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Posts tagged ‘katy perry’

Katy Perry: Pop Perfection

Katy Perry in Concert
Friday, November 10, 2017
Staples Center

Witness — The Tour 2017

Special guest: Purity Ring

Merchandise purchased: T-Shirt

Songs performed: Heartsigh, Repetition, Obedear, Push Pull, Asido, Bodyache, Flood on the Floor, Fineshrine, Begin Again (Purity Ring); Act I “In The Space” (Video Introduction), Witness, Roulette, Dark Horse, Chained to the Rhythm (Hot Chip Remix outro), Act II Act My Age (Video Interlude), Teenage Dream, Hot N Cold, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), California Gurls, I Kissed a Girl, Act III “Celestial Body” (Video Interlude) Déjà Vu, Tsunami, E.T., Bon Appétit (Contains elements of “What Have You Done for Me Lately”), Act IV Mind Maze (Video Interlude), Thinking of You, Power, Act V “Motorcyclist” (Video Interlude), Hey Hey Hey, Part of Me, Swish Swish, Roar (Contains elements of “Hard Knock Life”), Firework

katy-perry-witness-ticketsComments: Katy Perry brought her latest pop spectacle to the Los Angeles area — Witness: The Tour. It was behind her 4th album of the same name from earlier this year. Coming off huge previous albums and tours, expectations were high for the new project. Then the first single came out “Chained to the Rhythm” — billed by Katy herself as “purposeful pop.” Despite the sunny exterior of the song, it was really about disillusionment about the 2016 Presidential election. The album came out, and people were underwhelmed by it (myself included). Had Katy lost her edge or at least the public’s attention?

When I heard about the tour, I definitely wanted to go. Her last tour “Prismatic” was fantastic! Would she top herself on this tour? The answer is no she didn’t. But she did give us a high-energy, hit-packed evening that showed she is still going strong.

The show was broken into 5 different segments or Acts. And each act had different costumes, staging and choreography. The back of the stage was a giant video screen in the shape of an eye. In fact, before she came on, a eye was projected on the screen moving around and blinking. She got the crowd revved up by playing a bunch of songs from the 1980’s including INXS and Michael Jackson.

The first song of the night was the title track off of “Witness.” Katy came on stage atop a lighted futuristic vehicle, and she was dressed as a golden warrior. The bulk of the show was songs from the new album, 9 in all. And I have to admit that some of them are finally starting to grow on me. I think they sounded better live than on record.

She was aided by a top-notch backing band, and a troupe of mostly female dancers. There were a few men who came out and acted more as acrobats than dancers during a few select numbers.

Katy gave her fans the spectacle that they wanted. There were lights, lasers, dancers, acrobats, large puppets, crazy and sexy costumes, set changes with giant inflatable set-pieces (like a lion’s head for “Roar”) and more. The stage had one large catwalk that went out into the arena, as well as small stage that looked like a teardrop.

Some of the most memorable moments for me were the choreography during “Dark Horse,” the whole segment of songs from “Teenage Dream”; A large alien-like creature crawling across the stage during “E.T.”; Katy soaring above the crowd on a planet across the arena (with other planets hanging down) on “Thinking of You”; the addition of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately” to the end of “Bon Appetit”; the staging of “Swish Swish” with large basketball hoop and a dance routine on some trampolines; the sexy male acrobat doing a pole dance during “Tsunami;” and the anthemic 1-2 punch of “Roar” and “Firework” for the finale.

Katy had definitely put on a fun and energetic set reminding us of how great an entertainer she is. And I can’t forget the vocals too, she sounds as good live as on record.

Opening act Purity Ring was an electronic dance duo of 1 guy and 1 girl. The guy played percussion in a lighted igloo of sorts, while the woman sang and moved about. They had a very nice light show, with lights flipping all around the stage. I actually liked their music, though I am not so sure about their commercial prospects. The female reminded me some of Elle Goulding.

Thanks to Katy and her crew for another fun concert. I look forward to her next project.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Summer-Fall Reviews Part 1

It’s that time again for some more entertainment reviews. This blog features TV shows and music reviews. Read on for what I have been enjoying (or not) this past summer.

