Movies in the Mountains

Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance’s Movies on the Square

There’s something magical about sitting under the stars watching a movie on a large screen with a cool summer breeze swirling about. My children and I have been joining other families on Friday nights at Movies on the Square. Every year from the end of May to the beginning of September, the Downtown Business Alliance’s Movies on the Square takes place at the Heritage Square. The Heritage Square is located in the heart of downtown Flagstaff, just off the famous Route 66.

The movie begins just after dusk, following an entertainment act by a local group of some sort. The performances are typically musical acts but we have more recently watched gymnasts and dancers display their talents. This is the second year we are partaking in this free event, and the movies shown are always family-friendly and rated G or PG. Each week’s film is sponsored by a local business or agency and concession stands offer drinks, popcorn and other snacks. There are also a few excellent local eateries nearby waiting to cater to movie-goers. It is also always an option to take dinner from home or pick up something on the way there.

Parking spaces are sometimes difficult to come by, therefore, it is advised to arrive early to not only park close, but to also stake out a great spot to settle in for the evening and enjoy the show. It is a wonderful drug and alcohol-free family event which draws many people of all ages. We enjoy this Friday night outing among the crowd of people sitting on camping chairs, beach chairs, or just rolled up on the ground in their sleeping bags.

I enjoy this weekly event with my four children, all aged 7 and younger because they …

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The Influence of Music Blogs

For the last six years of my life I have been living the life of a student and avid fan of music. I am a senior in Drexel’s Music Industry program and have been apart of the Philadelphia music scene ever since my freshman year. Of all of the classes and all of the experiences I have partaken in and learned from, there is an obvious phenomenon that has emerged into the industry over the last decade: Music Blogs. Blogs in general are everywhere these days. You can find blogs about anything, as well. What I find interesting is the effect of such blogs, and specifically, music blogs and their effect on the general public.

In 2004 The Arcade Fire, an indie-rock band from Montreal released their debut album Funeral on the independent label Merge Records. This band had only played regionally and had really only formed one year prior to the release. Some would guess that this band would not do well without a major label, but lucky for them, the biggest music blog in the world reviewed their album. Funeral got a 9.7 rating out of 10 on Pitchfork Media. With just this review, Merge Records sold out of inventory of Funeral and it also became the label’s first album to make the Billboard 200 chart. Needless to say, The Arcade Fire was the first Internet phenomenon and put Canadian music on the map.

But what exactly is Pitchfork Media and how did just one positive review jumpstart a whole country-worth of music? Pitchfork Media is a daily Internet publication based out of Chicago, IL, which focuses on music reviews, criticism, news, interviews and commentary. Established in 1995, Pitchfork grew into the biggest name for music on the Internet within nine years. Positive quotes from Pitchfork reviews are …

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Miami in the Movies and on TV

10 Movie and TV Sets that I Wouldn’t Mind Living In

With its warm climate and unique architecture, Miami has been the setting of a number of TV shows and movies over the years. The houses of the characters reflects this. Here are 10 such homes that I wouldn’t mind living in, depending on the situation.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 
Ace’s apartment

Jim Carrey broke out into the mainstream with this 1994 release, in which he plays a Ace Venturay, a strange man who investigates crimes against pets. Ace’s small, cluttered Miami apartment might not look like much, but every time he walks in, his dogs run to greet him and birds perch on his arms. What animal lover wouldn’t want that?

Any Given Sunday 
Tony D’Amato’s mansion

Oliver Stone’s 1999 sports offering depicts professional football as being money-driven, so it’s not surprising that you see some of the characters living large. Head coach Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) lives in a beautiful mansion (a real-life building in nearby Fort Lauderdale) with a large dining area and sliding glass doors, not to mention the massive TV showing the chariot scene in Ben-Hur. If you can’t get into this place, try Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino’s house, which was used in the movie, as well.

Bad Boys II 
Mike Lowry’s waterfront house

In the Bad Boys movies, Miami cop Mike Lowry (Will Smith) is a rich man who decides to become a police officer. His difficult job doesn’t keep him from living in a nice Miami Beach house on the waterfront. Since they blew up the Delray Beach mansion that the villain lived in, Lowry’s place is a good backup.

Big Trouble 
Arthur Herk’s house

While he’s a jerk, Arthur Herk (Stanley Tucci) enjoys life in a …

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Music Events and News of 1961

1961 was a standout is for the amazing, sheer array of talent and great music that came out.
Notable debuts were:
Ben E. King, The Shirelles, Gene Pitney, Gene McDanielsBob Dylan, The Crystals, Judy Collins, Adam Wade, Faron Young, Timi Yuro, The Marvelettes, Gladys Knight and The Pips (known as “The Pips” at this time), Ray Stevens, Del Shannon, The Angels, Maxine Brown, James Darren, Joey Dee and The Starliters, Dick and Dee Dee, Sue Thompson, James Ray, Linda Scott, The Dovells, Barbara George, The Impressions, Chuck Jackson, The Jive Five, Chris Kenner, The Lettermen, Bobby Lewis, The Jarmels, Little Caesar and the Romans, John D. Loudermilk, Johnny Maestro (former Crests lead singer), Barry Mann, The Marcels, The Mar-Keys, The Belmonts (without Dion), Lee Dorsey, The Miracles, Hayley Mills (singingdebut) ,Tony Orlando, The Paris Sisters, Shep and the Limelites, The Spinners, Carla Thomas, The Tokens, The Vibrations, Solomon Burke, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, The Highwaymen, and The Smothers Brothers.

