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Posts tagged ‘summer’

Summer 2018 Reviews 2

Here are my takes on CDs, movies, TV shows and more from the past few months.

CDs

Shawn Mendes — Shawn Mendes
Shawn is back with his 3rd major release. He won me over with his last album. This one is just fair to me. The first single “In My Blood” has grown on me. This is a more R&B tinged album than the predecessor. I am not sure I like that direction for him. I could hear Nick Jonas on some of the songs, but for me, it is not quite working for Shawn. Maybe it will grow on me. Grade: C

Sugarland — Bigger
Sugarland is back. After a few years apart and various solo projects — the duo of Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles is back with more music. They have some songwriting help from Taylor Swift on one song. I find that this one is on constant repeat for me. Catchy songs and beautiful melodies. I am loving it. Grade: A-

Eric Church — The Outsiders
This is the 2nd album I have from him. The first being “Mr. Misunderstood.” He’s got the country rock rebel thing down. Highlights include the title track as well as “Roller Coaster Ride” and ‘That’s Damn Rock & Roll.” Not sure what to make of the “Prelude: Princess of Darkness” — a long spoken word intro into another song. Grade: B

LeAnn Rimes — Lady & Gentlemen
LeAnn takes on the songs of male artists on her 10th studio album. She covers songs from Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard among others. Her voice sounds great as always. Vince Gill is one of the co-producers on the album. I like it. Grade: A-

Lisa Stansfield — Seven+
This is the remix album for “Seven.” Out of the 16 tracks, there are only 7 songs. So, there are multiple remixes for some of the songs. It is nice collection of silky smooth dance songs. There is a retro-soul feel to the production. And her voice sounds great as always. Lisa is coming to the US this fall, on her first tour in many years. I hope I can go! Grade: B

Toni Braxton & Babyface — Love, Marriage & Divorce
They have collaborated many times over the course of their careers, but this is the first time they have done a duets project. This is a concept album for sure. They are both given space to shine — Babyface has 1 solo song, to Toni’s 2. It is mostly slow to mid-tempo stuff, but there is one all-out dance number “Heart Attack.” I enjoyed it. Grade: B+

Kenny Chesney — Songs for the Saints
Sonically, this is a bit of a sequel to “Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates” which Kenny released in 2007. He was inspired by the hurricanes that hit the Caribbean islands this past year. It is a thoughtful, introspective collection of songs that celebrates life on the islands. It is more acoustic ,mid-tempo, folksy guitar songs than arena rockers. It does include one sure-fire hit “Get Along” — a feel-good anthem for these divisive times. Special guests include Ziggy Marley and Jimmy Buffett. Grade: A-

Boyz II Men — Collide
Boyz II Men mix things up some on this collection from 2014. It is strange collection of sorts — as the Boyz try their hands at modern pop, reggae, EDM, retro-soul and more on the album. They use Autotune on a few numbers, which I find really strange — they are good live singers and don’t need it. It is definitely eclectic — some of it works, some of it doesn’t. But I appreciate trying something different. Grade: C+

Movies

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
This is the 5th movie in the Jurassic Park franchise. Three years after the events of the last movie, the island is about to be destroyed by a volcano. Should the dinosaurs be rescued? A team comes in to help relocate them to another island. Instead, the dinosaurs are put on the auction blog to the highest bidders. The best I can say is that the movie is just OK at best. We’ve seen a lot of this before. And now I found myself not caring. Better luck next time. Grade: C+

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This documentary about Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rodgers) is sure to be nominated for Best Documentary at next year’s ceremony. It tells how a selfless, caring man, became the star of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” on PBS. He was able to talk to and relate to kids like no one else can. He covered such heavy topics as death, divorce and diversity. I found myself tearing up a few times in the movie. In this day and age, we could use more Mr. Rogers in this world. I cannot recommend it enough! Grade: A

Incredibles 2
Fourteen years after the last movie, we catch up again the Incredible Family. Dad (Mr. Incredible) is a stay-at-home Dad, while his wife Elasti-Girl is out saving the world and trying to rehabilitate the image of superheroes. Baby Jack-Jack is discovering he has super powers and daughter Violet is showing an interest in boys. Samuel Jackson is again the voice of their pal Frozone. I had fun. Grade: A-

