Tag Archives: review

Book Review: “The Death of Comedy”

The Death of Comedy -by Robert O’Connell

  • DougInNC book review

Where this book shines most will depend on the individual, but anyone with a funny bone or in need of one will find the light somewhere in these pages. Everyone has their ax to grind, but not everyone knows how to poke you in the ribs with their ax and make you laugh out loud, which this author will accomplish. Continue reading Book Review: “The Death of Comedy”

Rod Stewart Las Vegas

I was drawn into the way-back audio annals to hear Rod Stewart.
Good Knight! Sir Rod is still performing! My friend ‘J’ has a fetish for those she terms “aging British rockers.”

At Las Vegas’ Caesars (is it still a Palace?) for a show billed as “The Hits,” I yearned for Maggie May, Reason To Believe, Stay With Me, (I Know) I’m Losing You, Every Picture Tells A Story, Mandolin Wind, and Twisting The Night Away.

While Maggie may be an essential hit, those others were surprisingly not included in this performance. It would also light my particular fire to have had some Handbags and Gladrags in a Gasoline Alley.

Still, the songs had flair, the night was fun, the arena was filled, the audience was fully participatory, and the festivity of Sin City was brought to bear.

Continue reading Rod Stewart Las Vegas

12 Days of Hamilton

The arrival of “Hamilton: An American Musical” at North Carolina’s Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on November 6, 2018, inspired a tune, stealing from a song you’ll know. My version starts simply:

On the first day of Hamilton
The Lin-Man brought to me
A tale of U.S. hist’ry!

The tune grows, and the first week ends thusly:

On the sixth day of Hamilton
The Lin-Man brought to me
Six years of writing
Fiiiine King George memes!

Four mates a-warring
Three sisters singing
Two tables turning
in
A tale of U.S. hist’ry!

My tickets for November 18 will be day twelve of DPAC shows. That’s perfect to complete our work:

The 12 Days of HAMILTON

On the twelfth day of Hamilton
The Lin-Man brought to me

Twelve ensemble talents
Eleven Tony statues
Ten duel commandments

Nineties rap references
Eight ways of rhyming
Seven feats* ‘front-a me

Six years of writing
Fine King George memes!

Four mates a-warring
Three sisters singing
Two tables turning
in
A tale of U.S. hist’ry!

*Tonys for Directing, Orchestra, Lighting,
*as well as Dance, Costume, Score, Acting

The DPAC run by the “Philip Tour” cast group continues to December 2nd, with twenty-nine^ shows on twenty-four performance days including two-show days on the weekends.

^29: For Hamilfans, that’s a number in the number “Non-Stop:”

“John Jay got sick after writing five /
“James Madison wrote twenty-nine /
“Hamilton wrote the other fifty-one!”

November 18th will be my sixth viewing encompassing four different cities and casts. Merry Hamilton, everyone.

See these related blog posts for more Hamilton, and please share your thoughts:

Hamilton 1:  Love at First Lyrics

Hamilton 2: May I have 20,000 Words with You?

Hamilton 3: The Third Time and I’m Charmed

 

November 2018: Something “Two-A-Door” at DPAC, Durham, NC

5*; Baby Driver (2017)

This was on the verge of being the “Black Panther” of chase-scene movies. Panther (link to my review) was a genre-buster this year as contemporary sci-fi/fantasy I actually liked. “Baby” begins with a typical Hollywood out-of-control chase. I could have dropped it at the curb after ten minutes — especially with five of those minutes showing film credits. Yet the music and the vibe seemed promising so I stayed long enough for a story and characters to develop, which they did.

Inevitably, the story’s plausibility plummets like a car off a cliff (and before we’re done, the car does indeed cascade off the proverbial urban cliff). Of all the coffee houses in Atlanta, they descend upon that particular diner in a Casablanca gin-joint way. Shotgun blasts delivered at close range are only temporary in a cartoonish Road Runner harkening. Then comes the Fatal Attraction element, and I am checking how much time remains; thankfully it’s a show well under two hours. Alas, a film with creativity and intrigue becomes a mash-up of stolen scenes.

I was still in tune with this effort past the midway point. The soundtrack is a curated collection of classic and contemporary selections that carry scenes forward. A keen highlight was demonstrating that songs are both very personal and also connect people. I couldn’t always tell the good guys from the bad in advance of their actions. So it has positives but, oh, Baby drove me to distraction.

*(star) ratings are my own … 5*=Five stars (maximum 10 stars)

8*; The Women on the 6th Floor (2010)

An insightful French film (with subtitles). Those grand Parisian buildings project consistency on the outside. There are many different stories on the inside.

The family of Mr. Jean-Louis lives on a lower floor. Maids, his and others, live on the top floor. The two groups are far removed from each other’s lives in living conditions as well as language, culture, habits, backgrounds, and more.

Like the building, Jean-Louis has a predictable exterior drawn from his grandfather, father, work, family, and even the edifice itself. Inside him is something different. The women on the attic floor are a window to another world. The door leading to them is a passage.

Make a weekend watching “Wakefield” as well as “The Women on the 6th Floor” to escape the typical Hollywood shoot-ups and chase scenes for insight to people, portals, and personalities.

*(star) ratings are my own … 8*=Eight stars (maximum 10 stars)

7*; Wakefield (2016)

Bryan Cranston is actor, narrator, protagonist and antagonist. He dares to focus on a fleeting thought, the kind we all hear asking, “What if I …?” He double-dares to act on that thought, and then sustains the idea percolating in his head.

“What if” we acted on each impulse? Madness could ensue, perhaps resembling the image of Howard Wakefield, castaway in his garage attic. When we “come to our senses,” would the madness stop or would reentry to reality create even more insanity?

Make a weekend watching “The Women on the 6th Floor” as well as “Wakefield” to escape the typical Hollywood shoot-ups and chase scenes for insight to people, portals, and personalities.

*(star) ratings are my own; … 7*=Seven stars (maximum 10 stars)