Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

I’m listening to Terry Gross’ interview with Bo Burnham, who wrote and directed “Eighth Grade,” his first feature film. He’s talking about social anxiety and social media and the confluence of our hyper-connectivity and how it’s different growing up today.

Burnham was an early YouTube star, in high school, performing his own satirical songs in his bedroom. The songs went viral, he went to MTV, and the rest is history.

‘The digital gap used to be between those people who grew up before computers and smartphones and those who were digital natives. Now, there’s a gap between those who grew up with Facebook and those who grew up with Snapchat and Instagram.’


The Rocker was born in 1984, and I vividly remember taking him out to a greasy spoon breakfast in Little Silver, NJ. We ordered Western omelets, with a side of their special waffle fries and bacon. A group of middle school boys drove up on their bikes, dropped them in the dirt and plowed into the restaurant giggling and pushing and shoving. They sat down in a booth and flipped open their phones. The Rocker looked me in the eyes and said,

“Ma, I’m glad we didn’t have cell phones in school.”

He was home from college for a break. Having breakfast together again was a ritual I’d been missing. As a toddler, I would happily make him breakfast number 1, and breakfast number 2, because his motor ran fast. The future Rocker was always hungry for action and adventure, but mornings were sacred. His big sister would go off to school and we would have a slow start to a jam-packed day.

If he ate a great morning meal, or two meals, then food for the rest of the day was optional. Remember, my foster parents belonged to the “Clean Plate Club.” Food battles would not define my parenting style!

I can also remember that day on our deck, overlooking the Blue Ridge, when the Rocker told me that Facebook was so over. He and Aunt KiKI signed me up for Instagram – she took my picture in a sun hat and he picked my moniker – it was love at first sight.

So who could blame me if I thought our L’il Pumpkin should be the next YouTube star?

Have you heard of Ryan, the 7 year old making gazillions of dollars opening up toys, screaming with delight, and playing with them? His mama started uploading his videos to YouTube when he was 4, and by last year he had made 22 Million dollars!

“What’s almost as baffling as the amount of money that Ryan has made before his eighth birthday is why today’s kids would rather tune in to watch another one play with toys than play with toys themselves. The answer, it seems, is that today’s kindergarten set lives vicariously through Ryan.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2018/12/03/how-this-seven-year-old-made-22-million-playing-with-toys-2/#1ecce4d54459

He’s had 26 Billion views on his channel, “Ryan Toys Review” and now he’s got his own toy brand at Walmart. He is a part of what’s known as “Unboxing” in advertising slang; people who film themselves opening mostly tech things and demonstrating how to use them.

The Bride looked at me with horror. Her child? A YouTube star?? I guess it is different for kids growing up today on social media. Their parents are on a spectrum of embracing technology with them, to becoming Luddites. Forging an identity online, counting followers to validate your existence, finding out you missed the big 8th grade party on Insta.

IF you could live your life without an audience, would your life still exist?


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I remember once going out to dinner with the family, and arranged before us on the table were your typical paper placemats. Except that on these cute little mats were a number of what looked like high school portrait pictures. The mats were titled something like “Before They Were Famous.” There in the corner was the key, and you had to match the picture with the star. So long before smart phones and portable gaming devices, long before reality TV produced celebrities, a family had the chance to actually interact by guessing which adolescent girl was now Cher.

Tonight, if you’re lucky enough to live in the New York metropolitan area, or have access to WNET channel 13, http://www.wnet.org, you can tune into a documentary at 10:30 that shines a light on some of our generation’s most acclaimed modern artists.  But it’s like a dream within a dream, because we get a glimpse of the early life of these men, before Studio 54 threw stardust around them, through the lens of a friend and photographer, William John Kennedy.

