#Music | Hollywood Vampires “Raise the Dead in Atlantic City”

Raise the Dead in Atlantic City

Source: Hollywood Vampires | News

Brian Ives gives us a stately look at the Vamps’ 5 July show from New Jersey’s Borgata in Atlantic City. I’ve only provided an excerpt of Ives’s humorous and insightful passage here, but go check out the entirety, you won’t regret it.

In the wrong hands, the band’s central theme – paying tribute to people who’ve died, mostly through substance abuse – could come off as dour, or even as a “Just Say No” commercial. Instead, Cooper (who knew nearly all of these deceased artists) celebrates Lennon, Hendrix, Morrison, Moon, et al, by asking, “What would they have liked?”

The show began right after 8 pm with a film showing some of the artists that the Vampires pay tribute to, and then the band hit the stage with one of their few originals, “Raise the Dead.”

“A sudden quick demise,” Cooper sang. “And so the body dies, but the music stays alive.” The show was proof of that. From there they went into Spirit’s “I Got a Line.” Then, two songs by David Bowie, whose catalog wasn’t eligible for a Vampires cover when  they released their self-titled debut last year, since he was still alive. That gave the performances of “Rebel Rebel” and “Suffragette City” more poignancy… or as much poignancy as a song that invites the audience to yell “Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!” can have.

In this set, they performed covers of T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” and “Bang a Gong (Get it On).” They sound awesome doing it! Watching Johnny Depp play guitar on T. Rex songs feels a lot like watching Johnny Depp in a Stephen King movie–double the joy! Double the satisfaction!

He looks good amid all the turmoil he’s facing off-stage, but the music is definitely providing a solid sense of escape for the man. He looks at home on the stage, in his element. I only wish I could go see him, but they aren’t coming far enough south. The closest they’ll be is the 7 July show in Aurora, IL. *heartbreak*

(From Alex Neff) Hollywood Vampires cover “20th Century Boy”

(From Steve Easton) Hollywood Vampires cover “Bang a Gong (Get it On)”

 

 

 

TV | The X Files Season 10 Premiere

Source: Fox Broadcasting

I am so excited to have The X Files back in active rotation. Just caught up with the first episode, “My Struggle,” and found it close to form. It generated a lot of new questions, barely answered any old questions, and gave us a whole new revised version of the old conspiracy to theorize about. All I know is I am locked in for the next episode, because I have just got to see how this mini-arc ends.

It was lovely to see Scully and Mulder “back together” and in the most awkward of consequences. They were more often trading barbs than kisses, which I’m okay with either way, but they did a fine job of simply making it feel awkward to watch them together. Again, not a bad thing, they are actors, after all, and it would be awkward to be called by a former boss to find a former lover, who is also a former co-worker, wouldn’t it? And, then, after more than a decade, hang out like it’s old times? Yep, definitely awkward.

We also get to see Skinner and the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Sans awkwardness, but with heated exchanges and statements of the obvious, respectively. And then there’s Joel McHale, playing buddy believer with Mulder, as a conservative TV host, who the New York Times felt was miscast here. But I thought he brought just enough energy, zeal, and overt seriousness (I mean, sometimes it felt like he was just trying too hard there.) to bring that character to life. It just reminds me that I need to start watching Community.

Overall, I was pleased, and I’m looking forward to where this little reboot takes us.

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)

#Ideas | Something to Remember Looking Toward the #NewYear

I have classified myself as depressed since around the time I turned 12. This came as a shock to my mother when I told her, after I turned 19. I didn’t have words for the deep sensations of hopelessness, lack of control, and fear of the future I was feeling so long ago. Whenever I told my mother I was worried about something, she would say to me, “Stop it. You’re too young to worry. Go, have fun; be a child.” But I didn’t know how to be a child. I mean, I knew how other children acted, and though I’ve been called childish by demeaning people I like to think of it as being creative, imaginative. And because I spent so much time floating in a fantasy world as a child, I often felt like I had no idea what to do in the real one.

That translated into dead-end relationships and keeping people at arms-length so I didn’t have to feel the pain of their departure. I doubted that anyone could really love me because I could barely love myself. Though much of this is in the past, I do still struggle with feelings of inadequacy and failure. My friends and family tell me how “great” I am, but I always remind myself they are my friends and family.

