Review – “If You Feel Too Much,” by Jamie Tworkowski – Book Signing Event

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In case you didn’t see it on my Facebook, here’s the link to my brief review of the book signing I attended tonight –

https://www.facebook.com/ReviewsoftheArtsSA/posts/1138041892928168

In case you are not on facebook:

So glad we got to meet Jamie Tworkowski at The Twig Book Shop at The Historic Pearl this evening. We had another event to go to, but my daughter asked me to take her because his work means so much to her. I vaguely knew about the To Write Love On Her Arms. movement from the little she told me, but actually didn’t know he was the man behind it, neither did I know about his book, If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For #Ifyoufeeltoomuch. I told her we were only going to stay until 6:30/6:45 because we had to get to a college reception that she was invited to attend. However, once he started talking and reading excerpts from his book, I was captivated. I can’t wait to read the book from cover to cover.

If you already read the original, there is now an expanded edition. To me, based on what he told us tonight, I think it completes his story. Be sure to follow Jamie Tworkowski to find out where he will be appearing next, then mark your calendar, cancel all your plans and GO!!!

Thank you Jamie for being there for my daughter and for all of us who are battling internal demons. Thank you for spreading God’s message of faith, love, and HOPE. – BMT

P.S. Jamie, I wasn’t even kidding, you should seriously look into doing stand-up comedy. Your comedic delivery is great! – BMT

 

Vicki Lawrence & Mama Sing at the Tobin Center

This seems to be my year for checking items off my bucket list or simply doing things I’d never imagined!  Being in the same room as a comedic legend such as Vicki Lawrence falls into the latter category!

I grew up watching the Carol Burnett Show; we never missed it. It didn’t matter where we were, a friend’s house, a family get together, everyone sat around to watch Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway perform their weekly comedy sketches and Movie/TV Show parodies.  My favorite segments were the Mama’s Family skits.  Being a young girl, I found it amusing that a Grandma could be so raw, mean, and funny at the same time!  I remember how shocked I was to find out that Vicki Lawrence was actually much younger than Carol!  I actually thought she was older, or at least the same age. I believe that’s how you can judge good acting, when someone can make you believe that she IS the person whose role she’s playing!

We sat behind a taxi driver that had the pleasure of driving Vicki around San Antonio. He was scrolling through his photos and we noticed a photo of him and Vicki.  We asked if he was at the meet and greet.  He told us that she, her husband, Al Schultz, and her son, were really nice. They gave him tickets to the show and it appears that he was their driver for the weekend.

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Vicki sings (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Vicki came out and connected with the audience by telling comical, but true stories, about routine events such as visiting the gynecologist.  She reminded some of us that may have forgotten (or those that didn’t know) that she produced and recorded the first version of “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia.”  Yes folks, Reba is not the original redhead to sing it!  She said her then husband, Bobby Russell, didn’t like the song and she “got it in the divorce.”  In 1973, it was number one on the “Billboard Hot 100.”  She sang it for us and joked about how she was the only artist that could do a medley of her hits in one song.

Vicki also told us the story of how she was discovered by Carol at a “Miss Fireball” contest. Over the years I’ve seen articles speculating that Vicki resented being in Carol’s shadow. I didn’t sense that Vicki had any resentment for Carol at all.  In fact, I think it is the opposite.  I think she is grateful. Though I did sense a little resentment between Vicki and Mama. It seems that whenever Vicki is spotted by fans, they yell out to her, “where’s Mama?” It is as if they don’t realize that she IS Mama.  I believe she should be proud that after 40 years, Mama lives on in the hearts of fans everywhere.  Even though Mama came out of the Carol Burnett Show, she is clearly Vicki’s masterpiece.  The Tobin Center was nearly full with people that came to see Vicki AND Mama and all the laughs were for Vicki and her alter ego – Mama; no one else!