Ant-Man and the Wasp
The latest Marvel movie brings back Paul Rudd as Ant-Man. This time he is joined by Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp. There are 2 main story lines: finding Hank Pym’s wife (and Wasp’s Mom) in the Quantum Realm as well as fighting a new baddie named Ghost. Overall, it was just OK for me. There are a few cute moments. But at this point, I am experiencing a bit of superhero overload this year. And the villain was pretty boring too. Better luck next time. Grade: C

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Ten years after the first one, we get the sequel. It is as much a prequel as a sequel. Sophie is just about to open the hotel that her mother (Donna) was developing. Plus, Sophie finds out she is pregnant. There are flashbacks to her mother (Donna) as she was meeting and romancing the 3 guys who are the baby daddies (Sam, Harry and Bill). Then we get to see the old gang arrive for the hotel opening on the island. This time they go deeper into the ABBA song catalog with tracks like “Angel Eyes” and “I Kissed the Teacher.” Plus, you get some return favorites like “Mamma Mia,” “Dancing Queen” and “Fernando” (sung by Cher and Andy Garcia). Overall, I was just OK on this movie. It is not as fun or inspired as the first one. And (spoiler alert) I hated that they built the movie around the idea that Donna had died in the time that had passed. Lily James is no Meryl Streep, and Meryl’s screen absence from most of the movie is deeply felt. Wait for video. Grade: C

Mission Impossible: Fallout
This is the 6th movie in Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible franchise. Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is on a new mission to stop the sale of some plutonium cores to some bad guys who want to destroy the world. The globe-hopping story is filled with fantastic action sequences — on the streets, on the tops of buildings and in the skies too. Alec Baldwin, Angela Bassett and Henry Cavill co-star. It is one of the better MI films and definitely something to see on the big screen. I recommend it. Grade: B+

Christopher Robin
Disney offers up this live-action fantasy film about a grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) and the animals from the 100 acre woods (Winnie the Pooh and friends). Christopher Robin has to leave the animals behind to go to boarding school. As an adult who is having struggles at work, the animals come back into his life — and remind him of what is really important in life. I liked the sequences with Pooh, Eyore, Piglet, Rabbit and Kanga the best. The humans not as much. I think the story could have been better. The movie wants to be Paddington, but it is not. Be sure to check out “Goodbye Christopher Robin” from last year — a drama about the creator A.A. Milne. That is a better movie. Grade: B-

DVD (or Streaming)

Loving Vincent
The life and mysterious death of Vincent Van Gogh are explored in this Oscar-nominated experimental animated movie. The whole movie is told through re-creations of some of his most famous paintings. Each of the film’s frames is an oil painting on canvas, using the same techniques as Van Gogh. This movie was definitely beautiful to look at. And the story is interesting too of a talented genius who only achieved success after his death. Grade: A-

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
The sequel to 2015’s “The Force Awakens.” Considering how overrated that movie was, it is not surprising that this one is better. Rey is trying to lure Luke Skywalker back into the fight against the Empire. General Leia is trying to lead the Rebels despite a series of setbacks. Great special effects as always, the movie is too long by 30-45 minutes. Parts of it seem like ads for toys to me. I am ready to see a Star Wars without Luke/Leia/Solo. Grade: B-

All the Money in the World
Directed by Ridley Scott, and famous for having re-cast Kevin Spacey’s part with Christopher Plummer. This movie tells the story of the kidnapping and search for J. Paul Getty’s grandson — Paul. Michelle Williams is the boy’s mother and Mark Wahlberg is one of J. Paul’s employees — a negotiator and former CIA guy — who helps with the investigation. Plummer plays J. Paul Getty. An interesting true story that highlights the life of a very rich and complicated man. Grade: A-

The Disaster Artist
This is the true story of the movie — The Room. That movie is considered one of the worst movies of all time. James Franco stars as Tommy Wisseau (the star) and directs himself and his brother (Dave) as Tommy’s friend and co-star, Greg. James Franco goes all-in with his performance — is he retarded, delusional, or just crazy? Tommy was able to finance and produce his passion project — which has become a hit (if not the critical success he wanted) on the midnight screening circuit. You don’t have to have seen “The Room” to like or get this movie. Definitely worth watching. Grade: A-

