Blood Moon

image

We’re not exactly astrologists, but how can one know that a rare lunar eclipse will occur without at least attempting to catch a view?  We put our robes on and stepped outside at about 9 pm. We couldn’t find the moon no matter which way we turned, so we decided to drive to a darker place. We drove to a nearby park and met a man in a NASA T-shirt. He was so excited. He and his family were camped out with their camera and telescope. He told us we just missed the first part, we couldn’t see the moon because it was already in eclipse.  He said that it would be back at around 10:22 and they were ready to take more photos!  We parked, opened the windows, sat back, put the phone on the dashboard, watched Jimmy Fallon YouTube videos, and waited. Approximately ten different vehicles pulled into the spot next to us and impatiently drove off minutes later. We’re not quitters, so we continued to wait.  Right on schedule, my daughter crouched down to look up into the sky above our car, and saw the moon coming back into view. We got out of the car, yes, in our robes! and snapped several photos. Though she didn’t listen to me (as usual) and take her professional camera, she did take the above photo with her Samsung Galaxy smartphone.  It’s probably the best photo we took.  I took these next photos with the iPad. imageimage

When we got home, we discovered we had a fairly decent view right in our own yard! Obviously we were just as impatient as those that drove off.  Thus the moral of the story is –  the moon isn’t always brighter on the other side.  

But it was redder! 🙂

  • BMT

Hotel Transylvania 2 and others

Follow Sony on Instagram

Rest in Peace Jackie Collins

More proof that you just don’t know what people have going on on the inside.  Look how beautiful she looks in this publicity shot for her recent book, “The Santangelos.”  Who would believe she was 77 and dying of breast cancer when she posed for this photo? – May she rest in peace.

Happy Birthday Jimmy Fallon!

https://www.facebook.com/ReviewsoftheArtsSA/photos/a.698118063587222.1073741828.417446358321062/927149144017445/?type=1&theater

Review “Everest” Movie

I’m not a big fan of watching movies in 3D, the glasses are always uncomfortable to wear, the screen is completely blurry when I take them off for a few seconds to ease the discomfort, and frankly, I don’t see the need to feel as though the characters are pointing in my face or splashing water at me.  Nevertheless, I have to say, you must see Everest in IMAX 3D!

Sitting in the ice-cold Santikos Palladium IMAX Theater, I watched the story of two expedition groups that left the final camp at 2 a.m. on May 10, 1996 to summit Mount Everest and the tragedy that occurred through a series of human and natural disasters.  If I had to find something wrong with the movie, it was that keeping track of the characters was difficult since, for the majority of the film, they were bundled-up in climbing gear and thus looked alike. Therefore, the three characters I focused on were the two guides, Scott Fischer (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), Rob Hall, (played by Jason Clarke), and Dr. Beck Weathers, (played by Josh Brolin).  All of the actors gave great performances.

Apparently there is only a short window of time within anyone should even attempt climbing the mountain, so several expeditions were gathered to make this climb.  On the night before they leave the base camp, the characters discuss their motives for making this seemingly insane journey.  They are asked why they want to climb Everest and the common answers were, “because I can” and “because it is there.”  Each one had a personal reason too. One wanted to be an inspiration to a group of students that made a flag for him to place at the top.  He said that he wanted kids to see that if a common person such as himself could realize this goal, then they can do anything they put their minds to. Beck said that when he climbs he feels free of the depression that is like a black cloud looming over him back home.   Though their goal is the same, each climber’s story is unique and touching, which makes the outcome of the story even more tragic. They discuss the competition among the hikers and one of the guys says that it may be competition between people, but “the last word belongs to the mountain.”  That night, Hall and Fischer decided to merge their groups together to make the final ascent because they believe that their groups are the best and better equipped to get to the top.