In other words, I still need to find ways to remind myself that I am a productive and important person with worth: even if I’m not certain of my reason, my purpose yet. I need to remind myself that I’ve seen some pretty amazing things (The Art Institute of Chicago, I’m looking at you) and I’ve been to some pretty amazing places (Myrtle Beach, SC, I’m talking about you). There are so many places left to see, things to do, and goals to accomplish.

And on that path, there are five little things I need to remember. I received the list of Virginia Satir’s Five Freedoms while I was pursuing therapy the first time I attempted a master’s degree. I was studying Public Relations (totally the wrong field for me, but I loved the writing and event planning involved) really because I told a certain ex-girlfriend that I would and I still felt like I had something to prove to her. That I could do something without her. It was really the fallout of that relationship that guided me toward the Depression Screening Clinic the campus medical center was offering. That was a chance to really determine if the depression I saw within myself over 10 years before was really there.

It was. I had a great counselor and she was the one who told me about Satir’s list of freedoms. Reading them in that moment, holding a simple print-out, with no banner ads, all white-space, I felt a strange sensation rush over me: hope. Someone had heard me and finally understood what I was asking for: a sense of control over myself and my future. I thank the universe for that woman every single day of my life, and the power those five short statements gave me. Walking into the new year, running my own business, and keeping my head and heart above water will only be possible if I can remember the power I have over myself and actually exercise it.

From the PsychCentral Blog linked above, Satir gets a nice little introduction:

Satir keenly observed that many adults learned to deny certain senses from childhood, that is, to deny what they hear, see, taste, smell and touch/feel.

Noting the significant role our senses play in our survival, she devised the following “Five Freedoms” tool, essentially affirmations, to help people connect to their body and self in the moment, and focus their attention on their inner resources and creative choices in the present. (Here we see how ahead of her time Satir was; these are mindfulness concepts proven today by neuroscience research.)

The Five Freedoms:

1) The freedom to see and hear (perceive) what is here and now, rather than what was, will be or should be.

2) The freedom to think what one thinks, rather than what one should think.

3) The freedom to feel what one feels, rather than what one should feel.

4) The freedom to want (desire) and to choose what one wants, rather than what one should want.

5) The freedom to imagine one’s own self-actualization, rather than playing a rigid role or always playing it safe.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to get away with not playing it safe–I’m too thoughtful, doubtful, and purposefully cautious for that. But I do enjoy being spontaneous with people I love and with whom I’m comfortable. So, my New Year’s resolution is to remember that I’m productive, capable, and prepared to face the future, even if I don’t know what’s coming or where I’ll be when it’s over.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Happy New Year, Everyone!!! 

Pop | Top 5 #Christmas Carols – #HappyHolidays

Happy Holidays to everyone out there on this fine Christmas Eve day. Season’s Greetings! May your holidays be warm and the wine flowing! In order to share the joy of the season with my lovely followers, I’m sharing my Top 5 Christmas Carols. These are the songs that get my heart racing and sometimes bring tears to my eyes. Christmas music isn’t always my favorite genre, but these five songs just spell out the reason for the season to me. Enjoy!

1) John Lennon – “So This Is Christmas” (1971)

(From BeatlesPlanet)

2) Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas” (1984)

(From PhoenixRising100)

3) Handel – Hallelujah Chorus

I have to say something about this song. I was a first soprano in high school, and I don’t remember a Christmas program that didn’t include this song. I had the option to choose a video created for this song featuring a professional choir, but there’s something about flash mobs that just choke me up!

(From Alphabet Photography)

4) Straight No Chaser – 12 Days (Original from 1998)

(From Randy of Straight No Chaser)

5) Celtic Woman – Carol of the Bells

(From PWestlake0114)

 

Celebrating 1958: Or, Happy Birthday, Mom!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. Though I don’t think she’ll mind too much that I let the entire world know how old she is, I know she would just hate it if I posted a picture of her… So, I’ll be kinda sneaky about it.

Source: MeliSwenk - Feb 2009
Source: MeliSwenk – Feb 2009

That’s one of my favorite shots of her, and I know it’s one of hers (but that’s because you can’t really see her face). Though, if you look at mine, you can get a pretty good idea.

