What should I be doing instead of this?
 
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Worst Week Ever! March 23-29

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Pope joins Instagram to the delight of online believers; GOP will not consider SCOTUS nominee or anything else Obama wants; scientists believe dogs are more intelligent than we give the little bastards credit for and more.  
by Rick Pender 02.05.2016 88 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 02:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
stage door 2-5 - ifthen on tour - anthony rapp & jackie burns - photo joan marcus

Stage Door

A musical worth seeing, events at Know (one serious, the other entertaining) plus a Super Bowl commercial

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey met with great success when they created next to normal, winning several Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama. They didn’t strike gold with their next show, If/Then, onstage locally for just a week in a touring production — but I found it to be a very satisfying, if complex work. (Read my Curtain Call interview with Kitt and Yorkey here.) Elizabeth is recently divorced and trying to decide what path to take next. She asks herself musically “What If” she takes this path or that — and this show lets us follow her down two divergent threads, one toward a successful professional career as a city planner in New York, the other in a happy marriage with kids that doesn’t quite turn out as she imagined. Her stories are presented in overlapping narratives, since some moments and events are quite close. It requires paying close attention, but it’s definitely worth the effort. It’s made all the easier by a very strong cast — including Jackie Burns in the leading role, Broadway veteran Anthony Rapp as Lucas, one of her close friends (he originated the role on Broadway Lucas and played videographer Mark in the original cast of Rent back in 1996) and Tamyra Gray as Kate, who pushes Elizabeth in a different direction. The show’s inventive staging, using video and fluidly moving set pieces, is also a fine example of contemporary theater design. Definitely worth seeing. Onstage through Sunday.  In BlackTop Sky at Know Theatre, Ida’s view from an asphalt-paved courtyard surrounded by the housing project where she lives isn’t pretty.  The 18-year-old yearns to escape, but her avenues are limited. The safe, predictable route is with Wynn, her boyfriend, a hardworking auto mechanic. Then there’s Klass, an all-but-inarticulate homeless man who settle on two park benches. Ida is caught between these two poles. This is a show about lives that are pretty dead-end. Nevertheless, Christina Anderson’s script has its moments, especially with Kimberly Faith Hickman’s purposeful staging of 34 distinct scenes, several of them entirely wordless. Anderson writes with occasional lyricism and feeling, but desperation underlies these sad stories. That being said, the telling holds out a promise of change. That’s an important if not altogether entertaining message. Onstage through Feb. 20. Also at Know, the fourth outing of Serials gets under way on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. They’ve dubbed this one Thunderdome 2 – Beyond Thunder, meaning that each evening two of the five shows will be voted out by the audience, to be replaced by two new shows at the following session. Serials 4 features some writers and directors who entertained audiences in previous iterations of Serials. But several new talents have entered the fray, and the Know staff tells me, “There are some seriously strong story pitches this round!” They feel that the “gentle competition” of Thunderdome leads to stronger writing and a better audience experience. Writers who take the challenge must leap quickly into their narratives; if they lag behind, they’ll be struck by a thunderclap and end up in the audience at the next round. Subsequent episodes are set for Feb. 22, March 7 and 21 and April 4. Finally: If you’re tuned in to the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, keep an eye out for a 30-second commercial for Gold Star Chili. It was shot locally, featuring 15 Cincinnati actors at several Gold Star locations. Ensemble Theatre’s Lynn Meyers did the casting for it, so you’ll see some familiar faces often featured on local stages.  Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
 
 

Dead for Super Bowl Halftime?

