Archive for the ‘ Reviews ’ Category

Ash is Purest White

In Ash is Purest White, the imperious Qiao ( played by Tao Zhao) and her edgy lover Bin (Liao Fan) are a Bonnie and Clyde couple, inextricably tied together despite fallings-out and prison spells.

Jia Zhangke’s marvellous work is set in China in a period of transition beginning in the 1970s and leadingup to its conclusion in 2006. The movie will reveal to the alert viewer telling details in the Chinese landscape, from the sclerotic days of the late Communist era to the beginnings of the capitalist epoch.

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Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir is determined to stop a new heavy-industry development by any means necessary in "Woman at War."

Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir is determined to stop a new heavy-industry development by any means necessary in “Woman at War.” (Photo: Magnolia Pictures)

“Woman at War” opens with a scene preparing us for the film to come: A woman, alone in the desolate, green highlands of Iceland, expertly (and cleverly, with bow and arrow) takes out a major electrical line running to a bleak, corrosive industrial facility. A game of cat and mouse with a helicopter ensues and our archer escapes in a surprising and delightful way, one with a clear suggestion: The past may still be of help.

Read more of the review here

What: “Woman at War” presented by the Tallahassee Film Society

When: 6 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday

Where:  All Saints Cinema, 918-1/2 Railroad Ave. 

Tickets: $10, $7 for students and TFS members

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Rod Demery and John Nicholson

Rod Demery and John Nicholson Murder Chose Me

Retired Shreveport homicide detective Rod Demery reflects on the career he was destined for since the age of 3, when his own mother was murdered. Vowing to ensure that no family would be denied justice the way his family was, Demery served 14 years as a detective in the violent crimes unit, with an unprecedented 100% confession and solve rate as lead investigator. Intimate first-person storytelling meets a gritty Southern backdrop in Shreveport, La. Source

Rod Demery is played by John Nicholson an excellent actor that is able to capture Demery! Nicholson’s confidence as an actor makes the transition from Real Demery to Actor Demery so smooth it is easy to forget where one ends and the other begins.

It is my policy to watch a few episodes berfore I write a review. At some point this stopped being about a review and became a personal journey.

Murder Chose Me Hit Close To My Heart and Changed Me


Rod Demery and John Nicholson

My boys! They are both so handsome! Don’t get me wrong, my husband won’t let me date, but it is depressing to be old enough to be their mama!


Murder Chose Me

Rod Demery’s mother, Barbara Sue Demery was murdered on May 8th, 1969. He was three years old. That means he was born about 1966 and I am old enough to be his mama. But! My older sisters and his mother were closer in terms of how the world was back then.

I was an accidental birth, born in Tampa with just that little a bit of difference in time and place that made a huge difference in my life.

(After I wrote this I found out Barbara Sue was born September 8th 1947. I was born September 10th 1948.)

Murder Chose Me Part one: Demery and Me Location, Location, Location

Demery returned to Shreveport after his mother’s death. Shreveport is a stone’s throw from where ALL of my relatives live/lived. Things would been unimaginable for his mother, Barbara Sue. My grandparents lived in a Sundown Town. They were called Sundown Towns because non-whites were not allowed in town after the stores closed and they closed at 5:00 or 5:30. If Barbara Sue had thrown that stone it would have hit a sign that said, “Niggers found in town at sundown will be arrested.” The towns had variations of the signs, some said, “colored folks” other signs said, “Negroes” all said the person would be arrested or shot. A few included “Indians”.

Barbara Sue and my sisters would never have gone to the same school, hung out together or ever come in contact with each other. Yet, they were the same person in many ways. 

The Equal Rights Ammendment ended separate bathrooms and water fountains but was otherwise igrnored by the north and the south. There were “theaters” and “black theaters” the same with schools and jobs. I never met a black person until I was an adult and went to college in Buffalo, NY.

Thank you to John Nicholson for contacting me. I had mistakenly put Demery in New Orleans instead of Shreveport. That put them deeper into Lousiana.

Murder Chose Me spoilers below this line.


Murder Chose Me Part Two: Demery and Me: His mother and the sister that raised me.

Like Barbara Sue, my sister’s second husband  (#2) didn’t get along with her kids from her first marriage. Like Barbara Sue, she left her two young children and traveled with #2. Like Barbara Sue, #2 was 20 years older. Like Barbara Sue, it was a volatile relationship.  Like Barbara Sue, he accused her of cheating.  He didn’t beat my sister up, but he was physical and would kick her out. Shortly before she died we had started a website to have a dialogue about women finding themselves pregnant, broke and on the street. I make jewelry and when I go to a craft show I take along angel earrings and necklaces. The proceeds go to purchasing basic supplies for women in any shelter.

Unlike Barbara Sue, my sister was fortunate and was eventually able to leave for good.

My sister’s son is a police officer.

In 1980 I was a volunteer at a women’s shelter, I saw things that made me want to shoot someone. A woman was made to stand on a hot plate. Her feet were a burned mess. Her husband kept her there by holding their son over a pot of boiling water. You are thinking prison, right?  Nope. He pleaded down to simple assault paid a $35 fine and spent a total of 30 days in the county jail. It wasn’t against the law to injure your wife or child. If the couple wasn’t married punishment was basically non-existent a woman living in sin had even less value. There were no black women in that shelter. That was the 1980’s!

How is my 1980 relevant to Barbara Sue’s murder in 1969? If a woman could be raped and beaten by her husband with little or no consequence in 1980, think what it was like in 1969. The laws said that a man couldn’t rape his wife he was entitled to have sex with her. A few landmark cases finally got that changed.

It has only been in the recent past that it has been against the law to kill women and children.

SPOILER for Murder Chose Me

Demery had been told his mother was killed during a robbery attempt. It was an unsolved murder. He decided, as you would expect, to solve his mother’s murder.  He found out his mother had actually been shot to death by her husband. Demery was hit slap in the face with the kind of racism that we can hardly believe today. 

Barbara Sue’s husband gunned her down, emptied a gun in her and no one cared! His trial was a formality. 

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember a comment someone made a long time ago about blacks and justice. “Shoot a nigger? You get into more trouble for shooting your dog.” That was back during the being of the race demonstrations when people like me noticed “separate but equal” was bull.

Barbara Sue was a disposable human being. The woman Demery met at the courthouse told him exactly how it was,

 “…back in those days a man could kill his wife if he thought she was cheating. I don’t really know how to say this, but your mother was black so no one cared. That’s the way things were back then.”

It was exactly what I expected her to say.

A woman black or white was a man’s property.

Then something my oldest sister said popped into my mind. My father was a not a good man and when I asked why my mother stayed with him, she said, “It was different back then. She couldn’t just leave him.” My parents had married in 1936. She died from a brain tumor when I was a child. I didn’t understand why my mother stayed married to him. I thought she could have left after my sisters were born or after my brother was born or after I was born. I was wrong. Knowing what the clerk was going to tell him caused me to reevaluate my anger at my mother. It made me realize no matter how bad things were my mother had no options.

The Final Confrontation

Barbara Sue Demery died May 8th, 1969 at the hand of her husband Jerry.

“It wasn’t that Jerry didn’t want my mother to leave. Jerry didn’t want my mother to live.”, Rod Demery

Demery decided to question the man that killed his mother and got away with it, as a suspect and record the meeting.

In the reenactment, Demery played by Nicholson, walked down that hall and my fingers were clenched around the handle of his RCA video camera. I was ready to watch Demery slap Jerry upside the head with it.

The killer, Jerry, turned out to be a broken down old man. He was crying giving Demery his version of an apology or repentance. Jerry, “You know it wasn’t my intention. Don’t you ever think it was my…intention.”

Back to Real Demery, “I knew he was lying.” 

Then something painful happened. It was so painful for me that I cried. I am crying now. I couldn’t watch the episode all the way to the end when it originally aired. I had to watch it in parts to get to the part that would have made his mother so very proud him.

