God Bless Jason Aldean

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“Victoria & Abdul” – A Royal Friendship Swept Under the (Persian) Carpet

It is difficult to express how much this movie exceeded my expectations.  Of course from the previews and the photo ads I knew it was going to be a historical tale of two friends, maybe even two lovers.  I was expecting the royal charm that it did, in fact deliver, but I had no idea that it would be so funny.  “Victoria & Abdul,” a Focus Features film, is as much a charmingly fun movie as it is a bit of a heart-wrenching one.

Historically, and to her subjects, Queen Victoria has been made out to be somewhat of a callous, uncaring ruler, but in “Victoria & Abdul,” we see her in a totally different light.  No better actress could have been chosen to play the Queen than, Dame Judi Dench.  To say she is stupendous in this role would be an understatement. Danny Cohen, the cinematographer, should be commended for the beautiful scenery which at times, especially during the harbor scenes, felt as if postcards were coming to life.

Ali Fazal plays Abdul Karim, who was sent from India in 1887 to present Queen Victoria with a special coin called a Mohur, which was minted in honor of her “Golden Jubilee” (a celebration commemorating her 50th anniversary as Queen.) He’s given specific instructions not to make eye contact with her, as is the rule for all non-royals. Somehow, he manages to catch her eye, she finds this amusing and their friendship ensues. Queen Victoria is so intrigued and becomes so obsessed with Abdul that the royal household thinks she’s lost her mind. Director, Stephen Frears, uses the artistry of close-ups to give the audience and intimate view of the Queen’s feelings and true personality.  I personally thought the movie portrayed Queen Victoria as someone who, despite her position of power, was also humble and tolerant of racial differences way ahead of her time.

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Abdul teaches Queen Victoria how to write in Arabic

Queen Victoria was the Empress of India, but had never been there because her court feared she would be assasinated.  When Abdul comes to the palace, she is fascinated by his knowledge of history, culture, language, and the Muslim religion and she wants to learn about all of it. She quickly promotes him from servant to teacher; she even gives him his own servant.  To the disappointment of her son, future King Edward VII (“Bertie,”) played by Eddie Izzard, who is a dead ringer for the real the Edward VII, the Queen continually uses her power to bestow royal titles upon Abdul, sometimes even referring to him as “son.”  

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Actual photo of Queen Victoria working with Abdul ready to assist. 

When the Queen passed away and Edward VII became King, he did everything in his power to sweep Victoria and Abdul’s relationship “under the rug,” but nearly 100 years later, a journalist named Shrabani Basu discovered the story and wrote the book on which the movie is based.  I think you’ll find “Victoria & Abdul” amusing and a “feel good” movie to watch with the family.  Note, it’s rated PG-13.

Are you planning to see it? Check back and let me know what you think by posting your comments. – BMT

 

Lorna Shore and Bodysnatcher: The Beg for Death Tour

I’m so sorry this review is so late, but here it is! I shot Lorna Shore and Bodysnatcher for the first time on June 2nd (a long time ago, I know, your favorite photographer has been dealing with a lot of personal stuff lately so I’ve been super slow on this). I will be the first to tell you that my first time will NOT be my last time seeing either of these bands live.

I arrived late to the show, so I was unable to see the first few acts, but I’m positive they were great because when I arrived, the whole crowd was buzzing and the energy in the air was amazing. That being said, Bodysnatcher took the stage and the amazing energy from before was brought to a whole new level of craziness. To be honest, I had never listened to their music before, so I went into the show not knowing what to expect. What I got did not disappoint Their breakdowns were, as I affectionately say, “sick,” and the level of talent and instrument mastery put forth by the whole band was nothing short of impressive, especially considering they were performing in the small room at Alamo City Music Hall.

I had listened to Lorna Shore in the past, but was never really a huge fan of theirs… this is no longer an issue. Their live performance was absolutely phenomenal and 10/10 would go to another one of their shows. They engaged with their fans wonderfully and had the whole crowd moving during their whole set. They played a fairly long set including new songs off their 2017 album “Flesh Coffin” and others such as their popular single “The Absolution of Hatred.” I was hooked after the first note, to be honest, and the whole crowd seemed to be as well.

