In Conversation With Norman Reedus: COMING SOON

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Join me in indulging my Daryl Dixon addiction

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When you love entertainment as much as I do, you sometimes get to a point where you want to drown yourself in it. That sounds hyperbolic, but it’s also sort of true. I get that way around award season or after a particularly explosive season/series finale—case in point, last month’s horrific Walking Dead cliffhanger. I got sucked down a vortex of theory discussions and YouTube clips, which led me to watching one too many supercuts of Norman Reedus being absolutely hilarious (and adorable) when not in character as our favorite crossbow-wielding badass. (Does this sound tempting to you? Enjoy.) Needless to say, my crush on Norman came bubbling to the surface once again, knocking the other boys out of the playground for a while.

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You’d think that was how I stumbled across this upcoming event showcasing said badass, but it was actually a happy coincidence that came as the result of a job application and some brief research. I won’t bore you with details, but it was some very random luck indeed that led me to the announcement of Norman’s appearance at the 5th annual Montclair Film Festival. My only concerns were what day  of the week it was (Saturday) and how much tickets cost (next to nothing). Talk about lucky. After determining that the place was within driving distance—TAKE MY MONEY. In fact, I did something I’ve never done before: whipped out my credit card and immediately bought two tickets, with no hesitation or thought as to who might go with me. Continue reading

Ageism is Alive and Well in TV Land’s ‘Younger’ Campaign

“Nobody at work knows this, but … I’m not 26. I’m 40. […] and I have to make myself invaluable before anyone figures it out and I become a think piece on Slate.”

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We heard that, Liza! What’s old is new again over at TV Land and not just in their relentlessly lauded new program “Younger.” The network officially announced its rebranding last summer, rolling out fresh original series aimed, they say, at Generation X. They marked the launch with the Darren Star dramedy, which tells a parallel story of revamping image for professional gain. When Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) attempts to re-enter the work force after taking a 15-year hiatus to raise her child, she’s abruptly faced with the harsh reality of today’s job market—you’re either too young and therefore inexperienced or too old and therefore overqualified.

While it’s highly unlikely that this particular plot would be feasible in reality (social security numbers are a thing, people), it does beg the question: To what lengths are people willing to go to find work that’s meaningful to them? Liza Miller, fictional as she may be, probably could’ve found employment somewhere at age 40, but she has her heart set on returning to an industry she loves. In a highly competitive market, especially found within publishing/media, would she have managed to convince a company to let her start “anywhere,” even if that meant being the only assistant not straight out of college? Where is the happy medium between inexperienced and overqualified? Does it even exist anymore? Continue reading

Five Favorite Disney Things

1. Mickey’s Philharmagic

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When I was a kid, walking down Main Street USA in the middle of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom used to overwhelm me with such giddiness, to the point where I developed an unsightly waddle and wanted to laugh, cry, and vomit simultaneously. I’d like to say I’ve grown out of that, but for the generation who grew up with beloved Disney animation, I don’t think that feeling ever quite goes away. When the park unveiled their latest technologically-advanced attraction in October of 2003, it was the first of its kind (before Soarin’ came to Epcot in 2005) to boast an immersive 4D experience.

PhilharmagicMickey’s Philharmagic is a 12-minute theater show that starts with maestro Mickey intending to direct a grand orchestra (hence the wordplay). But Donald, ever the troublemaker, steals the magic hat and accidentally plunges himself into the vibrant and enchanting world of Walt’s classic films.

The first time I saw it, I cried. That’s not me trying to be hyperbolic and funny, a tear or two legitimately rolled down my cheeks because it was pure Disney brilliance and magic imagined and realized. How many of us Disney kids fell in love with those movies and wished we could dive right into them and join our childhood friends on their amazing adventures?

And they made it so real: 4D technology combines 3D images (projected onto a 150 foot-wide screen, in this case), plus effects that play with your other senses, momentarily helping you to forget that you’re simply sitting in a cushy chair somewhere in Orlando—a whiff of pie during the Beauty and the Beast sequence, a splash of water during The Little Mermaid, not to mention the songs we know every word to in booming surround sound. The creschendo of “Part of Your World” is probably when the chills started, but I was transfixed and grinning like an idiot all the way through The Lion King, Peter Pan, and Aladdin.

