Thursday, June 30, 2011

30. A Song From Your Favorite Musical

The Phantom of the Opera "The Point of No Return"

So... how many of you guys were shocked that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not my favorite musical???

I realized, at seven years old, that I was a hopeless romantic... thanks to Disney's Beauty and the Beast. It was about a bookworm that didn't quite fit in and found herself with someone who was outcast and they eventually fell in love. I hate to admit that this movie became a sort of ideal mold for me in my dating life, LOL.

Then, just a few days before Valentine's Day (this year), I found myself reliving the same emotions when watching The Phantom of the Opera. The movie encompassed love, hate, anger, and passion through the music and the story. It was beautiful and flawless to me and after watching it the first time, I started to watch it again. I NEVER do that. It immediately made the #2 spot on my favorite movies list. It is such a beautiful, passionate, and moving production. If the movie can move me that much, I cannot imagine what the stage show would do. If there are any other hopeless romantics out there who have not seen it (or any theater lover for that matter), you need to see this immediately. It's worth it.

Well, that wraps up the Musical Blog Challenge. I got several of these songs stuck in my head and I bet it did the same to some of you. I hope you enjoyed all the musicals I covered and maybe you were introduced to some new ones. Thank you to those who read the entries... I really loved working on this challenge :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

29. A Song From a Musical That You Would Love To Be Involved In

Rock of Ages "Harden My Heart"

As I was sitting in Memorial Hall on May 3, 2011, I was mesmerized at the awesomeness that is Rock of Ages. Not only did I fall in love with the story, the 80's setting, and the music, but I also found myself wanting to be part of the show. I don't have a lot of dance or singing experience so that would cause some issue with being cast in a musical, but there is always that one show you are dying to get involved in despite the lack of certain talents. This musical would be on the top of the list (others include Rent and Phantom of the Opera). If I hear of a local theater holding auditions for this musical, I would definitely give it a try. If I don't make it, I would still try to be part of the show, whether on one of the stage crews or the box office... just like I did in high school. :-)

Speaking of getting involved... the stage cast from Rock of Ages have spoken out. They want to be part of the motion picture currently filming:

Did I mention that I LOVE the cast??? I really hope they get to be involved in the movie... they deserve it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Shakira, Eminem, Britney, and Chris Brown Collaborates with... Bieber???

Happy Tuesday everyone! You guys were lucky... this blog almost didn't happen. The past couple days, I have had some major issues with my modem, especially today. The first few hours I was online I kept losing connection, leaving me with only minutes of real Internet time. It finally started cooperating and I was able to get this blog rolling (I had the videos, just needed to add my critiques). Now, time to enjoy the videos I found the past several days :-)
Shakira feat. Pitbull "Rabiosa"

Ooh, yay! New Shakira music!!! I love her new shorter, brown hair... very cute on her. The song makes me want to get up and dance. I am a little surprised that Pitbull was not in the video at all... I guess I'm spoiled by seeing all performing artists in a video. I did love how Shakira doubled up in the video, between the new look and her former long, curly, blond locks (while dancing on a stripper pole, no less). I also loved how she added a ball pit in the video... reminded me of fun times I had working at my first job (a children's play place).

Eminem "Space Bound"

Space Bound is one of the songs that I recognize, but never got to know the song title. That's what happens when you play the CD without reading the album track list, LOL. I have enjoyed this song for several months and was pleasantly surprised to find out this was Eminem's latest single. I really enjoy the video and how Eminem showed two sides to the situation with the girl in the video. It reminded me of scenarios I play out in my head... you know the "What If" scenarios. Very enjoyable video and great song :-)

Britney Spears "I Wanna Go"

I bought Britney's Femme Fatale album a couple months ago and haven't really been getting into it. However, with each of her singles, I am starting to get more interested. I think this video is absolutely hilarious. She is wearing an anti-Mickey Mouse top, the movie theater in the background is showing "Crossroads 2: Cross Harder," and taking out paparazzi with a microphone. I like this bolder side of Britney. Oh, and damn... she really had to pull a Michael Jackson at the end? LOL

Chris Brown feat. Justin Bieber "Next to You"

Okay, I'll be honest. When I realized that Chris Brown collaborated with Justin Bieber, I was wondering if this was a way for Chris to gain back some of his fans he lost through the incident with Rihanna. I did give the song a chance and it's actually not that bad (considering I am not a fan of Bieber). The video, in a way, doesn't make sense. I mean, I know there is a natural disaster striking the city, but to intertwine that with two love stories just didn't flow very well. The song definitely trumps the video.

28. A Song From a Musical With a Character So Bad/Evil That You Love to Hate

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street "Epiphany"

Okay, I don't hate Benjamin Barker (aka. Sweeney Todd). I actually understand his intentions for seeking vengeance on those that tore his marriage apart and landed himself in jail for over a decade. All that time sitting in confinement would boil a lot of anger in myself too, especially knowing that I was set up by the town's judge. However, the difference between Sweeney Todd and myself is that I would not resort to murder to feel justified.

What I love about Sweeney Todd is how viciously gory it is. You don't normally see that in musicals. To have the protagonist as this hateful, impatient person is appealing. You hope that there is still some good in him somewhere, which starts to show when he finds out that his daughter is alive and living with the judge that changed his life forever. This musical made me look at shaving tools differently...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Movie Monday: Made in the 80's

Five months ago, I promised to you guys that I was going to do an 80's themed movie blog. I've really been delving into nostalgia over the decade a lot lately, especially after geeking out over Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" music video, which is more a blend of 80's and 90's but still... enough to get me in the mood. All I have to say is that I missed out on some pretty awesome movies over the years. You'll see what I mean...

Rain Man

Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is an underground business man from Los Angeles who travels back home to attend his father's funeral. As he gets his father's affairs set, he realizes that the $3 million inheritance is not going to him. His investigation over who will receive the money leads him to the Walbrook Institute, where he meets Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), his autistic older brother. In a desperate attempt to find a way to get the inheritance money himself, he takes his brother away from the institute and they journey back toward Los Angeles. Along the way, Charlie realizes that Raymond's autism is a blessing and a burden... which leads to many complications on the way home.

This is one of those movies that I have heard (or seen) referenced in so many other films, but had not given myself the chance to watch it. I'm glad I made this my first choice in movies for the week. I immediately dismissed Charlie as a heartless asshole and fell in love with Raymond. To see Charlie's world transform from wanting the inheritance money to needing Raymond in his life was remarkable. Both of them were able to learn from one another, which helped strengthen their bond. I recommend that this film be put on everyone's bucket list... it needs to be seen. Rating 5 out of 5 stars

Beverly Hills Cop

Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy), a Detroit cop, receives a visit from his buddy Mikey (James Russo) who has been working in Beverly Hills. Hours after he arrives, he is murdered. Axel decides to take some "vacation time" and travels to California to investigate his friend's death. The Beverly Hills police department are onto Axel, and Lieutenant Bogomil (Ronny Cox) assigns Detective Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Detective Taggart (John Ashton) to follow him since he is not assigned to the case. As Axel digs into the investigation, Rosewood, Taggart, and his old friend Jenny (Lisa Eilbacher) realize he is on the right track and help him, putting their lives (and jobs) in jeopardy.

No wonder my parents love this movie (and the sequels). It is the perfect blend of comedy and action. Axel is extremely quick minded and has a lot of fun in executing his actions. He knows exactly what to say to get into whatever business he needs, and has fun doing so. He pushed Rosewood and Taggart to step out of their "by the rules" protocol in order to help them become better detectives. Axel was determined to solve the murder and nothing was going to stop him from doing so. I personally believe that everyone needs their own Axel Foley in their lives. Rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Outsiders

In a small town, there are two opposing groups... the Socials (from the wealthy side) and the Greasers (the poor, hardworking people). Greasers Johnny (Ralph Macchio) and Ponyboy (C. Thomas Howell) get into an altercation with the Socials, and one of them gets killed. After seeking advice from Dallas (Matt Dillon), they flee to a nearby town and seek shelter in an abandoned barn. While getting a visit from Dallas, Johnny and Ponyboy see a fire and rescue children from the collapsing structure. The boys are rewarded as heroes, but suffer major injuries. This shifts the power in the town and the Greasers are more determined to win against the Socials in a fight in the town's park.

