Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Lovin Happened So Fast (Book Review: Loving Summer by Kailin Gow)

The title of the book is "Loving Summer," and I started it because here we are in the throes of summertime, and I thought it would be appropriate. I thought it would be a fun read, something to go through while lounging by a pool or by the beach. That would be the idea, anyway, since I wasn't doing either of those things. But I found this story quite heavy. It's fine, I guess, but it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I felt the kids took their emotions too seriously, but at the same time acted too immature. I wanted to like the main character, Summer, but she was too wishy washy and it didn't help that the author gave her unbelievable situations. (A teenager takes over a California  acting class school out of the blue? )  I tried to be open-minded and told myself these are kids, but I just ended up not liking any of the characters, even the adults. "Loving Summer" should have been more fun. 


Friday, June 29, 2012

Got To Believe In Magic (Film Review:Magic Mike)

There was no way anyone could stop me from watching "Magic Mike" on its first day. And I knew I would enjoy it, though I was unsure how. Would I like it on a shallow level (beefcake), or will it be camp, or perhaps I would enjoy it as a piece of cinema? And so, I did enjoy myself a lot, because it is a very entertaining movie, a morality tale that never becomes too preachy. Essentially, it is a classic Hollywood American Dream formula film. Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) works multiple jobs, but he really wants to be a custom furniture maker. He stumbles upon a protege, "The Kid," and we see him mentor the kid, and show him the ropes to make it big. There's nothing really fresh in the screenplay, but we still are emotionally invested, mostly from the great acting from the cast, especially Tatum. I now realize that Tatum epitomizes the great modern actor of our times: effortless, relatable, unpretentious, real. In every movie I have seen him, he is always different, always distinct, always effective. Here he is the cocky stripper with the heart of gold, the mentor who comes through.  He is the heart of the movie, the one who grows up, the one who carries the same heart heavily, and the one who wraps it all up in the end. The rest of the cast shines, too - Matthew McConaughey is perfect in the Mother Den/Pimp role. You can tell he is having a lot of fun with the project. I was also impressed with Alex Pettyfer - he shows a vulnerability and an "aw shucks" earnestness that was vital for the role. For those who are looking for skin, there's enough and plenty of that, although I thought it was not really titillating from its lack of subtlety. The early evening almost all-women audience seemed to be lapping it up, though. Yes, pun intended. "Magic Mike" is not just a dirty romp - you will not feel too guilty when you wake up in the morning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First I Was Afraid (Book Review: First You Fall by Scott Sherman)

I read and loved "Second You Sin," by Scott Sherman, and then I realized it was the second book in The Kevin Connor Mystery Series, so of course the anal retentive in me just had to seek out "First You Fall," which is the first book of the series. And guess what? I loved it as well. I observed a while back that older people liked to read mysteries, and maybe because I am older now that I am getting into the genre more. Books like "First You Fall" will inch me to reading more, if they are this enjoyable. But I find what I like most about this book is the characters. We of course have the protagonist: the rentboy with a heart of gold, and we have his obligatory slutty best friend. Their interplay is wonderful: witty and erudite. (Kevin's mother is also a hoot)  The "mystery" part here is pretty good, and there's good action in the final chapters. For me, it was a great blend, and though I like the second book better (I thought there were more characters than mystery in the sequel) this one kept my interest level high and it definitely wasn't boring. I hope to Mr. Sherman adds more to the series. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This Summer's News (Television Review: The Newsroom/HBO)

