On Stage: Dorothy is seeing a higher profile these days

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Dorothy

Dorothy, who recently released her album “28 Days in the Valley,” has been a very busy performer this year. In the last few months, the album and the lead single “Flawless” took off – and so did Dorothy.

The talented singer from Los Angeles completed one tour, almost immediately headed out on another tour and has been sprinkling in some festival dates along the way.

On May 19, Dorothy will be back in the area to perform as one of the acts at MMR*B*Q, the all-star concert BB&T Pavilion (1 Harbour Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey, 856-365-1300, http://www.bbtpavilion.org) featuring Alice In Chains, Ghost, and Stone Temple Pilots.

On May 12, Dorothy performed in Philly as the opening act at Greta Van Fleet’s sold-out show at the Electric Factory. Back in January, Dorothy packed the house at the Theatre of the Living Arts with her own show.

“This is Greta van Fleet’s tour, so a lot of the shows are sold out,” said Dorothy, during a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Baltimore, Maryland. “We just got off a two-month headlining tour of our own.”

Playing to full rooms with Van Fleet and performing in front of massive audiences at festival shows has proven to be a great way for Dorothy to raise her profile.

“We share a lot of fans with Greta Van Fleet,” said Dorothy. “And, we’ve been getting good response when we play the big festival shows. Even if we only have a 30-minute set at times, we just go out and play our best – and that’s been good enough.”

Dorothy is both the singer’s name – Dorothy Martin — and the name of her band.

Dorothy was built around Martin, a singer who was born in Budapest but raised in San Diego. As a child, she started singing early and eventually made her way to Los Angeles. Rolling Stone named Dorothy one of the best 50 Best New Artists of 2014 and soon after, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation signed Dorothy.

Martin recently put together a powerful new band including guitarist Owen Barry, guitarist Leroy Wulfmeier, bassist Eliot Lorango, and drummer Jason Ganberg.

“28 Days in the Valley” has as all of the intense bluesy, gritty rock-and-roll that attracted listeners to her 2016 album “Rockisdead.” But, the new album is fueled by less metal and powered more by California desert rock vibe — and has the thrust developed through layers of emotion.

According to Dorothy, “This was a spiritual journey and very healing, and, because of that, it is an unapologetically honest record. Somehow, Linda Perry knew I had more to give as a singer and writer. I used to hide behind the tough girl sound, but she taught me that there is power in my vulnerability and that’s what you get on this record.”

Perry, who is both Dorothy’s producer and manager, is singer-songwriter and record producer. She first became known as the lead singer and primary songwriter of 4 Non Blondes and has since founded two record labels and composed and produced hit songs for several other artists.

“We made the new album at Linda’s studio in Sherman Oaks,” said Dorothy, referring to Perry’s studio in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. “That’s why we called it ‘28 Days in the Valley.’

“We did a little bit of pre-production. The band and I wrote and jammed. I also wrote some songs with Linda. We recorded everything live with the band. Then, I went back in the studio and did some more vocals. Linda’s studio is like a museum with so many great guitars and microphones.

“When I was putting the band together, Linda and I sat down and discussed how to do it. She said she had some good guys we could use. I had wanted Eliot as my bass player. And, I had seen Leroy play at The Piano Bar. Then, we got Owen to tour with us. The band is really tight. They fit well together – and they’re great people.”

The emotional intensity in the album’s lyrics came from real life situations Dorothy had been going through.

“I started a band because therapy didn’t work,” said Dorothy. “I always wanted to be a singer. I came from a little town that was oppressive – San Marcos, California. I moved to L.A. 10 years ago. I did a little film and TV background work, but I didn’t have much success with music at first.

“I fell down and got up again — a number of times. I had given up on music. I moved in with someone who turned out to be abusive. My dad was sick and passed away from cancer. Then, this guy kicked me out of the house a week later, so I moved in with my mom.

“I started writing songs. It gave me hope and kept me going. I needed to keep performing. That was what most gave me hope – gave purpose to my life.”

Dorothy’s debut album “Rockisdead” was released in June 2016. “28 Days in the Valley” was released in March 18. Both LPs are on the Roc Nation label.

