Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bonus Leap Year Day 2024 - Year of the Dragon


 It's the Year of the Dragon 2024    I've been gathering some assorted quotes from the Wall Street Journal that struck me - all very random.  So enjoy this bonus post on a bonus day.  Why February?  Dang - generally cold, dreary, totally useless.  

Enjoy

Art is the expression of man's pleasure in labor - William Morris

I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses - Johannes Kepler

Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home - David Frost

Children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious minded activity - Montaigne

I liked Keplers the most, especially in this most ridiculous election year. 

I hope you are playing  today - it's a bonus day of  total frivolity.  Use it wisely (ha!) my friends. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Whatever Wednesday - Bright Star


 Sunday afternoon in Hurst TX - Artisan Theater presented Bright Star, a  Tony nominated show created by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. 

This was a really lovely local production. The talent was outstanding - vocals, acting, sets, etc.  Wow and kudos. 

This musical takes place in North Carolina in 1923-24 and also 1945-46.  As it goes back and forth in time, we see a story unfold about two young lovers who were not destined to be together.  We also follow a story about a young man destined for writing greatness.  So many paths cross.  Hearts broken. Reconciliation.  Oh man, this tugs the heartstrings. 

So, good story.  Very good songs.  Excellent vocals. 

Fun afternoon.

Support your local theater companies.  These folks are working hard and singing  their hearts out. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Monday Moments - Kenan Thompson Memoir


 As a fan of Kenan Thompson on SNL, I was excited for his memoir and it did not disappoint.  When I Was Your Age is quite funny, very real, just a dude talking to us.  He's the longest ever cast member and sketches like "Black Jeopardy" are hysterical. He's still got a baby face, and he absolutely cracks the cast up. 

His goal in life was to act and be funny. And his family life was good. His mom worked darn hard to make his dream come true. From the Mighty Ducks to All That  to Good Burgers, Kenan was destined to be a star. 

He's a dad to two girls and SO not cool now. He's got dad vibes and he's good with that. 

cover blurb - This book is packed with hilarious yet poignant essays that are aimed to offer any parenting advice, focusing on positivity, and having fun in life.  He tells his story about auditions, failures, going bankrupt, and getting on SNL, a true dream come true.  Then he had to work hard to succeed there - fortunately getting paired with a very young Colin Jost (writer at the time). They clicked and the rest has been history. 

I laughed out loud at this book as a true fan of Kenan. He's down to earth and sheds some good comments on SNL cast members and guest hosts. He comes across as a really nice guy who's worked incredibly hard at his craft, often being  the "token black dude", but not letting that be his story.  He's beyond talented and funny and I'm glad I read his book. 


Friday, February 23, 2024

Finally Friday - Mean Girls, the Musical


 So we had the original 2004 hilarious movie by Tina Fey.  Then there was a Broadway musical. Now we have the 2024 musical movie Mean Girls and it is truly funny. 

Tina Fey's creation is hysterical. It's campy fun. Renee Rapp as Regina George captures the Hot Girl Leader of school. 

Angourie Rice as Cady Heron is the innocent young lady who grew up overseas and is clueless. 

Christopher Briney as Aaron Samuels is great as our token stud. 

Clicks abound. High school is brutal.  But this musical has great voices, good acting, and is just an enjoyable two hour romp for all of us who survived.  Believe me - I understand the Mean Girls vibe and I was not a cool girl. I was on the receiving end of the high school horror. I can laugh now!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Whatever Wednesday - Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult


 You just can't go  wrong with a Jodi Picoult book. She is SO on top of topics and Mad Honey  (written with Jennifer Finney Boylan) hits a hot topic - trans issues. 

Olivia McAffee starts over with her son, Asher, after a picture perfect marriage that goes dark.  She moves home and takes over the family beekeeping business. 

Lily Campanello relocates for her senior high school year. 

Paths cross. Asher and Lily fall in love. But trust...

cover blurb: Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call. Lily is dead. Asher is being questioned by police.  Flashes of temper by Ash (so much like his father??).  Lily's secrets....?

Secrets, risks, love, suspense.  Mad Honey is a darn good read, with twists and turns I did not anticipate. 


Monday, February 19, 2024

Monday Moments - American Fiction movie


 What better way to celebrate President's Day than with a movie satire. American Fiction is fire! 

Thelonious "Monk" Ellison (the brilliant Jeffrey Wright)  is an African American upper class writer and professor. His novels are praised by not widely sold. Newcomer Sintara Golden (Issa Rae) panders to black stereotypes with We's Live in Da Ghetto and that irks Monk to no end. 

The man has money troubles and he writes a ridiculous cliche book - deadbeat dads, gang violence, drugs and he calls it Fuck  (sorry by me for using the word) - just asking for trouble.  It goes on (spoiler alert) to win awards.  

There are SO many conflicting issues going on in this movie and it's well done. I'm not explaining it well, but trust me this is worth watching.  I laughed out loud, cringed, and well...so much of the situations for black writers, educators, performers are darn too true. This movie makes you think, laugh, and appreciate the acting. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Finally Friday - Tom Lake by Ann Patchett


 Head to Tom Lake this weekend via Ann Patchett's comfortable writing. Her style is sublime, her characters rich, and Ann Patchett weaves a family tale. 

It's 2020 pandemic and Lara's three daughters return to the family cherry orchard in northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they pick their mother's brain for the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and their relationship with their mother, and are forced to reframe their understanding of the world they thought they knew. (cover blurb)

P. 116  There is no explaining this simple truth about life; you will forget much of it. Lara was thinking.  Memories are then replaced by different joys and larger sorrows. 

p.152 "If we're going to be miserable and cry, let's do it in the lake," says Nell. 

Lara:  I drop beneath the surface and open my eyes. It's as if someone brought up all the diamonds at Tiffany's and crushed them into dust, then spread that dust across the water so that it sifts down evenly, filtering through the shards of light that cut into the depth. 

(cover blurb) Tom Lake cuts into the depths of youthful love, married love, and the lives our parents led before they were our parents.  I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend, than to enjoy this book.