Monday, May 21, 2007

Cheers Queen Vic - may I amuse you ?

Raising a glass for Victoria Day here in Canada - the first of our good weather long weekends (well deserved I must say).

Just a few tidbits of entertainments stuff for the week.

Best new music find: the new
Manic Street Preachers' album, fantastic single "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" with Nina Persson of The Cardigans, is on short rotation and lyrically embedded in short term RAM. Anthem worthy, rock sensibilities, and a little Robbie vocal-like.

Latest album that keeps getting better after every listen: Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare, 'nuff said. Note that all their lyrics are on the
official web site.

Best ending for a TV series: Sopranos ? (not yet, still a few episodes away, but building...).
Life on Mars ! I wanted to write some thoughts on the final episode but didn't want to be a spoiler (even thought of burying it with an old date stamp to avoid an accidental glance for regular readers). Let's just say that I think the ending was well done and enough for some analysis over beers. I hope I haven't set expectation too high !

New TV still awaiting the vote: Durham County and The Riches. I think Durham County is leading this one. Both shows provide some real intensity and darker sides of society. And interestingly both have some "life frightening" teenager stuff. On screen dramatic content featuring pre-teen and teenager angles is starting to grab my attention with two kids closing in on this much anticipated "joyous" time of life.

On a similar theme, best DVD rental of late:
Deja vu. If you're a fan of movies tackling the elements of the time dimension, you'll love this one. Apart from a mind blowing story, there's also great stunt and fx work and of course superb acting from Washington.

Sports: Capt'n Canada Steve Nash out of the NBA playoffs but VC killers Cavs now top fave for PJ; Sens finally have a chance at Stanley awaiting Ducks or Wings (M&D losing sleep and finger nails with every game); Toronto FC still entertaining but suffered a disappointing loss on Saturday; FA Cup rather disappointing, but I'm looking forward to the Champion's League final on Wednesday (conflicting with new ulty season starting on Wed too).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Joy of Live Entertainment

Really excited.

Still feeling the sun on the face from watching the Toronto FC win their first game in MLS this afternoon. What a cracker of a game.

Bonus weekend as we saw the Arctic Monkeys last night. What a cracker of a show.

Just two of a good run of live entertainment I've enjoyed recently and a reminder to all about the joy of seeing sports, music, theatre live !

The only downside of this form of entertainment is the cost. Build in parking, pre-drinks, snacks, babysitting, souvenirs, more snacks, taxi fare onto the high price of event tickets and too much of a good thing will buy you a ticket to the poor house. But if you can pick a few choice events throughout the year and offset all that money you're saving my buying your music cheap from Russia, then it can be very well worth it ! Even if you can't get a ticket to that exclusive concert or can't afford the hundreds of dollars for seats for a legendary sports team (Leafs, Yankees, ManU, Cowboys, Lakers) - then setting yourself up with the good (and quite affordable) home audio and video equipment can create an experience that comes close to watching sports or concerts in person. The difference is that when you're at the arena, the concert hall, the stadium you have a feeling that the performers and putting on the show just for you ! Although I don't think I've ever experienced a video reproduction of theatre that comes off right (still waiting for a newer version of Les Miserables) !

When it comes to sports, almost every time you get to see sports live it's a thrill - witnessing the speed of the play, the distances, the off-ball movement etc. Most of us don't get to experience the truest and highest level of sport live - the World Cup, a Wimbledon final, The Ryder Cup. With sports on TV, you just have to make sure you're tuned in to the events that mean something, e.g. any north American major league playoff series (right now quick switching between NHL and NBA playoff games), the majors of golf and tennis, Champions League and of course the Olympics. The setup should include appropriate menus, drinks, pre-game events, the right company and then just turn it up !

A few pointers to some great DVD concerts: Vertigo 2005: U2 Live from Chicago and Diana Krall: Live in Paris and then just ask my Dad for his pics - he loves watching them ! Some great HD stuff on Austin City Limits these days too.

With the danger of sounding like we're out every week, living the high life and loaded, I'd love to share a few wonderful shows that have collectively caused me to bring this message to the blog - get off the couch and go out a see something live !

We Will Rock You . If you ever loved Queen, a must see.
She Stoops to Comedy at Woolly Mammoth in DC. A great example of how wonderful small-venue-local-theatre can be. My sis-in-law is working on a lot of the marketing for the new hip and highly original Dead Man's Cell Phone at Woolly Mammoth (I love that name).
Kaiser Chiefs at Koolhaus.

And the very clear memory of fantastic events I shared with many of you in years past including: the SARS Benefit concert with 450,000 of my closest friends in the summer of 2003; Bjork's North American debut with the Sugar Cubes in a very steamy Kensington Market underground bunker; The Cult; The The At Fed Hall, University of Waterloo; Coldplay's Buzz gig in Toronto in 2005; seeing Diana Krall in a small jazz club; seeing Micheal Imperioli play off-Broadway in Aven'U Boys.; being in the right time at the right place to see George Carlin do a practice set at The Improv in Greenwich Village; and finally seeing Nigel Mansell winning the British GP in 1992. I know as soon as I post this, I'll think of another one.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quick finds and "changing facts"

While enjoying another delicious bowl of soup from the Soup Man, I was doing a little paddling around the "interweb" and thought I'd read up a little about my home town Coventry. Most of what was covered was familiar but an interestingly historical note seemed to be missing. Brave as I am, I quickly tested the theory of wikipedia, I created a wiki user and I EDITED the Coventry entry ! I also found out that one of my favourite Brit actors was born in Cov - Clive Owen, well what do you know !

From Coventry I moved over to
Bedworth, where I grew up in England. (in)Famous people include: Pete Doherty, well what do you know and he went to the same school as my Mum - well, different years; and Selwyn Froggitt - well, the actor !

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dogs - the good and bad

Great story I read on the way to work this morning showing why dogs are such great pets and part of the family, but also another example of the horrible side of dogs.

Tiny terrier sacrifices its life to save five children from pitbulls