In the face of everything he should have hated, Demery found kindness.

Forgiveness that somehow made both of us feel better.

It also made me think it was time to forgive my mother.

Demery’s searched for a picture of his mother he didn’t remember her face. Back then photos were a big deal unless you were rich. We weren’t. When my oldest sister passed away I received a box of family pictures. In the box were two pictures of my mother. I really had forgotten her face.

At times I sit and stare at her face trying to see my own. I am sure Demery looks at his mom searching for his face.

Demery healed himself and then inadvertently healed me.







Movie Review: Happy End

 From left, Fantine Harduin, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Laura Verlinden, Toby Jones and Mathieu Kassovitz in “Happy End,” directed by Michael Haneke. Credit Sony Pictures Classics

From left, Fantine Harduin, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Laura Verlinden, Toby Jones and Mathieu Kassovitz in “Happy End,” directed by Michael Haneke. Credit Sony Pictures Classics

A drama about a family set in Calais with the European refugee crisis as the backdrop.

Peter Travers on ‘Happy End’: Yes, That Title Is Ironic

Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke has made many a masterpiece – and his latest, Happy End, isn’t one of them. Yet this cinematic poke in the eye about an upper class family imploding still exerts a perverse fascination. From early provocations like The Seventh Continent (1989) through later boundary-pushing works like The Piano Teacher, Cache, The White Ribbon, Funny Games (both the original and it’s English-language remake) and Amour, the fillmaker specializes in the toxic indifference that can kill a family or society as a whole. He offers no easy answers. As the man himself once said: “My films are intended as polemical statements against the American ‘barrel down’ cinema and its dis-empowerment of the spectator. They are an appeal for a cinema of insistent questions instead of false (because too quick) answers, for clarifying distance in place of violating closeness, for provocation and dialogue instead of consumption and consensus.” Read more

In ‘Happy End,’ Another Unhappy Family From Michael Haneke


If you are even only a little familiar with the work of the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, it will come as no surprise that he does not regard instant messaging and smartphones as positive developments for humanity. His latest picture, “Happy End,” begins with the middle of its wide-screen frame taken up by the perfectly centered image of a phone, its camera eavesdropping on a middle-age woman whose bathroom door is open as she prepares for bed. The unseen voyeur texts snide commentary on the woman’s routine. Read more

Michael Haneke Makes Snapchat Scary in Happy End


God bless whoever introduced Michael Haneke to Snapchat. In Happy End, the notoriously misanthropic director returns to the familiar territory of media-obsessed teens, this time a smartphone-wielding 13-year-old named Eve (Fantine Harduin). Read more

Happy End review – Michael Haneke’s satanic soap opera of pure sociopathy

It hardly needs saying that the adjective in the title is about as accurate as the one in Haneke’s Funny Games. Happy End is a satirical nightmare of haute-bourgeois European prosperity: as stark, brilliant and unforgiving as a halogen light. It is not a new direction for this film-maker, admittedly, but an existing direction pursued with the same inspiration as ever. It is also as gripping as a satanically inspired soap opera, a dynasty of lost souls. Read more

Happy End review – gallows humour for all the family


Michael Haneke’s new film gleams with cold gallows humour. There’s blunt, rasping comedy to be found in its thematic grimness (Happy End might also be titled Death Wish), though the Austrian director’s bleak worldview won’t be to everyone’s taste. The plot begins with 13 year-old Eve (Fantine Harduin), who is forced to stay with her father Thomas (Mathieu  Kassovitz), in Calais, with his new wife and their young child after her mother overdoses. Also living in the Laurent family home is Thomas’s sister, severe real estate developer Anne (Isabelle Huppert), and their depressed father Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant of Haneke’s Amour), who at a robust 84 is “too healthy” to qualify for the assisted suicide he seeks, and so must make alternative arrangements. Read more

Movie Review: Brigsby Bear

The show “Brigsby Bear Adventures” is a children’s television program produced for an audience of one: James Pope. When the series abruptly ends, Pope’s life changes forever as he sets out to finish the story line himself. To do that, he must learn how to cope with the realities of a new world that he knows nothing about.

Brigsby Bear

2017 ‧ Drama film/Comedy ‧ 1h 40m
86% Rotten Tomatoes
7.6/10 IMDb
64% Metacritic

The best way to see Dave McCary’s terrific directorial début [amazon_textlink asin=’B0749HZ6TG’ text=’Brigsby Bear’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’cfmmusscean03-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e2045456-73ec-11e7-9fac-35219065df59′] is without knowing anything whatsoever about the story. The specific way it unfolds invites a lot of “What’s going on, and what does it mean?” conjecture from the audience. It’s more fun to watch than to… Continue reading…


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This article originally appeared on The Verge
Rosalita Moog (curated content)


Image Source: Everett Collection

By the time the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince novel was released, the fourth movie (Goblet of Fire) was on the verge of coming out. This meant that Rupert Grint was already an established member of our favorite magical trio as Ron Weasley, loved perhaps most especially for his gratuitous usage of “bloody hell” to express his

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John Sebastian singer, songwriter and the voice of the Loving Spoonful greeting fans at the State Theater in Red Bluff, CA.

John Sebastian singer, songwriter and the voice of the Loving Spoonful greeting fans at the State Theatre in Red Bluff, CA.


When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have. E. W. Howe

There was a storm the night John Sebastian appeared at the State Theatre in Red Bluff, CA. It rained one day in February other than that it hadn’t here rained since January. After a blistering NorCal summer of 100+ degree temperatures, it was suddenly 60 F and we were freezing.  My husband and I arrived half expecting them to say that John Sebastian had canceled. We had purchased online tickets and we (I) did think about staying home. I have no closed in shoes and the street around the theatre flooded. lol, Red Bluffians can handle 115 F, but rain…

John Sebastian’s voice seduces your senses. It caresses your ears. It is both elegant and earthy. It is like biting into fine chocolate complex, buttery, creamy smooth that melts in your mouth. Yes, I said it, chocolate. Did I expect the same voice at 72?  No, I didn’t. My husband and I went from pleasantly surprised to amazed. Can’t speak for my husband, but his voice  is still enchanting to me.

In the olden days, the most you could get at a Loving Spoonful or John Sebastian concert was a contact high. Now concert goers expect t-shirts, hats and CDs waiting for them in the lobby. Sebastian had CDs, but ran out. It was comical. The word rippled back through the crowd, over and over we heard, “What do you mean he is out of CDs? ”  Several people, including us, were left roaming aimlessly around the lobby, money clutched in our hot little hands.

John Sebastian performed for an hour and a half, he took us on a trip. Beavis and Butthead into my head and said, “Heheh, trip.” What was I saying before they interrupted me?  Sebastian took us through our history with his music. He is an impressive storyteller.

He was gentle with his description of how black people were treated during the Loving Spoonful’s toured with the Supremes. It was the 1960s. People were giving lip service to desegregation. The Loving Spoonful opened for the Supremes? My mind is still trying to reconcile the music. Two completely different kinds of songs. There were still radio stations that played “colored” music. I know that because I listened to one. The “tour” bus they were in was a converted school bus. Some of the arrangements for motel rooms didn’t work out when the owner found out about the colored folks on the bus on the bus. They would end up sleeping on the bus. Years later after a rehearsal, Diana Ross spotted him at a table and called out, “Didn’t I sleep with you on a bus in Arkansas.”

Bad celebrity experiences have curbed my enthusiasm for meeting them. In fact, I changed my decision to buy tickets a few times. Celebrities can have one persona on stage another in person.  Gallagher is an ass.  Gallagher was hateful a child! You could see the child’s eyes tearing. We have never watched another Gallagher special.

John Sebastian is exactly how we hoped he would be with fans, both kind and generous with his time. After the show, he autographed programs and posed for selfies. My selfie helped the pain of leaving without merchandise.

For photos of the concert check out the Red Bluff State Theatre on Facebook.

Howe quote from Brainy Quote.