The Marcels, one of the all-time great vocal groups, were named for a popular hair style of the time. They were also one of the first integrated groups, but became an all-black one after “Heartaches.” Led by Cornelius Harp, with Fred Johnson as that distinctive bass voice, the group had a no. 1 smash, “Blue Moon,” followed by their second Top 10 (no. 7) hit “Heartaches”. I also like their version of “Melancholy Baby”.

Shep and the Limelites had the no. 2 smash “Daddy’s Home”, which was an answer record to “A Thousand Miles Away” (A Top 10 R + B hit in Dec. 1956-early 1957) by The Heartbeats, which was the same group, in a sense. James “Shep” Sheppard remained lead singer and changed personnel as needed.

Mary Wells had her first Top …

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Looking for New Music? 4 Ways to Find Great Music

How many times have we heard the same song play on the radio at least three times within an hour? Ready for something new?

Radio stations provide listeners with great music to listen to while relaxing, working, driving a car, whatever you might be doing. Listening to the same music over and over again is very excruciating. You find yourself browsing through other stations.

Ways to find great music you won’t be tired of:

1. Genius 
An application on iTunes, Genuis is a great tool for discovering music very similar to your music. This is especially handy with those few favorites you listen to a few times a day. The latest version of iTunes includes Genius. From the Genius Sidebar, you can click on the similar songs provided and a 30-second sample will be played.

2. The Radio 
First, some stations have certain hours during which they play new music. For example, Chicago’s 101.9 play’s new music at 9pm. It is a great break from the usual radio playlist. You might even decide to download the song being played!

Second, you may find yourself going through the tuner on the radio. This is a great idea for exploring different radio stations with new genres of music you never knew you liked. You will discover Spanish, pop, hip-hop, classical, christian, rock, and jazz music among others.

3. Talk With Others 
Every person has different songs that they love. Next time you meet with a friend, ask them suggestions for music that they know you like to listen to. You may find a song that will become your favorite for a long time!

4. Websites 
Typing in “new music” or “music for ____”(i.e. exercising) on the internet will bring you many search results. If you are looking for music for a …

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Dispatches: The Trouble With Boris (Channel 4): A Year Long Investigation into the Current Mayor of London

Irish comedian Dara O’Briain makes light during his stand-up that if he had known that presenting Have I Got News For You would have got him the Mayor of London job he wouldn’t have settled for Mock the Week. Although it’s a great joke it does serve an example where the truth is far more bizarre than the set up.

Boris Johnson One Year Later

Dispatches, Channel 4’s long running investigative journalism programme, has tackled many controversial topics over the years such as religious hatred, war and poor school teaching. Now it’s the turn of journalist-cum-politician Boris Johnson (real name Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson) who went from foolish appearances on HIGNFY to the top mayoral job in the UK.

It doesn’t seem like it but a year has passed since Bo Jo was elected Mayor of London by beating Ken Livingston. Here reporter Antony Barnett examines Boris’s time in office and his plans for the capital’s future, such as his contradictory environmental policy and the shaky build-up to the 2012 Olympics.

Boris and the Bendy Buses

Regardless of his image Boris is of course no stranger to TV portraying him as stupid and clumsy but he does know how the media works. This documentary depicted Boris as a master at creating an image and pandering to opinion although exposed that what he says and what he does are completely different.

There was a small selection of interesting clips showing Boris being grilled at meetings about his intervention in calling for Ian Blair’s resignation as the nation’s top cop and the Damian Green arrest, which he was told about in advance. Barnett talked to many groups and other party politicians, who obviously would disprove of Johnson’s actions, but besides a short interview with Barnett there was very little input …

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Superhero Movies

Top Ten List

I’ve seen some of the lists offered on this site and I wanted to set the record straight. I’m a huge fan of superhero movies and I wanted to put together a list that would serve as a guide going forward into the 21st century. I specifically looked at style, substance, and how much the film makes you suspend your disbelief. For the sake of brevity, I categorized some of the films by franchise. With that being said, here is my list:

10. Ghost Rider (2007)

The Good: Nicholas Cage comes across as the free-wheeling stunt man, Johnny Blaze. Cage communicates the idea of being resolved to ones fate as he carries on with the knowledge that he has made a pact with the devil. One night, his skull catches fire and he transforms into the justice seeking wraith, Ghost Rider. This is an interesting play on the “cursed soul” trying to do good and Eva Mendez makes any movie better. He rides a motorcycle with flaming wheels, wields a chain, and can use his gaze to place evil-doers into a coma. The Bad: The villain Blackheart is played by Wes Bentley. He is joined by a group of elemental henchmen. Blackheart is the son of Satan (Peter Fonda) and becomes Legion once he obtains a contract of souls. His power is he can suck the life out of people. The Ugly: There’s not really a climactic battle at the end of the film. Instead, there is a realization by Blaze that he can control his power and does not have to do Satan’s bidding.

