Category Archives: Raves

Some (Brothers) Have All the Luck

This item from our friends at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb):

Actress Carla Gugino had instant chemistry with her new Broadway co-star Pablo Schreiber — because she’d just played his brother Liev’s lover in a movie.

Gugino found herself hopping out of bed with one Schreiber brother in the film “Every Day” and straight back into bed with the other in a new New York production of “Desire Under the Elms.”

And the actress insists it was a familiar experience. She told the New York Daily News, “I knew Liev because we did a movie where we play lovers just before this. Pablo and I had an immediate natural chemistry, which was essential. There’s a lot of physical and emotional violence in the play.”

So, why do we care? Because both Liev and Pablo are the sons of Bainbridge Island resident — and actor — Tell Schreiber , who recently finished a successful run in Bainbridge Performing Arts’ production of the Yazmina Reza play “Art.”

And because I’ve had a major whoop-dee-doo crush on Carla Gugino for, about, ever.

So, way to go, Schreiber boys.

More later … — MM

‘Roman Holiday’ Finds Bremerton Symphony in Fine Form

Here’s the review posted at kitsapsun.com/entertainment from the March 21 performance by the Bremerton Symphony:

I’ve not been in the habit of reviewing concerts or other events of a “one-off” nature — something that happens only once, and doesn’t afford another opportunity to be taken in, no matter how strongly I might endorse it.
However, the March 21 “Solostimmen” program was my first chance to see the Bremerton Symphony perform since the removal of music director Elizabeth Stoyanovich in January. So it bears a little rehash.
I passed on the Symphony’s February program — not because I didn’t want to go, but because I was floored by a case of the Crud (that actually should be spelled with a capital CRUD), and I didn’t think anyone would appreciate me showing up in that condition, even if I had been able to navigate my fevered self there.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed the Symphony with any interest, but it’s still a great joy and a great relief to be able to relate:
The Symphony continues to be the usual great night out at the Bremerton Performing Arts Center.
In the case of the evening in question, that’s due in large part to the appearance by cello wunderkind Joshua Roman, whose performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme” sounded rich and passionate, even though it looked effortless. It’ll be one of the highlights of my year to be able to say that I saw him play at all, let alone here, with our hometown heroes. If he’s not a one-of-a-kind talent, he’s as close as many of us are liable to see in our lifetimes, at least within a mighty stone’s throw of our own front porches.
But Roman’s presence was just part of the fun. The solid backing he received from guest conductor Alan Futterman and a cast of our local volunteers crowding the stage added tremendously. And when the Symphony returned apres intermission and sans Roman for a rock-solid run through Shostakovich’s wickedly, mischieviously difficult Ninth Symphony, eyebrows raised and smiles widened even farther.
I have to admit I was a little worried after the opening piece on the program, the second of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg concerti, which is scored for and was performed by a chamber-sized, Baroque-style unit, fronted by a quartet of soloists — Concertmaster Blanche Wynne, principal flute Anna Schroeder, principal oboe Amy Duerr-Day and principal trumpet Dean Wagner.
While the solo parts were performed anywhere from bravely to brilliantly (particular kudos to Mses. Schroeder and Duerr-Day), I thought the support sounded a bit thin, particularly in the strings. By no means unlistenable, just a bit thin.
Reinforcements arrived — lots of them, the onstage numbers nearly doubling — for the Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, which both were pretty nearly redoubtable. Both afforded plenty more opportunities for Symphony members to show their talents, solo-style, with William Ferman’s clarinet, John Sullivan’s piccolo and Brian Rolette’s bassoon all leaving particularly favorable impressions.
Futterman presided effectively and affably, even taking up the microphone a couple times to revisit portions of his pre-concert chat prior to the Shostakovich. Even with his catechism, its abrupt climax caught many concert-goers by surprise, possibly because its five movements run together into what seems more like three.
Futterman also took time to explain the brief — and, to me at least — unnecessary encore, the finale of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” I do appreciate the added effort to give the audience a little something extra, but the performance came off rather like the bottom of the ninth inning of a great baseball game. Sure, it’s a great three outs, but most of what made it a great game — and gave that big finish a context — came in the preceding eight and a half innings.
But here I am, bitching about a bonus. That’s just wrong.
Still, what I’ll remember from the March 21 program, aside from the work of the almost insanely gifted Roman, is the Symphony’s performances of the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations, and the Shostakovich, which showed thorough preparation and wonderful musicianship throughout.
Roman was a splendid visitor for us to be able to welcome, and the Symphony proved themselves completely worthy of his visit.

More later … — MM

Savitt Wins Comedy Competition

For all of you who went to the show Nov. 29 at The Admiral Theatre, and wanted to know how the competition came out, this from Ron Reid at Comedy Underground:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30 2008

After 23 shows in 26 days in 19 Washington venues, Los Angeles-based
comedian TOMMY SAVITT, a former attorney turned stand up comic, was named
the winner of the 29th Annual Seattle International StandUp Comedy
Competition after a final sold-out show on Sunday November 30, 2008 at
Seattle’s Comedy Underground.

The Brooklyn native, who is still licensed to practice law in New York and
California, defeated all comers to take the grand prize of $5000 and a
recording contract with national comedy label Uproar Entertainment.

Finishing second, and taking home $2000, was young Olympia resident Nate
Jackson, a graduate of Eastern Washington University who has spent most of
the last few years pursuing fame and fortune in Hollywood.

Third prize of $1500 went to the pride of Preston, Idaho Todd Johnson; 4th
($1300) was 24 year old Justin Rupple from Issaquah, WA; placing 5th ($1200)
was Canadian representative Lars Callieou of Edmonton, Alberta.

