In Memoriam | Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

Source: Variety

Thank you, Gene, for being a bright light and making us smile. Not only did I enjoy your performances in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryYoung Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles, but I really enjoyed your small stint on Will and Grace as Will’s boss Mr. Stein. The world will be a little less bright without you. Gene was 83 and died from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.

May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.

Source: Gene Wilder, ‘Willy Wonka’ Star and Comedic Icon, Dies

Pop | Happy 40th #Anniversary, The Rocky Horror Picture Show! #RHPS

Source: Pinterest

Forty years ago today, the world was utterly changed by a small play that traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and became a cult film: The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

(From Akasha9393)

In honor of such longevity and its broad reach as a cult film, a stage production, and an outlet for frustrated, misunderstood creatives, here are some of my favorite moments!

(From Lex121100)

Source: Pinterest

Read More »

In Memoriam | Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015)

Source: Twitter

I came to Star Trek and its far-reaching fandom much too late in life. My mom was more of a Star Wars fan, and the time I spent with my dad was not shared with his latent Trekk-iness. But, if there was ever a character in the science-fiction drama that I could relate to, it was Spock. He faced everything logically and did all he could to keep his emotions in check. In fact, he had to, it’s just who he was. That personality trait really spoke to me, and though, I’m sad he’s gone. I know he’s somewhere better.

Live long and prosper.

In honor of Spock and another classic, George Harrison, whose birthday was the 25th, a thoughtful melody to send our best thoughts to those missing their loved ones this week.

(From reacher60)

Pop | Happy Birthday #JimCarrey and #AndyKaufman!

Source: Zimbio.com
Source: Zimbio.com

Two of my favorite comedic actors of all time share the same birthday! Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman were born on the same day 13 years apart, Andy in 1949 and Jim in 1962. Jim was in his early 20s when Andy “departed” this living realm. And I only heard about their shared birthday from Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally written by Bob Zmuda and Lynne Margulies–a book I happened upon buried at the bottom of a seemingly unrelated Google alert (as if I should expect anything less from Andy). I can’t believe I didn’t notice this when the biopic was released in 1999. It’s even listed on IMDB under trivia about Andy. But, who knows? If I’d known about their birthdays, I might not have found out about this book. Stranger things have happened, right?

Happy 66th Birthday, Andy! and Happy 53rd Birthday, Jim!
All the best to you both (just in case Andy is reading this)!!

Media | Reflecting on #CharlieHebdo

Source: Wikipedia

You can see their first cover post-attacks here. There was an NBC Nightly News story that I caught last night about Charlie Hebdo that prompted this blog.

In one week, I’ve seen various responses to this attack. The only thing I can think to say is that Freedom of Expression isn’t something to take lightly, but it’s a two-way street. Even the language we see as “offensive” is protected, and that is because language is used to transfer thought to speech. Yes, America is a land of censorship and Puritanical morals, but we revere freedom of speech above nearly all things. We know how important it is to have a sense of humor about things like radical political leaders and horrific political attacks. It’s an added dose of perspective that we cherish, that we require in order to get some reality, some understanding out of the tragedy that can occur when people lack a sense of humor or an ability to laugh at themselves.

No, I’ve never read Charlie Hebdo, not once. I don’t even know what the political cartoon from 2005 looked like. I just know that it caused an uproar, for the folks who don’t know how to look at things outside of their own connection to them. How to take a figure of great religious import and realize that he may not be that important to other people–but that doesn’t inherently negate the importance he has to you. That also doesn’t mean you need to kill those people. Negating the different doesn’t stop people from being different; in fact, I would say it calls them to it. Murdering someone for having a sense of humor about something you don’t find funny is pointless and only makes people want to distance themselves from you.

Unless they already feel laughed at, mocked, or put down for being different.

It’s easy to say lighten up and have a laugh, but when you’ve been the butt of jokes your entire life you start to think of laughter as a weapon. It can hurt; it can isolate; it can alienate. Laughter itself and the things that incite it can be hurtful to people on the receiving end of it. Especially when the jokes come at the expense of individuality, self-esteem, and unique expression.

