Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Clay Aiken a Cool Dad; Gala Ticket Sale Set for May

Click to expand graphic by AmazingCA with photos by KarenEh.

National Inclusion Project

2011 Gala Tickets Go on Sale 5/3

General admission tickets for the National Inclusion Project's annual
Champions Gala went on sale at the charity's website at noon Tuesday; but due to a series of snafus, the date has been reset for noon May 3.

Following transaction difficulties, an update was posted by the Inclusion Project on social networking sites, message boards, etc. Here is the new plan:

GALA TICKET UPDATE: A switch in our email servers caused an error with our ticket page. We are resolving the issue, and in the meantime:

1) Any transactions made today have been voided. If you purchased a VIP ticket earlier, there is no issue.

2) We will do a reset and open purchases for tickets next Tuesday, May 3, at 12 noon ET. Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to seeing you at the 2011 Champions Gala!

Evening activities for the Oct. 22 event begin at 5:30 p.m. and include a recognition ceremony of Champion honorees, dinner, silent and live auctions. Closing the annual event will be entertainment by co-founder Clay Aiken and backup musicians.

VIP tables and tickets, which also include a special reception on Oct. 21, are still available. See the above link for online purchasing information.

Clickable photo of NIP co-founders Clay and Diane Bubel.

The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in July 2003 by Clay and Diane Bubel, Charlotte mother of a son with autism.

Set at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Gala annually honors individuals and corporations for exceptional achievements in the area of inclusion, promotes awareness of the benefits of inclusion, and raises funds to help support the foundation's projects.

"We hope that everyone will join us for an enjoyable evening including dinner, silent and live actions, and entertainment - all in support of inclusive opportunities for all children," the singer urged.

Past Galas have provided memorable performances by Clay and his backup musicians. For many, top of the list was "Both Sides Now" from the 2010 event with Debra Leisey signing the words as he sang the poignant song written by Joanie Mitchell.

BOTH SIDES NOW an appropriate ending to 2010 Gala.
Singer Clay Aiken with Debra Leisey signing perform duet.
View video by Scarlett full screen at YouTube.

Clay Recognized as a 'Cool Dad'

Clay Aiken was this week recognized as one of the six coolest gay celebrity dads in a featured article at the Your Tango website.

In addition to Clay, the "Cool Dad" article by Kayda Norman includes reports on Neil Patrick Harris, Elton John, Ricky Martin, B.D. Wong, and Dan Savage. Below is the singer's segment:

From Neil Patrick Harris to Clay Aiken, these dads aren't shy about embracing fatherhood.

Clay Aiken. Though the former American Idol contestant may not have been quite as vocal about fatherhood as others on this list, the birth of his son did give him courage to come out of the closet.

"I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that," Clay said (via People.com), about a month after his son was born.

And rather than go the route of adoption or surrogate, the singer and his good friend Jaymes Foster used artificial insemination to bring about son Parker Foster Aiken.

More than anything, Clay strives to raise his son in a loving environment, which, in our opinion, makes him one of the coolest dads out there.

Vote Clay Aiken the Ultimate Idol

Need to put your voting skills to good use? Help vote Clay Aiken the Ultimate Idol in the Q-102 four-week poll.

It's very simple. Just click on the contest link and vote for Clay, currently in the quarter finals against Carrie Underwood. You can vote as many times as you wish.

Four sets of Idols -- Clay and Carrie, Adam Lambert and Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson and Kat McPhee, David Archuleta and Jennifer Hudson -- are pitted against each other. These eight have won a previous round, and their fans are trying to boost them to the competition's next level.

The Clay Nation knows who the Ultimate Idol is. Put all that voting experience to work!

Mama Mac's Cane to the Rescue

Driving to Wesleyan Christian Academy to teach music lessons is usually uneventful except that I'm frequently in a race with the clock. It's just my nature to leave at the last minute, something I inherited from my mother.

Monday I was actually on time but had to deal with a branch that was stuck under my car and just wouldn't let go. The noise was so loud that I stopped and tried to knock the branch away to no avail.

I immediately drove to the nearest gas station; and, fortunately, a kind man walked out of the adjoining market at just that moment.
I described my problem and asked if he could help, so he knelt down to take a look.

