Misc Monday ~ in which I join the Hamilton band wagon

I don’t like hype. I am probably less likely to go see an over-hyped movie in the cinema, or to rent it years later. (For example: I still have not seen either “Titanic” or “Avatar”.) So it should be no surprise that I was skeptical about “Hamilton: An American Musical“. And yet, so many friends (and my immediate family) were so excited about it that I decided in this case, if I could get tickets I needed to see the show so I could make my own decision.

Fortunately, I was able to get 2 tickets to the touring show, and at a reasonable-given-all-the-factors price. And so Mr. Wyrm and I went to see what all the hype was about.

Hamilton!

Now, we are theatre people. We watch a lot of musicals, and participate in them (in various capacities) too. We like musicals. But frankly, I didn’t see how “Hamilton” could live up to the hype. There is so much of it. And many, MANY of the people going nuts over “Hamilton” haven’t ever seen the show performed.

Personally, I don’t see how you can judge a musical by the music alone. There are so many factors: the set, the costumes, the acting, the dialogue (in most cases), the staging, the choreography, the lighting, the sound quality… The music is only one part – an important part, but still only one part. But this is exactly what so many of my friends have done. They have listened to the music, maybe seen some photos, and decided they LOVE HAMILTON. Some of them may have not even listened to the entire soundtrack. And I would venture to guess that there are people who haven’t even done that much, but everyone else loves it, and so they do, too.

Well. I was excited to go see the show, but had only heard one song (and a half, because it’s impossible to completely avoid the variations of “not throwing away my shot”) and seen as few photos as I could manage. So I didn’t really know what to expect. (Yes, I knew that the music style was not “traditional musical” music, but that doesn’t really equate to knowing what you’re going to get instead.)

Hamilton!

Our seats weren’t too bad; though we were pretty far back, we were on the Orchestra level and near center. And from where we were, the sound was great. The rows of seats in the Orpheum are completely squished together, though. This is standard for the big professional theatres, but still. Not my favorite aspect of the night.

And then the show started. And I was hooked.

I won’t go into spoilers about anything, in case you are like me and want to experience it as fresh as possible when you see the show for yourself. I have to say, though: wow. It was an amazing show. So worth the time, the money, and the wait. If you can manage it, this is a show to see.

Against all odds, “Hamilton” lived up to the hype.


Giveaway entry: I’m still running my journal stuff giveaway through the end of April 2017!  for today’s entry, let me know what you think of musicals in general or “Hamilton” in specific.

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Ten on Tuesday ~ And the Oscar goes to…

Today’s Ten on Tuesday prompt is “10 Thoughts On This Year’s Oscar Show”. Well, I’m in luck! I actually watched (most of) the Oscars this year. (Granted, there were optional prompts in case we didn’t watch, but still. I like to do the “regular” one when I can.)

So, here are my 10 thoughts…

1. ABC could have had a great thing going with their online live stream. If they had realized that this is 2014, and people actually USE online live streams. And therefore if they had enough bandwidth to handle the number of people wanting to watch online, and had made it more than two minutes into the show before the server crashed.

2. While we wanted to watch using the live stream, I guess the Oscars gave us an excuse to finally set up the TV antenna. So while we missed the first 20 minutes to half hour of the show, at least we got to see most of it.

3. If I had to sit in that audience doing nothing for as long as they do, and if I had been posing on the red carpet and all THAT nothing for as long as they do, I would have totally been in on that pizza.

4. Why don’t people bring knitting to the Oscars? It would make the long bits of waiting that much more bearable.

5. I really wanted “The Wind Rises” to win Best Animated Picture, and I am very sad that it did not. I felt that (even though I did not see all of the movies in the category) it was the best of those movies, and should have been recognized as such. I am glad it was nominated, though. At least that was something. And since the movie wasn’t released in the US until recently (though it was out in Japan last summer), I guess it’s not surprising that the US-majority of Academy voters didn’t select it to win.

6. If “The Wind Rises” didn’t win, “Frozen” was my next choice. So at least there’s that.

7. I love Idina Menzel. And I love her song “Let It Go”.

8. I could easily make a John Travolta pronunciation joke here, but I think they’ve all been made already. And I hear that Idina is being really classy and not mentioning it, so I won’t say anything more than I just did.

9. I am pleasantly surprised that “Gravity” did not win Best Picture or Best Actress. I enjoyed that movie, but I liked the visuals and the (mostly) science accuracy in the film. I’m not a huge Sandra Bullock fan (I can take her movies, or leave them), and “Gravity” didn’t change my mind on that.

10. There are people complaining that Ellen overdid the pizza bit, or that the mass group selfie was silly or dumb. Personally, I liked them both. And you know what? I love that she proved that you can just have FUN as an Oscars host. (Hooray for costume changes!) There’s no need to always be edgy. There’s no need to be snarky and make fun of everyone all the time. (Keep in mind that I missed her opening monologue due to technical difficulties. She may have been snarky then, but if so she kept it contained and didn’t carry it through the entire show.) It is possible to just have fun playing dress up and visiting with friends. More awards shows should be like that.