I admit that when I bought this movie, I had not really heard much about it. The appeal to me was all the celebrities involved in the film (including Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Patrick Swayze). Now that I've seen it, I understand why so many wanted to get involved. It's one of the more modern classic novels that was pushed to be made into a motion picture. There are so many life lessons that you can learn by watching this film. I really wish that at some point in junior high or high school this novel or movie would have been put in the curriculum. It is one of those movies that anyone that's coming of age needs to see. It is a beautiful film and I am glad I made the small investment in purchasing this movie. Rating 5 out of 5 stars

Beverly Hills Cop II

Two years after his initial trip, Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) finds himself back in Beverly Hills investigating the almost fatal shooting of Captain Bogamil (Ronny Cox), which is among a series of activity dubbed the "Alphabet Crimes." He teams back up with Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton), who have been temporarily demoted to traffic duty by Chief Lutz (Allen Garfield). Once again, the trio find themselves in the middle of risking their lives in honor of the ailing Captain.

Oh, how two years can change things. Axel and Bogamil are friends, which makes the shooting as personal as when Axel's friend was murdered in the last film. Rosewood and Taggart have utilized what they learned from Axel. Add to that the Alphabet Crimes and you have a very exciting (and in some cases, better) follow up to the original. Everything I loved from the first film transferred over and there was enough new characters and scenarios to make it just as enjoyable. Did anyone else get as much enjoyment as I did when realizing that Chris Rock was the parking attendant at the Playboy mansion? Totally awesome! Rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

See you guys next week.... I have some great movies to review for you, which includes a couple films currently in theaters!!!

27. A Song From a Musical That You Wish to See Feature or Star Your Favorite Performers

The Who's Tommy "Pinball Wizard"

Tommy, a great album by The Who. Tommy, the movie musical, not so great. It just wasn't executed that well. This is one of those movies I would love to see it remade in the next few years. When I was a senior in high school, my theater teacher directed a statewide production of this rock opera. My theater classmates and I had the opportunity to watch it in class one day, and the way Mr. Martin told the story was extremely well done (and also slightly edited for family friendly content).

I loved that there were many celebrity cameos in the movie, but to have some fresher faces would be more appealing for a remake. I would love to see The Who be involved, but since it's been over 35 years, Roger Daltrey would not be able to reprise his role (considering his age). For instance, having someone like Constantine Maroulis, Patrick Stump, or Justin Timberlake as Tommy and Queen Latifah or Mary J. Blige as the Acid Queen. I could also see Zooey Deschanel, Steven Tyler, Chris Daughtry, Lady Gaga and many others signing on for this movie. Just imagining this is getting me excited for a remake. Someone please green light this idea!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

26. A Song From a Musical With A Character You Most Relate To

Troy Bolton- High School Musical 3 "Scream"

I know this is pretty stereotypical of high school/teen movies, but there is always the one character that has new found aspirations for life and must go against his parents (and sometimes his friends) wishes to pursue what they really want in life. Troy Bolton is the epitome of that character. He loves basketball and he loves theater. He also loves Gabriella, who moves away to pursue an early start college program. All of these things compact at once, making Troy fight a battle with himself to find out what he truly wants in life. I completely relate to that.

I've had to make a similar decision. I've always known that I want to be a writer and knew that I would major in Journalism since freshmen year of high school. However, with the curve balls thrown at me in life, I had to make a decision. I stopped going to school after I had my son. At the time, I couldn't afford to do both and I had to think about what was best for my son at the time. Since then, I have found that I can do both, and am in the process of making that a reality. Sometimes you have to change the order of your dreams, but they can still come true and make you happy! :-D

Saturday, June 25, 2011

25. A Song From a Musical That is Your Current Favorite

Rock Of Ages "Here I Go Again"

Lately, I have been, for lack of a better word, obsessed with 80's nostalgia. I think it started when I went to see this show back in May. I've mentioned in one of the earlier blog challenge posts that I just love the music, the costumes, and the 80's pop culture references. Because of this show, I have become a fan of their pages on Facebook and Twitter, griped over how the stage cast is not part of the feature film (and I hope that changes even though it is currently filming), and hope that someday they will release a DVD of the stage show so I can watch it over and over again. Rock of Ages renewed my love for musical theater and I want to invest in seeing more shows around the city in the future (given that I can afford to go to many shows).

Friday, June 24, 2011

24. A Song From a Musical That Makes Me Laugh

South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut "It's Easy MMMKay"

Give it to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for what could possibly be the most profane musical out there. I had actually forgotten this was a musical until someone suggested that I use this somewhere in my blog challenge. I remember seeing this movie in the theaters and having several moments where my jaw dropped immediately followed by laughter (I mean, I was 15 years old). Who wouldn't laugh over Terrence and Phillip singing "Uncle Fucker," realizing who is behind Cartman when he's performing "Kyle's Mom is a Bitch," or seeing the townspeople rally to "Blame Canada" for corrupting their children? It was hilarious to me as a teen and it is just as funny today.

Last week, the Tony Awards were on television. I had missed the show, but was happy to find out that Trey and Matt's musical, The Book of Mormon, won the most awards. I have heard rave reviews about the musical and finally found the number they performed at the Tony's. Who knew that the creators of South Park would ever have a Broadway hit on their hands???

The Book of Mormon "I Believe"

I cannot wait to see this show!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

23. A Song From a Musical That Should Be Seen Live

The Phantom of the Opera "All I Ask of You"

Ever since I was involved in theater in high school, many of my classmates raved on the show. Some of them have seen it live multiple times. A few months ago, some of my friends and I got into a discussion on my Facebook page about the play. At least three of them told me I HAVE to go see a live show of it someday. Others raved that nobody is a better Phantom than Michael Crawford. I have looked up some of Crawford's work on YouTube and I know exactly what they mean by that. He is phenomenal. It would be an absolute dream to see a live show with him as the Phantom.

One of these days, I will see The Phantom of the Opera live. I don't care if it's in New York City, London, Las Vegas, or a traveling production (or all of the above)... I will do this before I die!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

22. A Song From a Musical That Should Never Have Been Made Into a Movie

Mamma Mia "The Winner Takes It All"

There's something about a musical made entirely of songs by ABBA that does not appeal to me at all. I do admit that I like many of their songs. I have tried watching this movie a couple times. I love a lot of the actors in it and it had the potential to be great. It even had a pretty good start. However, about... I'd say 20-30 minutes in, I just felt like it turned to ridiculous. For one, the songs don't always flow in and out of the story well... and for some they just stick out like a sore thumb. Then you realize a couple of the actors are not that talented in singing (I'm sorry Pierce Brosnan, but it wasn't pleasing). If I were given the opportunity to see a stage production of this, I would give it a try. Maybe some of the elements just got lost from stage to film. I am just not a fan of this film.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Bad Meets Evil, R. Kelly, One of Clarence Clemons' Final Performances, and a Parody

It's Tuesday, you know what that means... new music!!! I don't have a lot for you this week, but a couple of them have really impacted me with how good they are. So lets get to listening!

Bad Meets Evil feat. Eminem & Royce da 5'9 "Fast Lane"

Is it just me, or do I sense a new spin in the rap world? This song is like a breath of fresh air. Yes, we are familiar with both Eminem and Royce da 5'9" but the collaboration of the two in a teamed alter ego is extremely amazing! I am ready to hear more!!! As for the video... I loved the warehouse setting with added animation of lyrics and cartoon images. It made the words stand out more, both comically and in awe of how amazing this style of rap is compared to the rest playing on the radio.

R. Kelly "Radio Message"

I like the idea that this song is a confession of heartbreak and love expressed through the radio. This is just one of those songs that a literal translation of song to video is perfect, even necessary. The song is still growing on me, but definitely enjoyable.

Lady Gaga "The Edge of Glory"

I loved this song from the first few notes... it was simple, yet extremely powerful. I was curious as to how she would do the music video. To my pleasant surprise, she went simple for the video. I loved the pink and purple color scheme surrounding the buildings and steps. I also love that she went to her New York roots for the set. The only other person you see in the video is Clarence Clemons, performing his infamous solo in the song. It is heartbreaking that he passed away 3 days after this video made its debut and he will be greatly missed. RIP Clarence Clemons

Weird Al Yankovic "Perform This Way"

For those who don't know the back story on this song: Weird Al gets permission from whoever he parodies to be able to release a song. This one was not originally approved, and after popular demand by his fans, it became the first single for his new album. As with many of his other parodies, I loved it! Last night, one of my good friends shared the video with me (and I shared with others). I thought it was very comical, but... to see Weird Al's face on a bikini clad female body was slightly traumatizing.

21. A Song From a Musical That Inspires You

Rent "La Vie Boheme"

A group of bohemians (artists, filmmakers, writers, and musicians) working together to be able to live their lives in the city they love, while fighting Corporate America, and seeking to find love and happiness... completely inspiring!!! I don't see how anyone can watch this movie without feeling inspired to do something. I admire that each person does what they love to do, even if they have difficulty paying bills, like rent. Several of the characters have HIV/AIDS, so for them to deal with that while falling in love is also inspiring to me. It just goes to show that you can overcome an obstacle like that to find happiness.

