Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fangirly Post: Degrassi

Not too often on here do I talk about silly TV shows that I love, regardless of how truly "brain cheese" quality they are. One of those shows that I am not afraid to admit that I adore still to this day is Degrassi (or as I knew it, Degrassi: The Next Generation.) The show that brought to me the stories of hot boys, awkward bodily functions and the plethora of "special" episodes, Degrassi was my soap opera. But how did this strange little high school drama come into my life? Let's start from the beginning.

Degrassi was originally a Canadian import, that was then delivered to the USA by way of the Noggin channel (also know as "The N" at nighttime.) Along with other similar programming, The N focused on showing tween/teen drama shows along with music videos. Most of the shows similar to Degrassi were also of the Canadian variety, giving us kids from the good old US of A the kind of programming block we didn't get much of in 2003.

The best way to describe Degrassi is just simply one word: Fromage. To just call the drama cheesy would be underplaying some of the aspects of the series that actually were good in the dramatic sense. But for the most part, Degrassi is an educational show about life dressed in tight jeans and flat ironed hair.

So what did I love about Degrassi? For the most part, it was the hilarious and sometimes intense antics of the characters. Even though some of the acting was questionable, the insane story lines these kids went through were worthy enough of a marathon just to see the end result.

But of course the other reason I tuned in every night was the cute boys on the show. I somehow had crushes for multiple guys on the show at very different times of my fandom for it. It all started with everyone's favorite bi-polar guitarist, Craig. 

What can I say about Craig that many other fangirls haven't? Well for starts I think its important to note that the character himself embodies all the stuff I found crush worthy at that age. Craig played guitar, he wore cool clothes, took pictures as a hobby, and had a good attitude overall - you know, the important stuff. But at his core, Craig fit my lifestyle at the time. He lived with his stepdad and sister without any other parental figures, had a difficult relationship with his biological Dad, and he was misunderstood. 

But probably the moment that Craig became my favorite was whenever he would get to sing with his band, Downtown Sasquatch. He just automatically by default was crush worthy. 

Then there was Rick Murray, the troubled nerdy boy. Poor Rick was not exactly what you would call a social kid, but somehow he won the heart of Terri. Sure, Rick is by no means a "good character", in fact he is incredibly flawed and not meant to be a fan favorite. But with the incredible acting job by Ephraim Ellis (who also is ridiculously cute), Rick was complex and layered in many ways. Though the end of his story was depressing, you can't deny the impact he left on the series from then on. 

Spoiler Alert: I shipped the hell out of these two, minus the whole you know, abusive relationship thing. 

Speaking of my OTP's from the series, probably my number one was also Degrassi's first gay couple: Dylan and Marco. By god, these two are the cutest together. Dylan (who I swear looks like Josh Groban's blonde sibling) is popular girl Paige's older brother and is openly gay, where as Marco in the beginning masks his sexuality by dating my favorite female character (I'll get to that later.) When Marco finally comes out, he and Dylan begin what I believe to be one of Degrassi's best romances. It's cool to see how mature and calm Dylan is in comparison to Marco,  a dynamic that works so well in the series. 

I just adore them so much <3

As mentioned earlier, my favorite female student in Degrassi High also was in ties with Marco. Ellie is a wannabe journalist that originally filled the role of the goth chick. Ellie's most famous or "Go There" moment was when she started cutting herself in "Whisper to a Scream", but of course she got better. She eventually came into her own and formed some of the best storylines of the series. Probably my absolute favorite plot was her slowly evolving romance with Craig, which was my couple made in fan fiction heaven. The relationship took a while to proceed, but when it happened it was amazing. 

Now many of you are probably wondering what I think of the newer Degrassi kids. Personally, I haven't watched enough to have a defined favorite. My goal this year is to get back into watching the newer episodes, so I can at least understand who the heck is who in the show now. But from what I've heard, I love the new directions the show is going in and the risks they are taking. One character I have looked into a lot was transgendered boy, Adam. The actress that played Adam seems super cool and I would love to get to know the character better.

But regardless of who is who, Degrassi is a great show for tweens/teens. Though over dramatic to the core, it deals with a lot of issues in a mature way and doesn't make the actions of the characters seem like a fantasy. And for that I will always support them! Go Degrassi!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: Jolie's Sweet Creations

Bryant Park is starting to bustle with the magic of the holiday season! The little jewelry stores are open, the hot chocolate and apple cider are steaming, and the classic ice skating rink is open. Of course one of my other favorite activities is checking out some of delicious treats offered in the area. Though I am partial to the Macarons at Macarons and Cookies or the chocolate at No Chewing Allowed, this year I was invited to take a taste of the sweet offerings at new addition Jolie's Sweet Creations.

