Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tennessee Concert Inspires Friend's Email

AN EVENING WITH CLAY AIKEN -- The Summer Symphony Tour 2007 is receiving virtual PR in Tennessee. Graphic by Amazing_CA, photos by Scrpkym.

Online Theatre Tour

Clay's Concert Inspires Email

"Hey, I was taking a virtual tour of the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, and look who I came upon in the news of upcoming events!" my good friend and former editor Paula emailed me Monday. "The copy about Clay took up half the page opposite his photo. Nice, huh?"

My Texas friend included the PR picture/concert info about Clay that I ran in an earlier blog. The same photo greets members as they enter the Official Fan Club site.

Paula does not inhabit the message boards, but she is a longtime fan of the singer's pipes and probably knows a lot more about Clay's accomplishments and humanitarian activities than most casual fans because she has been the gracious recipient of countless links and stories.

The fact that I "scooped" her Tennessee info is surreal because this woman was my first editor, the person who most influenced my initial steps in the Fourth Estate.

She was 21, and I was 16 when I began writing for the Star-News Newspapers in Wilmington, NC. A native of East Tennessee, Paula had worked for the Kingsport Times-News prior to transferring to my hometown.

We were instant pals, often joining a crew from the news and composing rooms for "breakfast" at an all-night diner after the paper had been put to bed. From the outset, we enjoyed hanging out together which, much to my mother's consternation, sometimes meant skipping out on 11 a.m. church, often to a Unitarian service. I was always back on Baptist premises by noon.

Editor Guides Fledgling Journalist

Besides influencing my initial news and feature writing, the young lifestyles editor taught me how to crop photos, write heads, layout pages, etc. Back in the "dark ages" of typewriters and linotype machines, a section editor -- or her assistant -- read and initialed a page proof prior to the rolling of the presses for the paper's first edition.

Sailors have nothing on newspaper staffs, and I quite naturally picked up some of the colorful language, again much to my mother's dismay. Since then, as a teacher both in the public schools and privately, I have caught myself mid-word about to recall old newsroom jargon.

A high school senior, I planned to major in journalism; and Paula envisioned my doing so at UT-Knoxville. Over a long weekend, we visited the Tennessee campus; and had I been an in-state student, I probably would have become a Volunteer.

I opted for college in NC and a Music Ed degree, but I have since written for several newspapers, as well. Paula married, raised three children (a doctor, a lawyer, and a college professor), while working for newspapers from Chattanooga to Philadelphia.

Childhood Memories Inspire Tour

The reason my friend stumbled across Clay on the Tennessee Theatre's website is rooted in her own childhood. "I wanted to make certain it was the theatre my granddad took me to when I visited in Knoxville. I wanted to see what I could about the theatre because I kept hearing so much about it. They've apparently restored it to some palatial degree of its original self, circa 1928, I believe."

For those attending the Knoxville concert, my editor-friend reported that the lobby's five chandeliers, restored with Czechoslovakian crystals, are truly gorgeous.

To prove I had scooped her, I sent my mentor the link to my May 15 Tennessee blog. Her email and the journal entry both contained the same glorious photo of the restored theatre:

Clickable Tennessee Threatre

I have previously quoted Paula in blogs about the rampant deterioration of ethics in journalism today. In a totally non-Clay related paragraph this week, she described a reporter and an event that actually procured positive outcome. Unfortunately, it can work both ways.

"He had to develop a story that would lead into whatever he wanted to write about and then get out and find the circumstances that made the story. I guess lots of reporters play the game that way."

Ya think?!? Now there is food for thought. Meanwhile, many thnx to my friend for taking that online tour and contacting me with the find. Guess I'll have to let her know she also inspired the lead segment in my latest blog.

Clay Aiken in the News

Three Not.Just.Us stories are featured in the second half, but here's a brief spin through some recent media headlines:

Clay participated in the 2007 Face Behind the Mask, a benefit for Hospice of Michigan's Maggie Allesee Center for Quality of Life, by decorating a mask which included music symbols and the phrase "Use Your Gifts."

Clickable Mask by Clay

For a larger view, see Page 4 of the PDF file here.

The Cinderella saga of singing waitress Andrea Greenway's discovery by David Foster continues to make the news with several Clay mentions in this Toronto Star article: Waiting Tables Pays Off Big Time for Singer .