Now, who wants to hang out with me in Westport, order a bunch of fries and other snacks, and do our own rendition of "La Vie Boheme?" It will be fun...   :-D

Monday, June 20, 2011

Movie Monday: Desperate Times Call for Shakespearean Sequels

Happy Monday everyone! It is the last day of spring, but for my fellow Kansas Citians, it has felt like summer for at least a couple weeks. Either it's unbearable humidity levels or severe storms that are keeping us indoors. As for me, I haven't done a lot of movie watching (between dating someone new and reading the Hunger Games series). I did, however, come across a 99 cent clearance rack at my local Blockbuster and purchased several movies (you know you would have too with that good of a deal!). So, lets review one of those purchases today!

Hamlet 2

Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) is a failed actor turned drama teacher that has been struggling to make an impact on the student body and community in Tucson, Arizona. As more school programs are cut, he gains many new students who have nowhere else to go. When Dana realizes that the drama program is next on the cutting block, he decides to pull out and finish a manuscript... a musical sequel to William Shakespeare's Hamlet. As the students are getting involved in their new production, the community and the school rally to shut down the musical, which has turned out to be highly controversial.

I had some high hopes for this film, since I was a theater student myself. I was happy that it exceeded my expectations. I loved the failed commercials that Dana filmed that was at the beginning of the film. It helped show that he was passionate about acting, even if he wasn't good at it. The rest of the exposition of the film was slow starting, but if anyone was able to continue watching the film... it got a lot better. The best part, in my opinion, was when the play actually started. The numbers were so politically incorrect but awesome at the same time. After watching the film, I had "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" stuck in my head until I went to bed. I recommend this film to anyone that appreciates theater arts and wants a non-slapstick kind of comedy. Rating 4 out of 5 stars

20. A Song From a Musical That Is a Guilty Pleasure

Moulin Rouge "Lady Marmalade/Smells Like Teen Spirit/ Because We Can"

Moulin Rouge: a musical that blends early 20th century France and pop culture music. That makes this a complete guilty pleasure for me. To take a time in history and put a current, fun spin on it makes it one of the most entertaining tragic love stories I have ever seen. Baz Luhrmann has a talent of mixing more than one widely popular song together to create a new kind of masterpiece. I also love his color palette in all of his movies.. so vibrant and stimulating. I know if I lived back then, I would totally be one of the Children of the Revolution, since I am a firm believer of Freedom, Beauty, Truth, and (most of all) Love.

I also love that Christian is a writer, like me. Movies with characters who are writers have a special place in my love for movies :-)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

19. A Song From a Musical that Disappointed You

Grease 2 "Cool Rider"

When I was 11, I remember using $20 to invest in a couple movies (on VHS). One was Dumb and Dumber and the other was Grease. I loved both movies and watched them over and over again. When my Mom told me they made a sequel to Grease, I was excited to watch it. Grease 2 was one of my first experiences in learning that some sequels should never see the light of day.

Seeing a new class of seniors taking over Rydell High, the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies was pretty awesome. It was also cool to see the transition from the fifties to the sixties and how the attitude of the students had changed over time. Some numbers were very cool, but most of them were so overly ridiculous, like "Reproduction" and "Score Tonight." I mean, really? Sexual innuendos doubled as terms for bowling? Yes, it was overly cheesy. If you want a classic and entertaining musical, stick with the original and skip the sequel.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

18. A Song From a Musical with the Best Lyrics

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street "Worst Pies in London"

There are many musicals out there that express the story through song, but none of them can compare to Sweeney Todd. All the major occurrences and intricate details are clearly expressed through the lyrics. I love watching this and enjoying a song that expresses the struggles of purchasing quality meat, one that challenges a "Miracle Elixir," one that gives the back story of the demise of a married couple, and one that suggests that certain occupations could make for tasty meat. The graphic details of all the songs make it for one attention getting yet stimulating musical. Stephen Sondheim did wonders with this musical and I will see a live show of it someday.

Friday, June 17, 2011

17. A Song From a Musical with the Best Music

Rock of Ages "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "I Wanna Know What Love Is"

What I loved about Rock of Ages, aside from the 80's nostalgia, is that it's a musical that I knew all the songs beforehand. Where else can you see a stage show that has your favorite songs by Poison, Bon Jovi, Joan Jett, Foreigner, Europe, Journey, and others??? A few times in the show, they combine two songs together into one epic number... and it works!!! The songs work into the story so much better than they do in The Who's Tommy (which Tommy was meant to be a rock opera... so that's saying something). What was also cool about seeing this stage show was that it felt like a rock concert in the sense that every time a character would start to sing a song, some of the audience members would shout and cheer once the recognized the song.

There is one scene in particular, after intermission, where Justice (owner of a strip club) is consoling Sherrie over her personal life... and when I recognized the song as "Every Rose Has Its Thorns," I reacted with such an audible gasp that the people sitting in front of me turned around and said "Now that's a good reaction!" I can't help that I'm a MAJOR fan of Poison, hehe :-D

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Literary Thursday: Catching Fire

Do you remember in last week's Literary Thursday blog how I said I was almost finished reading Catching Fire? Well, just a few hours after I posted that blog, I finished the book... less than four days after starting it. Then again, I read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in less than 24 hours, LOL. Anyway, lets move forward and get to my summary and review of the second book in the Hunger Games Series.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

It has been several months since the 74th Hunger Games ended, and Katniss and Peeta are becoming accustomed to their new accommodations at home. As they prepare for the Victory Tour, Katniss encounters an unexpected visitor from the Capitol... President Snow. He informs her that her final act in the games have caused a major disturbance to Panem and threatens her to behave or the people she loves will die.

As they make their first stop in the Victory Tour, to District 11, they realize that their choices in the Hunger Games have made a bigger impact they have anticipated. The people are standing behind them, causing riots from those who want to overthrow the Capitol. In order to prove that they still have control, the Capitol throws in a twist for the 75th Hunger Games, which is also the Quarter Quell (special circumstances happen every 25 years to the games). They decide to have two victors from each district return to the Hunger Games. Since District 12 has only had 3 living victors, two males and one female, Katniss realizes that she will be returning to the Capitol to fight to the death.

When I started reading this book, I was expecting to see Katniss and Peeta embark on a journey across all the districts, leading to their new duties at the Capitol as mentors to future tributes in the Hunger Games. What I didn't expect (or Katniss, for that matter) was that the berries incident was something that sparked a rebellion in many of the districts. It is first recognized when they head to District 11, which was the first stop in the Victory Tour. After witnessing the Peacekeepers (the law enforcement in Panem) kill someone for starting a symbolic tribute to Katniss, they are rushed back onto the train with very little answers. As time goes on, Katniss and Peeta piece things together and prepare to be seen as symbols for the rebellion.

When it is time for the 75th Hunger Games, aka. the Quarter Quell, I sensed a completely different vibe than the last one. For one, many of the past victors have been friends over the years and to find themselves in the situation that they will have to fight each other is hard to bear. Katniss, who trusts very few people, goes by her intuition to find allies to team up with during the games while others seem to be forced on her by her mentor and partner.

When the games begin and the arena is described, I am in awe. Imagine a pie divided into 12 even pieces, with the center resembling a wheel with spokes. In between the spokes are bodies of water and the cornucopia of supplies are in the very center of the arena. Compared to the last book, I imagine more of a jungle than a forest. Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but the unexpected elements of the games are executed in a "timely" manner and each element is particularly dangerous for the tributes, physically and emotionally.

The book ends with (at least to me) a very unexpected twist. The fact that it came so abruptly made me grab Mockingjay immediately and start reading it. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

See you guys next week when I review Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games series!!!

16. A Song From Your Favorite Composer, From Your Least Favorite Musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber: Cats "Memory"

Before I go into this, I need to say that I have never seen Cats. I have no desire to, even though Andrew Lloyd Webber is my favorite composer. Just because I am a fan of his work doesn't mean I'm going to like everything he puts out. For one, if I am going to watch a show with felines... it's going to be The Lion King. I also think that is a show that has been overexposed and over hyped over the years.

A perfect example of my attitude toward this can be portrayed accurately in the movie Jersey Girl. Yes, the Kevin Smith film. All of the students want to perform "Memory" for the talent show... and they do. Ollie (Ben Affleck) takes his daughter to see Sweeney Todd, which inspires them to perform a number from the musical for the talent show. When the principal realizes that they are not performing a number from Cats, she is extremely relieved. I would be too after seeing the same number at least a dozen times in one night.

Now, before anyone argues that I need to give Cats a chance... don't be harsh about it. If you can give me good reasons, and express them in such a manner that I know you are passionate about the musical, then I will watch it. :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

15. A Song From Your Favorite Composer

Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Phantom of the Opera "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Music of the Night"

Andrew Lloyd Webber, creator of wonderful musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Of course, my favorite of his works is The Phantom of the Opera. The way he expresses such passionate emotions like love, anger, and revenge- through the music- is perfection.

