My Coachella 2019 pick –Alice Merton

By Leighton Ginn

The best part of Coachella is catching acts just before they take off. Or catching a star as they ascend into legendary status.

This year, I think that act could be Alice Merton. I love her voice and her beats. I’m hooked.

But let me make something clear. She’s been gaining traction for a year. I think with her being at Coachella, I think it will bring a wave of momentum to elevate her even more. Her music is really good.

Her most popular song is “No Roots,” a catchy, moody song that has a great hook that sucks you in. She’s performed this song on the late night talk show circuit.

When I listen to this song, I just think it’s going to be amazing to her it live. It has the recipe to be a lot of fun.

But my favorite from Alice is “Lash Out.” I get giddy when the open guitar riff and then goose bumps anticipating the electricity her voice brings.

I’m posting this acoustic version that just got me geeking out.

It bums me out I won’t be able to catch her live at Coachella.

If you have a wristband, do not miss Alice Merton.

Pasarell’s look back on Andre Agassi’s first trip to the BNP Paribas Open

By Leighton Ginn

Former BNP Paribas Open owner and tournament director Charlie Pasarell said his mentor Pancho Gonzalez request an unknown 15-year-old get a wildcard. Without question or seeing the kid, Pasarell gave the kid a wildcard.

That kid happened to be Andre Agassi.

Agassi did well in the first round, beating John Austin, setting up a matchup against then No. 1 Mats Wilander.

Prior to the match, Wilander came into Pasarell’s office to ask what he knew about Agassi.

Pasarell didn’t know much, but suggest Wilander avoid his forehand.

When Pasarell went to watch the match, Wilander hit every shot to Agassi’s forehand, and won in dominating fashion, which Pasarell jokes about.

“Well that’s how much I know about the game of tennis,” Pasarell said laughing.

Because Agassi was an amateur, he couldn’t accept prize money. But Pasarell said made sure Agassi was properly compensated.

Agassi had put in his expenses as $300, but the prize money for reaching the second round was $1,000.

But Pasarell said he looked at Agassi’s expenses and thought there were things that were off, and made his corrections.

The story was later told differently by Agassi in his autobiography, “Open.”

Below is the full video of Pasarell talking about Agassi at the BNP Paribas Open.

Tough road for Williams sisters as BNP Paribas Open women’s draw announced

Serena Williams, seeded 10th, could open her BNP Paribas Open campaign against Victoria Azarenka in a rematch of the 2016 finals, and possibly face former No. 1 Garbine Muguruzu in the third round.

By Leighton Ginn

Serena Williams will have a tough road in the BNP Paribas Open with possible matchups against former No. 1 players in the world in her first two matches.

Her sister Venus won’t have much of a cake walk either.

The BNP Paribas Open announced its women’s draw on Monday, and the road to the title.

Serena, who won the BNP Paribas Open title in 1999 and 2001, is the 10th seed and will have bye in the first round. In the 96- player draw, the top 32 players have a first-round bye.

To open her tournament, Serena could face Victoria Azarena in a rematch of the 2016 final, which Azarenka won 6-4, 6-4. It’s also a match up of two of the more high-profile working mothers on the tour.

Azarenka will face Vera Lapko in the first-round.

If Serena gets past Azarenka, she could face former No. 1 Garbine Muguruza, who is seeded 20th.

Serena has a 3-2 record against Muguruza.

Muguruza won their last matchup, beating Serena 7-5, 6-4 in the 2016 French Open final to claim her first major title. Muguruza also claimed the 2017 Wimbledon title when she beat Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0.

Venus Williams is unseeded and will play a first-round match against the dangerous Andrea Petkovic. They have split their four career matches, with Petkovic beating Venus in the Stanford tournament in 2014,

If Venus survives her opening match, she will then have to face third-seed Petra Kvitova, who is coming off a finals appearance at the Australian Open.

A two-time Wimbledon champion, Kvitova has a 4-2 record over Venus.

Leighton Ginn, who has covered the BNP Paribas Open for two decades, will be working with iHub Radio during the tournament. iHub will be live from 1-3 p.m. weekdays. You can go to http://www.ihubradio.com to listen or find it on the Tune In app.

Top-10 Oscar-winning songs

By Leighton Ginn

One of the clear favorites to win a 2019 Oscar is the song “Shallow” from “A
Star is Born,” which will probably go down as one of the top movie songs of all time.

But what are the other greats? There’s been 84 songs to win an Oscar. This is one man’s opinion on the top-10 Oscar-winners of all time.


. SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW

I think this one is pretty automatic, as this is a song numerous generations have grown up with.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow won the 1930 Academy Awards, making it the sixth song ever to win the award. The American Film Institute has named is the No. 1 song in its “100 Greatest American Movie Music.”

