June 27, 2008

Legendary Temptations Staying in the Spotlight

By Mark Jordan

Motown legends the Temptations return to Tunica with a concert tonight at Sam's Town's River Palace Entertainment Center.

Together more than 48 years, the five-man vocal group is led now by the sole remaining original member, Otis Williams. Williams, 66, sings tenor/baritone harmony in the group, rarely taking a lead vocal, but his longevity has put him in the position of shaping the legacy of the group. It was his 1988 best-selling autobiography that served as source material for a smash 1998 TV mini-series.

For the most part, though, he has kept the group alive by keeping it working. After making their final Motown record, Legacy, in 2004, the Temptations signed with Universal Music Group subsidiary New Door, a label catering to veteran artists. Since then they have released two albums of covers, including the recent Back to Front , a Top 10 record in the U.K., which has the Temptations applying their soulful harmonies to Memphis soul standards like Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin'" and the Staples Singers' "Respect Yourself," as well as songs made famous by Barry White ("Never, Never Gonna Give You Up") and L.T.D. ("[Every Time I Turn Around] Back In Love Again").

And expect the Temptations to be extra busy in 2009, as organizers plan a slew of releases and concerts to commemorate Motown's 50th anniversary.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $40 at the Sam's Town box office and through Ticketmaster, including by phone at (901) 525-1515 and online at Ticketmaster.com.

Last laughs

The Improv at Harrah's comedy series concludes its run at Harrah's Tunica this weekend with a line-up of three rising comedians:

Best known as "Skippy," the nerdy best friend of Michael J. Fox's Alex Keaton on the '80s sitcom "Family Ties," Marc Price has gone on to a varied career in film and television production. But following the example of his father, '40s-era comic Al Bernie, Price still likes to indulge his love for stand-up. Over the years he has opened for Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld.

A professional comic for 18 years, Anthony Griffin has made multiple appearances on "The Tonight Show" and "Comedy Central," among other prestigious comedy outlets. His act is grounded in his roots growing up in the inner city, the son of a religious mother.

Rounding out the cast of comics is Kenny Kane, a frenetic, physical sketch comedian described as a cross between Robin Williams, Steve Martin and Jim Carrey. A performer on shows like UPN's "Seriously Unusual Television" and radio's "The Bob & Tom Show," Kane also devotes much of his time to performing for the troops.

Shows start at 9 nightly. Tickets are $10 at the Harrah's box office and through Ticketmaster.

Hawaiian Tropic heats up Harrah's

Also at Harrah's, another installment in the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Preliminary Pageant series will be held Saturday. The event starts poolside at the Terrace Hotel at 11 a.m. with a deejay, drink specials and prize giveaways. The pageant, which includes cocktail dress and swimsuit events, begins at 3:30 p.m. Women 21 and older who want to compete must register by 3 p.m.

For more information, visit hawaiiantropicmodels.com.

Originally published by Mark Jordan Special to The Commercial Appeal .

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