Full Circle: Before They Were Famous
FULL CIRCLE: BEFORE THEY WERE FAMOUS is the story behind a series of photographs of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana taken by William John Kennedy in 1963/64 just as the 2 artists were on the cusp of fame. It includes terrific footage of a rare interview with Robert Indiana at his home in Vinalhaven, as well as moments with Ultra Violet and Taylor Mead.
The Director of the Warhol Museum, Eric Shiner, is interviewed and we gain his insight while we watch the evolution of an artistic icon. But if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the musical score of this film, and those of you who know him may recognize a certain something.  Because the music was created by my son, the Rocker, and like any good mom I’d recognize that sound anywhere. From the moment he picked up a violin in first grade, and our Corgi accompanied him, throughout high school with his band in our garage, I’ve become his biggest fan.
I was thinking about him yesterday, on the anniversary of 9/11. Because I knew where my daughter was; I had called her in DC to tell her what was happening and I knew she had left the federal building she was working in and started walking back to her apartment in Adams Morgan. And I knew where Bob was; he was waiting with rescue personnel at the dock in Highlands, NJ for burn patients who never came. But I didn’t know where my son was. He was supposed to start his first after-high-school job on that beautiful Fall day, and they had called to tell him not to come in, but I couldn’t find him.
He was out at Sandy Hook with his friends on the beach, watching the plume of the Twin Tower’s smoke drift out to sea. And the collective trauma of that day was familiar, that sense of suffering brought me back to 1963 when I learned that our President had been shot while I was in gym class at my NJ high school. What does that say about a generation marked by such a tragedy?
Because even before his band, The Parlor Mob, became famous, before the world tours and the Paris Vogue cover shoots and the iTunes Best Rock Band of the Year award, I was always proud of my son for following his own heart, for playing outside of the lines. As the Bard likes to say, and I may have quoted this in his senior yearbook, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

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We’re back in the Blue Ridge, and the weather is perfect. Nights are in the 50s and it may hit 80 if we’re lucky during the day. I’ve been busy watering my withered plants and sending out a fed ex to my mid-summer dreamy birthday boy.

The Rocker is one year older and so much sweeter. photo 2He’s been working on the music score for a horror film. It’s not exactly my genre, I’m easily scared by zombies so why seek them out in the theatre? Of course, I think he will write the next big song. But did you know that “Blurred Lines” is this summer’s favorite melody…really? I must be getting older.

Robin Thicke’s risque music video was banned from YouTube because it had bare-breasted dancers prancing around him. I listened to his high falsetto voice, the semi-rap of his Euro-club sounding song, and it barely registered and certainly didn’t resonate with me. Using women as sex objects in his video, are we supposed to be surprised?

It’s a summer for Bad Political Men. Men behaving badly; it makes for humorous late-night fodder, if I could stay up that late. I just wonder why we like to malign say a mayor for groping a woman, or a would-be mayor for sexting, but we buy and celebrate Thicke’s music? “You’ve got to have it” I guess.

Enough of these political/sexual peccadilloes! I had to laugh when I found this gender bending sexy boys video, a “Blurred Lines” parody – you may have to move on to the wordpress site to watch. But fair warning, naked men ahead!

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Summer festivals are in full swing, so let me “walk the Blue Ridge” and tell you about a roots music festival starting tomorrow in Natural Chimneys Park right here in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Red Wing Roots Music Festival decided to call this more of an Americana music event, and make its premiere debut family friendly to boot. Music styles encompass Blues, Cajun, Old Time, Bluegrass, Early Country, Gypsy Jazz and all variations on a theme. Unfortunately, the Rocker will be busy hosting his sister this weekend for a friend’s Bridesmaids Party Spectacular Jersey Shore Style. I’m figuring he would have been here in a heartbeat otherwise! http://www.redwingroots.com

And speaking of Melissa McCarthy, who seems to be everywhere at the moment, there is one movie I highly recommend this summer amidst blockbuster action thrillers. Go and see The Heat! It’s a really funny, good old fashioned buddy/cop movie except both cops just happen to be women. I always loved Sandy Bullock, but now I’m head over heels gaga over McCarthy:images

“…it also doesn’t deny McCarthy the delightful contrast between her dimples and her dirty mouth, because her combination of sweetie-pie and vulgarian has always been a major element in her comedic style (which wasn’t entirely obvious before Saturday Night Liveand Bridesmaids). It’s a movie that respects her, but doesn’t patronize or try to protect her from the acting-a-fool elements of making broad comedy in order to be adequately feminist about her body.”


