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You Need to Know About This Band: Sleeperstar

25 Sep

Last night, September 24th, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the Sleeperstar show at Diesel in the South Side. I also got to sit down with the guys before their concert – at Primanti Brothers, nonetheless – and chat with them over food about the band, their creative process, and their music.

If you don’t know about Sleeperstar, it’s time to get familiar. Hailing from Texas, Sleeperstar is an alternative-rock/pop band comprised of  Chris Pearson (Vocals, Guitar, Piano), Nick Box (Vocals, Lead Guitar, Piano), Jake Lester (Vocals, Piano, Synth, Keyboards), Brandon Rosas on Bass and Shaun Menary on Drums. They’ve played with the likes of Carbon Leaf, Bowling for Soup, Vertical Horizon, Owl City, and even John Mayer, and describe their music as being inspired by U2, Third Eye Blind, Coldplay, and Muse – among others.

These guys are no hacks. All of them have musical background dating back to, well, their childhood days.

Pearson says that both his father and grandpap directed orchestras and choir, and that he grew up, “immersed in music.” At the time, coming from a musical family seemed more of a curse than a blessing, as Chris longed to focus on sports and thought that singing was kind of lame. However, he continued singing in his church choir (his parents told him that “he’d someday thank them”) and, by junior year of high school, became inspired to stick with the music route when he started playing acoustic guitar after hearing a friend perform a Guster tune.

Drummer Shaun Menary also knew from a very young age that he’d be a musician. He has quite literally played drums almost his entire life, and was inspired by his father who also played. He began to really get serious around 8th grade and, according to the rest of the band, is one hell of a drummer. (I can attest to the same, from a fan’s point of view!)

Jake Lester, a whiz on the keyboards, began playing piano at the age of 5, quit, and felt compelled to play again because of his father’s band, “Doctor Doctor” (which, was actually made up of ALL DOCTORS….with a ‘guest lawyer’ now and then!) Musicality was in his genes and that exposure helped him realize that he enjoyed what they did, and that he wanted to someday play in a band. His favorite part? “How people reacted to the music and to what they were doing.” He and Nick Box, lead guitarist of Sleeperstar, grew up together, went to the same church, and later, went on to college together.

Nick, like Jake, began piano lessons at the tender age of 5. He says that he would “walk up to pianos and just begin playing around, trying to pick up melodies.” At age 14, he found his love for the guitar, and joined the church band. In college (with Lester) he began to write songs.

The bass player, Brandon Rosas, was unfortunately stuck in Texas for the Pittsburgh show, as he was in a wedding, so I didn’t get to talk with him. However, the group was able to pull an original member to help fill in for a few shows – and they’re so good, that you really couldn’t have heard the difference.

Additionally, the camaraderie and “vibe” with these guys was awesome. You can tell that they’re at tightknit group, and always looking out for the greater good of the band. Even I, an outsider looking in, could sense a type of brotherhood that, combined with their mega-talent, could potentially catapult them to superstardom, as long as nothing gets in the way  and clouds their judgment.

It doesn’t seem that would be a problem. All of these guys seemed incredibly kind, humble, and down-to-earth, with disarming charm and a great sense of humor. (In this industry, it doesn’t hurt to have the ability to NOT take yourselves TOO seriously! It seems as though these boys have their heads on straight – a rarity in todays’ world.)

When we went to Primanti’s, they all decided to try out the famed sandwiches, Pittsburgh-style, and, complimented Pittsburgh multiple times, calling it a “beautiful” city. They’ve been here before, playing at Club Cafe and FATE Ultralounge, but seemed particularly amped about last night’s show at Diesel….and it’s no wonder: they’ve worked hard to get to where they are.

They all have a pretty equal share in the creative process. Lester describes them as, “lightening rods” – any one of them can be struck, at any time, by an awesome idea. Typically, if one of the guys comes up with an idea for a song, he’ll present it to the others, making each track a collaborative effort. As Chris explained, “Some of us are more inclined to words. Some of us are more inclined to music first. Our brains work in different ways, and we’re all a part of the writing process when it comes to our music.”

This respect for one another and each man’s unique talents is what helps hold them together. When I asked if they ever bickered, or got sick of touring together, the response was, to paraphrase, “not really.” Nick says that when it comes down to it, it’s “kind of like a marriage, we have our ups and downs, and when you’re traveling with people day in and day out, you tend to notice flaws. But, when it all comes down to it, I wouldn’t ever want to be in a group with any other people.” Jake chimed in that, “if we argue, we always know that we WANT to understand one another. We strive to enrich each other and to hold each other up.”

The bond is apparent because, when this group of guys is on stage, they truly come alive.

Their set, which began at 8pm, included original songs from their album, “Just Another Ghost” but also included an AWESOME cover of Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind (New York)” as well as a mash-ups of their own songs with Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” and B.o.B’s “Airplanes.” Additionally, they covered “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, during which they invited opening act – local band 13AM – to join them on stage.