Aaron Sorkin is back on television. HBO's new summer series, "The Newsroom" premiered Sunday and this series is a welcome delight. A lot of critics haven't been kind to this show, calling it preachy and condescending. Well, I am not going to complain about that because I agree with what the series is saying. Surely, the show is opinionated, and arrogant perhaps, but at least it has a specific point of view. Perhaps you disagree with it, but you cannot begrudge it's message. I am reminded of it as I read accounts of what is happening at NBC's Today Show. Ann Curry, allegedly, is being pushed out, and is being blamed for its ratings decline. However, I think the bigger problem is the tabloidization of morning news in general. There used to be a time when you turned the news in the morning and you heard news. Nowadays, you get a magazine type show where they interview reality television stars. That is perhaps part of "The Newsroom"'s message - at some point, you have to make a decision to be "above it all." Sure, for a lot of people, that may be a hard pill to swallow, and most times these are the same people reviewing shows like "the Newsroom." But with its snappy dialogue and charismatic cast, the show is vastly entertaining - whether you agree with its message or now. John J Gallagher and Thomas Sadoski are great in it, as the then-and-now producer of Will McAvoy's (Jeff Daniels) show. I am not entirely convinced about Daniels, though I think he will grow on me as the season progresses. There is just something about him, for now, that seems off: too sleek, not sleek enough, too polished, not attractive enough? Something. Anyhow, I will be watching, and expecting the best.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Spilt Milk (Book Review: Leche by R Zamora Linmark)

There is a famous desert in The Philippines called "halo-halo," which strictly translated is "Mix-Mix." It is a sweet concoction based with milk, and like the Cobb salad, is a mix of different types of sweets. It's texturized - you get gelatin, rice peal drops, beans, ice cream, coconut, and is sinfully delicious. I liken R. Zamora Linmark's novel "Leche" to it: the book is a collage of different things: fantasy, reflections, "Tourist Tips," postcards. It is also unfocused, and quite untrue. I don't buy that this book is an ode to Linmark's country of youth: I get the sense he does not even like the country, or its people. Filipinos are fiercely nationalistic, and I suspect would be not be happy with the way they are represented here. The Philippines most famous first daughter of the 90s, Kris Aquino, is definitely a mine for satire, but she gets him (and his satire of her) all wrong here. Worst of all, there doesn't seem to be a cohesive narrative here. I thought the main character, Vince, was unlikeable, and minor characters come and go with no rhyme nor reason for you to care about anyone. All, in all, I think it's a missed opportunity. 


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Precious And Few (Film Review: Moonride Kingdom)

I am at a loss as to how to describe Wes Anderson's newest movie, "Moonrise Kingdom." Twee? Precious? Fantasy-like? While those are adjectives that can describe  his latest movie, they just scratch the surface. But before anything else, let me just state on record that I am not the biggest fan of Mr. Anderson's movies. In fact, I stopped trying to "understand" them.  At this point, I admire them more, because they obviously touch a lot of people, based on his loyalists. But I was kind of looking forward to seeing this movie, as I thought it may appeal to my sensibility: themes of young love, melancholy abound here. My verdict: I liked it enough to not say I hate it. I am kind of glad I saw it, though I wouldn't say I would want to see it again. It's a story of two tweens who start to communicate through letters, then agree to run away. They set up camp and they dance to Francoise Hardy, and French-kiss chastely. It's pure, and innocent, and sweet. But they are young, and even they don't know what their love means. But the movie is much more than that, the boy is a foster child, and because of this incident, is abandoned by his foster parents. "Social Services," played with deliciousness by Tilda Swinton (God - can this woman do anything wrong?) wants to claim him now and put him in a "juvenile orphanage" which evokes Dickensian images. Filmed through a 16mm camera and filtered like an Instagram app photo, the movie is never uninteresting to look at. I will not lie and say that there weren't instances where I rolled my eyes - why must Anderson always have adults as idiots in his films - but more or less, I believed Anderson's (so written with Roman Copolla) screenplay. All the actors here are in on Anderson's joke, and I cannot believe I saw a movie where I liked Bruce Willis' performance. 

Ain't It Nice! (Stage Review: Nice Work IF You Can Get It)

