Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh, Tannenfug – Oh, Tannenfug…

Get excited! I purchased my very first Christmas tree this afternoon. It is green, it is festive and shiny. It is also fake (sorry, Li’l Sis).

I haven’t taken it out of the box yet, because I still haven’t decided how to decorate it. And there is still some discussion as to where it will go in my ever-so-small apartment. But trust… once it is up and fully decked with holly, I will post some pictures. The presents that go around it? Well, that’s entirely up to you guys.

As excited as I am about my new Christmas tree, please be assured that I, unlike Madonna, will never wear it to work.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

*taps edge of wineglass with spoon*


*glares at everyone still running their mouths*

I say, AHEM!!!

I’d like to propose a toast.

Every year at this time, we gather together around a giant bird that’s been yanked, pulled, gored, and otherwise molested until it achieves the most glorious honor of sitting in the center of our table amongst mounds of various traditional side dishes for just a few moments before we rip into it like a pack of voracious, yet well-mannered, hyenas. But before we do, let us all take a moment to reflect on all the things for which we are thankful. I’ll go first.

I’m thankful for so many things, really. Britney Spears, whose new album drops on Dec. 2… the cute, argyle socks I bought at Target… pizza with cheese baked into the crust…

I’m also thankful for my 3-month old niece, who is destined to become the jewel of our bloodline and the savior of all things good and true… for the imminent return of Li’l Sis from across the wide ocean… for my family and friends… for my new job, which at the moment seems secure and exciting and fulfilling… for my health and independence…

But most of all, and I say this with the utmost sincerity, I’m thankful for Hugh Jackman.

May he continue to be hounded by photographers, now and forever.

Cheers! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

And speaking of Kristin Chenoweth...

I found this clip of Kristin singing the role of Cunegonde in Bernstein's Candide. This is from the "Live on Broadway" performance, and it's an amazing show; it's a mega-campified version of the operetta, at least, compared to what I'm used to. Anyway, I think it’s a perfect example of Kristin’s talents. She’s funny. She’s cute. And Dayum… girlfriend can sing. Enjoy!

B.T.Dubs… if you liked that and want to see more, the whole show is available on YouTube, starting here. Hey, if you have two hours to kill, there’s worse ways to spend your time. And if you watched the video, you spotted Patti LuPone, which means watching is obligatory.

Ironically enough…

One of my favorite shows, Pushing Daisies, is now… pushing daisies. Cheap, easy jokes aside, ABC announced today that they will not order more episodes for the show. While that’s not an official cancellation, it’s as good as such, so I’ll be wearing black tomorrow.

As much as I loved the show, I, along with practically everyone else, knew this was coming. The show, while still most excellent, had lost a little bit of its charm since the first season. We could blame the writers’ strike and the less than ideal timeslot, but I think the show probably did itself in. The whole idea behind the show: a cute, yet emotionally stunted pie-maker with the ability to raise the dead resurrects his murdered childhood sweetheart and they fall in love and make pies and attempt to build a life together despite the challenges of not being to touch and the girl having to stay in seclusion because everyone thinks she’s dead.

That’s a great story, no doubt, but every episode seems to rehash the same conflicts from the very first episode, and frankly, it gets old. The genius of the show, I think, lies in the ability of the writers to continuously introduce new obstacles and conflicts – Chuck’s relationship with her aunts, Olive’s unrequited love for Ned, and Ned’s eccentricities – against a backdrop of weekly adventures of murder/mystery/mayhem. And yet, that genius isn’t translating into viewers. I wonder of this show has fallen victim to the Serial Sickness, the unpredictable and lethal disease that plagues shows with a complicated plot and story-arcs lasting more than a week… A new viewer might find it difficult to jump in the middle, and meanwhile, the old viewers can’t stomach the constant rehashing and recapping. I mean, I’m a big fan, but if I have to hear Ned’s powers explained one more time, I may just tune out, too.