TV

13 Reasons Why
Netflix bring you the story of Hannah Baker — a teenager who commits suicide. The story is told in 13 parts. She left behind 13 cassette tapes that give her 13 reasons why she did it. This is one of the best shows I have seen this year. It is one of the most realistic portrayals of high school that I have ever seen. The whole cast is fantastic, especially the 2 main leads. Yes, it deals with some heavy topics: bullying, sexual assault, slut shaming, amongst other topics. It is definitely a show that doesn’t shy away from things. I highly recommend it. You will be moved. Grade: A

Boy Band
ABC wants in the boy band business. The architects (coaches) are OK. Timbaland is the one whose praise I would want the most. Some of the guys were not good enough in the Top 30 and I was surprised they made it as far as they did. It will be interesting if a hit band comes from this show. I am a bit of a boy band aficionado having loved New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, NSync, 98 Degrees and more. The winners are now crowned, so we’ll see what happens. Grade: B-

World of Dance
The latest dance reality show just concluded it’s inaugural season. It is hosted by Jenna Dewan-Tattum and judged by Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez and Derek Hough. One of the cool things is there is a wide variety of dancers and styles, all in a battle for a $1 million dollar prize. You have large groups competing against soloists; duos and trios competing against solo kid dancers too. The public does not get to vote at all, which I found interesting. The show was renewed for a second season. Grade: B

CDs

Katy Perry — Witness
“Witness” is Katy’s 4th full length album and her first since “Prism” in 2013. The first single “Chained to the Rhythm” hinted at a new direction for her — something she called “Purposeful Pop.” Well, the single underperformed for her, and what we get is Katy’s least successful album (so far). It’s not a miss for her, but not her best by a long shot. The stand–out song for me is “Swish Swish” — It sounds like a hit. Lots of attitude and catchy lyrics. And some of the ballads are catching on with me like “Save as Draft” and “Miss You More.” No power anthems like previous releases. I wanted more, and I didn’t get it. Grade: C+

Lady Antebellum — Heart Break
Their first album since the band took a hiatus and some down time for solo projects and families. Their trademark vocal harmonies and hit songwriting are still here. They try on a bit of funk for the hit “You Look Good.” Not as good as “747” but still a solid country-pop album for them. Grade: B

Michelle Branch — Everything Comes and Goes
I loved this woman since her early 2000’s breakthrough and her work with Santana and the Wreckers too. So this has a country-rock feel to it similar to what she did with the Wreckers. Sort of mellow compared to her earlier stuff. Grade: B+

Mary J. Blige — Strength of a Woman
Mary is an artist that always tells it like it is. On her latest, she talks about her divorce, saying to her ex “There’s a special place in hell for you” on the song “Set Me Free.” Ouch! The album is solid, if a bit on the mellow side. There is one full-on dance song “Find the Love.” And her duet with Prince Charlez (“Smile”) is very nice too. Grade: B+

The Time — Ice Cream Castles
I knew I was going to see this group in concert this past summer, so I bought this album. It contains their 2 biggest hits featured in the movie “Purple Rain” — “The Bird” and “Jungle Love.” It’s pretty slim, only 6 tracks total, and one is basically an extended comedy skit called “Chili Sauce.” The rest are just OK. Grade: C

Big & Rich — Hillbilly Jedi
The country-rock duo delivers a solid set. It recalls some of their earlier work. They may have treaded water some on this, but it is still likable. Special guests include Bon Jovi and Cowboy Troy. Grade: B-

New Kids on the Block — Thankful
This EP was released in advance of their summer tour with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men. Uptempo for the most part, it includes “Still Sounds Good” which is built around a sample of Nena’s “99 Luftballons.” Their vocals still sound good. Grade: B

Brett Eldredge — Brett Eldredge
The 4th studio album from Brett features the lead single “Something I’m Good At.” I like that one, but there are better songs on the rest of the album like “Super Hero” and “Crystal Clear.” Not sure this is the big breakthrough he was hoping for with this album. But overall, I enjoyed it. Grade: B

Maren Morris — Hero
She won a Grammy earlier this year for “My Church.” The rest of the album is just as good as that one. Country, blues, pop and soul are all featured on this album. She has really won me over on this one. I can’t stop listening to it! I highly recommend it! Other hits on here include “80’s Mercedes,” “Rich” and “I Could Use a Love Song.” Grade: A

Rascal Flatts — Back to Us
They are one of the most dependable acts out there. I can’t say I have ever heard a bad album from them. A solid mix of uptempo songs and ballads. Lauren Alaina (from American Idol) duets with them on 1 song. Grade: B