The song "The Phantom of the Opera" has the air of mystery, excitement, and a little bit of fear. You are curious about the man behind the mask. I have always loved hearing organs in musicals. There's something about that instrument that makes me feel the music inside my body and soul and I don't want the feeling to go away. In "Music of the Night," I feel the love and sensuality The Phantom is expressing to Christine. It made me yearn for a guy who would express the same emotions to me... someone who wanted me so badly that he would do anything to make that happen. Well, aside from offing people who got in his way... there is a fine line between passionate love and a jealous rage- or is there???

Andrew Lloyd Webber, you are a genius and an inspiration to those who have a passion for musical theater. I need to see one of your productions live someday!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Music Tuesday: T.G.I.F., Sick Puppies, Movie Soundtrack, Mr. Mariah Carey and a DJ Earworm Mashup

Happy Flag Day Everybody!!! I know, it's not a major holiday, but I enjoy seeing a lot of United States flags on display. Add that it's a windy day here in Kansas City and the flags will definitely be "showing off."

Now, music video time! I've got a great selection of songs for you this week.... and one of them I have been excited for its debut (which arrived two days early). Get ready for some nostalgia, movie clips, and more!

Katy Perry "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)"

This time last year, I was enjoying Katy Perry's first single off her Teenage Dream album, "California Gurls." I loved that video and was ready to see what else she was going to come up with for her other singles. Last week, I noticed she had created an alter ego... Kathy Beth Terry, a geeky 13 year old who loves astronomy, sudoku, and collects beanie babies. I soon realized that her new music video was going to give me major nostalgia for my junior high days.

And it did.

So many cameos from celebs in the 80's and 90's, the neon colored attire, the geekiness.... oh so so good!!! I thought it was cool that Rebecca Black was the "cool" neighbor that had the party. I am in love with this video. As for the song... it's catchy, a lot of fun, and makes me want to dance!!!

Sick Puppies "Riptide"

This song is a lot more rock than their previous single "Maybe." It also has a great message.... to be yourself without others telling you that you can't or will judge you for it. I love how they helped to express this message through the video with all the random images. Sometimes you just need a song to remind you that being an individual is a good thing. :-)

Linkin Park "Iridescent"

Linkin Park must REALLY love doing songs for the Transformers films. I was surprised that this one was less rock and more ballad-like. I like that they made the video in black and white... it helps with the tone of the song. However, I'm just not as into this song as the other two used for the previous films.

Nick Cannon feat. Akon "Famous"

Why am I not at all surprised to see Nick Cannon do a music video like this??? LOL. I love all the celebrities/ public figures he portrayed in the video. Who knew he could pull of Gene Simmons??? The song is catchy and I love that he collaborated with Akon. Very entertaining video and it made me laugh many times!

DJ Earworm "Party on the Floor (Capital FM Summertime Ball Mashup)"

I became a fan of DJ Earworm at the end of last year. The way he blends songs from the Billboards charts to make one unified song is pretty damned brilliant. Then, there is mixing the videos together. He's very talented. This is a great blend of music he compiled for a radio station sponsored concert. All the artists in the song/video are booked for this concert (which I assume is on one of the coasts... haven't looked into where the station is located). Good job DJ Earworm and I always look forward to all your mashups (especially the end of year ones).

14. A Song From a Musical That You Haven't Listened to/ Seen In a While

Little Shop of Horrors "Feed Me (Git It)"

Little Shop of Horrors is the first stage play I had ever seen. I was about 7 years old and one of the girls who used to babysit my sister and I was in the production at Grandview Middle School. I remember being scared and fascinated at Aubrey II, but it was also silly to me that the plant ate people.

It has been years, maybe 10 or more, since I last watched the movie. I am tempted to rent it soon, so I can introduce it to my son. He might enjoy it. A few weeks ago, I found the soundtrack amongst a bunch of cd's that a family friend made for us. I added a song or two to my ITunes, so I can enjoy the music as it randomly shows up on shuffle.

Monday, June 13, 2011

13. A Song From a Musical that You Loved From the First Note

Phantom of the Opera- "Overture"

I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera until this year. I know, shocking.

I decided to watch a bunch of love stories/ romantic comedies the week leading up to Valentine's Day. I figured if I didn't have a special someone to celebrate the holiday with, then I would do my own thing... with movies. I popped in the movie expecting to really like the movie. What I didn't expect was that as soon as the organ was played for the first time that I felt the love, passion, and the music take over me... and kept me there until the ending credits. The Phantom of the Opera is inevitable proof that music is something that you feel completely passionate about and love endlessly. It affects you so deeply that you cannot imagine a world without it.

Every time I decide to watch this movie or play the music, I cannot help but get a huge smile on my face and feel the music within my heart. I am a hopeless romantic after all! :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

12. A Song From a Musical That You Could Listen to All Day

For today's blog entry, I had trouble deciding on just one musical. There are two soundtracks I own that I have listened to countless times, so why not have a double dose of musical goodness today??? I figured you wouldn't mind, LOL

Chicago "Cell Block Tango"

When my sister and I were watching the 2002 Academy Awards, we saw Chicago take a lot of awards, including Best Picture. Less than a week later, I bought the soundtrack and my sister and I were sitting at the movie theaters watching the movie. I loved the music, the choreography, and the use of accent colors to make the scenes just pop! I spent a lot of the following months playing this soundtrack over and over again in my bedroom and in my car.

Moulin Rouge "El Tango de Roxanne"

I caught this movie one day on HBO. I knew beforehand that Baz Luhrmann was behind the film, and I was a big fan of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. I loved how he blends pop culture with a classic love story to make an extremely entertaining experience, visually, musically, and emotionally. After watching the movie for the first time, it wasn't that much longer until I was purchasing the soundtrack. Just like the Chicago soundtrack, I spent many times in my room and my car listening to it, but more in the car (especially when I spent my first semester of college in St. Louis). I also own a movie poster of this film, which is currently hanging on the wall just outside my bedroom. :-)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

11. A Song From a Musical That Has Made the Most Impact on You

Rocky Horror Picture Show "Hot Patootie Bless My Soul"

It just seems natural to me that the musical that was the first one I had ever seen (which is also the one that I know nearly all the lines to) is also the one that has had the most impact on me. To repeat myself from several previous blog entries, I was raised by parents who loved this musical and saw the stage show over 200 times. It is, in a way, a part of how my family came to be. The love for the cult musical also had worked its way into my high school theater experience, where I found classmates who loved it as much as I did (and one Halloween I watched the musical in the garage while handcuffed to one of my theater buddies... hehe).

It took going to my first live show in July 2010 that affected/ impacted my life more than any other musical. I found a new activity that I look forward to every month. I have made a lot of new friends while going to the shows, which includes people I have dated/ are dating. I invested in corsets and costumes for the show. Then I started helping the cast with setting up, taking tickets, and cleaning up when the show was over. But the part that just made everything complete was when I was asked if I was ready to be part of the show. I happily accepted and am now one of the shadow cast members. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a big part of my social life now and I am excited to continue being part of the show.

I also am looking forward to what's ahead as far as Rocky Horror goes. I have set a goal to where I would like to play each character at least once in my life. I also would like to attend shows in other cities (which would make for some fun weekend road trips). Then there is a convention coming to Denver, CO in 2013. The future looks very promising. :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

10. A Song From Your Least Favorite Musical

High School Musical 2 "Fabulous"

As much as I am a fan of sequels, there are some that should have never been made. I believe High School Musical 2 is one of them. I will give credit that a couple of songs are pretty cool, but that's about it. I don't even own this movie and have no real desire to. It's just a little silly to me that the movie is based on summer vacation and not about high school... which is what the trilogy is suppose to be about. I probably sound a little harsh in saying so, but that's my prerogative.

I also have a dislike for diva's like Sharpay, who are snobby, thinks she is better than everybody, and likes materialistic items... on the expensive side (Tiffany's, Prada, imported foods, etc.). Now, if it were me, I will admit that if I were a celebrity that I would splurge on an item or two, but it would be something that I personally like and not because of the designer's name. I'd rather be known as an individual and not by what I wear/ accessorize.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Literary Thursday: The Hunger Games

After a long absence, I am finally able to blog about books again!!! I started reading a biography book on Hunter S. Thompson, but it was taking me so long that I stopped reading it (for now) when I was 2/3 finished. Then about a week and a half ago, I started reading a Stephen King novel- my very first one. I was really getting into it, but then a coworker of mine offered me to borrow a book series that I have been interested in. So I delayed Mr. King's novel. Less than a week later, I finished the first book of The Hunger Games series.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

It is sometime in the future, and what used to be North America is now a nation called Panem. Panem has a Capitol that is surrounded by thirteen districts (one was obliterated 74 years ago) that specialize in certain trades, like agriculture, textiles, or weapons. Every year The Hunger Games is held, where a boy and a girl (between the ages of 12 and 18) from each district are sent to the Capitol to train and fight one another to the death until only one person is left standing.