This isn’t about censorship–can’t stand the shit. This is about having a little understanding for the other side of the fence. This just keeps proving how important and powerful words actually are, and how dangerous they can be when the people receiving the message have a different worldview from those delivering it.

Being able to speak your mind, even if it’s aimed at someone of great political or religious import, is a beautiful thing. And I would hate to see that get stunted, limited, or stopped entirely because people can’t take a step back and consider what the agenda is behind a message, because people don’t know how to carry around an ounce of perspective for someone else’s point of view. Am I going to be incensed or angered at a narrow-minded perspective? Of course, but I would never rob a person of having that narrow-minded perspective. (Un)fortunately, they are entitled to it. All I can do is try to understand why it’s so narrow and offer to broaden it.

That’s all anyone can do. And, in that light, I have to say, “I am Charlie.” Because I revere freedom of expression over the freedom to defend that which is religiously important to you because that will always be at odds with someone else–and it is that inherent diversity that makes us a richer people. We need this diversity to prevent becoming an autocratic, oppressed race of automatons who don’t care, don’t have passion, and can’t fight for anything.

Should you stand up for what you believe in? Unabashedly yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to fight every single battle to the death. Killing people in retaliation to media they created is an act that can never be erased and will never be stood for by the good people defending and promoting the freedom of expression.

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Golden Globes 2015: See All the Winners

Please direct comments to original posting at TIME, thanks!

TIME

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress in a Series or Mini-Series for Television

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Allison Janney, Mom
Michelle Monaghan, True Detective

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television

Fargo (FX)
The Missing (Starz)
The Normal Heart (HBO)
Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
True Detective (HBO)

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television

Martin Freeman, Fargo
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

Best Actress, Television Series — Comedy

Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

Best Television Series — Comedy

Girls (HBO)
Jane the Virgin (CW)
Orange Is the New Black

View original post 511 more words

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The Top 10 Horror Novels of 2014

And I trust that Matt Molgaard would know! Please, direct any comments to the original post!

Horror Novel Reviews

Written by: Matt Molgaard

What novels scored big with readers this year? Truth is, that’s a tough question to answer, as we all seem to be looking for something a little different. However, we can definitely let you in on the books that really won us over. The following are the 10 best novels released in 2014, as voted on by myself and a number of our contributors!

butterfly-skin

10 Sergey Kuznetsov – Butterfly Skin

Verdict: Butterfly Skin reads, at times, like a vintage giallo picture… mixed with a little Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. It’s wonderfully written and about as addictive as I imagine crack being. A stunning story that delivers tons of chills, the novel is about as disturbing as they come. Reviews of the novel seem to be a bit mixed, but lovers of the extreme are going to dig this one quite a bit.

Bs1r7-YCIAEwXUp

09 Benedict…

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Pop | #FunnyFriday: Tig Notaro “Live”

I had the distinct pleasure to see Tig live at the University of Northern Iowa in 2007, when she opened for Seth Meyers, and I really had no idea who she was. Her delivery and perspective took me over; I’ve never been able to forget her, though I’m terrible about keeping up with her. She probably misses me…

Here is a recent show of hers, coming right after some real tragedy in her life — and she faces it with grace, humor, and self-respect. Laugh, she wants you to.

(From Tig Notaro – Topic)

#HappyThanksgiving: With a Little Humor from Greg Proops!

When I first heard this little joke, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. And it happened each time I tried to re-listen and kept laughing through different bits. Now, I can sit through it all without laughing, almost. Though, if anyone were watching it with me, they might tell me to shut up for speaking along with Mr. Proops.

If you recognize Mr. Comedy, but can’t quite place him–he’s probably most recognizable from America’s version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

Greg Proops - Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Source: BuzzFeed

But a good friend and I came across this little bit of fun while perusing YouTube videos one day. In fact, this may have been the exact one we watched. It’s titled “America is England’s Fault.”

