Support your local theater. I am ashamed of myself. I go to Dallas and Fort Worth for various theater shows and musicals. But I've never been to Onstage Bedford in my own backyard. Well, Ray and I remedied this on Saturday July 8th. First dinner at La Bistro in Hurst - yummy Italian food. Then off to the show for what turned out to be quite a fun evening.
Disaster! is a musical based on every disaster film you can think of. It spoofs The Poseidon Adventure, Titanic, Towering Inferno, etc. A variety of characters are attending a casino opening on a floating barge. Of course explosions ensue, an earthquake causes a tidal wave, there are piranha loose from the aquarium, and meanwhile the actors are singing and dancing away to an 80s soundtrack. The application of these song in times of dire disaster prove hysterical.
The actors give it there all and enthusiasm abounds. At times a teensy pitchy singing, but the end result was just an enjoyable time. The theater is quite nice -seats 100 people, so intimate. Sound, sets, and lighting, etc are all quite professional. I will be back for more shows.
If Disaster! strikes your local theater, go check it out. You will survive!
Here's a snapshot of the past Sunday at our house. We were celebrating summer birthdays - Ray, Bobby, Kevin, Maria, Becky, Makyla, and Hunter. Tough times floating in the pool. That's how we roll
It all went well until time to leave. Then Skylar (age 2) above with her mother, had a complete I'm-so-tired-from-swimming-meltdown. Oh well. The party isn't a success until there are tears. Too much sugar and salt water
And then someone chose to nap through the day....always a good option. Dakota - age 2 months did not don a swimsuit
Happy mid-week everyone...........let's countdown to the weekend once again.
J.Courtney Sullivan has been a reliable author in my list.
She spins family sagas with heart, develops rich characters, and produces
satisfying conclusions. Saints for All Occasions, her
latest, does not disappoint. I actually heard her speak once at a book
festival. She’s young and personable and I’ve been rooting for her. At this
point in her career with three books (The Engagements, Maine, and
Commencement) under her belt, I’d say she’s doing darn well.
The book begins in Ireland and Nora and Theresa Flynn are
headed to America. Nora, the elder, is responsible at 21. Theresa is energetic
and pretty at age 17. Unfortunately, she ends up pregnant and Nora has to
devise a plan to avoid family shame. However, the decisions made will
forever haunt them both. Flash forward fifty years. Nora sadly must deal with
the death of her oldest son, Patrick. He was the good looking black sheep –
hard drinking and trouble. Now what? We learn about the siblings – John,
Bridget, and Brian and their interactions with their brother and parents. And
what of Theresa, now Mother Cecilia, cloistered in a convent. What happens when
Nora contacts her about this death? Suddenly an aunt no one knew about appears
in their lives at the funeral.
p. 234 Nora: Now she saw that marriage was
like being in a three-legged race with the same person for the rest of your
life. Your hopes, your happiness, your luck, your moods, all yoked to his.
p. 320 Without warning, grief might poke you in the
ribs, punch you in the gut, knock the wind out of you. But even then, you
seemed just fine. The world went on and on.
Saints for All Occasions moves between the
past, the present, and the family life versus the convent life. Secrets in a
family can break and bind at the same time. Sullivan spins a grand tale and it
keeps you interested until the end.
The Beguiled opens in 1864 Virginia. It’s a
hot steamy day as a young girl combs the woods for mushrooms. She comes across
a wounded Union soldier and helps him back to the Seminary Girls home and
school where a few young ladies remain. The headmistress (Nicole Kidman) helps
clean his wound and sew him up. She chooses to not put out the blue scarf as a
signal to the local Confederate patrols. Instead she agrees to protect him as
he heals. And so the tension begins.
The soldier (played by a charming Colin Farrell) has his
smooth Irish brogue working for him as he verbally seduces each female – girls
from age 10 up to the older teen (a hot stifled Elle Fanning) to a yearning for
a man’s touch young woman (a repressed but lovely Kirsten Dunst). And the
headmistress herself is not immune to his charms. Each female in the house
slowly feels she is “special” in his eyes and they vie for attention. Whether
it’s dinner where they all dress up, play music, sing, and flirt. Or if they
come into his room to “check on him”.