"It's in the middle of the car!" he exclaimed. "I'll have to find something to stretch that far."

I reached for my mother's cane, which I now use when walking outside the house, and asked if he thought it would work.

He grinned and promptly unhinged me from the abrasive branch. I thanked him, gave Mama Mac a silent nod of appreciation, and was on my way. She would have thoroughly enjoyed the moment!

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Honor Easter, Spring Rebirth

NEW BIRTH -- This beautiful tiger lily graphic by Sally commemorates Easter and the rebirth of Spring.

Rebirth and Renewal

Easter Celebrates Resurrection

Sunday Christians all over the world celebrate Easter, an occasion commemorating the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The day also honors the rebirth of Spring and, for many, the renewal of faith, hope, and new life.

Since its conception as a holy celebration in the second century AD, Easter has had its non-religious side and, like most Christian holidays, was originally a pagan festival.

The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating Eastre, their goddess of offspring and of springtime. When second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity, but in a clandestine manner.

To save lives, the missionaries cleverly decided to spread their religious message slowly throughout the populations by allowing them to continue to celebrate pagan feasts, but to do so in a Christian manner.

Pagan Eastre Becomes Easter

The pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. It made sense to alter the festival itself and make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.

Both the rabbit, Eastre's earthly symbol, and the exchange of eggs, a celebration of springtime's rebirth, were centuries old customs of the pagan festival that eventually merged with the religious Easter season.

More about the history of Easter and the parallel pagan festivities can be read at Wilstar.

In the first of many Easter greetings, here is a Clay Aiken graphic created by AmazingCA with a photo by PermaSwooned especially for today.

Click to expand AmazingCA's Easter graphic to wallpaper size.

Easter Greetings Fill Digital World

From message boards to social networking sites to smartphones, Easter greetings have taken over the digital sphere in which we communicate.

An unending stream of joyous Easter wishes, pastel and brightly colored eggs, floral arrangements, hopping bunnies, and cute little baby chicks have become mainstay anywhere you turn.

A few weeks ago, a friend shared the link for CLIPish 3D Animations, home base for thousands of images to add to text messages. For more information about the icons, see this Clipish site. Below are three samples of the Easter fare.

No iphone? Email the images as attachments.

Below is a special Easter greeting for all who visit the Carolina blog regularly or who just happened to drop by today.

Click on the screen cap to link to the Jacquie Lawson site and listen to "Jesu. Joy of Man's Desiring" from Cantata BWV 147 by J.S. Bach as you view a special Easter card. You will be instructed to click on the church spire to begin.

Screen cap links to Easter card for Clay Nation.

Happy Easter ~ Blessed Passover ~ Joyous Spring, Clay Nation!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Exhibit Sleuthing Prowess

TRIED & TRUE WALLPAPER -- AmazingCA's Clay Aiken graphic using photo by dc4clay expands with a double-click.

Aided by Facebook, Twitter

Aiken Fans Prove Super Sleuths

Clay Aiken fans are among the world's best detectives. A casual tweet or twit pic and the Clay Nation is off and running with the singer's current filming locales, telecast dates, photos, you name it!

In past appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Clay has acknowledged the sleuthing prowess of his fans by jokingly offering the collective expertise in locating Osama Bin Laden.

Just in the past couple of weeks, amateur sleuths have uncovered interesting news bites with more forthcoming. For now, read about the singer's Season 3 appearance on Drop Dead Diva, and check out the photo with Tori Spelling on the Funny or Die set.

Fountaindawg's graphic below consolidates the current finds with earlier Tried and True Meet & Greet photo from Atlanta and concert pix by PermaSwooned.

Click to expand graphic by Fountaindawg to wallpaper size.

Allergies, Storms, U-verse Converge

Student spring breaks staggered over a three-week span couldn't have come at a better time, as in addition to music lessons, I am still battling seasonal allergies and, hopefully, fine tuning a new U-verse package that includes telephone, Internet, and TV.

The allergies just don't seem to want to leave, and my Internet connection with U-Verse hasn't figured out how to stay. I am very happy with the television part of the bundle, as I have enjoyed a multitude of new and old movies.

