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By: Jules E. Beuck

Photo By: Jules E. Beuck
rjbnotes@hotmail.com

How are you dealing with month number two? Comfortable writing 2012 yet? I think I finally am. Since I spoke to you last there were a number of comedy shows, a concert and a play.

A couple of the comedy shows were at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland California (as was the concert for that matter).

Cedric the Entertainer has long been making a name for himself on both the large and small screen. With a regular role in Steve Harvey's television show and appearances on HBO and BET, he is no stranger to the small screen. On the big screen are both "Barbershop" movies, "Big Momma's House," "The Original Kings Of Comedy," "Madagascar" and "Be Cool" so his big screen credentials are pretty good too. In addition he is a best-selling author. What initially brought him all this attention are his skills as a standup comedian. Cedric recently demonstrated those skills at a return visit to San Manuel.

Cedric opened his show by asking, "Where is this place?" Talked about how Highland seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, although he did acknowledge the commercial spot he filmed for San Manuel.

Cedric did not shy away from politics. He said he tried to go as Herman Cain for Halloween, but 14 girls said he tried to touch them. Last year he claimed he went as a foreclosure sign. He also talked about the Occupy Movement claiming that it was catching on: "One guy still hasn't left my house."

Cedric also discussed how addicting gambling was. While claiming that he was not much of a gambler himself he noted: "I was at one casino and saw a guy at the craps table in a hospital bed." He then mimed how that would look like to the audiences' delight.

Cedric told the crowd that he had no problems with same sex marriages, just same sex weddings: "I am not going to be a bridesmaid." He also discussed how some men try to stay in the closet but have a hard time when Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" comes on. He then actually did Beyonce's moves from the video.

Cedric feels that people from the South tend to talk too fast. He gave one example where he thought someone had given his name as "tombiicous" when he had actually said "Try my initials."

He discussed Arnold Schwarzenegger's child with the maid and how they should have recognized the kid was Arnold's by how strong he was: "Don't worry mom, I'll carry the car seat into the house."

There were also a bit on Waka Flocka and how you can never understand his raps and another bit on Kanye West and how it is difficult to follow his train of thought as well.

Opening the show and acting as master of ceremony was comedian Malik. The first thing he said that he had never heard of Highland, California until the day of the show.

As he looked at some of the couples in the audience he noted, "Looks like some of you lied on the (dating site). In further discussing relationships he said, "I don't like independent women, they talk back. I don't need that." He also told the crowd that he planned on talking to his daughter about men: "I don't want my daughter to get tricked like her mother did!"

The other comedian on the bill was JJ. One of the first things he did was to ask for the spotlight to be turned down some: "I feel like I got pulled over."

He discussed relationships and family: "I have been married for five years. We've been dating since 1988. I wasn't in any hurry!" He did a bit on having children and that he was "done," on his daughter and being a grandfather and how much he enjoys being a grandfather.

Cedric the Entertainer and company did a fine job of keeping the crowd at San Manuel very entertained.

Mike Epps has been part of Def Comedy Jam and in such movies as "Next Friday" and "All About The Benjamins" He has been performing professionally as a comedian since about 1989. He currently is on a stand-up comedy tour entitled "I'm Still Standing." He recently brought that tour to San Manuel.

Like most comedy shows, there were a number of supporting comedians. The show was advertised as having Nick Cannon hosting, but evidently due to Cannon's recent medical issues that job was handed over to Chris Spencer.

Spencer discussed the differences between black, Asian and Latino women.  He mentioned that he was married to a Latina and that she did not get African American culture. He also noted that she wanted an expensive purse. "You need to get a purse equal to the amount of money in the purse." He later had married people clap. "Don't act like you're happy!"

The first act Spencer introduced was Uncle Bubba, who did a bit about being a gangster, that his mother was a gangster and on dating.

Gary "G Thang" Johnson followed Uncle Bubba. Johnson portrayed Jermaine Dye in the movie "Money Ball." He told the crowd that he does not like to bundle his services: "I ain't having everything turned off at once."

