Talking With James Orr – February 23, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with James Orr. To listen to the interview click below.

Writer-producer-director James Orr, after 30 years in Hollywood, moved to Las Vegas and now is offering “The James Orr Master Class,” a series of three-day intensive seminars, one on screenwriting, March 10-12 and one on directing, April 14-16.

A native of Canada, Orr moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school at The American Film Institute as a Director Fellow in 1977 after finishing the undergraduate Film Program at York University in Toronto.

As a director, Orr directed actors from Michael Caine and Jose Ferrer to Jim Belushi and Patrick Swayze; from Courtney Cox and Rene Russo to Jennifer Beals and Linda Hamilton.

He even directed Orson Welles, who did the on-camera narration for a documentary that Orr wrote and directed in 1982 called “Raising the Mary Rose: Preserving A Moment in Time.”

As a producer, Orr’s produced major studio feature films such as “Father of the Bride,” “Father of the Bride 2,” and “Mr. Destiny” for the Walt Disney Studio, as well as television movies such as “My Future Boyfriend” for the ABC Family Network, “The Night Before The Night Before Christmas” for the Hallmark Channel, and “Love On The Run” for NBC.

As a screenwriter, he’s written many successful studio feature films, including “Sister Act 2,” “Mr. Destiny,” “Tough Guys,” and the number-one box-office movie of 1987, “Three Men and A Baby.”


Talking With Russ Freeman – February 16, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with Russ Freeman. To listen to the interview click below.

Russ Freeman, a Grammy-nominated guitarist and composer, and also founder and leader of the popular contemporary jazz group, the Rippingtons, will be performing with the group at Aliante Casino February 18.

Freeman began playing guitar at age 10, and by the time he was 16, was playing on record dates regularly. After moving to Los Angeles from Nashville in 1978, he studied at Cal Arts and U.C.L.A. In 1985 Freeman released his debut album “Nocturnal Playground.” The next year he founded the Rippingtons, wrote and produced the much-acclaimed “Moonlighting” CD, which Jazziz magazine has called “the number one most influential contemporary jazz album of all time.”

Since then, Freeman has written, produced and performed on 21 additional Rippingtons albums, all of which have charted in the Billboard Top 5, with five of them reaching number one. His discography includes three solo albums, two collaborative projects with David Benoit, and one with Craig Chaquico. Russ has also produced numerous other artists, including the late great Carl Anderson, Eric Marienthal and Nelson Rangell.

Some of the awards presented to Russ over the years include an “Oasis Lifetime Achievement” Award, as well as “Producer Of the Year,” in 2001. The Rippingtons were chosen “Best Group 2000” by Billboard BET and “Best Group two years in a row, 2001 and 2002 by the Oasis Awards, in addition to “Achievement in Video” 2001. Freeman is also the recipient of a “Most Distinguished Alumnus Award” from the University School of Nashville, Tennessee.

Freeman is also an accomplished photographer and illustrator, skills he continues to hone on his world travels with his wife, Yaredt.


Talking With Sonny Turner – February 9, 2017

This week, Ira spoke with Sonny Turner. To listen to the interview click below.

Legendary vocalist Sonny Turner, former lead singer of The Platters, performs in the Access Showroom at Aliante Casino February 11.
Turner hit the national scene in 1959, when he was selected from 100 prospects to replace The Platters’ original lead singer, Tony Williams. Starting at age 19, Turner toured the world with The Platters, performing hits “I Love You 1000 Times,” “With This Ring,” and “Washed Ashore.”

He also re-recorded the group’s major songs, including “Only You,” “The Great Pretender” and “The Magic Touch.”

In 1970, Turner left The Platters to pursue a solo career. His vocals can be heard on the soundtracks of movies “The Nutty Professor II” starring Eddie Murphy, “Hearts in Atlantis” starring Anthony Hopkins and “Prince of the City” starring Robert DeNiro.

In 2005, Turner received The Lifetime Excellence in Entertainment Award presented to him by Consumer’s Entertainment Exchange and the Doo Wop Hall of Fame. He is also a member of The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Beach Music Hall of Fame for his musical contributions to The Platters.


Talking With Jeff Kutash – February 2, 2017

(photo courtesy of Las Vegas News Bureau)

This week, Ira spoke with Jeff Kutash. To listen to the interview click below.

Dancer/choreographer and producer Jeff Kutash is an Emmy and Golden Globe award winner and an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The “Jeff Kutash Dancers” appeared regularly on Saturday mornings on “Upbeat,” a syndicated TV dance party, originating from Cleveland, Ohio. His dancers often provided backup to R n R musical acts, as well as to the dancing by the local teens.

Kutash moved to Hollywood and produced many network television shows, and is credited as the creator of Street Dancing, having created the Dancin’ Machine troupe in 1974.

He has worked in Las Vegas with, among others, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Tom Jones.

Kutash created Las Vegas’s first water show, “Splash” at the Riviera hotel, which was one of the longest running and most award winning shows in the history of Las Vegas.