Phone Number Temporary No More

For anyone thinking of switching to U-verse, I highly recommend that you first make sure your phone number will not be changed, even temporarily. Mine took two weeks to finally be reinstated.

Thanks to Vonnie in Texas, Jake in Tennessee, Joe in the Triad, and a whole slew of other technicians with whom I have became acquainted, that is now behind me.

Next on the list is identifying the correct setting for my Internet connection. Just in the time it took to write this blog, the connection dropped three times; and mornings are usually the most trustworthy hours!

Late afternoons and evenings are the worst; but even then, everything sometimes works. The spring storms my state is experiencing may have something to do with adverse atmospheric conditions.

All I want is the steady consistency of my former AT&T wireless. Wonder if U-verse would consider a bundle with my old DSL connection?

Movie Meets in Cyberspace

Internet friends within the Clay Aiken fandom not only discuss the successes, news, and special causes of their favorite singer; they also share family events, health issues, recipes, and a variety of "off topic" subjects.

In the past week, Scarlett and I have discovered Cyberspace is a great arena for viewing movies together, even 1,125 miles apart! After syncing the Netflix and U-Verse films, we communicate via Facebook chat during a movie's run.

Such deep thoughts as "awwww" and "oh, no!" are better typed as the dialogue and action continue in parallel locations. So far, we have watched in tandem Heart and Souls, The Dream Team, and The Blind Side.

I was asked how we coordinate these events when one is streaming and the other is playing back a recorded movie via U-verse. The formula is something like this:
Caro: I'm paused on the movie title.
Scarlett: OK, I'm there. Go!

And that's as high tech as it gets ...

The next flick has not been determined, but The Cure, It's Complicated, and My Cousin Vinny are in the mix.

Clack Rendering Starts First

Rest assured, Clay fans, that at least two computers are always running in the home of the clack goddess. Before a movie is queued on one machine, rendering of remaining high definition Tried & True Tour videos is well underway on the other.

The Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Sarasota, and Mesa T&T tour shows have been completed in high def and are available in PLAYLISTS at the Wowzers4Clay YouTube Channel and for download at the Tried & True Tour doc on Google.

Charlotte is next, and other concerts will be finished as soon as possible. Do you have a preference? Scarlett reads the comments, so drop her a hint in this blog or at the above links.

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - Clay Aiken
View montage by Hope/Wowzers4Clay full screen at YouTube.

Montages Highlight T&T Performances

Featured in this segment are montages by Hope/Wowzers4Clay of two Tried & True selections: "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" and "Misty." Both montages incorporate footage from Tried & True ~ LIVE, as well as video/caps by dlh7777 from the WTTS PBS Special Concert in Chicago.

YDHTSYLM also utilizes video from T&T concerts in Minneapolis, MN (dlh7777), Charlotte, NC (Scarlett), and Glenside, PA (farouche) while "Misty" includes videos from the Pittsburgh and Atlanta shows shot by Scarlett.

Clay Aiken performs 'Misty' - Montage by Hope.
Link to YouTube for full screen view.

Have a wonderful Easter Week, Clay Nation!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tap into High Def Clay Aiken with Atlanta Tried & True

WHERE DO I BEGIN: View Clay Aiken's Tried & True Atlanta Concert start to finish with this link. Download the high definition video/audio files by Scarlett here.

Entire Tried & True Concert

High Def Videos Replay Atlanta

It's been YEARS since my schedule has succumbed to an all-out upper respiratory assault, but this week has been one for the books. If you read the Carolina blog for Clay Aiken news, there have been exciting headlines -- everywhere but here!

Around midnight Wednesday the "Scarlett-Hope Clack Team" completed the process for rendering and uploading the former's high definition Tried & True Atlanta videos into a complete concert playlist on the latter's Wowzers4Clay Channel at YouTube.

Links for viewing/downloading audio and video concert files are printed below the opening video, as well as on the Wowzers4Clay site.

