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Archive for November, 2012

Bodies: The Exhibition Answers the Ultimate Question

If you have ever wondered what happens to you when you die, then wonder no more.  “Bodies: The Exhibition” answers that question rather harshly, by presenting preserved human organs for museum display.  It’s quite ghastly and yet very informative.  It says, “These are your parts…they decay when you’re dead and you go back into the ground.”  The traveling tour exhibit reminds us that our bodies are just systems, parts, and decaying matter, to go back into the dust.  So, while the question of where your consciousness goes, and if life continues, is an unanswered mystery, the literal question of what happens to your body is fairly obvious.

How in the world do they preserve human bodies after natural deaths?  These bodies in particular are prevented from decaying by using a special rubberizing process invented in the 1970s.  The process sees all water and fat in the cells of the body replaced by acetone and eventually by plastic.

No, it’s definitely not for all tastes, and more than a few concerns have been raised because of the ethics of displaying dead bodies for educational purposes.  Ethics have been a question, and many religious figures have even suggested viewing such human frailty with a skeptical and objective eye could be damaging to teaching values, perhaps even training youth to be cynical about the value of human life.

The exhibit endured a challenge from the Florida Attorney General in Tampa, where it started, who wanted to shut the entire exhibit down.  Of course, the purpose is not intended to be objectifying.  If anything, seeing death and expired bodies up close may help to teach us reverence for life; learning its beauty, its frailty and its amazing functions.  Indeed, the exhibit could well help to teach spirituality to young minds, which have only learned about death from TV shows, movies, and gossip.  It’s best not to simply answer children’s questions dogmatically, but to stimulate their thinking processes by offering a scientific discussion.

The “Bodies” exhibit is touring around the nation and always bringing controversy its way.  If only people were this concerned about the living and not the dead, maybe we’d have a better crack at this peaceful society thing…

Broadway’s Next H!T Musical Lets Audiences Decide!

If you want to see a Broadway musical like you’ve never seen before, and actually be part of the show, then you’ve got to see Broadway’s Next H!T Musical! This show combines a little bit of everything that’s best about the theater — a little improv, a little audience participation, and a very talented cast that bring it all together. It all adds up to one very unforgettable show that’s never exactly the same as the one before it.

The show, which is currently traveling around the country, is very simple in concept. Before the show, audience members will cast their votes via a simple plain white piece of paper, for the songs that they want to see the cast perform. The cast then, through a random draw, selects songs and builds a story around them while still on-stage. Sometimes it provides for comic relief, sometimes it treads into tragic waters. Each time, it’s something spectacular.

The improvers on stage are: Deb Rabbai, Rob Schiffmann, Robert Z Grant, Kobi Libii, Stefan Schick, and Rebecca Vigil. Greg Triggs is the one that will be drawing the votes as he acts as host, and Eric March accompanies on the piano. The next shows will take place in Buckhannon, West Virginia on November 28 before the cast takes off to North Adams, Massachusetts on November 30. Both performances will take place at 8:00 p.m.

Broadway’s Next H!T Musical is one of the most exciting shows that you could attend. Just remember that it’s you who decides, and so the show is only as dynamic as you make it!

Avenue Q Has Muppets Behaving Badly – What More Could You Want?

Who doesn’t like Muppets behaving badly?  Whether its bloopers on TV, swearing Muppets in the movies (check out the movie The Happytime Murders if you don’t believe us), or even Elmo’s own untelevised shenanigans that got creator Kevin Clash put on extended leave, we all just relish the ideas of Muppets behaving badly.

Evil Muppets are a delicacy rarely observed outside of parody videos and soundtracks.  Oh sure, we get criticisms quite a bit in Muppet world.  We heard Republican members bashing PBS over free funding, just like we heard FOX News declare ultra-tolerant Muppets brainwashing communists.  We even suffered through Jason Segel’s 2000 era Muppet sequel, which featured his usual contributions to the arts, they of course consisting of fart jokes, bad music, and corny one-liners.

Self-professed evil Muppets though are sometimes hard to find.  We see a lot of imposter puppets that are evil, and even some parody Muppet creatures that seem familiar but are not official Henson continuity.  For example, Avenue Q, which features angry, swearing Muppets attempting to cope with grownup life and lost ideals.

