Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Next Step

Now that Clay Aiken is free from those RCA chains, where will he go? Will there be a major to sign him or will he want to retain more control over his music? Due to the changing landscape of the music industry there is no easy answer. Listening to this interview from Fred Croshal, Founder and CEO, Croshal Entertainment Group discussing his business model for releasing music. Artists become the masters of their destinies instead of some suit in an office who is more concerned with boxing and packaging someone to meet some preconceived defintion of whatever they want to market.

Fred Croshal CEO, Croshal Entertainment Group talks with Caroline Little, CEO of Guardian Media, North America.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spotlight Video: Independent

Terrific montage set to Clay singing "Kyrie" during the Independent Tour.

The wind blows hard against this mountainside
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old it holds my memories
My baby burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie Eleison
Down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison
Through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison
Where I'm going will you follow
Kyrie Eleison
On a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

Montage by SueRu

Free at last indeed.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Free Bird

Graphic by fountaindawg

This is the way,
That i state my independence,
That i'm no longer connected to your memory.
This is the day that i'm making my defection
~From "No More Sad Songs~

Are the fans mourning the parting of the ways between RCA and Clay Aiken? Heck No! It's about time because RCA never appreciated Clay's talent, or promoted his music properly. He was little more than a cash cow. No matter where he ends up--another label or independent--things can only be better because they surely couldn't have been much worse. RCA literally squandered Clay's early success and popularity by sticking him with a covers album and catering almost exclusively to the "Claymates", a term, by the way, that at least half the fandom hates.

From People:

The rumors started when his likeness was removed from his record's Web site and now Clay Aiken is setting the record straight: the former American Idol has parted ways with RCA Records, Aiken's rep has confirmed exclusively to PEOPLE.

"We were unable to come to terms in a recent contract negotiation, and decided that it was best to move on," the rep, Cindi Berger, said Friday.
The buzz about Aiken's exit was fueled earlier week when his picture disappeared online and Billboard, citing unnamed sources, reported Friday that Aiken, 30, had been dropped by the label.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation Awards Grant to the Special Kids Crusade

From The Californian:

A new grant announced today will give disabled kids in Monterey County a chance to learn and play with their peers in an all-inclusive social setting.

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation awarded $15,000 to the Special Kids Crusade to introduce Let’s ALL Play, a recreational after-school program being developed in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County.

The grant will allow children with developmental disabilities to enjoy a social recreational experience in an inclusive setting.

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation has been developing its Let’s ALL Play Program since 2004.

Today, the Foundation supports 29 recreational programs across the country.

Through the Let’s ALL Play Program, the Foundation supports recreational programs in their efforts to implement inclusion by providing a program model, funding, and training.

Let’s ALL Play helps bring an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities.

It gives children with developmental disabilities the same experience as those without.

Children with disabilities and their peers who are typically developing come together to participate in recreational activities such as games, arts and crafts, physical fitness, science and technology, and more.


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Monday, February 16, 2009

The Winning Bear

Congratulations to Spamalot for having the winning bid in the Broadway Cares Bear Auction. Signed by Clay, the Sir Robin bear raised $16,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Not bad considering the economy. The Spamalot bear in the 2008 Broadway Cares auction, also a Sir Robin bear and signed by both Clay and the originator of the Sir Robin role, went for $17,000.

Here are the winning bids on the bears:

Sir Robin (Spamalot) - $16,000
Alan Strang and Nugget (Equus) - $10,000
Glinda (Wicked) - $7,000
Growltiger (Cats) - $5,500
Billy Elliot - $4,000
Tommy Walker (The Who's Tommy) - $4,000
Ashley (Starlight Express) - $3,800
Betty Haynes (White Christmas) - $3,700
Shrek - $3,600
Zach (A Chorus Line) - $3,600
The Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) - $3,400
Brother Bear (I.A.T.S.E) - $3,400
Sir Thomas More (A Man For All Seasons) - $3,400
He/She Masquerade (The Phantom of the Opera) - $2,800
Rose (Gypsy, 2003) - $2,400
Bernardo (West Side Story) - $2,200
Kira (Xanadu) - $2,900
Usnavi (In the Heights)- $2,600
Countess Aurelia (Dear World) - $2,400
Annie Oakley (Annie Get Your Gun) - $2,400
Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)
Edith Herbert (My One and Only) - $2,200
The Eggbeater (Beauty and the Beast) - $2,000
Edna Turnblad (Hairspray) - $1,900
Mimi (Rent) - $1,800
Tank Showgirl (The Producers) - $1,700
The Drowsy Chaperone - $1,700
Mother Abbess (The Sound of Music) - $1,700
Nellie Forbush (South Pacific) - $1,600
Wendy Darling (Peter Pan) - $1,600
Bird Woman (Mary Poppins) - $1,600
Merlyn (Camelot) - $1,600
Elizabeth (Young Frankenstein) - $1,400
Ethel Merman/Little Orphan Annie (Forbidden B'way) - $1,200
Uncle Sam (State Fair) - $1,200
Wendla (Spring Awakening) - $1,100
Rose (Gypsy 1959) - $1,100
Evillene (The Wiz) - $1,100
Ariel (The Little Mermaid) - $1,000
Christmas Eve (Avenue Q) - $1,000
Louise (Gypsy 200 - $1,000
Gabriella (Boeing-Boeing) - $900
Linus (You're A Good Man Charlie Brown) - $700

Eva Peron doll (Evita) - $700
Agnes Gooch (Mame) - $600

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

All You Ever Needed to Know About Valentine's Day

Graphic by pixieglitter

The facts behind the holiday we celebrate with chocolates and flowers. Or if we're really lucky, with a Clay Aiken appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. *g*


Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.

The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 498 A.D. The Roman 'lottery' system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February — Valentine's Day — should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages (written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400), and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum. The first commercial Valentine's Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap".

In honor of the Valentine's Day, don't miss this montage by Yollie950 of some very special moments.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation Awards Grant to Dancing Wheels Company and School

In the 2008/2009 season, The Dancing Wheels Company received a significant award from The Bubel/Aiken Foundation to help fulfill their mission of creating communities where ALL children can learn, live, and play together. The Dancing Wheels Company was one of over 100 applicants selected this year to promote the Foundation's mission of inclusion.

The Dancing Wheels Company has long been recognized for its award winning, fully integrated in school assembly and residency programs across the nation. Through an artistic approach, the Company dispels myths about disability and the arts and creates an entertaining and valuable message to thousands of children with and without disabilities each year throughout America. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation was established in 2003 to promote the full inclusion of children with special needs into the mainstream of society. The Foundation was established by Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel, a mother of a child with autism. The two met while Clay was pursuing his career in special education. The Bubel family and Clay witnessed the everyday isolation and exclusion of children with disabilities. Many camps, summer programs and extracurricular school activities do not have the means or structure to include children with intellectual, sensory or physical disabilities thereby excluding these children from participation. Aiken and the Bubel family felt that it was necessary not only to create awareness about inclusion but to also create and foster unique programming to include children of all abilities in education, recreation and family activities. Today the Foundation has developed Let痴 ALL Play, a K-12 Service Learning Curriculum, and a children痴 book Our Friend Mikayla, as well as supporting other organizations that bring about inclusion.

The Dancing Wheels Company has utilized this funding to reach out to schools that would not otherwise have the financial means for such in-school and after school programming. The Company has embraced schools throughout Ohio and will be expanding its offer to schools throughout the nation. To date the Company has served over 1,200 students with and without disabilities with the Bubel/Aiken funding.

In 2009, The Dancing Wheel Company will have ongoing residencies with Barrett Academy, a school with multiply disabled children in Akron Ohio and Hands That Speak Volumes, an after school program for teens who are deaf which will be conducted in the Dancing Wheels studios in Cleveland. These children and teens will have the unique opportunity discover for the first time the freeing experience of dance and movement. The children will also have the added benefits of developing a skill that will eventually allow them to participate in other social events (such as dances or parties) that are fully inclusive. They will feel comfortable with their new-found skills and the social interaction that music and dance can bring.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher, President Founding Artistic Director of The Dancing Wheels Company and Jerry Aiken, Executive Director of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation collaborated on how to reach even more children in the future. “The connection and mission of the two organizations are incredibly close,“ said Mary Verdi-Fletcher. “When Jerry and I began to talk, our shared values and desire to bring equality to children with disabilities were so strong that we knew that we would be a winning team.”