When you consider how bad the ratings have been for the second season, it’s easy to understand why ABC pulled the plug. Although, I wish they would let it finish out the rest of the season. The show won three Emmy’s, for god’s sake…

The good news, I suppose, would be the fanbase. Pushing Daisies has acquired a small but devoted fandom that will always be ready and willing to consume more. So the show might be dead, but the characters and story-lines will probably live on. There’s talk of a comic book, and perhaps even a movie. I would pay to see it, as long as the first 15 minutes aren’t spent explaining Ned’s powers… AGAIN!

All that said, I will miss this show very much… find out what and who I will miss most after the jump…

1. Lee Pace as Ned

Isn’t he a cutie? He’s such a good example of unconventionally attractive, I think. All the staples are there (tall, dark, handsome), but there’s a boyish, gawkish, nerdiness there too, which, when combined, equals swoon.

2. Chi McBride as Emerson Cod

This is just a brilliant character. He’s surly and sarcastic, but his heart is as big as his giant bald head. He also knits (big bonus). Most of the show’s best one-liners are uttered by Mr. McBride and his personal story-line has been particularly moving. I do hope we get to meet his daughter before the curtain goes down.

3. The styling

Much fuss was made about the show’s use of color, scenery, and music when it premiered, and rightly so… the vision and scope of the show are very ambitious. Considering the plot, this show could have gone very dark, but instead, everything is super-bright, super-fuzzy, and super-adorable. The whole production is visually stunning, and I’ll be sad to see that go away.

4. The Aunts

Talk about perfect casting. Swoosie Kurtz as the drunk, one-eyed menace and Ellen Greene as her withdrawn, sentimental sister are revelations on the small screen. If this show had performed better, they could have spun off their own show about synchronized swimming and highballs. Classic!

5. And finally, Kristin Chenoweth

This might be the saddest part of all! I love Kristin so much – it sucks that her first big chance at TV success has fallen away. I hope something else comes her way that is just as magical and perfectly suited to her. Her rendition of Hopelessly Devoted to You was one of the main reasons I fell in love with this show, and I’ll never forget Olive Snook’s adventures in the nunnery.

Oh, HUSH! Of course I love Anna Friel.

I’m not worried about her at all. She’s gorgeous and talented – she’ll find work again very soon.

And since I’ve managed to mention the entire cast, I’d be remiss to leave out Digby.

Dear, sweet, undead dog, Digby: I will miss you most of all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gawd, I can't help myself...

But I must post this picture of Sarah Brightman...

I mean, how much does that outfit even weigh? Not many divas can pull off a stage costume that is so sculptural it's almost an architectural masterpiece. Well, I don't know about masterpiece, but it's something to look at. That's for sure.

... I was going to say more, but I think my eyes need to vomit.

pic via Go Fug Yourself.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My latest purchazzies…


With the possible exception of Sex and the City, Wall-E is my favorite movie of 2008. It seems fitting that this film was the first movie I ever attended in the theatres solo. It felt like a personal experience. For once, I didn’t have to defend my opinion about it afterwards, which helped me retain my first impression of complete and total adoration.

As far as animated movies go, Disney has always worn the anthropomorphic crown, and this movie adds another jewel. Even though Wall-E communicates only in clicks and whistles, he is a fully-realized three-dimensional character, capable of owning the screen for more than half of the movie by sheer charm and wit. I’d say he is more relatable than most screen actors are, and they have the advantage of being, like… real and stuff. I loved him so much by the end of the film; I wanted to cuddle with him like a stuffed animal, if such a thing wouldn’t result in bruising and smashed-in teeth.

When I watched the movie for the first time, I barely noticed the environmental messages, which seemed to take over the discussion during the movie’s run. Maybe it didn’t take a whole lot of suspension of belief on my part to be convinced that the planet may, at some point in the future, be overrun with garbage… enough garbage to necessitate a full-scale evacuation of the human race. I don’t know – it just doesn’t seem farfetched to me.

Maybe I was just glad that Wall-E was a nice trash-collecting robot after somehow developing sentience. If it were me, I would have been pissed.