Sam Hunt — Between the Pines: Acoustic Mixtape
I have to say I hesitated to get this one. But after seeing his fantastic concert this past summer, I had to pick it up. It was released to the public after his breakthrough debut “Montevallo.” So this was recorded before that one, and features a lot of the same songs but in slightly different arrangements. The ones that are NOT on “Montevallo” are the most interesting songs here like “I Met a Girl” and “Saturday Night” (where he even full-on raps). Plus he covers a few of the songs he wrote for other artists like Kenny Chesney and Billy Currington. You can tell he was destined for bigger and better things. Grade: B+

That’s all for now. Be sure to look for a fall edition coming soon. As always, comments are kindly welcomed.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Suggestions for American Idol

Now that it has been announced that American Idol is returning to TV, it got me thinking about what needs to be done to keep the show going. After a 15-season run on Fox, the show is coming to ABC for the 2017-18 TV season. That was a short break! The last episode aired on Fox on April 7, 2016. When it went off the air, and Ryan Seacrest said goodbye “for now” — I was predicting that it would be back in 5 years. So it is definitely coming back sooner than I thought it would. But it is a successful format, and it was still a Top 20 show, even if wasn’t making the headlines or the stars it once was.

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One of my suggestions was going to be to put the emphasis back on the contestants. You have to remember that when the show first came on, Paula Abdul was the only famous judge. And she was considered a has-been at that point. But ABC has already announced that Katy Perry has been hired as one of the judges, so much for that! I heard they wanted former contestants like Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson to be on the panel, but they are signed to The Voice as mentors. Chris Daughtry is one of the rumored judges also, but has not been confirmed yet. Ryan Seacrest is also confirmed to be coming back as host.

So here are my suggestions for the 16th season of American Idol:

  1. Get rid of the delusional contestants. It is one thing to have a good singer who blows the audition because of nerves. Or to be a good singer, but pick the wrong song to sing. It is another to have someone who has no talent take up valuable screen time like William Hung.
  2. Bring back the theme weeks of the early years. When you think back to the early years, years 1-4, the singers had to be versatile in a number of different styles and genres. Yes, it takes you out of your comfort zone. But for me, this really shows who the great singers are. Think of Kelly Clarkson doing Bette Midler or Carrie Underwood doing Heart. Those were star-making moments of the show.
  3. Connect the singers with some top songwriters. I want them to be able to write their own songs. If they could have Diane Warren or Justin Tranter give the contestants some help with songwriting that would be awesome. Imagine if the winner actually gets to sing his/her own coronation song. That would be great.
  4. Contestants can only go forward to Hollywood Week if it is a unanimous decision amongst the judges. None of this, 2 out of 3 saying yes and the person going through. There is a strong reason why that 1 person said No… and viewers at home probably agree with it.
  5. Be able to vote easily for up to 5 days after the original broadcast. Last time they let you vote on Google, which was cool. Plus voting by text and phone too. But most people watch shows at different times now. So those people should be able to vote on the results also.
  6. Bring back the results shows! I guess I was only one of the people that liked them. But I like the big group numbers and the duos and trios too. Half an hour would be fine.
  7. Get rid of the Ford commercials. You know those commercials that look like music videos with the contestants in them — but they are just ads for cars? I can’t say I would miss them.
  8. Bring back the Wild Card round. That was the round that brought Clay Aiken back to the competition after being cut. Someone good might have slipped through the cracks, and you would be giving them another chance to shine.
  9. Make sharing easy for each of the contestant’s performances. They should have a share button for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, etc. The number of times a contestant is liked and shared should be counted in the contestant’s total for the week.

So those are my recommendations. What do think American Idol 2.0 is going to be like? I would love to hear your thoughts.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Katy Perry Shines on Prismatic Tour

Katy Perry in Concert
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Staples Center

Special guests: Ferras, Tegan and Sara

Prismatic World Tour 2014

Merchandise purchased: T-shirt, program

Songs performed: Roar, Part of Me, Wide Awake, This Moment, Love Me, Dark Horse, E.T., Legendary Lovers, I Kissed a Girl, Hot N Cold, International Smile, Vogue, By the Grace of God, The One That Got Away/Thinking of You, Legends Never Die (with Ferras), Unconditionally, Walking on Air, It Takes Two, This Is How We Do/Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), Teenage Dream, California Gurls, Birthday, Firework 
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Comments: Katy Perry showed all the facets in her prism in a fantastic show at the Staples Center this past weekend. You name it this show had it… great staging and lighting, outrageous costumes, dancing, fireworks, acrobatics and more! Did I mention that she sang hit after hit after hit? In 6 short years, she has racked up an amazing 13 Top Ten hits, including 7 number ones.