In District 12, Katniss Everdeen and her sister Prim head to the name drawing ceremonies. As Prim's name is called, Katniss does the unthinkable. She steps in to participate in the Hunger Games herself. Before she knows it, she is on her way to the Capitol with Peeta, the male district representative, and the rest of the team to begin what could be the finals days of her life.

When I first heard about this series, I was intrigued. The target audience is young adults and there is a lot of violence. Once I started reading, I knew I was in for a great adventure.

The first thing I loved about the book was that my mental images of the districts were a mix of modern day and medieval times. It is supposed to take place in the future, but the way the Capitol has taken over the people, they have used a lot of measures seen from the past. For example, the districts are enclosed in chain link fencing, with electricity coursing through it. When someone publicly speaks ill of the Capitol or does something illegal (like hunting), they can be publicly humiliated in the square by the Peacekeepers (law enforcement) or killed.

When Katniss, Peeta, and the rest of District 12 get to the Capitol, I am imagining a world similar to The Wizard of Oz/ The Wiz. What I mean by this is that all the districts surrounding the Capitol are very drab, dark, and simple. The Capitol stands out with it looking flawlessly new, well maintained, and technologically advanced. Katniss and Peeta, who are accustomed to small amounts of food, are amazed at the selection and richness of the meals provided to them. It takes them a little time to get accustomed to their new diet, but they enjoy it heartily. When Katniss is working with Cinna, her fashion designer for the ceremonies in the Capitol, I am imagining that the dresses and outfits she wears are very similar to what Lady Gaga wears today. Some of the clothes involve optical illusions and light fixtures, so to think Gaga is not far fetched at all.

Then, the Hunger Games begin. The setting of the games itself have that unique mix of future and past. The scene is in a wooden forest, full of creatures, deadly insects, and natural vegetation. However, there are hidden cameras to document all the tributes while fighting to the death. The Capitol also has control over the weather. They can make it rain or have excruciating heat as they please. They also have control of the water and wildlife (which toward the end of the games, the water supply "dries up," forcing the remaining tributes to come together in the center of the arena. The fights and deaths of the tributes are very real, graphic, and barbaric. The author does an excellent job with detail that I was able to get a very clear image of how each person dies. It was exciting, yet disturbing.

Although I was hooked from the first chapter, it took me a few more chapters to really get into it. I finished this book in less than a week. I was impressed beyond my own expectations for this book and have already started on the second book, Catching Fire (actually, I am almost done reading that one). I recommend this to my fellow bookworms and anyone that is looking for a great read that will be hard to put down once you start. I also recommend this to anyone that has seen the movie The Condemned... the "fight to the death while being filmed" concept is essentially the same thing. Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Oh, yes... this pic of a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly. Yes, the book series is in the process of becoming movies. The first book is currently being filmed. They plan to make four films (excellent idea) and now that I've read the books, I am excited to see how it will look visually!

See you guys next Thursday, when I review Catching Fire!!!

9. A Song From a Musical You Know All (or Nearly All) the Lines

The Rocky Horror Picture Show "Science Fiction/Double Feature"

Duh!!! I think 27+ years is plenty of time to know all the lines of this musical (could be more... I bet my parents went to shows when my mom was pregnant with me). :-)

Since I started going to the monthly Fishnets and Floorshows production, I have been learning all the callback lines, which is part of the audience participation. There are so many callbacks that it takes several shows to learn them. When the time came where I became one of the shadow cast members, my knowledge of the lines and songs worked to my benefit to where all I had to worry about was where I needed to be positioned for each scene.

It has reached the point where, now, if I am watching a clip of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I am catching myself shouting out the callbacks. Oh, how Fishnets and Floorshows have corrupted me... hehehe.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Does anyone in KC have enough of "the X factor" to score a $5 million recording contract?

This is an article I wrote for the Kansas City Pitch on their Wayward Blog. It was published on April 8, 2011.


Is there a Kansas City musician or band that's looking to win a big, fancy recording contract? (We're guessing the answer is yes.)


The X Factor, a singing-competition series that will air on Fox this fall, has expanded its auditions to cities across the country, including Kansas City.

Vocal groups and individuals (ages 12 and up) who can't make it to the cities holding auditions -- the closest metro to Kansas City is Chicago -- will be able to use an HD recording studio. In the studio, audtioning acts record a song a cappella and tell why they believe they have what it takes to become a global sensation. Oak Park Mall will have one of the MyStudio audition booths from Friday, April 15, through Saturday, April 30. It will be located inside the mall near Macy's. The hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Click here to register.

KC Radio hits the same demographic as the late Gen X 99.7

This is an article I wrote that was published by the Kansas City Pitch on their Wayward Blog on March 30, 2011


Good news for those mourning the loss of Gen X 99.7: According to Facebook and Twitter, KC Radio returned to Internet radio this afternoon to broadcast music from the '80s and '90s.

mzi.igjrjpok.175x175-75.jpg is an Internet radio station that is owned and operated by local radio personality Kelly Urich. It was founded in January 2009 and has had a lot of local public figures involved, including Bryan Busby and Andrew Cook (the brother of American Idol winner David Cook).

Here's what Urich told us about KC Radio:

"Gen X 99.7 FM was incredibly popular with a small demographic of people. Unfortunately, not enough to survive in the world of advertising. I have this radio station in my basement and I thought it would be a welcome relief to -- instead of blowing up a station and that's the end -- give an option for people who listen at work, or people with smart phones who really want '80s and '90s."

"I originally built the studio to do a show for Sirius-XM, but their financial woes led to KC Radio at We had a hot adult-contemporary format for over a year, and that's when Entercom entered the picture. It quickly became a conflict with the Gen X 99.7 FM format, so we closed shop. Ironically, the launch of 99.7 the Point left us with the perfect opportunity to play nonstop Generation X music."

Web radio has obviously arrived with Pandora and the like. KC Radio is a cool way to localize the Web experience, but we have listeners from all over the world.

For those Gen X listeners out there who are missing their hits of the last few decades: Be sure to log on to You won't be disappointed

Gen X 99.7 and 98.1 KUDL are now replaced by "adult contemporary music, past and present" [Updated]

This is an article that was published by the Kansas City Pitch on their Waywar Blog on March 24, 2011


UPDATE: Thursday, March 24, at 2:17 p.m.: Entercom's press release of 1 p.m says KUDL 98.1 switches call letters to KMBZ next Wednesday

Gen X Radio 99.7 and KUDL 98.1 are no more.


According to a press release on March 23 by Entercom Kansas City, Gen X Radio is now known as 99.7 the Point. The direction of the station is aimed at women ages 25 to 54 and will play adult contemporary music, past and present.

Brand Manager and Program Director Mark Edwards stated in the press release, "We've worked hard to find out what kind of music and interactive elements the women in Kansas City desire, and we built an entertainment experience from the ground up just for them." (To read the entire press release, you can find it here).

KUDL will play a "free trial" of 99.7 the Point for the next 30 days until it leaves the airwaves.

So, to the Kansas City listeners, what do you think of the changes to both stations? Did Entercom make the right decision, or will this become a fatality?

UPDATE: The KUDL website has posted a thank-you to the listeners for keeping them on-air for the past 34 years. Radio personality Tanna will be joining 99.7 the Point as the afternoon DJ (from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays) starting Wednesday. Roger will be moving to 106.5 the Wolf for the morning show starting Monday.

If anyone is interested in obtaining a piece of either 99.7 or 98.1, there is an event tomorrow, March 25, at the AMC Mainstreet Marquee Lounge from 2 to 6 p.m. The Point is hosting the event and will be giving away merchandise (T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.) to anyone who decides to attend. They will also present the new radio team and have givaways for future events in Kansas City. Click here for more information.

Pimping perfume: five pop stars guilty of shamelessly promoting their fragrances in videos

This article was posted by the Kansas City Pitch on their Wayward blog on March 8, 2011


Recently, Wayward tossed off a blog entry about Lady Gaga and her future fragrance. (Can we even call it that?) While we are still grossed out over the idea of buying something that smells like blood and, um, man goo, we have also given some thought to how she will promote such a product. Then it hits: why not in one of her erratic music videos? The idea isn't new. Pop artists have been pimping their own products through video placement a lot recently. Here's a list of five starlets guilty of shamelessly promoting their fragrances in music videos.