He encouraged people to get out and vote. He noted that President Obama is laughing because he feels like he is running against the Kardashians.

Scruncho was next. He really liked his own jokes as he would often run around the stage laughing hitting himself in the leg with the microphone. He acknowledged that his celebrity status was not that high as he knew he was not an A list celebrity: "I know I'm a J or a K." He talked about being proud of how smart his daughter is and described how she won a spelling bee. However, when he showed up to the awards ceremony wearing a new suit she started crying. When he asked her what's wrong she asked, "Are you going to court daddy?"

Now it was time for Mike Epps. He discussed what he thought phony women were like: "You got a lot of Charley Pride but no Johnny Cash" and "This lady's been under construction longer than the 405."

On tennis star Serena Williams he noted, "Serena looks like Lebron James with a wig on."

New EditionThe near capacity crowd appeared to enjoy all the comedians.

The concert was by a reunited New Edition. Back in the early '80s, New Edition hit the charts as young teens. They wanted to be the next Temptations and backed that up with smooth harmonies and choreography. After a few years the anonymity of being part of a group became too much and the group split up as members started down different paths. Bobby Brown had a successful solo career and a well-publicized marriage to Whitney Houston, while Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe formed the Rap trio Bell, Biv, Devoe. The other two members also had solo careers.

Since 2005 talk of their reuniting has been floating around. In 2011, they actually went on tour with all six of the members together. On December 29th the group started to help San Manuel bring in the New Year by performing one of their concerts from their 30th Anniversary Tour in the Yuhaviatam room in the casino.

Before the group came out there were six stools placed in front of the curtain. Suddenly the stools started to disappear behind the curtain, the lights dimmed and New Edition took the stage in shiny gold suits. The crowd was immediately on their feet and cheering.

When the group came out they went into the choreography that they had been doing since they were young teens. Some of the songs they performed included "Kinda Girls We Like," "Drive Me Crazy," "N.E. Heartbreak," "Jealous Girl," "Is This The End," "Pop Corn Love," "Candy Girl," "Cool It Girl," "Count Me Out" and "My,My,My" just to name a few.

They did some rap, as well as the smooth soul they are known for. They also encouraged the crowd to scream and put their hands in the air, which got an immediate response every time. There were so many people dancing to the music the floor was actually shaking.

At one point each member of the group stepped forward to introduce themselves. When Johnny Gill stepped forward, he told the crowd that they were going to perform "every song we know!" They also joked around with each other and the audience. For example, when trying to get the audience to scream louder Brown said, "You know I'm deaf in my left eye!" There was also an interchange between one of the group members and Brown about when he left the group. He said he was thrown out and they said he quit. Brown also made sure to point out that he was the youngest member of the group: "They're all 43, I won't be 43 until February."

New Edition was a big hit all over again!

Upcoming shows include King of the Cage February 2nd, San Manuel Comedy Jam the 16th, and Alejandra Guzmān the 23rd. Call the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino box office at 888-777-7401 Ext. 2832 or go to the web site at www.sanmanuel.com for more information.

The other comedy show we saw was at the Ontario Improv. Kelly Mauricio is a vice principal with an interesting sideline. She puts together comedy shows to raise money for breast cancer treatment and awareness. She has been doing so for the last four years and brings together a number of female comedians to share their experiences as women in a humorous way.

We caught the show on December 14th at the Ontario Improv and found much to laugh at.

Mike EppsOpening the show was a band called Cougrzz Rock. This quartet of female musicians ran through a set of classic rock that included songs by Melissa Etheridge, Pat Benetar and Blondie, but did not leave out the boys, as Bob Seger and other male artists were also represented.

They were an excellent group to warm up the crowd. One table of women (some of whom turned out to be breast cancer survivors) kept getting up and dancing and giving each other lap dances, much to the surprise and delight of the audience around them.

