


The fact is no ‘definition’ of the artists known as Marilyn Manson does him, or his music, justice. He must be seen, and heard, to be believed.


Marilyn Manson will be at The House of Blues on Feb. 12. Show Starts: 7:00 PM. Prices: $65 - $85.

With the power of gospel and the precision of Broadway, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the undisputed king of mbube, South African a cappella singing. The group came together in the early 1960s and continues to thrill audiences around the world with its strong, proud melodies harmonized in layers of call and response.

In 2017, Ladysmith Black Mambazo released two albums that were both nominated for GRAMMY Awards, a first for a world music group. Songs of PEACE & LOVE for Kids & Parents Around The World was nominated for Best Children's Album. It is very important to the group that their message of peace and love be passed from generation to generation. By recording songs of peace that parents can teach their children, the group hopes to continue this message for decades to come. Their second album of 2017, Shaka Zulu Revisited, was nominated for Best World Music Album.

It is with the deepest gratitude that the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo accept these nominations, which mark their 18th & 19th GRAMMY Award nominations during the past 30 years. Ladysmith Black Mambazo has received GRAMMY Awards four times: in 1988, 2004, 2009, and 2013.

The traditional music sung by Ladysmith Black Mambazo is called isicathamiya and was born in the mines of South Africa in the 1930s. Black workers were taken to mines far away from their families and after a hard six-day work week, the migrants relied on traditions from their rural homelands to keep their spirits alive. A mainstay was the Saturday night singing competition in which male choirs would challenge each other in camp meeting halls. The workers called themselves Cothoza Mfana - "tip toe guys" - a challenge to the performers' ability to practice their dance steps at night without disturbing the camp guards. When the miners returned to their homelands, the tradition returned with them. It soon became a fierce social competition and the highlight of everyone's social calendar.  

Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo took Cothoza Mfana to new heights and soon were forbidden to join the singing competitions entirely. Ladysmith Black Mambazo's name literally means the "Black Axe of Ladysmith," a title the group earned in the 1970s by consistently mowing down rival groups at the competitions throughout South Africa.  

First brought into the international spotlight by Paul Simon's 1987 Graceland tour, Ladysmith Black Mambazo remain one of Africa's most acclaimed artistic groups. With a career that has spanned 50 years, Ladysmith has recorded 40+ albums and sold more than six million records. Its first US album, Shaka Zulu, won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. Since then, Ladysmith has won an additional four Grammy Awards (1988, 2004, 2009, & 2013) and has received a total of 19 Grammy Award nominations. The group has also appeared on numerous television programs and on broadway and their music can be heard in several films including Disney's The Lion King. The film documentary titled On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps To Freedom, the Story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo was nominated for an Academy Award.

The members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo are regarded as South Africa's cultural emissaries at home and around the world. By special invitation from South African President Nelson Mandela, they performed for the Queen of England and the Royal Family at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The group has also performed at two Nobel Peace Prize Ceremonies, South African Presidential inaugurations, the 1996 Summer Olympics, a Muhammad Ali television special, music award shows from around the world, and many other special events. In the summer of 2002, Ladysmith was again asked to represent its nation in London at a celebration for Queen Elizabeth's 50th anniversary as monarch. The group shared the stage with Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Phil Collins.

In 2014, Ladysmith Black Mambazo's founder Joseph Shabalala retired, handing his four sons, who joined the group in 1993, the role of joint leaders. With the passing of his torch, Joseph's son's honor their father and other members of the original group, who have retired or passed away.


World Music/CRASHarts presents Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Sunday, February 11, 3pm at Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge. Tickets are $48, $37, $32, and $28, reserved seating. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at


Psycho Chicken.

World Dance Party.

Life Sucks (And Then You Die)

The last time we saw The Fools they were playing to a sold-out crowd at The Rat in Kenmore Square and lead singer Mike Girard was wearing a cardboard sign – JUST a cardboard sign – that said I’ll Sing for Food.

