Friday, September 20, 2019

NPH - author, singer, dancer, actor, magician

Super fun author night at UTA.  Ray and I attended an event featuring Neil Patrick Harris. He was promoting his third book in a series. It's geared for middle school age, so there were lots of families in the audience. Half Price Books was the sponsor, and the PR person did a great job with the author interview.

This man is multi-talented and engaging. He was warm,  funny, and spoke to the kids in the audience. He promoted reading, and encouraged kids to put yourself out there. Everyone is a misfit of some sort. You just have to plug along. He talked about growing up in New Mexico, being an actor. He did voices from Lemony Snicket (all of his roles on the Netflix series). He briefly discussed Broadway (Hedwig!), and Wait for it.....Barney on How I Met Your Mother.  He's also a keen fan of magic, and he's a family man. He and his husband have twins. 

All in all, it was a very fun,  interesting hour, and I left even more impressed with Neil Patrick Harris.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wordless (Almost) Wednesday - More Dior

 Marilyn Monroe in Christian Dior
 A breathtaking gallery of gowns worn by some famous folk - Rhianna, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lawrence, and Marlene Dietrich.
Need something to wear to a picnic?   ha!

Nifty exhibit - fantasy clothes and prices.  But sooner or later - haute couture design makes its way in many iterations to the racks of Wal-mart. Color, buttons, wide belt, or skinny - as we learned in the movie  "The Devil Wears Prada", it may seem silly but then it comes to the masses.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Movie Review Madness - Hustlers

Oh Baby. I've always liked Jennifer Lopez and she is beyond Jenny on the Block in this movie. She OWNS the freaking block - Manhattan, Wall Street - at night, when men are looking for some fun/trouble.

Hustlers is based on a real story and it's hot. It's gritty, female empowerment, working hard for the money, and it's entertaining. Destiny (Constance Wu) is caring for her grandmother and trying to make a living. She's dancing at a club and as the new girl is aced out of the big bucks.

Fortunately, she plays it smart and gets in good with Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). Ramona is a star - she's rolling in the dough and sees potential in Destiny, takes her under wing, and teaches her how to dance and play these Wall Street fools. It's all business. The hustle at the club is grand until 2008 and Wall Street explodes. The economy busts and times are hard. We see it all.

Then after a few years, a child for Destiny - she reunites with Ramona. New opportunity. New and old contacts to hustle, and Ramona has it figured out. Here's where it's dicey - drugging the guys, maxing their credit cards...hey, no one squeals because who wants to be out-hustled by some strippers? Until....

This is a slick, entertaining movie with good acting, a solid story, and it's not a stripper with hearts of gold. It's a bit down and dirty. Thumbs up. This is J-Lo at the top of her game. Don't laugh. She's darn good. And as Ramona says, "This world is like a strip club. There's always someone throwing money, and someone dancing."   Think about it!    Hustlers!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Movie Review Madness - Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light is lightly based on a true story, and is a glorious little film with a great soundtrack. 

1987 England. Times are tough and especially for immigrant citizens. Javed (Viveik Kalra) is sixteen, Pakistani born, and chafing at the bit. Any money he earns must be turned over to his father. Any decisions are made by his father (Kulvinder Ghir). Javed is talented at writing and wants to go to university for writing. Let's see - that's a big NO.

Basically he wants to change "his clothes, his hair, his face". The lyrics of Bruce Springsteen strike at his very soul. He's given a Born to Run tape by a friend and Javed's life changes. He becomes rebellious. A teacher, Ms.Clay (Hayley Atwell),  encourages his poetry and writing. Javed likes Eliza, a white English girl, and he does sneak around to see her. He's Down by the River, Dancing in the Dark, Born to Run, etc.

Meanwhile, friendships change, but Matt's still a backbone from when they were young lads. The film shows the hardships of the times and the immigrant experience. It also shows a timeless theme - a young man yearning to break free and find himself.

Blinded by the Light was a really good small film. I loved the kid playing Javed - his soulful eyes, so innocent and smart. I was quite pleased with his journey and the outcome of the flick. And I loved the Bruce Springsteen tunes - American and yet connecting across the pond.  Go ahead - turn it up. Baby, you were born to run!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 11th

September 11, 2001   A day I shall never forget and so many of us will not.

But just think - 9/11/19 - kids are turning 18 years old.  Obviously they get to celebrate their birthday - dinner out, presents, cake.  Is there a shadow that looms?  What do they know of their birth date? Do they care?

What is taught in the schools?  Do we have any lessons learned? 

I just know that for me, the date brings a pause...a slight stutter step if I type the date at work.
If I watch a documentary of some sort or the news and the brief tributes on 9/11, I will cry.
I have not been to the National Memorial in NYC, but I understand it is quite well done and rather haunting.

September 11, 2001    There just really are no words

Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday Moments

A Monday moment after a Sunday at the Dallas Museum of Art. The featured exhibit is Dior: From Paris to the World. 

This is a wow showing of haute couture. Christian Dior founded his fashion house in 1947 and brought an elegance to a world still reeling from war. He died in 1957, but his work lived on  with designers appointed to continue his vision - Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and now Maria Grazia Chiuri. All stayed true to the Dior image and legacy "to make women happier and more beautiful.

Yes, there are some crazy designs, but the structure, detail, and seamstress skill is astounding.

Really cool exhibit.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Book Review - The New Girl by Daniel Silva

The New Girl by Daniel Silva is another in his long line of Gabriel Allon international thrillers.  Gabriel never disappoints – Israeli spy extraordinaire, devoted family man, skilled art restorer, and  famous for his emerald green eyes.

This time he’s called by Khalid bin Mohammed, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia – a man celebrated  for some  reforms and reviled for his role in the murder of a journalist. Now his only daughter is missing from an exclusive Swiss boarding school. While Gabriel has fought terrorists, jihadists, and regards Khalid as a flawed leader, he respects Khalid’s love for his daughter.  The stakes are high and this is far more than a kidnapping.  Gabriel will fight any in the secret war for control of the Middle East.

From the back blurb – Both men have made their share of enemies. And both have everything to lose.

Daniel Silva knows how to write a page turner – a book with strong characters, ripped from the headlines plot lines, and a solid knowledge of the Middle East and  politics. Silva has done research and analysis of issues.  At times his books are almost too ahead of the news cycle – it’s rather scary.  But, as a reader, we count on Gabriel Allon and his  wily crew  of Israeli spies to save the day. The New Girl  is a work of fiction and an entertaining read.