Kelly then took the stage and explained that she originally was going to have this show be the last in the series but has decided to do at least one more. While on stage Mauricio had her Zumba teacher come onstage and give a demonstration with her attempting to follow along.

Kelly then introduced the host of the show Cher (no not that one). Cher would provide her own funny comments as she brought one comic after another up on stage. After one comic in her 30s talked about feeling old and what happens to her when she expels gas Cher, who is past her thirties guessing from her response to the routine noted, "When I (expel gas) I pee, that's why I wear a dress on stage."

There were seven comics that night who, except for one comic from Connecticut, were quite entertaining.

One of our favorites was septuagenarian Edna Tagnani. Tagnani told of an incident where she was at the beach and got knocked over by a big wave: "My (swimsuit) top was down at my navel, two more inches and you would have seen my tits!" She also discussed her marriage and some of the demands her husband made: "When we got married he told me that he wanted sex every night! I said fine, I'll take Friday!"

Gayla Johnson also talked about her marriage and claimed that the reason it worked is that they live in a duplex with she and her husband having separate residences with and an adjoining door. The door has a doggy door which confuses their dog. When he has to go out he goes through the door and finds himself in another house.

The show was very entertaining and has us looking forward to her next show.

The current production at the Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in Claremont, CA is "Fiddler On The Roof." This is the third time this show has been presented at Candlelight Pavilion and the first time in over ten years it has been produced in this area.

"Fiddler On The Roof" is based on "Tevye and his Daughters" (or "Tevye the Milkman and Other Tales") by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope with both the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters-- each one's choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith-and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.

The musical's title stems from the painting "The Fiddler" by Marc Chagall, one of many surreal paintings he created of Eastern European Jewish life, often including a fiddler. The fiddler is a metaphor for survival, through tradition and joyfulness, in a life of uncertainty and imbalance.

The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. "Fiddler" held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years.  It was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals and a successful 1971 film adaptation.

Even though "Fiddler On The Roof" is based on Russia at the turn of the 20th century, some of the life lessons portrayed resonate with 21st century life as well. As Tevye deals with changes in his world we are reminded how quickly our world changes.

Starring as Tevye is Randy Hilton. We were not always sure of his Yiddish accent but otherwise his acting and singing was very impressive.

Jenny Wentworth is Golde, Tevye's long suffering wife. One truly felt the weary resignation of being married in that time period thanks to her performance.

The ensemble cast performs extremely well together and the presentation of the bottle dance is very well done. This was one of the best productions of "Fiddler On The Roof" we remember seeing.

"Fiddler On The Roof" runs through February 26th. The price of admission includes salad, warm rolls, entrée, the show and sales tax. Appetizers, beverages, desserts and gratuities are extra. Ticket prices range from $48-$68 while admission for children runs between $25-$30. Call 909-626-1254 for ticket information or go to the web site at www.candlelightpavilion.com.

Now it is time for the big announcement I mentioned last month. This will be the last B Notes, as I am retiring from the entertainment writing field.

Back in 1979 in Chicago I was reviewing records for a monthly paper called the Metro Entertainment Calendar. Staff meetings were held on Monday nights.

One Monday, (February 12, 1979) there was a lady there with curly black hair and the most amazing eyes I had ever seen. Readers of B Notes would come to know her as Rose Botkin-Beuck. We became partners in entertainment writing and in life until her untimely death in 2010.

When we moved to Southern California we started writing for a magazine called Night Moves. This is where B Notes was born and where we met Michelle Mills, now editor of DaBelly.com

I have found that without her by my side entertainment writing is not near as rewarding and is a lot more work.

Consequently, after 33 years I am hanging up my word processor and putting Rose's camera away.

We both appreciated the audience we had and appreciate the venues that were so gracious to us.

Life is very short my friends and sometimes we do not have as much time as we think or deserve. So make sure to tell the people you care about how much you care. Take no one or nothing for granted.

Rose and I both wish good health and happiness to all our readers. Take care.

Rose and Jules

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