Plus, Viet Cong announces name change and a Beatles clip causes controversy

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Bruno Mars is rumored to be in the running to perform at the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show (again!), but a fan is asking, "Why not the Grateful Dead?" instead. Plus, Canada's Viet Cong is planning to change its name due to feedback on its insensitivity and a Beatles-era clip of John Lennon mocking the learning disabled has shocked and disappointed many fans.   
by Jac Kern 02.05.2015
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Sharks, Music, Movies at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone, and what an emotional rollercoaster it was! Not only was the game neck and neck until the end, but viewers were taken through a gauntlet of tear-jerking ads between plays. Lost puppies? Check. Dead children? Of course! It is the Super Bowl, after all. It’s as if advertisers suddenly realized humans have emotions, and that beer + bikini + kick to the crotch is not in fact the perfect formula to lure every football fan. Check out more Super Bowl commercials here. But there were some funny ads, too. Lindsay Lohan poked fun at her wreck of a life for Nationwide; Mindy Kaling learned what it was like to be invisible; and that Pete Rose Sketchers commercial aired, so that’s not embarrassing or anything. Meanwhile the IRL Women and Women First, the owners of Portland, Ore.’s  feminist bookstore In Other Words, took over Portlandia’s twitter account to give a feminist commentary on the night’s events. Here are some highlights. Before we knew it, it was half-time, headlined by Katy Perry. While she’s no Beyoncé (the disclaimer I give before complimenting anyone), homegirl brought it. Even people who are way too cool to listen to the pop star were all, “I’m not a Katy Perry fan, but that was a great performance,” which is hipster for “I liked it.” And if you were a fan of the amazing graphics throughout the show, you have a local company to thank! Lightborne Communications was behind all the 3-D animations and projections (they also worked on her recent tour). Read more about Lightborne’s involvement here. The singer came out on a gigantic metallic man-powered lion, danced on a checkerboard come-to-life, served up early-Katy Perry retro beach realness (#leftshark 4 lyfe) and flew across the stadium looking like “The More You Know” star. Lenny Kravitz was already announced as a guest star, and he didn’t disappoint, performing Perry’s breakout single “I Kissed a Girl.” And oh, how I wanted to be that girl. Seriously, the man has not aged in the last 20-30 years. I wonder if he and Gwen Stefani both sold their souls to the devil around the same time in the ‘90s. But Kravitz wasn’t Perry’s only guest! Rumored performer Missy Elliott surprised the audience with a medley of some of her top hits. It’s been a decade since she released any new music, so hopefully there’s more to come from Missy because the bitch can still put her thang down, flip it and reverse it. There must be something in the air with pre-Millennium R&B musicians returning to the spotlight, because D’Angelo performed on Saturday Night Live last weekend at took us all to church while he did it. I never thought I’d like D’Angelo with so much clothing on, but he killed it (and owns the sophisticated baglady look). SNL celebrates 40 years later this month (on a Sunday, which is weird). Tons of former cast members and hosts will appear: Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Hamm, Jack Nicholson, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Walken and so, so many more, including Eddie Murphy, who’ll be returning for the first time in more than 30 years. Now stop everything, because the Game of Thrones trailer is here. “Who said anything about him?” BOOM. Jimmy Fallon took The Tonight Show on the road for the week, and some of the show’s most hilarious clips have resulted. First, after the Super Bowl, Fallon and friends did a live show from Phoenix. Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart — who watched the big game together and co-star in the upcoming Get Hard — threw down in a lip sync battle (“for their LIVES” – RuPaul) with Fallon. Watch the guys do either best Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and more here. On Monday, the crew traveled to L.A. So, naturally, Fallon opened the show with a recreation of the intro from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But the throwback fun doesn’t stop there. No stranger to Mark-Paul Gosselaar (who famously did an interview with Fallon as Zack Morris on Late Night), Fallon reunited the Saved By the Bell crew — Zack (Gosselaar), Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen), Slater (Mario Lopez) and Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley) — for a trip back to Bayside. This is all great but where is Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies)?! I mean I know Dustin “Screech” Diamond was probably busy with his recent arrest and all, but what’s her excuse? Finally, the movie event horny bitches across the planet have been waiting for is finally here. Folks have been talking about it — anticipating it — since 2012. Some scenes can’t even be shown on TV. No, I’m not talking about that Fifty Shades bullshit, I’m talkin’ Magic Mike XXL. Try to keep your composure.  
 
 
by Steven Rosen 02.04.2015
Posted In: Music, Arts at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati's Lightborne Communications Helped Create Katy Perry's Super Bowl Show