When it comes to Broadway musicals, my taste skews towards the old-fashioned. "Nice Work If You Can Get It" is old-fashioned, alright, and I loved it. It is a glorious parade of Gershwin songs, and about ten minutes into it, I found myself with a silly grin, in a happy place, intoxicated with its fizz and sparkle. It's definitely a "throwback" to musicals of yesteryears: star leads, thin book, lots of madcaps, splashy production numbers? And what's wrong with that? For me, nothing. Today's audience may nto totally love its long-ish running time. If I may admit, some numbers could be cut. It's vaudeville-ish in a way: each character has specific musical numbers, and some minor characters may not merit theirs. But Kathleen Marshall's very specific point of view is great. So yes, more than a couple of things may be reminiscent of what she did for the Roundabout revival of "Anything Goes," but they work. I consider the two productions twin sets. They both work. And there's a low-key but effective chemistry between Matthew Broderick and Kelli O'Hara. True, Broderick is low-watt compared to everyone else on stage, but it seemed a perfect counterpoint to O'Hara's comedic foil. I was quite impressed with the latter - I hadn't realized she could be funny. Judy Kaye won a Tony for her performance, and she is fine if a bit underutilized (I would have given the Tony to Elaine Paige, though.) And can I talk about the wall-to-wall Gershwin songs. They really are tiemeless, and I could hear Kelli singing "Someone To Watch Over Me" for the rest of my life and wouldn't be bored by it. But my favorite thing about the musical: it made me feel good, it made me think about romance, it made me feel like dancing as I was leaving The Imperial Theater. very few things in the world can do that to me. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Love Down Under (Book Review: All Expenses Paid by Heidi Champa)

Halfway through reading Heidi Champa's "All Expenses Paid," I realized the thing that had been bothering me about the novel: the main character,  was too feminine. Not in the physical sense - he wasn't acting "fey" or anything like that. But, his thoughts and actions were too, for lack of a better word, feminized, and it seemed inauthentic to me. A gay man is still, for all intents and purposes, still a man,  and Davis' actions, in my opinion, do not reflect being one. That being said, though, "All Expenses Paid" is enjoyable enough if you don't take it too seriously. The set up is hokey, and I wish the "travelogue" aspect of it was more detailed and personal (Fodor's gives more insight. I mean, I know that wasn't the novel's point, but still...) This is one of those fluff beach reads, though at times it felt like too much fluff for even me. (Imagine that!) It did make me want to visit Australia, though, and I may have to do that soon. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Young Girl Talk (Film Review: Tomboy)

When people ask me why I still subscribe to Netflix discs (versus their streaming services) it's because I always find rare gems in their Independent/Foreign Language sections. "Tomboy" is one such gem. Directed by Celine Sciamma, it is one of those movies that are quiet, and kinda slow, and it hits you without you even knowing. At 88 minutes, it is kind of short, and it sometimes feel like it's not doing anything. But, it is also a movie that makes you think, and this case, it makes you ponder about gender identity and sexuality. Zoe Haran is a ten year old girl who pretends to be a boy She dresses like one, and acts like one. She goes out and plays with other boys, and because of how she makes herself look physically, the other kids are none the wiser. And basically, until about three quarters of the movie, that is it - until a major complication surfaces, and you are suddenly hit with a dilemma, an idea. Is gender identity connected to sexuality? Why would a ten year old girl try hard to be a boy when there seemingly is nothing sexual in her intentions? The film doesn't give you an answer, it just presents the question. And now, here I am, still thinking about what the movie asks me, and of me. There were times when scenes in the movie made me very uneasy and uncomfortable. I sympathized with Laure, the little girl, and she is presented that way because it also shows that she is a loving sister to her younger sibling. And when revelations surfaced at the end, you end up feeling torn.  Just like most things in life, there are no rights and wrongs. 

Desperate Suburban Housewives (Book Review: Women On The Edge Of A Nervous Breakthrough by Isabel Sharpe)

It took me a week to finish "Women On The Edge Of A Nervous Breakthrough." I have been in a sort of reading rut, and I just couldn't get into it.  But I kept on reading, until I got through a breakthrough last night and I read the last half of the book in one sitting. I just needed to be in the right mood, the right frame of mind, in order to finish it. And I quite liked it. The story revolves around Vivian, who was found not guilty of a sensationalized murder case. (She wasn't) After the trial, she escapes New York City to Kettle, Wisconsin where she wrecks havoc on the town, but then changes the life of two women there. It's partly a social commentary on suburban housewives, on life in small town, on dealing with dreams unrealized. There are cliches, for sure, but they aren't insulting. I know the title is a riff on the Pedro Almodovar film, but the tone of the novel is more reminiscent of the television series "Desperate Housewives." (I am too lazy to check if the time frame of the television show vs. this novel) If for anything, the novel celebrates women empowerment, and I could imagine it may help someone out there somewhere seeking help. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Powder And Leather (Scent Review: Prada Amber Pour Homme)

