Art Beats

Arts scene, book reviews, and more...

Friday, December 08, 2017

In his debut novel, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves, author James Han Mattson tackles several complex issues - a gay teen struggling with his sexuality, online relationships, mean spirited teens, small minded folks, and a life-altering tragedy. A dramatic cocktail like this has the potential to be overwhelming, but Mattson skillfully crafts a piece of literature that sparks a conversation about the real and digital world in which we live, rather than condemning it.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Young Frankenstein, the musical based on the hilarious 1974 horror comedy from the comedic wit of Mel Brooks, electrifies Toby’s Dinner Theatre this month. Running from January 11th to March 11th the musical reimagining of the Frankenstein legend follows young Dr. Frankenstein and Igor as they attempt to create a monster, but not without scary and hilarious complications.

Out on Screen

Out on Screen

Movie reviews, Cinema and DVD

Friday, January 05, 2018

A bent take on the year in cinema

You’ll hear a lot of different opinions about the movie year of 2017. Some people think it was an absolute crap year for film, some will point out the few truly great films of the year, and some will call it an average year. I’ll call it average. There were quite a few films I enjoyed (and for the record there are a lot of 2017 releases I’ve yet to see), but there were few films that fall into my “I’d watch that again” category. Some films unexpectedly caught me off guard, and others failed to live up to expectations. Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Lego Batman Movie were fun, but went for the “let’s throw everything and the kitchen sink in” approach to top their predecessors … and excess does not equal success. Alien: Covenant basically remade the original Alien and tried to justify the existence of Prometheus. Dunkirk was a brilliant exercise in filmmaking, but the disjointed storytelling and lack of any character development left it devoid of emotion. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler could not generate many laughs with The House, and Matt Damon failed to score with The Great Wall, Suburbicon, or Downsizing. So, there was a lot of disappointment this year, but there were many highlights.



Celebrity Interviews

Friday, January 05, 2018

An interview with Nicole Atkins

Already considered to be one of the best albums of 2017, Goodnight Rhonda Lee (Single Lock), the fourth full-length disc by Nicole Atkins, deserves all of the praise being heaped upon it. The 11 stellar tunes further Atkins’s singular exploration of vintage pop in the most exhilarating way, as you can hear on the title track, “Sleepwalking,” “A Little Crazy,” “If I Could,” “Listen Up,” and “Brokedown Luck.” Also of note is the way that the album addresses the singer/songwriter’s newfound sobriety, on songs including the aforementioned titular number. I had the pleasure of interviewing Atkins about the disc in 2017.


Music reviews

Friday, January 05, 2018

Depending on your generational perspective, the late soul goddess Minnie Riperton is either the mother of actress / singer / SNL alum Maya Rudolph or the singer with the five-octave vocal range best known for the timeless 1975 hit single “Lovin’ You,” co-written by Riperton and her husband Richard Rudolph. You can hear Riperton, who died of cancer in 1979 at 31, paying a “lovin’” homage to her daughter Maya at the end of “Lovin’ You.” The double-disc deluxe edition expanded reissue of Perfect Angel (Capitol / UMe), Riperton’s second album and the one on which “Lovin’ You” can be found, is a long overdue celebration of an artist we lost too soon. Riperton and Rudolph co-wrote seven of the songs on the original album, including the standouts “Reasons,” “The Edge of a Dream,” “It’s So Nice (To See Old Friends),” and “Our Lives.” The presence of Stevie Wonder, playing electric piano and harmonica, as well as contributing the title track and “Take a Little Trip,” only served to increase Riperton’s artistic and hip factors. The abundant bonus material includes 11 additional tracks that go a long way in further cementing the album’s legendary status.


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