Katy came on around 9:15 PM. She emerged from a pyramid near the front of the stage. She launched into her #1 smash “Roar”. Her dancers were dressed as pseudo Mayan warriors in neon colors with lighted mohawks and lighted spears. There was a huge screen at the back of the stage, and 2 video screens on the sides. The front of the stage formed a “V” which went to about the middle of the arena. People were standing in the party pit, like at other recent tours by Lady GaGa and Madonna. She was dressed in a short party dress, with a crop top — it reminded me a little of Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls. She even had a jump rope break down, where the lights went done and you just had the accents in color on the costumes.

“Part of Me” and “Wide Awake” quickly followed the opening number. The version of “Wide Awake” was a dance remix of the original. She fit in 12 songs from her most recent album “Prism” into the night. During “Part of Me” she used the sides of the V — which had moving platforms on it. So she looked like she was running in place.

There was an elevated triangular platform that Katy performed on during “Wide Awake.” Two new songs “This Moment” and “Love Me” closed out the first portion of the show. The band was hidden for the first few numbers, but then was shown near the back of the stage later on.

The next segment had her adopting an Egyptian look and feel for “Dark Horse”— another of her #1 songs. She came out riding a mechanical horse operated by 2 people. The video screen showed Juicy J doing the rap for the song. “E.T.” from “Teenage Dream” was up next. There were 3 of the dancers, 2 women, and 1 man, doing some acrobatics in a rotating apparatus over the stage. It looked very cool. And Katy ended up being suspended and rotated under near the end of the song (like she was being abducted by an alien spacecraft). Some of the songs on the “Prism” CD definitely have world music influences. One of these “Legendary Lovers” had her considering some hot male dancers (one black and one white) who were dressed in Roman skirts with bondage inspired harnesses. She definitely had quite a choice between those 2 beautiful men. “I Kissed a Girl”, her first hit, closed out this segment of the show. She did a dance routine with a bunch of women dressed as mummies with exaggerated butts and breasts. The guitar players flew over the stage on wires near the end of the song shooting fireworks from the ends of their guitars.

Kitty Purry… had the lead on the next segment. We were treated to a video of cats doing interesting things… and then Katy and her crew came out in cat costumes (reminiscent of “Cats”) for a Broadway style version of “Hot N Cold.” There was a giant ball of yarn and scratching posts on the sides. Another new song “International Smile” got combined with Madonna’s “Vogue” with Katy and the dancers having costumes on top of their cat costumes… strutting the runway back and forth down the V. Madonna has clearly inspired her among others, so it was cool that she had that in her show.

 

Finally taking a break from all the uptempo numbers, Katy came down front for a stripped down segment. She talked about her early days performing at Hotel Café. She also talked about her love of music, and seeing other shows at Staples over the years and sitting in the cheap seats. She performed “By the Grace of God” which talks about going through a tough time in life and getting past it. She was accompanied by one keyboard player. A few more of her ballads followed: “The One That Got Away” and ‘Thinking of You.”

Ferras, one of her opening acts, came out and performed one of his songs with Katy — “Legends Never Die.” He is the first act signed to Katy’s new record label. He has a nice voice and they sounded good together. For “Unconditionally”, Katy put on a hat with a butterfly opening and closing its sings on it. The dress she was wearing become very large, and had her elevated above the stage. It had a ying yang pattern to the dress. Crew members came out and were flying colorful butterfly kites on wires as she sang the song. It made for a beautiful visual.

To get us into the home stretch of the show, she had a DJ spin some classic 90’s dance tunes (Everbody Everybody, Gonna Make You Sweat, Pump Up the Jam, Finally and more). Audience members were encouraged to get up and dance for the dance cam that focused in on various crowds and individuals that were having a good time. The song she came back with was “Walking on Air” — her tribute to 90’s dance songs. She even did a little walking on air too , with Katy rising over the party pit on wires, while the dancers waved a big sheet of fabric over the crowd. She also had the dancers wrap sheets of fabric around her body, as large fans helped to create interesting shapes with the fabric. The costumes were all sort of day-glo and funky during this number.