It is very rare for me to finish a bottle of anything, obviously because I have more scents than days of the week. Today, I finished one: Prada Amber Pour Homme. It was their very first masculine scent, and when I first got it, I loved it to death. It was ambery, it was powdery, at the time, I thought it had the most revolutionary drydown: suede. I loved the fougere mixed with leather. I smelled soapy, and clean (and that is not a bad thing) and I felt like I just showered using very expensive soap.  At that time, it smelled so different from all the male commercial scents available, and I felt fashionable and decadent, and elegant. Smelling it right now, after I doused myself with the last spritzes from my bottle (I actually felt very sad when I threw away the bottle) I keep on smelling my wrist and my shirt, and craving it. Not enough to rush and get a new bottle, mind you, but I know that if I saw a cheap bottle somewhere I would grab it. (Maybe at Heathrow when I am there in  two weeks ) I also want to try the "intense" version they have, although this has pretty good longevity. So goodbye, Prada Pour Homme, but maybe I will see you again?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's Bigger And Hotter In Texas (Television Review: Dallas/TNT)

I wasn't a big "Dallas' fan back in the day. I was a big into Knots Landing and Falcon Crest, and was only mildly fanatic about the big Ds - Dynasty and Dallas. But, I was still excited about the new Dallas series on TNT which started Thursday. This show is not a reboot, but kind of a "where are they now" sequel. And they are still there, and Southfork is still standing. (I did read that the original house used had burned down, though) JR, Bobby are still there, and Sue Ellen, too. Linda Gray looks great - either she has a great plastic surgeon or a painting in her closet. And add to the mix John Ross and Christopher, played by Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalf. They are this generation's JR & Bobby -  one is altruistic, the other devious. It's a great dichotomy from their fathers, and brings the series for this generation. There are love entanglements too, but of course, between the brothers, though I am kind of scared for Jordana Brewster - she looks anorexic, almost sickly. and did I say that Linda Gray still looks stunning? There's enough backstabbing in the first two episodes that it's fun, engaging and already addicting. There's enough spice in here, and it is wonderfully filmed. Some thoughts, though: there seems to be an thick eyebrow epidemic in Dallas these days: Larry Hagman's is out of control and Metcalf's is also weirdly proportioned. And I also gotta laugh at the poster above: it's Photoshopped to death that I don't think there is an accurate body/face combo there. This show is just going to get hotter, and I will be there. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Noizes Off (film Review: Rock Of Ages)

So here's the thing: I kind of understand why "Rock Of Ages" is a hit on Broadway. It has the nostalgia element to the now middle-aged 80s fans, and is a perfect show for the bridge-and-tunnel crowd (sorry to be a snob, but 'tis true) Plus, they serve drinks so it dulls the edge for most theatergoers. And yes, I understand why they did a movie: it's kind of campy, it's tuneful, it's bombastic. It's a simple show, with simple dreams, and it is loud enough to get your attention. But why oh why did they cast the dull-as-cardboard Juliana Hough as the female lead? Let me just be blunt: she has a bland presence, and she.cannot.act. At. all. No amount of false eyelashes and big hair can make her appealing, and she ultimately brings the whole movie crumbling. Diego Boneta, as her love interest is dead on arrival, no matter how much he tries to resuscitate their scenes. There is great amusement to be found in Tom Cruise's Stacee Jaxx, and I sometimes have to wince to see if that actor on screen is really Tom Cruise. It's a showy part, but it never felt overblown, because Cruise gives it a sly subtle wink while wearing assless chaps. Catherine Zeta Jones plays her "Tipper Gore" role superbly because she doesn't take the whole thing seriously.Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand are great character decorations. The musical scenes are sung well, but I hear auto-tune. They are photographed and choreographed chock full of cliches, though, and the movie is overly long, with too much emphasis on book scenes that go nowhere. I came into this movie with an open mind despite the fact that I am not a fan of the Broadway show, but as I came out of the movie theater, I gained a new found appreciation of the one playing at The Helen Hayes Theater. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Once And Again...and Again (Music Review: Once Original cast Recording)