Tension mounts and this movie is a slow burn. Each moment
hints at danger, and in the distance musket shots echo. Director Sofia Coppola
has an eye for filming a pretty picture, each southern tableau dripping with
moss and sexual heat. Jealousy builds and then erupts. Then all hell breaks
loose in the house. Let’s just say this does not bode well for the one man in
the pit with circling cats. I won’t say more. The Beguiled is a
mood movie. It’s a slow pace build to quite a finale. Excellent acting
and storytelling. When do you wave the blue scarf?
Ansel Elgort is Baby – an innocent young man listening to
music in his car. But wait, it’s a getaway car and as 1994s “Bellbottoms”
blares, Baby revs the engine and the bank robbers get away. Baby Driver
is a very fun running on all cylinders heist movie with a killer
soundtrack. See, Baby has tinnitus from a long ago accident that killed
his parents. He keeps the music playing as he lives life and drives for bad
people. He’s been indebted to Doc (Kevin Spacey) and he’s working to pay back
money. Once he’s free, he plans on escaping. He meets a waitress (the lovely
Lily James) who steals his heart. But he can’t seem to escape this criminal
element. Jamie Foxx is psychotic. Jon Hamm is crazy. This would be a very
generic car chase/bank robber movie without the whole cast.
Director Edgar Wright’s jukebox thrill ride (Time 7/10/17)
absolutely works on another level. Every chase – on foot or by car is precise.
It’s seedy and slick and energetic and bold. Baby Driver is why
we go to the movies in a theater to witness a film on the BIG screen. Eat
popcorn, slurp a soda, and chuckle at the humor, wince at the pain, and root
for Baby. Ansel Elgort is growing up and he’s convincing as a bad good boy. We
know he’ll be redeemed by love and drive into the sunset with his gal. What
song will be playing? Speed to the theater and find out. Vroom, vroom.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid had some buzz, so I
decided to get it from the library. It’s a very thoughtful book, not
long, rather somber, and does leave an impression. Hamid’s writing is deliberate
and precise with well-drawn characters. Nadia and Saheed meet in college
classes. He’s more interested than she is, but he’s shy. When he finally gets
her to go out and meet several times, he’s in love. Unfortunately their country
is on the brink of war and upheaval. Life changes rapidly with a key death, a
move, and then a life of transition for Nadia and Saheed. They are together,
united as a couple, united as refugees, and trying to figure things out.
The book is set in the future and yet so much seems very
current (a real shame). Doors open and close. Food is not available. People
aren’t welcome. Sound familiar? Exit West isn’t about war per
se. It’s a strong backdrop, and that affects Nadia and Saheed. The book
is more about their relationship and how a couple reacts in crisis and whether
they grow together or apart. I can’t say this book is for everyone, but I found
it interesting and thought provoking.
p.138 …and when the tension receded there was calm,
the calm that is called the calm before the storm, but is in reality the
foundation of a human life, waiting there for us between the steps of our march
to our mortality, when we are compelled to pause and not act but be.
Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep (a darn good
book) is out with Eligible – a modern retelling of Pride
and Prejudice. From the cover blurb – equal parts homage to
Jane Austen and bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and
delicious saga for the twenty-first century.
I hear screams from Jane Austen fans, and I understand. Pride
and Prejudice is a treasure. It’s the one. It can’t be
duplicated. I agree.
However, this is a clever interpretation with lively
characters running amok in the twenty first century. Cell phone etiquette and
first impressions, dating, and marriage, health and wealth. A lot of life
doesn’t really change nor do goals of Mrs. Bennet. Unfortunately she can’t
always get her daughters to do what she wants- i.e. get married.
And Chip Bingley is shallow. Fitzwilliam Darcy does not give a good
first impression. And Liz Bennet is independent and shows pluck.
Eligible is a breezy read. It’s funny and
tackles gender, class, courtship, and family issues. I enjoyed the book,
and it made me want to re-read Pride and Prejudice. Nothing wrong with that.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.