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My first trip of 2017 involved both people and places that I am quite fond of along with a method of transportation that I find very enjoyable.

For me, an outing on Amtrak that is four hours or less is one of the best ways to travel. You don’t have to deal with TSA, the departure and drop-off in the city is right below the radio station, the ticket is usually relatively inexpensive and the trip is pretty comfortable. Amtrak offers decent Wi-Fi free-of-charge, you’re allowed multiple carry-on baggage items and it’s not a hassle to bring food or drink with you on the train, especially given that you’re departing from Penn Station (Don Pepi’s is my go-to and in my opinion, makes one of the best quintessential NY Deli sandwiches in the city).

With that, I grabbed my normal order (2 eggs on a wrap, prosciutto and mozzarella on a roll, bottle of water, small coffee) and walked over to check-in. Amtrak offers e-tickets via an app but I opted for the antiquated paper ticket. Thanks to a complimentary upgrade, I rode in business class on the trip; not the same as a first class plane upgrade. The seats are a bit bigger and more comfortable but not measurably more than coach. You also receive free non-alcoholic beverages with the upgrade, a note I found out after I made my purchase at Don Pepi’s.

My itinerary started at Penn and ended for Friday in New London, Connecticut. Then I hopped a ride to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville to spend the evening, see a few old friends and naturally, lose a bit of money. To be honest, the only thing I left the property upset about was that for my second consecutive trip, I failed to dine at Todd English’s Tuscany, my favorite restaurant in the resort.

Peak-boughieness right now on this blog.

Caught a Connecticut vibe this weekend. @mohegansun, the real MVP.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Saturday a car trudged through the snow and brought me back to the train station, where I rode Amtrak up to the Kingston, Rhode Island station. An Uber brought me across the Pell Bridge to Newport where Cumulus Media was having its annual holiday party.

This party is fantastic for a number of reasons: it’s scheduled after the craziness of the holiday season, it’s held in the Newport Marriott which is gorgeous (just like the rest of that beautiful town), the food is delicious (I love seafood) and most importantly, the crowd is lovely.


A different Uber brought me back to the train station on Sunday morning and I encountered perhaps the most New England Uber experience ever. It had stopped snowing at this point but there is almost no one on the roads; some areas are plowed more than others. I notice there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on the way and I could really go for one of their coffees (especially given the alternative was to buy one aboard the train; no offense Amtrak). I ask the driver if he’ll stop and he obliges. I then inquire if he wants anything.

“Yeah, you know what? I could go for a coffee,” he responded. “Medium dark, no sugar. Team work, getting the job done.”

You’re damn right. And just like the other people, places and methods of transportation I encountered over the weekend, what’s not to enjoy about that?

Just 11 months ago, Daya’s parents were pushing her to apply to college, just in-case this whole singing career didn’t pan out.

Fast forward to October 2016, just a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday, and suffice to say the artist will be deferring.

“I did apply last year,” Daya, nee Grace Tandon, told me last weekend after opening for Fergie inside Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. “It was just kind of a back-up and my parents wanted me to, blah-blah-blah.”

Daya’s older sister attends Brown University in Rhode Island. And the “Hide Away” songstress doesn’t rule out an eventual return to the classroom, but at the moment that certainly isn’t necessary. In less than a year, the Pittsburgh-born singer has scored two top 10 hits at pop radio as a title artist.
daya
But without question her biggest song to-date is the contribution she made to The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” a song that grabbed Daya her first ever American Music Award nomination for “Best Collaboration.” “Don’t Let Me Down” also ended up accumulating the most spins of any single this past summer at pop radio.

“That’s crazy! That’s just so wild!” a clearly excited Daya replied when I informed her of that fact. “I didn’t know that it would be that big. I mean, I knew that it was a great song and I was so happy to collaborate with them on it because they’re awesome but you never know with radio.”

Daya is certainly becoming more familiar with the airwaves though. Her latest hit is the title track from her debut album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty.”

