Cyndi Lauper and Tavi Gevinson Star in Uniqlo’s New Campaign

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by Izzy Grinspan

And the award for most unusual combination of celebrities in an ad campaign goes Uniqlo, which has tapped tiny blogging powerhouse Tavi Gevinson and ’80s singing powerhouse Cyndi Lauper to show off their spring collection. Gevinson and Lauper are both wearing tops from the Orla Kiely collab and brightly colored spring bottoms, which you can now buy in seven different colors around Manhattan.

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Cyndi Lauper: 2012 Grammy Awards

Cyndi Lauper At The 2012 Grammy Awards

Well hello Cyndi Lauper! The quirky 58-year-old looked fun and funky while walking the red carpet at the 2012 Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Sunday (February 12th). Cyndi showed off some long white legs in her Jean Paul Gaultier black blazer topped gown with thigh high slit. Her famous hair was crazy as ever. You have to give the girl credit for always taking a risk!

Cyndi won a Grammy for Best New Artist back in 1985.

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New York Lottery Rolls Out New Campaign

By Gabriel Beltrone

Win Powerball, and you can hire Cyndi Lauper to serve as your personal house musician.

So says a 2012 New York Lottery campaign running under the new tagline, “Yeah, that kind of rich,” created by the brand’s longtime agency, DDB New York. Timed to the increase in the price of Powerball tickets this month from $1 to $2, the integrated campaign focuses on doubled payouts rather than doubled costs by illustrating just how absurdly wealthy the game just might make you. “We were looking for something that made people get excited about the bigger jackpot opportunities,” said DDB New York’s chief creative officer Matt Eastwood.

Two of three TV spots—including one where Lauper sings (and shuts up) at the whims of a lady lounging on a couch in her living room—launched during the Golden Globes telecast. The third, starring a “poor” soul who struggles to find his Lotus among the other luxury cars in his garage, broke during the NFC championship game.

Recalling the “Hey, you never know” work for the brand, the new campaign includes radio, print, digital, mobile and out of home. New York Lottery spent some $35.5 million on media in the first three quarters of 2011, according to Kantar.

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Cyndi Lauper shows she’s still so unusual, still so electrifying

By Jon Fassnacht

Girls just wanna have funk. And blues. And dulcimers.

At least that’s what Cyndi Lauper really wants.

The former pop princess showed she’s much deeper than her hits during a well-attended show Saturday night in the Sovereign Performing Arts Center.

The 58-year-old New Yorker was joined by New Orleans legend Dr. John for nearly three hours of what was billed as “From Memphis to Mardi Gras.”

Lauper’s backing quintet had quite the pedigree: The rhythm section featured alumni from Stax and Hi Records.

Four of the 14 songs performed were culled from last year’s “Memphis Blues,” an album of blues covers. Surprisingly, the songs didn’t sound out of place rubbing shoulders with the likes of “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.”

That had much to do with the re-imagined arrangements.

Hits “All Through The Night,” “Time After Time” and “True Colors” were led by Lauper on a dulcimer, while “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” included an extended gospel intro.

Lauper was a magnetic presence, rolling around the stage during “She Bop,” sultrily slinking through the opening of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Lead Me On,” unleashing a tribal dance during a drum break and leading the crowd on a call-and-response during “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” while standing on one of the seats.

Unfortunately, in a case of bitter irony, a scuffle broke out in the crowd during her cover of “What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye’s ode to peace.

Dr. John – or, according to Lauper, “Dr. Jah-won” – couldn’t have gotten the evening off to a better start. There may have been a doctor in the house, but the music was sick, so swampy you could almost feel the humidity.

Wearing a red pinstripe suit and sunglasses, the gravelly voiced 70-year-old looked like Hank Williams Jr.’s cooler brother.

He switched back and forth from a piano and a Hammond organ, and even showed off some guitar skills.

The tight quintet tore through 75 minutes of funk, blues and rock, closing with two duets with Lauper: the standard “Makin’ Whoopie” and the spiritual “Glory, Glory Hallelujah.”

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‘Fun’ with Cyndi

Those who might have sat out gay icon Cyndi Lauper’s latest tour thinking either they’re just not that into the blues (her latest album is devoted exclusively to the genre) or they could just catch it on DVD (a live double-disc set drops next week) made a huge mistake — her fiery 90-minute set Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club was full of surprises, from the number of hits she included to the vastly different set list the show had compared to her 2010 stop at the same venue.

Lauper, of course, is always full of surprises. She always varied her show from night to night so you never quite know what you’re going to get. Tuesday’s concert found the 58-year-old legend, who was just here two weeks ago to play a mini set at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, she-bopping around the stage with both physical and vocal abandon. This is clearly not a woman who plays it safe. Obviously singing live, she belted out several money notes that proved her legendary pipes — infinitely heartier and more robust than Madonna’s or Cher’s — are wonderfully intact with her full range entirely at her disposal.