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One thing Vicki did say begrudgingly, was that Bob Mackie created glamorous sequined gowns for Carol and for her just the Mama costume! (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Since it is not shown in re-runs, my 17-year old daughter never saw the “Carol Burnett Show” or “Mama’s Family.”  She had no idea what she was in for, but she loved it!  She screamed with laughter, just as much as us “old folks!”  By the way, Vicki advised us that “Mama’s Family” is currently showing on “MeTV,” so if you get that channel, you are in luck.  Sadly for us, MeTV is not on the Dish Network.

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Better listen to Mama! (Photo by JohnDavid Scarcliff)

Of course the crowd really went wild when Mama came out and did a rap for us! It was hysterical!  She did an “ask Mama” routine where she touched on some current issues. One question I recall was how she felt about Caitlyn Jenner.  Mama said that she didn’t understand why someone would want to become a woman at the menopausal stage of life!   The best way to describe the show is to quote Vicki, herself, “My show is not a retrospective, . . .It is a mixture of stand-up comedy, music and my observations about real life.”(http://www.vickilawrence.com/2woman2013.html) The only thing she left out is that you will be laughing so hard your sides will hurt and your eyes will tear!

“Vicki Lawrence and Mama, A Two Woman Show” is touring the country and I highly recommend you catch it if you can.  You can see the schedule on her website by following this link http://www.vickilawrence.com/VickisSchedule.html.  I hope she comes back to San Antonio next year. – BMT

Movie Review – “Sausage Party,” Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

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Literally the expressions you will make while watching this film! Image obtained from sausagepartymovie.com

Seth Rogen’s long-awaited animated comedy opens in theaters on Friday, August 12, 2016.  I use the term, “long-awaited,” because I recently saw Seth on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where he told Jimmy that he had been working on this film for ten years!  Also, media hype for this movie has been going on for several months now. I, personally, was anxious to see it and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.  The trailer, which is also R-rated, really does highlight the funniest scenes.

Rogen co-wrote the screenplay with Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, and Evan Goldberg. The story is written by Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jonah Hill. These three guys are good friends, comedians, screen-writers, and  producers.  I would say that Sausage Party gives us a pretty good glimpse into their somewhat warped minds!  Really, thinking about the characters Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen have played, we shouldn’t expect much more (or less) from this movie!  What is hard to believe is the star-studded cast, along with Seth who plays Frank and Jonah who plays Carl, (both sausages/hot-dogs) are:

  • Kristen Wiig – Brenda – a hot-dog bun;
  • Bill Hader – Firewater – a bottle of tequila and El Guaco – guacamole;
  • Michael Cera – Barry – one of the sausages;
  • James Franco – a human drug addict;
  • Danny McBride – Honey Mustard;
  • Craig Robinson – Mr. Grits – a box of Grits;
  • Paul Rudd – the grocery store manager;
  • Nick Kroll – Douche – a bottle of douche;
  • David Krumholtz – Vash – a lavash;
  • Edward Norton – Sammy Bagel Jr. – a bagel;
  • Salma Hayek – Teresa – a taco;
  • Anders Holm – Troy – another one of the sausages;
  • Greg Tiernan – Potato;
  • Sugar Lyn Beard – Baby Carrots;
  • Lauren Miller – Camille Toh – a tampon; and
  • Scott Underwood – Twink – a twinkie and Gum – a wad of chewed-up bubble gum.

Seth seemed amazed when he told Jimmy Fallon that he actually got eight-time Oscar-winning composer, Alan Menken, who wrote musical scores for movies such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”, to do the music for this movie.  I have to say that if Sausage Party wins any Oscars it will be for the music and animation, which are both fantastic. The food is really brought to life and you briefly forget you are watching a cartoon and get caught up in the drama!  There’s even a heated love story between Frank (Rogen) and Brenda (Wiig)! Seth said that he wanted it to have the feel of a Disney/Pixar film by bringing food to life, but it’s “deranged and insane” because, as Rogen said, “the secret life of food is horrifying, because you eat it.”