Movie Review: Ice Age Collision Course

 Manny, Diego, and Sid join up with Buck to fend off a meteor strike that would destroy the world.

Manny, Diego, and Sid join up with Buck to fend off a meteor strike that would destroy the world.

Ice Age: Collision Course part five of the successful digital animation series, begins in the beginning. The very beginning. Scrat, the prehistoric, squirrel, animal thing that has his heart set on cracking a giant acorn is in deep space.  Scrat’s breakout appearance in Ice Age (2002) made him the uncontested star of the series. His futile attempts to crack his acorn are reminiscent of the golden age of animation, not old fashioned but fast paced, slapstick, physical comedy. His wild, crazy, starving, nervous energy never gets old and the succulent insides of the acorn continues to be out of his reach.

At times I think, “Is it the movie or me?” This is one of those times. Digging around the internet to see what other reviewers had to say I came across this jewel . It really did make me laugh out loud.

In Ice Age: Collision Course, an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, threatening to destroy its inhabitants. After 15 minutes of watching this moribund, unimaginative sequel, I was rooting for the asteroid.

Me too Mr. Tremblay, me too. I did have to Google “moribund”. Merriam‑Webster definition is: no longer active or effective : close to failure. : very sick : close to death. That does describe how this sequel feels.

Scrat’s bumbling lands him in a frozen cave, crashing with his acorn into an abandoned spaceship. Astrological history begins to happens after he is flung around space trying to stay in the spacecraft while maintaining control of the acorn.

Spoilers below the cast gallery.

Ice Age: Collision Course continues with Scrat’s very own version of the big bang, barreling through space ultimately creating our solar system and endless space debris.

Life on snowy prehistoric earth, has been good to our old friends: Sid the neurotic lisping ground sloth (John Leguizamo), Diego the grumpy saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary), and Manny the woolly mammoth (Ray Romano).  Ellie (Queen Latifah) and Manny’s daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer), is now engaged to Julian (Adam Devine). It doesn’t take long to find out, fifty’s sitcom style, that Manny and Ellie are not happy with their future doofus son-in-law. The sitcom continues with Ellie being disappointed that Manny had forgotten their anniversary.

Scrat, still floating around in space, sets off a meteor shower with one very large purple-flaming rock speeding toward earth. Their sitcom problems are forgotten when the realize they need to find cover. Then the story becomes a tangle of  subplots and characters.

Buck, the one-eyed weasel voiced by Simon Pegg, returns from the third “Ice Age” film, to explain what is happening and how they can stop it.  Using a 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith as his map, he guides them to the valley where meteors have wiped out previous species that inhabited the earth.

  • Opossum twins, Crash voiced by Sean William Scott and Eddie voiced by Josh Peck, discover static electricity and become one of the highlights of  the film.
  • Too sophisticated for children to dull for adults.
  • So many subplots so little time. It was disorganized.
  • 50 minutes in Grandma Sloth kidnapping is laugh out loud funny.
  • Wonderful cast and some good lines.
  • The mammoth courtship and marriage was just stupid.


Ice Age: Collision Course has so many subplots and characters that you may need a score card.

Is the acorn smaller?




Deaf author at Comic-Con tells of break- through book

El Deafo by Cece Bell, color by David Lasky; Amulet Books; © 2014; ISBN 978141-9712173; 233 pages plus a note from the author; price not listed. Story by Donald H. Harrison; Photos by Shor M. Masori Donald H. Harrison Cece Bell was expressive during interview at Abrams Books booth at Comic-Con SAN DIEGO – Written for… Read the rest of this entry

You may know of  the multi-talented Dominic Monaghan as the lovable Hobbit, Meriadoc Brandybuck in the mega hit  The Lord of The Rings trilogy.

His list of movie and TV credits do not start or end there.


Monaghan created, produces and hosts the Primetime Emmy Award nominate “Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan”.

During an earlier episode Monaghan and his crew found a previously unnamed spices of spiders.

Dominic Monaghan's spider name. Ctenus monaghani. (Photo: Peter Jäger/Senckenberg)

Dominic Monaghan’s spider name. Ctenus monaghani. (Photo: Peter Jäger/Senckenberg)


Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan is an exhilarating travel-adventure series that follows the actor and wildlife enthusiast as he treks through the remote corners of the globe in search of some of the most exotic, bizarre and dangerous animals in the world. From the Travel Channel

The Travel Channel did an excellent job of promoting the new season. Monaghan worked non-stop promoting Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan Season 3 Ep 1 Majestic Mozambique. (The episode is listed on as Mozambique: Whale Shark .)

The questions that came up the most were not about lions, tigers, bears or the thing that sticks his hind legs in the air but his fingernail polish. “Why does he wear fingernail polish?”” Why does he wear it on one hand? “”Why do the nails have different colors?”” Does he paint them?” He was endlessly patient and polite. Personally, I like fingernail polish on a man. It would be hilarious if said something like, “I wave the hand with multi-colored nails in front of the snake to hypnotize it and grab the snake with the other hand.”  To paraphrase his answers, he wears the nail polish because he wants to, he likes the colors and someone does the nails for him.

The very best question came from with . He asked if there were moments during production that were too dangerous to air? Answer: I’m kind of the animal guy, for the most part. That’s not to say that we have not been in situations that have been dangerous but I think it’s very important to differentiate between fear and danger. Fear is something that makes your brain go into panic mode and you’ll make the wrong decisions. You’ll feel insecure, you’ll feel clunky, and clumsy.

If you haven’t seen Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan think Steve Irwin without the animals biting him.

Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan Majestic Mozambique

**************Minor Spoilers**************

Dominic Monaghan is hot on the trail of the largest fish on the planet – the 42-ton whale shark! Along the way, he enters a local boat race and partakes in an annual fishing celebration.Travel Channel

Dear Frank,
I hope you didn’t faint during play back.

The show is a perfect fit for the Travel Channel. Monaghan effortlessly moves through each clip giving the viewer a feeling of talking with a (amazing) friend. He seems to have an endless knowledge of the animals in each clip.

The show is more than just animals. Monaghan teaches us about the people who live in the area where he is filming. Mozambique, a previous war-torn area, has 1600 miles of beautiful beaches. This is where he hopes to find the shy ginormous fish, “a big needle in an even bigger haystack.”

Deep inside the animal reserve, he show us the heartbreaking effects of poaching. An ancient tree marked by elephants in the past stands as a reminder of the elephants that once lived there.

He saves a very frightened, injured snake from a chicken coop (?) in a village they pass through. Rather than kill the snake he tends it’s wound and relocates it. He enlisted the help of local school children to find animals they knew were near by. When he was cleaning the snakes wounds their faces spoke volumes, but it would be interesting to know what they said about him when he left.

This is a good family show. Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan, by land and sea introduces, you to rare and endangered animals without being preachy.

Did he find the giant shark he was looking for? You will have to watch the episode on Travel Channel to find out.



Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. (Morris Chestnut)

Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. (Morris Chestnut)

Rosewood is an American television series created by Todd Harthan, starring Morris Chestnut as Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr., a private pathologist working in Miami, Florida, in high demand with law enforcement. Wikipedia

Morris Chestnut is awesome but I am not sure he can save Rosewood!

My rule has always been watch a few episodes before reviewing a show. The pilot was tediously filled with overly used, beat to death  clichés. The bickering with his future police partner had me too annoyed/bored to finish the Rosewood pilot. I have no reason to believe I would watch another episode.

Then. Fox promos referenced glowing reviews for Rosewood. I started to worry my brain was going soft.  I started reading reviews when I couldn’t sleep. They were so funny my laughing woke my husband and both cats.

These are the reviews I found. It turns out my brain may not be going soft.

Rosewood is a pathologist, USA Today writer ‘s clever and true title: ‘Rosewood’ is pathologically dumb  This article is such a jewel it took a great deal of time to decide on this quote to represent it. “We don’t expect shows like Rosewood to reflect the real world, but now and then shouldn’t they pretend a real world exists?
That would seem to be the least they can do.” More

Morris Chestnut plays a private pathologist doing generic things in Miami.