It’s always a little tricky programming a concept album into a set but Lauper’s tight band, which included blues legend Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica, furnished an uncannily apt musical continuity throughout the evening so smoldering cuts like “Just Your Fool” and “Shattered Dreams” flowed nicely into Lauper staples like “Change of Heart” and, of course, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Lauper’s other great triumph is how inventively she and her musical cohorts alter her arrangements from tour to tour. This can be a tricky thing that occasionally has stymied the singer — her “At Last”-era arrangement of “She Bop” sounded like something a violinist would play at your table at a ’50s-era Italian restaurant. Interesting enough, but hardly grooving. Thankfully it was back in an uptempo arrangement Tuesday. The evening’s biggest surprises were smoldering renditions of catalog staples like  ”Gonnies R Good Enough,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” (which just missed the U.S. Top Ten when Lauper released it as a 1987 single) and a radically reworked “Lyfe” from her underrated 2008 album “Bring Ya to the Brink.” The only so-so song was a meandering “Down So Low” (from the new album) that didn’t catch fire.

The ballads — “All Through the Night,” “Time After Time” and encore “True Colors” — were less altered but all sung with conviction and bravado. “Colors” especially resonated with Musselwhite providing surprisingly effective harmonica for its familiar opening strains. When introducing the song, Lauper — sporting a Raggedy Ann-red wig clipped up in a quasi mohawk style — reiterated her gay support and talked about her New York center for homeless LGBT youth. Fans willing to donate $200 to her True Colors Foundation got to meet Lauper backstage for a quick meet and greet. Photos and autographs were allowed but it was a cattle call with her handlers moving people through in rapid succession just before she went on. I didn’t go but could see the proceedings in the 9:30 Club’s stage left balcony area.

If the set list — just 14 songs — looked a little meager on paper, keep in mind Lauper was co-headlining with zydeco legend Dr. John (he wasn’t merely the opening act) and Lauper is clearly of the Stevie Nicks school of set list construction — do fewer songs but give your tight band time to jam a little. It’s the opposite of a Diana Ross or Loretta Lynn (who just played the 9:30 Club Saturday) show where they plow through material like a grocery store check-out clerk.

The big shock of the evening was Lauper duetting with Dr. John during his set on “All Night Long.” It’s highly unusual for a headliner to do such a thing but it made for a great bonus to the evening, especially for the gays in the house, many of whom were merely waiting for Lauper’s set despite Dr. John’s obvious talent.

Cyndi’s set was:
(“All Night Long” pre-set number with Dr. John)
1. Just Your Fool
2.  Shattered Dreams
3. She Bop
* band intros
4. Crossroads
5. All Through the Night
6. Down So Low
7. Don’t Cry No More
8. Goonies R Good Enough
9. Change of Heart
10. What’s Going On
11. Lyfe
12. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
13. Time After Time
14. True Colors (encore)

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Cyndi Lauper and Dr. John

Cyndi LauperWHAT: The tour is called “From Memphis to Mardi Gras” and, OK, it’s easy to spot the New Orleans connection: Dr. John is a Big Easy icon, with a formidable reputation for intricate piano-pounding that has only been enhanced by the recent spotlight of the HBO series ”Treme.” What might be more surprising is singer Cyndi Lauper’s latest incarnation as a Memphis-style blues belter. But believe it: The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” star is on the road with a blues band, performing songs off her Grammy-nominated 2010 album, “Memphis Blues.” Hey, whatever the girl wants to sing, we’re willing to listen.

WHEN: 8 tonight

WHERE: House of Blues, Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista

COST: $39.50 advance, $43 day of show

CALL: 407-934-2583

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Cyndi Lauper, Anna Deveare Smith, Rainn Wilson et al. to Host PBS Arts Fall Festival

By: Dan Bacalzo
PBS has announced the celebrity hosts for its previously reported inaugural PBS Arts Fall Festival, to air on consecutive Fridays beginning October 14. On each of these evenings, the network will offer a full-length performance as well as artist and performer profiles, behind-the-scenes documentaries and mini-films about the art scenes in cities around the country.

Actor Rainn Wilson will host the Fall Festival’s opening broadcast of PBS Arts From Minnesota: The Guthrie Presents H.M.S. Pinafore on October 14. A veteran of the Guthrie, Wilson is best known for his starring role on The Office.

