The DM Zone goes Hollywood with the Sedona International Film Festival


Dianemarie “DM” at the Sedona International Film Festival.

Attending the Sedona International Film Festival this year was a major treat for The DM Zone. One of the highlights for me was spending a few moments with Beatrice Welles, daughter of Orson Welles. The occasion at the festival was a panel discussion of the book by Josh Karp, “Orson Welles’s Last Movie:The Making of the Other Side of the Wind,”  The film has never been released and very few have seen the unfinished, partly edited footage. Beatrice was the host for the event. Besides Josh Karp, who moderated the panel,  there were two Phoenix notables participating who had acting roles in the film. First was long time Valley of the Sun celebrity, Pat McMahon, who was part of the Wallace and Ladmo Show airing on television the time the film was being shot. He was handpicked by Orson Welles for his role after Mr. Welles had seen him on the local TV show. On the other hand, Reality-based novelist, Frank Fiore, had a speaking “extra” role because he was dating Peter Bogdanovich’s sister, Anna and had helped gather the rest of the college student ‘extras’ for a scene shot in Carefree, Arizona.

My interview with Beatrice was especially poignant because she seldom appears in public and considers herself a recluse. It was hard to believe because she was so well spoken, and knew what she wanted to convey about the last film of her father. Her passion about her father’s films was evident. At the end of the interview Ms. Welles shared that if the film never gets a theater release, she would love for it to be used as a teaching vehicle – a wonderful thought. But, I would personally rather see the film released so that we can all enjoy the genius of Orson Welles one last time.

Each of the Sedona International Film Festival interviews – there are ten in all – covered the films, the filmmakers and some of the stars in them. I will provide a brief blog for each of the interviews. Enjoy!


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Live from MIM – Nachito Herrera – From Classical to Jazz, Cuban Magic!

Ignacio Nachito Herrera and I visited on The DM Zone before his most recent Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) performance. It was a lively discussion ranging from music to politics. And, it includes a private sampling and explanation of his newest project. The unique MIM concert was only Nachito Herrera, the piano … and simply wonderful.

Herrera stunned Cuban audiences at the age of twelve when he performed Rachmaninoff’s Concerto no. 2 with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. Widely considered a child prodigy, at 15, Rubén González (of Buena Vista Social Club and Afro-Cuban All Stars fame) took Herrera under his wing to teach him traditional Cuban styles.

When I asked Nachito Herrera about his Rachmaninoff performance, he explained that in Cuba, the government programs always began musical teaching with the classics. Learning the classics before moving on to other styles was a point we both agreed upon, as my dancing background began with ballet and my singing career with opera.

When asked about the news of Cuba, Herrera enthusiastically agrees with the decision to ‘normalize’ relations with the United States. But mostly, we discussed his latest project. It is a new CD taking the classics say a piece by Bach or Beethoven and moving it through his stylized use of the rhythms and beat of Cuban music.

Watch the video as he played for The DM Zone, a sample of this melding of classics and “Nachito” Cuban Magic!

Later that evening, listening to Nachito Herrera’s performance for the MIM audience, I had to agree with Tom Surrowicz, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), whom I quoted during the interview. Nachito Herrera is “Explosive. Crowd pleasing. Rhythmically intense. Romantic. Dynamic. Jaw-droppingly good.” See if you don’t agree too!

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Live from MIM – Roberta Gambarini – Jazz Vocalist Extraordinaire!

Jazz has been called America’s greatest original art form, America’s classical music, and the soundtrack of America. In fact, jazz is global music, heard and performed in all corners of the world.

In December 2014 I was fortunate to visit with one of today’s finest interpreters of the American songbook, which includes memorable tunes by the greats such as Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, the Gershwins and others. Roberta Gambarini, a fabulous jazz singer, appeared at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix.

Roberta Gambarini and Dianemarie Collins

Roberta Gambarini and Dianemarie Collins

We visited on The DM Zone before her MIM performance, chatting about how she, a native of Turin, Italy has become a leading jazz vocalist, proclaimed by the late jazz pianist Hank Jones as “The Best since Ella Fitzgerald.”

Before the interview ended, Roberta graced me with an acapella verse of “Sunny Side of the Street.” I was spellbound to stand side-by-side with her and hear that incredible voice as she so casually tossed out perfection. She scatted the ending! Watch the video and you will hear what I mean.

Later, we took our seats in the intimate hall at the MIM. Roberta began the concert walking out on stage, following her trio of incredible musicians: George Cables (piano), Jimmy Cobb (drums), and Ameen Saleem (bass). Standing center, she then sang acapella, “So In Love” from the musical “Kiss Me Kate.” I was mesmerized listening to her wonderfully clear instrument, so flawlessly displayed.

I have to add, that in my book, Roberta Gambarini is not only one of the finest Jazz vocalist, but one of the finest singers. Period.

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KC and the Sunshine Band rocked Scottsdale, Arizona. And I was there!