Anyway, yesterday was her birthday, and in her honor I’m going to celebrate it by choosing five of the songs that were on the Billboard Top 100 in the year she was born. The five songs I’ve chosen are some of her favorites to this day, and each one of them has a special meaning for me, as well.

These first two were a couple of the tracks on a cassette my mother would often listen to while we were cleaning the house. It wouldn’t be a rare sight for all three of us (my mom, my sister, and I) to start dancing right there in the middle of the kitchen when either of these two songs came on.

1) Peggy Sue – Buddy Holly & The Crickets (#50 on the Top 100)

(From Buddys Glasses)

2) Chantilly Lace – The Big Bopper (#52 on the Top 100)

(From Concordbeltcreation2)

The next two are featured in one of my mom’s (and consequently, one of my own) favorite movie musicals: Grease (1978). To see that they were on the Top 100 when she was born is pretty cool. We would, again, have no hesitation in singing along to each and every song from this soundtrack. I was always partial to “Sandy/Stranded at the Drive-In.”

3) At the Hop – Danny & The Juniors (#20 on the Top 100)

(From Johnny1948ThreeC)

4) Tears on my Pillow – Little Anthony & The Imperials (#34 on the Top 100)

(From NRRArchives)

This last one reminds me of another movie my mom and I sat down and watched once, the Jerry Lee Lewis biography Great Balls of Fire starring Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder. We were captivated by the compelling (and, then, somewhat strange-seeming) love story and the bold personality Lewis is depicted as having off-stage. It’s still one of my favorite bio-pics.

5) Great Balls of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis (#36 on the Top 100)

(From Jerry Lee Lewis TV)

#HappyHalloween: Favorite Horror Movie Villains

(From HorrorFourEver)

Some ultra-creepy, retro horror movie music. Enjoy!

So, I left this post for the end of the week because I thought it was going to be the easiest post. I’ve watched (and re-watched) so many different horror movies that I thought at least 5 or 10 would just come rolling off the tip of my tongue. But proverbials aside, I found myself stumped this morning. I mean, you already know that I pretty much adore the character of Freddy Krueger, and because of my feelings for the remake…before it even got to theaters. I don’t really want to retread a known rut in the road. But, I don’t want to drop a bunch of names because they’re expected  names. Of course, Jason, Michael, and, hell, even Chucky  are classics, but they are not the end-all, be-all of the horror world.

Source: Fright Rags
Source: Fright Rags

I mean, this t-shirt image from Fright Rags (click the link for image source) even includes Leatherface, who is an intimidating and frightful villain! But, when I say Leatherface, you know immediately who I’m talking about.

What about the villains who get almost no mention at all? Not because they weren’t scary, but because there may not have been as many movies made. Or maybe they only reach a niche market. It’s possible that I’m merely a sheltered child (even in the shadow of the Internet), and I just don’t realize how popular or widely known these figures really are.

*Shrug*

All I know, is that I won’t be mentioning the villains that I assume people will expect to see here. Granted, I know what assuming can do, but in this case, I’m willing to take a risk and talk about movie villains that I rarely think of, though have enjoyed watching in the past.

So, where do I start? I’ve finally got a couple names boiling up in the old gray matter… I’ve got two pair and three queens. No, I’m not cheating at poker…

Tall Man (Phantasm Series) and Reverend Kane (Poltergeist Sequels)

Source: Last Road Reviews [modified for size]
Source: Last Road Reviews
[modified for size]
Source: Tim Pratt Blogspot
Source: Tim Pratt Blogspot
Source: MovieHole.net [modified for size]
Source: MovieHole.net
[modified for size]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angus Scrimm does little work at being ultra-creepy in the series of films that follow this dark mortician and his hunt for the young man, Mike, who mistakenly uncovers his dark tendencies toward the small town they live in. Mike’s brother and best friend, Reggie, work and try to survive at uncovering Tall Man’s tools for destruction.

I coupled these two characters, because they remind me of each other. Reverend Kane could easily be Carol Anne’s Tall Man. Towering over her, casting her in his shadow every time he arrives — he might as well be dragging a team of dagger-sharp silver balls around with him. Though, that wide-brimmed black hat and skeletal scowl does quite enough for rendering Kane creepy as Hell!