5. Hilary Duff, "With Love"
Features: With Love (1:03 into the video)

Who keeps a glass bottle of perfume in their jacket pocket? Apparently Hilary Duff.

4. Britney Spears, "Hold It Against Me"

Features: Radiance (0:37 into the video)

Britney's brain: "Let's show on a bunch of TV screens all of my past music videos. I also want a scene where I am fighting my own alter ego. Oh, wait! I have a new fragrance called Radiance. Let's work that into the video, too, OK?"

We're done throwing up now.

3. Christina Aguilera, "Not Myself Tonight"

Features: Christina Aguilera and Christina Aguilera by Night (2:17 into the video)

Most people spray perfume before they go out for the night, not right before bedroom gymnastics with a shirtless guy. Way to go, Christina! Get your freak on!

2. Avril Lavigne, "What the Hell"

Features: Black Star and Forbidden Rose (0:38 into the video)

After rolling out of bed with the nameless man, Avril goes to the dresser and applies not one, but both of her fragrances before walking out the door. Really? Both? Hopefully they complement each other well, or else everyone will be fleeing to get away from the overpowering stench.

1. Britney Spears, "Circus"

Features: Curious, Believe, and Fantasy (0:01 into the video)

Attention: We have a repeat offender in shameless promoting. Spears is clearly the winner when it comes to showing off her many fragrances -- by the way, she has a few more that have yet to make it in a video. Oh, and how many times is she going to spray herself with Curious? It's not body splash, you know ...

'Poppin' bottles' and nine other obnoxiously overused phrases in pop songs

This is an article that was published by the Kansas City Pitch on their Wayward Blog on March 2, 2011


Pop music is great ... to an extent.

Top 40 may be everyone's favorite mindless genre, but pop music's trends are idiotically transparent. Wayward has spent a few weeks scanning hundreds of radio earworms in order to specifically calculate which words and phrases need to be abolished from pop music's vocabulary.

10. "Play my/her favorite song"
As heard in: Tim McGraw's "Felt Good On My Lips"; Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me"; Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA"

Is there anything more obnoxious than name-checking another, better song during a pop song? (No, Miley, there isn't.) But referencing someone else's favorite song is almost as bad.

9. "I like it"
As heard in: Rihanna's "S&M," Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull's "I Like It"

Um...we don't like it.

8. "Poppin' bottles"
Heard In: Far East Movement's "Like a G6," T.I. feat. Chris Brown's "Get Back Up," Birdman feat. Lil Wayne's "Pop Bottles"

Poppin' bottles - namely, when large quantities of champagne are either consumed or poured over scantily clad women -- is a remnant of far earlier days, back when Diddy was Puff Daddy and drank Cristal. Currently, it's a standard in hip-hop excess. (Other runner-up phrases that should similarly be abolished: poppin' pills, poppin' caps, or poppin', er, lady parts.)

7. "Duece/Dueces"
As heard in: Chris Brown's "Deuces," Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)"

Deuces" has replaced "peace out." Nothing like swapping one obnoxious phrase for another.

6. "Animal" or "cannibal"
As heard in: Usher's "More," Neon Trees' "Animal," Ke$ha's "Cannibal," Disturbed's "The Animal"

Since when did "animal" and "cannibal" go hand-in-hand, outside of novels featuring Hannibal Lecter?

5. "Swagger" or "swag on"
As heard in: Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)," Lil Wayne's "6 Foot 7 Foot," Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag," Jay Z's "Swagger Like Us," Ke$ha's "Tik Tok"

Swagger is defined as a confident and arrogant type of attitude. (It's also a jacket cut.) Once Ke$ha snatched up the term, she made it trashy. Then Toyota decided to shake things up and give swagger a new attitude, with minivans. Jay-Z, meet hordes of balding middle-aged suburbanites.

4. "808's"
As heard in: Far East Movement's "Like a G6," Ke$ha's "Your Love Is My Drug," Kelis' "Bossy," also Kanye West's 808's and Heartbreak

Ah, the 808 drum. It was a staple for music 20 years ago. Now that the children of the '80s are taking over the music industry, it seems as if they all want to pay homage to the instrument. Clearly, the keytar is next.

 3. "In the club"
As heard in: Nelly's "Just a Dream," Usher's "DJ Got Us Falling in Love," Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)"

When you're awkwardly finding someone to bump-'n-grind with, do you find it slightly redundant to hear references to being "in the club" when you're ... in a club? (Then again, if you were listening to the lyrics anyway, your night might already suck.)

2. "Turn it up" or "Turn it loud"
As heard in: Ke$ha's "We R Who We R," Brad Paisley's "This Is Country Music," Jason Aldeen's "My Kinda Party," Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x," Waka Flocka Flame's "No Hands"

Upon further consideration: I think the music industry has a contract with a company that produces hearing aids.

1. "Put your hands in the air" or "put your hands up"
As heard in: Nelly "Just a Dream," Chris Brown "Yeah 3x," Linkin Park "Waiting for the End," Taio Cruz "Dynamite," Flo-Rida "Club Can't Handle Me"

There is a list of 100 songs that use this phrase -- not including my aforementioned song choices. After all this time, you'd think we'd all have figured out what to do with our hands when dancing at a club, no?

8. A Song Performed by Your Favorite Male Singer in a Musical

Zac Efron- Hairspray "Ladies Choice"

*Sigh* Yes, I picked Zac Efron.

For someone that is younger than me, he has proven that he's got the talent to stay in the movie/musical business for a very long time. I mean, he's done four musicals and he's not even 25 years old! I do respect that Zac has expressed that he doesn't want to be typcasted as a musical guy, which is one reason why he turned down Kenny Ortega's offer to be in the Footloose remake. I have enjoyed him in other roles in his career, but I would like to see him in more musicals in the future. Not immediately, but someday.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Rihanna, Daddy Yankee, and a LOT of Rock Music

Good afternoon everyone! If anyone is like me, then you are avoiding a heat advisory by staying indoors. Or, you are relaxing in a pool. As I am enjoying air conditioning, I have been listening and reviewing my latest music discoveries from the past week. Aside from the first couple songs, this blog has turned out to be very rock oriented. I like that it is... especially since a lot of the bands are ones that I have followed for a long time. Please, enjoy these discoveries and keep yourself hydrated!!!

Rihanna "Man Down"

So how does Rihanna top a video full of S&M??? She kills a man. I like that she traveled back to her homeland in Barbados (I am assuming) to film this video. The video showcases her natural beauty and how the people in the country live simple, but happy lives. The story, however, shows otherwise. You meet a guy in a club and he makes advances on you that you aren't comfortable with so you decline the advances. Then he follows you and forces to have his way with you. A bit extreme to killing him for doing that, but effective nonetheless.
Daddy Yankee feat. Prince Royce "Ven Conmigo"

This song makes me want to salsa and/or tango!!! I like how Daddy Yankee does a Spanglish blend on this song, it makes it seem more... romantic, in a way. Then again, I understand some of the Spanish lyrics (I did take 2 1/2 years of Spanish and try to keep up on it from time to time). I expect to hear this in dance clubs all summer :-)

1, 2, 3 "Work"

Is it bad that about 25 seconds into the video, I spot a bottle of TruBlood in the background? Yeah, I would notice that!!! My first impression on the song was that it sounded like Oasis and Kings of Leon mated and this is their love child (hopefully someone else notices that or I just sound weird). This is one of those songs that I can see as part of a car advertisement. I enjoyed the video and how it just felt like it could be in any city in the United States.
The Parlotones "Should We Fight Back"

I found this group on YouTube. I think they are pretty good. I will want to hear more of their music, though. I liked the video and how it helped spread the message that the song was giving. The girl that had all the work done to her body... I thought she looked a lot cuter before all the medical enhancements.

Hinder "What Ya Gonna Do"

This song is already one of my favorites by Hinder. I love how they made the video simple, with random footage from touring and spending time with family and loved ones. It helps make the song stand out. Good job guys! I can't wait to hear more from you in the future!!!

Kings of Leon "Back Down South"

So Kings of Leon are going a little country now, huh? The song is actually not that bad. I have a feeling that this will be the laid back summer song (especially around the 4th of July). It definitely encompasses the southern charm and lifestyle. I must research to see if the band is from the South....

Papa Roach "No Matter What"

I've been a fan of Papa Roach since their first single, "Last Resort." I have seen them transform from hardcore angry rock to a more alternative sound. I'm still a fan, but this song isn't my favorite. It's very light compared to their other songs. The video is pretty cool with it's hostage-like situation where they barricade themselves in the shack/house. But, like I said, the song is just "meh" to me.