For “This is How We Do,” the latest single off of “Prism”, she had an inflatable car that carried her and her posse around the perimeter of the V. Large balloons (6 in total: dookie, lipstick, taco, purse, and 2 others) were shown around the arena for added flavor. A small portion of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I. F.)” got mixed in the middle of the song.

It was all hits all the way to the end… “Teenage Dream” followed by “California Gurls”. The crowd was singing and dancing along the whole time. The letters of the Hollywood sign were used as part of the stage decoration for “California Gurls”.

“Birthday” off of “Prism” was the first encore. Another high-energy number, that had Katy pulling one lucky fan out of the audience whose birthday was this month, and having her sit on top of a huge birthday cake. The dancers had large candle sticks, that they were doing acrobatic moves on. Then, Katy flew all around the arena holding a handful of balloons — it was an excellent visual trick. Balloons fell down from the ceiling near the end of the song. What a fun number this was!

I can’t believe the song wasn’t a bigger hit. I have a theory why she has had only 2 #1’s off of “Prism” versus the 5 from “Teenage Dream.” Radio is still playing hits from “Teenage Dream”! I hear “Firework, “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls” all the time still… and there is only room for so many Katy songs with radio’s tight playlists these days!

“Firework” was the finale song. I am thinking she wants this to be her signature song, and what a good choice for one. I love this song and what it says, and it has touched so many people’s lives who didn’t fit in growing up. It was presented in “Prism-Vision”… you were given some special glasses when you came in. They gave you an extra sparkle or starburst as you were watching all the lights and fireworks. I tried them during some other numbers and it worked then too. Katy went back in the pyramid and it closed back up on her… signaling the end of the show.

Katy had 2 opening acts: Ferras and Tegan & Sara. Both LGBT recording artists. Ferras is the first act signed to Katy’s imprint label on Capitol Records. I missed most of his set, but thought he had a nice voice. Interesting personal style w/ his haircut and clothes. Tegan & Sara have had a couple of hits this past year, “Everything is Awesome” (from “The Lego Movie”) and “Closer.” I look forward to hearing more from both acts.

Of all the recording artists from the last 10 years, Katy is the one I probably identify with the most and feel an emotional connection with. (I still love Lady GaGa and Rihanna, but I can’t say I feel the same connection to them as I do Katy). Thanks to Katy, her band and dancers for a fun, fantastic and memorable evening. I know this is the show of the year… I can’t see anyone topping this event.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Ultimate Fantasy Concert

As a big music fan, one of the moments I remember growing up was watching the Live Aid concert special. This is the special that aired in 1985 and showed us footage from shows in London and Philadelphia. It was all to benefit the hunger crisis in Africa. A who’s who of performers and actors were involved that day: Madonna, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Phil Collins, Queen and on and on. Isn’t it about time we had another world musical event like that? I am sure it could be another charity event of some kind for AIDS, global warming, hunger, human rights, etc. So who would I want on the bill for this Ultimate Fantasy Concert?Concert Scene

Superstars
Madonna
Elton John
Bruce Springsteen
Annie Lennox (Eurythmics)
Beyonce
Justin Timberlake
Cher
U2
Janet Jackson
Prince
Celine Dion
Shania Twain
Tina Turner
Pink
Britney Spears
Christina Aguilera

Up and Comers
Rihanna
Katy Perry
Lady GaGa
Taylor Swift
Kelly Clarkson
Maroon 5
Coldplay
Black Eyed Peas
Alicia Keys
Kesha
Pitbull
Ne-Yo
Imagine Dragons
Bruno Mars

Maybe
Backstreet Boys
Mariah Carey
Usher
One Direction
Adele
Kylie Minogue
Jay Z.
Eminem

What location or country would host it? What networks would show it? Would you want to be there live? The closest we have gotten to an event like this these days is the I Heart Radio Festival they have had in Las Vegas the last few years.

