Category Archives: Music

New Randy Rainbow Video-“THERE IS NOTHIN’ LIKE A WALL – Randy Rainbow Song Parody”

In my humble opinion, Randy Rainbow is a national treasure. Since blowing up in 2016 in the wake of the Presidential election, he has made us laugh and forget, even for a short time that you know who is f*cking with our country.

His latest video is entitled “THERE IS NOTHIN’ LIKE A WALL – Randy Rainbow Song Parody”.  Using the song “There is Nothing Like A Dame” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific, Rainbow perfectly expresses the anger and frustration that many Americans feel as the government shutdown is well into its 4th week with no end in sight.

We all need a laugh right now. As he always does, Rainbow provides it and makes it all just a little easier to deal with, if only temporarily.

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Filed under Music, National News, Politics, Randy Rainbow

The Song of Hartgrove Hall Book Review

Life has a way of surprising us. When we think we are defeated, we find a way to rise from the ashes.

Natasha Solomons’s 2015 novel, The Song of Hartgrove Hall is set in two different time periods and is told through the eyes of one character. Harry Fox-Talbot is the youngest son of a family that has resided in an aristocratic home in Dorset, England for centuries. But the world around him has changed. Though he and his brothers have returned from fighting for King and country in World War II in one piece, the home they grew up in is not so lucky.

A year after the war ends, a new woman enters Harry’s (known to his family and peers as Fox) life. She is Edie Rose, a Jewish woman who became known all over the country for her wartime songs. Her presence in his life changes everything. Fifty years later, Edie has recently passed away. Fox is unable to move on from his grief, until he starts to spend time with his grandson. Though the boy is very young, his musical abilities are obvious. Through the time with his grandson, Fox not only starts to come back to life, but to heal the wounds of the past.

The ability to jump between time periods and narratives, as a writer, is a skill that for many writers does not come easy. Many writers who are unable to do this seamlessly often lose readers who are unable to follow the narrative and character arcs. Natasha Solomons is not one of those writers. But while the book is well written and a good read, I thought that this was not one of Ms. Solomons’s better books. I cannot put my finger on the exact reason, but I just prefer her other novels.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Music

Best Movies Of 2018

2018 has been an interesting year for movies. Below is my list of the top ten movies of 2018

  1. Widows: Women in action movies are at best the romantic significant other and at worst, the damsel in distress. Widows flips the genre and the expected narrative on its head and tells the story of four women who take fate into their own hands after the deaths of their criminal husbands.
  2. The Wife: Based on a book by Meg Wolitzer, Glenn Close plays a woman who questions her life choices as her husband reaches the peak of his career.
  3. Ralph Breaks The Internet: The sequel to Wreck-It Ralph follows Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) as they journey from their world of arcade games to the Internet.
  4. The Party: A group of friends get together to celebrate the professional success of one of them. In the process, hard emotional truths are revealed.
  5. Black Panther: Based on the comic book of the same name, an African King must fight for his throne while leading his country into the future.
  6. Vice: A biopic of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
  7. The Favourite: Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) may sit on the throne of England, but she is not the one who is really leading country. Two women in her court vie to be her favorite and to gain power that only comes from being close to Queen.
  8. A Star Is Born: A Star Is Born is the 3rd reboot of a narrative that audiences have seen since the 1930’s. Unknown Ally (Lady Gaga) sees her career dreams turn into reality while her mentor/lover’s career flails due to addiction issues.
  9. Crazy Rich Asians: Based on a book by Kevin Kwan, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travels from New York City to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. The visit is a bit more turbulent than Rachel expects.
  10. Aquaman: Based on the comic book of the same name, Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Reed, a man who is born of two worlds and must choose where he belongs.

This will be my last post of 2018. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog, your support means the world. Wherever you are this New Years Eve, have a safe and happy one. I will see you in 2019.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, Music, New York City, Politics

Throwback Thursday-Pimp My Ride (2004-2007)

Home renovation shows are all the rage on television these days. But what about car renovation?

Pimp My Ride was part of the MTV schedule from 2004-2007. Hosted by Xzibit, the premise of Pimp My Ride is as follows: the subject of each episode needs a complete makeover of their ride. Rapper Xzibit shows at their home, examines their car and takes it the shop to start the renovation process. By the time the episode is over, the car has been renovated to its owner’s specifications.

Pimp My Ride is not the greatest show in the world. Nor is it the most intellectual. From my perspective, it can be defined as wish-fulfillment. If money was no object, how would you renovate your car?

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Music, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Mulan

Twenty years ago, Disney introduced audiences to the newest member of the Disney Princess line: Mulan.

Based on the myth of Hua Mulan, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) is a young woman growing up in ancient China. She is expected the follow the traditional path: marry, have children and live as women before her have lived.

Then the Huns attack and the men are called up to join the army. But Mulan is an only child and her father is not a young man anymore. She takes her father’s place and pretends to be a boy. The ancestors watching her are not pleased with Mulan’s decision and send Mushu (Eddie Murphy) to convince Mulan to stay home. But Mulan will not be convinced otherwise, so Mushu goes with her to battle.