MY HEART WILL GO ON


Celine Dion had so many songs nominated for best song, but this one is her defining number that earned her the 1997 Oscar. “Titanic” is one of the most successful films in history, and this song is one of the reasons why. AFI ranked this No. 10.

LOSE YOURSELF

Eminem’s theme song from his semi-autobiographical film “8 Mile,” is the classic song from a genre that’s so rarely recognized by the academy. It took home the 2002 Oscar, but AFI isn’t so kind to the song as it only ranked 93rd.

SHAFT

This is the funkiest winner of all time. And quite possibly the coolest song to win the Oscar.

It makes me happy that a best song winner has the lyrics “Who’s the black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks.” We’re talking about “Shaft,” the 1971 award winner. AFI ranked this No. 38.

Can you dig it?

A new version of the “Shaft” series will be out later this year with Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson.

I’VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE

Nobody puts this song in the corner.

“Dirty Dancing” was the little movie that could, and “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” was the theme song that made the movie go. It’s a great collaboration between Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. Warnes had the golden touch as she also sang in the award-winning “Up Where We Belong,” from An Officer and a Gentleman,” and “It Goes Like It Goes,” from Norma Rae. AFI ranked this No. 86. 

FAME

And now we begin the Irene Cara portion of the list. She was golden in the 80s with “Fame,” a film in which she also starred in. And that year might have been one of the strongest group of songs, which included the Willie Nelson classic “On The Road Again,” from “Honeysuckle Rose” and Dolly Parton’s hit “9 to 5) from the film of the same name. AFI ranked this song No. 51.

FLASHDANCE … WHAT A FEELING


Three years later, Irene Cara did it again with the theme from “Flashdance,” as “What a Feeling,” became another classic. And this time, Cara had to beat out Barbra Streisand, who had two songs from “Yentl.” AFI ranked this song No. 55.

UP WHERE WE BELONG


One of the great duets of all time that matched Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, the song from “An Officer and a Gentleman,” was an instant classic. It took home the 1982 Oscar, beating out “Eye of the Tiger” from “Rocky III” and “It Might Be You,” from “Tootsie.” AFI ranked it No. 75.

MOON RIVER

Andy Williams is famous for singing this song, but it’s Audrey Hepburn’s performance in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” that won it the Oscar in 1961. AFI ranks it No. 4.

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT

Fred Astaire is one of the most influential dancers in the history of cinema, which sometimes overshadows his accomplishments as a singer. Although he claims he’s not a great singer, many of Astaire’s songs are stables in the Great American Songbook, including “The Way You Look Tonight” from the 1936 film “Swing Time.” Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Michael Buble have since covered the song. AFI ranked this No. 43.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Streets of Philadelphia (Philadelphia), Let It Go (Frozen), Thanks for the Memories (The Big Broadcast of 1938), Mona Lisa (Captain Carey, U.S.A.), Last Dance (Thank God It’s Friday), Let The River Run (Working Girl), When You Wish Upon A Star (Pinocchio), White Christmas (Holiday Inn).

The Rebirth of Ginn & Topics

I haven’t written on here for a while, but life changes and so will Ginn and Topics.

Before, this blog was to continue my writing. I was a sports writer since I graduated college, and I had covered tennis and boxing in my last newspaper job. This was a way to keep up.

It was also a way to indulge in another passion, music. I had gone to a lot of concerts and had a lot of photos to share as well.

I’m still going to do that.

But I’ve started to do marketing and content creation. So this will also be a space where I will show some of my videos and talk about the clients I work with.

The last project I worked on was the Palm Springs Health Run and Fitness Expo. I was brought on to help with social media and create video content. Above, you’ll see the wrap up video. Below is the first promotional video to launch our campaign.

The race featured a 10K and 5K runs, a 5K walk that was part of the United Way program, and a 1K fun run for kids. If you want to learn more about it for next year, go to http://www.palmspringshealthrun.com

The promoter of the event is Jeff Hocker of Hocker Productions. He told me the numbers were up around 30 percent or so. I’d also encourage you to listen to Jeff’s radio show on http://www.ihubradio.com/ every Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. It’s a health and wellness show, so you’ll get a lot of great information.

The promotional video to launch our campaign

Indio’s Ruben Rodriguez wins debut, Javier Padilla fights to a draw at Carson

 

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Ruben Rodriguez’s fight against Roland Padilla on Aug. 26 at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif. Photos: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

By Leighton Ginn

Indio fighters had a mixed night at the Stub Hub Center on Saturday night as Ruben Rodriguez won his professional debut by second round knock out in a super lightweight bout.

“I’m glad that I had my debut win be a knockout. Considering that I was really nervous, I’m satisfied with my performance,” Rodriguez said of his victory over Roland Padilla (0-3) from Los Angeles. “I got to start my professional career on a Miguel Cotto undercard, and that is really crazy to me, and is a great way for me make my way up in boxing.”