A regular feature of the Washington Post closed the school year with a sixth grade's list of favorites -- authors, TV shows, game stations, et al. Top musical performers included a wide range -- from Mozart and James Galway to Eminem and Clay Aiken.

The OFC has confirmed that Santa will arrive a month early as Clay will be the exclusive musical guest on "Capital One Holiday Celebrations on Ice" in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Tickets for the Nov.6 taping will go on sale in July, and air date is Dec. 25. Stay tuned to the OFC for updates.

Asian fans are more than ready for a CA tour. For an interesting read, see the "ABC's of Clay Aiken" at the New Clay Aiken blog. Among the adjectives are Hot, Intelligent, Jovial, Quirky, Religious, Splendid, and for XYZ: eXamine Your Zipper. Oh, yes, these fans are current!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: This clickable interlude features designs by five creative artists, including the three winning badges from the Clayboard's summer tour pass contest. The opening and closing graphics are by A Beautiful Mind, 1, and Ambassador of Love, 5. Winning tour badges include Cindilu2 (1st place), 2; Clayquebec1 (2nd place), 3; and CLAYPERFECT (3rd Place), 4.

Fans Share Not.Just.Us Stories

Not.Just.Us encounters are as enjoyable to report as they are to experience. Readers are always invited to share similar adventures.

Toni2marie: (Clayversity) I have a NJU story that involves my 30-year-old son, a court officer and a law student. His wife was having a garage sale and she had to leave for a while, so my son asked if I would come over and sit with him at the garage sale. His wife told him to play some “nice music” in the garage; so I said, “I have some nice music!”

I gave him a CD that I made of some my favorite Clay songs, including all of the AI2 solo performances, Lover All Alone and The Valentine Candy song from "Jimmy Kimmel Live." As we were listening, my son said, “That was nice” ... “He should have won” ... “Clay and Jimmy are a riot.”

When "Lover All Alone" came on, I told him that Clay wrote this song. There were no customers, and it was just my us listening to this beautiful song. After it was over, I said, “Pretty good, huh?” He said, “No, Mom, that wasn’t good; that was fantastic!”

He looked at me, and I had tears streaming down my face. He came over to me and gave me a big hug and said, “Aww, Mom, I now know why you love Clay so much; I get it now.” As he turned away, I saw him wipe a tear from his face.

We played Clay music all day and had secret smiles between us when customers would hum to the music. I love them both so much!

Key Chain Opens Door

Maetow (Clayversity): I never thought I would run into any other Clay fans, other than the few at our party. I have several JNT05 key chains, one of which I use for those little grocery store tags for "special prices." My husband and I stopped by Food Lion this afternoon to pick up one item on sale. As usual, I gave him my key chain which he in turn handed to the cashier, 18-20 years old.

She stared and stared at the picture and asked me if I was a fan. She said she had never met another Clay fan and went on and on about his voice, etc. There were no customers behind us, and my husband chirped in to say he agreed Clay had a wonderful voice and shared a few of his concert experiences with her.

She told us to come back often so she could look at the key chain, but I took an extra out of my purse and handed it to her. She cried. We hugged. On the way to the car my husband said, "How pleasant was that?" How pleasant, indeed!

Screen Saver Invites Young Fan

Toni7babe (Clayversity): One of my weekend treats is having a salad at Panera while keeping up with boards on my new laptop. When I returned from getting a drink refill, my screen saver had kicked on, flashing over 1,000 pictures, four at a time. A little girl at the table across from me, about 10-11 years old, said, "Can I watch that? I just love Clay."

So she sat there until her parents were ready to leave and watched all my Clay pics in the screen saver go by. She was so cute and fangirly over the pictures and kept asking where they were from. She told me she likes the bangs best, "Invisible" is her favorite song, and Clay is her favorite American Idol with Blake next. The Wango Tango photos popped up, and she said she really likes Clay in jeans.

I just love random Clay fans. Through all the ups and downs I wouldn't trade being a Clay fan for anything. This really made my day!

Frequently, I email a friend or relative who may be interested in an entry's topic the link to the Blogspot journal. I did that recently with the students and parents involved in our May spring recital and rehearsals.

At her daughter's lesson Monday, a violin mom mentioned that she had enjoyed reading the reports. I asked if she had noticed the reference to her daughter, my youngest violinist who had just performed in her first recital.

"Oh, yes, we both did; and we like reading about that Clay Aikin fellow, too!"

Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA's beautiful opening graphic:

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


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