Or at least that’s how we remember it. It was a long time ago…

Which is why we were so excited to read this blurb on The Cabot Website:

“Mike Girard is the captivating and energetic lead singer and founder of Boston’s legendary band THE FOOLS and he has a new project. Along with Fools guitarist Rich Bartlett, Mike is joined by the lovely backup singers, The Jewels and some of New England’s best musicians in a band called Mike Girard’s Big Swinging Thing!

If you’re looking to rock, get ready for the power of this 20 piece Rock & Roll Big Band doing tunes by the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Billy Idol, The Animals and so much more!”

How can any Boston Music fan NOT want to see that?


Mike Girard’s Big Swinging Thing is at The Cabot on Saturday, February 10. Showtime 8 PM. Tickets start at $22.50

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Liverpool Not Worth the Trip

By John Black

1 star

It’s probably not the reaction that director Paul McGuigan was looking for from audiences watching his new film, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, but it’s hard not to want the film star to do just that as the film plods along.

Written by Matt Greenhalgh and based on a memoir by Peter Turner, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool tells the story of an aging and cancer-stricken Hollywood actress named Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) who decides that she wants to spend her final days rekindling a May/December love affair she had with a much younger man named Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) the last time she was in the city where The Beatles hail from. After a bumpy start, the unlikely couple, whose screen chemistry rates a grade of F-, join the audience in settling in for an hour or so of gauzy flashbacks, old wound opening, teary forgiveness and the strangely unsettling site of Julie Walters wearing an absolutely ghastly wig in her role as young Peter’s mom.

Oddly, about the only thing one remembers a day after watching the movie is the wig…and, perhaps, Bening’s breathy way of reciting her lines (when she’s not being an out and out bitch) which makes her sound like a cheap Marilyn Monroe impersonator who just finished running up a long flight of stairs. That voice, it seems, is supposed to make us (or Bening) harken back to the days when Gloria Grahame made a career on the big screen playing vamps, tramps and other assorted badly scripted B-girls in movies whose titles she drops to whoever is listening. What might have worked in her past and may even help old fans remember who she is when they meet her in the present, however, makes her sound far too vapid in McGuigan’s film. Bening tries her best to balance the banal by giving Gloria a sharper edge when she gets angry at Peter for being nice to her, but it’s way too little and far too late.

As the young man who has lost his heart to a woman old enough to be his mom, Bell brings little to the proceedings beyond a chiseled physique and a love of his own profile (future drinking games will be based on how often he broodingly stares off in the distance whether the scene calls for it or not). His only real job in the movie is to make us believe his character is totally in love with Gloria Grahame and the best he can do is look not bored.

As if he knows his actors aren’t up for the job, McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin, The Acid House) uses a lot of cinematic tricks to make the story visually interesting, including giving many of the scenes the look and feel of a badly shot 1950s Hollywood film, but instead of drawing you into the story they only push you out to the point where you are far more fascinated with the style of the movie than you are of the substance. Unfortunately, there’s too little of both – style and substance – to make the trip to Liverpool worthwhile.


This Friday, be part of a Groundhog Day special event, in which an expanded Chandler Travis Philharmonic (including Dinty Child and Keiichi Hashimoto, plus Dave Harris on tuba) will again be playing one of our favorite instrumentals, "Ivan in Paris", in at least ten completely different versions (including some w vocals and lyrics, and one literally backwards.)  To be capped off by a showing of "Groundhog Day" w Bill Murray, etc.

This show was absolutely mind-blowing last year -highly recommended!


The Annual Groundhog Day Bash w. the Chandler Travis Philharmonic & special guests and Corporate Punk, plus cameo appearances by Jennifer Kimball, Kami Lyle, and by Shaun Wortis as The King! at the Once Ballroom Lounge (156 Highland Ave., Somerville; 617 285-0167), 8pm.


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Disco Phantom at Club Cafe

The Daggers' are back with their fourth installment of the Drag Musical Extravaganzas: Phantom of the Disco! Everyone's favorite cat-lovin', pinot grigio-drinkin', absent-minded Narrator, Elizabeth Battey graces the stage once more to give you the greatest love story ever told. But she's in big trouble, gang! Christine Daae has died and is buried in the back of the discotheque. All Battey is left with is a mannequin dressed as Sarah Brightman and hopes that you, the faithful audience, will sing that famous soprano's part! All drag, part sing-a-long, a mix of Donna Summer and Bee Gees, and Neon Calypso in rollerskates, The Phantom of the Disco promises to be Hot Stuff.