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Frank and Brenda can’t wait to be taken home by the “human gods.”  Image obtained from sausagepartymovie.com

This movie is rated – R.  It cannot be stressed enough that it is NOT for children. Even Rogen said it was hard to find a trailer that could be viewed on TV. The trailer on the website requires users to confirm they are 17 or older! Several people brought their children and were warned by the screening host that it was not a movie for children and gave them an opportunity to leave; they did not.  Can somebody say, “bad moms?” LOL! Please trust me; get a sitter, unless you want your kids saying the “F” and other choice curse words and putting their food and/or themselves into sexual poses just in time for the new school year! No joke, this is literally an hour and a half animated movie with enough sex, drugs, and violence to own up to its R-rating; there’s even a rape scene! When I asked my 17-year old daughter what she thought about the movie, she said, “we watched food have sex for an hour!”  I laughed and told her that she just came up with the perfect review! She was looking forward to seeing it more than I and she, too, was disappointed. I hate to say this, because I do not condone drug use and/or excessive drinking, but I think the only people that will really enjoy this movie are those that are high on something.  Honestly, I don’t think Hollywood should be sending out that type of message. I think there should be more movies that stress NOT to do drugs. In my opinion, good comedy does not and should not require its audience to be inebriated. Although meant to be taken in good-humor, I suspect this movie may drum up some controversy from those without a sense of humor, as there are stereotypical jokes and innuendos about Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, and Muslims.

The movie was screened by a full-house (the line was already looped around the theater hallway two-hours before the scheduled start time.)  There was a lot of laughter from the crowd, but many times you could hear gasps of “OMG” and “eeewww,” because what we were watching was so absurd, profane, violent, and nothing one would expect from an animated movie! Even though my daughter is 17, I felt embarrassed watching it with her! I see it is getting mixed reviews, so, as I always say, don’t let me stop you from forming your own opinion.  If you were waiting to see it, by all means go.  It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Personally, I’d wait for the DVD, but that’s just my unsolicited opinion. What’s your opinion? If you see it, please let me know by posting your comments. – BMT

Post-Script – 8/16/16 – I screened Ben-Hur tonight in the same theater that is now showing Sausage Party and there was a sign outside the door stating that the movie is Rated – R and that it is for audiences 17 and older, it also states that no-one under the age of 7 is permitted into the theater!  This sign was also posted outside the theater at the box office.

Rest in Peace Garry Marshall

Somehow this sad news fell under my radar. Writer, producer, actor, Garry Marshall passed away on July 19, 2016.  He was 81 years old. As I feel it is always better late than never, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to Penny Marshall and the entire Marshall family. Garry Marshall was so incredibly talented, it would be terrible not to pay tribute to him. If you aren’t familiar with Garry’s career, just think back to your favorite TV show or movie since the 1960s and he probably had something to do with it. You name it, he’s likely written, produced, directed, and/or acted in it! Just to briefly list his accomplishments in television, he wrote for the Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar; The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show, Gomer Pyle, and The Odd Couple, just to name a few.  More notably he was the creator and executive producer of classic hits such as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley (starring his sister, Penny), Mork & Mindy, Angie, Joanie Loves Chachi, and he was the executive consultant for the current version of The Odd Couple, with executive producer, Matthew Perry.  Over the years, Garry starred in several TV shows and movies, including Goldfinger, A League of Their Own, Murphy Brown, The Simpsons, The Majestic, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Louie, Two and a Half Men, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hot in Cleveland, and The Odd Couple.  

Garry was born, Garry Kent Masciarelli on November 13, 1934 in the Bronx, New York. His father, Anthony Masciarelli, an industrial filmaker, changed the family name to Marshall in 1934. Though I am not certain why, I do know that back in those days, due to discrimination, many Italian-Americans changed their names to something they believed to be less “ethnic.” Being a New Yorker of Italian descent, I have a special place in my heart for stars like Garry. I always enjoyed listening to him give interviews. His voice, that New York accent, always took me back home. I couldn’t post about Garry without a video clip, so here’s an interview Garry did on “CBS This Morning” in 2012 to promote his book, “My Happy Days in Hollywood.”  Such a humble and down-to earth man; they just don’t make them like that anymore.