Rodriguez was the first of a 10-fight card that was headlined by Cotto’s fight against Tokyo’s Yoshihiro Kamegai.

 

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Javier Padilla’s right against Ricardo Arias on Aug. 26 at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif. Photos: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

Fellow Indio boxer Javier Padilla fought to a draw against Mexico City’s Ricardo Arias in a four-round super bantamweight fight.

Despite the minor setback, Padilla remained positive.

“I’m not very happy with the way the judges scored the fight, but I know that this is a learning experience,” Padilla said. “I should have used my reach a lot more, however, I just like to fight from the inside. He was tough, and kept smothering my punches. I’m ready to get back into the ring.”

 

— Quotes provided by Jenna Dresner of Mercury. Photos by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

 

 

Manny Pacquiao and Sean Payton help Krissy Kobata in search for bone marrow

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By Leighton Ginn

The campaign to find a bone-marrow match for Los Angeles woman Krissy Kobata continues to attract famous supporters.

On Aug. 17, boxing great Manny Pacquiao and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton tweeted their support of Kobata.

Pacquiao, the Boxer of the Decade and a senator in the Philippines, Tweeted out a link to the Asian American Sports Journalists story on Kobata, and followed up by Tweeting a link to Be The Match’s website. Be The Match is a national bone-marrow registry that also sends out kits for people to test themselves and register.

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Also joining the action was Payton, who coached the Saints to the Super Bowl title in 2010, when they beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.

Payton is represented by agent Don Yee, who is a family friend of Kobata.

“Don Yee, my agent, with the help of Sports Task Force is spreading the word about Krissy Kobata,” Payton posted, along with the same link to the Facebook story.

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The Sports Task Force, part of the Asian American Journalist Association, began spreading the word of Kobata’s search.

http://sportstaskforce.com/japanese-american-krissy-kobata-desperately-needs-bone-marrow-donor/

Half Japanese, half Caucasian, Kobata has been searching for a donor for a decade, but her ethnicity makes it difficult to find a match.

Yee, who established the Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Scholarship in honor of his parents, asked the Sports Task Force to help share the story of Kobata’s situation.

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The group’s unofficial page, Asian American Sports Journalists, published a story on July 29 about Kobata. Through social media, the post had reached  51,805 on Facebook the morning of Aug. 14.

Later that day, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, also one of Yee’s clients, posted on his Facebook page about Kobata.

About an hour later, actress Chloe Bennet of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sent out five Tweets in a row about Kobata.

How Tom Brady’s Facebook post is spreading awareness for Krissy Kobata, who needs a bone marrow to live

Within 24 hours, Kobata’s Facebook post had reached over 1 million more people. Currently, the post has reached 1,170,526 on Aug. 17. There was also a story posted in USA Today’s For The Win.

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/08/tom-brady-patriots-facebook-nfl-agent-bone-marrow-donor-awareness-krissy-kobata

To learn more about Krissy, go to teamkrissy.com

If you want to register as a bone marrow donor, go to https://join.bethematch.org/teamkrissy

 

 

 

How Tom Brady’s Facebook post is spreading awareness for Krissy Kobata, who needs a bone marrow to live

UPDATE: Chloe Bennet of  “Agents of SHIELD” had also jumped on board by Tweeting out the original post and some useful information. Bennet Tweeted out the post about an hour after Brady’s post.

Chloe Bennett on Team Krissy

 

On Tuesday morning, the original post reached over 1 million people.

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By Leighton Ginn
Krissy Kobata is a Los Angeles woman in need of a bone marrow to save her life, but the search for a match is complicated by her mixed-race heritage.
But awareness for Kobata’s search got a huge boost from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
The Asian American Sports Journalist page posted about Kobata’s search. Kobata is a friend of agent Don Yee, who has donated money for a scholarship to the group’s Sports Task Force, which is part of the Asian American Journalist Association.
Soon after the AAJA convention in Philadelphia last month, Yee requested from the group of sports journalist to see if they could spread the word.
Sean Jensen, a former NFL writer and author of the Middle School Rules series of books, posted on the group’s Facebook page with a link to a story he wrote at http://sportstaskforce.com/japanese-american-krissy-kobata-desperately-needs-bone-marrow-donor/
Jensen also purchased a boost. As the main administrator of the page, I shared the post in several Asian-American pages.
Awareness was a key because it’s difficult to find bone marrow matches for Asians, and the fact that Kobata is half Japanese and half Caucasian.
As of early Monday morning, the post reached 51,805 people, with people sharing comments on how get tested through Be The Match’s website https://bethematch.org/.

