halloween with al green

al green at the 2009 bonnaroo festival.

al green at the 2009 bonnaroo festival.

It may be Halloween weekend, but that won’t stop the Rev. Al Green from spreading the Sunday morning word on Saturday night at the Norton Center for the Arts.

Known for a trailblazing string of Willie Mitchell-produced hits during the ‘70s and a powerfully visible arsenal of gospel recordings since then, Green has remains an immensely emotive soul music stylist.

Luckily for us, he has been making Kentucky something of a regular stop in recent years. He poured on the soul power by way of classics like Tired of Being Alone and Love and Happiness two autumns ago at the Norton Center. Green also took centerstage at July’s ill-fated HullabaLOU fest at Churchill Downs.

The highlight of both performances was, curiously, not one of his own singles (although his version of Let’s Stay Together at the 2008 Norton Center show was pretty fine). It was instead Green’s cover of the 1971 Bee Gees hit How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?, which was delivered as a roaring soul music affirmation.

The Rev doesn’t live solely in the past, either, at his shows. He has three splendid Blue Note albums cut over the last decade – 2003’s I Can’t Stop, 2005’s Everything’s OK and 2008’s Lay It Down – to round out his repertoire.

Need something to keep the creepy crawlies at bay this Halloween? An evening with the Rev. Al ought to do the trick. 

Al Green performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Norton Center for the Arts in Danville. Tickets are $60-$125. Call (877) 448-7469.

MICHAELS’ SORE POINT IS HIMSELF

The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) November 20, 1987 | Jack Craig, Globe Staff CALGARY, Alberta – Al Michaels is a two-sport play-by-play superstar, a rarity in the ’80s.

Some may prefer Vin Scully’s anecdotes or Bob Costas’ quickness on baseball telecasts. Others may like Dick Enberg’s precision or Pat Summerall’s non- speak in football. But only Michaels broadcasts both football and baseball, and each so well that opinion is divided on which sport he does best.

Once every four years, he adds hockey at the Winter Olympics. He and Ken Dryden were acclaimed in the 1980 Games for their descriptions of the miracle on ice by the US team. The announcers had pulled off a near miracle of their own. They had never worked together before, and Michaels until then had covered only one hockey game in his life, the 1972 Olympic gold medal match.

Just as Curt Gowdy, the last two-sport superstar, Michaels projects as a fellow who really knows it all without being a know-it-all. He makes his analyst look good. If he has co-analysts, both benefit. He is prominent, but not dominant, the highest compliment to a play-by-play announcer.

Michaels confesses he is “inordinantly fortunate,” having fulfilled his boyhood dream of becoming a sports announcer. He is compensated in excess of $1 million a year by ABC and even enjoys a fine family life with his wife and two teenage children, not so common in his line of work.

But is something missing? web site michaels printable coupon

While few broadcasters bask in so much praise, none seems to more resent even rare criticism.

Two years ago, Michaels mailed me the nastiest letter I have ever received from a broadcaster, over an article in which I actually praised him, but placed him slightly in arrears of Scully and Costas in that season’s postseason baseball broadcasts. He not only challenged my judgment but also my motives.

Later, when I expressed surprise to a former ABC executive who once had been Michaels’ boss, he was surprised that I was surprised. It was not an uncommon response, I was told.

Last month, Bob Raissman, a critic for the New York Daily News, was confronted by Michaels in a New York restaurant over a criticism he had written about Michaels’ work in the first Monday night NFL telecast of the season between the Bears and Giants.

An eyewitness who remembered Raissman’s complaint called Michaels’ reaction to it that night “incomprehensible.” Michaels now explains that Raissman had contended that not enough attention had been given on the telecast to the fact that Karl Nelson of the Giants had recently been discovered as suffering from Hodgkin’s disease.

“I just blew my top. I got very angry,” Michaels said, noting that cancer has struck in his own family and with close friends. “It is a very private disease, I know. How much did he want us to say? Did he want a biopsy report?” Raissman does not recall the incident exactly that way. “I wrote that ABC had failed to note the weakness in the Giants’ line as a result of losing Nelson. I was stunned by his reaction to me. I’m trying to put the episode behind.” Michaels seemed to get even angrier during the World Series.

This time, his target was Bob Lundegaard, TV critic of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, after Lundegaard took note of remarks Michaels made off-camera between innings of a Series telecast, heard only by those watching via satellite home dishes.

Lundegaard wrote that Michaels had called the Twins-Cardinals Series dull, and had complained about his Minneapolis hotel accommodations. in our site michaels printable coupon

They were hardly devastating revelations. Yet during a commercial break in Game 6, Michaels attacked Lundegaard directly while addressing satellite dish owners: “Folks, those of you looking in on Telstar (the satellite), there’s a scumbag out there by the name of Bob Lundegaard . . .” The audio was cut off at that point by ABC.

“Since we’re still on the dish, you jerk Lundegaard, try to . . .” Again, the plug was pulled.

Michaels also spoke over the satellite, ostensibly to co-analysts Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver. “Let me go through Lundegaard’s trash for syringes. Nobody straight could do that,” he said.

There is a legal question and certainly an ethical one about private remarks, even those carried on the satellite, becoming public property. But the intensity of Michaels’ retaliation blurred that issue and left him the heavy and Lundegaard the victim.

By comparison, Michaels’ confrontation during the Series with a columnist from the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch was mild. Still, in addition to facing off with the writer, he went over his head and complained to the assistant publisher of the newspaper.

As a result of the furor, when the World Series film was introduced in Minneapolis last week, Michaels was uninvited, even though his voice was used on the video.

Michaels acknowledges he went “overboard” against Lundegaard. “But we had been so criticized throughout the Series in the Minneapolis papers, and dishonestly. It was ongoing . . . If you push the button long enough, something’s going to happen,” he said.

“There’s a part of me that says ‘Who cares?’ ” Michaels said of critics. “But I guess I care so deeply . . . Maybe I’m the guy who says, ‘Wait a minute.’ Maybe I’m on a crusade.” One explanation for Michaels’ nasty “crusade” could be a loathing of newspaper reporters. He wouldn’t be the first one. But that does not seem to be the case.

During the 1984 Winter Olympics, he would have been an easy winner on a poll of the most cooperative of ABC’s major broadcasters at the site. He is not aloof, like other broadcasting millionaires.

Instead, Michaels simply seems determined to give back more than he gets, unable to accept the truth that judging a broadcaster is often subjective and occasionally even unfair.

It is an occupational hazard, just as dodging dogs is for the mailman, except network broadcasters make more money, work shorter hours, and have better seats at sports events.

At age 42, Michaels should be ready to enjoy a long and prosperous run at the very top of network sports. During the Winter Olympics that begin Feb. 13, he and Dryden will again broadcast hockey, a major sport to be televised in prime time.

But woe to anyone who criticizes him. After that, woe to Michaels himself. craig ;11/18 NKELLY;11/20,09:19 CRAIG20 Jack Craig, Globe Staff



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