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
This is the story of the creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston, and the 2 women who inspired his creation. It starts in the 20’s as he was a psychology professor, with his wife helping him out in the classroom. They hire a beautiful student, named Olive, as a research assistant. The 3 of them end up having a polyamorous relationship. And they continue their relationship through different trials with society. His relationship with the 2 women, plus his experience with creating the lie detector and DISC theory on relationships, helped him in his creation of the now-iconic super hero. It was an interesting story with good performances. Grade: B+

Stronger
This is the true story of Jeff Bauman, who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays the working-class man who lost his legs, and becomes a local hero and a face of “Boston Strong” during his rehabilitation process. Tatiana Maslany co-stars as his girlfriend. Jeff has to contend with the physical challenges, as well as the emotional challenges of being a sudden celebrity because of a terrorist attack. Gyllenhall gives another award-worthy performance. This movie speaks to the strength of the human spirit. Grade: A-

TV

13 Reasons Why (Season 2)
The ground-breaking show is back. Season 2 focuses on the trial against the high school brought by Hannah’s parents. There are also many issues and loose ends with Hannah’s classmates. You will learn about them over the course of the season. Hannah herself appears to Clay as a ghost. What I love about the show is it’s daring to talk about tough subjects. It is one of the most of-the-moment shows that I know. And it is a show that you need to talk about. I was skeptical at first too, but I enjoyed season 2 very much. Grade: B+

Queer Eye
This is the reboot of the series from early 2000’s — originally called “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” This Netflix show is basically a feel-good make-over show. The Fab 5 (Antoni, Tan, Karamo, Bobby, Jonathon) head out to make-over selected individuals — mostly guys. They did their first female make-over this season (which is season 2 already). Along the way, they help to break stereotypes and build bridges with the world at large. Worth watching. Grade: B+

The Kissing Booth
Netflix is getting into the romantic-comedy business. This teen movie has been getting a lot of press, so I decided to check it out. A teen girl (Elle) finds out that her crush is really into her. Complicating matters is the fact that the crush (Noah) is the brother of her best friend, Lee. Noah and Elle end up sharing a secret kiss at the kissing booth at the school fundraiser. The movie wants to be a modern take on a John Hughes movie — they even include Molly Ringwald in a supporting role and even play “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” during the prom sequence. It gets by on the likability of the cast (Joey King, Joel Courtney and Jacob Eloridi). I do think that Elle picked the wrong brother. She should have picked Lee. I liked this movie OK, the script definitely could have been better. But parts of it are cute and work — thanks again to the cast. Grade: C+

Books

Everybody Lies (Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are) — Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Stephens-Davidowitz has written a timely book about the data gathered from Google and other big data sources. It covers everything from the 2016 election and unemployment numbers to abortion and sexual habits/preferences to predicting good baseball players. And it ends with ethical questions about how should we use the big data that we have access to. An interesting and informative read for these chaotic times. Grade: A-

That’s it for now. As always, comments are kindly welcomed. Thanks for reading.

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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Concerts I am Looking Forward to in 2018

As a live music fan, one of my favorite things is looking to see who is coming in concert in the new year. Will an old favorite be coming to town, or is it my chance to see someone new? I was excited that I got to see 3 artists I had never seen before in 2017. Here is my list of the artists I am looking forward to in concert this year:

Pink
I saw her early in her career on the Mizunderstood tour, plus when she opened for Justin Timberlake too. She will be touring behind her recent #1 album “Beautiful Trauma.” Plus she is known for doing acrobats in her shows now too. It should be awesome!

Ed Sheeran
I tried to get tickets to see him in 2017 — but he sold out very fast. For 2018, he is going on a stadium tour that will take him to Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. I may finally get to his show! He is one of the most exciting singers of the last 10 years, and he can command a stage with just his voice and his guitar.

Bananarama
The girl group from England is back! I got to see them back in 1989, and it was not the original 3 girls, just 2 of the originals plus another girl. But now the original lineup (Sara, Keren, Siobhan) has reunited and toured the UK, but they are coming to the US for a few shows too. Bring back the 80’s!