(Video obtained from YouTube)

Movies Directed by Garry Marshall:

1982 Young Doctors in Love
1984 The Flamingo Kid
1986 Nothing In Common
1987 Overboard
1988 Beaches
1990 Pretty Woman
1991 Frankie and Johnny
1994 Exit to Eden
1996 Dear God
1999 The Other Sister
1999 Runaway Bride
2001 The Princess Diaries

2004 Raising Helen
2004 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
2007 Georgia Rule
2010 Valentine’s Day
2011 New Year’s Eve
2016 Mother’s Day

If you are like me, you may be reading this list, thinking, “I didn’t know he did that!”  As you can see, not all of his work was comedy, but all of his work was brilliant!

In my research, I came across some of his quotes, “It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.” He also said, “Learn to work with people you wouldn’t go to lunch with.” Wise words to live by, don’t you think? The world has lost another great artistic legend. Rest in peace Garry. Eternal be his memory.

What’s your favorite Garry Marshall accomplishment? I’d love to hear about it.- BMT

“Bad Moms” – So Good, It’s BAD!

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Photo obtained from  http://stxmovies.com/badmoms/

“Bad Moms” stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Hernandez, Clark Duke, Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Christina Applegate.  Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of “The Hangover,” it’s a comedy about stereotypical mothers of all types.  The movie of course has some exaggerated scenes to enhance the hilarity, but the basic premise is one that all Moms, even Dads, can relate to. Single working Moms, working Moms in two-parent households, and even stay-at-home Moms are often overworked, under-appreciated, and most of all judged by fellow parents that think they are doing  this “parenting thing,” better.  Let’s face it, kids don’t come with an operating manual, every child is different, and every parent has their own individual parenting style.  There’s no “how to be a good parent” book that can possibly cover every scenario faced by parents. We all make mistakes; it’s trial and error! Every Mom has been a bad one at some point, but we all do the best we can and what matters in the end is that our children are, and know they are, loved and that as their parents, we would do anything to protect them.

As I searched for photos to post with this review, I came across a cute and funny photo of a note a kid must have given his or her Mom, it read, “I dedicate this book to my Mom, who is sometimes very grouchy!” (the photo was from momgrind.com and apparently can’t be reproduced.) It reminded me of a recent card my daughter made for me, in which she wrote, “. . .even though you are sometimes ugly and mean, you are still my best friend.”  Our kids know deep down that even when we are at our very worst, they are the best thing(s) in our lives and we love them with all of our hearts. The end of the movie is really cute when the real Moms of the movie’s cast talk about their parenting methods and commend their daughters for being good Moms.

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Photo from stxmovies.com/badmoms

This photo is from my favorite scene of the movie, Amy, (Mila Kunis) is asked to take on a PTA committee and she just flat out says, “No.” Everyone in the room was shocked because no one had the guts to stand up the PTA President, (Christina Applegate). The PTA President is your typical perfect and affluent Mom, who seems to have it all together, seems to have everything, and is the alpha-dog of the group, delegating to everyone. Sometimes, as a Mom, and more so when you are a single Mom, you have to just stop taking on responsibilities.  You just get burnt out.  Recently, I was a member of a committee and I was asked to take on an additional task, and I too just said, “no.”  I remember hearing gasps from other members; they couldn’t believe that I was bold enough to refuse.  There comes a point when you just have to consider your own sanity and be your own advocate. This scene was the turning point; Amy began a revolution and that’s when it gets really funny!

This is a movie you don’t want to miss. You will laugh so hard at some points, you may not hear some lines, as I did, and may even want to see it again!  It’s so good, that it’s “bad.”  A perfect movie for date night or girls’ night out.  Please keep in mind, even though it’s about Moms, it’s for Moms, rated R, and not for kids.  It’s OK to be a bad Mom sometimes, but taking kids to this movie is not a good idea.