Enya, And Winter Came

Umm… WOW!!

Have I said it enough? I love… love… LOVE this lady. I knew in my gut that she would totally own the Holiday genre, and sure enough, this might be my favorite Christmas album of all time (sorry, Mariah).

There are only two traditional Christmas songs on the album: O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Oiche Chiuin (Silent Night). Both are exquisitely arranged in that they are true to the originals but indelibly marked by Enya’s unique sound and aesthetic. I’m particularly enraptured by Oiche Chiuin, which is a deceptively simple chorale arrangement of the hymn. Gaelic is such a beautiful language as it is, but with Enya’s trademark swelling and harmonies, it’s almost other worldly. This is what I want to hear right before I’m welcomed into the Magical Discotech in the Sky.

Also on the album are some attempts at original Christmas carols, including White Is in the Winter Night and One Toy Soldier. The first is all sleighbells, mistletoe, and other holiday references; an upbeat celebration of the sight and sounds of Christmas. One Toy Soldier is a fantastic piece which conjures the warm memories of Christmas morning, complete with brand new toys waiting under the tree. Another stellar track is Last Time By Moonlight, in which two lovers pause during a stroll under the stars and beg one another to remember this moment forever, because no one knows what lies ahead.

Throughout the album, Enya and her lyricist, Roma Ryan, continue to be fascinated by colors, nature scenes, and the seasons of the year. The album feels like a natural progression of all her preceding albums, which seems to corroborate with my theory that Enya is actually writing a massive song-cycle that we won’t really understand until her entire body of work is released. God, I hope I never see that day.

Will and Grace: 8th and final season

I’ve been waiting patiently (or not so patiently, akshully) for the final season of Will and Grace to be released ever since I let it get past me when it originally aired. I think I might have been waiting tables, and there’s yet another reason to be bitter about that.

Most of my favorite memories of college are locked up in this show *winks at Erin*, so rifling my way through these final episodes was a very sentimental experience, to say the least. I can’t begin to explain how much this show informs my own humor and sensibilities, but if I ever have to tell people what I find funny, this show is always the first example.

The last season, unfortunately, is probably the weakest opus in the set. It’s understandable, I suppose. The actors seem bored, the writing is tired, and the jokes just don’t hit like they used to – probably because most of them are the exact same jokes as before. From Season 4 through 6, this show seemed to rely on stunt-casting to keep it fresh, with decent results (there were only a few misfires (Madonna (yeah, I said it))), but by the time Taye Diggs was brought in to play Will’s love interest, it felt desperate… even though I love me some Taye Diggs.

All that said, I thought Season 8, along with the amazing finale, wrapped my favorite show up satisfactorily. That finale was something, wasn’t it? I know a lot of people hate sentiment in finales, especially from characters who don’t normally act sentimentally, but this show always had a chewy, creamy center, so why not let it end sweetly? The finale tried to answer the question that hung over the show since its inception: can a gay man and a straight woman really have a life-long friendship (that isn’t completely unhealthy and destructive to both)? The idea of Will and Grace seems to say, “Yes, it can”, but I think what it’s trying to say is, “Yes, I hope it can.” The obstacles facing a hag and her fag are unique and kind of unexplored in mainstream culture. The show did explore many of these obstacles through its run, and all of them ended well for the most part, which, let’s face it, doesn’t happen in real life. Trust me. The finale presents us with Will and Grace facing the classic killer of relationships such as thiers, which is: despite all their efforts to be everything for the other, neither will ever feel complete without non-platonic love.

In the finale, Will and Grace face this challenge, and for once, they do as they should: they fall apart and lose touch. Such is the life-cycle of a fruit and his fly. Buuuut, since it just can’t end like that, Will and Grace meet up again later in life, because, of all things, their kids meet in college and get married. Yeah, like that would ever happen. But it’s sweet and fantastical and SOBS.