Avenue Q, the multiple Tony award-winning musical, is still on tour and features unfortunately catchy but hilarious numbers that are definitely safe for children.  The production was co-written by Robert Lopez, who has since found a creative sanctuary with Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame, not only helping out with the show, but also The Book of Mormon, which also won some Tony awards.

The real joke of Avenue Q is not just badly behaving Muppets–or Muppet like puppets, not of Jim Henson quality–is that these former children’s entertainers are now discovering that they aren’t as “special” as all that TV programming suggested.  The real world is tougher than they thought, and their options are limited.  However, the production is too obscene and goofy to be depressing.  This is a show that will crack you up and entertain all of your friends over the age of 18.

As for the R-rated Muppet movie, we will sure keep you updated because we can’t fathom the idea, much less wait for it!

Bob Fosse’s Cabaret Experience – A New Generation

Bob Fosse is often celebrated as one of Broadway‘s greatest, if not THE greatest talent to ever hit the industry. This is no small statement, considering the theater also made Mel Brooks, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and other “greats.” And granted, Fosse only choreographed his musicals. He gave John Kander and Fred Ebb songwriting and musical duties.

However, Fosse’s vision was tight, and his coworkers always made sure to bring his magic to life in the precise way he wanted. He was a gifted choreographer and dancer and made sure that the dancing and story boarding of each scene was always pitch perfect–even surpassing the music, if that’s at all possible.

Two of Fosse’s greatest hits were Cabaret and Chicago (which is technically a reimagining of All That Jazz). Even going to the productions today is a Fosse-esque experience, as producers and directors always follow the story model Fosse left behind, not only from the musicals but also from his films.

Consider Cabaret. Many people forget that Fosse did actually throw his swiftly conducting hands into theater, and did the unthinkable: he made the best movie of 1971, surpassing even Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Fosse was able to transform depressing “real life” into a musical stage using the backdrop of a small cabaret bar and show and the patriotism of 1930s Nazi Germany. And to this day, even with productions directed by the likes of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, you can still feel Fosse’s strong influence in every scene.

Chicago has also enjoyed a revival and has enjoyed renewed interest thanks to Rob Marshall’s Chicago film starring Richard Gere and Catharine Zeta Jones. Chicago‘s favorite hits include “Razzle Dazzle” and “Mister Cellophane” and a revamped “All That Jazz.”

While Fosse purists will see differences between modern retellings and the original, these changes are actually of aesthetic interest. For instance, in the latest Marshall interpreted play, rather than a fadeout that follows “Life is a Cabaret” by Liza, we are given an update as to the dark fate of the various singers and dancers of the cabaret. Many of which were Jewish and living in Berlin living during the pre-war period.

Fosse’s works, featuring bright sets and catchy tunes, are always about something socially relevant; racism, religion, court justice and perhaps even basic human morality. They’re not only a fun history lesson, bitingly satirical at every turn, but quite brilliant in the way they force you to think much bigger.

Tom Hanks Makes His Broadway Debut!

What’s better than Tom Hanks finally coming to Broadway? How about him playing the lead role of a journalist in New York City during the 1980s, at the height of its corruption and scandal? That’s just what you’ll see as Hanks steps into the shoes of Mike McAlary, a fictional character from the play Lucky Guy, written by the late Nora Ephron.

As McAlary follows the lives of the residents and some of New York’s biggest politicians, he uncovers some of the deepest police corruption; writing about it in a way that would compel anyone all the while. The biggest story uncovered by McAlary surrounded Abner Louima, an immigrant from Haiti that had been beaten and brutalized by New York City police in a station house in 1997. While that story landed him in a libel suit for defamation against the NYPD, it also won him a Pulitzer Prize.

Hanks was in talks to take on the role of McAlary when Ms. Ephron passed away this summer. She also wrote hit films When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle, in which Hanks also starred.

Lead producer of the play, Colin Callender, said that he could “think of no more fitting tribute to her extraordinary writing and remarkable body of work” than to continue on with the play as scheduled. In addition to Callender and Hanks, the play also has a director, which will be George C. Wolfe.

Previews for the play will begin on March 1 at the Broadhurst Theatre, with an opening night set for April 1.