Foo Fighters "Walk"

Foo Fighters music = good. Foo Fighters music videos = epic! I am happy to see that David and Company have returned to their comedic side when making a music video. What I loved is the minute details that help express the video, like the bumper stickers, the hat worn by the fast food attendant, and everything in the golf cart (before it meets its watery demise). I am ready to buy this album... it's got some excellent music on it!!!

7. A Song Performed by Your Favorite Female Singer in a Musical

Chicago "When You're Good to Mama"

I remember when Queen Latifah was a hip hop/rap artist in the 90's. Oh how she has moved toward a lot of great opportunities in her career since then!!! When I saw this movie in theaters, I was absolutely amazed at her transformation to musical superstar. I wanted to see her in more musicals. I did get my wish, when she was cast as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray.

Queen Latifah (Motormouth Maybelle)

I want to see her in more musicals in the future. I know that Rock of Ages just started filming for the big screen and I don't believe she is cast in it, but I know exactly who she would play if she was: Justice. Okay, I could be typecasting a bit for that, but she really would be awesome in that role! Also, if they ever remade The Wiz, I would expect her to be involved. Queen Latifah has a strong, powerful voice which makes anything she sings mesmerizing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie Monday: NYC Renters, An Amusement Park, Sex with Friends

Have you ever experienced times where you really want to see a movie and then find the movie right before (or right when) it starts? That moment of excitement, then to find out that it was worth finding the movie... it's those little things that make me love being a movie geek. Well, I had this happen to me twice a couple weeks ago. For both of the films, it was worth the wait. Then, last week, my mom purchased a film through Pay Per View and wanted me to watch it with her. So, without any further delay (especially with an absence of Movie Monday blogs recently), let me review my latest movie watching experiences!


Christmastime 1989. A group of unique bohemians are living in the East Village in New York City. Mark (Anthony Rapp) is an aspiring filmmaker who was recently dumped by his girlfriend Maureen (Idina Menzel) for another woman, Joanne (Tracie Thoms). Roger (Adam Pascal) is an aspiring musician who likes Mimi (Rosario Dawson), who works at the nearby strip club. Mark and Roger's roommate Tom (Jesse L. Martin) comes home for the holidays, only to get mugged in the street and is found by Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), who is a drag queen that is fighting AIDS. As they all spend the following year struggling to pay rent by their landlord/ former friend Benjamin (Taye Diggs), make a living, and (for some) fighting for their health, they realize how much can change within a year.

What a visually stimulated, character driven, and inspiring musical!!! I've always said that I want to have an eclectic group of friends full of life, dreams and love... and this movie represents those kind of people. Even though many of the characters have to deal with being HIV-positive and AIDS, they don't let that get in the way of living their lives while they still can. I know all too well how much a year can change your life, and all of the characters have gone through major changes. I also love how they blend real life scenarios with bohemian antics... it's makes the entire experience enjoyable. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a recent high school graduate who takes a summer job at the local amusement park in 1987. On his first day, he is threatened by a customer and his coworker Emily (Kristen Stewart) steps in to diffuse the situation. As the summer goes forward, James realizes he is falling for Emily, who has been having a secret affair with Brad (Ryan Reynolds), the married maintenance man. James also learns that taking the nowhere job has proven to be the perfect job to learn about love, life, and trust before he begins his life as a college student.

For a movie that's considered a comedy, I saw it more as a drama/comedy. It's also a blast from the past, so it has that wonderful, summertime and 80's nostalgia to it. The first thing I noticed about the movie was that the background sound effects for the amusement park were the same ones as Roller Coaster Tycoon (yes, I love that game and played it A LOT). I like the group of people that were cast for the movie... I can relate to all of them and they totally remind me of the kind of people that would work at an amusement park. When James tells a secret to one of his coworkers and she spreads the news like wildfire, I felt bad for Emma but also respected at how well they executed how quickly the gossip mill works between coworkers.. and to think that this was before everyone had cell phones and social networking to share news. It was all done by word of mouth. Who says you can't have fun and enjoy friends without technology??? Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

No Strings Attached

Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) bump into each other occasionally after meeting at a summer camp 15 years ago. On a drunken night, fueled by Adam's father (Kevin Kline) hooking up with an ex-girlfriend of his, he calls every woman in his phone to seek out someone to hook up with sexually. He wakes up in Emma's apartment, naked, and later comes up with a plan to have a sex-only relationship with her. As time goes on, Emma notices that Adam is wanting more than that and tries to not complicate things. However, she finds herself wanting the same thing, and goes to drastic measures to hide that from him, since that will forever change their relationship with one another.

Highly predictable chick flick.... all the way to the end. Why do I still watch movies that I know how it will turn out? Well, for one the actors... and Ashton and Natalie did a pretty convincing job that they were a good on-screen couple. Two... the one liners and the jokes. This movie had a lot of really funny moments, (especially the period scene that I included as the clip) and there were some great one liners that I could find myself using in the future. Even though this one was pretty decent, I'm still holding out for Friends with Benefits (starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis) to be the better film with the same concept. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

The Ultimate Movie Geek Show aka. The 2011 MTV Movie Awards

There are many things that happen in the same couple of weeks that make it the unofficial beginning of summer for me. One is Memorial Day weekend. The other... The Mtv Movie Awards!!! I am always excited to see which movies and celebrities win awards, new movie previews, and shameless promotion of films that will be out this summer and fall. For those who missed it, let me give you a recap of the nights events.

In tradition, the Mtv Movie Awards opens up with a parody skit of the host (Jason Sudeikis) trying to get to the awards, featuring several movies that are currently in theaters or are nominated. The central focus of the skit was The Hangover Part II, with clips from Black Swan, The Social Network, and The Twilight Saga. (I tried to look for the clip, but it has not been released/posted... sorry!)

Jason Sudeikis opens the show with a bunch of jokes. When he spotted Selena Gomez in the audience, he joked with her so much about Justin Bieber that she was actually embarrassed (it was adorable really). As he continues his jokes, he mentions that he knows how the title for Bridesmaids came to be... it's the women that Schwarzenegger sleeps with.. hahaha. Jason also discussed how the set looked like Lady Gaga's bedroom (later he said Rainforest Cafe). The set was very whimsical and nature like, but looked amazing!

The first award of the night- Best Male Performance- goes to Robert Pattinson for Twilight: Eclipse

New World Premiere Trailer for Super 8

For the second year in a row, Tom Felton wins Best Villain for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One.

Jim Carrey is introduced (which got me very excited... for reasons why, please look up previous Mtv Awards Shows under his name). He is wearing a suit that matches a green screen, causing vulgar images to be show on his body (example: two dogs humping). He then introduces the Foo Fighters who perform their latest single, Walk.

The Best Jaw Dropping Moment award goes to Justin Bieber for the Never Say Never Movie

Best Fight goes Robert Pattinson vs. Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuel in Twilight: Eclipse

Best Kiss goes Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson for Twilight: Eclipse. During the acceptance speech, Robert and Kristen flirt with the idea of kissing onstage (for the 2nd or 3rd time), and Robert runs off stage, finds Taylor Lautner and kisses him. In tradition of years past, same sex kissing always wins! LOL

World Exclusive New Trailer for Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part II

The presentation of the Generation Award is next, which goes to Reese Witherspoon. Her presenters are Patrick Dempsey, Robert Pattinson and Chelsea Handler. After roasting/raving Witherspoon, there is a montage of all of her films, followed by a hilarious acceptance speech.

Jason Sudeikis collaborates with Tyrese Gibson to do a parody skit over texting while driving, Fast and the Furious style.

The award for Best Line From A Movie goes to "I wanna get chocolate wasted!!!" from Grown Ups. The little girl that quotes the line, 7 year old Alexys Nycole Sanchez, gives the most adorable acceptance speech.
The Best female performance award goes to Kristen Stewart for Twilight: Eclipse (have you noticed a trend in award recipients yet? This is what happens when the younger generation takes over voting for the nominees).

The cast of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (holy shit... Patrick Dempsey is in the movie?) introduce the second musical act of the night, Lupe Fiasco and Trey Songz.

The Best Comedic Performance award goes to Emma Stone for her performance in Easy A.... she totally deserved that award!

World Premiere: Twilight Breaking Dawn trailer

Gary Busey arrives onstage inside a giant hamster ball (which apparently is his property) to present the award for Best Movie. The nominees are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, Black Swan, Twilight: Eclipse, Inception, and The Social Network.

The winner for best movie goes to.... Twilight: Eclipse. Not surprising considering how many awards were won by the film over the night.

During the commercial breaks, this movie geek was pleased to see several trailers for movies coming out this summer, which included: Friends With Benefits, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America, The Change Up, Transformers Dark of the Moon, The Green Lantern, Fright Night, Cowboys vs. Aliens, Horrible Bosses

And... that's a wrap! I wish I had more clips from the actual show to share with you, but since it hasn't even been 24 hours since the show first aired, it was hard to find anything. That's the beauty of YouTube... you'll have access later!