Just imagine the pairings you could have with this lineup! How about Annie Lennox leading a chorus of “Sisters Doing It for Themselves” with Madonna, Adele, Pink, Katy Perry and Rihanna? Or how about Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, Prince and Bruno Mars doing an old James Brown song? I am sure it would be awesome TV and have us all talking about it years later. I can dream.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Fall-Winter Entertainment Wrap-up

So what movies and CDs have I enjoyed the last few months? Read on…

Movies

We’re the MillersWe're the Millers
A very funny, raunchy comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. They play the fake parents of 2 kids, who are traveling across the Mexican border into the US with a Winnebago filled with drugs. Echoes of National Lampoon’s Vacation movie for me, and that’s a good thing. Grade: B+

Battle of the Year
Josh Holloway plays an alcoholic has-been picked to coach a hip-hop B-Boy dance troupe as they prepare for battle in the “Battle of the Year” in France. If you like the “Step Up” movies,  and “America’s Best Dance Crew” then this movie is for you. Some great dance sequences, and entertaining personalities from the crew. Grade: B-

Prisoners
Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Melissa Leo lead an all-star cast in this engrossing drama. The story is very much of-this-moment… centering on the kidnapping of 2 little girls and the investigation of the crime. Jackman plays one of the dads who takes the law into his own hands and begins to torture one of the suspects. Grade: A-

Gravity
Sandra Bullock leads the cast for this movie, that centers on a scientist adrift in space and fighting to survive. Faced with incredible hardships, we will fight for our lives. The visuals are stunning, and the movie is definitely award-worthy. George Clooney also stars in a supporting role. Grade: A-

12 Years a Slave
Director Steve McQueen has bought Solomon Northup’s true story to the screen. Solomon was a free black man living in New York, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Very disturbing at times, this is a story I had never heard before. Fantastic performances all around including Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mr. Northup. Grade: A

Captain Phillips
Tom Hanks returns to form in the title role. This is the story of a freighter that is highjacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Africa. We know how the story is going to end up, but it is still filled with tension and suspense Grade: A-

Frozen
Disney’s latest animated movie, is based on a story by Hans Christen Anderson. It is the story of 2 sisters of a royal family, one of who is afflicted with special powers that cause her to freeze everything she touches. With the voice talents of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as the sisters, with catchy songs by the husband and wife team of Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez. Grade: A

Thor: The Dark World
This is the first appearance of Thor, since “The Avengers.” A lot of the time is spent on his home planet of Asgard. The movie never really took flight for me. It picks up when Loki arrives, but not much. Grade: C

The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio in the true-life tale of Wall Street stock broker Jordan Belfort. I would subtitle this lifestyles of the rich, decadent and criminal. This guy lived the high life — sex, drugs and money. And he was a god to those he worked with. Grade: B+

CDs

Katy Perry — Prism
Katy’s first CD since ‘Teenage Dream” brings us a more reflective Katy, but without forgetting her knack of creating perfect pop gems. Highlights include: Roar, Dark Horse, and Unconditional Love. Grade: A-

Kelly Clarkson — Wrapped in Red
Kelly’s first holiday CD has something for everyone. New songs as well as Christmas classics. Some of it sounds very retro to me. Highlights include: Run Run Rudolph and My Favorite Things. Grade: B-

Keith Urban — Fuse
Keith’s music has been getting more and more pop as his career has gone on. He still is one of my favorites, even if it doesn’t match his earlier work. Highlights include: Little Bit of Everything, and We Were Us (Duet with Miranda Lambert). Grade: B

The Music of Nashville — Season 2, Vol. 1
Season 2 of the hit show has had it’s share of drama: affairs, shootings and record co. politics. We get the hit songs from the leads as well as a few of the supporting players too. Highlights include: What If I Was Willing and Trouble Is. Grade: B+

So what have you been watching and listening to this winter? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Concerts I Want to See in 2014

Seeing a performer live is one of my favorite things in life. The roar of the crowd, singing and dancing your heart out, the elaborate staging, choreography, special effects, lighting, great musicianship — I love everything about going to concerts. So who do I want to see in 2014? Read on:Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Katy-cats will be out in full force for her Prismatic World Tour 2014. Starting in the UK in May, it will be sure to hit the US later in the year. Featuring songs including her recent #1 smash “Roar” plus all the old favorites like “Teenage Dream” and “I Kissed a Girl.”

Lady GaGa
Yes, she has taken a few lumps in the media and on the charts recently. But reality is she is an exciting live performer and is sure to come up with another pop spectacle. Lady GaGa’s ArtRave — the ArtPop Ball is sure to keep us entertained and make us fall in love with her again.