When news came out yesterday that Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched and highest-rated of any in history that featured entertainment, there was celebration at Lightborne Communications, the video-production-services company in Over-the-Rhine. Lightborne created all the animated video projections used in Perry’s 12-and-a-half-minute set, which featured a medley of abbreviated versions of her hits amid phantasmagoric and theatrical staging, costumes, videos, dancing and set design. And while Lightborne President Scott Durban was wary about taking too much credit — lots of artists, obviously including Perry herself, were involved in the show — he did note that no other company involved in the overall production was based in Cincinnati. Lightborne got involved because its Tour Visuals and Stage Content division already had been working on Perry’s ongoing Prismatic World Tour. (It also has done or is working on video for tours by Kanye West, Kenny Chesney and Fleetwood Mac.) Dan Bryant, the head of that division, explained Lightborne’s involvement with Perry’s Super Bowl performance: “We started working on the project very shortly after she was announced in October as the half-time performer,” Bryant said. “We had done over two hours of content for her Prism tour, so she was already familiar with our company and work. We got a call from her creative director, Baz Halpin, asking us to work on her Super Bowl show. “As soon as we found out her set list, we started working with [Halpin] for some concepts that would work with the logistics and constraints of the show,” Bryant continued. “We started doing individual frames to capture the overall idea for a particular song. That process went into November. Once we arrived at a concept for each song that everybody was happy with, we started storyboarding them out to give an idea of what the flow of ideas would be for each song. “Then in December we started doing animatics, taking all the different frames we created and stringing them out to songs in still-frame form so everybody could get an idea of what it would look like when finally animated. That took us to the middle of December,” he said. “Then we started animating ideas to rough tracks for her Super Bowl medley. That’s when we started using a really amazing piece of software called D3. It’s simulation software, specifically designed about 10 years ago to simulate any live event on a software platform.” Eventually, after some intermediary steps, Lightborne had a working 3D model of the University of Phoenix Stadium, the performance stage and all the key props. Its crew started loading its animations into that. “It gave everybody on our team, including Katy herself, a really good idea of what our animated content would look like when projected onto a 160-foot diameter surface,” Bryant said. “That’s when it gets really exciting because you start seeing the idea come to life.” In January, a four-person Lightborne team went out to Los Angeles to participate in rehearsals. A few days before the Super Bowl, everyone involved moved to Phoenix to rehearse in the actual venue. Although everything went fine, Bryant said there was great nervousness as the actual Super Bowl game began. Lightborne was counting on some degree of darkness for Perry’s show. “The first and second quarter went by extremely quickly, and my team on location in Phoenix and everybody else with the show was getting nervous because it was still light outside,” Bryant said. “They had the dome roof open and 15 minutes to show time it was still bright sunshine outside and the field was being hit by sunlight. Luckily some things happened in the game that had the quarter slow down, so it went off without a hitch."Watch the full performance:
 
 
by Jac Kern 01.21.2015
Posted In: Movies, Music, TV/Celebrity, Humor at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

The Academy Award nominees were announced Thursday, but you only need to know one name: Dick Poop. Dick Poop! Read the rest of the stupid, non-funnily named nominees here. Dick Poop is the Adele Dazeem of 2015. And speaking of Idina Menzel, the woman whose name was famously botched by John Travolta at last year’s Oscars/she who is responsible for all the bitches still singing “Let It Go” will perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. John Legend will also perform prior to the game, singing “America the Beautiful.” Katy Perry is the half-time star; Lenny Kravitz (and surely many more to be announced) will join her. Is the moon a star or a planet? Isaac Mizrahi and designer Jane Treacy discuss. FYI, brainiacs, the moon is just a moon. Don’t shame yourself by Googling it. Parks and Recreation is busting out its final season with two episodes per week, and while the show’s time jump to 2017 has provided some laughs (Councilman Jamm fell for Tammy Two; Jerry is now Terry – Dammit, Terry!), it’s nice to see the show go back to its roots. After opening the season with a feuding Ron and Leslie, last night’s ep brought them back together — like never before. And speaking of Parks and Rec, if you’re a serious fan and/or serious gamer, someone is raising funds for a very serious Cones of Dunshire game on Kickstarter. So far they’ve got about 10 percent of their $300,000 goal, and it’ll cost you a $500 donation to receive the game. Pretty steep, but I think Ben would approve of the financial investment.Justin Bieber is the next celeb to be roasted on Comedy Central. The Photoshop victim and general twat joked that he had finally given the network enough material to work with. No film or air date yet, but Biebz says it’s a gift for his 21st birthday, which is coming up on March 1 (so help us). Kevin Hart hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, but all eyes were on musical guest Sia. Actually, her eyes were covered as she gave the spotlight to her fellow (amazing) performers. Maddie “Lil’ Sia” Ziegler performed her blonde-wigged/nude-suited choreography for “Elastic Heart” with a matching female dancer (instead of Shia LaBeouf, who costars in the video). And then she performed “Chandelier” with a badass mime. All the feels! And here’s a weird Kyle Mooney (redundant) skit that was cut from the episode: Lots of people are talking about American Sniper: Did director Clint Eastwood get snubbed for an Oscar nod? Is it “war porn?” Can we stop talking about Bradley Cooper’s “transformation” as if eating 8,000 calories a day is some super difficult task? And what the fuck is happening with that fake baby? Yes, #fakebaby has been trending, and it all refers to a quick scene with Cooper and Sienna Miller’s characters and their new baby. Which is most definitely a not-alive doll. Seriously, an Oscar-nominated movie with a fake baby? Kids today just do not understand work ethic. Finally, President Obama gave the State of the Union Address last night, which is a real important thing. Also important: John Boehner’s tan in corresponding Pantone colors: 
 
 

U.K. Venue Heroes Ban Selfie Stick

Plus, a Milwaukee radio station banned Seattle music to help a football team win a big game and the cassette tape comeback is still a thing

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Several top music venues in the U.K. have decided to ban "selfie sticks" at concerts, breaking the hearts of the country's narcissistic music lovers. Plus, a Wisconsin radio station bans all Seattle-spawned music from its playlist to help the Packers get to the Super Bowl (whoops!) and the mild comeback of the cassette as a music format continues, with Disney getting in on the action.   