My favorite song of theirs has to be Texas Rain – but , that being said, their whole album positively rocks. They definitely put me in mind of OneRepublic or Coldpay – two of my absolute favorite bands.

If you missed last night’s show, you missed out (especially because of the part where, halfway through their set, they gave a SHOUT-OUT to Glitzburgh!! w00t!) but – fear not: you can buy their album on iTunes and can also order online at their website: http://www.sleeperstar.com

I predict big things for these great guys.

CHECK ‘EM OUT! … I’m not ‘encouraging’ – I am ‘demanding!’   🙂

@Sleeperstar on Twitter

Click here to find Sleeperstar on Facebook

Visit their MySpace page by clicking here.

I’ll leave you with some photos. Video coming soon!

(Oh, and the fact that there is a Pug on their website makes them EXTRA cool in my book!)

Psssst… here’s a tweet to us, from the band, pre-show: http://twitter.com/Sleeperstar/status/25447411918

“Interview w/ Ashley & her company @Glitzburgh and show tonight at @Dieselpgh!!! We go on at 9pm, gonna be a hot one!!!” ~ @Sleeperstar

Photos:

Me with Sleeperstar

With my Sleeperstar "Just Another Ghost" CD to listen to on the way home!

Yvette and I at the Sleeperstar show (she's who turned me on to this fabtastic band!)

The guys, post-interview, pre-show!

During the show


SLEEPERSTAR

Celebrity Encounters – Check out Glitzburgh Celeb Photos on Facebook

25 Sep

Celebrity Encounters – Check out Glitzburgh’s Celeb Photos on Facebook.

Pics here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=30508&id=105096099524875&ref=mf

Enjoy photos of Glee’s Kevin McHale, Jessica Simpson, NSync, Franco Harris, Hines Ward, MTV stars, Nicole Scherzinger, and more! 🙂

A few of my favorites, below:

with JC Chasez of NSync, 2001

with Martha Stewart, 2010

With Jessica Simpson, 2003

With Nicole Scherzinger, 2007

With Steelers Legend Franco Harris, 2009

With Steelers MVP Hines Ward, 2005

With actor Danny Masterson, 2007

Check out the Facebook link for about 35 total celeb pics 🙂

ENJOY!

Pics here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=30508&id=105096099524875&ref=mf

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That’s Haute – Pittsburgh Fashion Week, 2010! Join the Fashion Fun!

25 Sep

I’m like a little kid at Christmas. SO EXCITED.

Monday marks the first day of the first-ever Pittsburgh Fashion Week – and Glitzburgh will be in attendance at all of the shows and events, bringing you all of the news, gossip, and fashionable fun straight from PFW!

Want to learn more about Pittsburgh Fashion Week? Here’s the schedule:

Monday’s event on 9/27 is Runway: Clearing for Takeoff – Destination, Fashion Oz! in the South Side Works. The show starts at 7pm, appetizers at Tusca beforehand at 6pm!

On Tuesday, 9/28, join PFW at the John Heinz History Center, for International Designer Zang Toi at 7pm. After the show, head over to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for “An Evening with Zang Toi” for a private cocktail hour from 9-11pm for ticket holders of Toi’s fashion event.

Wednesday, 9/29,  is my birthday. Oh, a far as FASHION WEEK goes – join us at the John Heinz History Center for the PINK! Fashion Show benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The show begins at 7pm and is dedicated to breast cancer awareness.

I’ve Been Framed is the fashion event on Thursday, 9/30. Attend this trunk show at Eyeopolis at the Waterfront, where you’ll enjoy a Haute Eyewear Trunk Show with Chic Fashions.

Friday, October 1st features a host of fashion events. Enjoy Cajoli, Capriccio, & Carabella at 6pm, Judy Originals and Crazy Hot Clothes at 7pm, and Petite & Plus Perfection at 8pm, at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center: Pittsburgh, in Green Tree.

This fashion extravaganza continues on Saturday, Oct. 2nd. Saturday will be a day full of fashion shows! First up is Laurie B. Allen & Katie Wolfrum at 2 pm, followed by Lana Naumeyer at 3 pm, and then Brian David at 4 pm, Pandora at 5 pm, MarKav at 6 pm, Spoiled Chics the Boutique at 7pm and, last but not least, Eco-chic Custom Designs and Charity Auction at 8 pm. All of these shows will take place at the Ramada Green Tree, as well.

Pittsburgh Fashion Week wraps up on Sunday, October 3rd, with a Fashion Hall of Fame Luncheon at the Omni William Penn Hotel from 1pm-3pm.

Read more about Pittsburgh Fashion Week – a groundbreaking couture event, here.

To order tickets, click here.

See you there!

Pssst…. PS: You can follow Pittsburgh Fashion Week on Twitter at @PghFashionWeek and also find them on Facebook, here.

Movie Review – An “A” for Easy A!

25 Sep

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending an advance screening of the new movie, Easy A.

One never knows what to expect when going to a “sneak peak” because, typically, we have no “word-of-mouth” reviews from “actual” people to base our expectations on.