I found myself saying, “are they crazy?” aloud a few times and I don’t think my neighbors were upset with me because, more than likely, they were thinking the same thing!  It is hard to believe that the climbers get across the Khumbu Ice Fall by climbing a very flimsy looking, man-made bridge, which they refer to as a “Hillary step”.  The Hillary step consists of several aluminum painters’ ladders tied together!  This seemed oddly primitive for the 20th century! As Beck (Brolin’s character) walks across the ladders, he mistakenly looks down and the viewer sees what he sees and gets the same feeling in the pit of their stomach, as he must have had.  It’s a black hole! I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it now, as I write! I felt terror as he slipped off. Imparting these feelings on the audience can only be accomplished by crafty cinematography by director Baltasar Kormákur, which made full use of three-dimensional effects, a brilliant screenplay by writers William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, and the extremely cold room temperature of the IMAX Theater.  These elements effectively made the viewer feel as if they were slipping, the avalanche was coming at them, and the snow was falling right in front of them.  Click here to get a taste of this experience. http://www.everestmovie.com/experience/khumbuicefall

I do not have an urge to climb Everest, or any other mountain for that matter, and seeing this movie ensures that I will not change my mind, even if I become physically fit to do so!  However, I do have an open mind, so I can imagine the rush and the feeling of accomplishment that one must derive when they achieve the conquest of a summit.  “Everest” has the audience on the edge of their seats.  It is as gripping and suspenseful as a horror film, only instead of there being a murderer, such as Freddy Krueger, the mountain is the antagonist.  My heart was pounding from the anxiety and it took a long time after the movie for the adrenaline to wear off!  Although the outcome of the story is no secret, I don’t want to spoil the suspenseful moments in the movie, so I will conclude with some advice.  If you plan to go to the movies this weekend, get your tickets for “Everest” now.  If you weren’t planning on going to the movies, put it on your agenda!  – BMT

#Universalpictures #workingtitle #JoshBrolin #JasonClarke #EmilyWatson #SamWorthington #KeiraKnightley #ElizabethDebicki #JakeGyllenhaal #RobinWright

Review – Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández at the Tobin Center

Source: Review – Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández at the Tobin Center

Review – Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández at the Tobin Center

"Fiesta en Tlacotalpan"

“Fiesta en Tlacotalpan”

Exhilarating! Excellent! Fabulous! Amazing! Colorful! Every cheerful and good word in the English language are not enough to describe the performance given by Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández to a full house at the Tobin Center on Monday, September 14, 2015.  This dance company began in Mexico in 1952 and while its home base remains in Mexico City, has toured around the world since 1958.  A few seconds into the show, it was obvious why it is still going strong after 57 years.

Charro Dance

                          Charro Dance

The dancers gave San Antonio a glimpse of historic Mexican folk dances from various regions of Mexico.  They began with a tribal dance to the gods – a dance that dates back to the pre-Hispanic period of Mexico.  The dance resembled the dances of Native American Indians.

One of the many synchronized dances was called, “Revolución,” which was dedicated to the women who fought in the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Other dances and costumes signified Mexico’s Spanish heritage.

Revolución

“Revolución”

SAM_5382

The vibrant colors, brilliant costumes, scenic backdrops, authentic mariachi band, and talented dancers brought so much energy and joy to the room. One could feel the love and energy deep within their soul. The spectators were so engaged and the dancers acknowledged that connection by coming out into the audience more than once. 
SAM_5519
SAM_5517
There were nine dance sets and, I believe, as many costume changes in the hour and a half show.  The dances consisted of very intricate, fast-paced steps, which one could tell were very difficult to master, however the performers made look as easy as walking; as if it was second nature for them! Except for a ten minute intermission, there was always movement on the stage! The dances were perfectly coordinated with the live music played by a very large and talented mariachi band.
Stupendous Mariachi Band

Stupendous Mariachi Band

  During costume changes, the members of the band showcased their individual talents.  They played many instruments, including harps, violins, trumpets, guitars, ukuleles, and the Mexican guitarron.  The band, in itself, was sufficient entertainment for a concert!  Combining them with the extremely talented dancers creates an unbeatable show.