Musical Motivation at Work?

Plus, Paris Hilton continues to anger Deadmau5 and Aaron Lewis blows it on national TV

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A new study finds that listening to music at work can improve production, Paris Hilton's success as a party DJ continues to infuriate Deadmau5 and Aaron Lewis, who once dissed Christina Aguilera for botching the national anthem at the Super Bowl, botches the national anthem at the World Series.  

Sneaky Sneaker Drop

Plus, Pop music at the Olympics and, spoiler alert, sometimes musicians mime on TV

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Nike releases Kanye West's new shoe like Beyonce releases a new album, Russia scrambles to find relevant Russian pop cultural touchstones for the Olympics' opening ceremonies and the social media world freaks out because the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn't plug their instruments in during the Super Bowl halftime show.   
by Jac Kern 02.05.2014
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Music, Movies at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

The Super Bowl may have disappointed Broncos fans (and nearly anyone who wanted to see a real football game), but the night brought plenty of entertainment for the rest of us. Joe Namath kicked off the fun, dressed for a late-night pimp stroll across the Arctic. Not that we’d expect anything less! After the Seahawks crushed the first half, viewers experienced an incredible half-time show. My bad, that's actually from Puppy Bowl X. Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers actually performed, which is funny because you just know execs originally wanted to shoot for the young crowd and then realized 15-year-old girls don’t buy Toyotas or Budweiser, so they just added RHCP last-minute. Halftime show pros: Bruno Mars opened with an epic drum solo Bruno's gold suit His James Brown moves Sweet back-up band Cool Bruno segue into “Give It Away” Anthony Kiedis is just as fine as ever Cons: That’s the only song RHCP played Their music — along with Bruno Mars’ band — was pre-recorded (but it wasn’t their choice. People made a big fuss about RHCP’s instruments not being plugged in, but pre-recording is generally the rule for a live performance like this. Bruno’s singing and drumming were life, as was Anthony’s singing, while the rest of the music was mimed). The Pepper guys weren’t wearing only tube socks After a “messages from our troops” sequence, Bruno Mars sang that awful song from the Us Weekly commercials that totally does not work after a “messages from our troops” sequence” The realization that I actually just can’t like Bruno Mars All in all, there were some good performances, just nothing shocking or spectacular. However, being the 10th anniversary of Nipplegate, maybe that was the point. Now, on to the commercials! The Church of Scientology tried to trick us into thinking we were watching some low-budget Apple ad with this surprising commercial (and the only religious ad of the night): Goldie Blox borrowed another Rock song for the toy company’s latest ad — hopefully they got permission this time. We finally got to see what that Seinfeld reunion rumor was all about: A promotion for Jerry Seinfeld’s web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Overall, two themes were prevalent in this year’s ads… America: and Animals (grab the tissues): Also announced during Super Bowl commercials was the return of the hit drama 24 coming this May as well as Noah, the biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly in theaters March 8. On last week’s episode of Workaholics, the guys hire an escort to bang theirv boss so she'll be in a good mood and allow them to host a fish fry in honor of Blake's dead koi fish. All completely acceptable work behavior. Anywho, Blake, Adam and Ders interviewed candidates and guess who appeared in the scene? None other than Brace, star of the gripping Showtime series, Gigolos. Nice move, guys. Not that BuzzFeed isn’t always up in our grills, but lately the site’s unleashed an endless avalanche of pop culture quizzes — so much so, the site has even taken to making fun of itself with its “What Arbitrary Thing Are You?" quiz. They’re stupid, but irresistable. So it was kind of funny when Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson took BuzzFeed’s “Which ‘90s Alt-Rock Grrrl Are You?” quiz…and didn’t get herself. Who doesn’t love The Sandlot? The 1993 coming-of-age comedy followed the adventures of  Smalls, Benny, Ham, Squints, Yeah-Yeah and the rest of their baseball-loving crew in 1962 Los Angeles. It’s a contemporary classic! Unfortunately, 20 years later, most of the child stars from the movie aren’t seen much in the movies and TV shows of today. On that note, meet modern-day Yeah-Yeah, who is a total choad. As seen on The Soup: The best part might actually be his girlfriend bragging, “I graduated from UCLA,” with a mouthful of deep-fried street food.Jonathan Banks, who played Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad, has signed on to be part of Better Call Saul. Awesome. So you’re probably sick of Grammy-winning Lorde’s hit, “Royals” by now, but this cover is worth checking out. Don’t let the seven-foot sad clown scare you. (Spoiler Alert: That’s actually impossible)
 
 

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