(From fantasy0coach)

With that little twisted history lesson, I bid you and yours a fond Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you aren’t stressing over the food or family–may the goodness of one negate the negative of the other! 🙂

Pop | An Anthems Challenge: Final Five

I recently followed Alfred’s Almanac here on WordPress, and one of the first posts I see from him in my email is #6 in his 10 Anthems Meme Challenge post [Though, I’ve linked to the final post here]. I love music, and I’ve had a lot of songs that seem to follow me throughout my life. Songs that always hit a spot when I hear them, that take me back to the moment when I first heard that song and what it meant to me. There have even been a couple songs where, the very first time I heard them, I was moved to tears, literally. Number 6 on this list is one of them. And there’s one song a part of this list that rattled my brain after hearing it on a commercial. When I first downloaded it, I probably listened to it a million times in a row–no lie, probably an exaggeration, but no lie!

I have taken Alfred’s advice and broken it up, but not as narrowly as he did posting one song per day. I started with my Top 5 a couple days ago, and am concluding it today [since I ran out of luck yesterday!]. This is no particular order, other than the order I remembered them in, which might say something for how important they are to me.

So, if you want to take part–just link back to this post (or the first one linked above) and start posting the 10 songs you love the most, which have had the most impact on you.

6) Eternal Flame – The Bangles

This song stood up and slapped me, right out of nowhere. I wasn’t even in kindergarten when I heard this song for the first time. I still own (but probably not for much longer) the stuffed teddy bear I was holding when I started to cry. Granted, I was around 4 or 5, but I was literally moved to tears when I first heard this song. There were a couple teenage girls living next door to the apartment my mom, baby sister and I were inhabiting. They had amazing taste in music. I’m still friends with one of them, and it is because of those girls that I have such a fond memory of Susanna Hoffs’ lead vocals.

(From thebanglesVEVO)

7) Constant Craving – k.d. lang

“Constant Craving” is probably one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Unrequited might have been another title for it, but within the lyrics, k.d. touches on desire and where it comes from, noting that it has always been–implying that it will always be. There will always be something we want, something we think we need, even if we can’t have it as soon as we want it. What do you do with that craving when you can’t quench it? The complementary video highlights k.d. singing solo and shots of vaudevillian entertainers cracking jokes and performing slapstick comedy. Is k.d.’s constant craving to entertain? Or is she reflecting on a human craving to seek acceptance from those around us–our captive audience? Play this in the background and think on it. Call it your mindful meditation for the day. 🙂

(From Warner Bros. Records)

8) Express Yourself – Madonna

This song has truly been an anthem of my life. In the lyrics, Madonna encourages women to not settle for whatever comes along romantically because he’s good in the sack or has lots of money. She also, inadvertently probably, tells women how important it is to communicate not only in the bedroom, but also in your life. If you want to be heard, if you want to pursue what you want out of life, you better speak the hell up! Express yourself, because “Girls, [if] you believe in love, [she’s] got something to sing about it…” She tells women love [and life] is in their control, if they just want to take it.

(From Warner Music Germany)

9) No Rain – Blind Melon

The lyrics to this song were the first words I ever heard and thought, “Wow, that sums up my depression; right there.” It was one of those moments when I felt someone had read my diary and put music to it. “Enrich my life away” pretty much sums (and summed up) how I spent my life, day in and day out, seeking information, believing that if I crammed enough information into my head I might finally feel useful, productive, wanted. Sometimes, I feel like I’m still looking for that garden of people dressed just like me.

(From emimusic)

10) Colors – April Smith and the Great Picture Show

This song was in the background on a paint commercial, or maybe a Woolbrite commercial talking about how bright and vibrant the colors in your clothing can be. Whatever. That isn’t even the point when it comes to this catchy little tune about dedication and true love–across an ocean’s distance. “I’ll wear your colors, my dear /til you’re standing right here / next to the one who adores you / whose heart is beating for you like a lighthouse / guide to shipwrecked sailors safely from the sea” is basically a mantra for my life. I’ll be here, waiting for you, until you come back home to me.