“(The song) was always special to me,” she said. “It just kind of felt natural for me to name the album ‘Sit Still, Look Pretty,’ and I think that’s kind of what I want my brand to be as young female artist in this industry; don’t let people limit you in what you can do.”

After all, it’s not like Daya was born in Los Angeles or New York. She grew up in Pittsburgh and the man who executive produced her album, Gino Barletta, is from Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

“This is our baby together that we just created over this past year and a weight feels lifted off of all of our shoulders,” she noted. “We’ve all just helped each other out. We all work hard and are passionate and good things are happening.”

And if they keep that up, who knows what the next 11 months could have in store.

It was an eventful weekend.

My friends at Mohegan Sun asked me to travel up to beautiful Uncasville, Connecticut and host red carpet coverage for the casino’s 20th anniversary celebrations. The festivities for the big 2-0 last throughout the month of October, however last weekend there were two very special events. Kevin Hart hosted a comedy all-stars event at Mohegan Sun Arena, and the after-party took place at Avalon Nightclub, where my first red carpet was located. The second was the “Red Carpet After-Party” inside Uncas Ballroom.
mohegan
There was no shortage of stars: Hart had Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho and Dave Attell with him on stage. Jessie James Decker performed in the Cabaret Theater Friday night. Then on Saturday Fergie headlined the arena and LL Cool J performed a free show in the Wolf Den.

JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers, some of The Real Housewives and former “Jersey Shore” star Vinny Guadagnino all came by for “Reality Check” events (the latter in which I also hosted). Some of Buddy’s siblings from “Cake Boss” were on-hand to present a 20th Birthday cake from Carlo’s Bake Shop, which has an outpost inside The Shops at Mohegan Sun.

There were even a few surprises: namely David Ortiz showing up on Friday night and partying with his former teammate Johnny Damon. The following evening, I actually introduced Damon to LL Cool J on the red carpet.

You really can’t make this stuff up. Why would I? Watch the highlights from Friday and Saturday below or check out the full broadcasts here and here.

I wanted to see more than one date on Coldplay’s “A Head Full Of Dreams” tour. I was looking for a reason to travel back up I-95 to Rhode Island. And, I had never been to Gillette Stadium before.

So last weekend on Saturday, the last Saturday of July, I booked a train at midnight to Providence. I then reserved a one-way rental car from the T.F. Green Airport to Manhattan for Sunday. Then, via the Hotwire app, I grabbed a room at The Omni in downtown Providence.


A few hours of sleep, some quick packing and a shower later and I was on the subway to Penn Station and off to Southern New England for a quick but exciting jaunt.

I arrived before 11 a.m. to a sun-soaked downtown Providence. The weather was simply fantastic; so much so that I had to stop and document the moment as I walked from the train station to my hotel.


After dropping off my bags, I walked from the hotel to the Providence Place Mall, which is actually connected to The Omni via a walk-way. Like other shopping centers, the mall is a bit antiquated (i.e. the H&M does not sell men’s clothing) but I welcomed a trip in to suburbia, even if only for an hour or so.

I snagged a new Yankees snapback, a couple jackets from Zara and a venti coffee from the Starbucks kiosk before returning to The Omni and checking in to my room. Wait, I have a fridge? Perfect. Even if for only 24 hours, one of my go-to moves when traveling is stocking up on essentials from a grocery store or convenience mart for my room so that I’m not left to pay coffee house or room service prices the following day.

But before I addressed that, I dressed in to my workout clothes and went for a fantastic five mile run downtown – through the square, up College Hill and across the campus of Brown University, over to the Newport Ferry and back.

I then grabbed those essentials from CVS (no grocery store downtown!) and showered. My colleague Barbi Jo picked me up around 4 and we made the 40 minute drive up to Foxborough. We parked and walk to “Patriot Place,” the surrounding area outside of the stadium which is lined with outdoor shopping, bars and restaurants. Barbi and I met Jess (and Jess) inside Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar and Grill.”

Again, a bit of suburbia but I didn’t mind one bit. We chatted, drank and eventually grabbed a table so we could eat before heading inside Gillette for the concert.