6. A Song From a Musical that Makes You Sad/Teary

Rent "Goodbye Love"

Rent is one of my newest musical discoveries. I finally came across it one morning on television and wished I had seen it sooner. You fall in love with an amazing group of people; all artists, musicians, and people full of dreams and aspirations for life. But you also know a few of these people are dealing with a deadly diagnosis... AIDS. To see the group fall apart after one of them died is absolutely heartbreaking. It completely changed the tone of the musical all the way to the end. I loved the reality of this musical and how you find yourself appreciating life after watching it. You seize the opportunity to love your life and your friends because it makes you realize that, in an instant, you could lose someone... forever.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

5. A Song From a Musical That Makes You Happy

High School Musical 3 "The Boys are Back"

When I found out the third High School Musical film would be released in theaters, I was intrigued. I knew the production value, the sets, and the choreography would be a lot bigger than the first two films. So, on the night of Thanksgiving 2009, I went with my sister and our friend/next door neighbor Kristin to see the movie. I did not expect to be blown away by everything about this movie/musical.

The Boys are Back is my absolute favorite scene in this movie. The choreography was brilliant.. a mix of breakdancing, Michael Jackson moves, and some of Kenny Ortega's personal style. I love seeing Troy and Chad using the car junkyard as a playground, even seeing themselves when they were younger. I don't know if I'm the only one that noticed this, but when the random car parts were moving around, it reminded me of The Wiz. It wouldn't put it past me if Ortega was paying homage to that musical (I noticed a lot of references to other musicals in the film). It was also this number that made me realize (and could no longer deny) that I have a crush on Zac Efron...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

4. A Song From a Musical that You Believe is Overrated

Nine "Be Italian"

I remember when I first heard about the movie and thought "Oh, this looks good!" I was basing a lot of that on the fact that Rob Marshall directed it. I was blown away when I saw Chicago in theaters and hoped the same love would transfer over. I'm sad to say that it didn't. This is one of those cases where a stage show to feature film doesn't transfer over well. There are several numbers I really enjoyed or loved, but the story and the transition from one scene to the next did not flow very well. Since I have not seen the stage show, I cannot determine what got left out or re tweaked for the screen. It just did not live up to my expectations (and from many movie critics).

Friday, June 3, 2011

3. A Song From A Musical That You Believe is Underrated

The Wiz "No Bad News"

When I was a senior in high school, this was our fall musical. I had never seen it before my fellow thespians and I got involved in the production. As I was watching our stage show for the first time, I instantly fell in love with the music. Soon after, I found the 1978 movie at Best Buy and invested in it. My high school did justice :-)

Now, I say this musical is underrated because I don't hear a lot about it. Maybe it's because it was highly popular in the late 70's and early 80's. Maybe it's because it didn't get a lot of marketing. I have no idea. All I know is that more people my age (and in high school) need to watch this. The songs are absolutely brilliant and get stuck in your head for days (and, in my case, for a couple weeks). I am mildly interested in seeing a remake of this, just to see how it would look today. But... I'm too much of a fan of Michael Jackson and Diana Ross to see them replaced. :-)

Dating... And All Its Awkwardness (My First Guest Blog)

A few weeks ago, my friend Aggy asked me to do a guest blog for her. After debating for a couple weeks, I was inspired to write about my dating experiences... at least the awkward ones. Here is the guest blog (minus Aggy's intro and her illustrations). Please enjoy this personal, yet extremely entertaining blog!!!


First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Casey and I have been a friend of Aggy's since junior high. We were involved in our high school newspaper together and have remained friends. I still live in Aggy's hometown and am appreciative of social networking sites that allow us to keep in touch and make witty and sarcastic comments on little things that happen in our day to day lives. Just like Aggy, I am a single mother.

I've been back in the dating world for about 3 years now (once my divorce was finalized) but haven't been actively dating until about last summer. I had forgotten how awkward dating can be. I've had some... interesting scenarios happen to me lately and I thought that I would give you guys a list of my recent awkward dating moments. And, believe me, they are awkward!

#5: Twitter-pated
I've had a Twitter account for about two years now. In the past several months, I have found a network of some really awesome Kansas City people. Well, there was one guy that found me through one of the KC peeps and we seemed to immediately catch onto each other's sense of humor. After several weeks, I finally gave him my number and we start texting. Then, on St. Patrick's Day, I invited him to hang out with me at my work.

Okay, has anyone experienced those times where you think you really like someone through the Internet, but when you meet in person, you don't feel that same vibe? Well, that's exactly what happened with me here. There was nothing wrong with this guy, and he's actually very sweet, has a great sense of humor, and excellent taste in music, but I just didn't feel anything for him beyond a friendship. When we decided to part ways that night, he walked me to my truck and kissed me. The kiss was good, but my heart wasn't in it. A couple days later, we had the uncomfortable conversation that led to him unfollowing me on Twitter.

#4: Reuniting
Oh, Facebook... how you allow me to reconnect with old friends and old... flames. Sometime around Thanksgiving last year, I saw that one of my girlfriends had become Facebook friends with the guy that took my virginity. I was curious to see what he was up to, so I sent him a friend request. Within a day or two, we are chatting online and he immediately asks if we were going to hook up. I hesitate because I wasn't sure if I wanted to go down that road again, but he did seem older and more mature.

A few weeks later, we made arrangements to see each other. I'll admit that I wanted to see what it was like to sleep with him after I've had other partners. I don't know if it was because, at that time, I hadn't been with a guy for two years or if he wanted it done his way, but it just wasn't that good for me. However, he and I developed a friendship out of reuniting and we talk about each other's lives, our kids, and I give him relationship advice from time to time.

#3: The Felony
One of my guy friends is someone I've known for years but never met until recently (internet chat buddies). After going to a show that he was involved in, he asked if I wanted to go to a party with him. I was already out, and wanted to hang out with him, so I said yes. We get into his car and drive several blocks to this building that looked like apartments. We don't see a main entrance, so we try a door. It was the right one, but we were told we couldn't come in the party.

My friend decided that he would still find a way for us to get in, so we go out and find another door around the corner. He tries to pull it open, but as he does, the wooden door breaks off the hinges. We stand still for a few seconds, trying to figure out what the hell just happened. Then logic kicked in and he told me we need to walk away... really, really fast. We get back in his car and drove away. We ended up back at the theater, and realized that we just accidentally committed a crime. A few hours later, we shared our first kiss. Somehow, I think the criminal activity helped with the nerves... LOL

#2: Club Erotica
One Friday night, I was done working and wanted to do something fun. I posted on Facebook and about 10 minutes later, I get a text from one of my new found guy friends. He was at a party and wanted me to drive over to join him. It happened to be this guy's birthday, so I texted a couple of our mutual friends to join in on the festivities. My friends and I got to the party and our friend was waiting for us outside. He grabbed the host of the house to give us a tour. After walking into the living room and through the kitchen, he gave us business cards that said KC Club Erotica.

Holy shit... I was in an exhibitionist house!

There were beds and ultra plush couches everywhere. The basement had a hot tub, pool table, a dance area (which included a stripper pole), and an outdoor pool for summertime. Oh, and yes, people were engaging in sexual acts. After the initial shock wore off, I surprised myself by feeling comfortable there. I mean, the place wasn't trashy at all (it was well invested) and I was with three friends. By the end of the night, my guy friend made his move and kissed me, which led to making out. It was actually pretty awesome.

Okay, are you guys ready for the most awkward experience I've had recently???

#1: The Creeper
Back in January, I decided to wear my very first corset to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Well, I happened to get a lot of attention from it... more than I had expected. A week later, I was invited to hang out with this guy who was at the show (a friend of a friend). About 1/2 hour after I got there, he randomly brought up that he and his roommate discussed if he was going to get laid that night. He said he told his roommate that he had no idea but he was just going to let things "go with the flow." Okay... for one, I had no intention of doing that, and to casually bring it up in conversation like he did? Wow. That's a new breed of special right there.

Then the February show rolls around. I got there early, when the rest of the cast did, and he was there. As I was enjoying conversation with the cast, he would randomly come behind me and scratch my back. He also did it once after the show. A few of the cast noticed my discomfort and kept an eye on things. I later found out, from our mutual friends, that he was bragging to everyone that the evening was a date between him and me. I officially found a creeper... and he finally got the picture that I was not interested.

So, there you have it... my awkward dating experiences from the past year and a half. I will say this, three of these scenarios would not have happened if I did not start getting involved in The Rocky Horror Picture Show here in Kansas City. If you liked what I read, then please check out my blog page   And, to Aggy, thank you for the opportunity to guest blog on your page!