SAM_5413

During the finale, the dancers came out into the auditorium dancing with each other and taking partners from the audience.  The crowd, which had given standing ovations after more than one dance set throughout the night, were all on their feet clapping and cheering as the performers took their bows.  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more beautiful, energetic, and captivating presentation! Viva México! Bravo!

Finale

Finale

The tour will be in Ohio, Minnesota, and Illinois next week, check the schedule to see if they are coming to your area; it is an event of total perfection that you do NOT want to miss.

SAM_5486

Jon Secada at the Tobin

On the wings of the 20th Anniversary of his musical career, Jon Secada, sprang up from below the stage at the Tobin Center Saturday night crooning “Que Sera Sera”.

SAM_5275

Much like the cicada that sings at night, Jon hopped around the stage non-stop for almost two hours singing a vast array of tunes with his sensuous voice.

Secada or Cicada?

Secada or Cicada?

My eyes actually hurt from trying to catch him in one spot long enough to snap a photo!

Faster than the shutter speed!

Faster than the shutter speed!

A few times, he pulled a bench over and sat, but not 20 seconds into the song, he was up again!

SAM_5323SAM_5311

He sang his own hits such as, “Do You Believe in Us,” “I’m Free,” “If You Go,” and “Just Another Day.”  Since his career began writing hits for others, he sang songs he wrote for Ricky Martin, (“She’s All I Ever Had”) and Gloria Estefan, (“Coming Out of the Dark”).  He gave the audience a glimpse of his Broadway days, which he says made him an “entertainer.”  He sang “Cabaret” in French and English.  He sang just about every song in both English and Spanish.  He reminisced about growing up in Cuba, listening to classic Latino songs and mixed in songs such as, “Brazil”, “Besame Mucho,” and Santana’s “Evil Ways.”  His seven piece band was fabulous!

Great artists and their bands go hand-in-hand

Great artists and their bands go hand-in-hand

Photo courtesy of Tobin Center Facebook page

Photo courtesy of Tobin Center Facebook page

My favorite part of the show was his tribute to the Chairman, Frank Sinatra. He spoke of how honored he, “Juan Francisco Secada,” was to be asked to perform a duet with Frank Sinatra.  He began the performance of “The Best is yet to Come” with a recording of Old Blue Eyes, himself and then came in on his original part to play-out the song.

Photo courtesy of Tobin Center Facebook pag

Photo courtesy of Tobin Center Facebook page

He belted out other Sinatra hits – “What a Difference a Day Makes” and his rendition of “My Way,” which would have made Paul Anka and the CEO proud!

Sultry performance of

Sultry performance of “Spanish Eyes”

The most entertaining part of the evening was when he invited a woman from the audience to come on stage with him.  She sat on the stool, swooning as he seduced and serenaded her to “Spanish Eyes.”  His moves were nothing short of steamy! Another enjoyable moment was his salsa rendition of “Human Nature” from the “Unity” project – a Latin tribute by various artists to Michael Jackson.

I was disappointed for Jon Secada that there were so many empty seats in the house.  Perhaps San Antonians were afraid he might not show, since he cancelled his performance in Dallas the day before?  Maybe the earlier “One Man Breaking Bad” show at the Tobin Center and/or the Comic Con event were too much competition? Who can say? They missed a good show. I don’t know where Jon Secada got all that energy, but one thing is for sure, even after the curtain dropped, that energy remained on the stage and intensified when Ballet Folklórico de México took over the stage on Tuesday night. – BMT

SAM_5305

Screening Pass for The Visit

I have one screening pass (admits 2) available for “The Visit” on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm. at Santikos Embassy Theater.  Note it is first come, first served, not guaranteed seats.  If you arrive at least an hour early you should get in, but no guarantees.  If you are interested, please post a comment or message on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ReviewsoftheArtsSA

