The Bard’s most underappreciated classic?

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory (BSF) brings the Bard’s comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost to audiences in Baltimore this month. Running from July 28th to August 20th, the story is set in the Kingdom of Navarre, where the current King Ferdinand has just decided to turn his court into “a little academe” and swear off all pleasures of the flesh to study for three years. However, a snag arrives in the form of the Princess of France, who is travelling to Navarre to convince the king to return the region of Aquitaine to her father, the king of France. What ensues thereafter is a tour-de-force that will leave audiences’ minds spinning.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Sound of Seniors

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, now in their mid-to-late 70s respectively, remain productive and continue to tour and perform on a regular basis. In their youth, the surviving half of The Beatles, along with the late John Lennon and George Harrison, made an immeasurable impact on contemporary music and culture. Out of all of the Beatles’ albums, 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Apple / Capitol / UMe), now available in a new two-CD 50th anniversary edition stereo mix (by Giles Martin, son of George Martin) 50th anniversary edition, is probably the Fab Four’s most influential and eternal recording. Whether you last listened to Sgt. Pepper a year ago or 20 years ago, you’re sure to be thrilled by the new sounds you’ll discover in this version, especially on songs such as “She’s Leaving Home,” “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Getting Better,” “When I’m 64,” and “A Day in the Life.” The second disc features numerous takes of the songs on the album, as well as 2017 stereo mixes of the singles “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” which though recorded at the same time as Sgt. Pepper, would later find their way onto Magical Mystery Tour, released later in 1967.

Wish Upon may leave you wishing

In the horror movies heyday of the 1980s, every movie had to be bigger and bloodier than the next, pushing the limits of the R-rating as far as the MPAA would allow. A lot of times directors would shoot extremely gorier scenes deliberately, knowing they would have to be trimmed down to something closer to what they intended to get the R-rating, playing psychological games with the ratings board to trick them into giving the directors what they wanted. These films were usually made on the cheap but found box office success for the most part, unhampered by that “Restricted” rating.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Screen Savor: Get Scared

Don’t be put off by the Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner meets The Stepford Wives / Rosemary’s Baby vibe of Get Out (Universal), because Jordan Peele’s mind-blowing debut as writer and director, is so much more. It’s a smart comedy, a reverent and referential horror flick, and it’s a meaningful statement about race in the age of Trump. It’s also the first step to forgiving Peele for 2016’s abysmal Keanu.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Cyndi Lauper’s Detour

An interview with the diva great

Known for putting her money where her mouth is, versatile Grammy and Tony Award-winning diva Cyndi Lauper is an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community. But it was her singing voice and distinctive fashion sense that initially caught our eye. After forays into pop, dance music, standards, and the blues, Lauper lends her remarkable vocal range to a set of country numbers on Detour (Sire). Joined by country legends Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris, Lauper leaves her “unusual” mark on mid-20th century country classics, including Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love,” Patsy Cline’s “Walking after Midnight,” and “I Fall to Pieces.” She knows when to use country’s trademark catch-in-the-throat on heartbreakers “Misty Blue” and “Begging to You.” Duets with a yodeling Jewel (“I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”) and Alison Krauss (“Hard Candy Christmas”) are also standouts. I spoke with Lauper, who is embarking on a concert tour with Rod Stewart in June 2017.


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