There Have Been Stranger Things…

Best of 2016, Television

As I curl up on any flat surface that my home affords me and watch the new Netflix series “Stranger Things”, I am so massively impressed at what I am seeing. I will document my observations and comments at length once I make my way through all 8 episodes, but until then, I leave you with a succinct trailer of the show. It’s everything that an 80’s reared, cartoon watching, ET loving, corduroy wearing, bike-riding kid loves.

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Climbing A W Hudson’s “Everest”

Book Reviews

It’s like I had Ben K. King’s “Stand By Me” playing in my mind as I read every word of A W Hudson’s coming-of-age novel “Everest.” It’s very, very hard for an author to not come across as twee when depicting teenage lust and longing, but A W Hudson does a fine job here.

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The setting could be any private school, but in “Everest”, it is set at Aston Hall School – boys only. David Malek, the books coming-of-ager, is angry and confused and, well, a fairly typical sixteen-year-old boy.  He butts heads with the schools principal, Mr. Chambers, and often daydreams when he is out of the school and in the forays of real life.

What would a teenage coming-of-age story be without a love interest? In this case, Megan Harris fills the role perfectly. A rich kid by all means, she acts as the catalyst to David’s ascension towards adulthood. Along the way, though, David must exert his independence from his school mates and confront the strangest grudge held against him by a former confidante.

He makes it out of the school, though, and we all know this won’t end well. Bad things happen, as they naturally would to a naive and bellicose boy, but they are also experiences that he must endure to truly mature.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that the author channels some major Holden Cauffield-ness in his presentation of a teenage bender. It’s an accurate and interesting read, bringing emotions to the forefront that have long since gone dormant. The novel succeeds at the thematic undercurrent of fate and happenstance, and manages to present a world where it’s the resilience of youth that saves the day.

 

 

A Review of Brian Humek’s “Summer of Sharona”

Best of 2015, Book Reviews
Oh, 1979. The year of The Amityville Horror and the Tube Top. The year of I Will Survive and Three’s Company. The year of Farrah Fawcett and the ubiquity of My Sharona, the latter being the soundtrack to Brian Humek’s whimsical and enjoyable Summer of Sharona.
summerofsharona

A Review of “The Absinthe Association” by Athenaide Dallett

Book Reviews

From the very first pages of a book, you can tell if an author is confident in their storytelling skills or if they’re insecure with their choice of language.  In The Absinthe Association by Athenaide Dallett, her tact and talent as a storyteller literally falls from the books pages and into the reader’s heart and soul.

Absinthe

The Shania Twain Experience

Concert

Thursday, June 25th was a night to remember. Not for the choral renditions of the songs that are embossed within our brains, but because of the sheer showmanship of a certain Shania Twain.

Twain opener

Starting with the titular song Rock This Country, Twain stormed the stage looking even better than she has ever before. While the bare midriff baring outfits have gone by the way side, the snazzy disco-inspired shiny one-pieces worn by Twain perfectly accented her parade of non-stop hits that had the 14,000 plus people in attendance dancing in their too-small seats.

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Quickly moving through her endless catalogue, Shania managed to hit every note and sing, literally, every song that she’s made famous throughout the years. It had been a LONG TIME since I’ve been to a concert where I stood the whole time, ensuring that I danced just the right amount so as to not annoy the cowboy wearing people behind me and the small, fearful couple on either side. I was truly mesmerized at Shania’s charisma and stamina and ability to command a crowd full of every demographic possible.

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Personal favorite part? That’s got to be the encore where she changed into thigh high boots and a cape (!) to sing her karaoke-laden hit Man! I Feel Like a Woman! Let me tell you – she sang every exclamation mark in a song heavy of them.

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Part Vegas revue, part arena tour, seeing Shania was like throwing on your favorite, hideous fleece sweater that always manages to make you feel better and that you’re not shy to wear around others. It was soul food, and I hadn’t realized how hungry for it I was until the music ended.

We’ll use the one thing we’ve got more of – that’s our minds.

It Makes Me Feel Better

This song has been on repeat in the constant internal monologue of my mind for days. Perfect blend of nostalgia and the futility of a post-education induced sense of complacency.

Brothers, sisters, can’t you see? The future’s owned by you and me. Amen, Jarvis.

Fame Reboot Picked Up at Lifetime From Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe

Random Musings, TV Fodder

Yes!!! I’ve been jonesing lately for a Hot Lunch modernization.

TVLine

Head up to the attic and pull your leg warmers out of storage, because Fame is coming back to TV.

Lifetime has picked up a reboot of the ’80s series — which has been in the works since 2012 — with So You Think You Can Dance‘s Nigel Lythgoe

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A Discourse on The Neverending Story

Movie Reviews, Random Musings

Upon my sofa the other night I found myself mindlessly perusing the myriad of movies available for instant viewing. Choosing to ignore my ever-growing Netflix queue, I opted to watch The Neverending Story for the umpteenth time.

I had not seen the film in a good many years, and especially not since being a child/young teen. I was disheartened to see that I had forgotten several meaningful and profound sequences, but while thinking about my selective amnesia, I rationalized that perhaps I had forgotten them because as a child I wasn’t capable of actually perceiving them.

It was these newly discovered segments of the film that made re-watching it a completely new experience. While yes, the story does indeed take place in a fictitious, story-book type world replete with colorful characters not entirely out of place in any Pixar movie, with plot elements representative of the human psyche on various levels. It’s a film about hope and the epic journey of redemption, but it’s also much more than that. Sitting on my couch, I was surprised to see Bastian, the boy who is reading the magical library book that post-modernly tells the story that the film is visually illustrating is merely a stand-in for the modern person. He is always being reminded to ‘keep his two feet on the ground’ by society, school, and by his own father. But it is these constant reminders by patriarchal societal figures to stay grounded that nudges the adult viewer to understand that it is when we begin to take things less seriously and to be aware of the magic of life then we can begin to truly soar.

The Neverending Story

While You Were Young

Random Musings

In light of Rebel Wilson’s recent admission of lying about her age all of these years, this song came to mind immediately. It’s always a subtle reminder that the nostalgia of youth and the ‘good ol’ days’ are so pleasant because they were so long ago. I’m sure I’m not the only one who could definitively say that I wouldn’t want to relive them – it would take away from their sepia-toned beauty. Besides, there’s so much more to life than recanting past days. Don’t you agree?