For more information on the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, visit their website at, and The Dancing Wheels Company & School or to apply for The Dancing Wheels Company to visit your school, please call (216) 432-0306 or visit

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

This Magic Moment

Right now Clay is off doing who knows what--spending some time with his son, working on his career, working on UNICEF, working on TBAF, getting some R&R, all of them, some of them. In the meantime, we have the memories to tide us over. Here are some fan favorites--the most magic of them all:

  • Opening Night, First Time Ever, Rock Star Mystery Entrance on Kyrie!!!--Feb 24, 2004 - Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Coliseum.
  • Standing in a GIANT circle in the dark for the bus line in San Diego while Clay and Jerome walked around the inside of the circle and everyone stayed in place and waited their turn.
  • Clay talking to the audience, "...because God forbid the Clack skip around. Yeah, I know your words".
  • Magical Clay moment was singing "Measure of a Man" to him in Wilkes Barre, PA.
  • During the American Idol concert, the jumbotron had stuff going on before the show and every time Clay's name or picture or a song came up the audience went totally nuts.
  • Singing Beautiful Star of Bethlehem to his grandpa in Raleigh during the JNT.
  • The night in Sterling Heights when Clay and Quiana sang "Listen".
  • Magical moment for me was when I watched him sing "Good News" live at San Diego JNT2. He was standing 10 feet directly in front of me, and to watch him go to that special place when he sings to God, well, it was almost ethereal. I'll never forget it.
  • Magical but scary moment was JNT on Long Island. Day one of three shows with vertigo. Watching him grip that stool and stagger off stage showed the true Measure of a Man.
  • When Clay walked out on stage at Toms River for the first Juke Box Tour concert. I don't know if it was as much magical as mind blowing. It really took a few seconds to really believe that the guy with the black leather jacket strutting out there was really Clay Aiken.
  • Singing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" at the Beacon Theatre at one of the JNT concerts. So sensual and sultry...
  • Clay’s final Spamalot performance on May 4, 2008 when Clay was spotted on the balcony.
  • All is Well...Merrillville...the whole audience just sat there holding its collective breath and when he hit the note...I have never heard a roar of applause like that in my definitely was a once in a lifetime moment.
  • "The First Noel" at the Beacon Theater on the Sunday performance. The Aiken Random Lyric Generator kicked in... he covered it up with an amazing grace and power....and we applauded...and he looked like the cat who ate the canary. He usually stopped pringing and the reading would start up again...but this time he couldn't recover...and we just gave him the love...and he took it all in...and sent love to us...and we sent love to him....closed circle.
  • Singing "I Can't Make You Love Me" at Clio when the audience was so silent and he sang the full song for the first time.
  • When Clay sang "Right Here Waiting" at the Gala in Raleigh.
  • Many fans singing "Faith has conquered fear" with Clay at the Raleigh Gala
  • When Clay sang Lover All Alone in Rochester NY. We could hear his amazing voice and the pouring rain.
  • When he appeared on Good Morning America the morning that Measure of a Man was released - he looked so gorgeous, sang so beautifully and he was so full of hope.
  • When Clive presented him with his MOAM double platinum award on GMA. What an incredible moment for him and for his fans as well. That was a moment of pure joy and happiness. Someone wrote on the boards that day - "this was his confetti moment, the moment he was cheated out of on the AI2 finale." And it truly was.
  • The moment I'll never forget was when Clay signaled to Jamie to come help him up from the stool at the Long Island JNaT. He truly left it all on the stage with us, and could not even stand up on his own to walk off. That was....well, it just defies description.
and my favorite magic moment
  • The first (non-paparazzi) picture we had of Clay with his newborn son. It's wasn't the best picture of Clay since People airbrushed the living daylights of the picture--not a freckle in sight--but the sight of Clay as a Dad knowing how much he wanted that was one of my very favorite moments.
Here is a little pictorial of the moments fans consider magical:

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