Now that it won the Tony for Best Musical, I thought I would write bout the Original Cast Recording of ONCE. The only word I could think of to describe the music would be "soulful." And I hesitate to use that, because I get this vision of R & B music when I hear that word. The music of ONCE is the farthest thing, stylistically, from Rhythm and Blues. But it definitely has rhythm, it's about the blues, and yes, it most definitely has soul. Most of the music are the same from the movie soundtrack from which this musical was adapted from. But, I find the versions here to be very different. The original versions, by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, have a more indie-rock feel. The songs here, have a more "theatrical" feel.  Maybe because I have seen the show, but these songs resonate more because of the dramatic context as I remember them. And the voices of Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti have an urgent, loving desperation that each note they sing compounds their emotions. i think I have written before that I will probably never tire of listening to "Falling Slowly," but there are two solos here that touch me just as deeply: Kazee's "Gold," and Milioti's "The Hill." But there's no throwaway track, really.  I am even astounded that I have played the Irish standard "Chandler's Wife" more than twenty times.  I do understand that these aren't book songs (they songs do not really move the story forward in the traditional sense) so the recording may be a little hard to follow for someone who have not seen the movie or the show. But as a "snapshot" of what is playing at the Bernard Jacobs Theater, this is as good as it gets. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When Fruity Florals Were Fun (Scent Review: Grain de Folie by Gres)

Before fruity florals became the rage there was Gres Grain de Folie, which literally translates to "seeds of madness." This perfume was created in 1999, so I am guessing at the time that it was revolutionary. I remember it was 'love at first sniff' for me - I remember feeling at the time it smelled so modern, so sweet, so wholesome. I don't even know how I found out about it, I think it was recommended to me by my guy at my favorite store at the Perfume District (back when it was the place to go) Anyways, I got a new bottle (cheap) last year and I wore it a lot last summer, though not as exclusively as before (I guess I am not as monogamous as I used to be !) and I am wearing it today and am still in love with it. I think this will be one of those scents I will wear for the rest of my life. I don't even think there is a big change in it, perhaps it has not been reformulated? The one thing I noticed today? The rhubarb note. I love it, and got reacquainted by it recently from the new Aedes De Venustes parfum. Although the latter is a better scent - richer and more sophisticated - Grain de Folie gives a lighter, more accessible hit. There is kumquat here, too, and there is jasmine and peony on the floral side. It is a fruity floral that isn't clingy sweet, and it smells like something from a niche line. Sometimes I get perfume fatigue and there are days I reach out for old reliables - this is one of those.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Last Night I Gave You My Heart (Book Review: Last Night At Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger)

Let me just go on record that I read "The Devil Wears Prada" way before everyone else discovered it. I don't even remember how I found out about it - I think it was at The Strand - but I remember thinking, this book is a winner. And the rest, for Lauren Weisberger's sake, is history.  I also liked her other book, "Everyone Worth Knowing," (although I did feel it was a little bit of a rehashed 'Prada') so I don't know why it took me a long time before I got to read "Last Night At Chateau Marmont." This book was on my TBR pile for a very long time, and I started it a couple of days ago.  Well, a couple of pages into it I realized again how Ms. Weisberger is a great storyteller. There is nothing new in this story - a couple whose relationship gets rocky because of fame - but she weaves a yarn that's so interesting you feel like you have never heard the tale before. She has a great knack for setting up scenes that grab you instantly, and you want to know exactly what happens next. The first part- the setup- was great, but the last third sagged for me. I felt as though she didn't know how to wrap up the story, and even feel like she didn't really believe her own ending. But it is mostly very good - a great summer read that will keep your interest all the way through. 