Julian Beck and Nathan Davis, in Poltergeist II and III, respectively, frighten poor little Carol Anne Freeling and haunt her supportive family members as the demons try their best to get the little bulb of heavenly light to guide them to the other side. She’s just so pure, so blonde — they simply cannot help themselves. Though the sequels catch plenty of flack for not being up to snuff in comparison to the first, I cannot deny that Reverend Kane gave me nightmares for a week!

Frank and Julia Cotton (Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II)

Source: Examiner.com
Source: Examiner.com

Now, you might think I have this backwards. Because you’re seeing the movie name, but the villain listed is a set of human beings — not Cenobites. Well, in the first two movies, I don’t think the Cenobites are the villains. Frank and Julia are more villainous in this case, because it is their thoughtless and selfish actions which bring about the Cenobites anyway. Kirsty certainly didn’t call them (not until later, anyway) and Larry couldn’t have had a clue. He certainly didn’t seem to notice when his wife and brother started knocking boots. Though, for the sequel, it’s Julia and the good doctor who rescues her. That evil seductress!

Source: Signal Bleed
Source: Signal Bleed

Annie Wilkes (Misery)

 

Source: Fountain of Randomness
Source: Fountain of Randomness

Annie Wilkes, on the other hand, was no seductress. Though, she did fall in love with her favorite writer of all time, Paul Sheldon. The source of the image is a wonderful detailing of not only the movie (with book comparisons), but the character of Ms. Wilkes herself. She is certainly unstable, monstrous, and dedicated to the man who provides her with the stories she loves. A number one fan, of course, and a nurse, she takes care of Paul after a major car accident. Then, Annie finds out that Paul killed off her heroine — that’s when the story truly takes off. Though I’ve always wanted a number one fan, Annie makes me kind of wonder why.

Joanie (Cursed)

Source: HotFlick.net
Source: HotFlick.net

If it is a Spoiler Alert for you, have my humblest apologies. But it has been almost 10 years since it was released, maybe it’s about time you knew.

Judy Greer really brought this character to life for me; I don’t know another actress who could have pulled this off the way she did. Joanie, a Type-A publicist, was so bright, bubbly, and blonde, that to reveal the bleak hairy beast beneath felt really defamiliar to me. I wish it could have been played up more monstrously, like the werewolf movies of the ’50s, but she definitely gives good gore and generous bite marks! (Plus, counter-pointing her with Scott Baio — which just kind of made me chuckle — was brilliant.) I assumed Jake from the beginning, but never did I see Joanie coming, which is what made her transformation and methodical killing scary. Though, this is another movie that is laughed at as often as watched (only 4.9/10 on IMDB), I loved that surprise element, that unexpected reveal, and it really redeemed the movie for me. On top of all of that, it’s got great atmosphere, and, you know, because Joshua Jackson and Christina Ricci and Wes Craven. C’mon, what was I supposed to do?

Last but not least…

Pamela Voorhees (Friday the 13th)

Source: Diablito 666 via Tumblr
Source: Diablito 666 via Tumblr

Betsy Palmer is damn creepy, and I don’t care who knows it. She really breathed some dark life into the mother of all villains. Her son, driven by the demons of vengeance and negligence, is eternally resurrected to take the lives of those who “were supposed to be watching.” And it is clearly her drive to avenge him that provides him the otherworldly power. But, there is truly no fury like the wrath of a mother scorned, and Pamela Voorhees is no exception to the rule. Taking the initiative, she begins offing her “old friends” and the counselors they hired because they had the audacity to start the camp back up where her son so tragically perished. I mean, who wouldn’t get pissed off about that?

Well, this is my list of favorite horror movie villains. I’ve seen each of these movies numerous times, but they aren’t always the names that pop up when I first think of horror movies. And I hope that maybe I inspired you to watch something other than the standard fare on this All Hallow’s Eve.

Anniversary Pictures from My Phone

On the 30th of September, my fiancee and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. Since we’re not native Missourians, we like to travel around on our anniversary, and even when it isn’t, to see what the four-state region has to offer. Well, this past weekend we traveled about an hour away into the great state of Oklahoma to visit Grove. Granted, there didn’t seem to be much going on, but since we’d never been there before we didn’t really know what to expect.

Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk

One of the places we did want to stop was Lendonwood Gardens. It’s open to the public during daylight hours and maintained by generous donations provided by the visitors. Again, with no idea what to expect, we were impressed with almost everything, except how warm it was. But you can see the clear blue sky and very light cloud coverage in the back of this image–very beautiful day!

Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk

 

 

 

A sense of peace and calm permeated the entire garden, even with other visitors walking around, discussing the plant life, and enjoying the day.

There was plenty to see in this six-acre garden sporting 1200 different varieties of plants, “including the largest collection of rhododendrons in the Southwest, 500 varieties of daylilies, and 25 varieties of dogwoods.”

Among the seven themed gardens in Lendonwood, it was no surprise to be greeted with so much vegetative diversity. The Display Garden greets you just past the gate. The Oriental and Japanese Pavilion Gardens provide shade and beauty, featuring an active koi pond and the majority of the dogwoods, rhododendrons, and azaleas.

Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk

Most of the plants I didn’t recognize on sight, which makes me want to go out and study botany right about now, but that fact didn’t take away from the serenity provided by the bright colors, clean air, and deep connection to the environment that I felt taking it all in.

The English Terrace and American Backyard Gardens felt the most familiar to me. Though I’ve never been to England, I’ve read books and seen movies where the countryside is detailed and it was like walking into a gust of familiar air. Amid the American Backyard Garden stood a beautiful, white iron gazebo.

Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk

The second I saw it, I imagined the two main characters from my novel-in-progress underneath it, and I just had to have some images of it for descriptive purposes. Though the majority of that story will be taking place in Romania, I thought this white gazebo would be the perfect location for a clandestine romantic rendezvous or the planning of a nefarious coup plot. Either way, in that moment, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Quite beautiful.

The last two gardens, we didn’t really get a good look at. I think somewhere around the Japanese Pavilion Garden we got turned around between the stone paths and the grassy paths (no complaints here!), and we couldn’t find the Angel of Hope Garden. The statue in the picture from the site is gorgeous, though. And the Azalea Garden seemed to be on the other side of a private citizen’s driveway. Hard-pressed to intrude on someone else’s territory, I decided not to pursue the Azalea Garden; even though my fiancee made the point that it might have been the garden manager’s home. Looking back, I kind of wish I’d been more headstrong and just done it. Eh, you live; you learn. 🙂 Either way, it was a great trip and a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.

When we got home from Grove, (the other place we wanted to see didn’t appear to be open, let alone operational) my fiancee and I exchanged gifts. If this girl doesn’t know me, then no one does.

Noir, Merlot, and Blade--Talk about a great afternoon!
Noir, Merlot, and Blade–
That’s a great afternoon!

 

Pop | Celebrate Bisexuality Day!

Source: http://bloggingbi.wordpress.com/
Source: http://bloggingbi.wordpress.com/

Since 1999, less than a year after the Bi Pride Flag was first unveiled, Bisexuals have been celebrated on September 23. According to the Wikipedia page, Celebrate Bisexuality Day was pegged for 9/23 by the three founding members to honor Freddie Mercury‘s birthday and in selecting a weekend day to have a party where more people could attend. Gigi Raven Wilbur‘s birthday, the 23rd, filled the proverbial bill.

In my own coming out process, when I first stepped out of the closet I was bisexual. It was because I was still coming to terms with my own attraction to other women. At the time, that label felt right to me, and I wouldn’t ever change that process or that time in my life for anything. The fact that I claim lesbianism now does not negate the fact that I felt bisexual then.

This is not the typical transition period or process, at all. I hate to label any kind of transition period typical; however, my very process could lead others to believe that bisexuality is merely a phase–and that is NOT the case, at all. Bisexuality is an orientation, a genuine feeling of attraction of one person for persons of both genders. It is legitimate and should not be shuttered as something one may pass through.

There are several bisexual celebrities who have graced our stages, radios, movie screens, and televisions–the aforementioned Mercury probably one of the most well-known–Michelle Rodriguez, Anna Paquin, Lady Gaga, Billie Joe Armstrong, Clive Davis, and Andy Dick just to name a few. The Huffington Post has a gallery of 28 celebrities (including some I’ve already listed) who claim the orientation. Although, bisexuality is no contemporary facet only, many classic names have staked their claim as well: Oscar Wilde, Isadora Duncan, Tamara de Lempicka, Tallulah Bankhead, and Leonard Bernstein.