Rosewood, Morris Chestnut

Morris Chestnut is Rosewood a brilliant private pathologist that helps the Miami PD solve its toughest cases.

The Rosewood review by at IGN. I had tears in my eyes by the end of his article. “I found myself rooting for whoever it was that killed young Nora (this episode’s corpse) over Rosewood and his fancy lab (a meticulous, ridiculous high-tech haven that puts SHIELD’s operation to shame). I was also most certainly rooting for Rosewood’s many many ailments to take his life before the closing credits.” More

A more favorable review from James Poniewozik at The New York Times ends with “Even viewers looking for a low-attention-required procedural may find “Rosewood” played-out and mediocre.” More

Another Rosewood review with plenty of good lines to quotes come from Mark Peikert at The Wrap “At its best, it offers its audience the chance to feel smarter than its characters. For anyone who is repulsed by the quantity of quality TV currently airing, the opportunity to remain four steps ahead of allegedly brilliant characters could be seductive.” More

Rosewood’ Review: Hot Doctor In A Lukewarm Show by Ken Tucker on sums it up nicely. “It’s like Burn Notice meets Royal Pains interrupted by Cops.” More

Morris Chestnut is a talented and gorgeous actor that deserves better lines. It would also help if Rosewood was actually shot in Miami. It is obvious that they are in southern CA.

Rosewood has an excellent cast and the show has to get better.


Article by Suzanne Philips

Photo copyright AMC


"Fear The Walking Dead" Stars Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Frank Dillane. Photo copyright AMC

“Fear The Walking Dead” Stars Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Frank Dillane. Photo copyright AMC


“Fear The Walking Dead” is arguably the most anticipated show of the Summer.  The show takes place in Los Angeles at the start of the Zombie outbreak which we follow in “The Walking Dead” universe during the time when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is in the hospital in a coma.

The new show follows Travis (Cliff Curtis)  and Madison (Kim Dickens), teachers who have recently moved in together and who are trying to blend their two families. Madison’s son Nick (Frank Dillane) is a junkie and her daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) skips classes and can’t wait to leave town – clearly Madison is battling TWD’s Lori Grimes for the Mother of the Year Award.

Travis has his own problems with his son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) who doesn’t want to spend any time with him and hates the new family he has been thrust into.

The show definitely came into being with a whimper and many fans were apathetic about the first episode.  Being episode 1, all of the characters and the world they inhabit have to be introduced and this takes time.   I don’t think the pace of the whole show can necessarily be judged on this first episode.  As fans might remember, Season One of “The Walking Dead” started off sort of slow as well as we got to meet all of the characters and their world.

It’s interesting as a fan of TWD to see how people are first reacting to the Zombie outbreak.  The confusion and disbelief of what is actually going on and the realization that people are actually coming back to life is interesting to see for those of us who have already seen all of what is to come.

The episode definitely had pace issues – there was a constant feeling of waiting for something to happen – and as one who is used to the constant non-stop pace of TWD – it is a bit frustrating.  I don’t think it’s fair to  be able to judge a series from one episode so I will be watching future episodes of “Fear the Walking Dead” hoping to see some of the great character development and heart-stopping action we see in “The Walking Dead”.

“Fear the Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.




Editors note: Suzanne is a dancer, choreographer and judges dance competitions around the country. I asked her to watch the show and give her opinion. She liked them as much as I do.

Article by Suzanne Philips

Photos copyright Oxygen Network

"The Prancing Elites Project".  Copyright The Oxygen Network

“The Prancing Elites Project”. Copyright The Oxygen Network


By all rights, the Oxygen Network show “The Prancing Elites Project” should be a hands-down success.  It has dancing, which is really hot right now in reality tv – it has 5 beautiful stars Adrian Clemons, Kentrell Collins, Kareem Davis, Jerel Maddox, and Timothy Smith who seem to be beautiful on the inside as well – and it shows people pursuing their dreams and not letting any obstacle stop them.  Unfortunately, the final edits of the show don’t work.

The Prancing Elites are a group of gay, black, non-gender conforming dancers from Mobile, Alabama who shot to fame after sports legend Shaquille O’Neal tweeted a video clip of the group performing a routine at a local basketball game.  The tweet was shared and viewed countless times by people who quickly became fans of the group and their high-energy routines.

“The Prancing Elites Project”, showing on the Oxygen Network, follows the troupe around as they try to find facilities to perform in (many of which refuse to let them due to the facilities’ close minded views on their show) and shows their daily struggles with family members and the community who don’t accept them and their life choices.  Or it should be.

The problems with the show really seem to lie in the editing and direction of the show.  At its heart, the show should be about the struggle of these performers to do the thing that they really want to do – Dance – but the dancing is really an afterthought in the show.  In one episode, the group decides to put on their own dance competition after being rejected by numerous competitions who will not let them compete because they only permit girls to compete against girls.  Putting on a dance competition is a huge undertaking even without the added pressure of fighting closed-minded people who are already against you.  Why do we not see more of the struggles of this process in the show?  Instead the production team spends enormous amounts of time showing the team passing out flyers and acting up than the actual hard work that must have gone into this undertaking.  The show actually has many of the members coming off as somewhat stupid, which I am sure is a reflection of the editing, because in other scenes that have substance, you can see these same team members show how much they have been hurt in the process of following their dreams. And to accomplish all that they have, they have to be intelligent people.



Let’s talk about the dancing – what little of it we see in the actual shows is amazing.  Being a dancer since I am three years old, I can tell you that this team is on point.  They are completely together in their routines, the moves are sharp and sitting on the music and you can see the passion coming through.  I have seen dancers all over the world that don’t have this kind of love and commitment to their art form.  These dancers are Living!  I would love to see more of them performing and in their passion during the show.

I would love to see more of what actually goes into the struggle to rehearse, raise money to travel and fight all of the prejudice that they do to find venues in which to perform.  Everyone loves an underdog story and this should really be about that.  Sadly, I don’t feel like the production company really gets what these dancers are about.  Hopefully, the crew will change or they will start to understand how much of an inspiration these dancers are to others who are oppressed in this life.  Personally, I would be proud to dance with them anytime.




Article by Suzanne Philips/CFM

Photo copyright Simon & Shuster



Author Alan Finn is releasing his new novel “Things Half In Shadow” on December 30th just in time for all of those post-holiday flights and days off.

Set in post Civil War Philadelphia, the story follows Edward Clark, a newspaper crime reporter with a questionable past.  Clark is happy working the crime beat and spending time with his well-to-do fiancee until his boss gives him an assignment to write a series of exposes on the city’s mediums and expose them for the frauds that everyone connected with the newspaper knows them to be.  Somewhat reluctantly, Clark joins forces with a shady medium – the beautiful, young Lucy Collins – in an effort to expose the cities other mediums and their tricks.

Finn’s writing is very descriptive and immerses the reader immediately into the world of nineteenth-century Philadelphia.  The characters are well sketched out and engaging and the book is so well written that one can become lost in the story and lose track of time.  “Things Half In Shadow” offers something for fans of many different genres – History, Paranormal, Supernatural, Crime and Magic are all explored throughout the story.  Many authors who touch on Paranormal subjects often treat them with a level of disdain that is nowhere to be found in Finn’s writing.

The book has a feel that reminded this reader of Sarah Pinborough’s novel “Mayhem” and even slightly of the television program “Ripper Street” with its ability to draw the reader into another time and place. I think everyone who picks up this book will be very pleased that they did.

“Things Half In Shadow” will be released in both paperback and ebook form on December 30th from Gallery Books.  Check your local book seller or for more info.

Article by Suzanne Philips

Photo courtesy Harper Collins Publishers

OwnIt_hc_c (2)

As anyone who has watched the Bravo’s hit reality series “Tabatha Takes Over” knows, Tabatha Coffey knows how to help struggling business owners find their passion and re-invent their businesses.  Coffey’s no-nonsense style and take-charge attitude has helped countless owners and their employees turn failing businesses into successful ventures.