As I said before, this was my first time seeing both bands live, but it will not be my last. If you haven’t seen either Lorna Shore or Bodysnatcher live or you have and want to see them again, keep up with both bands on their Facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/LornaShore/

https://www.facebook.com/bodysnatcherfl/

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-RCT

For more photos, please check out my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1481173121925855.1073741843.1145605195482651&type=1&l=975bcc50c2

 

Social Security Scam Alert

IMG_3713WARNING do not open the email or click on link to “check your social security account.” It’s a scam. If you look closely, the link contains underscores, which would never happen with a government site not to mention the real site address is http://www.ssa.gov. I recommend you delete the email and share this warning with friends, especially those that are not on social media and/or are easily scammed.  Call your parents to let them know.

I personally received this email today. I know that the IRS issues your social security account summary by mail NOT email.

You are welcome. – BMT

The Robot With Human Hair VS CHONzilla Tour

Dance Gavin Dance is a name I’ve heard since I first began listening to post-hardcore music about seven years ago.

I listened to them a number of times, but never really got into them. Upon the release of their “Mothership” album, I decided to give them one more chance, and, man, was I glad I did. After getting into this album I naturally wanted to see them live, and I was privileged enough to shoot them on their “The Robot With Human Hair vs. Chonzilla” tour with one of my favorite bands, Chon.

When I arrived at Alamo City Music Hall, about 45 minutes before doors were scheduled to open, I was amazed at the line built up for entry into the show. There were people as far as the eye could see, all donned in shirts bearing the names of either Dance Gavin Dance or Chon (there was also a small amount of Circa Survive shirts, but they were minimal in comparison to the sea of DGD and Chon). There were mothers and their children, from ages three to thirteen, groups of twenty-something year olds prepared to get down, teenagers clad in crazy lipstick, and even people over forty. This was a tour that broke age barriers in the music scene. DGD has impacted everyone who has listened to them, whether six or thirty-six, and it certainly showed in the crowd.

The show opened with performances by Vasudeva, an instrumental band influenced by Chon, and Eidola, a band much like Dance Gavin dance. I really enjoyed their sets and the energy they brought into the venue. I could tell the crowd was pumped for what was to come.

Immediately after Eidola cleared the stage, chants for Chon rang out from the crowd. The hype for their set was extremely high, and they did not disappoint in the slightest.

After they completed their final song, the excitement and tension in the room could have been cut with a knife. Everyone in the crowd was preparing themselves for the most anticipated set of the night– Dance Gavin Dance. After coming out in complete darkness, DGD played a short, but heartfelt set, ending about 20 minutes before their scheduled off time (probably much to the venue’s delight) and including new favorites, such as “Betrayed by the Game” and “Frozen One” off their new album, and older classics such as “Death of a Strawberry” and “Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine.” They closed out the show with another one of their new songs, “Inspire the Liars,” that happens to be my favorite, so I was one happy photographer!

All in all, this show was a night to remember, and I highly suggest heading out to see both Chon and Dance Gavin Dance on their next tours!

-RCT

To keep up with the bands, just go to the links below:

Dance Gavin Dance: https://www.facebook.com/DanceGavinDance/

CHON: https://www.facebook.com/musicofchon/

Eidola: https://www.facebook.com/eidolaUT/

Vasudeva: https://www.facebook.com/VasudevaMusic/?hc_ref=SEARCH

For more photos of the show, please visit my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1373525929357242.1073741842.1145605195482651&type=1&l=0de4e74db3

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Rest in Peace, John Hurt

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We’ve lost another great actor. John Hurt, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as the “Elephant Man” in the movie of the same name in 1980, passed away yesterday at the age of 77.  His career spanned about 60 years.  He played many popular roles in his lifetime, most recently “War Doctor” in the “Doctor Who” series.  He also played “Mr. Ollivander” in “Harry Potter” movies.

Though his exact cause of death has not been released, it is known that Hurt suffered from pancreatic cancer.  Our condolences to his family. May his memory be eternal. – BMT

Happy New Year 2017

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As we say goodbye to 2016, we’d like to wIsh everyone a very blessed and happy 2017. Thank you for your follows, likes, comments, and support  – Beth

TBT – Movie Review – “Bad Moms” – Now on DVD

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You may have missed it on the big screen, or know someone that did.  “Bad Moms” is now on DVD and a perfect gift for anyone who needs a good laugh; and who doesn’t?   Here’s my previously posted review.

Movie Review – “Bad Moms,” So Good, It’s BAD!

https://wordpress.com/post/reviewsoftheartssa.wordpress.com/1823

 

If you want to buy it, right now Target has it for $16.99. You can also find it at Redbox and on Netflix.  A great movie to watch no matter what medium you choose. – BMT