KC and the Sunshine Band

Disco and the disco ball, light show, and go-go dancers shaking their booty were totally happening on stage at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale with KC & The Sunshine Band when he visited Arizona in November. One forgets how many hits KC has until you listen to him sing them one after the other. With a 16-piece band, his killer musicians rocked the night with great solos – the drummer, bass player and horn section were particularly talented. The group was completed with two back up ‘chick’ singers who also jiggled with the aforementioned go-go dancers.

After opening with his hit Get Down Tonight, Harry Wayne “KC” Casey stopped to comment on his weight gain that he blamed on quitting smoking. He joked that he was going to change the name of the band to “KFC and the Sunshine Band!” which drew a loud laugh from the audience. But, any added heft certainly didn’t slow KC down. He kept up the tempo all night long from Shake your Booty, to Boogie Shoes.

Album Cover - Feeling You! The 60s

KC’s new CD – Feeling You! The 60s

KC also announced that he’s releasing his new CD of cover tunes from his career beginning with the 60s. The first new CD launches in March 2015 called Feeling You! The 60s. 

What a concert! The show was a high energy and well choreographed, KC got the crowd up on their feet from the very first song … it was a really great Disco-throwback evening. KC showed off his dance moves keeping pace with the two disco girl dancers and two backup singers who also bopped along with KC. By the time the band broke into their final song That’s the Way (I Like It), the crowd, the singers, the dancing girls, and the band was near exhaustion, but not KC.

Do yourself a favor, if you ever get a chance to see KC and the Sunshine Band perform, do!


November Concert at Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale, AZ

The amazing photo to the right is from the concert taken by Douglas Collins. The bright spot is the disco ball … of course!

About KC and The Sunshine Band:  KC and The Sunshine Band aim to serve a single purpose: to create instant happiness through music. For over 40 years the group has done just that, topping the charts with seven No. 1 singles and three triple platinum albums, winning three Grammy® Awards, including Album of the Year for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, an American Music Award, and becoming the first act since The Beatles to score four No. 1 pop singles in one 12-month period in 1976.  In 2001, KC was honored with the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by a chapter of the Academy.  The band’s infectious sound gives life to countless ad campaigns and hundreds of movie soundtracks.  KC and The Sunshine Band has defined disco and forever influenced music with its timeless sound and mission of getting people out of their seats to celebrate, which is still being fulfilled today.

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[Book Review and Giveaway!!!] Sue’s Seduction

Author Saylor Storm had book one, SUE’S SEDUCTION reviewed by Holly Lauren who said she can’t wait to read book two, SUE’S RAPTURE.

A Lick Of Romance

Resized-PFSL4                     Get Sue’s Seduction onAmazon(E-Book), Amazon (Paperback),                                                                           and Barnes & Noble                                                             Add Sue’s Seduction to your Goodreads to-read shelf!


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Author Video Promotion Works aka 50 Shades of Grapes

Author Saylor Storm wanted to describe her writing style and content. I suggested a video that we could add to her website. The video would be about a minute long, short and concise. But, that’s where my input ended. Saylor came up with a story, to be told visually while she spoke of her writing. Her idea was to entice the viewer to learn more about her and her books.

“I had this idea that I would be casually talking about my books, while the viewer would get an entirely different thought and story from what was being portrayed on the screen.”

Together with HD Broadcast AZ studios and Millennial spokesperson Harry Danilevics, we were able to make Saylor Storm’s vision a reality. And, I think it really works.


Today is Day 11 of Saylor’s Virtual Book Tour promoting the launch of book 2 of Sue’s Journey Trilogy: Sue’s Rapture. The tour is focused on book 1, Sue’s Seduction so that the reader would understand the story from the beginning. Both books are currently only 99c during the tour.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00017]

There is also a raffle that readers can win a copy of both books. Visit Saylor Storm’s website for all the details, and links.!


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I Love Lists! Especially When They Work …

I do love lists! I make one each evening for my next day’s tasks. I use them for shopping, for errand and just about everything in between. So, when I found the list in the article Social Media Daily To-Do List: 10 Essential Tasks by Digital Marketing Consultant Saman Kouretchinan, it struck a chord. It really works for me. This post is over a year old, but that doesn’t really matter, the advice is solid.

I LOVE lists!

I LOVE lists!


We all know how much time Social Media takes from our daily schedule and if you’re like me you put it off. Saman explains that Social Media is not like a website that can stay static … well duh, but the problem for me seems to be getting the whole thing organized enough that posting to your sites doesn’t take over your entire life.

Enter Saman Kouretchian’s list. Three of the 10 points that I NEVER miss daily are pretty basic:

  • Sign In
  • Post fresh content
  • Reach out to three new contacts

The 10 tips are basic and easy to add to your daily routine. And, they do save time. Read the entire article here.

I have used these “10 Essential Tasks” combined with other my other PR strategies for several my PR clients with great success as well. Recently, I took one new client that had less than 30 Twitter followers, not much FB activity and almost non-existent website visits. Using the Saman’s list for two weeks, and an hour each day from my staff, we boosted Twitter to over 500 followers (real not purchased!). We also increased Facebook followers and likes by triple and website page visits went through the roof.

As I said, I love lists. And this one really, really works! Thanks Saman!


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