Thursday, January 31, 2013

 "But do not ask the price I paid, I must live with my quiet rage. Tame the ghosts in my head, that run wild and wish me dead. Should you shake my ash to the wind, Lord, forget all of my sins. Oh, let me die where I lie, 'neath the curse of my lover's eyes." ~mumford & sons

Just a few (completely unconnected) things today.

1. Music Update: Mumford &Sons
Next week I'm heading to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn for this concert, featuring Mumford & Sons with The Felice Brothers opening. I'm equally excited about both bands. I'm obsessed with The Felice Brothers, and they put on an amazing live show. I haven't seen Mumford & Sons live before, so I'm really excited about seeing them for the first time.

This is one of those concerts that sold out in seconds and left tons of fans angry because they were refreshing the ticketmaster page when tickets went on sale and still wound up empty-handed. I'm usually one of those frustrated potential ticket buyers, but this time a miracle occurred. By some stroke of luck that I'm sure will never be repeated, I managed to pull up a pair of tickets in the front row of the lowest level seats. It really is a miracle. So it'll be nice to have a great view.

I've been listening to Babel (their most recent album) nonstop for the past month. I always do this in preparation for a concert. I've stopped reading on the way to and from work; I just listen to this album. I spend an hour a day commuting, which means I've spent about 30 hours listening to Babel just on the train. I love exploring a new album like this. The first few listens, all the songs blended together and sounded alike. Then I began to feel each song as an individual piece. I love this album as much as Sigh No More, which I would have thought would be nearly impossible. Right now my favorite song on the album is "Lovers' Eyes," posted above, which I really hope I hear them play next week. If I hear that and "Dust Bowl Dance" (from Sigh No More) I'll be thrilled.
Check back next week for a concert update. 

2. Broadway Update: Picnic
Oh my gosh, this cast. Let me break it down for you.
Ellen Burstyn. The woman has been nominated for 6 Oscars (and won once). She's brilliant in everything she does, and seeing her perform onstage was an incredible thrill.  
Mare Winningham. I love, love, love Mare Winningham. She seems like someone I'd want to know. She seems like she'd be a perfect mom. She's also an Oscar nominee, and I've seen her onstage before a couple of times and I always enjoy her immensely.
Maggie Grace. Predominantly a film actress, she's probably best known for the Taken movies and as Shannon on Lost. This is her Broadway debut, and she's absolutely lovely. She perfectly conveys her character's innocence, frustration, and eventual anguish.
Sebastian Stan. Oh, Sebastian Stan. What is there to say? You're charming.
Sebastian Stan's Abs. Yes, I think these are their own character. Ben Brantley devotes the first five paragraphs of his New York Times review to these abs. Seriously. Watch this video for proof of ab awesomeness.
 The stellar cast also includes New York theater stalwarts Reed Birney, Madeleine Martin, and Elizabeth Marvel.

I love this play, which won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize. It's a thoughtful look at loneliness (especially for women) and the role beauty plays in our society (I think it's themes are just as present today as they were sixty years ago). The production elements were very well executed, and I had a fabulous night at the theater.

3. Words With Friends
I'm obsessed. If you play, find me through facebook or my Words With Friends username, CBBwordsmith.

4. The Super Bowl
I like the 49ers and have since seventh grade (when a teacher I loved was really, really into them and rubbed off on me). I really hope they win. I'm just happy the Patriots aren't in the Super Bowl, though. I'm also looking forward to the Super Bowl for two reasons other than football; I love the show Elementary and it has the coveted post-Super Bowl timeslot so it should be a really good episode (although every episode is good), and Amy Poehler is in Best Buy's Super Bowl commercial this year. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

I loved seeing The Lumineers perform on Saturday's SNL. They're wonderful.

I also love this article (completely unrelated to The Lumineers).

That's all for now.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Best. Opening. Monologue. Ever.

More thoughts will later be added to this post. Also, this.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

 "Listen to the girl as she takes on half the world. Moving up and so alive in her honey dripping beehive." ~the jesus & mary chain

This is just a very quick post on my initial thoughts about the Oscar nominations, which were announced today. I wrote about my Oscar thoughts last month, and you can read them here.

The Golden Globes are on Sunday, which I'm super excited about, mostly because Amy Poehler is hosting(!), along with Tina Fey. I think Amy Poehler is pure awesomeness. She's kind of my hero. I think her website Smart Girls at the Party is an incredible way to inspire girls to be themselves and to be passionate about something. It shows girls that it's okay to be smart, and it's a place for them to go if they need some guidance. It's empowering and wonderful. Ask Amy is my favorite segment. That's just one reason I love Amy Poehler; she seems to be a genuinely kind, friendly, giving person, and she's freakin' hilarious. Anyway, I love her and I'm super excited to see her host the Golden Globes and I'll write my reactions next week.