Allergies Play Havoc with Schedule

Thankfully, my battle with the elements began after I played oboe for Sunday's Lenten Cantata at Jamestown United Methodist Church. However, after a glorious weekend of Bach, Beethoven, et al, it's been all downhill. A scratchy throat should have been a red flag, but the springtime allergies I have avoided for several seasons have found me again.

Monday I taught a round of piano students at Wesleyan, but by Tuesday morning the coughing and sneezing signaled the onslaught of a monster cold that had arrived to stay a while. Lessons were rescheduled, and the battle to overcome the unwanted symptoms began.

The simple, common cold is such a royal pain; and, hopefully, one day there will be pill an instant cure. The worst is finally over, and my middle school violin trio will rehearse Thursday afternoon. Their repertoire this spring includes classical solos, Irish fiddle tunes, and selections from "Sound of Music."

Aiken To Guest on 'Drop Dead Diva'

While I was out of commission, much of the publishing world and social networking sites announced that Clay Aiken will be a guest on Drop Dead Diva, the popular, quirky Lifetime show. The series, which begins its third season in June, is set in Los Angeles, CA, but filmed in Peachtree City, GA.

Because of their Broadway background, Clay and Lance Bass received a great write-up in Broadway World for their upcoming guest appearances:

Broadway veterans Clay Aiken and Lance Bass are set to star in the fifth episode of the third season of DROP DEAD DIVA. Bass will star as a casting director and Aiken as a witness in a mail-order bride scam case.

Aiken made his Broadway debut playing the role of Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot in January 2008. On August 14, 2007, Bass began a six-month stint playing Corny Collins in the Broadway musical Hairspray, coinciding with the play's five year stage anniversary.

Season 3 returns with previously announced guest stars LeAnn Rimes, Wendy Williams, Paula Abdul, Louis Van Amstel, Nick Zano, Mario Lopez, Tony Goldwyn, Jennifer Tilly and Howard Hesseman.

You can read more at the Broadway World link above. Fans without the Lifetime channel can view or download the episode at Drop Dead Diva on Free TV. According to Sansue, the program will be online about a week after it airs.

Below are five screen caps from Scarlett's Atlanta videos.

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation! It's great to be back amongst the living!


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Clay Aiken Videos Create Traffic Jam at YouTube

Clay Aiken on the Tried & True Tour trail.
Double click to expand graphic by queen.

YouTube Round the Clock

Past Performances in Full Swing

Clay Aiken may not be on tour, but videos and montages of his past performances definitely are as round the clock traffic to the singer's incredible vocals and humorous concert banter is in full swing at YouTube.

The varied selection of videos and montages are entertaining, funny, moving, and highly addictive; so be sure to block some time for a YouTube adventure. Because of the "research" required for this entry, I am speaking from personal experience.

Selections in this blog link to performances from 1999 to American Idol 2 and subsequent tours. Some of Clay's vocals are combined with current events or TV shows while others feature concert clips and the singer's charitable endeavors with the National Inclusion Project and UNICEF.

Dancing With the Stars Season 12
'Suspicious Minds' by Clay Aiken
View montage by LCV full screen at YouTube.

Dancing With the Stars seems a natural fit for Clay's songs. In the montage above, LovesClaysVoice partnered DWTS Season 12 dancers Lil' Romeo and Chelsie Hightower, Hines Ward and Kym Johnson, Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and "Suspicious Minds" from the Tried & True album.

DWTS Season 11 - Viennese Waltz
'Unchained Melody' by Clay Aiken.
Montage by LCV can be viewed full screen at YouTube.

In the second DWTS montage, LovesClaysVoice combined the Viennese waltz routines of Season 11 contestants with Clay's signature version of "Unchained Melody" as performed on The View.

Dancers include Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke, Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Montage Spotlights Royal Wedding

Montages frequently blend newsworthy events with Clay's tracks. An excellent example from the On My Way Here CD is "Something About Us," which accompanies visual art from the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prince William and Kate - Something About Us
'On My Way Here' Vocals by Clay Aiken
View LCV's montage full screen at YouTube.

Another popular "Something About Us" montage is Hotshortie's compilation featuring images of the First Family set the Clay's OMWH track. To date, An Obama Love Story has registered 766,166 views.