As for me, I do believe a gay man and a straight woman can be life-long friends. That is, as long as both parties are mature and stable and relatively independent. I’m sure those kinds of people exist, although I can’t say I’ve met one. The truth is, and I believe Karen Walker said it best, “Every relationship between a gay man and a straight woman has an expiration date.” I can testify that truer words have never been spoken. Heartbreaking… but true.

What isn’t heartbreaking? My collection, which is now…

... complete.

Please forgive me posting a picture of my Will and Grace collection, of all things. When did I get so nerdy?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prop 8 and why I’m glad it passed…

I wrote this post about a week ago after a heartrending two hours worth of videos and commentaries concerning the fallout of the passage of Proposition 8 in California. I hesitated to post it because it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the blog, and I’m so hell-bent on keeping things light around here. But this is important. I don’t live in a battleground state and I don’t have the time or the money to travel to one of the national protests, so this is just my way of voicing how I feel about this issue. No matter what side of the argument you are on, it is safe to say that these issues – gay rights, same-sex marriage, civil rights – affect us all, and for me personally, these issues affect me daily in intense emotional ways, so you can’t blame me for hopping on my soapbox every now and then.

You might not read the same blogs I do, but I have followed the Prop 8 story from the beginning. Of all places in the country to do it, some Californians were attempting to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a measure provoked by the state’s Supreme Court ruling which called such a ban unconstitutional six months previously. At first, the proposition was largely ignored; similar initiatives had failed in the past, others had passed but were overturned, and many believed the most liberal state in the union would take no part in discrimination. But with the financial help of the Catholic Church, the Mormons, and other religious organizations/individuals around the country, the proposition began to gather more and more steam. Only when the polls began to show a startling amount of support for the proposition did the opposition fully organize. But it was too late. On Nov. 4, 2008, the same day the country elected its first African-American President, the gay rights movement was flung backwards on its ass. Hard.

The same-sex marriage issue is tricky. It’s a mish-mash of clashes. It’s religion vs. civil rights. It’s tradition vs. progress. It’s church vs. state. This kind of debate divides whole communities of people, from the small family unit all the way up to the national political parties. And with the passing of Prop 8 in California, the argument has finally come to a head.

That’s why I’m glad Prop 8 passed. Don’t get me wrong… I was devastated at first. For the past three election cycles, states have put the question of same-sex marriage on the ballot, all of which resulted in bans. I don’t know the number, but for the most part, same-sex marriage is illegal from sea to shining sea. It wasn’t easy to stomach the first time, and watching the citizens of California do it all over again made me ill.

But the outcome has been more than satisfactory.

In the life-cycle of every civil rights movement, there is a moment of stand-off; the moment when the proverbial wall goes up. I believe the passage of Prop 8 is THE WALL. This moment has been a long time in coming for the GLBT community in America. For so many years, gay people have been inching slowly – from tolerance, to acceptance, to understanding – toward the ultimate goal of full and equal treatment under the law. For too long, gay people have accepted the fact that they are second-class citizens, subjected to the tyranny of a bigoted, uneducated, morally self-righteous majority. For too long, gay people haven’t felt safe enough or strong enough to confront their enemies. Well… no more.

The passage of Prop 8 built a wall, indeed, but it also opened a floodgate. That flood WILL force that wall down, and with it, the injustices that have plagued the gay community for decades.

So here’s this Wall. If you aren’t lucky enough to be gay or a religious fundamentalist, you get to make a choice. You’ve been lucky for the past 20 years or so, because aside from the occasional outburst, the discrimination of gay people has been the status quo. But the time is coming when you will have to stand up and announce which side of the wall you are on. It’s a difficult choice – you’ll have to think about all the gay people you have known and maybe loved. You’ll have to think about the years and years you’ve spent listening to preachers/priests demonize the love that can exist between two men or two women. You’ll have to decide what is more important to you – equality or religion. And once you’ve chosen, will you be willing to accept the consequences?

