The Critics Were Wrong-Burlesque

There is an old saying: all that glitters is not gold.

To those that dream of success as an entertainer, the glitter of success is not often made of gold. It is made of hard work, luck and patience.

In the 2010 movie Burlesque, Ali (Christina Aguilera) dreams of success as a performer. Taking a chance, she leaves her small town for Los Angeles. Entering Tess’s (Cher) neo-burlesque club, Ali is bold enough to approach Tess for a job. Un-impressed, but willing to take a chance on the new girl, Tess hires Ali. But Tess, who was a dancer years ago, has troubles of her own. The club has seen better days are behind it and unless she can scrounge up the cash, Tess and her staff will be out of work.

Are the critics wrong about Burlesque? If they look at this movie from the point of view of being completely cliched, but campy in a good way, then yes, they are wrong.  If they look at this movie from a scholarly, serious point of view, then yes, they are right. Aguilera in an appropriate film debut, is decent. Cher, well, is Cher.

This movie is not for everyone, but it’s not all bad.


The Critics Were Wrong- Honey (2003) and Coyote Ugly (2000)

In the early 2000’s, Hollywood starting cranking out movies about young women who had dreams of careers in entertainment, but their dreams were stymied by life’s circumstances.

In Honey (2003), Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) has dreams of becoming a professional choreographer.  Michael Ellis (David Moscow) is a record producer who can make her dream a reality. But when Michael wants more than a professional relationship, Honey finds that her career maybe over before it has begun.

Are the critics wrong? Yes and no. Is the movie predictable and too reliant on dancing to move the plot forward? Yes. But at the end of the day, the movie is fun and harmless. Sometimes we need a movie that is fun and harmless.

In Coyote Ugly (2000), Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) is an aspiring singer/songwriter who has just moved to New York City. Unable to start her career, she takes a job bar tending at Coyote Ugly. The owner, Lil (Maria Bello) is initially unsure about the new hire, but Violet soon comes out of her shell, both a singer/songwriter and a bar tender.

Are the critics wrong? Again, yes and no. Is Violet’s story new? Absolutely not. But Coyote Ugly is one of those movies that is perfect for a rainy weekend afternoon. It’s not Shakespeare and it’s far from Oscar worthy, but it’s not a bad way to kill a couple of hours.

Stupid Girl

TLC star of 19 Kids and Counting, Jessa Duggar visited the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington DC recently.

She came to the conclusion  that the Holocaust, in which Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc, were murdered by the Nazis simply because they were not part of the master race is the same as abortion.

Stupid, stupid girl.

I don’t care if she is part of the religious right and believes in pro-life. That’s her business.

The Nazis were meticulous in the planning and execution of the Final Solution.  They knew what they were doing from the get go.

The way I see it, no woman plans to get pregnant and then abort her pregnancy. But if she does choose to have an abortion, it is personal and private decision that is really no one else’s business.

I suggest that Ms. Duggar re-visit the museum and see it for what it is. A memorial to the murdered and a reminder to never forget. That is what it should be, not a reason to twist history to one’s personal religious and political beliefs.

The Sad Fact Of American Education

It is a sad fact that American students lag far behind their peers overseas.

This video is a perfect example of what is lacking in the American educational system.

The students, through no fault of their own, are largely unaware of not just the basic facts of the Holocaust or the American involvement in World War II, but of the fact that genocide is still happening around the world today.

If our children are to compete with their counterparts across the world, something has to change.


If They Really Want To Stand For 11 Hours….

Imagine that you have purchased a plane ticket for a transatlantic flight. It is a 11 hour flight that will take you halfway across the world.

You get to the airport, pickup your ticket and get through security without a problem. The plane is scheduled to take off on time.

And then a group of ultra Orthodox Jewish men delay the flight because, heaven forbid, they will be sitting next to a woman for the length of the flight.

I’m all for live and let live. I’m also all for freedom of religion. But this is ridiculous.

So they sit next to a woman for the flight. It is possible to sit next to a stranger for the length of a flight and ignore them. Take a few books to read, bring a laptop with a couple of DVD’s or even watch the in flight entertainment. One does not have to make a ruckus and delay the flight.

But if they really want to stand for 11 hours, who I am to stand in their way?