Please let me know what you think. – BMT

 

Frampton: Alive 40 Years Later

I entered the Tobin Center excited to see Peter Frampton for the first time. I was just 10 years old when I was introduced to his music, and too young to go to a rock concert. Typically artists don’t allow photographs during the show, so we didn’t bring a camera. Obviously aware that fans will sneak photos anyway, Peter Frampton must believe “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” so he posted signs stating fans could take as many videos and photos as they wanted during the first three songs only.  Once inside the theater, people were holding signs and walking up and down the aisles stressing that photos could be taken during the first three songs.  After the three tunes, he requested we put away the recording devices and “live in the moment!” Bravo Peter! I find myself saying that to my daughter at least once a day – “enjoy the moment.”  Not too long ago, OK, I’ll say it, “in our day,” we had to wait several days to get our photos back from the Fotomat AND we were lucky if they

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Fotomat booth – photo from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:This_is_a_typical_drive-up_Fotomat_booth..jpg

turned out! That was IF we were allowed to bring cameras into the venue. Unless we were there with our friends, we had to tell our friends about it AFTER the concert, (usually the next day), we’d then follow-up a few days later to show the few blurry photos we managed to salvage from the roll [of film for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.] While we were at the concert though, we screamed, danced, clapped, sang along and could care less about connecting with ANYONE other than the artist and the fans around us! But I digress. . .

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Photo taken at end of 3rd song.

As you can imagine, during the first three songs, the auditorium looked like a sea of smart phone screens! Peter later commented that he didn’t recognize us (because he couldn’t see anyone’s face, just the back of their phones!) Our seats were not close enough for our cell phone camera, so my apologies, but our pictures resemble 1970’s Fotomat prints!  Thanks to the generosity of the Tobin Center, we were able to obtain two very awesome close-ups that were taken by their photographer, John David Scarcliff.

Frampton was ready to rock the night away and he told us that he was going to play for us, “virtually all night.”  Normally, that would make my daughter and I extremely happy, but this being the night before her last final exam, we were thinking that she should have stayed home. OK, so I failed Parenting 101 by taking her to a concert during finals week, but in the end, it was worth loosing sleep and study time!  (In case you are wondering, she got an A on the final.)

He began with his classics and went into at least a half-hour set of acoustic solos from his new album released in February 2016 – “Peter Frampton – Acoustic Classics.”

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Released 2/26/16 (Photo and track list from Frampton.com)

Tracklist:
01. Fig Tree Bay
02. Wind Of Change
03. All I Want To Be ( Is By Your Side )
04. Show Me The Way
05. Lines On My Face
06. Sail Away
07. Baby, I Love Your Way
08. All Down To Me
09. Penny For Your Thoughts
10. Do You Feel Like I Do
11. I’m In You

Peter allowed the audience to connect with him by telling personal stories that were very touching.  For example, he told the story behind his song, “Hummingbird in a Box.” When he was a little boy, his grandfather gave him some type of puzzle box that once opened revealed a small hummingbird figurine.  He had several guitar changes and told us a story about one he stole from his good friend, George Harrison!  He marveled at how big George’s property was and how many “tuners” (guitars) he had and stated that it was OK because “a Beatle should have everything he needs!”  He told us about the guitar given to him by Buddy Holly’s wife – a replica of Holly’s guitar named “Peggy Sue,” which contains the fret from Buddy’s original guitar.  Maria Elena Holly gave the guitar to Peter for his participation in an artist collaboration of recording Holly’s hits for a children’s charity.  He told us that “Peggy Sue” was the very first song he ever sang in front of anyone. He sang it for a Cub Scout music proficiency badge!  He then performed a fantastic rendition of “Peggy Sue” for us!  We even got to learn about his pet peeves.  For instance, it was obvious that he was not a big fan of people screaming things at him while he was trying to tell a story!  A few times he turned up the volume, while tuning to drown out the audience noise!  He also doesn’t like when people arrive to the concert late!  He embarrassed a couple that came in around the fifth song.  He told them, “. . .there’s probably a good reason why you are late” then rubbed-in that they missed several good songs and that there was a photo rule!  So, if you have tickets to his next show, be sure to arrive on time!!