Jolie's is actually an off-shot of Enrico's Bakery (located in Harstdale and Bronx, NY), which is exclusively offering newer trendy treats that are popular in the bakery world right now, including their take on the famous Cronuts, but Jolie's calls them Kronies. I also was lucky enough to be given a sample of their chocolate covered Twinkie cakes.

First off, can we talk about how adorable the box is? The shade of pink is just precious, and makes the whole sweet experience that much more delicious. Now to move onto the treats themselves....

In the box (from left to ride) are the original glazed Kronie, along with a Boston Cream flavored one. On the bottom we have a vanilla chocolate covered Twinkie, along with the chocolate on chocolate version. First off, all three of these items are HUGE. I can't imagine eating any of them by myself... so with that I had help from my boyfriend for this review!

First I tried the chocolate on chocolate covered Twinkie. This by far out of all the treats was my favorite. The solid thick chocolate coating complimented the flavors of the Twinkie perfectly, and made me want to run to have another. The vanilla Twinkie was just as delicious, but I definitely think the coating works best with a chocolate filling.

Next up was the Kronies. As this was my first time tasting a Cronut, I have to say they are pretty tasty. But in all honesty I don't think they are the sweet for me, though I can definitely see why people love the heck out of them.

Out of the two flavors, the bigger hit was the Boston Cream, especially with my co-reviewer. He said the flavors worked really well, though we both agreed the Kronies are very filling and might require more than one meal to finish, even between two people.

Overall I think Jolie's Sweet Creations is a great addition to The Shops at Bryant Park. Though personally Cronuts might not be my thing, I definitely recommend checking out these delicious treats on your next visit to the Midtown classic. 

I also highly recommend checking out their Cannolis! My man tried one this past weekend and thought they were a gift from heaven. As for me, on my next trip, I got my eye on one of those epic Whoopie Pies! Though looking at all the amazing treats offered, its truly hard to pick just one at Jolie's!

    Jolie's Sweet Creams is located on the West 41st Side of Bryant Park, from now till January 5th!
Check out their website here. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Maleficent Teaser Review

And it's finally here! This morning, Disney unveiled the trailer for it's next fairy tale live action adaptation, Maleficent. Starring the always stunning Angelina Jolie, here we get a first glimpse of the wicked fairy and her plans for Princess Aurora (played by Elle Fanning.)

First off, this is truly one of the best teaser trailers I've seen in a very long time. The selection of clips were excellent, giving us the perfect glimpse of the world building done for this Sleeping Beauty retelling. 

You can easily tell director, Robert Stromberg (who is known prior for his visual effects work on James Cameron's Avatar) really has nailed the world of everyone's favorite Disney villain. The colors are truly breathtaking, along with the sequence that ends the teaser: the famous thorn fence. Everything here just works. 

My only sight disappointment is the costumes. Jolie's looks fine, but nothing has truly wowed me in this department (similar to the way I felt with Oz: The Great and Powerful.) But probably when a full trailer is released, my opinion will change greatly. 

But that aside, really - I think this could be a gem of a theater going experience. 

What are your thoughts on the teaser? Comment below!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

La Belle et La Bete (2014) Holiday Windows in France

Well, I am officially trying to hide my fangirl squeal. In France for the upcoming holiday season, the Galeries Lafayette has unveiled their beautiful windows - and they just happened to be themed to La Belle et La Bete (2014).

To say that I am dying on the inside because I want to see this in person is the biggest understatement of all time. Seriously, I wanna run out and get a ticket to France right now. Unfortunately, I lack the funds and a passport. So let's look at the pictures together, shall we? And we can both dream  a little of looking at these in person.

As you can see, in many of the windows are digital screens displaying costumes and film clips. In on of the windows, we get our first look at Belle's interaction with La Bete (Beast.) Here is the gif set that is floating around

Are you getting excited about the movie? As for me, you all know my answer. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The lack of Art in Lady Gaga's "ArtPop"

I will be honest, I once was a proud "Monster". When Lady Gaga, the reigning queen of bizarre publicity stunts and awkward musical choices debuted onto the scene, I was sold in an instance. She had all the wacky clothes, great vocals, and catchy tunes to make her a hit among classic pop fanatics. She showed influences from the grand daddies and mommies of the 70s and 80s, with some 90s thrown in. She was curvy, full of fun and didn't take herself too seriously.