And by the way, this is the fiftieth book I have read this year! I am half-way there! 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bel Ami Boy (Film Review: Bel Ami)

I have not read Guy de Maupessant's novel "Bel Ami," and maybe I should have before seeing this movie based on that book. (The only Bel Ami I know is the production company, shame on me!) Halfway through the movie, I was kind of lost in the storyline. The movie, directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, is a hot mess, and not the fun kind. Robert Pattison plays Georges Duroy, who has just returned to 1885 Paris from Algeria. He is penniless and breaks through Parisian High Society. And he is handsome and charming, a magnet to the women. I am not a Pattison hater, and liked him in two of his non-Twilight movies, "Remember Me," And "Water For Elephants." But I must say that this isn't his best work. The script is hollow, so it's not entirely his fault, but he doesn't help matters by scowling through most of the movie. He has his way with his leading ladies, but you never see what makes him attractive to them. (Half the time I wanted to put concealer on the dark circles on his eyes)  You never know if he is a juicy villain, or a hero. Most of the time, he just seems to be a wet noodle. It is such a wasted opportunity, in my opinion. He could have made this work. Uma Thurman is beautiful, and I desperately love her throaty voice. I think more and more she is emerging to be on my short list of favorite actresses. Kristin Scott Thomas is great, too, and even Christina Ricci shows a lot of depth. Maybe that's part of the reason for Pattison's weakness: all the women around him give very strong performances. "Bel Ami" could have been a delicious French desert, but it just seems like soggy French fries. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lapses And Relapses (Book Review: Ninety Days by Bill Clegg)

I read Bill Clegg's first memoir, "Portrait Of An Addict As A Young man"  last year and I thought it was an exasperating read but oddly compelling. I don't really think I liked it that much: it made me really antsy and uncomfortable. Well, what do you know. "Ninety Days," the follow up to it, is just as tiring to read.  Clegg starts fresh, but goes to relapse a couple of times until the end of the book where he seems to have it all together. But for how long, I think to myself. Perhaps at this very second, as I type this, he is using again. I want to root for him, but there were times, int his book, when I wanted to shake him and say, snap out of it. But maybe that is the appeal of the memoir. I mean, I couldn't put it down even if I wanted to strangle him half the time. He puts his readers on a couple of emotional roller coaster loops, and maybe what makes this very interesting for me is that I know the areas where he walks and lives around, making his story familiar. For his sake, I hope the next part of his memoir is about his work and achievements, not more relapses.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Veepilicious (Television Review: Veep)

I think I have found my new favorite series. It's "Veep" on HBO. I put this show on my DVR as an afterthought, and waited a couple of weeks before I watched consecutive episodes. And now I am hooked. It is smart, and laugh-out-loud funny. I find myself squirming with laughter, and cynical jaded me never do that. This show is a perfect vehicle for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I have never given her time - she wasn't my favorite Seinfeld character back in the day, and I never saw an episode of "The New Adventures of Old Christine." But she is a gem here - she is salty-tongued and hilarious-physical, and she is human and believable and vice-presidential, and she is hilarious. I would be so very upset if she doesn't win an Emmy for her role her. But what makes the show much better for me is her motley crew staff - there's Anna Chlumsky as Amy, her chief of staff, her press secretary Mike, played by Matt Walsh, hunky Reid Scott, who plays Dan, the alpha male backstabber, and my favorite : her right hand man, gary, played by Tony Hale, whose responsibilities include squeezing hand sanitizer for the vice president before she shakes hands. Add to that the annoying White House liaison, played by Jonah, played by Timothy Simmons. There is an easy, breezy rapport with everyone, and firecracker chemistry, which really reminds me of "Seinfeld," and of the 80s sitcom "Soap." It's a great mixture of light and heavy. One episode revolved around a random trip for the VP to get frozen yogurt, while another one was about the potential of a sitting single Vice President who may be pregnant. All is handles with light strokes. Nothing is really heavy handed. I am so addicted to the show now that I literally wait for new episodes on Sunday nights. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

There's A Kind Of Hush (Book Review: The Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli)