And finally, if the real heat and humidity lately has got you down, and left you gasping for air inside your nicely air conditioned home, tune into PBS and prepare to be amazed by the latest Ken Burns feature “Lewis & Clark; the Journey of the Corps of Discovery.” If only history had been taught like this when I was a wee one. Did you know that Sacagawea (yes, that is the correct spelling) was only sixteen years old when she tagged along with these men? Did you know that she carried her newborn baby on her back, and that her knowledge and language skills were essential to their success? When you think about it, she had been enslaved and sold by her Native People, then “entered” into a plural marriage with a French fur trader who was conscripted for this expedition into the unknown – there are so many human rights violations here, they are too numerous to count.

Meriwether Lewis was born on a farm right around the corner, in Albemarle County, VA. Monuments in his honor speckle the landscape. He and Mr Jefferson were good friends, and Burns’ narrative kept me glued to the first part of this PBS documentary long past my bedtime.  http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/

It was a staggering feat to walk, ride and keelboat their way through the northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean; a herculean task in 1804 to set off from St Louis’  “…Camp Dubois “under a jentle brease, Clark writes.” And only the small Native American bride has seen the mountains to the west of the Mississippi.

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“There’s Sir Dosser the Convict, Chango the Beast…” If you’re not getting the reference, this is a part of a radio interview done in Britain, gone viral with Mila Kunis. Highly entertaining, we learn they don’t have Blue Moon beer overseas and we Yanks don’t normally “…drop trout” at weddings. Here is the recap, the on-air reaction of the young guy, Chris Stark’s, boss – “Why are you going on about your mates again?”

Poor Mila, you can tell she has a cold and she’s enjoying this break from the ordinary slew of questions about her new movie with James Franco, a prequel to the Wizard of Oz. It’s a Sam Raimi production, who sounds like a reincarnation of Hitchcock. Animation mixed with live action is normally not my cup of tea (though I did enjoy Jessica Rabbit, she’s just drawn that way). But one of my Kindle downloads on this last trip was a mixture of fantasy and fiction, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Le Cirque des Rêves appears without warning and only opens at night. It too is about a charlatan, an illusionist, or two. And so I’m intrigued by the new Oz and just may dig my way out of this snow to see it!

From wanting to drink Yager Bombs with Mila, to the real world of droning on about bombs in a Senate filibuster. I thought you might like to know that our little city, Charlottesville, VA is the first in the nation to outright ban drones from roaming all over our backyards. Yes, for two years we can’t buy, borrow or test any drones and the ultrasound Governor is now considering a bill on his desk to make this a state-wide condition. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/05/city-in-virginia-becomes-first-to-pass-anti-drone-legislation-

City Councilor, my Facebook buddy and former Mayor Dave Norris says, :…the city has a “long tradition of promoting civil liberties – ‘It’s just part of our culture here.'”

It’s a bit scary to me to think that we have been giving up so many of our civil liberties so freely. The right to vote, the right to govern our own bodies without government interference, the right of privacy, etc. The question about drones speaks to a much larger issue. It’s not so much catching the marijuana grower in his backyard, as it is:
When is it OK to kill anyone?
American or not?
With or without a drone? since this is just another instrument of death…a flying, remote-control-game-like tool of destruction. Let’s not stay up all night talking about whether its target is a US citizen on this soil or that. When do we as a nation say that this is OK?

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Busy, busy weekend; but the best so far this year! True to my resolutions, I started off with some slow flow Vinyasa yoga at Studio 206, followed up by a dose of slow knitting at the Needle Lady. Even managed to have some famous Peanut Tofu soup at Rev Soup for lunch. But wait, the best is yet to come…last night I attended the Paramount Theatre’s simulcast showing of the first episode of the 3rd season of, tada, Downton Abbey!