Hosts and the programs they are associated with will also include Taylor Hackford,PBS Arts From Seattle: American Masters “Pearl Jam Twenty; Andy Garcia, PBS Arts From Miami: Great Performances “Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp; Rosanne Cash, PBS Arts From the Blue Ridge Mountains: Give Me the Banjo; Anna Deveare Smith, PBS Arts from Chicago: American Masters “Bill T. Jones: A Good Man”; Cyndi Lauper, PBS Arts from Cleveland: Women Who Rock; Linda Ronstadt,PBS Arts From Los Angeles: Great Performances “Il Postino From LA Opera”with Plácido Domingo; Paula Zahn, PBS Arts From New York: Great Performances “Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park”; and Kristi Yamaguchi, PBS Arts from San Francisco: Great Performances “The Little Mermaid from San Francisco Ballet.”

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Cyndi Lauper revels in the blues

By Melissa Ruggieri

No matter the decade, Cyndi Lauper always manages to reinvent herself.

From her ’80s days as a fuchsia-headed pop belter to the ’90s and ’00s period of bopping from lite-alt-rock to club thumpers to torch songs to her most recent success as a thoroughly authentic blues mama, Lauper long ago proved her versatility and resilience.

She also dialed up her public activism, creating the True Colors Fund to advance equality for the gay community. In 2010, she competed on “The Celebrity Apprentice” to raise money for the Stonewall Community Foundation for True Colors.

Last month, she helped open the True Colors Residence in Harlem, a shelter for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender youth.

In between her advocacy work, Lauper last year released “Memphis Blues,” a collection of classics such as “Early in the Mornin’,” “Crossroads” and “Just Your Fool,” that became the biggest blues album of the year on the Billboard charts.

She’s taking those tunes on the road with New Orleans piano legend Dr. John, though she’ll also play her classic pop tunes, albeit with some smoky twists. On Oct. 25 she releases “To Memphis with Love,” a live DVD/CD taped earlier this year at The Warehouse in the Tennessee city.

In a recent chat from her weekend home in Connecticut, Lauper talked about why she loves Memphis, her small gaffe during a 9/11 rendition of the national anthem and if we’ll ever see that long-discussed reality show.

Q. You’ve had a lot of success with the ‘Memphis Blues’ album. What is it about Memphis that you love so much?

A. It’s a wonderful city, a city with great heritage. I love them for their food and music. Music and food, it’s an Italian thing! Every time my diet consultant would call, I’d have a piece of Gus’s [World Famous Fried] chicken hanging out of my mouth and she’d say, ‘Did you take the skin off?’ and I’d say, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s the best part!’

Q. Were these songs harder for you to sing from a technical standpoint?

A. No, easier. Pop songs are much, much harder. Well, mine are. Now I go back to singing my songs and I’m like, holy cow, that’s hard! The trick about pop is to make it seem easy. But if you ever went to karaoke and did ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun,’ it’s not an easy song.

Q. Tell me about the DVD. Is it all concert footage from The Warehouse show you taped in Memphis?

A. I had started a documentary when I was making the album. I said, ‘Ya gotta film all of this, please.’ So I took the documentary stuff I had of the people I was going to perform with, like Tracy Nelson, Allen Toussaint. I took footage in rehearsal so people can hear them talk, to know who they are, to understand their mentality and then hear them play. That’s the most important part. You know who I am. I wanted it to be about these people.

Q. Is it true that you’re doing another Christmas album?

A. I love Christmas, come on. I did a Christmas single with my Memphis band and Norah Jones, ‘No Place Like Home for the Holidays,’ to benefit the True Colors fund. And I did ‘Blue Christmas’ just because I like it. They’ll be on iTunes.

Q. You’re such a New Yorker. Have you been to the 9/11 memorial yet?

A. [Pauses.] I can’t quite go yet. If you lived in New York before [9/11], you know … my son, Declyn, was a little boy then and anytime we walked down the street, we went right to the firehouse. They used to lift him up and talk to him. And then 9/11 happened and the doors were closed. And one of the guys who used to lift Declyn up never came back. Times were tough. It was so heartbreaking. And you know, I sang on 9/11. And I botched it.

Q. Yeah, I heard.

A. I wanted to be perfect. I even had the dress and everything. But just as I saw the folded flag, I started thinking about those firemen and I was like, ‘What did I just sing?’ Oh my God, I’ve been singing this since I was 5 years old. I found myself getting louder and I was like, no, no, no, this needs to sound easy and soothing. I tried to make it soothing.

Q. So what’s next for you? Do you still have a reality show in the works?

A. Oh yeah. I already shot it. It’s with Mark Burnett. The title was first ‘It’s Hard to Be Me’ ‘cause it’s about me and my manager friend. We’ve been working together for years and years, so it’s my work with a little bit of family. As much as they want to be involved, ya know? But I keep going off and doing other things, so the producers say they’re gonna call it, ‘Cyndi Lauper Can’t Say No.’