Clay Aiken, a Retrospective, Part 1 - The Music
See four-part montage series by SueReu at YouTube.

Encompassing 2003-2009, SueReu's retrospective videos of Clay's career are subtitled "The Music," "Small Screen Fun," "A Special Guest," and "Photographs & Memories."

View all four videos in the Retrospesctive Playlist at SueReu's YouTube Channel.

Clay Aiken's AI5 BUZZ
View montage by zimarazi full screen at YouTube.

AI5 Appearance Epitome of BUZZ

A fan favorite since it was uploaded in 2007, zimarazi's montage presents an overview of the hoopla surrounding Clay's surprise performance at the AI5 Finale.

As the video shows, there was much more buzz about Clay Aikn around water coolers the next morning than the announcement of the Season 5 winner.

If You Don't Know Me By Now - Clay Aiken
Montage by Aspiegirl can be viewed full screen at YouTube.

Set to a bonus track from Clay's A Thousand Different Ways album, Aspiegirl's 2006 montage features video clips by gerwhisp, Scarlett, canfly172, and SecretlyLovesClay with photos/graphic art by Sally, AmazingCA, ABeautifulMind, and fivegoldens.

Here are more montages you may enjoy. Suggested in the comments will be added to the list.

Clay Aiken's Atlanta Audition Reconstruction by hosaa does exactly what the title implies and shows the singer as he began the Idol journey.

As Long As We're Here by Aspiegirl. From the OMWH CD, this song incorporates Clay's charitable endeavors with the National Inclusion Project and UNICEF.

Solitaire Then and Now by SueReu features Clay performing the Neil Sedaka hit on American Idol 3 (2004) and during the 2011 Tried and True Tour.

Dancing With the Stars Season 10 by LCV highlights "Everything I Have," another OMWH track.

Clay Aiken Is 'Still the One' by Hope/Wowzers4Clay includes performances of the song from 1999-2010.

Reserve a block of time, and enjoy! Have a great week, Clay Nation!


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Clay Aiken Montages Spotlight Tried & True Tour

NOW AND THEN: Fountaindawg's expandable graphic utilizes similar shots with an American Idol 2 screen cap from 2003 and a 2011 Tried & True Tour photo by PermaSwooned.

Blue Lights Up Autism Awareness Day

Montages Replay Tried & True 2

During the weeks after a very popular Clay Aiken tour, fans can always expect a second version to commence online with montage collections from the ever expanding libraries of video clack.

Sure enough, Tried & True Take 2 is in full swing with high definition videos, a series of "best of" compilations, photos and graphics, still popping up daily in Clay Cyberspace.

Below are three such videos spotlighting the many T&T versions of "Who's Sorry Now," the finale of an eight-part highlight collection, and a montage on the auto-tune series. Special thnx to
melobru, forgetyou1276, and mrbaconclayaiken17, respectively.

The Best of 'Who's Sorry Now' from Tried & True Tour.
View montage by melobru full screen at YouTube.

Videographers whose clips comprise the eight-video series below include Thankful4Clay, MBlovesClay, Mee4Clay, goldarngirl, hereforclay58, canfly172, Scarlett, hosaa, farouche, ClayIzzaQT, toni7babe, and dlh7777.

Tried and True Highlights, Part 8 (AZ, CA)
View all eight montages by forgetyou1276 at YouTube.

Tried & True Auto-Tune Memories
View montage by mrbaconclayaiken17 full screen at YouTube.

April Ushers in Autism Awareness

National Autism Awareness Month received a special kick-off Saturday with prominent buildings around the world lit in bright blue shades of hope.

Among the global sites heralding World Autism Awareness Day with the Light It Up Blue Campaign are the Empire State Building, Willis Tower in Chicago, Staples Center in Los Angeles, Niagra Falls, CN Tower in Canada, Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

The blue light of hope can also be seen in participating airports, bridges, museums, concert halls, schools/universities, restaurants, and retail stores.

Throughout April, the National Basketball Association is partnering with international organization Autism Speaks to increase awareness and raise research/treatment funding.

For an in depth report on autism, the events of April 2, and Autism Awareness Month, see the Clay News Network blog.

Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!