Coffey is now bringing these talents to a wider audience with her new book “Own It! Be the Boss of Your Life – at Home and in the Workplace” (IT Books, Hardcover $24.99).

The book takes readers through what it takes to not only own a successful business, but ways to juggle your home life and take time out for y0urself.  Each chapter contains step-by-step instructions on topics ranging from customer service, hiring employees, management,  and how to turn a passion into a successful business.  Coffey uses examples from her own life and from growing up watching her parents businesses to illustrate each chapter. Each chapter also contains activites you can do to take charge of your business and “Own It”.

The chapters are easy to read and are broken down into sections, so that you can stop in part of the chapter and complete some of the exercises and come back to it later.  Each chapter also offers a summary at the end of key points that are covered in the chapters.

Coffey’s writing style is very conversational and one gets the sense that if you sat down with her to discuss any given topic, it would go pretty much as it does in the book.  Particularly the sections on Management and Customer Service should prove helpful even to business owners who currently have successful businesses.

There are even sections on taking time for yourself and the importance of having a life away from your job.  The book ends with an “Ask Tabatha” section where Coffey answers questions submitted by fans of her show.

If you are thinking about starting your own business or want to improve the one you currently have, “Own It” can make you look at things in a different way and provide you with the tools you need to be a success.

If you are in the Phoenix area, Tabatha Coffey will be speaking and signing books at the Phoenix Women’s Expo this Saturday, April 26th at 1:30pm

This post brought to you by Jack in the Box. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hunger can do strange things to a person. Drawing courtesy of artist TL Arens

Hunger can do strange things to a person. (Drawing courtesy of artist TL Arens.)

We live in a small town in northern California. Living just east of no where means driving to see bands. When we started CFM my friend and I drove to Sac for a metal concert. We left half deaf with ringing ears and hungry. (That was the last time I forgot the earplugs!) The locals recommended a restaurant that was so crowded there was a waiting line to get into the parking lot. We decided it was too late at night and the drive ahead was too long to eat there. The next place that was open had a dark, kinda creepy parking lot. Yeah, two women in the middle of the night, not such a good idea. Finally, we found a place open and settled for not so good Mexican food. The most memorable moment was laughing when the kid that took our order asked if we had been at the concert, we were screaming at him without realizing it.

 photo jacks_munchie_meal-closed_box450pi_zps2aa10f38.jpg

Like many small towns our entertainment is going to Wal-Mart. Friday night we finished our late night shopping and Wal-Mart was closing. We decided to check out the Late Night Munchie Meals at Jack in the Box. I admit that it had been a while since I had been to our Jack in the Box. Let me say, we have an awesome Jack in the Box! The parking lot is properly lit and the store was spotless. There were none of the expected stray napkins on the floor. I have worked as a Secret Shopper for other companies and it has made me very aware of things you wouldn’t normally notice. The employees were wearing clean uniforms and the kitchen area looked great. They would have gotten a perfect score!

Tyler greeted us and explained the Late Night Munchie Meals menu. It was not easy to decide. I started laughing when Tom told Tyler he didn’t have to wait for us to decide if he had something to do. Tom is an honest to goodness foodie and he was overwhelmed. I couldn’t help thinking that in my late night munchies college days I would have ended up standing there for a very long time deciding. It was not a tough decision for me that night I couldn’t wait to try the Exploding Cheesy Chicken!

Chicken! Mozzarella sticks! How could you go wrong?

The meals are only served after 9pm. Your entree comes in a box with 2 tacos, halfsies which is half curly fries and half French fries and a 20 oz. drink.

Tom said, “You get one of these, 2 tacos, curly fries with french fries and a drink for only $6?”


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This is how Jack in the Box describes Jacks Munchie Meals.

Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger – Sourdough grilled cheese on top, cheeseburger on bottom. Tucked into this tasty bunk bed.

Loaded Nuggets – Chicken Nuggets drowning in two kinds of cheese with ranch and bacon. Rescue them!

Brunch Burger – A burger with a fried egg and a crispy hash brown for when it’s so late you don’t know whether it’s dinner or breakfast.

Exploding Cheesy Chicken – A chicken sandwich exploding with mozzarella cheese sticks and gooey white cheese sauce. Oh my cheesy goodness.

This is a photo of my Exploding Cheesy Chicken. It won’t look like the ones in the Jack in the Box ads because, I am allergic to lettuce. When I asked if I could get it without lettuce, the manager on duty, Brock told me it wasn’t a problem because they are made to order. Far out!

Exploding Cheesy Chicken

My Exploding Cheesy Chicken. The white cheese sauce is killer.

Exploding Cheesy Chicken is heavenly! It was even better than expected. We are restaurant folks and had doubts about the tacos. Burgers to tacos? Restaurant can’t always add new products successfully. Jack in the Box does it perfectly. Tom said the tacos were some of the best he had ever had and from him that is a major compliment!

This is one of the funniest commercials ever.


You really do have to experience these meals. The next time you are out after 9pm doing who knows what, gettin your freak on, stop into Jack in the Box and eat a really, really good tasting meal.

Still out at 2am…Jack don’t judge. We don’t need no stinking salads, in the middle of the night.

My Exploding Cheesy Chicken was one of the best sandwiches I have eaten in the night or day time.

If you like tasty fast food and snarky updates like Jack on Facebook.  Like Jack in the Box on Facebook

Follow Jack Ruler of the Fast Food World on Twitter. Follow @JackBox on Twitter

On the way out we notice a sign on the door. It said: Text JACKCHI to 31278. I did and Jack sent me a coupon text for 2 FREE Tacos with a purchase that is good for seven days. Me and Jack are tight.

The Jack in the Box visit was also educational. After we had eaten, we learned the ancient art of napkin folding. Tom made the cabbage and I made the marble.

The Jack in the Box visit was also educational. After we had eaten, we learned the ancient art of napkin folding. Tom made the cabbage and I made the marble. Mine was totally better than his.

Love and peace out.


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Article by Suzanne Philips,photo copyright Harper Collins

In 1990, Anthony Zuiker was just another Hollywood wannabe—a balding, overweight guy driving a tram in Las Vegas for eight bucks an hour, telling his friends about the screenplay he was writing, dreaming of fame. He’d grown up in Vegas, where his mother worked the blackjack table at a casino, while his father flitted back and forth from investment schemes that didn’t seem to go anywhere. His friends figured Anthony wouldn’t either.

But twenty years later, Zuiker stands as the mastermind behind the most popular television show in history, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and its spin-offs: CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. How he got there—a remarkable rise from nothing to something—is the narrative lifeblood of Mr. CSI, only, like the show itself, there’s a catch:

On a January morning in 2005, Zuiker got a call from the Las Vegas Police Department while he was working at his desk on a script for CSI: NY. His estranged father, whom Zuiker hadn’t seen for a decade, had put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

So begins Mr. CSI, a book that frames Zuiker’s astonishing ascendency to fame and fortune with an unsettling and honest appraisal of his father’s suicide. It’s a book that uses the conventions that have made CSI a worldwide success to tell a far more personal story, of what one man left behind in his success and what he gained when he returned.

One might assume that Mr. CSI would be a “how-to” book of sorts on how to get a television show made or how to achieve your goals. While the book is that to some extent, it is also so much more.  Zuiker’s journey to come to grips with his tumultuous relationship with his estranged father is prominent throughout the book and is told in a sort of “no holds barred” style that is both refreshing and endearing.  You can feel the pain and resignation that Zuiker feels over that relationship come across the page.  Kudos to Mr. Zuiker for putting it all out there for the world to read. 

The book is also a fascinating look at what goes into making a successful television franchise.  It’s refreshing to see the world of Hollywood from a newcomers point of view – the reader feels like they are going through part of the ups and downs with Zuiker.