Twenty years ago, Mulan was a revolutionary film for Disney. As a character, Mulan was the most progressive of the Disney Princesses up to that point. She was the second non-Caucasian heroine after Jasmine in Aladdin (1992). Marriage was not her first priority.She was also not a size 2.

In every Disney Princess film, the character’s emotional journey is kicked off by the “I Want” song. In a nutshell, the song describes what they want from life. Mulan’s “I Want” song is “Reflection”. 20 years ago, this song left its emotional mark on me and many others who saw this film. It’s about pretending to be someone else to please your loved ones and the emotional toll it takes on you.

While Disney has a long way to go in terms of how women are represented on film, Mulan was and still is a giant step forward for which I am grateful for.

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Filed under Feminism, Movies, Music, Thoughts On....

New Randy Rainbow Video-“Trump’s Favorite Things! – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody”

The ability to laugh in the face of uncertainty or fear is one of best coping mechanisms that human beings have.

Especially when it comes to politics.

Randy Rainbow released his latest video earlier today. Entitled “Trump’s Favorite Things! – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody”, he uses  the song and the mood from “My Favorite Things” from the The Sound of Music as a backdrop for the video.

Anyone who knows my blog knows that I adore Randy Rainbow. Every time that he releases a new video, it makes my day. I saw him perform live in August.

The man is brilliant, the man is funny and most of all, his videos alleviate the stress that goes hand in hand with state of American politics these days.

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Filed under Movies, Music, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Thoughts On The First Night Of Hanukkah

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.

For me, Hanukkah is the story of survival against all odds. It can be argued that the Hanukkah is essentially the story of military victory, but for me, it is so much more.

It’s about a minority group who in spite of assimilation and persecution is not only able to beat back the conquering army, but also able to openly celebrate who they are.

It’s no secret that throughout most of human history Jews have been at best tolerated and at worst, murdered. But we survived and we are still here. Hanukkah speaks to the miracle of the holiday, the human ingenuity and the human strength to survive when all seems lost.

Wherever you are, if you celebrate, have a Happy Hanukkah.

 

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Filed under History, Music, Thoughts On....

Throwback Thursday- Wild ‘n Out (2005-Present)

When music and comedy come together, it is often the perfect way to entertain.

In 2005, Wild ‘n Out (2005-present) premiered on MTV. Hosted by Nick Cannon, the show combined comedy and music into one package. Two teams of comedians (with a celebrity guest star) are pitted against each other in improvisational comedy battles. At the end of each episode, after a musical performance, one team is chosen as the winner.

Wild ‘n Out is one of those MTV shows that I enjoyed. It was funny, slightly raunchy, not exactly politically correct at moments, but all together, not a bad way to relax after a long day.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Music, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Imagine Dragons Zero Explains Depression Perfectly

I want you to imagine the following scenario: You have everything you have ever wanted.

If you are single, you are enjoying the single life. If you are married or in a steady relationship, that relationship is going strong. Your children, if you have children, are happy and healthy. Your career is satisfying. Your social network outside of your immediate family is also thriving. But inside of you, there is a dark void. Nothing can fill that void and as much as you try to put on the mask of having a good life, that mask can easily crumble into your hands.

This is depression.

The new song Zero, by Imagine Dragons is part of the Ralph Breaks The Internet soundtrack.

The song hits the nail on the head. Depression is like an emotional wormhole that sucks out all of the good things in your life and leaves on the constant reminders of the bad things. It revels in your mistakes, your flaws and your anxieties. It reminds you how useless and stupid you are. Worst of all, it prompts you to take your own life.

The worst part of living with mental illness is not the mental illness, but the stigma attached. If this song helps one person to ask for help, then it is more than a song. It it a lifesaver.

 

 

 

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies, Music

Bohemian Rhapsody Movie Review

Queen is one of the greatest rock and roll bands in modern music history and Freddie Mercury is without a doubt one of the top five vocalists that music fans have ever heard.

The new film, Bohemian Rhapsody, follows the rise of and near fall of the band and their charismatic front man, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). As they climb to the heights of success with their iconic and revolutionary songs, there are troubles behind the scenes. Freddie is gay, but is  unable to accept that part of who he is, at least for part of the film. Though he loves Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), they both come to accept that their relationship will never be a traditional relationship. While this is happening, Freddie is falling to the dark side, led by Paul Prenter (Allen Leech). The band nearly breaks up, until they join the lineup for Live Aid, forever cementing Queen as one of the respected rock bands in history.

Someone who saw the film before I did said that it is best viewed as a concert film and not as a traditional biopic. I agree with that perspective. Though it could be viewed as a traditional biopic, some biopics are rather boring and predictable. This film is neither. Much of the kudos goes to the film’s leading man. While another actor might have simply played the role, Rami Malek inhabits Freddie’s skin. It’s as if Freddie is still alive, instead of being alive in our collective memories.

I absolutely recommend it.

Bohemian Rhapsody is presently in theaters. 

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