Oscar Noms Thoughts
1. No John Hawkes for best actor?! I adore John Hawkes and I thought his performance in The Sessions was brilliant. This is incredibly disappointing.
2. I'm so glad Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) was nominated for best actress. I'm also thrilled that the film was nominated for best picture.
3. Best Director. What. The. Heck. This category is ridiculous. No Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)?!? Are you freakin' kidding me?!? She probably should have won the award and she's not even nominated. No Ben Affleck (Argo)?!? No Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)?!? No Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)?!? Fail.
4. Honestly, I'm glad Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) was nominated for supporting actress instead of Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), whom many thought would get that nomination.
5. I think Moonrise Kingdom was deserving of more than the one nomination it received (for best original screenplay). 
6. The Hunger Games should have been nominated for hair/makeup. And I think Taylor Swift should have been nominated for best song from that film ("Safe and Sound").

Fun Facts:
1. Silver Linings Playbook is the first film in more than 30 years to receive nominations in all four acting categories.
2. In the best actress categories, Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) and Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) are respectively the oldest and youngest actresses to ever be nominated.

Finally, a few videos:

Golden Globes awesomeness (how funny are they?):
An episode of Ask Amy. I love Paul Rudd's brief appearance.

Finally, the genuis that is Nick Offerman.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

"Summer gone, now winter's on its way. I will miss the days we had, the days we had. I will miss the days we had." ~the head and the heart

It's time for a Broadway update! Since returning home from a lovely white Christmas in Colorado, I've seen three Broadway shows, and they were all fabulous. In fact, I think the leading ladies from each show will be competing for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play this year. This is a strong year for plays (especially revivals). Here are my thoughts on the three I've seen in the past week:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Scarlett Johansson won a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in A View from the Bridge a couple seasons ago (and she deserved it; her performance was stellar), and in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof she proves that she really does have some serious stage chops. I've seen quite a few famous film actors who end up flailing onstage (*cough*JuliaRoberts*cough), but Scarlett proves that she is more than comfortable in both mediums. She is a perfect Maggie. Her performance seems effortless, and she takes command of the stage with her first line and never lets go. She nails the Southern accent, and her Maggie is a force to be reckoned with. Benjamin Walker (with whom I've shared an awkward moment in an elevator) is a charming Brick and has great chemistry with Scarlett. Debra Monk is a wonderful Big Mama; her act three breakdown is emotional and tragic and moving. I didn't mind Ciaran Hinds as Big Daddy, but I did think he was the weakest link in the cast. I thought Emily Bergl did a good job making us understand an unlikeable character. The set was beautiful, and I wasn't crazy about a couple directorial choices (the ghost of Skipper appearing?), but overall I loved this production of a classic play.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The word on the street is that this is the play to see this season, and now I know why. It transferred from Steppenwolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton as George and Martha, and I'll be very surprised if anyone can beat Tracy Letts in the Tony race for Best Actor in a Play. I think the New York Times review describes his performance well (and gives a good description of the play's impact on the audience):
"The revelation here is the performance of Tracy Letts, making an electrifying Broadway debut as an actor five years after winning a Tony Award and subsequently a Pulitzer Prize as a playwright, for August: Osage County. Under the tightrope-taut direction of Pam MacKinnon, Mr. Letts brings a coiled ferocity to George that all but reorders our responses to a play that many of us probably thought had by now vouchsafed all its surprises....
....That the night will indeed end in wholesale destruction is a given for all who know the play. But never before have I felt such a prickly sense of dread as the three acts unfolded in all their symphonic discord. Mr. Letts and Ms. Morton make clear that beneath the couple’s mechanical antagonism lies a profound emotional dependence with gnarled roots embedded deeply in love. We sense from the beginning how high the stakes are, and as we watch George and Martha perform their devilish waltz ever closer to the precipice, the tension becomes almost unbearable." 
It really is a tense, emotional roller coaster of a production, and I loved every second of it.

The Other Place
Laurie Metcalf  is incredible. She must be so emotionally exhausted after every performance; the journey that she goes through is amazingly executed and heartbreaking. I don't want to say too much about the play in case anyone wants to see it; I can't say much without giving away important plot points that I wouldn't have wanted to know before seeing it.