Mr. CSI will certainly be a delight for fans of the shows, but is also a lovely look into family dynamics and how to make peace with your past. 

Look for Mr. CSI in your local booksellers or find it online at



Hard-Fi – Killer Sounds – CD Album Review sampler video.

Hard-Fi – Killer Sounds – CD Album Review sampler video.

I have burned out on doing music reviews for the time being. While you are waiting for me to get back into the groove here are some of my favorites from around the web.

Hard-Fi – Killer Sounds – CD Album Review

This is an album that shows Hard-Fi slowly getting back to where they were in 2005. It may not please the most dogged of fans who think the band will never return to their glory days, but at least Hard-Fi are trying to show they’re still making an effort.

Killer Sounds is released in the U.K. tomorrow.

Read the complete review by   on WhatCulture.

The Hobbit’s Jackson and Walsh Help Free The West Memphis 3

Review: Rock the Bells gazes back while looking ahead

The sometime rapper/full-time fan represents the demographic sweet spot for the traveling hip-hop festival: 31 years old, weaned on rugged ’90s boom-bap rap and unabashedly nostalgic for the era when its raw and uncompromised iteration received a spot on the throne. The aesthetic defined by Q-Tip’s declaration, “Rap is not pop. If you call it that then stop.” Read the complete review by Jeff Weiss on Pop & Hiss.

Is Doctor Who’s Matt Smith Gay? Daisy Lowe’s Playboy Photos Answer That Question!

CD review  Grady Champion-Dreamin’

2010 international Blues Challenge winner Grady Champion proves the blues has a future with the release of fifth album Dreamin.’  Read the review by Rick J Bowen  on No Depression.

17-Year-Old Madison Rose Prepares For Her Explosive Debut LP ‘Aftershock’


Alphas,Gary Bell,Ryan Cartwright,Azita Ghanizada,Laura Mennell,David Strathairn,SyFy Channel,CFM Music Scene and Entertainment News,CFM Music,CFM News,CFM,Losille
Azita Ghanizada Alphas’ Rachel Pirzad “synesthete”, which allows her to enhance one sense while rendering her remaining senses temporarily useless.


The easiest way to describe “Alphas” is “XMen Light”.  Don’t misinterpret my X-Men reference as saying it is even close to being as good as X-Men. The word “mutant” is conspicuously absent and when I wandered into “Rosetta Stone” I found the story confusing.

The only reason I watch “Alphas” was because it was on after “Warehouse 13” and Ryan Cartwright (Vincent Nigel-Murray, Bones) pulled me into the episode. He plays Gary Bell  an “autistic,very socially awkward alpha who is able to read any and all waves in the electromagnetic field. This includes television broadcasts, radio signals, and phone texts.” It took reading the info on the website and watching  the episode a second time to understand it.

When I say I didn’t understand and had to watch it again I don’t mean in that wonderful  “that was soo complex I have to watch it again” kinda way. “Alphas” is sci-fi fluff. It’s interesting but isn’t going to tax your brain. You can watch “Alphas” while you play on FB without losing track of the storyline.

The last episode “Never Let Me Go” was an OK episode, fairly good story line and kept my attention up to a point. Azita Ghanizada, alpha Rachel Pirzad, did an excellent job falling into the clutches of an alpha mom with a broken heart.

Spoilers….I am channeling River Song.

In “Never Let Me Go” the alphas go to a town to find out why people are dying from an mysterious illness. It is an good plot not taxing on the brain but entertaining, right up to the point where Gary Bell shows up. I appreciate that they want to realistically portray autism but his role was distracting. It is like when there is a sex scene for no apparent reason. Gary’s over the top actions just made you wonder, “Why?”. Gary in the high school was when FB came into the picture. The character was obviously autistic in “Rosetta Stone” but not as distracting/annoying like he was in this episode.

Watch it.  It is pleasant. It has potential.

This is the explanation of the show from the SyFy “Alphaswebsite.

Alphas is an action-packed thriller from writers Zak Penn (The Avengers, X-Men: The Last Stand) and Michael Karnow. In the series, five ordinary people are brought together to form one extraordinary team of Alphas — people with the unique power to stretch the capabilities of the human mind giving them superhuman physical and mental abilities.

Operating within the Defense Criminal Investigation Service of the U.S. Department of Defense and led by preeminent neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen (Emmy Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn), an expert in Alpha phenomena, the team investigates cases that point to others with Alpha abilities. As they work against the clock to solve this new brand of crime, they must prevent their own personality differences and disparate backgrounds from interfering with their ultimate mission to catch the enemy.

In addition to Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Temple Grandin, Good Night, and Good Luck), the ensemble cast stars Malik Yoba (New York Undercover, Why Did I Get Married?), Warren Christie (October Road), Laura Mennell (Watchmen), Ryan Cartwright (Mad Men, Bones) and Azita Ghanizada (Castle).

Watch full/free episodes of “Alphas” here.

Release date April 12, 2011. Wasting Light was recorded entirely on analog tape in the garage of Grohl s home in California s San Fernando Valley. The no computers/no software back to basics approach has resulted in arguably the strongest and most cohesive effort of the band s 15-year-plus career.Release date April 12, 2011. Wasting Light was recorded entirely on analog tape in the garage of Grohl s home in California s San Fernando Valley. The no computers/no software back to basics approach has resulted in arguably the strongest and most cohesive effort of the band s 15-year-plus career.

CD Review : Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Written by Joe Muggs

All of rock is here. Like, really, all of it. One tries to avoid too many direct comparisons with other artists in a review but with Foo Fighters it’s impossible.

Music Review: Karen Barry – Bare

Author: Mindy Peterman

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to Karen Barry’s debut album, Bare, is that these songs were not written on a whim. They were culled from life experience
Read more of this music review here:

Concert review: Ricky Martin at Amway Center

Ricky Martin music review

Ricky Martin music review


By Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel entertainment critic
Review of Ricky Martin’s Amway Center show in Orlando.

CD Review: ‘Nine Types of Light’ by TV On The Radio

Nine Types of Light CD by TV On The Radio Expected Release: Apr 12, 2011

Nine Types of Light CD by TV On The Radio Expected Release: Apr 12, 2011

Few bands can claim to consistently embody what’s new and exciting about rock ‘n’ roll like Brooklyn’s TV On The Radio.

Today’s Music Reviews

Thelonious Monk cd review

Thelonious Monk starts this list of music reviews that includes The Allman Brothers, Jed Davis,Electric Wizard,VocalEssence, Andre Thomas.

Music Review: Thelonious Monk – Monk’s Music

By GREG BARBRICK Even though Thelonious Monk had been recording for over a decade already, 1957 was the year he was finally accepted by the mainstream jazz audience. Peers, hipsters, and writers “in the know” had been into Monk from the beginning. But the pianist’s dissonant, sometimes broken rhythms had been a tough sell to the general public. Monk’s Music changed all of that for good. Read the rest of this article here.

Music Review: The Allman Brothers – Eat A Peach

By David Bowling Life was good for The Allman Brothers. At Fillmore East had been a commercial breakthrough for the group. It was then recognized as one of the best live bands in the world and Duane Allman had ascended to the top rung of guitarists. Rolling Stone Magazine would place him at number 2 on its list of The Best Guitarists Of All Time. Read the rest of this article here.

Music Review: Jed Davis – The Cutting Room Floor

By BILL SHERMAN Back in the eighties, when this writer was living in the Illinois heartland, I was part of a group of new music lovers who used to regularly drive a van up north to Chicago or Schaumburg to see then up-and-comers like the B-52’s or Devo. It was a two-hour plus drive, and when our blurry-eyed selves were released from the clubs, we typically had to stop on the way home in the Bolingbrook Denny’s for some caffeine and sustenance. Listening to Jed Davis’ The Cutting Room Floor (Eschatone Records), I found myself recollecting those late night early repasts: not just because one of the tracks on this disc specifically recalls the joys of “Denny’s 3:00 A.M.,” but because the whole disc captures so much of the sounds of that era. Read the rest of this article here.