Lady Antebellum
Country’s reigning trio takes their signature harmonies back to the road on the “Take Me Downtown” Tour. Supporting the recent deluxe edition of their LP “Golden” along with special guests Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves.

Robin Thicke
Coming off the biggest year of his career thanks to  “Blurred Lines”, Robin will be taking his white-boy soul to arenas along with Jessie J. and DJ Cassidy.

Cher
Coming out of her touring retirement and after her Vegas engagement, Cher returns with her “Dressed to Kill” tour in support of her recent album “Closer to the Truth.” I saw her on her “Farewell” tour. But I am not so sure I am going this time… but I am sure it will be a good show.

Miley Cyrus
She has a career! Nobody was talking about her last year. And now she is coming off 2 big hit singles (We Can’t Stop, Wrecking Ball) and a hit album too (Bangerz). I hope that she does some of her old Hannah Montana songs too.

Sting and Paul Simon
Two old-timers touring together for the first time. Both came out of groups: Sting from the Police and Simon from Simon & Garfunkel. Both have long song catalogs and have been known to rework their old songs to new arrangements. It will probably be a 3-hour plus show.

Darius Rucker
Coming off one of the biggest hits of his career as a solo artist with “Wagon Wheel”, the former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has had quite a run on the country charts. Supporting acts include: Eli Young Band and David Nail.

One Republic
Ryan Tedder’s group One Republic is heading out on a headlining tour for summer 2014. Besides leading his group, Ryan is an in-demand songwriter and producer. Opening act is The Script (Breakeven [Falling to Pieces], Hall of Fame).

Journey/Steve Miller Band
Classic rock mainstays Journey (Don’t Stop Believin’, Open Arms), and Steve Miller Band (Fly Like an Eagle, Abracadabra) are heading out on a co-headlining tour next summer. Opening act is horn-heavy funk group Tower of Power.

And lastly, a couple of acts I wouldn’t mind seeing on the road:

Duran Duran
They haven’t had a new album in a few years, but they are one of my all-time favorite groups. Great songs like The Reflex, Hungry Like the Wolf, and Wild Boys. They have only gotten better over the years with their performances.

Annie Lennox
I loved her with the Eurythmics, and her solo career was pretty good too. She is an awesome vocalist and a fantastic performer. Such a powerful vocal presence. She doesn’t have to have any new material, just come on tour already!

Tickets are on sale for most of these shows in 2014 already. So who do you want to see on tour next year? I would love to hear from you. And look for me in the cheap seats.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Summer Entertainment Roundup

The summer is mostly over! So what did you think about the entertainment choices this summer? Here is my take on the movies and TV shows of summer:

Movies

  • The AvengersThe Avengers
    Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor and more in one movie. This is one of the rare cases where the movie lived up to the hype. It was the most fun I have had at the movies this summer. Be sure to see it on video.
  • Rock of Ages
    The jukebox musical starring Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough tanked at the box office. That’s too bad because the movie is a lot of fun. It has a great soundtrack of 80’s pop/metal classics from Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Journey and more. Tom Cruise is fantastic in it and you will be singing along to the musical numbers.
  • Katy Perry — Part of Me 3D
    Part concert movie, part documentary, this movie shows why she is as big a star as she is. She put in her dues, and works hard for her fans. It is the best movie of it’s kind since Madonna’s “Truth or Dare.”
  • Men in Black III
    Likable, if forgettable sequel. The main thing that keeps this movie afloat is the cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin. Hopefully, this is the last movie in this franchise. (more…)

The Gray Area

I’ve never been with a woman. I am a gay man and have only been with guys. Friends that are older than me, got married, had kids and then came out later in life. They say getting married is what was expected of them at the time. The younger generations hopefully have a lot less hang ups about sex and sexuality than I or the older generations have.The Gray Area

Sexuality is a lot more gray than people probably want to admit. But women are much more open about this fact than guys are. I remember I worked with this guy I thought was cute. He had 7 earrings, wore stylish clothes and had a trendy haircut. I wondered if he was gay. But I often heard him putting down the guys who wore Speedos down at the pool we could see from our office building. I also heard him talking about girls to another of our co-workers. Years later, I was told that he was bisexual. He wasn’t open about that! Why is that?

(more…)

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