Naill Horan
Yet another successful solo artist from One Direction. With “Slow Hands,” Naill has shown the world what he can do on his own. He is a singer-songwriter with heart. Plus he is bringing along country upstart — Maren Morris — on his “Flicker” World Tour.

Miranda Lambert
She is one of the reigning queens of country in a genre dominated by men. She is going out on her “Livin’ Like Hippies” tour for 2018 with special guests Jon Pardi and Lucie Silvas. She is sure to include songs from her 2017 album “The Weight of These Wings” — her most personal album yet. A second leg of the tour will add Little Big Town as her co-headliner.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
They have finally have released their duet album — “The Rest of Our Lives.” This is the latest iteration of their Soul 2 Soul Tour which I saw back in 2006. Tim has continued to be a big draw on his own, while Faith has been home raising the kids. It is time that she is back in the limelight.

Sam Smith
The male Adele, as he has been called, is back with his second album “The Thrill of It All.” It includes the hit single “Too Good at Goodbyes.” What I have found interesting about the album is the intersection of faith and sexuality that he writes about in some of the new songs. I am sure he will be moving people with his voice on tour.

Maroon 5
One of my favorite groups of the last decade, Maroon 5, is heading out on the Red Pill Blues Tour. Special guest is Julia Michaels, a Grammy nominee for Best New Artist. They definitely have a deep song catalog at this point, and Adam is always nice to look at too.

Demi Lovato/DJ Khalid
Former Disney girl Demi finally has an album worthy of her voice on “Tell Me You Love Me,” her recent album. It includes her biggest hit “Sorry Not Sorry.” Joining her is superstar producer/DJ — DJ Khalid. He notched a few hits on the charts the past year with “Wild Thoughts” and “I’m the One.” You wonder who will show up on tour during his set (Rihanna, Justin Beiber?). It should be a cool show.

Taylor Swift
Taylor is heading out on the Reputation World Tour this year, and she is playing stadiums. She’s got quite the song catalog at this point. Even if I am not too crazy about the new material, I am sure I would enjoy myself.

Lara Fabian
Who remembers “I Will Love Again” from the year 2000? I guess somebody does, as the singer is going on tour in the US to promote her new album “Camouflage.” Definitely a curiosity.

Sugarland
The award-winning country duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush is finally getting back together. A single came out at the end of last year, and a summer tour is on the way. Let’s hope they make this a permanent thing.

Justin Timberlake
He’s headlining the Super Bowl halftime show this year and releasing his new album “Man of the Woods” the same weekend. The first single “Filthy” is just OK to me. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the album brings.

Rod Stewart/Cyndi Lauper
Two icons are joining forces for a summer tour that includes a stop at the Hollywood Bowl. Here’s hoping that they do a few songs together. I also hope that Cyndi sings some songs from “Kinky Boots.”

Lady Antebellum/Darius Rucker
Two titans of country music are also banding together for a summer tour. Pop-country trio Lady Antebellum and former Hootie singer Darius Rucker. They have toured together before, but Darius was an opening act for them. Now they are both superstars in the genre.

That’s it for my wish list! I hope I can see a few of these shows. Please sound off in the comments about which ones you are looking forward to.

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.

Home Entertainment Round-Up

I love movies. When I get wrapped up in the story, acting and direction, time flies by. And you feel good afterwards. Other times, you can be — when is this damn thing going to end! So what movies from the past spring and summer did I like or didn’t like? What should I rent or stream on Saturday night? Read on…

Locke (Tom Hardy). An interesting independent movie, that only has 1 guy on screen for the entire movie as he drives to be there for the birth of his child. Tom Hardy was fantastic, and the movie keeps you interested as the story unfolds. Final say: A-

Jersey Boys (Christopher Walken, John Lloyd Young). The movie version of the Tony award winning musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Directed by Clint Eastwood, and featuring some great songs that are familiar to most. Sometimes it seems like the music is more of a backdrop than the star, as there is a lot of drama that went down on their way to fame and fortune. Final say: B-

22 Jump Street (Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill). The stars of the original “21 Jump Street” reboot are back for more. If you loved the first one, the second one was just as good for me. I especially loved Jillian Bell, she steals every scene she is in. Final say: B+22_Jump_Street_11