I mention all of this in order to help make a stand against the stigma associated with bisexuality and alternate sexual orientations in general. The beauty of this world is its diversity, and the moment we try to mainstream what cannot possibly be aligned to fight fear or the unknown we lose a bit of that beauty. Diversity is not anything to fear, but to welcome. Allowing for people to be different allows them to be themselves. When people feel comfortable to be themselves (outside of legitimately causing harm to someone’s life) they can be more productive, effective, and compassionate. Show the courtesy you wish to see in the world. Celebrate diversity!

Upworthy | 21 Absurd Things Lesbians Say to Straight People

It’s always funny to see someone offer the world a dash of perspective. Of course, this is satire. Of course, this is sarcastic. Of course, if I had a dollar for each time I’ve been asked one of these questions I wouldn’t have to work again, ever.

I’m not frowning upon asking questions to get to know something about someone better; I think it’s important to maintain an open channel for asking questions when someone feels uncertain about something that’s presented. But several of the questions or observations pointed out in the video above are legitimate inquiries lesbians (and people who fall within the rest of the LGBT spectrum) face from well-intentioned (albeit misguidedly in the dark) straight people who just want to understand (and see clearly, maybe?) the differences from heterosexual relationships. The point here is that every relationship meets different expectations and needs for the people in it; no two relationships are the same no matter the orientation of the folks sharing it. However, some of those inquiries need to slink off into the dark: “Can I watch?”; “That isn’t real/natural sex.”; “I just don’t want to see it.”; and “You just haven’t met the right man/woman yet.”–I’m looking at you.

So, This Birthday Phenomenon

Source: Corn and Co. Birthday Cake Popcorn Promo
Source: Corn and Co. Birthday Cake Popcorn Promo

Since I was up at 6:30 this morning baking a birthday cake for my lovely fianceé, I got to thinking about how the birthday phenomenon as we know it got started. I got most of my quickly compiled resources from Google searches and landed on three: one from The Huffington Post, another from Answers in Genesis, and the last from Triumph Prophetic Ministries.

So, in sum, birthdays used to be celebrations reserved for “the gods” or humans who picked up godly traits by being kings or other administrative royal beings. And because the earliest birthdays (think Egyptians and Greeks) were reserved for godly figures, early Christians were totally against celebrating birthdays for the common man–mainly for being born with original sin–though, the Romans didn’t have a problem picking up the habit for the common man. The Greeks gave us the circular cake–moon-shaped to honor Artemis–and put candles in to recreate the heavenly glow. Germans gave us the more contemporary birthday party situation in their Kinderfest, with candles for each year of life and a group gathering to celebrate. (On a side note, after the Romans started celebrating everyone’s birthday–it wasn’t until the 12th century when women’s birthdays were recognized.)

In The Bible, pagan kings, and pagan kings only [Herod Antipas and Pharaoh], are depicted as openly celebrating birthdays–but, as Triumph Prophetic Ministries goes into great detail about–it isn’t necessarily bad that Christian parents celebrate the day of birth. As long as praises are sent to He who created us and celebrations don’t “become” pagan by having “wrong connotations” and creating “the wrong atmosphere” which “imparts the wrong kind of influence.” More than likely being too materially excessive and forgetting the true source of celebration comes from God imparting the gift of life.

For us, it’s a chance to sit back, enjoy life, and celebrate finding our love in what can sometimes be a hopeless place. My birthday is exactly a week away, and I’ll be talking about astrology and being a Virgo in honor of that. If you’re celebrating a birthday this week, this month: Happy Birthday to you!

Pop | Smithsonian Continues Honoring LGBT History

On August 19, David Kohan and Max Mutchnik brought their mothers to the Smithsonian event honoring the inclusion of new gay, lesbian, and transgender artifacts into the American History Museum. Kohan and Mutchnick were there to donate Will & Grace memorabilia, which included the pilot’s screenplay and personal correspondence between the co-creators.