Sometimes a book hits very close to home. Or in my case, an old home. This novel was like revisiting an old shoe, an old shirt - everything feels familiar, but I know I have moved on from it. But, it doesn't make the feeling less heartbreaking. "The Cranberry Hush," by Ben Monopoli is the story of Vince and Griff. He is bi-sexual, and he is straight, and they meet when they were in college. They have graduated now, and they are at that stage wherein they are still discovering themselves - and life - after college. In a lot of ways, they still cannot untangle themselves from being young and carefree and have to accept themselves as adults. Told from Vince's point of view, we see the story unfold when Griff shows up at his door unexpectedly after a winter storm, and the days after. This is a story of love, make no mistake, and of two people coming to terms with that love, and realizing that they are lucky to have found someone in their lives who have given the most they can give for each other. I myself have realized this. I have found myself in exactly the same dilemma as Vince's, until I accepted the fact that as far as unrequited loves are concerned, one should just be happy to accept the fact that the other person has given you love the most they can give you, and that in itself is a true blessing. I bought this book from Amazon more than a year ago (May 11, 2011) and it just languished in my TBR pile until I started it a day ago. Everything happens for a reason, so they say and perhaps this book was brought by the Universe for me to finish today, as I was starting to go through a little bit of depression to, to put a melancholy smile on my face. 


And The News Is The Same (Stage Review: Newsies)

I dislike most things Disney. there, I said it. I know that for some people, that is just like saying "I am the Anti-Christ," bet be that as it may. So even though "Newsies" opened with hype of all hypes, I was still resisting it. And after seeing it, I liked it. But I wasn't totally wowed, and I thought its appeal was infectious. It has a heart, and even though it is beating and alive, I thought it was made from synthetic problems. Based on the same Disney movie (which I thought was insufferably bad) the book, by Harvey Fierstein was adapted for the Broadway stage. The music, by Alan Menken, and the lyrics, by Jack Feldman are catchy, and appropriate, but I felt like it has been test-marketed and sliced and diced by the most rigid Disney standards. While I like it, the whole score, to me, sounds like one song: tuneful, then it goes to soar. Then add to the mix a robust choreography by Christopher Gattelli and performed to athletic perfection by young men as if they are are auditioning for "So You Think You Can Dance." (I hear some dancers are graduates from that show, anyway) The ingredients all add up to a perfect stew, but maybe that is what I don't like about it - there is no roughness, no surprise, no edge. Well, sort of like something Disney. Jeremy Jordan, as Jack Kelly, is charismatic, but I thought his performance is by-the-numbers, and I actually preferred him in last year's flop, "Bonnie & Clyde."  Capathia Jenkins is great in her one-note number, and Kara Lindsay looks pretty and generic as the leading lady. Like I said, everything here is so matchey matchey and nicey nicey that it makes for a nice wholesome evening. For a lot of people, that is Broadway. It's only part-time for me. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fizz Pop Gone (Scent Review: Penhaligon Juniper Sling)

When I was in London last September, the big new perfume release was Penhaligon's Juniper Sling. It was everywhere - posters, underground ads. But since Penhaligon's is not hard to find over here, I kind of ignored it. Of course, as soon as I got home, I found out that it might take a couple of months for it to get here in the States. And then I became *obsessed* with sniffing it. All I knew then was that the scent was based on the gin and tonic cocktail. It does open like that - there is a gin-ny (Angelica?) twang int he beginning, but it is also pepperry (kind of like Absolut Pepper) that makes it cold and dry. It projected fizz, kind of like what I envisioned seltzer water would smell like. Then it kind of disappears, and then you get the heart notes of sweetness. I can't really pinpoint what makes it sweet  - cinnamon? juniper? brown sugar? Oliver Crespe blends it well that t's not fruity, nor amber-ry... just sweet. And I kind of like it. But then it disappears again. I have a big problem with its longevity and strength. I don't know if my nose just gets so used to it, or it's just weak. Perhaps it's the latter, because Penhaligon's guides that the scene should be sprayed liberally. I don't really love it, and find myself not reaching for the scent much. However, I do like it when I have it on, and today - a hot, sweltering kind of a summer day - it provided a cool respite. But then, again, it was gone too soon. I'll always remember this as my london scent that never was.