Music Review: Electric Wizard – Black Masses

By GUTTERCANDY In contrast to the fairly sedate musical year of 2010, 2011 has already seen some its finest musical releases thus far fall in the hard rock category.Leading the pack is the awesome Electric Wizard and their latest, Black Masses. The Wizard are like the grungiest, darkest aspects of classic Black Sabbath distilled to their graveyard essence. Read the rest of this article here.

Music Review: Linda Eder – Now

By JORDAN RICHARDSON I was first introduced to the big Broadway voice of Linda Eder by my wife. I found myself instantly smitten by Eder’s gargantuan, dramatic tones. Her eloquent phrasing was intoxicating and her ability to draw listeners in to the heart of a song, into that theatrical spirit, was second to none.  Read the rest of this article here.

Music review: VocalEssence, Andre Thomas let the spirit flow

By Rob Hubbard Andre Thomas is an inspiring man. He’s devoted his career to teaching young Americans not only how to sing traditional African-American spirituals, but about the history and evolution of the songs, as well, which involves confronting a lot of troubling truths. Read the rest of this article here.

Vanity Theft CD Cover. For the latest news join our mailing list.

Vanity Theft . For the latest news join our mailing list.

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Vanity Theft has a synth-heavy, beat-dominated sound that isn’t genre specific. The excellent guitar riffs and relevant song lyrics place them out of the “all-female” band category and into the “kick ass”  band category. Bassist Lalaine is blunt about her band, saying, “We may have vaginas, but we’re not pussies.”

Their album “Get What You Came For”  has some hard driven tracks but a touch too slick on other tracks making them sound over manipulated.
Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post attended a Vanity Theft concert and left unimpressed by the studio to live transition for their music.

Concert review: Vanity Theft at U Street Music Hall robs punk of its spirit
On paper, Vanity Theft sounds delightfully incongruous: a young, all-female rock quartet that compares itself to riot grrrl bands and includes a Disney Channel veteran (former “Lizzie McGuire” co-star Lalaine) on bass. But the Vanity Theft that performed Friday evening at the U Street Music Hall had little affinity for Bikini Kill, and no Lalaine. A fresh bassist, introduced by guitarist Brittany Hill as “our new friend Amanda,” joined just in time for this tour, which had started a few days earlier.

Read the rest of his review here.

20 upcoming shows/events

Feb 7

Atlanta, GA
Feb 9

Feb 10

Austin, TX
Feb 11

San Antonio, TX
Feb 12
sue ellen’s

Dallas, TX
Feb 13
The Conservatory – TUS

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma , US
Feb 15
Second Floor Gallery

El Paso, TX
Feb 16
Amped Performance

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Feb 17
The Rogue Bar

Scottsdale, Arizona
Feb 18
Soda Bar

San Diego!, California
Feb 19
The Roxy Theatre

West Hollywood, CA , US
Feb 20
Milk Bar

San Francisco, California
Feb 23
Ash Street Saloon

Portland, Oregon
Feb 24
Studio Seven

Seattle, Washington
Feb 25
Neurolux Lounge

Boise, ID , US
Feb 26
Burt’s Tiki Lounge

Salt Lake City, Utah, US
Feb 27
Lion’s Lair

Denver, CO
Mar 1
The Riot Room

Kansas City, Missouri, US
Mar 2

University City, MO
Mar 4
Vaudeville Mews

Des Moines, IA

Barbara Ireland's Turning Back Time

Barbara Ireland's Turning Back Time

Return to the classic jazz & blues nightclubs of the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s where dim lighting, suits and gowns, and the scent of perfume and whiskey filled the atmosphere. Ireland’s sultry vocals shimmer above passionate jazz performances & hot sax solos.

Barbara Ireland has recorded sexy songs! The kind of music that make you want to rip his clothes off.   It is difficult to do justice these standards and almost in possible to please me singing  them. I admit I was skeptical when I started listening.   Ireland’s voice and styling brings out the best in the songs she has selected. “Turning Back Time – Classic Songs To Kiss By”  has won me over.  Purchase on CDBaby.

Read a complete review at Seattle PI. See excerpt below.

Seattle singer-songwriter Barbara Ireland’s new album is a world apart from the glam-punk she once performed as a member of The Fags and other bands.
Ireland’s new album, “Turning Back Time: Classic Songs to Kiss By,” is a sultry, sumptuous collection of jazz and blues from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

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Len Monachello

Len Monachello front man for All Night Chemist

The ladies and I love to bring gorgeous men to your attention. Monachello is gorgeous AND he is talented, a can’t miss combination.
Before I started writing my review I a found this definition of good music from  Monachello, “Anything that you(the listener) can connect with, the groove you feel, the lyricism, the tone of the guitar. You need to have some kind of physical or mental reaction.” It perfectly describes the music in this download and says it all.
Download All Night Chemist Here. Losillë

Hypnotic sounds, unforgettable melodies, and intricate arrangements equals a musical potion that makes the saying “better living through chemistry” ring true. All Night Chemists is the brainchild of front man and multi-instrumentalist Len Monachello, who wrote, recorded, and produced their self-titled debut album.

Brooklyn-based, Len was one-quarter of the band Thisway. Signed to Reprise Records, their debut album was released in 1999 and produced by David Kahne (Fishbone, Tony Bennett, Sublime, Paul McCartney). Heralded as “a signpost to alternative pop perfection in the new millennium”, Thisway brought their Brit-Pop inspired music to the US and Europe by touring with bands such as Supergrass and Echo and the Bunnymen. Their sophomore effort was recorded in Liverpool, England with producer Ken Nelson (Gomez, Badly Drawn Boy, Coldplay) and remains an unreleased, undiscovered treasure.

Len’s passion for music may have been determined at birth. Len’s father, an accomplished musician, gave music lessons from their Long Island home and ran his own music store (building custom cabinets for Kiss, Peter Frampton & Foghat). He taught Len the guitar when he was 4. “Music just seeped into my life,” Len says. “My parents never forced me to play. This left me to find my own way on the instrument, which is probably why I love it so much. I learned songs from my parent’s Beatles and Cream records and then started digging deeper into their collection, scratching the hell of out everything, till they finally put the albums on cassette for me, to spare them any more abuse.”

In addition to the guitar, Len learned to play drums in the school marching band and taught himself piano on an old upright in Woodstock NY said to have been played by Rick Danko of The Band. “Throughout college I continued to play and composed mostly instrumental guitar pieces on a four track. When I moved to NYC and started playing in bands, my approach to songwriting became more focused.” Len’s collaboration with other singer-songwriters, including Thisway band mate Brandon Wilde, helped him hone his craft as a songwriter and expand his vocals and musicianship as well. “I started writing more as Thisway was winding down. I wrote “Silent” when Thisway returned from Liverpool. I set up my own studio to demo songs and then went overboard producing them. One song led to another and I realized I had an album. I always have songs at different levels of completion, which allows me to rotate the tracks and come back and finish them. The production evolved with the songwriting. It’s hard to resist adding the parts I hear before the actual song is written.

All Night Chemist has released two full-length records. The self titled debut(2005) and Spots(2007)
All Night Chemists’ songs have been featured in the televison shows Men in Trees, Life is Wild, and Reaper. The song “Point of View” was featured in the 2007 film “Ornaments”.
The band is currently putting the finishing touches on their third record

Photo-Judith Schlieper

Sharif Iman The Once Homeless Performer, Who Was Encouraged Over The Years By Everyone From Brian McKnight To Renowned Country Producer Frank Rogers, Is About To Impact AC and Hot AC Radio With His Pop/Rock Debut Album’s Uplifting Title Track, “Shine”

Sharif Iman The Once Homeless Performer, Who Was Encouraged Over The Years By Everyone From Brian McKnight To Renowned Country Producer Frank Rogers, Is About To Impact AC and Hot AC Radio With His Pop/Rock Debut Album’s Uplifting Title Track, “Shine”

I checked out Iman’s music and this is what I found.
“Broken” is a beautiful song that I missed on the first pass of the tracks. This is seriously good PMS music ladies and you might want to add it to your “chocolate days” music list! The recording volume on this one is very low and I had to use a headset. The song is worth the extra effort.

