La vida local

A rocker’s ode to ‘Memphis’

 

David Bryan can relate with the cast of Memphis, coming to the Ziff Ballet Opera House Tuesday night.

The keyboardist who wrote the songs and lyrics for the rousing Tony Award winner is in the middle of a world tour with his longtime band Bon Jovi.

“I understand the touring aspect,” says Bryan, who just wrapped the U.S. leg; the guys now have about roughly 90 shows to go in 30 countries. “This is 30 years’ of experience. It’s what I do. I love it.”

Another love is for the city where blues and rock and roll were born: Memphis, Tenn.

“One of the most amazing places on the planet,” Bryan says. “You go to Beale Street and pop in somewhere, and there are drinks up in the air and you’re on your feet. For a second you’re carefree. You just get the music, you know where to go.”

The play, which had a highly successful run on Broadway from 2009-12, centers around a white DJ in the 1950s embarking on a forbidden affair with a black woman. Bryan, 51, found the fact-based script — by playwright Joe Pietro, of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change — relatable.

“I experienced segregation first hand as a white Jewish kid growing up in New Jersey,” said the rocker, 51. “There weren’t a lot of Jewish kids, and I felt the hate, though I couldn’t understand it at the time.”

But Memphis (which runs through Sunday; see calendar for details) is optimistic, “not preachy,” says Bryan, a father of three. “It’s about celebrating what keeps us together and not what separates us. It’ll surprise you with a whole lot of emotion, and you end up joyous, thinking there’s still hope that the world is a better place.”

Just like the barhoppers on Beale Street, expect to jam: “This play is like a freight train,” he says. “It keeps moving fast.”

Madeleine Marr

Company man

Rapper Kendrick Lamar hosted the Prestige Sunday party at BAMBOO. Straight off his firing from Pepsi, Lil Wayne showed up and performed 10 songs for about 25 minutes. Says our spy, “The place was going crazy, everyone was so surprised!” Lil was a busy boy. On Friday night, the rapper celebrated the launch of his new footwear company, Spectre, at a private downtown Miami venue. The brand is a collab with skateboarder brand Supra and will be sold locally at Shoe Gallery.

Weezy is no longer repping Mountain Dew, because of the controversy surrounding his Emmett Till lyric on Karate Chop.

Lesley Abravanel

Happy foodie

Miami homegirl Maricel Presilla — Cuban immigrant, MDCC/FIU grad and medieval-scholar-turned-restaurateur — has scored a culinary trifecta.

Honored with a James Beard Foundation best-chef award last year for her New Jersey restaurant, Presilla has come home the big winner from both of this spring’s major cookbook competitions. Her Gran Cocina Latina, an epic survey of Hispanic cooking in the Americas that was named best general cookbook last month by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, won Cookbook of the Year honors at the James Beard media-awards ceremony Friday night.

“Happiness does not fully describe the joy I felt,” said Presilla, who walked to the stage at New York’s Gotham Hall to shouts of “Bravo!” and “Epa!”

“I was accepting the award on behalf of millions of Latin American cooks, and that is a huge responsibility and honor.”

In her speech, Presilla likened the 912-page book to the monarch butterfly, symbol of the immigration-reform movement: “Like the monarch, my book breaks borders and creates bridges between people, but through the universal pleasures of cooking.”

Kathy Martin

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Scene in the Tropics

    Sean Connery loves soccer (and Caffe Abbracci)

    Sean Connery had dinner Monday night with a group of friends at Caffe Abbracci. Connery greeted and shook hands with fans as he entered the room and was overheard chatting with restaurant owner Nino Pernetti about the World Cup, saying he regrets that his native country Scotland did not qualify and that England was eliminated in the first round. He did concede that Germany was the rightful winner. Connery also told Pernetti that what he enjoys most in life after making movies is ... soccer. The ex 007 left the restaurant, saying “Cheerio,” to the owner and his starstruck guests.

  • As seen on TV

    Starz' ‘Outlander' brings novels to life

    Prepare to bend your mind. Premiering on the Starz network on Saturday at 9 p.m., Outlander is adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s wildly popular novels. Claire, a lovely British Army nurse on a second honeymoon in Scotland, is mysteriously swept from 1945 back to 1743, plopped into a strange and alien existence, including marriage to a dashing Scottish warrior, even as she struggles to return to “modern” times and the husband she left behind.

  • Celebrity birthdays on Aug 1

    Actor-director Geoffrey Holder is 84. Singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is 83. Blues musician Robert Cray is 61. Singer Michael Penn is 56. Singer Joe Elliott of Def Leppard is 55. Rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy is 54. Rapper Coolio is 51. Singer Adam Duritz of Counting Crows is 50. Actress Tempestt Bledsoe is 41. Singer Ashley Parker Angel (O-Town) is 33.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category