Suffice it to say, I highly recommend standing in line for this one the next time you find yourself strolling down Main Street USA. Just take the second star to the right and straight on ‘til Fantasyland. Continue reading

Favorite Funny YouTube Channels

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I was vegging in bed one day after work last week, holding my phone and hysterically laughing. My sister came in and gave me a weird look. “What are you doing?” she asked. “Watching YouTube,” I replied. It was then that I realized—I do that a lot. Launched in 2005, YouTube started slowly before exploding into the video-sharing platform that showcases people’s tendency to overshare. But it’s that sharing and re-sharing that has propelled some anonymous faces to household names and others into accidental comedians with a million internet fans. Think of it as “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on steroids. I myself subscribe to nearly 100 channels. Most of them are television networks, so I never miss a single preview of next week’s episode of “New Girl” or the behind-the-scenes fun on “The Walking Dead.” Others are the aforementioned YouTube superstars, some of whom even get paid by YouTube for driving such high volume to the site with their highly clickable clips. So if you’re new to the ‘Tube or just looking for recommendations, here are six channels worth checking out.

1. Bad Lip Reading

Bad Lip Reading“I put words into other people’s mouths.” The minds behind Bad Lip Reading must have a lot of time on their hands. It’s amazing how accurately the most outlandish sentences end up matching well-known scripts and songs. Launched in March of 2011, they have over 3,659,400 subscribers. Their videos are hit or miss in my opinion, as their subject focuses vary greatly and they don’t upload new ones very often. The best are the Twilight movies. It’s my new favorite way to watch that garbage, and oh, so much funnier.

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Five Favorite Summer Things

1. Snorkeling

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In my junior year of college, I took a creative nonfiction course. I figured it would be fun to write about my own experiences in a way that made them sound like someone else’s. I was right and wrong. Right in that it was fun to revisit old memories, wrong in the sense that it was a headache to make each one drip with sensory imagery to the point where they started to sound corny. But there was one that I didn’t mind as much, and that was the one in which I wrote about my experience snorkeling with wild dolphins off the Big Island of Hawaii entitled “Open My Eyes.” A quick snippet reads: I became addicted to the sound of my breath blowing in and out of a snorkel. We floated lazily over stunning coral and watched multi-colored fish dart in and out. Colors always seem brighter underwater; the yellows and pinks and turquoises of the fish looked so much more vibrant than they would if they were viewed on land. […] My face hit the water and I was home. That was the way I always felt when attached to a mask and snorkel […]” The rest, if you’re interested, can be read here. But yeah, it’s safe to say snorkeling is one of the great loves of my life. In a couple weeks, I hope to try SNUBA and also possibly take a diving class while vacationing in the Caribbean. (And yes, that’s me to the right, being a waterbug in Hawaii.) Continue reading

BROADWAY: Stage VS. Film

I was eight years old when I saw my first Broadway show. My parents took me to New York City for my very first time to celebrate my eighth birthday with my best friend and her parents. We saw “Beauty & the Beast” on the Great White Way; I was completely captivated. It helped, of course, that the play was based on one of my favorite Disney movies. Scenes that played fondly in my head in soft animation exploded in front of my eyes in a dazzling display of pyrotechnics and choreography. Broadway has held a special place in my heart ever since; I’ve seen approximately a dozen shows and there’s only been a handful that I haven’t loved. It’s an amazing experience each and every time. The success of certain stage shows has been helped along by film versions for years now, but only recently have I started to truly enjoy comparing the two. There are movies I’ve seen and loved even without even having the experience of the stage to back it up (like “Rent” and “Sweeney Todd”). Just this month alone, I was able to do some of that comparing twice. On June 18, I saw “Aladdin” on stage. On June 26, I saw “Jersey Boys” on film. So I decided to do a quick breakdown of all the Broadway shows vs. movies I’ve seen. Ya know. For fun.

Beauty&theBeast1. Beauty & the Beast (1995)

What worked: The “Be Our Guest” dinner show has been unmatched in any show I’ve seen since.

What didn’t: The beast in the film is scary. The beast on stage was scary-ugly. That costume could’ve used some work.

Which was better: The movie. Don’t get me wrong, the show was amazing. But there’s a reason why the Disney generation holds those classic animation films on such high pedastals. Continue reading