Saturday, November 24, 2007

Curtain Rises on Heartland Tour

CAPTIVATING -- Cindilu2 provides an exquisite vocabulary lesson with her latest graphic.

Three Cheers for Cyber Monday

Tour Bytes Numerous, Varied

As Clay Aiken's "Christmas in the Heartland Tour" prepares for Monday night's opening bow in Wichita, KS, media promos advertising the concert schedule have escalated in variety and number.

A southerner residing off the Heartland route, I am sitting out this year's holiday edition. Clack downloads and recaps by those present promise to convert my den into a concert hall as reports come in.

Below is a sampling of this week's Heartland Tour publicity.

Aiken To Play Holiday Show in Genesee

American Idol favorite Clay Aiken will be celebrating the holidays in style at the Genesee Theatre Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

The multi-platinum recording artist emerged from his 2003 American Idol experience with a recording contract, Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly magazine covers, and legions of loyal fans.

Those fans voted him the Fan's Choice winner at the 2003 American Music Awards as well as TV Guide's Fan's Favorite Reality Star that same year.

His first single, "This is the Night/Bridge Over Troubled Water" won the Billboard Music Award for best-selling single of 2003, and that was just the beginning.

The article also covers Clay's recent appearances at Neil Sedaka's 50th year festivities at Lincoln Center, the "Capitol One Holiday Celebration on Ice," taping, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader," the upcoming "Spamalot" role on Broadway, and area fan plans for Clay's birthday.

Each year on Aiken's birthday (Nov. 30), the group sends gift baskets to children in hospitals in his hometown of Raleigh, N.C. This year, they anticipate sending about 520 baskets.

Clay Aiken Speaks About Upcoming Concert

Lisa Sokolowski of the Wilkes-BarreTimes Leader posted an excellent story Sunday. This is an excerpt:

In the past five years, he has released four albums and is embarking on his eighth tour, which makes a stop at the F. M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre at 7 p.m. Dec. 4. Last year, his appearance at the venue was sold out.

His day job is to sell as many albums as possible – and he has sold millions – but he doesn’t stop there. He is a philanthropist who has raised millions of dollars for various causes, begun the Bubel/Aiken Foundation and traveled with UNICEF.

“I could go out and just sing,” he said, adding, volunteering “is what I do with my downtime. … When you go out there (on stage), there’s only so much of that you can take with you.”

Clay Aiken To Carol 'With Love'

You know you've enjoyed molding young Clay since his first nervous nights on "American Idol." Backed by the 45-piece Chelsea Symphony Orchestra, Aiken will be crooning the holiday classics featuring selections from the best-selling "Merry Christmas with Love."

This show is one of the final chances to see him in concert before he makes his Broadway debut in January as Sir Robin in "Monty Python's Spamalot." -- State Theater, New Brunswick, NJ, Dec. 6.

CITH Schedule by Claystruck

At the Finish Line of Life, Sometimes Second Is Best

Libby Copeland, Washington Post staff writer, Friday penned an in-depth column about numerous examples of famous second-place finishers.

It's rarely a good thing to be someone's second choice. [snip]

All those '80s movies, like "Pretty in Pink," with all those Duckies chasing after all those Andies in pink prom dresses? We're all Duckie, a little needy and nerdy. Which brings us to Clay Aiken, as most good conversations should.

He came in second to Ruben Studdard on "American Idol," but he became more popular and successful in the long run. He loved his seconddom, and his seconddom loved him back.

"I think people like an underdog sometimes," Aiken once told Larry King.

Aiken and Kalamazoo Orchestra Present Holiday Concert

According to North Carolina native Aiken, there is a conscious attempt to deliver a fresh experience each tour.

"We have a tradition of involving people from the communities we visit in the show. This year, we're allowing fans who've submitted their own Christmas memories through our web site to tell those holiday stories along with the music. It's going to be kind of like a big Christmas card."

Kalmazoo Gazette,
Clickabe Scan

Books To Honor Clay Aiken's Birthday

Information regarding the manner Clay's fans will celebrate his 29th birthday Friday, Nov. 30, appears on the Kalamazoo Communities in Schools website. Instructions are provided for anyone who would like to participate in the donation of books.

Clay Aiken, the runner-up for the 2003 American Idol, is coming to Miller Auditorium to present a Clay Aiken Christmas with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. The concert is scheduled for Friday, November 30 – Clay Aiken’s 29th birthday.

To honor his birthday, fans are donating children’s books to Kalamazoo Communities In Schools. This gift combines Clay’s commitment to children with the resources of KCIS and its strong involvement in the Kalamazoo Public Schools.

Clay graduated with a degree in special education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has created the Bubel/Aiken Foundation – “which supports the integration of children with disabilities into the life environment of their non-disabled peers.”

'Merry Christmas with Love' #1 in Asheville

Clay Aiken. North Carolina's "American Idol" superstar, dishes the holiday delights, including "O Holy Night" and "Winter Wonderland."

Did you know his concert this past summer at Biltmore Estate was a quick sell-out, pulling more than 3,000 fans?

Christmas Comes Early for Aiken Fans

Clay Aiken is driving to his doctor's office when he pauses to talk about his upcoming 20-city "Christmas in the Heartland" tour.

"All is well," he says by telephone from somewhere in Los Angeles. "Before I start a tour, I like to make sure everything is working.

"It's not a bad idea, considering how busy the 2003 "American Idol" runner-up has been lately.

All in all, this should be an exciting opening week of the Heartland Tour, first or second-hand

PHOTO INTERLUDE: The 2007 Christmas in the Heartland Tour promises a season of magical memories. This blog gets a head start with the graphic designs by Ambassador of Love, photos by PermaSwooned, 1; Amazing_CA, photos by Scrpkym, 2; Claysmelody, 3; Amazing_CA, photos by PermaSwooned, 4; and MNmeesh, photo by PermaSwooned, 5.

Cyber Monday Rings My Chimes

Just as our local morning shows ceased their features about Black Friday's 4 a.m. lines of shoppers wrapped around stores in frigid temperatures, they began talking about Cyber Monday and ways to save money with online purchases. Finally, they were singing my song.

I was already planning to sprint through my Christmas list via the Internet, so I was thrilled to learn that many retailers have designated the Monday after Thanksgiving for online sales promotions. Weekend deals are already in progress.

At the top of my list were practical and fun items for my grandson Kai, who apparently made friends with the "turkey" at his first Thanksgiving this week:

Several times Saturday I was juggling multiple tabs on four pages, comparing prices, shipping options (free or not), etc. It pays to shop around, and fellow online enthusiasts might like to check out these links:

Cyber Monday

For online coupon codes, see these sites:

Current Codes

Retail Me Not

Retail Me Not - Canada

Some coupons and deals will expire this weekend, while others will be in effect longer. The best part is you can shop in your warm home at a decent hour and take in the holiday football/basketball fare or listen to Clay serenade your Cyber buying.

With the Carolina Tar Heels playing in the Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans (sound familiar, CA fans?) Arena, my shopping deadline was the 10:30 p.m. tip-off. No problem -- the Heels won, and my list is almost complete.

Below is a clickable of Cindilu2's opening graphic, my current desktop:

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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