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Photo by John David Scarcliff

A die-hard performer, Frampton never took a break.  His band got several, but he kept on playing and telling stories until his last bow.  As expected, he and the band came back for an encore.  He sang, “I Want you to Love Me. . .till the hair grows on my head.” Obviously making fun of his balding hair-line.  But don’t be fooled, at 66 years old, even though he no longer has those long golden locks, Peter Frampton still ROCKS!! The grand finale, was a tear-jerking performance of the Beatles’ “While my Guitar Gently Weeps.” I’m not sure about anyone else, but it made me cry.

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Photo by John David Scarcliff

The best part of the night was meeting him and getting his autograph.  Peter had two separate and private meet and greets that night.  One, I was told, was sponsored by Budweiser and the other for people who purchased VIP tickets from the tour.  Sadly, we did not have passes for either one but waited outside with a handful of others hoping to meet him.  We were joined by two people who came out wearing tour passes. They told us that Peter’s tour manager was their close friend and that they often get backstage passes.  What was interesting was that even though they have been backstage numerous times, they have never, I repeat, NEVER, actually met Peter Frampton and/or obtained his autograph! So, it was an honor and privilege that Peter decided to come out, greet us, and sign one item. We respected his request for no photos and just thanked him for the great show and for allowing us to meet him.  He was very humble and gracious.The Manager’s friends also said that they never heard Peter tell so many personal stories!  I guess the intimacy of the Tobin Center makes artists feel comfortable with the audience.

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In case you are wondering why the ticket is signed upside down – I mentioned that we waited and were respectful, but there were a handful of rude people who came “out of the woodwork” and just pulled-up to where we were waiting.  These type of people are why artists usually don’t bother greeting fans and ruin it for everyone else!  I use a cane and was standing on the side; I could not jump down to where the rest of the people were standing, I was technically at the beginning of the line, but Peter started from the other end.  These two guys who just pulled-up, cut in front of me.  When I pointed that out to them, they said, “well come down here.” Hello?! Didn’t they see the cane?! Someone else told them that we’d been waiting there a long time, so they grabbed my ticket and handed it to Peter, upside down, (after he signed their items) and told him it was mine. Peter handed it back to me and gave me a beautiful smile.  I was upset when I realized it was upside down, but being able to thank him for a great show and getting a huge smile makes it priceless.

Frampton is still touring, currently with Cheap Trick.  I highly recommend you make it to one of his shows. Check out his tour dates here – http://www.frampton.com/live/

– BMT

Movie Review – “Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping”

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Photo of movie screen by RCT with Snapchat filter

While what looks like may have been the majority of screening viewers were undoubtedly crying their eyes out watching “Me Before You” tonight, we were screaming and crying with laughter.  We chose to see “Popstar – Never Stop Never Stopping” tonight at the Santikos Palladium Theater, along with about 75 other viewers.

In the words of my daughter/assistant/photographer, RCT, “Popstar” is, “Everything I love about the Lonely Island, wrapped up into one movie!”

The movie, written by and starring Andy Samberg, is a parody of a documentary about the struggles and triumphs faced by today’s pop stars.  The movie stars several “Saturday Night Live” Alumni – Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Bill Hader, and Jimmy Fallon – along with Joan Cusack, Justin Timberlake, and the other two thirds of the Lonely Island – Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer.  All of whom give their typically funny performances.  However, what really adds to the fun and gives the movie it’s “documentary feel” are the cameos by famous artists, such as – Ringo Starr, Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, Usher, Sir Paul McCartney, Adam Levine, Pink, Simon Cowell, Mario Lopez, Snoop Dogg, and many many more!  There are so many, I apologize to those I missed.

