New Music: Five For Fighting ‘Can One Man Save The World feat. Ukraine National Orchestra’

Five for Fighting has released a new benefit song in tribute to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine (all images screen caps)

Guest review by Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

Mriya — Ukrainian, meaning dream

When the Russian army launched their unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the general consensus of military and international experts was the nation, and its capital Kyiv, would fall to Russia within days.

It’s been five months – both are still standing and its people are still fighting back, due in no small part to the extraordinary leadership of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy. Continue reading “New Music: Five For Fighting ‘Can One Man Save The World feat. Ukraine National Orchestra’”

#TBT: All-Star Charity Single ‘Spirit Of The Forest’ With Olivia Newton-John, Debbie Harry, Donna Summer & More

Cover image for 1989's 'Spirit of the Forest'

Throwing it back to 1989…

From my buddy Kenneth-in-the-212:

Honest to god, if you had bet me everything I own — plus my husband and cat — that Debbie Harry, Olivia Newton-John, Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde, Kate Pierson, Holly Beth Vincent and a host of other (212) favorites had done a charity single in the late ’80s I would be living on the street with a broken heart right now, because that’s exactly what happened.

While digging through Getty Images to try to figure out the date and photographer of a photo of Deb I posted yesterday I stumbled upon a folder labeled “Rainforest Alliance Recording Session” — huh? — which led me to the video of “Spirit of the Forest” by Spirit of the Forest, a single benefiting the Earth Love Fund, “to make people aware of the need for conservation of the rainforest.”

Also taking part were Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, Donna Summer, Kate Bush, Thomas Dolby, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Taylor Dayne, Big Country, L.L. Cool J, Lisa Bonet, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Marc Jordan, Mick Fleetwood, Billy Burnett, Rita Coolidge, Michael Des Barres, Bonnie Raitt, Amy Sky, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Ringo Starr, representatives of 10 Native American tribes and many, many more.

The record was launched on June 5, 1989 by Richard Branson and Earth Love Fund (ELF) Rainforest Appeal in conjunction with the U.N.E.P. at the United Nations. The single was double “A”-sided with star artists performing on both sides. All proceeds from the project were donated to the programs dedicated to saving the Rainforests of the world.

I have to admit I’ve never heard of the project, but I was traipsing around the country in a national touring company of A Chorus Line at the time, so I wasn’t quite up-to-date on all the music being released.

Kenneth surmises “benefit fatigue” might have had something to do with the song fading amid so many other high profile charity music events like Band Aid, USA for Africa, Farm Aid and so many more in that period of time.

He also thinks – as do I – the song itself is something of a dud. It was apparently written by Kenny Young of “Under the Boardwalk.” At the time, we had major earworms like “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” “We Are the World” and “Sun City” scoring big on the Billboard 100.

Sadly, the message is still on point today.

p.s. Why was Olivia Newton-John relegated to the side of wide shots and not given a solo??? Longtime ONJ fans will recognize Livvy’s future collaborators Amy Sky and her husband Marc Jordan in the mix.

Dog Rescue Spends $1.9 Million At Trump Country Club

Fifty-four percent of Americans believe Donald Trump should be impeached

Fifty-four percent of Americans believe Donald Trump should be impeached
You’ll recall Eric Trump, second son to ‘the former guy,’ was discovered to have funneled money to the Trump Organization by holding his cancer charity’s annual event at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York.

Eric told folks it was “efficient” to use the Trump Golf Club because it was “free.” But then an investigation revealed the golf club was actually charging for its use and making money in the process.

Well, they’re still at it only now it’s a dog charity down in Florida which has spent as much as $1.9 million at Trump’s Mar-a-lago country club.

Yahoo News reports:

A dog rescue charity with links to Lara Trump has spent as much as $1.9 million at former President Donald Trump’s properties over the last seven years and will drop an additional quarter-million at his Mar-a-Lago country club this weekend.

According to a permit filed with the town of Palm Beach, Florida, Big Dog Ranch Rescue estimates it will spend $225,000 at the club where Donald Trump has taken up full-time residence since leaving the White House. All the profit from that spending winds up in his pocket.

Internal Revenue Service filings show that the group has spent as much as $1,883,160 on fundraising costs at Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf course 18 miles north in Jupiter starting in 2014.

Read the full article here.