Mutchnick and Kohan decided to donate around 2012, after Joe Biden spoke to the press about the show’s social and cultural impact and his support for gay marriage. The items had been at Emerson College, where Mutchnick attended college, but the school was looking to move the collection. So Mutchnick and Kohan contacted Dwight Blocker Bowers, an entertianment curator at the American History Museum, who selected artifacts from those at Emerson. “They’re representative of all different things,” Kohan says of the items, including “combating hatred with humor.”

Other artifacts included in the event were: the first transgender pride flag designed by Monica Helms in 1999, a tennis racket owned by Renée Richards, costumes from the DC Cowboys Dance Company, and the diplomatic passports of David Huebner (first openly gay ambassador in the Obama administration) and his husband.

Source: Max Kutner for Smithsonianmag.com
Source: Max Kutner for Smithsonianmag.com

These treasured artifacts will be joining ranks with a tennis dress that belonged to Billie Jean King, protest signs from the gay civil rights movement, and lab equipment related to HIV and AIDS. You can read more about the event right from Smithsonian Magazine online.

Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! Follow @SmithsonianMag on Twitter.

Books | The Witness Wore Red

Source: "To Read" Pinterest Board
Source: “To Read”
Pinterest Board

I just finished reading The Witness Wore Red, and Rebecca Musser is probably one of my new heroes! Expect a full-length review soon at my editing blog here. Click the title’s link to pick up your own copy at Amazon. That just happens to be my digital book store of choice. I would suggest checking it out from your public library–that’s where I got mine–and then go here to purchase a signed copy. An email is provided to contact about cost reduction if you plan on multiple signed-copy purchases.

 

Film | My Top 5 All-Time Favorites

Since I mentioned it in the last post, I thought maybe I would flesh it out here: My Top 5 All-Time Favorite movies. If I were headed to a deserted island, these are the five I would want with me for all eternity. However, having said that, let’s pray I never, ever have to resort to just five movies forever.

I would like to present this list in “no particular order”, but in all honesty that’s only because my favorite would change from day to day–depending on which one I wanted to see. As soon as I want to peg one for the coveted top spot, a reason why another one should be there springs to mind. So, alas, in no particular order, my top 5:

The Color Purple

This move struck me from the first time I viewed it, when I was in the fifth or sixth grade. It spoke to me on several levels: the strong sisterly connection, feeling helpless in a situation not of your choosing, and finally finding the power within to demand justice for pain suffered. “Until you do right by me everything you think about is gonna crumble!”

Dead Poets Society

I spoke about this in the last post in remembrance of Robin Williams’s performance as John Keating, but this was not the only aspect that secured its placement here. The story of the boys at the academy, bucking tradition and stifling parental/societal expectations to follow their dreams, their hearts. It is uplifting, full of passion and heart, and being sad at the end does not hinder the message that following your heart is what brings you joy, true and fleeting.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

I remember feeling like I might be too young to watch this when I was 12, having only heard the title and seen the movie cover; but after “The Time Warp” dance number I was sold. Following dreams and being the beauty you wanted to see the world resonated with me. Not to mention breaking out into song every time you had a different emotion. I’d been introduced to lots of other musicals long before seeing this in middle school, but hearing Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) practically shout at his new fiancee Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon), “Damn it, Janet, I love you!” made me a fan of the movie musical forever.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

The first horror movie I ever watched was Night of the Living Dead, and simultaneously it scared the crap out of me, incensed me, and taught me that some things just aren’t what they initially seem. A Nightmare on Elm Street scared the crap out of me and taught me that sometimes evil will stand up, spit you dead in the eye, and then laugh while it hacks you to bits. Pulling from stories about death while sleeping and that old adage about sins of the father, Freddy Krueger was born to remind us just how real dreams can be.

Pink Floyd The Wall

I remember working hard to try and see this movie. When I first heard about it, no one I knew owned it. It certainly wasn’t available at my local public library–or any college libraries I’d checked into at the time. The internet was a fledgling concept and not the network of media geeks it is today (LOVE YOU GUYS!!!). So, I had to wait a bit before I ever saw it. When I did, finally, watch it; I was immediately hooked. I remember thinking of it as a darker version of The Who’s Tommy, which I’d been long familiar with. They both followed an iconic male figure, overcoming severe familial trauma, to determine who they were on a grander world stage. Oh, and there’s the kick-ass rock music.