Through the sarcasm and humor, Popstar teaches some valuable life lessons about friendship.  I don’t remember the exact quote, but the message Samberg clearly wanted to relay is that fame (life) is full of ups and downs and through it all you need to remain true to yourself always and “don’t be an A**H***!” 

Popstar is a perfect summer movie!  We hope you enjoy the show. Please come back and post your comments. – BMT

Way Back Wednesday – Movie Review – “Age of Adaline”

For way back Wednesday, here’s my review of Age of Adaline.  I was flipping through the channels the other day and noticed it is playing on Showtime or Cinemax.  Check your cable/dish listings.  If you haven’t seen it already or even if you have, it’s worth watching.  What do you think about never growing old? Do you see Adaline as blessed or cursed? Please post your comments here or on the Facebook page. – BMT

Downs Thompson, Clay Walker’s Fiddle Player

 

Shared Clay Walker’s photo on my Facebook page.  In case you missed it, thought I’d share the post here.

 

Do you have a favorite band member? I’d love to hear about him/her.  Please post your comments here.

Steven Wright Brought us to Tears at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house Friday night at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.  We didn’t expect Steven Wright’s performance to be tear-jerking, but believe me; he was so funny everyone was crying!  I honestly can’t remember if there was ever a time I laughed this hard!  His monotone delivery of jokes and his existential observations is not just hilarious; it’s genius!  In his interview with “Inside Joke,” Wright said that his comedy style happened by accident.  It seems stage fright is the keystone of his act. He says that the first time he was on stage, he was nervous and was seriously concentrating on the jokes.

Watch the interview here –

He makes very little eye contact with the audience as he casually walks around the stage talking about absurd and obvious things we generally take for granted.  For example, “search parties are always surprise parties!”  He asks questions we are afraid to ask, like – “why are pictures square when the lens is round?” or “why is it a penny for your thoughts, but you have to put your two cents in?”  He has so many one-liners, I didn’t think I could remember them, but then on Saturday, I found myself in a restaurant and overheard the waiter asking someone if they wanted their water with ice or room temperature.  I chuckled remembering Steven’s line – “it doesn’t matter what temperature it is in the room, it will always be room-temperature!” Then I got home, looked at the walls and thought about how badly my house needs painting.  I laughed again and thought about Steven’s pondering – “is there anything between the paint and the wall?”

Steven Wright is not just a stand-up comedian, he’s come a long way since his debut on the “Tonight Show With Johnny Carson”.  He won an academy award for Best Short Film, Live Action, for the short-film he wrote entitled, “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings,” in which he also starred. He is also one of the producers for the FX Series, “Louie,” starring Louis C.K.  He also appears to be musically inclined.  On the off-chance that the audience would get bored, he breaks up the monotony of his routine by strumming a guitar and singing goofy songs and the laughter continues!

In his stories, he talks about how people, such as his teachers would cry after dealing with his slightly “off the wall” logic! I think he means they cried with laughter.  It’s hard to resist.  At one point I laughed so hard, I literally got dizzy and thought I was going to pass out!  I saw stars, then gasped for air!  My mom told me the same thing happened to her.  After this experience, I think it may be possible to die laughing! Wouldn’t that be the best way to go?!

They say laugher is the best medicine.  Studies show that finding humor in everyday life is a healthy way to cope with stress. In that regard, you might consider Steven Wright to be a therapist! We felt great when it was over and with the highest ticket price being $39.50, it’s much less than a therapy session!  We all tend to be living “life in the fast lane” these days, Steven Wright reminds us to laugh at life’s little quirks.  I hope he returns to the Tobin Center soon.  Everyone should experience his performance at least once and for those of us that have already seen him, It wouldn’t hurt to have a “follow-up.” – BMT

Did you see the show? Have you seen Steven Wright perform? What do you think? Please post your comments below. Did you take any photos you’d like to share?