Q. Are you still writing original songs?

A. I’ve been working a few years on ‘Kinky Boots,’ a Broadway play written by Harvey Fierstein. I’ve been writing and working on the music. As it goes, you write and you write until it’s right, ya know? It’s a wonderful play. Harvey is brilliant. It’ll probably be another year or so to get it going.

Concert preview

Cyndi Lauper with Dr. John

8 p.m. Oct. 12. $37-$73. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

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Cyndi Lauper finds the blues in Memphis

By Jim Abbott

It has been almost three decades since Cyndi Lauper sashayed her way to status as a 1980s icon with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” but the singer still knows how to have a good time.

Her latest fun diversion is “To Memphis, With Love,” a concert DVD set for Oct. 25 release. The project is tied to Lauper’s most recent studio album, “Memphis Blues,” a 2010 collection of blues standards recorded with an all-star lineup including the legendary B.B. King, New Orleans great Allen Toussaint, harmonica man Charlie Musselwhite and others.

She will celebrate her musical infatuation on Friday at House of Blues, on a bill with another New Orleans gem, Dr. John, on a tour dubbed “From Memphis to Mardi Gras.” So how did this native New Yorker get so much Memphis in her blood?

Well, there’s the rich history of the music, from traditional blues to the 1960s classics by Otis Redding, Booker T & the MG’s and Al Green.

“It’s pretty awesome to go there and think about the wonderful soul music that came out of there,” Lauper says in a phone interview. “It’s the foundation of everything we’ve all sung all our lives.”

Lauper first had the idea to record a blues album eight years ago.

“By the time I did it, it was 2010,” she says. “So it wasn’t an overnight thing. I waited a long time and I think it was better that I waited probably. I was able to keep researching. That is always a good thing, the more you know.”

Of course, there are a lot of places to connect with the roots of priceless American music: New Orleans and Clarksdale, Miss., to name a couple. For various reasons, Lauper weeded those destinations out — for now.

“New Orleans isn’t as bluesy, but don’t think that I wouldn’t want to make a record there someday. But New Orleans would’ve been more jazz.”

But music wasn’t the only criteria involved in her travel plans.

“I knew I had to go south, but I didn’t want to go to Clarksdale, because everyone drags that well,” Lauper says in her squeaky New York accent.

“I wasn’t sure what it was like. I don’t parallel park well, you know. I wasn’t sure what the action was there. You have a highway, then you have these towns on the side of the road. I didn’t want to deal with driving, so I went to Memphis. It’s a little town and they’ve got a little trolley.”

One of the album’s highlights is Lauper’s collaboration with King on Louis Jordan’s “Early in the Morning.”

“Someone told me, ‘If you want to do a song, with B.B. King, he loves Louis Jordan,’” she said. “I looked him up and the first thing that came up was an album with someone dancing wildly on the cover. I said, ‘Yeah, that’s me. I love that.’”

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Stars turn out for Human Rights Campaign

A very tamely dressed Sarah Jessica Parker was the surprise guest at the Human Rights Campaign’s 15th annual national dinner Saturday night. The last celeb to walk the white carpet at the Convention Center, she was escorted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his longtime girlfriend Diana Taylor.

Overheard from the crowd when Parker came out: “Sarah! We love you,” “Sarah, thank you for being here” and “She’s here to atone for her last three movies.”

Parker, in a black dress and silver heels, was rather press shy, unlike Cyndi Lauper who pranced down the carpet before her. To cries of “work it girl!” Lauper posed and showed off her retro stocking-clad legs. When POLITICO asked the songstress if she planned to vote for Obama in 2012, she gave a sly smile and said, “Have you seen the other guys running?”

The president was not yet in the building during white carpet time, but he arrived shortly after to give the dinner’s keynote address. Of Obama’s commitment to LGBT causes, Lauper told POLITICO, “Give him a minute. He walked into a big fat mess, a real mess. He’s trying.” And talking pop culture, the ’80s crooner said she has her fingers crossed for both Carson Kressley and Chaz Bono on “Dancing with the Stars.”

British singer Mika also walked the carpet and talked to POLITICO about the president’s support of the LGBT community. He said, “I think he could do more. I think everyone feels that he could do more. But I hope and pray that he will be in office for another four years.” Mika won outfit points for his multicolor Christian Louboutin high-tops with gold spikes on the toe.

Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who just rubbed elbows with Obama on the West Coast, also posed for the flashbulbs and told POLITICO that the best part of meeting the president was “just meeting the president!” “He was very sweet, very complimentary of ‘Modern Family,’” said the actor.

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