“Over You” is my favorite track. BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL!  It is very dreamy and wraps it’s self  around your mood. It gently touches on that part of your heart that is just a little too painful to fully acknowledge. If you only listen to one song this would be the one.

“New York” is my second favorite. No deep thoughts here. I just like the way it sounds.

Iman has a voice that does everything he asks of it and I give his music my highest rating, “This Music Doesn’t Suck”

Check out his MySpace to hear some great tracks. The song you won’t hear is the one mentioned in this article, “Shine”. I did send send a request that he add it to the player. Edit: Shine has been added to Iman’s MySpace player.

His website offers a free download when you sign up for his newsletter. I signed up but didn’t get a response so I am not sure if  the link is not working or just slow.  Losillë

Back when singer/songwriters still thought that being signed to a major label was the ticket to fame and fortune, Sharif Iman (pronounced Ee-mon) was brought to Nashville by renowned country music producer Frank Rogers, soon after Rogers heard the up and coming performer at a small club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Rogers, who would go on to helm projects by Nashville greats like Brad Paisley, Darryl Worley and Trace Adkins, told Iman he had the “X Factor” and could someday be a major pop/rock artist. With Rogers’ hands-on assistance, Iman honed his songwriting craft and quickly landed a co-publishing deal with EMI, signing him as a writer while helping him develop as a rock artist.

A dream come true, right?

Not quite. When the group who signed him moved on from EMI, so did Iman, in his own direction, packed with valuable lessons, a strong direction and a determined will to outlast anyone.

Other publishing deals came his way, but he was dissatisfied with these arrangements. The music industry was shifting fast during this period and Indie labels and artists were rising in the changing tide. Iman realized this was his time to stay free of contracts, reflect, re-power his tools, write, watch and wait…for his opportunity to shine.

But he was broke, soon had little more than his guitar and began that well-trodden journey of struggle for years as an aspiring artist in a town filled with great talent coming and going. Iman always had the option of returning home to Leesburg, Virginia, but knew if he did, he’d be giving up on his dream, giving up on himself.

He chose to be homeless at times, finding beauty in all the connections the community had to offer, and wanted to share his journey of freedom and musical purity with anyone he touched. Nashville fed him, embraced him, loved him. And he loved back with his time, his helping hand, his heart, soul and his music. Iman’s spirit was infectious and he felt his “family” growing at every turn and decided to remain in Nashville. The big, gentle man, “The Chocolate Soul Child,” as many began naming him, wasn’t going anywhere and certainly wasn’t going to give up.

As a prolific writer of hundreds of songs, it was only natural for the powerful, indie pop/rock album, Shine, to be Iman’s national debut project; a musical journey echoing with hope, embracement and freedom. He was determined to share his inspiration and determination, and possibly awaken the same lying dormant within his listener.

His soulful, infectious title track “Shine” and its accompanying video share this light of hope and connection. It’s a hard-hitting musical autobiography: “Said I wouldn’t quit till I reached the top/Well here I am and I’m still grooving/I’ve been working so hard, and I’ve been waiting so long…to Shine.”

It reminds us we can never give up, and that our own life journey is connected to a much larger world family. No wonder it’s receiving advanced airplay in the Midwest and will soon be impacting AC and Hot AC stations nationwide.

Nothing was going to stop Sharif Iman from living out his dream. It was easy to give up a professional soccer career or even a roof over his head to pursue his first love–music. “I was never going to find myself looking in the mirror at 50 or 60 asking, ‘What If?’ Scarier than not knowing how my musical dream would pan out was the prospect of not seeing this dream through to fruition. I’m glad I stuck it out.”

“Shine is my debut album on the national level, and that’s making all the difference,” he adds. “What makes these songs stand out from my previous work is that I’m sharing many of the emotional and spiritual breakthroughs in my life. I’ve become a more mature and transparent writer, much happier with who and where I am, and the 13 songs on Shine  reveal the raw ways I got a grip on my life and became satisfied in my own skin. I’m excited that songs like “Shine,” “Let It Go” and “Wake Up” are inspiring people to make their own breakthroughs and keep pursuing their dreams, but on a musical level I also think this is an album that people can really have fun with. It’s a ‘roll your top down, have a good time, life’s gonna be alright’ album.”

Iman’s musical dream began at age two when he saw his brother Mark playing the guitar, loved the sound and began plucking at the strings. Growing up in Reston, Virginia, his heroes were Michael Jackson, Prince and The Police, and he knew he wanted to be an artist in the fullest sense of the word. He began writing songs at age eight and hasn’t been able to stop. He later took opera singing and diction lessons. His range as a singer was from liberal baritone 2 to tenor 2. He loved opera, but while attending Coker College in South Carolina, he focused on performance and spent many of his college years homeless, crashing in dorm rooms and writing on his acoustic guitar in the hallways at 2 a.m.

Making enough from part-time jobs to secure studio time, he recorded his first project and began pounding the pavement, passing out flyers for some local gigs he did in and around Florence, including Apple Annie’s, local coffee houses and private parties.

He soon hooked up with Swirl, a group with a Hootie and the BlowfishEdwin McCain vibe that became regionally popular. While playing acoustic guitar and working on his songwriting, Iman secured work at venues like the Hard Rock Café and House of Blues and performed everywhere from Charleston to Hilton Head to different venues in Virginia and Myrtle Beach, where Frank Rogers first heard him. Choosing to leave the band after a successful five year run was hard, but Iman had never abandoned his aspirations of becoming a solo artist and had to take the chance on Nashville.

While Iman performed at local clubs like the Exit Inn, Rutledge, The End and 12th and Porter and worked day jobs painting and soccer training, he continued receiving encouragement from artists like Brian McKnight. He stayed highly focused on writing and recording projects for years, fine-tuning his sound before embarking on Shine, the debut album he’s chosen to bring to the world. “Shine features the awakened spirit of my life and artistry right now and I’m ready to share it and share it far and wide!”

In fall 2009, Iman’s passion and faith in his dreams served him well when Liz Fox of Nashville-based Fox Music, LLC discovered his music online. She immediately recognized his tremendous talent and signed Iman to her Indie label with a plan to create his national, debut album he’s been ready to share. David Wilson and Mark Lambert of Nashville respectively were brought on to produce and master Shine.

Iman’s longtime friend and colleague, Catherine Highfill, met him soon after he moved to Nashville. When she saw his was homeless she invited him to move into her home with her family and would encourage him with, “Sharif, you have it—it’s just a matter of time.” At that time Highfill had a PR agency located on music row and they both felt one day they would work together. They reconnected just before he began working on the project and during the making of Shine, they inked a management deal.

“I think that my life these days is so surreal, and having the opportunity to finally share my music with people around the world is an amazing experience,” he says. “I didn’t give up when everyone told me I should, and I didn’t give into those strong doubts we all can have at key times in our lives. People are ‘getting me’ and giving me that opportunity to ‘Shine.’ I want to write songs of hope and also give fans of pop and rock works of substance, like a buffet for their spirit. I want my album to help change the atmosphere of a person’s life so that they listen and understand that while life is often a hard walk, there is always hope. I want them to taste just some of the freedom I have found.”

A deeply spiritual person who is intent on giving back, Iman is passionate about his involvement in Nashville-based Project: AK47, an NGO dedicated to rescuing and restoring the lives of children in Asia, Africa and Latin America who otherwise would only know lives of violence and exploitation. Those involved help save child soldiers who have been brainwashed by drug lords to rape and murder and are subject to physical, sexual and mental abuse. The organization has reached out to musicians like Iman to help increase awareness of the group and to assist with fundraising and financial support.