Staged in Club Cafe's Moonshine Room Feb 1-March 2. Food and drinks will be served before and during performance but are NOT included in the ticket price.

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Enter to Win The Deuce

Catch up on the show that The Wall Street Journal calls “a spectacularly appealing enterprise,” when The Deuce is available for Digital Download on November 27, 2017 and on Blu-RayTM and DVD February 13, 2018.

And thanks to HBO Home Entertainment, you may be able to win your own copy of The Deuce. All you need to do is send an email to Boston Event Guide and you’ll be eligible. It’s that simple.

Here’s all you need to know about The Deuce:

Set during the early 1970s in New York City's Times Square, The Deuce, starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, gives viewers an up-close look at the gritty world of sex and crime, as the porn industry begins its climb to legitimacy, cultural permanence, and billion-dollar profitability.

This eight-episode series, which has a 93% Certified Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, is “Vibrant…relentlessly interesting.” (The New York Times). The DVD and Blu-RayTM include exciting bonus content including exclusive audio commentaries from the cast and crew, including James Franco (Oscar® nominee for 127 Hours), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Oscar® nominee for Crazy Heart), and David Simon (The Wire, Treme, Show Me a Hero), cast interviews on this unique period in history, and more. The Blu-rayTM and DVD release also include a free Digital Download copy.

Boasting a fine ensemble cast and executive produced by David Simon, George Pelecanos, Nina K. Noble and James Franco, The Deuce chronicles the rise of the porn industry that began in New York City in 1971-72, driven by the gradual legalization of porn and a politically motivated effort to "clean up" Times Square. Seizing the chance to cash in on the nascent porn business are a vivid assortment of characters, including: Vincent Martino (James Franco), a bartender with vision and connections; Frankie Martino (Franco again), Vincent's identical twin, a dangerously freewheeling counterpart to his entrepreneurial brother; Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a self-made, on-the-street sex worker eying a new career in porn filmmaking; pimps C.C. (Gary Carr) and Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe); young prostitutes Darlene (Dominique Fishback) and Lori (Emily Meade); midtown cop Chris Alston (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.); newspaper reporter Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul); mob capo Rudy Pipilo (Michael Rispoli); disillusioned college student Abby Parker (Margarita Levieva); and others.


Digital Download, Blu-ray™ & DVD Bonus Features Include:


The Deuce in Focus- Delve inside The Deuce with Michelle MacLaren, James Franco and Roxann Dawson as they talk about bringing the show to life.

The Wild West: New York in the Early '70s- Head back in time in this featurette that focuses on the frontier of the pornography business--New York City in the early 1970s--with the cast and crew of The Deuce. Creators David Simon and George Pelecanos plus James Franco and his co-stars open up about this unique period in NYC history as porn moved from the street to the mainstream screen.


Blu-ray™ & DVD Exclusive Bonus Features Include:

Audio Commentaries- Commentaries on Episode 1 and Episode 8 with cast and crew including David Simon (Co-Creator/Executive Producer), George Pelecanos (Co-Creator/Executive Producer), Nina Kostroff Noble (Executive Producer), Michele MacLaren (Director), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Actor/Producer) and James Franco (Actor/Executive Producer).


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The Phantom Returns

The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé.

Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Christine's marriage to Raoul is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them.

In a final bid to win back Christine’s love, the Phantom lures her, Raoul, and their young son Gustave, from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island… not knowing what is in store for them…


Love Never Dies is at the Boston Opera House through February 11.

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The Bellas are Back in Pitch Perfect 3

Now graduated from college, the fabulous Bellas of Barden University are back for one last call in Pitch Perfect 3. Beca, Fat Amy and the rest of the Bellas are off to face a post a cappella champion world in the high-spirited closing act to the franchise that sparked a worldwide phenomenon. Pitch Perfect 3 arrives on Digital on March 1, 2018 and Blu-ray™, DVD, On Demand and and via the all-new digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on March 20, 2018 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Filled with all-new musical performances, a hilarious gag reel, never-before-seen deleted footage and more, the exclusive behind-the-scenes bonus features make Pitch Perfect 3 a must-own film.