9. The Incredibles (2004)

The Good: This film is a parody on the idea of a superhero by showing what happens when these heroes grow old and have families. There is …

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What Not to Do at the Movies

Taboos in the Cinema

It never fails. I am seated quite nicely in the theater when a couple arriving during the previews decides to sit directly in front of me, only to make their romantic comedy. Please, please, do not be these people. Remember you are not the only person in the theater. Several rules are posted in the theater regarding conduct, but some unwritten rules exist.

Refrain from kicking the back of my seat. This is less of a problem in a stadium style seated theater, but in case we are in a traditional cinema, keep your feet off my seat. Also, please make sure your kid is not kicking the back of my seat either. Also be aware that the seats in front of you are not footrests, peoples heads will be where your dirty pair of shoes once rested, show some courtesy.

Open your smuggled drink prior to the start of the feature. Listen, if you want to circumvent the horrible prices at the concession stand, be a polite crook and open that bottle or can prior to when the dialog I paid ten bucks for starts. That goes for that crinkly bag of chips too!

Do not bring in a full course meal. I am so sorry you missed dinner, it is not like the theater posts the times the movies start in about fifty locations. How could you possibly know that the rest of the theater does not want to smell your sandwich, pizza, or even fried chicken? Stop at the concession stand and buy some popcorn, maybe even a few Jr. Mints, if you are hungry. Or even, perish the thought, use that brain of yours and allow enough time to stop and eat BEFORE coming to the movie.

The rest

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Dark Tower Movie

So there is a rumor that J.J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe, Star Trek) and Stephen King are talking.
Talking about making not one, not two, but seven Dark Tower movies. Whether these movies will be based on the novels or the graphic novels is unknown at this point.

Today I went to see an old friend of mine and we got to talking about this possible series and who we would cast as each of the characters. The list follows:

My ideal “Dark Tower” movie cast:

Roland- Mickey Rourke 
One bad ass (see Sin City “Marv”) I think he could play Roland 
very well and be versatile enough to encompass all that Roland is 
and becomes

Eddie- Johnny Depp or Christan Bale 
Johnny Depp can do anything and do it well. He is very versatile and 
can convince people that he is a crazed Heroin addict who becomes 
a gunslinger. Christan Bale is big right now and shows off his 
gunslinger/ sword fu in Equilibrium

Cuthbert- Ryan Reynolds 
Sexy, smart ass, and cut. Ryan played Dead pool perfectly and I can 
hear him mouthing off to Roland. I could also see him as Eddie.

Jake- Ed Sanders 
This little guy stole my heart and the show in Sweeney Todd. He 
also works really well with Johnny Depp. I think he is one talented 

Susannah- Judy Reyes or Jada Pickett Smith 
Both a strong women who have done well in their fields. Jada is 
an overall phenomenal woman. And I loved Judy as Carla on Scrubs 
for the past eight years. She was never afraid to speak her mind 
and she was vulnerable and tough at the same time.

Cort- Bruce Willis 
Bald bad ass 
That is all

Man in Black- Cillian Murphy 
The Scarecrow in both new Batman movies. Creepy …

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Personality Through Music

Have you ever wondered why you act the way you do? The type of music you listen to has a lot to do with who you are or what your personality will be. Music has changed a lot in the past couple of decade, (Take for instance this day in age) Rap, R&B;, Hip-Hop has developed rapidly through teens all over the world. Rap was first introduced back in the late 1970’s and has grown to what it is today. About 90% of all rap songs have to do with gangs, drugs, violence, sex, and home life. Rappers capture the ears of young listeners because they can relate to the songs. Proven fact: Rap stresses teens and causes them to drive their car in anger. When teens drive in anger they run more red lights, are more careless, and drive over the speed limit. It is also a stereotype that rap causes anger to all teens. It is not true that if you listen to rap you will end up in a gang or gun fight. Rap is not all to blame for violence in society. Many rappers come from poor, low income areas. Because of this, many rappers rap about their experiences on the streets and what they have seen. In a way, you can blame the the economy for the violence because of the poor economy decades ago.

Everyone is different from one another and have different interests in genres of music. This is what makes you who you are. Everyone sees everything differently. The type of music you listen to while you are growing up affects how you will see things in life.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s there was a lot of so called “happy music” being produced through musicians. There was that stereotype that …

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