And yes, the Donald made a “surprise” appearance at the event. The local NBC News affiliate reports he told attendees he wasn’t “prepared” for the event but happened to be walking by and wondered what was going on.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Provided Record-Breaking $18+ Million In 2020 Grants

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

My friend Tom Viola, the Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, shares some very good news (which we all can use right now):

The Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS fiscal year 2020 has ended and October 1 marks the start of a new beginning. The last six months brought with it a devastating shutdown, anxiety, isolation and tragedy. Yet it also allowed the heart of our community to shine brightly.

We close out fiscal year 2020 with remarkable news: Thanks to the generosity of this community – a community that includes all onstage, backstage and in the audience – we have together provided a record $18.1 million in grants. That’s up 22 percent over our 2019 grant-making.

That total includes more than $11.2 million to The Actors Fund to support their entire safety net of social services – from the HIV/AIDS Initiative and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative to the Friedman Health Center, Addiction and Recovery Services and the Career Center. I am especially proud and happy that $11 million also includes $6.5 million for the Fund’s COVID-19 emergency financial support and $1 million for the creation of a new, essential program, Every Artist Insured.

In addition, more than $5 million was also awarded to over 400 grantees across the country through our annual National Grants Program. Food banks and health clinics, supportive housing programs and harm reduction services, serving millions of men and women, families of all variety and colors, diverse communities too often underserved and now also buffeted by COVID.

Finally, another $909,000 was awarded as emergency grants to organizations outside our theatre/performing arts family and annual grantees in the National Grants Program that reached out for help. Folks and organizations who at another time might have fallen outside our safety net of grant making. Now, as best we can, is not about “no.” Now is about trying to reach out as much as possible with the resources at hand. Resources that so many of you reading this have made possible.

This has been a truly collaborative accomplishment that literally saved lives, put food on families’ tables and kept friends and colleagues safely in their homes. Learn more at

We didn’t get to present this year’s Easter Bonnet Competition in April which, since 1995, has ended with the anthem “Help is on the Way.” So, David Friedman, who wrote the song, gathered Broadway stars who have performed the Bonnets finale in the past and an army of other voices – some quite familiar, some soon-to-be – to create a virtual rendition that we share at this start of our new fiscal year.

May we all embrace its message of health and hope.

On Friday, October 23, my castmates from the national touring company of CATS (back in 1986) will be presenting our own special streaming event benefitting the Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.

If you tune in, you just might get to see me swing my rehearsal tail a bit…Click here for details.

But for now, let’s enjoy these world-class Broadway artists lift our hearts a bit 🙂

‘Disney On Broadway’ Charity Streaming Event Cancelled Over Musicians’ Fees

Back in November, Disney celebrated 25 years on Broadway with a charity concert features songs and artists from the many shows produced by the Mouse House on the Great White Way.

The concert event, produced by Disney, served as a charity fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS bringing in over $570,000 to help folks.

Broadway Cares, which has been raising money for a COVID-19 assistance fund, sought to stream performances from the concert this coming Monday with actor Ryan McCartan weaving in interviews between performances.

And then a snag occurred.

From the NY Times:

Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, the unions which represent actors and stage managers, agreed to allow the streaming of the concert without fees, but the American Federation of Musicians, which has been focused on winning greater compensation for streamed content, did not.

“Members of the American Federation of Musicians are suffering from the sudden cancellation of all work as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak,” the union’s international president, Ray Hair, said by email. “During the height of this crisis, Disney Theatrical has come to us asking to stream media content without payment to the musicians involved in the production. Especially now, with zero employment in the entertainment sector, the content producers should care enough about the welfare of those who originally performed the show to see to it that they are fairly compensated when their work is recorded and streamed throughout the world.”

“I understand being told no,” Tom Viola, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “When that happens — and it does — I can usually see why or understand the extenuating circumstances. It never feels simply meanspirited. This was different and the result, particularly now, is heartbreaking.”

Broadway Cares shares that, if forced to pay the musicians for an already recorded concert, the organization would have to pay the other unions.

Additionally, Broadway Cares has already given $50,000 this year to musicians’ assistance programs and offered to give another $25,000 to a musicians’ emergency fund, which Viola said would be more than the value of the payment Hair was seeking.

But Hair refused that offer, saying he wanted the 15 musicians, who were paid in November for their efforts then, paid their streaming rights.

You can check out a short montage of performances from the November concert event below.

Aussie Wrestler’s Donation Raised Via OnlyFans Returned By Charity

Aussie wrestler Dave Marshall (image via Instagram)

Earlier this month, I reported that openly gay wrestler Dave Marshall had set up an OnlyFans account to raise money for charity.