What do you guys think? Did you watch this year, or have any opinions on the winners (or losers)?

Brave

I saw Disney•Pixar’s “BRAVE” almost a few weeks ago, and loved it. I didn’t think much of what I made of the story until I read Joely Sue Burkhart’s review of it at the end of that same week. Since then, I’ve realized something pretty major.

“BRAVE” isn’t really a story about Merida. It’s actually a story about her mother.

There are movie spoilers here, so if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want the spoilers, then come back and read this after you’ve seen the movie. But if you have seen it, then I’m curious to see how my thoughts compare with what you took away from the movie, or if they make any sense at all outside of my own head.

So… the main character. In any good story (and in my opinion Pixar creates great stories) the main character undergoes major change. Look at Woody in “Toy Story” (ALL 3 of them… major character growth and changes). Carl in “UP.” You can follow the character arc through the story.

So in “Brave,” you would expect Merida to be the character undergoing the biggest change. And yet, she isn’t. Her mother is the one who changes the most, who grows the most.

The closest I can come to the character situation in “Brave” is “Finding Nemo.” I would argue, however, that Nemo changes more than Merida does. Also, Nemo and Marlin both have POV scenes in this movie, making it more of a joint-POV/two-main-character movie.

Okay, granted, at the end of the movie Merida apologizes. But after that, when we see the montage of “look what’s different” there’s precious little of Merida being a good daughter and princess. The only scene to that effect I can remember was when she was showing the potential suitors to their ships… and that had the ulterior motive of getting them away from her. I remember scenes of Merida and the queen going horseback riding, and of Queen Elinor’s appearance changing from always proper to a bit more comfortable and carefree. I don’t remember anything to show a compromise from Merida. My mom reminded me about a scene where Merida works on embroidery with her mom, so I guess that’s something. On the other hand, it obviously didn’t make too much of an impact on me, since I didn’t remember it on my own.

At any rate, the Queen is the one with the most to lose. She is the one who has the biggest character change, and who risks the most at the end when Mor’du attacks.

“Brave” is her story. Merida is just the narrator.

Six Things Make a Blog

I am alive, really. Just haven’t quite come back from Oz yet. It might not be a super in-depth blog, but here’s a little something…

1. My niece makes the cutest Munchkin. And she likes playing with “Toto” backstage.

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2. What is up with this weather? It’s July in California, for goodness sake.

3. It’s July. I am having a hard time believing that this year is half over already.

4. Flying people around the stage is really fun. I especially love the tornado scene. 🙂

5. I have a couple of different ideas in the works for stories to write. I’m still in the research phase on both, and am not ready to talk about them here yet, but progress is being made.

6. I love Apple. I got a new iPhone this weekend, and the iCloud allowed me to restore nearly EVERYTHING to the new phone with absolutely no fuss. The things that didn’t transfer were the songs I’d ripped from my CDs and my passwords – which I wouldn’t want to transfer anyway.

Learning Process

Life sure is a learning process, isn’t it? In the past year — heck, in the past three months — I’ve learned an awful lot about myself. Wanna know some of what? No? Too bad. I’m going to tell you anyway. (Face it — you’re visiting my blog. If you didn’t want to know more about me, you wouldn’t come here.)

  1. I don’t like knitting two socks at once. I can do it, mind. I’m currently knitting two socks toe-up on one long circular needle. I’ve done this before, too, and love the resulting socks. But the technique doesn’t do anything for me. The yarn gets tangled up, it’s harder to correct & prevent ladders between the needles, and it takes too long. Granted, when you’re done you’re DONE; there’s no second sock to knit. But still. It takes, like, TWICE AS LONG or something to get a sock off the darn needles.  😉
  2. The smallest things can amuse me. Such as having my socks smile at me as I’m knitting them.
  3. Smiling Anklet

  4. Most of my “free time” in the past little while (2 years? 3?) has been going to knitting and theatre. Knitting has taken the random, flexible time. The kind I can “afford” to spend. And it’s relaxing. Theatre has taken every. Waking. Moment. (At times, anyway. Sometimes it’s more manageable.)
  5. Now that I have a guy in my life again, I want some of those moments back. Naturally, I have discovered this at a point when I can’t take a break in theatre due to kinda being IN CHARGE of a production which goes up right after Thanksgiving.
  6. Stress makes me tired. The more stressed I get, the more likely I am to spend all day in bed (if allowed).
  7. Spending all day in bed when I have things that need to get done stresses me out. This makes it a bad coping mechanism.
  8. Knitting is still a calming influence, until I glance at the little number at the top of the eBay webpage and realize they are reminding us how many days there are left until Christmas. And I’m not going to tell you how many days there are left, but it’s UNDER 50. And my gift knitting isn’t done yet.
  9. Stress, stress, stress.
  10. Knitting toys is fun. Sadly, I can’t show you pictures of these toys until after they get unwrapped for Christmas.
  11. After this show, I am so taking a break from theatre. I know, I have said this before. And yes, I have agreed to work a show next late spring/early summer. But still. Theatre break. I mean it this time.
  12. My cat likes my guy. This makes me incredibly happy.

What about you guys? What have you learned about yourself lately?