The Music of Martina McBride

Anyone who has ever heard the country star Martina McBride sing, knows that she packs a great big voice into that small body.  Her big voice and touching, emotional ballads are what fans tend to love most about this country sweetheart.  Good news for fans is that the star is back on tour and making her way across the USA.

It can be hard to choose a favorite song as McBride has certainly been busy producing hit after hit.  To date, she has released 11 studio albums.  She has a Christmas album, a live album, and of course, a greatest hits album that was released in January 2012.  The newest album isn’t only her greatest hits, but two new songs as well entitled “Surrender” and “Straight to the Bone”.  She has sold well over 14 million albums and has won four Female Vocalist of the Year Awards at the CMA’s, and she is still going strong!

Hearing the singer live is certainly amazing.  Hear her belt out your favorites such as “My Baby Loves Me”, “Independence Day”, “Safe in the Arms of Love”, “Wild Angels”, and “Concrete Angel”.  You will also get to hear some of her more recent hits such as “This One’s For the Girls”, “In My Daughter’s Eyes”, “Ride”, and “Teenage Daughters”.

What has McBride been up to when she is not touring across the states?  She is currently teaming up for worthy causes, such as the “Save Lids To Save Lives” campaign by General Mills.  This program has been created to help spread awareness about breast cancer, and has to date donated over 50 million dollars to help find a cure.  She is also singer turned writer with a book she is working on about party planning.  She has also guest starred on shows like The Chew and Dancing with the Stars.

Martina McBride’s newest tour is making stops in Texas, New York, Ohio, Georgia, and many other states as well as a few stops in Canada.  Buy your tickets early if you want the best seats in the house to see this country darling performing live in your hometown!

First Artists Announced for Rock in Rio

Rock in Rio is the largest musical festival in the world and so, it’s only fitting that some of the biggest artists have already been announced as headliners for the show. As of now, only three bands have been announced, but they’re huge names, and you can expect many more names to be released soon.

The festival will run from September 19 – 22, 2013 with Metallica headlining the first night. That’s fitting, seeing as how it’s their sixth time appearing at the festival. Metallica wrote on their official website, “We are super psyched to be returning to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. How’s that for advanced planning?!” That last bit was a remark towards their announcement last week that they’ll be playing at the Voodoo Festival in just over a week. The short notice was due to the fact that they’re filling in for Greenday as Billie Joe Armstrong spends time in rehab.

Aside from Metallica, who else can you expect in Rio? Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will headline on September 20; and Iron Maiden will take over on September 22. There’s still that September 21 date to be filled in; but that’s just one of the many announcements we can expect in the coming months.

Those in Brazil will be able to purchase their Rock in Rio tickets as soon as October 23; but anyone outside of the country will have to wait until April 2013. Hundreds of thousands do flock here every year though, just for this festival, so make sure to start saving up for your trip to Rio next year!

Come See Dog Expert Cesar Millan Live!

It can be hard for many to see their beloved furry member of the family as they really are — a dog. We like to think they have human needs, such as a need for the fanciest collars and a want for top of the line toys. It can be frustrating then when your dog barks and nips his dog collar and chews your shoes rather than his toys. Luckily, there is an expert when it comes to dogs that can help you see that your precious pup has dog needs rather than human needs, and who can teach you how to make your dog the happiest it can be. We are talking about none other than the dog whisperer himself, Cesar Millan. If you are dying to learn more about his calm-assertive energy approach, you may be in luck, as he is now doing a tour across Canada and the US.

Cesar is well known for being behind the notion that there are few people with dog problems, but instead mostly dogs with people problems! While it is fine to love your pets and want what is best for them, we can’t actually give it to them if we are treating them like miniature humans rather than dogs. Going to the Cesar Millan Live show will give you all sorts of new ideas on how you can make your dog the happiest he can be, while curbing bad behaviors. He always starts out with the basic principles of exercise, discipline and affection in that order. You will also learn the power of the energy you project, the instinctual world of the dog, how to read your pets body language, and how to understand the issues your pet may be going through.

Will the live show be stopping in your hometown? Currently scheduled stops in the US include Utah, Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and more. These shows sell out fast so be sure to book your tickets online today so that you can see the dog whisperer himself live and in person. Your relationship with your pooch is sure to be all the better once you gain insight into how his/her doggy mind works.