Nonetheless, I must say, though, that I give Easy A an “A” grade!

Yes, it was, at points, quite predictable and some of the jokes fell flat. But, overall, the humor was fresh, the story was, in some twisted way, timeless. Amanda Bynes is a great supporting character (I guess she didn’t “retire” from acting, after all?) and Emma Stone and Penn Badgley had adorable chemistry.

In fact, Emma Stone made the movie! Reminicscient of a not-yet-ruined Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls, she was charming, disarming, quirky, and cute…all the while kind of being an oddly vulnerable badass. I’d go so far as to say that Emma Stone will be the new “It Girl” in Hollywood. She already seems to be an up-and-coming “darling” and I wish her a career that goes far. (I just hope she won’t meet the same fate as in-jail-again LiLo.)

The jist of Easy A is this: It is a story that’s semi-inspired by “The Scarlet Letter.” A relatively goody-goody girl (Olive, played by Stone) says she lost her virginity to be “cool.”  She then manipulates the rumor mill for her own social advancement, “pretending” to sleep with guys to keep her reputation, all the while wearing a scarlet “A” emblazoned on her wardrobe, not caring if she loses friends – or self-respect – along the way.

She lives in the mindset that many people share: that it’s better to be talked about, than to have no one notice you at all. Of course, the plan backfires.

But will Olive redeem herself? I guess you’ll have to see for yourself.

Your Time Is Now – Attend the 2010 Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women: October 14th, 2010

25 Sep

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 14th, 2010 from 7:30am-5pm – you won’t be sorry! The Pennsylvania Commission for Women and Governor Ed Rendell are presenting the annual Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Join 5,000 women as they come together for this awesome event, held this year in Pittsburgh.

The conference features a multitude of esteemed keynote speakers, workshops, exhibits, and networking opportunities, and always draws a large crowd of diverse, independent, and empowered women from all walks of life. At this year’s event you can learn about building up your resume and partake in mentor match services. You can attend a career fair, learn how to build your leadership skills, and even learn how to utilize social media to build your brand!

One seminar teaches mothers how to raise happy , healthy, balanced, and joyful children in today’s world, which so often tends to dwell on negativity. Another will tell you how to take your small business from a home-based or independent company to a larger, scalable enterprise.

Come, learn about money management, negotiation skills, planning for retirement, and “reinventing your life” – it is NEVER too late to make a change! Also, make sure to sit in on “How to Take Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Others” – – something EVERY woman needs to learn about!

The Conference will also feature a session for young women – junior and senior high school girls, and, of course, the Keynote Luncheon.

There are some amazing keynote speakers at this year’s Conference. Keynote speakers at the event include Ellen Alemany, Kelly Corrigan, Eve Ensler, Jessica Herrin, Dr. Mae C. Jemison, and Tory Johnson. They all have impressive resumes and diverse backgrounds, and will surely be entertaining, interesting, and enlightening – not to mention, inspiring! Ellen Alemany is chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and RBS Americas. Kelly Corrigan is the author of “The Middle Place,” a memoir about that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap, which spent six months on The New York Times bestseller list. Her most recent book, “Lift,” is written in the form of a letter to her children and weaves together three true stories of adults willing to chance terrible loss in search of the joys of raising a family, and also created a video called, “Transcending.” Eve Ensler is a playwright, performer and activist. She is the award-winning author of “The Vagina Monologues,” which has been published in 45 languages and performed in more than 130 countries. Jessica Herrin is the Founder and CEO of Stella & Dot. She is also a serial entrepreneur, who previously co-founded WeddingChannel.com. She’s been recognized for her passions, skills, and accomplishments by Oprah’s O Magazine, Fortune, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, InStyle Magazine, Glamour Magazine, and more! Dr. Mae C. Jemison is founder of the technology consulting firm, The Jemison Group, Inc. that integrates the critical impact of socio-cultural issues when designing and implementing technologies. She was also the first woman of color in the WORLD to go into space, when she worked with NASA and flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Tory Johnson has worked for ABC and NBC news, and now is a consultant on Good Morning America. She also has her own company, “Women for Hire,” and has published 5 books, one of which was a New York Times Bestseller!

Other reputable and intriguing speakers include Governor Edward G. Rendell, Marjorie Osterlund Rendell, Diane Holder, Sally Wiggin, Deborah Acklin, Jennifer Antowiak, Karen Marchi, Mary Anne Papale, and many, many more! (View an entire list at: http://www.pagovernorsconferenceforwomen.org/2010-speakers.htm)

Tickets are still available! Order online by clicking here!

There truly is something for every woman – and for any men who wish to get an insight to the world of women! Whether you’re a mom, a career woman, neither, or both, ladies, you should treat yourself to this day of fun, education, and networking at the PA Governor’s Conference for Women!

Find them on Facebook here.

Follow then on Twitter at @PennWomen.

Visit the Official Website, here: http://www.pagovernorsconferenceforwomen.org/

See you there!