I have no doubt – NONE – that the fallout of Prop 8 will ultimately lead to the federal legalization of same-sex marriage. It might not be next year or ten years from now, but it’s on its way. The gays around this country are organizing, protesting, reaching out to those who continue to misunderstand our lives and stories, and since I have faith in America and everything she represents, I know we will win. That’s why I’m glad Prop 8 passed – it has given the gay rights movement a solid foundation from which to throw an Almighty Tantrum, and we will NEVER shut up about it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Land Down Under...

I don’t know if I overdid it with the movies over the summer, but I haven’t been interested in seeing ANYTHING lately. I can’t remember the last time I was so disconnected from the recent releases. If I’m crazy and missing out on some kick ass cinema, please do let me know, but I tell you… most of them seem like rentals to me, and even then, just maybe rentals. Sidebar: my Netflix is seriously glutted out at the moment.

There is one movie I’m really pumped about. I’m talking about Australia.

War. Romance. Scenery. Aboriginal orphans. Nikki Kidman prim yet dirty. Hugh Jackman sweaty and shirtless. What else is there? WHAT ELSE!?!

I’ve yet to see a Baz Luhrmann flick I didn’t love (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!), and I just love me a giant, epic period film. And HUGH JACKMAN!!

Watching this trailer made me think of another brilliant movie which is also a giant, epic period film starring Nicole Kidman. It’s an oldie: Far and Away. That was back when Tom Cruise was still a person and Nicole still had all the fat in her face. [sigh] Good times.


The movie comes out Nov. 26.

After the cut, some gorgeous shoots from the July issue of Vogue…

Return the Favor – Keri Hilson

Well, Timbaland has done it again. God, this guy is good to me.

This girl, Keri Hilson, is everywhere – and has been for almost two years. She’s like one of those actors you see in every other movie but never know her name. From cameos in other artists’ videos, to songwriting credits on tons of tracks, to collabs with all the hot male pop stars… she has certainly worked her way through the industry. She first caught by eyes and ears when she worked with Timbaland on his solo album, especially The Way I Are (possibly my favorite song on that record), so I’ve been looking forward to her solo debut for what seems like forever.

Forever is exactly right. Get this – her album, entitled In a Perfect World had an initial release date of 3rd quarter 2007, so my question is: what’s the hold up, girl? I’m really curious to find out what is going on at her label. She keeps building up good press and then…no record. Hardly good for business.

Anyway, Return the Favor is actually the second single from the album, the first being Energy, also produced by Timbaland, and also a terrific track. I think this one is better, though. First of all, the synth hook is SICK; it catches me immediately and sucks me in. So much so I don’t even mind the inane Hey-Hey-Hey’s that make up the bulk of the song. And far be it from me to critique Timbaland, since I apparently love everything he does, but why does he have to look so creepy in the video? He’s got a lecherous next door neighbor, illegally hooking up cameras in her bedroom window kind of vibe happening, which I could totally do without. Now that I think about it, that might have been the whole point, but it’s still creepy.

I’m pulling for Keri big time. I mean, I can never have enough pop divas, now can I? Also, she seems like a good blend of Rihanna and Nelly Furtado, and she writes her own material, which is a bonus.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Can!!

And, yeah, we totally DID!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ah, Democracy [sniffs]…

Can you smell it?

Maybe it’s the chemical smell of a freshly sealed gym floor in the physical education annex of your neighborhood middle school…

Maybe it’s the peanut butter sandwich you packed in a brown bag because you sacrificed your lunch break so your three student interns could take the day off to drive home to pull the lever…

Maybe it’s the acrid, fetid reek of B.O. wafting from the guy standing next to you in line at the polls…

Maybe it’s the warm, welcoming smell of a Meat Lovers pizza, because you’ll be damned if you miss even a second of the election coverage, so cooking is out of the question…

Suck it all in, folks. LOVE IT! This is liberty and it’s delicious.

I would hope that everyone reading this has already made up their minds as to whom will receive their vote tomorrow, but just in case

Here’s my favorite political ad from the entire election season. It’s not an official campaign ad, but it stands out for me, and not just because it references a beloved musical…

I don’t know about you, but this commercial is totally speaking my language.