I had shared this news with Ohm Youngmisuk, an ESPN.com NBA writer and frequent guest on “The Jump” and “SportsNation” about the post.
He shared the news with Yee.
Yee is a sports agent and his top client is Brady.
By 1 p.m.  Monday, Brady’s official Facebook page had shared the post. About 10 hours later, the post had gone from 51,805 to 832,437.

There’s been 4.6K likes or reactions, and 160 comments in 10 hours on Brady’s page.

To learn more about Krissy and her fight, you can go to her page at http://www.teamkrissy.com/

Timothy Bradley announces retirement from boxing 

 

DSCN7143By Leighton Ginn

Five-time world champion Timothy Bradley announced Saturday he will retire from boxing, turning a page in his life that brought him international fame.

“Thank you for cheering me on when I didn’t deserve it, loving me most when I needed it and for being my heartbeat to keep going day after day. I am the man I am today because of you all,” Bradley said in a release.

Bradley’s full release is below.

There always comes a point in life where we have to make choices that no matter how much we know the right option, it still leaves us filled with mixed emotions.

Looking back at Timothy Bradley’s championship years

I have spent the past couple days trying to find the right words to describe this point in my life and no matter how long I sit and reflect, I still don’t know if these words can do my thoughts justice, but I’m going to do my best to open up my heart and share with all of you during this pivotal time.

How Timothy Bradley’s life intersected with 1968 Olympians George Foreman and John Carlos

It is no secret that a life of any professional athlete is not an easy one- yes it comes with a lot of fame and fortune but also comes with fear and fatigue. A balance that has to be achieved by ambition and maintained through perspective. For over twenty three years, Boxing gave me purpose and it defined me. Dedicated to my craft and fueled by my passion for the sport, my love for my team and my admiration for all of you who supported me day in and day out– I was able to give 100% of myself to be the best and to always get up when I was knocked down. It was the biggest challenge in my life but I embraced the sacrifice with every victory and milestone reached. Boxing gave me roots, it kept me off the streets, it gave me confidence, it taught me how to be a man and face every challenge head on and take the good with the bad. Yes I missed holidays, birthdays, even missed hearing some of my children’s first words but more than time, it took my blood, sweat and tears, all things I can never get back. Which is why turning the page for me is bittersweet. That once in a lifetime purpose to wake up everyday and give 100% is now fueled towards something else- my family. I find my strength in them, my peace and most importantly, unconditional love. I wake up wanting to spend all my time being a father, being a husband and being free. Although that square circle I lived to dance in everyday gave me so many smiles and blessings, it could never out weigh the smiles and blessings I receive from my wife and children. It’s now my turn to support them and encourage them to live their dreams and I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter. I hope to continue to allow boxing in my world through teaching, commentating and being a fan of a sport I love so dearly.

New Timothy Bradley scores first knockout since 2011 against a guy who was never down in a fight

And to you, the diehard fans, man, it’s been one heck of a ride. The bumps, the bruises, the peaks, the valleys, the days I didn’t want to get out of bed and the nights I couldn’t sleep….So many occasions where my heart, mind and soul were tested but with every challenge there was hope and there was all of you…giving me the courage to fight another day and do what I loved to do. I can never find the words to convey how much I appreciate all of you and how truly humbled I am by the unconditional support the past 23 years, Thank you. Thank you for cheering me on when I didn’t deserve it, loving me most when I needed it and for being my heartbeat to keep going day after day. I am the man I am today because of you all.

Coachella 2017: New Order

 

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By Leighton Ginn

It has befuddled me why Coachella has scheduled New Order against one of the headliners the last two time the groundbreaking English band has been at the Empire Polo Grounds.

As a fan, I would love to see them get more exposure to the younger generation as their sound, I believe, is a precursor for EDM and I think those who don’t know New Order would fall in love with them.

On the other hand, with the struggles of battling through the numerous people, it was actually nice to have some breathing room in the Mohave Tent while they played Sunday night against Kendrick Lamar.

And I don’t think there are more enthusiastic crowds than the ones for New Order.

Their music was the soundtrack of my college days.

They were cutting edge in the day and while I never got to see them live during those days, I’m sure their look was as edgy as their sound.

Today, they look middle-aged, like me. But they exude joy with their music. When lead singer Bernard Sumner breaks out in dance on hits like “Bizarre Love Triangle,” I kind of compare it to watching your father dance for the first time.

But it’s so endearing as well. He’s getting into his great music, and it makes me enjoy it more.

There are so many great songs from New Order that they are must see every time they are at Coachella. At least for me.

This year, their encore songs were two from Joy Division, which was New Order’s original incarnation, but they changed the name after Ian Curtis committed suicide.

I hadn’t known much of Joy Division, but the final song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” is definitely a favorite.