(From WNRN)

Pop | An Anthems Challenge

I recently followed Alfred’s Almanac here on WordPress, and one of the first posts I see from him in my email is #6 in his 10 Anthems Meme Challenge post [Though, I’ve linked to the final post here]. I love music, and I’ve had a lot of songs that seem to follow me throughout my life. Songs that always hit a spot when I hear them, that take me back to the moment when I first heard that song and what it meant to me. There have even been a couple songs where, the very first time I heard them, I was moved to tears, literally. Number 3 on this list is one of them. And there’s one song a part of this list that rattled my brain after hearing it on a commercial. When I first downloaded it, I probably listened to it a million times in a row–no lie, probably an exaggeration, but no lie! [That song will be featured in the last half of the list, tomorrow.]

I’m going to take Alfred’s advice and break it up, but not as narrowly as he did posting one song per day. I’ll start with my Top 5 today, and with any luck conclude with the last five tomorrow. This is no particular order, other than the order I remembered them in, which might say something for how important they are to me.

So, if you want to take part–just link back to this post (or the second one coming up) and start posting the 10 songs you love the most, which have had the most impact on you.

1) Blackbird – Paul McCartney

I have loved The Beatles and mostly Paul McCartney since I was a small child. I used to take an ice cream scoop and belt out “Yesterday” and “Day Tripper” from the tops of my lungs. I still do, when I hear them on the radio, only sans ice cream scoop. But this song, “Blackbird” probably speaks more to my spirit, my resiliency even when all I’ve wanted to do was “take my broken wings and learn to fly.” My entire life, I’ve felt like “blackbird singing in the dead night”, a mere voice, with no one there to hear or respond. So, without further ado, #1 in my Anthem Memes Challenge:

(From iamobservingu)

2) One More Minute – “Weird Al” Yankovic

Dare to Be Stupid was only one cassette away from The Beatles Greatest Hits cassette I found messing around in my parents’ music collections. I’ve literally loved Weird Al for as long as I’ve loved The Beatles, and when I wasn’t belting out “Yesterday” and “Day Tripper” I was giggling through “Slime Creatures from Outer Space” and “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch.” But, the one song that I loved from Dare to Be Stupid was “One More Minute.” With a doo-wop feel and all kinds of sarcasm, Weird Al told the one he used to love just how much he didn’t love her anymore. It got me right here (as I point to my funny bone).

(From alyankovicVEVO)

3) Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast – Wayne Newton

I heard this song for the first time in a living room in Grundy Center, Iowa, and I was very young. But, it was only just after my mother and father had divorced. I had been something of a daddy’s girl up until that point, and I never really understood why he’d had to leave (at the time, now it is more than clear why). Though, when I first heard this song, the beginning lyric “The love between us was dying” didn’t strike me near as hard as when the daughter begins running and calling after her leaving father that I just lost it. For the first time, in probably my entire life at that point, I felt like someone–even though it wasn’t the singer of the song–actually understood my feelings. It was a recognition I got from nothing and no one else at that point. I never got the chance to chase after my dad, and looking back on how things shook out–that was probably for the best.

(From robert harrison)

4) One of Us – Joan Osborne

I was on the cusp of high school when this song came out, and I was having a tough time of it. Struggling with depression and a misguided sense of isolation from the people around me, I began to wonder what my purpose was. This song puts me right back in those high school hallways, feeling lonely and lost. Considering God walking down those halls with me, didn’t make me feel better or bring me comfort, but it started me on the path to questioning religion totally. Why we believe, why we follow; what if God was one of us? Would he defend me? Would he have applauded me for turning the other cheek and letting those people say mean things to me? I’d like to think that He wouldn’t have, but would have told me to stand up for myself instead.

(From HermanTR)

5) Bitch – Meredith Brooks

This song also came out around the time that I was in high school, and I related to this much better and in a much more positive way than “One of Us”–nothing Joan could have done about it, unfortunately. This was because Meredith was talking about owning your identity, and even more than that, owning the identity that you choose for yourself. She called herself a bitch, it wasn’t as though she was fighting back from Big Bad Patriarchy. No one had called her this “bad” word–she’d taken it for herself. She insisted that you use it, repeating the word over and over again in the song. I remember the newspaper articles about the now-mainstream use of the word Bitch, appearing in soap operas and all over the place because of Meredith Brooks. And, I’d like to thank her for putting forward the concept of embracing your own identity–no matter what other people want to call you instead.

(From emimusic)