The lineup: Foxes (she sang on Zedd’s “Clarity” and won a GRAMMY for it), Alessia Cara (who is fantastic) followed by Coldplay a little after 9 pm. We made our way to the gate and attempted to get in but ran in to a small issue: Barbi’s purse BARELY didn’t fit inside this grey container that security provides you, so they wouldn’t allow her inside.

So, back to the car, dropped off some belongings and back to the gate.

Now inside, we grabbed our light-up wristbands and “LOVE” buttons and walked up to the 300 level where we were seated. As we attempted to walk around the upper bowl of the stadium we were met again by security. A portion of the stadium behind the stage was blocked off until the first three songs of the set were finished due to (spoiler alert) Coldplay’s fireworks. The issue was that this happened about 20 minutes before they took the stage and with no warning. So we either wait in place or walk all the way around the other part of this massive football stadium, probably not reaching our seats until the third song anyways.

Then our fortunes, albeit briefly, changed. We were approached by Live Nation and told that they were upgrading people from the 300 level to unsold floor seats.

Boom.

We grabbed our new tickets and wristbands and flew downstairs just in time for the opening notes of “A Head Full of Dreams.”


The only other issue: by the time we reached our seats and attempted to buy drinks, alcohol sales were cut off. It was only 9:30 and Coldplay had just taken the stage!

Whatever. Beautiful night, fantastic concert and a lovely impromptu after-party/night cap at Bar Louie in Patriot Place all occurred before I retired to my room in Providence around 2 am.

The next morning, I checked out of my hotel at 11 am and was on the go non-stop. I took an Uber to the airport, picked up my rental, drove to Eli’s On The Hill in Branford to grab lunch with my colleague Bartley, hit up both the Clinton Crossings Outlets and Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk and visited a friend in Bronxville before dropping off the car and plopping on my couch around 9:30 am.

It was a busy weekend, which probably explains why I am writing this, a week later, in the midst of a lazy Saturday on the aforementioned couch.

Thursday marked the three year anniversary of Sandy devastating the tri-state area. Many people were affected in a number of different ways; some are still experiencing the aftermath. We remember.

Watch the full video here.

A video posted by 95.5 PLJ (@955plj) on

In an interview that aired Monday evening on “The Ralphie Radio Show”, Jason Derulo, the main supoprting act for Lady GaGa on “The Monster Ball” tour, spoke for the first time about the recent cancellation of a couple shows, as well as GaGa’s appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” The segment with Winfrey taped the morning after GaGa failed to perform at Purdue University. She would eventually cancel her Saturday and Sunday tour dates, and postponed Monday’s performance at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

The “Whatcha Say” singer defended his tour mate’s condition and decision to tape the show. He also offered a possible explanation as to how she might have been able to appear on the show but still be forced to cancel concerts.
“There’s something you can take, it’s like a shot, like steroids, which a lot of performers take for a quick fix,” explained Derulo. Although later clarifying that he wasn’t sure whether GaGa used the remedy or not, he reiterated that it is common for artists to rely on it for very short stints. “It’s definitely not something you can do all the time.”

Derulo also said that there are certainly no hard feelings over the incident.


Listen to the audio below, and check The RRS blog later for the interview in its entirety:


“I mean, ‘Oprah’ was obviously a really, really big thing – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “She just had to do that.”

The Miami-born singer still spent the weekend in Atlantic City – performing a previously-scheduled solo date on Friday, then performing a second time on Saturday – the night he was to perform with GaGa at The Borgata. Derulo donated all proceeds from the second show to the relief efforts in Haiti – a disaster which hit home for the crooner.

“My heart goes out to Haiti. My parents are from Haiti,” revealed Derulo. His uncle still resides there, and survived the earthquake.

“For the first couple days, like, he was just sleeping on the streets,” Derulo said. “He was saying how the streets just smell of death.”

While on The RRS, Derulo solicited listeners to text “YELE” to 501501. The text will donate $5 to Yele Haiti – a grassroots foundation started by singer Wyclef Jean to aid the country.