“The first album was a completely different record,” said Dorothy. “It had a lot of tracks with samples — and was more metal-based. The new one is more dynamic – like a Stones record. I wanted to do something daring and different. I like to refer to it as ‘psych desert rock.’

“With our live shows now, if we’re headlining, the set list is 50/50 between the two albums. On this run with Greta Van Fleet, we’re doing only songs from the new album.”

Video link for Dorothy – https://youtu.be/P1O4FGK0WT8.

The show at the BB&T Pavilion, which will start at 12:30p.m., also features Alice In Chains, Ghost, In the Presence of Wolves, Jonathan Davis, Radkey, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Record Company. Ticket prices start at $35.

Matt Costa

Another interesting show in Philly on May 19 will be a concert by Matt Costa at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com). The show comes one day after the release of his new album “Santa Rosa Fangs” (Dangerbird Records).

“Santa Rosa Fangs” is Costa’s fifth full-length album – and first in five years. Produced by Peter Matthew Bauer (The Walkmen) and Nick Stumpf (French Kicks), the songs on “Santa Rosa Fangs” center around a fictional young woman and her two brothers.

In the early 2000s, Costa was on his way to becoming a professional skateboarder when he was derailed by a serious injury. He changed his focus to his songwriting.

An early demo found its way to No Doubt’s Tom Dumont, who ultimately produced Costa’s early recordings. In the time since Costa’s last full-length record (“Matt Costa” in 2013), he has kept busy by sound tracking the award-winning documentary “Orange Sunshine” and independently releasing a series of EPs.

“Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World” is a book about an organization of drug users and distributors that operated from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s in Orange County, California

“When I started to write the new album, it was on the heels of doing ‘Orange Sunshine,’ which was about LSD and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love,” said Costa, during a recent phone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “When I was working on that, I explored different textures and techniques.”

The result was an album on which Costa blazed new trails.

According to Costa, “I’ve interwoven my own stories into a fictional idea of what ‘Santa Rosa Fangs’ is, from my own time spent living in Northern and Southern California and years driving up and down the coast, seeing the landscape and where life can pull you within one state. It’s the characters’ story and my story, too — contemporary but still tortured by the past. It’s a window into a time period but spoken as if it’s the present. The beauty of love and loss doesn’t have a date on it — it’s timeless.”

“Santa Rosa Fangs” is a stirring, stunning, and cinematic look and listen into the sometimes autobiographical, sometimes fictional journey of Costa through the tangled groves and grapevines of his home state. Throughout the album’s 12 songs, Costa illuminates what he has learned and how he has grown in the past 15 years of his career.

The tale of “Santa Rosa Fangs” centers around a young woman named Sharon, her two brothers Ritchie and Tony, and their story of love, loss, and coming of age in a timeless yet contemporary California. It is replete with long distance love affairs and nostalgic romances woven through the loom of tragedy and time.

Interestingly, rather than setting out to create a specific narrative, Costa began noticing a theme in the new songs as he wrote them — an unconscious embodiment of the surroundings in which he himself had grown up. According to Costa, the titular teeth refer to that inescapable feeling of a romantic, tragic, and eternal bite that certain places and events will always hold on us.

The album follows the siblings as they search for love and meaning in their lives, which are ultimately cut short by the passing of both brothers in unrelated accidents. Sharon, left battling with her own mortality and forced to see through a shattered lens, becomes the story’s grieving, guarded hero.

“I didn’t expect the characters,” said Costa, who was born in Laguna Beach in Orange County. “When they popped up, I started writing for them. I also wanted to tell some of my family history – weaving the characters in and out. That was another catalyst.

“Sonically, there are a lot of textures in there. That’s for sure. But, when I was doing the songwriting, I wasn’t trying to lean on production tricks.”

Costa, who sings and plays guitar, found the right balance and that has allowed the album to work on a variety of levels.

According to Costa, “There’s a difference when I sit down to write sonic textures and when I sit with a guitar or piano and write a song. These new songs went back to a traditional sense, and when stripped back to their purest form, they still work.

“They tell a story, the melodies aren’t leaning on anything, and they make instrumentation around them come to life in a new way, but their core is strong.