But slowly since the release of The Fame in 2008, Gaga has become the exact polar opposite of all those things and in fact a joke of her former self - to the point where even her album covers ( as seen above) seem like a parody.

With her latest release, the vain inspired ArtPop, Gaga tries to recreate the success she had with her past releases, but unfortunately fizzles to the newest lows with forced "fierceness" and an overabundance of repetitive "tricks" from her previous work. Think all the greatness of tracks like "Paparazzi" and "Dance in the Dark", rip out all the energy and fun and fill it instead with pathetic attempts at relevance, and you haven't even begun to scrape the surface of the mess that is ArtPop.

The album begins with the track known as "Aura". What should be a melodic introduction to the musical journey we are about to take with our meat wearing pop gal, but is instead a treasure trove of the worst noises known to man. When listening, the phrase "ear vomit" comes to mind. 

As it progresses, "Aura" becomes a message of discovery, repeatedly asking the question "Do you want to see the girl behind the aura?" Now with hearing this question you would think this album would be Gaga's most personal. Are we gonna find out about the REAL Lady Gaga? Will we find out who she is under those crazy performance art outfits? Unfortunately the answer is no. 

Later on in the title track of the album she states, "My artpop..." (a.k.a the purposes of this album) "... could mean anything" So Gaga basically is saying that the message in "Aura", asking us if we want to know the real her in this album, probably won't happen since these songs could mean anything - including not being honest. The result: this album seems incredibly redundant, along with being reductive as Madonna would say

An equally horrendous track, that sadly seemed to have promise at first, is "Do What U Want" featuring the ever equally bizarre R. Kelly. In a lot of ways this could be the companion sequel song to Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" - but instead of the women's rights approach it could have taken, "Do What U Want" sounds more like an anthem to Stockholm Syndrome than one promoting sexual liberation: 

"Sometimes I'm scared I suppose
If you ever let me go
I would fall apart
If you break my heart
So just take my body
And don't stop the party."

Followed up by tracks like "Fashion!", which is basically a rinse and repeat message of a song with that same exact title from her B-Side collection, and "Donatella", another song about owning designer products and being important, all lacks the wit and charm Gaga once had when describing the price of fame. Instead of speaking of it's emotional value, now her focus is on its literal worth and the sex that apparently comes with it. 

But the album does have some saving graces. "Applause" is one of Gaga's weakest singles (along with worst videos), but still is catchy beyond most other releases of this year and has a fantastic melody when listened to instrumentally. "Dope" could be the best song on the album.... if its chorus wasn't so dumbed down. But it at least gives a shred of hope that the Billy Joel inspired tracks similar to "U and I" and "Speechless", which happen to be my favorite side musically of Gaga, still exist in her over produced being. 

And that one song, that one sound, speaks levels to why ArtPop is in many respects a failure. The Lady Gaga I fell for initially was a no-nonsense, pop culture respecting artist that didn't take crap from critics and got attention because she had talent - not just musically but being an overall artist. Now she's become a "Monster" like version of her younger self, whose influenced too much by the attention she has garnered and is asking the world to respect her in the way they did with her idols musically (MJ, Bowie, Madonna, etc.) But the problem is none of those artists asked for respect upfront - they got it when it was deserved.

ArtPop only deserves one thing: to be known as a textbook example of what could go wrong with your third album. And apparently Gaga's now ex-manager, Troy Carter, agrees.

Score: 4.9 out of 10
Monday, November 4, 2013

Crazy Broadway News: Britney Spears Musical about Jesus.

Welp, here is probably some of the most shockingly amazing and bizarre news I have ever seen. Yes, the title is correct: There is apparently someone that wrote a Britney Spears jukebox musical (using her discography) that tells the story of Jesus Christ. It's name is Spears: The Gospel According to Britney, and this could either be the best thing to ever happen or the worst (both?)

All I know is, if it does get recorded or produced, I will be there in a heartbeat to see the train wreck. A Britney Spears musical all ready sounds amazing, in that awful sort of way, and if I get to see an incredibly campy rendition of Hit Me Baby One More Time, I am so there. 

Check out the follow story on Broadway.com.



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