We had a chance last week to talk with Julie Budd, the internationally acclaimed singer-actress who will be performing at Rhode Island College's Roberts Hall on October 13, in a concert produced by Temple Sinai with partial proceeds to benefit AIDS Project RI. Julie will be coming to town with her longtime associate and musical director Herb Bernstein.

Julie Budd started her career at the age of 12 and, besides doing about 100 Merv Griffin shows, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and The Ed Sullivan Show, she recorded many albums, acted on stage, and appeared in the 1981 film The Devil and Max Devlin with Elliott Gould and Bill Cosby as the Devil. She is simply fabulous.

"When I was 12 years old, my parents took me to Tamarac Lodge in the Catskills and I entered the talent show there. Somehow, I won the talent show and Herb Bernstein (who was producing Laura Nyro at the time) was in the audience and saw me. He called Merv Griffin and there I was, on his show."

After swapping Merv stories (Jorge met Griffin on a number of occasions — he, at one time, owned radio stations WHJJ and WHJY in Rhode Island), we talked about some of the other show biz characters we've known, like the great songwriter Doc Pomus.

Julie promises "an old-fashioned concert, a dramatic show, musically" where she'll be singing "songs that people know from the greatest shows ever on Broadway." She'll have some ace musicians from New York in tow. All in all, a first-class concert the likes of which we seldom see here in the Biggest Little.

As part of the fundraiser and, in addition to the show, there will be the opportunity to bid on an original work of art by Toots Zynsky, the world-renowned glass artist from Vo Dilun. For tickets, call 401.738.5092 or the Roberts Hall box office at 401.456.8144. If you like the great American songbook and want to see a world-class talent at the top of her game, we urge you to come out on October 13 to see this magnificent show.


On September 8, head to the 5th Annual Block the Shot Motorcycle Run & Block Party with proceeds going to the Nathan D. Crowell Memorial Fund, which supports youth hockey and helps fund scholarships for students at East Providence High School and the University of New Haven.

Nathan, the son of Jorge's cousin David Crowell, passed away on October 27, 2007, when he blocked a shot at the end of a hockey game. He saved the game, but the puck hit him in the one area of the chest not protected by pads. He was 22 years old.

The motorcycle run begins at the Seekonk Speedway (registration is from 10-11:45 am), with the bikes arriving at the East Providence Yacht Club around 1:30 pm. There'll be lots of food, music by the 44 East Band, and a "mega-raffle" featuring all sorts of interesting stuff.

A couple of years ago Nathan's sister Leah impressed upon Jorge the importance of the raffle. Indeed, it seems that half of EP (Nathan's hometown) shows up for this event every year. (Side note: Jorge has bought many tickets over the years and has never won anything, which either proves that the drawing is totally on the up and up — Jorge MCs the raffling — or that J. is the biggest loser of all time.)

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