Mr. Savitt, who had made the finals of the event in 2004, will be making a
"victory tour" of area comedy venues, including Friday and Saturday December
5 and 6 at Laughs Comedy spot in Kirkland; Thursday through Sunday December
11-13 at The Comedy Underground in Pioneer Square; and New Year’s Eve at the
Historic Everett Theatre in downtown Everett.

I Feel Dirty, But … Swift Leppard Rules

Sometimes, channel surfing pays off …

I was never much of a fan of Def Leppard (although they did have some cool, sorta poppy rock songs); I didn’t know enough about country filly Taylor Swift ; and the only thing I knew about CMT’s show "Crossroads " was that it added some more shelf life to the career of Jon Bon Jovi .

All three scored some points with me Monday night; I stopped surfing and watched a good chunk of the "Crossroads" episode that matches Def Leppard, the leering 1980s and ’90s BritBand, and Swift, the country wunderkind.

It was a winner. The DefLep boys proved they still have some gas in the tank, and Swift came off like a real star on the rise. I was especially impressed by her songwriting skills — her songs held their own with DefLep’s megahits like "Photograph," and her ability to vault onto a rock platform proves that she’s more than just this year’s C&W cutie. When she doffs her guitar at the end of her own "Should’ve Said No" and the combined bands launch into the biggest of DefLep’s biggest hits, a full-tilt, hand-clappin’, buns-waggin’ version of "Pour Some Sugar on Me," it’s arena rock at its most wonderfully, powerfully over-the-top best.

Impressive was the two bands’ ability to work into each other’s music and contribute. DefLep benefitted from the fuller sound they got from working with Swift’s band, and Swift … well, she’s got a career in rock, if the C&W thing doesn’t work out.

I think they should tour together, dagnabbit. Swift Leppard . I’d go.

In the meantime, there are big chunks of the show available for viewing at cmt.com, and you know it’s going to be replayed in its entirely a bunch of times, too, because — after all — it is cable.

Check it out if you get a chance, even if you aren’t a fan of either the crusty ol’ Brits or the fresh-faced youngster. You’ll be impressed by both of them.

More later … — MM

One Man’s Weird is Another Man’s Wreality

Terry Morrow of Scripps Howard News Service writes a great weekly column previewing the highlights of the upcoming week on television. It’s a very brief column (just joking).

One entry in particular caught our eye this week:

“‘Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling.’ Tabitha from ‘Bewitched’ and Danny from ‘The Partridge Family’ step into the ring — but not against each other. That would be weird.”

If you didn’t laugh at the “That would be weird” line, well, there’s just something broken in you.

More later … — MM

RAVE: The Stranger Does Its Part

Just a quick note to hand out some propers to The Stranger — one of Seattle’s edgy, in-your-face alternative news magazines.

I don’t always agree with the way either The Stranger or The Seattle Weekly present … what it is they present. But I’m really happy with The Stranger, the current issue of which comes wrapped in a mail-in voter registration form and instruction guide.

For those not yet registered to vote, it’s a convenience. For all of us, though, it’s another reminder of the importance of the process. Regardless of whether you’re happy with the current state of affairs and the current administration’s part in it, you’ve got to admit that it is to some significant extent apathy and ignorance that have put us in the leaky boat we’re in.

The Stranger did a little something to shore things up.

Now, if they could just do something about those long-winded, self-important, meandering reviews …

More later … — MM

Pet Project: Filmmaker Helping Seniors

Got an e-mail from Kurt Svennungsen, who I met (in Cyberspace) last year when inquiring about the locally-shot movie he was producing, called “Frayed.” (Pretty good scary flick, if you’re into that sort of thing, with a tremendous lead performance by former Bremertronian Alena Dashiell).

Kurt and his wife — who financed “Frayed” themselves — have been involved with Seniors With Pets Assistance, which, like a lot of charities, is struggling in the current crappy economy. He e-mailed me and asked if I would help get the word out.

Here’s what he sent me:

SENIORS WITH PETS ASSISTANCE is a non-profit organization that provides vital support to low income seniors with pets by supplying and delivering pet food, litter and other pet-related items (flea products, collars, etc.) to their homes at no cost. Seniors with Pets also serves as a referral service to low cost spay and neuter programs and vet care, and, subject to available funds, furnishes financial assistance for pet care expenses such as adoption fees, vaccinations and pet deposits. In addition, Seniors with Pets Assistance operates a pet food bank that is open for qualifying seniors on a walk-in basis.

INCLUDEPICTURE “http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/hero_of_the_year/nominees/gallery/kristin_cheney.jpg” \* MERGEFORMATINET
Kristin Cheney-SWPA

Kristin Cheney developed the program due to her passionate belief that seniors, like all others, should be able to benefit from the friendship and companionship of a pet. She states, “For many of my seniors, their pet is their only family. An individual, particularly a senior, shouldn’t have to make the decision between feeding themselves and feeding or otherwise caring for their pet.” It is the only service of its kind in the Puget Sound region and serves as a model for similar community-based and volunteer efforts in other areas.

Because of the decline in food and cash donations, SWPA is forced to purchase food on our own to meet the current demand. We have even lost many of our volunteers due to the high cost of fuel, making it difficult for them to help on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, if we do not start receiving donations soon, we will be forced to close our doors to the seniors that need us so desperately.

SENIORS WITH PETS ASSISTANCE
2108 Tacoma Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253)581-8870
HYPERLINK “http://www.seniorswithpets.org” www.seniorswithpets.org

More later … — MM