Happy 1st Birthday to the Tobin Center for Performing Arts

The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts turned a year old today.  In honor of the milestone, this past Sunday (8/30/15), it hosted a free Open House to allow San Antonio to walk through all of its venues. We arrived on the scene at about 4:30 (due to dance practice for St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church’s 55th Annual Greek FUNstival.) Crowds were exiting the building with scrumptious-looking cupcakes in hand. There was a fairly long line at the box office waiting to purchase specially discounted tickets for upcoming events.  The best deal was 50% off John Secada (9/12/15) tickets. All performances were discounted at least 10% with no fees.  

Main Lobby

Main Lobby

We meandered around the crowd to the lobby where things were winding down.  

400 cupcakes gone in a flash!

400 cupcakes gone in a flash!

As you can see, we missed the cupcakes!

Sign reads, “Share in the sweetness of our first anniversary”

The cash bars were still open and bartenders were ready to serve.

Cash bar is OPEN!

Cash bar is OPEN!

The HEB Performance Hall was transformed into a “culture fair” with tables set up for each of the performance groups: San Antonio Symphony, Ballet San Antonio, Opera San Antonio, AtticRep, The Children’s Fine Art Series, The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio, Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Youth Orchestra of San Antonio, San Antonio Chamber Choir, and SOLI Chamber Ensemble. Patrons were invited to sign-up to be on

Members of Ballet San Antonio

Members of Ballet San Antonio

the mailing lists of each performing entity. Cast members from Ballet San Antonio’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker were interacting with the crowd and graciously posing for photos.  Though we didn’t get to see him, we heard that Clifford the Big Red Dog also made an appearance!

20150830_164549

Selfie from the Stage!

Being silly on stage!

Another fun experience was taking selfies from the stage to be entered for a chance to win a full year of Tobin tickets!

Tada!

Tada!

Selfie sticks were available on-stage to get the best angle. Having never been on a professional performance stage, I would have to say that this was the most fun for me!  I guess that’s pretty clear by all the photos we took! Why don’t I hear Broadway calling? Hahaha!

selfies from stage at tobin3

Selfie from the Stage!

selfies from stage at tobin2My daughter, however, is a natural and, in my opinion, destined to be in the spotlight! After three hours of dancing, she’s still looks great!

A glance at the lighting and sound board behind the curtain.

A glance at the lighting & sound board behind the curtain.

The last stop we made was the “instrument petting zoo,” located in the acoustic performance lounge where she played her infamous 20 notes of “We Three Kings.” What can I say?, her obsession with music peaked AFTER the hundreds of dollars I spent on lessons and her general disinterest in practicing! Now she wants to learn but the hundreds are gone! After two toddlers gave their performances for their parents’ cameras, she also held a trumpet. Even though it was wiped clean, she chose not to play it!

Fun fact about the acoustic performance rooms, except for the front facade of the building, they are the only rooms that remain from the original Municipal Theater.

Today on Facebook, the Tobin Center posted a request for patrons to comment on moments that “rocked” (us). Every show we have seen so far has been awesome! The sound is incredible and having sat in every section from the floor to the highest balcony, I can honestly say that there is NO bad seat in the house. By far the most memorable concert for us was Ringo Starr / Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.  Being in the same room as our favorite Beatle was a dream come true for Mom and daughter.  We were so happy, we both cried!! To read our review of this concert on Facebook, follow this link – https://www.facebook.com/ReviewsoftheArtsSA/posts/754744957924532.

Other fantastic events included: Matisyahu, The Pink Floyd Experience, Michael McDonald, Jeanne Robertson, Kathleen Madigan, Mixfest, featuring Nick Jonas, Arlo Guthrie, America’s Test Kitchen, Ballroom with a Twist official, and the Little River Band.

Happy Birthday Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.  Thank you for fueling our love for the performing arts.  Looking forward to many more rockin’ moments! – BMT