Ok, maybe it IS just because it references a musical. But I get chills every time! I have to ask myself, though, would a similar ad from the McCain camp have moved me? I’m picturing the same concept but maybe with Tradition from Fiddler on the Roof instead of One Day More from Les Mis. Hmmm….

Anyway, I hope everyone has a fulfilling and relatively stress-free election day. It’s been an insanely long campaign and I think everyone’s emotions are pulled tighter than Cindy McCain’s face. I’m super ready for it all to be over.

Speaking of voting… I’ve been nominated for Best Pop Culture Blog over at the Spartanburg Spark. In the spirit of the day, why not follow the link over and throw me a bone (left hand column, about halfway down)?? If elected, I promise even more insightful, funny, absolutely bat-shit crazy pop culture posts, and I won’t even charge you for them.

God Bless this blog! And God Bless America!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Reeva Dubois's Depression Survival Kit: Part 3 - Enya

I have to be careful with my Enya albums when I’m depressed. Depending on where the needle on the Doom-o-meter is pointing, a few hours of Enya could make me feel worse. However, if I can somehow strike up the Orinoco Flow when my mood is in an upswing, she goes a long way towards helping me bounce back completely.

Enya has been on my mind a lot lately, and not just because I’ve been listening to her stuff practically non-stop for three weeks, but because she has a new album coming out later this month. I pretty much live for new Enya albums. I was lucky enough to catch on to her in the early 90’s, so I was only a few albums late to the party. Thus, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of enjoying the suspenseful anticipation of five new albums, and lemme tell you, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – as gratifying as walking into a record store on the release date of a new Enya album and blasting it full volume in the car on your way home.

If you’re a fan of Enya, you know that she has a distinct sound. I own everything she has ever produced, but even if I didn’t, I’m pretty sure I could recognize something by Enya immediately. The haters try to say that all Enya songs sound the same, and you know, I can understand that sentiment, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Enya is working in a medium, like how some artists work in oil or charcoal. The elements of her work are usually the same from piece to piece, but each piece is unique and masterful. I credit her melodies for this. She really is a genius when it comes to melody. They are all so simple and straight-forward, and yet sublime… it’s pretty amazing when you think about it. She is equally gifted when it comes to chord structures and harmonic motion, and I think that explains how she is able to make these melodies transcend their simplicity and bloom into grand musical gestures that send chills up and down my spine and maybe even make me cry.

A personal example of my deeply affectionate relationship with Enya’s music can be found in the song Angeles, from the album, Shepherd Moons.

I’m not usually one for superstition, but I’ve had a ritual with this song for as long as I’ve known about it, and it’s never let me down. I’ve listened to this song before many of the more trying moments in my life; when I’m anxious, nervous, stressed out beyond belief, really angry, terrified, you name it… I put on this song and just sit still and it centers me. The combination of the words and music is so incredibly peaceful and comforting… it’s kind of like a tranquilizer. All that said, I avoid this song if I’m sad, because one minute of it is like being pushed on to the train tracks of hysteria in front of a raging locomotive of doom and it’s a long way back from there, so it’s better just not to go there at all. You know?

Aaaanyway, here we are again, a new Enya album. It’s a winter-themed album, which is just so marvelously appropriate for Enya, I’m surprised she hasn’t done it before. Titled, And Winter Came, it was apparently conceived as a Christmas album, but as the work progressed became more of a seasonal collection about the cold, the death/life cycle, and the holidays in general. Why am I explaining this when Enya released an interview laying it all out for you? Do click here… it’s a fascinating interview and she’s so pretty, isn’t she?

The first single is called Trains and Winter Rains, and as usual, it’s breathtaking.

After the jump, a few more of my fav Enya tracks, just for kicks…

Book of Days from Shepherd Moons

China Roses from The Memory of Trees

Pigrim from A Day Without Rain

If I Could Be Where You Are from Amarantine