If a group by the name of Jump Smokers didn’t do it, you know someone else would have released an anti-Chris Brown song. But, the Chicago-based duo is gaining world-notoriety for the track, “My Flow So Tight (Anti-Breezy)”.

“My flow so tight and the beat so sick, Chris Brown should get his ass kicked,” raps Jump Smokers front man C.W. Grizz on the hook.

The lead emcee called in to The Ralphie Radio Show last week to discuss the origin of the song and the response it’s received.

“It started out kinda as a joke,” revealed Grizz. “We wanted to make a song that legitimately would be poppin’ here in Chicago at the clubs.”

Jump Smokers first received airplay from a DJ in the Windy City, who spun the song on a live-to-air broadcast from a nightclub. Immediately, the radio station request lines lit up with listeners inquiring about the source of the track. Suddenly, night clubs and radio stations from coast to coast began playing the record, and news outlets from MTV to The New York Times covered the story of the song.

“Once I saw the pictures of Rihanna on TMZ.com… for me, I had it,” explained Grizz. “I kinda got fed up with a lot of celebrities not speaking out against him.”

Kanye West can be counted among the artists who didn’t speak against Brown – matter of fact – he even spoke in support of him. At a TV taping shortly after the pre-Grammy night incident, West asked a crowd to give the young R&B crooner a break. Other public figures – such as Oprah, Tyra Banks, and Perez Hilton – spoke out against the alleged abuse.

In an attempt not to gain any direct monetary success from the situation, Grizz noted that the group is donating proceeds of the song sales to charities that benefit women. However, this road proved rocky when a couple of non-for-profits were reluctant to accept the funds. Some were afraid that the song sent the wrong message to people – answering domestic violence with more abuse.

“I think (the charities) are taking it a little too seriously,” Grizz said in defense of his track. “We’re not threatening Chris Brown in this song. Hopefully the song makes you dance, laugh, and then think.”

At least two of the three reactions occurred over the weekend, when I spun the track inside Reflex at The Wilkes-Barre Hardware Bar Entertainment Complex. A couple club goers stopped and shot a perplexed look toward the DJ booth, while others “oohed” and most continued to dance.

And for those wondering, yes, Rihanna did hear the track. A DJ at a birthday party for Los Angeles Clipper Baron Davis spun the song with the Bajan-beauty present. No word on her reaction.

BRITNEY TOUR LIVES UP TO “CIRCUS” TITLE

Poor Britney Spears. If it isn’t Kevin Federline showing up backstage, it’s the Pussycat Dolls verbally clawing at each other on stage. If it isn’t a smoke-filled venue, it’s a fan jumping from the venue’s seating on stage.

Orlando, Florida resident Kyle King, 20, faces a single breach of peace charge for walking on stage during Spears’ encore performance of “Womanizer” at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. He could face jail time.

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Attorney Elizabeth Kelley thinks the prosecution of a Britney Spears fan who jumped on stage during an encore at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut is a waste of taxpayers’ money. 20 year-old Kyle King alledgedly drank a little too much and hopped on stage during Britney’s encore, as she performed, “Womanizer.” Kelley explains that King could face jail time – but that his non-violent act does not warrent the use of resources such as a judge or public defender.

Video of the incident is below, about half-way through the video. Spears is clearly startled by her impromptu face-to-face confrontation with the fan.


Read more about the story here.
Visit Elizabeth Kelley’s website.
BELOW: A mugshot taken by Mohegan Sun security of 20 year-old Kyle King.

happy monday.

below find pictures from my weekend road trip to stamford, ct – the city that works. trip purpose: chill with the gf. also a few shots from today’s appearance at the wachovia arena for the last day of the auto exchange.

all road trip shots were taken while on the road. i know, novel idea.









happy monday.

below find pictures from my weekend road trip to stamford, ct – the city that works. trip purpose: chill with the gf. also a few shots from today’s appearance at the wachovia arena for the last day of the auto exchange.

all road trip shots were taken while on the road. i know, novel idea.