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone). The 2nd of the new Spider-man movies. Jamie Foxx plays the villain. I enjoyed it at the time, but I have to say it was a pretty forgettable movie. I couldn’t tell you the plot now… and it was just a few months ago that I saw it. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have a nice chemistry in it. Final say: B-

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender). Combining the casts of the original trilogy with the stars of the reboot was a great idea. The cast is a bit overstuffed with characters, so not everyone has a chance to shine. But overall it was good to have director Bryan Singer back. Final say: B+

Neighbors (Zac Efron, Seth Rogen). A raunchy comedy that pits a bunch of frat boys against the young married couple next door. I enjoyed it, but still a bit forgettable. Final say: B-

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning). A live action take on the Sleeping Beauty story. Angelina Jolie is perfectly cast as the title character. The story has a new take on a classic villain, and why she is as she is. Grade: A-

Edge of Tomorrow (Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt). It has been retitled: “Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow” for the home video release. It bombed in the theatres, but I actually liked this movie. It is sort of a sci-fi “Grounghog Day” with Cruise’s character having to relive the same day over and again. Action and laughs too. Grade: B+

 

Shows

Extant (Halle Berry, Goran Visnjic). It started out promising at least. Berry plays an astronaut who returned to Earth after a 13-month solo mission. Problem is she is pregnant. Plus she has a son who is a robot created by her husband. I found myself losing interest in this as it went along. In the end, I just didn’t care what happened. Final say: C

Rising Star (Josh Groban, Brad Paisley). The latest in the reality singing competition. I hate watched the entire series. This show with the “Raise the Wall” real-time voting didn’t bring anything new to the genre despite the talented people involved. I am sure it will be a 1-season show like ABC’s “Duets”. Final say: C-

So what have you been watching at the movies and on TV this past summer? I would love to hear your thoughts about what excited you and what didn’t.

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.

Summer Entertainment Wrap-Up Too

I am a bit of an entertainment junky — movies, CDs, DVDs, etc. So what thrilled me, and what bored me this summer? Read on.

Movies

Monsters University
The prequel to Pixar’s Monsters Inc., shows us the college years of Mike and Sully as they deal with classes, tough instructors, and finding a place in the world. Not as good as the original, but I still enjoyed it. Grade: B

Man of Steel
I was hopeful for this movie, and it is an improvement over the boring last Superman movie. But it is still not a good movie. The fun factor is not there for a good superhero movie. And again, overly long. Henry Cavill is hot, but bland as Superman. Better luck next time. Grade: C

The Wolverine
Well, another summer disappointment. It is just getting old for me with this character. We know he looks great with his shirt off, and that the metal claws come out when he’s mad. Some lame story about a guy he saved, and how he wants to repay the favor to Logan.  Grade: C

Lee Daniel’s The Butler
Based on a true story, this movie tells the story of young man who became a butler to the President of the United States. It shows the changes that society went through with the civil rights movement over the years. Great performances from Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. Grade: B+poster-art-for-lee-daniels-the-butler_event_main_1042

CDs

Little Big Town — Tornado
I have been a fan of this group for years, so it is nice to see them getting the attention they deserved. Great vocals and nice songs overall, but “Pontoon” really? Cute, but forgettable song there. Grade: B

Backstreet Boys — In a World Like This
The boys 20th year brings their latest CD, with original member Kevin Richardson returning to the group. It is one of their most eclectic albums w/ dance, ballads and some acoustic folk numbers too. Those acoustic numbers are my favorites on the CD: Try and Trust Me. They should sound great on tour and show off their vocal chops. Grade: B

DVDs

Defiance
Based on true events, this movie lived up to it’s premise. A manager at a local fast food restaurant is called by someone claiming to be a policeman. They are told that one of her employees has stolen from a customer. How far can things go? You will have to rent to see. Grade: A-

Game Change
Based on the book of the same name about Sarah Palin entering the 2008 Presidential Election as John McCain’s VP Pick. Julianne Moore and Ed Harris star in this movie filmed for HBO. Great acting and story. Grade: A

So what did you like or didn’t like for summer entertainment? 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  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Random Thoughts on Summer

Here we are a several weeks into Summer 2012, and I have a few things to discuss:

I saw a couple of straight guys (I think they were Middle Eastern) out by the pool sunbathing. One of the guys had his long board shorts pulled all the way up so he could get a tan. If he was wearing Speedos, he wouldn’t have to do something so ridiculous. But because of social pressure, and fear of being seen as gay or different, he decided to do what he did.