Far From Zion Book Review

Charles London represents many within the Jewish community. Jewish by birth and history, but not by practice, before the summer of 2004, Mr. London had no interest in the faith or the history of his ancestors. In the summer of 2004, while doing relief work in Bosnia, he stumbled upon a multi-ethnic and multi-religious community that was trying to rebuild a city nearly destroyed by war. Inspired by what he saw, Mr. London traveled around the world visiting different Jewish communities and recording his experiences.

The result is his 2010 book, Far From Zion.  The interviewees, instead of making Aaliyah, are choosing to remain in the Diaspora. The interviewees include the caretaker of all but forgotten synagogue in Rangoon, a store owner selling Jewish themed jewelry in Iran, an African tribe who adopted the Jewish faith as their own, East Coast transplants celebrating Hanukkah in small town Arkansas and a professor in Cuba equally as proud of his religious faith as his Communist beliefs.

I found this book to be a very interesting read. What I was shown was that Judaism, in it’s many forms, is alive and thriving. The practice of Judaism varies from community to community, but it is as alive as it has ever been.

I recommend this book.


Impure Thoughts My Ass

Last weekend Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah held their homecoming dance. Several female students were denied entry because their dresses broke the school dress code. The following Monday, the students held an impromptu protest, walking out of class in support of their peers.

This is not the first incident in which a school has publicly chastised female students about breaking the dress code. Note that the male students did not receive such treatment.

I understand and respect the reasons for a dress code, especially in the classroom.  I also understand that formal dresses for women can often leave little to the imagination.  Like many schools, I’m sure they sent out notices to the parents informing them ahead of time about rules for the students who planned to attend.

However, this again, comes down to the control and fear of female sexuality. Why should a young lady who only wants to enjoy her precious teenage years be denied entry to prom because some of the males around her cannot keep their snakes in the cages? If they have “impure thoughts”, those thoughts do not belong to her, they belong to the males who have been taught that women are to be feared and seen as sexual property.


This phenomenon is not new nor is it relegated to the secular world. In certain religions, women are covered up and/or separated from the men out of fear that the mere presence of a woman would create impure thoughts and distract them.

My heart goes out to these young girls who have been denied the pleasure of going to these formal dances that are hallmarks of American teenage life. I am also very proud of them for standing up for themselves and their fellow female students.  Maybe there is hope after all for the true equality of women.

Flashback Friday-Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion

High school was not a pleasant experience for some of us.  As much as we try to move on from our teenage selves after high school, we are somehow always pulled back to the place on our life. Especially when the invitation for the High School Reunion appears in our mail.

In Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion, Romy White (Mira Sorvino) and Michele Weinberger (Lisa Kudrow) have been best friends since high school. They were also the social outcasts picked on by the popular girls. When they receive the announcement of their ten year high school reunion, they decide to go, but they also smudge a few facts about their post high school lives.

This movie is totally funny. I love the what if factor. The what if you were success, in spite of the people who picked on or ignored you in high school. And the soundtrack is the perfect 80’s soundtrack.

I recommend this movie.

A Bloodless Read-Blood Diva Book Review

I was hoping that after the unfortunate success of the bloodless Twilight series, that the vampire genre was slowly receding and waiting to be replaced by another genre of the moment book.

I was wrong.

As I wrote last Sunday, I was given  VM Gautier’s new book, Blood Diva at the Brooklyn Book Fair. I’m glad I did not have to pay for it, it is not worth the paper it is printed on.

1847,  Marie Duplessis is Paris’s most famous and celebrated courtesan. She is also dying from consumption. VM Gautier imagines that instead of dying a natural death, Marie is reborn as a vampire. In present day New York City, she calls herself Alphonsine.  She has fallen in love with with a young man who she believes to be the reincarnation of her lost love.  Marie/Alphonsine finds herself torn between her Vampiric past and the future she may have with this mortal man.

This book is Anne Rice meets Twilight meets Fifty Shades Of Grey. If I felt like I was being kind to the author, I would say I was underwhelmed. If I felt like I was being blunt, I would say that the book is not very good. I don’t mind a sex scene in a book, but it has to be appropriate to the character and it can’t be every other chapter, which is what the author does.   This book may be someone’s cup of tea, but it’s not mine.

I do not recommend this book.

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