You probably already know I’m addicted. And I’ve never really been addicted to a television show before, well maybe a fling with Grey’s Anatomy? But this is serious: I’ve watched episodes I missed online; sat through the 1st season again (on Netflix) when the Love Bug was born just to ensnare my daughter in its spell; I bought the 2nd season on disc to watch over Christmas with the Bride, fueling her addiction and mine; and I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about the PBS Masterpiece Classic http://www.npr.org/2013/01/03/167528679/downton-abbey-cast-its-more-fun-downstairs.

But last night was a girl’s night out, and some of us dressed to the nines for the occasion! I had a long velvet skirt in my closet, and an old rust colored silk jacket that I topped with a tulle millenary confection!photo copy Felt so very Lady Grantham. Kay Parker is one of my first friends in VA, and she drove our little group of 4 to the Downtown Mall where we met up with my friend Karen and her daughter-in-law Kath. Grown women totally excited to see what will become of Bates and the wedding of Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley. I won’t give anything away, except to say that I adore the Irish chauffeur Tom who stole the youngest Lady Sybil away and we all hissed at the evil valet Thomas. And of course Maggie Smith is sublime!

Why do we Yankees love it so? Because it has everything, Shakespearian drama mixed at just the right spot in history. We all secretly love the royals and their quirky landed gentry precisely because we waged a war to separate from them. A Turkish diplomat dies and a scandal is averted, but just barely. A generation returns from WWI and suddenly a life of service doesn’t seem all that great. Cars are replacing horses. Fortunes are lost and others are won. The same themes of life and love, and particularly last night, loyalty, ring true today. Sometimes we all need to be reminded whose side we are on. A good story will resonate with us forever, so thank you Julian Fellowes. Thank you for imagining these characters and putting pen to paper.

Here are the 3 “K”s – Kay, Karen and Kath http://www.katheats.com!

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What do Mick Jagger and Bond, James Bond have in common? The passage of time. This year is their Golden Anniversary. Yes folks, my generation has brought you the two most consistently successful entertainment franchises in the history of the universe. The Stones are set to tour the world, post Keith Richard’s head injury in Fiji; and Keith and Mick Jagger are the only original members left standing. Once the symbol of rebellion for me and mine, today they play for big bucks and family outings. Believe me, I loved the Beatles, just not as much as the Stones. I was a teenager on the banks of Lake St Joseph when my conversion began.

“And a band that was once synonymous with a riotous volatility has become — despite all commercial, cultural and chemical odds — a symbol of stability. Members now describe the band with an unexpected word for the Rolling Stones: discipline. ‘It requires quite a bit of discipline to be a Rolling Stone,’ Mr. Richards said. ‘Although it seems to be shambolic, it’s a very disciplined bunch.'”

As a young teen, my brother Dr Jim, always brought me to the Baker Theatre for a Bond double feature. Remember when you could see 2 movies for the price of 1, and get a good half an hour of Wylie Coyote cartoons as a prelude? Sounds like I’m dating myself, and I guess I am. But Bond hasn’t grown old. The Ian Fleming template began with the best, Sean Connery, and now only continues to get better with Daniel Craig. We have a new movie theatre in town, an Imax, and I’ve got a date with Bob on the calendar to see “Skyfall.” Here’s a little walk down memory lane http://www.eonline.com/photos/5837/23-best-and-worst-james-bond-movies/208602

Funny thing is, I saw the Stones at the Meadowlands for my 50th birthday and I’ve really no need to see them again. Unless, maybe someday, when the pre-teen Love Bug wants to see them? Let’s see, Mick will be about 80 by that time. I’ll be holding on so long!

Here is the octogenarian Great Grandma Ada holding our Sweet Thing – 4 generations of fabulous Rose-Lynn Girls. Bond Girls, move over!

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