I was at a gay event the other day at Dockweiler Beach in Los Angeles. This was the annual “At the Beach” Black Gay Pride event. It was a decent event, not as crowded as past years. One of the things I found interesting was people having layers of clothing. One beautiful black man that had 3 layers on: walking shorts, square-cut swimsuit and then a skimpier suit underneath (which he didn’t even walk around in). He wore the square cut for most the day, but pulled on the board shorts to go to the bathroom. Almost the same thing for a cute white boy. Board shorts with Speedos on underneath which he wore only on his towel. When he went to walk around, he pulled the board shorts back on. C’mon guys! If you got it, show it. After the kilt came off, I had on Speedos till I left — I walked around the beach in them, to the bathroom, and the car even. This is what a real man would do. He is not afraid to show some skin and be seen as sexy.Dan Green-Black TYR Suit

I go to the gym on a regular. LA Fitness, which used to be Bally’s Total Fitness. Twice now I have been asked in the jacuzzi by a rather large gentlemen if I was married, or had a girlfriend. Each time I have replied that I was single. I am not closeted in the least, but at the time, I felt it was not the time or place to get into it with the guy. Here I am a fit, 40ish white boy with a nipple ring and a Mohawk… I don’t know what he is trying to get at. After he asked me last time, I was getting ready to get out of the jacuzzi, when a straight couple sat down. The woman said “I bet you get a lot of girls with that haircut.” I laughed and said “Not really.” I have thought about it some, and if I am asked again I will tell the truth. There were 6-10 people around at both times, so if it happens I will be coming out to a group. I am a proud gay man, and sometimes people need to be reminded that we exist, and that you can’t just assume that everyone is heterosexual.

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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…)

What I Love About Summer

Summer is finally here! It seems like it takes forever to get here, and then it is gone before you know it. As a child, it meant time off from school. As an adult, it means BBQs, pool parties and concerts. So here is my list of what I love in summer:Dan resting in Speedos

  1. Gay Pride
    For most of us in the US, your gay pride probably falls in the summer months. Los Angeles, has 2 big events: Long Beach and West Hollywood. It is a time to be proud of how far we have come, and be reminded how much further we need to go before everyone is equal. Plus it is a time to party, and people watch.
  2. Concerts
    The best shows seem to come to town in the summer. There are more venues that operate only in the summer, nice outdoor amphitheatres plus special local free shows too down at a lot of parks. Nothing better than listening to some music on a warm summer night with some friends.
  3. Summer Movies
    This is the time of year that the studios tend to bring out their big guns. The big movies with tons of action and special effects. Comedies and cartoons are also popular. Great summer movies from the past include: Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Iron Man and The Dark Knight. The Avengers is breaking all kinds of records this summer, and surprisingly, it is good. (more…)

Summer Concerts

OK, I admit it. I am a bit of a music fan. I have been to over 300 concerts in the last 30 years. There’s something about seeing someone “live.” The roar of the crowd, the power of the performance, all adding up to a night you won’t forget. Here are 10 favorites from past summers in no particular order. Believe me, it was hard narrowing it down!

Madonna, July 1987, Anaheim Stadium
It was my first time seeing the Material Girl. This was for the Who’s That Girl tour, and there were 70,000 people in the stadium that night. We had to wait all day for the show as we had General Admission tickets, remember those? But it was a fun crowd and the time went by fast. The show was excellent, she really sang and danced her heart out. And a superstar was born, setting the bar as far as live shows with elaborate staging, costumes and choreography.

Donna Summer, August 2008, Hollywood Bowl
Not my first time seeing her by far! One of my all-time favorite artists ever, it was great to see her play such a large venue, 30+ years into her career. She had just released her first full album in 17 years, “Crayons” and had 2 #1 dance singles off it too. She sang most of the new songs, plus all the old favorites too including “Love to Love You Baby” which she said she would never sing again.

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