“My goal for the EPs I released was to develop conceptual ideas — making each one in a short period and with their own concepts. ‘Orange Sunshine’ was a bigger exercise in that. This record is all of those things I was exercising come into their own. It’s more of a visualized record that takes you into the world of the ‘Santa Rosa Fangs.’

“Now, I’m touring the album with my band. It’s a full five-piece with keyboards, drums, bass and a second guitar. I’m going to bring the full experience. The set is primarily the new songs.”

Video link for Matt Costa — https://youtu.be/s0p29kdiVgs.

The show at Boot & Saddle, which has Elizabeth & The Catapult as the opener, will start at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $18.

Other upcoming shows at Boot & Saddle are The Sidekicks on May 22 and “Reclaim Philadelphia Second Anniversary and Fundraiser” on May 23.

Podcasts featuring an amazing variety of topics and genres can be found all over the internet with little or no effort. Seeing a quality podcast live and in person is more of a challenge.

Lovett or Leave It

On May 20, area fans of the popular podcast “Lovett or Leave It” will have the opportunity of watching the making of a podcast in person when the Kimmel Center presents a live edition of “Lovett or Leave It” at the Merriam Theater (250 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-893-1999, www.kimmelcenter.org).

It will be hosted by Jon Lovett, former presidential speechwriter and co-host of “Pod Save America.” The night, which is being recorded for later airing as podcast, will feature Lovett and a panel of Philadelphia personalities providing a humorous and light-hearted yet substantial take on the latest stories from across the nation.

Full of discussion and witty commentary from Lovett and his guests, “Lovett or Leave It Live” on tour is an interactive experience in which audience members will also participate in games and segments in real-time including favorite podcast segments like “The Rant Wheel” and “Too Stupid to Be True.” The “Lovett or Leave It” receives more than a half million downloads every week.

“Lovett or Leave It” merges the entertainment and humor of a variety show with the substance and information of a Sunday Show as every week on the podcast, Lovett breaks down the week’s news with a rotating panel of comedians, journalists, activists, elected officials and other Friends of the Pod.

“Lovett or Leave It” is Crooked Media’s only podcast that is recorded in front of a live audience every week. Lovett’s unique skill set and credibility in comedy and politics, combined with the rotating panel of sharp and funny guests, provides the audience with a space where they can laugh at the overwhelming absurdity of the news cycle.

The titles of some of the most recent podcasts are “Retweet to Impeach,” “Rudy Giuliani, Esquire,” “Fox & Friends with Benefits,” “Shooting Star of Stupid,” and “Czech Your Privilege.” Some of the other upcoming tour stops are New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Nashville and Durham, North Carolina.

“When we go out to do shows on the road, we try to go everywhere from big cities to college towns,” said Lovett, during a recent phone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “It’s been getting awesome response. With the live shows, we like to bring in politicians, journalists, comedians, locals and friends of the show.”

The line-up for the show at the Merriam Theater will feature Dylan Marron (videographer and podcast star), Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey (comedian, activist), and actor Ezra Miller’s band, Sons of an Illustrious Father.

Lovett along with two other former Obama staffers — Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor — formed Crooked Media, which aired the well-received “Pod Save America” (which was co-hosted by Lovett). The idea for the show came from producer/screenwriter Lee Eisenberg, who is best-known for his work with “The Office.”

“After Trump won the election, Tommy and I decided to get back in and fight,” said Lovett. “We wanted to build something that reflected our values – things we care about. Some of the reporters in news broadcasting got us frustrated with their ways of analysis of the news. We wanted to talk politics the way people normally talk.

“We weren’t sure what we wanted to do. ‘Pod Save America’ debuted in January 2017 and ‘Love It or Leave It’ followed a little while later. When we were doing ‘Pod Save America,’ we had this idea – what if there were a Friday night show that was a cross between as late-night show and a bar game? We started trying it out in L.A.

“In the live show, we play games like ‘OK, stop,’ in which a clip of an interview or speech is played, and panelists can pause the clip and talk. Throughout the show, we break down news clips and do dramatic readings. After that, it’s a mix of things. We close out every show with ‘The Rant Wheel,’ where everyone talks about rant-worthy topics.”