Now graduated from college, realizing it takes more than a cappella to get by, all the Bellas return in the final chapter in the beloved series. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there are no job prospects for making music with only your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for a European USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

Oscar® nominee Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect series, Up in the Air) Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect series, How to be Single), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Pitch Perfect 2), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect series) Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect series, The Help), Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect series, TV’s “The Patriot”), Ester Dean (Pitch Perfect series), Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect series), Chrissie Fit (Pitch Perfect series), Kelley Jakle (Pitch Perfect series, 42), Shelley Regner (Pitch Perfect series), Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect series, Hunger Games series) and John Michael Higgins (Pitch Perfect series,  TV’s “Great News”) all return and are joined by all-new cast members including John Lithgow (Netflix’s “The Crown,”), Ruby Rose ( John Wick: Chapter 2, Amazon’s “Orange is the New Black”) and award-winning producer/musician DJ Khaled. Returning to produce Pitch Perfect 3 is Paul Brooks (My Big Fat Greek Wedding series, Pitch Perfect series) of Gold Circle Entertainment and Max Handelman & Elizabeth Banks of Brownstone Productions, with Trish Sie (Step Up All In) directing the heart-warming musical comedy.


Competition Crescendo – In this featurette we break down the riff-off scene, starting in pre-production in the recording studio and moving into production. We’ll also discuss the Bellas’ competition: EverMoist, Saddle Up, DJ Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz.

Don’t Mess with Rebel – Rebel Wilson trained with stunts coordinator, Jennifer Badger, to prefect her many stunts that we see throughout the film. In this featurette, we’ll catch a glimpse of Rebel’s training and discuss the most bad-ass stunt of all – Rebel taking down four grown men in order to save the Bellas.

The Headliner: DJ Khaled – We check in with cast and filmmakers to hear their reactions on the music producer/personality being brought on, how he fits into the story and the love he has for the Bellas.

The Final Note: John and Gail – Everyone’s favorite Talk-a-pella podcasters are back, combining their resources to produce an exclusive d’aca’mentary following the beloved classic Bellas. We discuss their far-fetched endeavor with the cast and filmmakers to better understand our favorite aca-duo.

Just Because He’s a Bad Guy – The cast and filmmakers were overjoyed to learn that legendary actor, John Lithgow was joining the Pitch Perfect family, and he did not disappoint! In this piece, we’ll witness how Rebel and John are two peas in a pod, making their on-screen chemistry as father and daughter truly sincere.

"Freedom! ’90 x Cups" Official Music Video


Deleted Scene

Gag Reel

New Musical Performances

Fat Amy & Fergus Casino Duet

The Bellas: "See You Smile" Lullaby

A Cappella Action – In this piece, we break down the scene starting with Fergus betraying Fat Amy and kidnapping the Bellas, through the performance and wrapping up with Rebel Wilson as she performs the stunt of falling through the ceiling.

The Women of Pitch Perfect 3 – With Elizabeth Banks, Trish Sie, and an all-female cast, the Pitch Perfect franchise is breaking down stereotypes and industry norms left and right. In this piece, we learn why that’s so important throughout the development and production of Pitch Perfect 3.

The Final Performance – In this heart-warming piece, fans will witness the genuine love and sisterhood between the Bellas both on and off camera as they get a behind-the-scenes look at the emotional wrap of the film and production.

Hollywood of the South – Hollywood may be the “Entertainment Capital of the World” but Atlanta is a close second - morphing into a metropolis for film productions and the cast and crews couldn’t be happier. We hear from them about the hospitality, versatility and southern welcome they experienced during their stay.

Extended Musical Performances

Evermoist: "How a Heart Unbreaks"

Young Sparrow / DJ Dragon Nutz: "You Got It"

Saddle Up: "Ex's and Oh's"