The 29-year-old, who works for the Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance based in Perth, Australia, launched the account with the goal of donating funds to suicide prevention organization Beyond Blue.

The choice of charity was personal for Marshall as his father took his own life last year.

But after raising more than AU$5,000 for the charity, Gay Star News reports that Beyond Blue has refused Marshall’s donation.

After becoming aware of the press coverage regarding Marshall, Beyond Blue reached out to him saying they could not accept the funds as they were raised from activities like “gambling, alcohol and pornography.”

According to emails Marshall shared with Gay Star News, the organization’s position was that he had used their name to promote his products sold in “the field of pornography.”

Additionally, the suicide prevention group informed him that all fundraising activities must be registered with the organization.

Marshall was surprised by the reaction. “To me, money is money,” said the hunky wrestler. “It came from the heart.” The 6’3” Aussie added that the public reaction to his story had been “99.9% positive.”

Beyond Blue eventually told Marshall if he would stop using their name in his activities, they could accept the funds as a personal donation; if not, they would issue him a full refund.

Marshall decided to take his money elsewhere saying, “At the end of the day, it was a personal donation of my money, but I don’t want to be quiet about what I’m doing.”

The wrestler turned to Black Dog Institute, a mental health charity which he felt was still in line with his original intention inspired by his dad’s suicide.

Black Dog Institute was more than willing to accept the funds. Marshall was so happy with his decision he decided to double the donation for a total of AU$10,000 to the new charity of choice.

“It’s a cause that I am proud the help,” Marshall told Gay Star News. “Now more than ever, I’m even more proud of the organisation for accepting me and my donations.”

(h/t Gay Star News)

NYC: Broadway Bares 2017 This Sunday

One of the hottest tickets of the year in New York City, Broadway Bares is this Sunday.

Via press release:

Broadway Bares: Strip U will feature more than 150 of the hottest male and female dancers in New York City sharing their hearts and well-toned bodies with an energetic crowd of thousands. The 90-minute show features Broadway’s most talented movers and shakers in a highly choreographed, highly produced spectacular.

Here’s a link for tix.

Check out a ‘first look’ below as well as a little info about why something so fun can do so much good.

Who’s going? 😉

Eric Trump “Disgusted” By Charity Coverup Being Exposed

Eric Trump is all upset this morning because he got caught lying about money his “charity” raised via a golf tournament at his dad’s golf club.

As the story goes, it seems the Donald charged his son’s charity over $1 million for use of the club for the events. So, it would seem the donors money went into his dad’s pockets not to children.

Via ThinkProgress:

On Tuesday, Forbes reported that Eric Trump has diverted more than $1 million donations to his kids-cancer charity to Trump golf courses. These costs were incurred during the Eric Trump Foundation’s annual golf fundraiser. But according to charity experts, “the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”

The golf fundraiser was marketed as an opportunity for donors to have nearly their entire gift go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, since the golf and other services were provided free of charge.

A former employee of the club, however, told Forbes that beginning in 2011, the charity was charged for the use of course and other services. Ian Gillule, membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester, said the club began billing Eric Trump’s foundation after Donald Trump “had a cow.”

“I don’t care if it’s my son or not — everybody gets billed,” Donald Trump said, according to Gillule.

The payments by the charity to the Trump Organization for its one-day tournament were also confirmed by a former member of the Eric Trump Foundation board. And the payments increased dramatically over time — from $46,000 in 2011 to $322,000 in 2015.

Eric Trump appears to have gone to significant lengths to cover up these payments. Last year, he told Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold that none of the money actually went to the Trump Organization.

Rather, Eric Trump insisted, the money was simply passed from the Trump Organization to “to cover the cost of outside vendors.”

Eric Trump was enraged last July when Fahrenthold asked about the money claiming, “It’s disgusting. It is so disgusting what’s happening. I’m saving dying children. We do tremendous good for people. And you’re sitting there tearing us apart.”

At the time, Eric pointedly said the Trump Organization made “zero” from the charity events. That doesn’t seem to be the case now.

Fahrenthold asked Eric Trump yesterday whether he lied last year when discussing the charity. Now the story seems to be the Trump Organization didn’t “profit” from the events.

Eric also spoke to Fox News’ Sean Hannity this week to rant on the Democrats for blocking his dad’s agenda. “I’ve never seen hatred like this,” he said. “To me, they’re not even people. It’s so, so sad. Morality’s just gone, morals have flown out the window and we deserve so much better than this as a country.”