Video link for “Lovett or Leave It” — https://art19.com/shows/lovett-or-leave-it/episodes/e4a8153d-26ab-4b15-a355-6f3a4502d3da.

The show at the Merriam Theater will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 and $69.50.

The Amazing Kreskin

If you were a friend of The Amazing Kreskin and sent him an unsigned Christmas card without a return address, would he still know who sent the card?

Possibly!

If you sent Kreskin an unsigned Christmas card without a return address but a message on the front that said there was a holiday gift check inside that should only be cashed if he knew who the sender was without opening the card, would he know who sent the card?

More likely than not!

Kreskin follows a similar scenario when it comes time to get paid for his live shows.

In his stage show, Kreskin deals with audience members and introduces them to the power of his suggestion. He also offers predictions and ends each show with his trademark act – the hidden paycheck trick.

At the conclusion of his show, Kreskin leaves the building and the audience decides where to hide his paycheck. When he returns to the building, his task is to find the hidden check. If he fails to find it, he doesn’t get paid for the show.

“The check test is always popular with the audience,” said Kreskin, during a phone interview Monday afternoon from his home in North Jersey. “I’ve been very successful with it. I’ve only had 10 fails out of more than 6,000 attempts.”

The Amazing Kreskin, who will be performing on May 20 at The Broadway Theatre of Pitman (43 South Broadway, Pitman, New Jersey, 856-389-2057, www.thebroadwaytheatre.org), is one of the world’s best at reading minds and using the power of suggestion.

Finding his evening’s wages hasn’t always been easy for him.

According to Kreskin, “There have been a lot of strange hiding places I’ve had to find over the years. One time, I was performing at a press reception for over 100 people in Las Vegas.

“I walked up to a man in a gray suit and asked him – do you have an artificial leg? They had hidden the check in the knee joint mechanism.”

Kreskin also is famous for his predictions – most of which are right on the money. On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Kreskin predicted the 2012 United States Presidential Election — 18 months before Election Day.

He’s also picked Super Bowl winners.

Kreskin oficially extended his decade-long streak of predicting the correct winner of the Super Bowl three months ago when a safe containing his forecast was opened at a New Jersey car dealership to reveal the Philadelphia Eagles as the new NFL champions.

Also found inside the safe was paper on which Kreskin had written the number ‘8.’ That number turned out to be the difference in the final score, as the Eagles beat the Patriots by eight points, 41-33.

With a showman’s flair, a comedian’s wit, and the capacities of a bona fide mentalist or thought reader, The Amazing Kreskin has, for six decades, dramatized the unique facets of the human mind — his own. His very name has become an integral part of pop culture throughout the world.

Over the last 50 years Kreskin has had a television series, his own board game by Milton Bradley, 20 twenty published books, and a major motion picture inspired by his work.

In 2014, Kreskin mentally trained three up-and-coming boxers to victory. One of the winners was Heather “The Heat” Hardy who went on to win the WBC International Junior Featherweight Championship of the World.

“With Heather, I taught her how to look for the punches,” said Kreskin.

Through the years Kreskin has received worldwide recognition for extraordinary predictions, often dealing with international affairs, and sports. Call him a clairvoyant, a mind reader or a mentalist but don’t call him a hypnotist.

“I don’t get people to do things through hypnotism,” said Kreskin. “I have dedicated part of my life to showing that hypnotism doesn’t exist.

“I believe that there is a legitimate phenomenon called the power of suggestion. I use power of suggestion to get all kinds of crazy responses. And, the people aren’t play-acting. As a mentalist, the most important part is dealing with how people think.”

From his early experiments, Kreskin developed a theory that, in most cases, the phenomena of thought transference can be explained as a kind of hyperaesthesia –an almost unconscious raising of the threshold of one’s senses to a degree far exceeding one’s everyday feelings.

To confirm the legitimacy of his impressive feats of psychic literacy, Kreskin now offers the sum of one million dollars to anyone who can prove that he employs paid secret assistants, or confederates, or utilizes hidden, secret, electronic devices to accomplish his mental presentations.  Not surprisingly, the bounty never has been claimed.

Video link for The Amazing Kreskin – https://youtu.be/Jdz6ihhObJk.

The show at the Pitman Theater will start at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25.

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