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Here’s to My Future. But First, Here’s to My Yesterday!

31 Dec

I have no idea where the time went, but as the calendar reminds us, December 31 means we’ve come to the end of another year.

Americans can’t seem to see eye-to-eye about much these days, but suffice it to say, 2018 was … a year. It was 12 months long. (Those are facts we can all agree on, right?) And as with any year, a lot of good stuff and bad stuff happened, locally and nationally. There’s no need to rehash it all; we all lived through it.

I’m excited for 2019, and all that the next 12 months will (hopefully) bring with it. But, as the Imagine Dragons lyric says, “No tomorrow without a yesterday.” So in that spirit, I’m going to use this last blog post of 2018 to take another look at some of my yesterdays. Specifically, some of my favorite highlights from the past 12 months. Continue reading

My Soundtrack for 2018 Brings Back a Lot of Memories

18 Dec

Every year has its own soundtrack. It’s the collection of songs and sounds that, when you hear them, they remind you of times gone by.

My soundtrack for 2018 does exactly that, recalling the times I spent lazing by the pool aboard a cruise ship, watching the Olympics, celebrating my birthday in New York City, enjoying live music, driving around in the summer with the volume up and my car windows down, and much more.

I like compiling this kind of “time capsule” playlist instead of writing a top-10 (or whatever number) list of the year’s “best” songs and albums because music tends to play such a large role in my life, and I often can remember certain events by what I was listening to at the time. Besides, taste is so subjective, so when looking back on the year gone by, I’d much rather call attention to more music than less. Because tracks wouldn’t have been added to this playlist if I didn’t like them, anyway. Continue reading

Let’s Not Forget These Early Days of 2018 (The Good Ones, Anyway)

29 Jun

It’s hard to believe, but it was just last week that James Corden shared his awesome “Carpool Karaoke” video with Paul McCartney with the world.

Less than a month and a half ago, we were all fighting about whether we heard “Laurel” or “Yanny.” (It’s Yanny. No question.)

Two and a half months ago, Desiree Linden won the Boston Marathon women’s race, by more than four minutes — even after stopping just over an hour into the race to wait while Shalane Flanagan went to the bathroom.

Less than three weeks before that, Brandon Victor Dixon’s performance blew us away in the live TV production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Black Panther, easily the best movie so far this year, came out just four months ago.

And a month before that, we were all cheering when the Minnesota Vikings staged an incredible comeback in the last minute of an NFL playoff game. (Unless you were a New Orleans Saints fan, that is.)

Yes, all of that happened this year. Continue reading

Yes, I Hear the People Sing. Please Make Them Stop

19 Dec

les_miserables_french_posterI had a dream Les Miz would be … so much better than the movie it is.

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but despite all the hype that would lead you to believe the big-screen adaptation of the beloved musical Les Misérables is the best thing since sliced bread, the movie left me feeling lukewarm.

And I don’t say that lightly. Like so many others who grew up in New York, Les Misérables played a significant role during my formative years. I first saw it in 1987, in London, on a trip with my grandparents. I also saw the show on Broadway, and I heard songs like “On My Own” over and over in talent shows at summer camp and in school, and at other performances where young girls got up to sing.

So suffice it to say, I had a bit of history going into this one, and expectations were high.

Oh well.

Continue reading

Do You Wanna Rock?

14 Jun

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you do it.

So much more than simply Glee for Grownups, the big-screen version of Rock of Ages features a cast of big-name stars (mostly) letting out their inner rock gods and giving audiences what may be the most fun movie of the summer.

I mean, what else do you expect from a movie that’s set in 1987 on the seedy side of the Sunset Strip, and features actors like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, and Russell Brand singing classic cheesy hair-metal songs by Whitesnake, Poison, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, and others?

I’m not sure I’d say “it don’t get better than this,” but if you’re looking for “nothin’ but a good time,” then Rock of Ages is damn near close to, yes, Paradise City. Continue reading

The Song Remains the Same for “Once”

11 Apr

Like the movie it’s based on, Once the stage musical (which I saw last week) begins in unassuming fashion.

The stage has been “converted” to a pub, where audience members can go for a drink before the show (and during intermission). The ensemble is right there on stage performing Irish and Czech folk songs, in a seemingly impromptu jam session, and patrons are treated as if it’s just another night in the pub.

Gradually, all the audience members are led back to their seats, and without any fanfare, there’s someone “new” on stage, who the ensemble parts ways to let sing.

And does he ever.

With broken-hearted passion, this Guy belts out “Leave,” a slow-burn song about his girlfriend, who has left Dublin — and him.

Slowly the lights go down and the show has begun.

Continue reading

Success

29 Nov

What can a guy like Harry Potter teach me about how to succeed in business without really trying?

Well, maybe not a whole lot, but he sure can school me about how to succeed on Broadway.

In the current revival of the musical, the boy wizard himself, Daniel Radcliffe, plays window cleaner J. Pierrepont Finch, who, with the help of Shepherd Mead’s book of the same name, quickly rises up the ranks at a large corporation where no one really knows what anyone else is doing, and a smart, savvy, and charming guy like Finch can get ahead just by knowing the right people and saying the right things at the right time.

The show was first produced in 1961, and was revived in 1995 with Matthew Broderick and a pre–Will & Grace Megan Mullally in the lead roles.

This production opened in March, and I finally got a chance to see it over the weekend when I was in New York. Continue reading

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