Thursday, May 26, 2011

Burlesque Revival

If you have no plans for the evening of May 27, why not head on down to Memorial Hall on the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk in Pueblo, Colorado? That’s where the Southern Colorado Burlesque Revival Celebration -- featuring some of the biggest names in the neo-burlesque field – is being held, beginning at 8 p.m. It should be a fun and entertaining show! Advance tickets are $12; admission at the door is $17. Go to for advance orders.

Then, if you want to find out more about traditional burlesque, check out "Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens" by Liz Goldwyn. Because of her lifelong fascination with the glamour of classic burlesque, Goldwyn spent eight years researching the topic. Her research included visiting, interviewing and becoming friends with the last generation of traditional burlesque performers. The book is absolutely gorgeous! It’s filled with wonderful photos of legendary burlesque icons as well as fascinating revelations about their personal journeys. Goldwyn has also added costume sketches, newspaper clippings, and mementoes to make her terrific book even more interesting. Pretty Things, now available for $19.95 in Trade Paperback, is published by It Books.

For more neo-burlesque fun, be sure to watch the movie Burlesque on DVD. Christina Aguilera and Cher belt out some awesome tunes in this 2010 musical. Plus the showgirls liven up the screen with their sexy, amusing, energetic routines. And, of course, the costumes dazzle viewers with lots of glitter and glitz. Which reminds me, I want to see it again!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For Bojangles

As soon as I woke up this morning, I rummaged through the closet, found my old tap shoes, put them on and began tapping up a storm. Why? To celebrate National Tap Dance Day, of course.

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the King of Tap, was born on this date -- and National Tap Dance Day was instituted many years ago to honor this wonderful entertainer.

As someone who's spent some of the happiest times of my life practicing, performing and teaching tap routines, I'm delighted to celebrate the great Bojangles and the art of tap.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow is one of my all-time favorite movie characters, thanks to Johnny Depp’s marvelous performance in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. In fact, my only complaint about these movies has been that Sparrow doesn’t appear in EVERY scene. However, with the recent release of the fourth film in the series, On Stranger Tides, I almost get my wish. Depp’s Jack Sparrow receives much more camera time – so I’m a happy viewer indeed.

This outing also features a spectacular clash between pirates and mermaids (!) as well as exciting swordfights, daring stunts, fast action and humorous dialogue.

Read my complete review at ReelTalk Movie Reviews by clicking on this link:

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Moms on Film

What are your favorite films with a mother as one of the key characters? I've listed my picks below in honor of Mother's Day, and fortunately, all the films mentioned below are available now on DVD.

In the atmospheric thriller Dark Water, Jennifer Connolly shows what lengths a mom will go to in order to save her child. This Oscar-winning actress -- for A Beautiful Mind -- gives one of her best performances here as a woman trying to protect her daughter from the mysterious things happening in their creepy new apartment. Likewise, Jodie Foster, a two-time Oscar winner (for Silence of the Lambs and The Accused), excels in Flightplan as a mother frantically searching for her daughter when the little girl disappears during a flight from Berlin to the U.S.

Not surprisingly, two of my favorite films of this type star Susan Sarandon, who began playing movie moms at an age when most actresses would even consider this kind of role. Sarandon was only in her thirties when she took on the role of Brooke Shields’ mom in Pretty Baby, and since then she’s been a “reel” mother in many other movies -- including Little Women, Stepmom, The Banger Sisters, and Anywhere but Here . But in my opinion, she gave her best “mom” performances in Lorenzo’s Oil and Moonlight Mile.

As Michaela Odone in Lorenzo’s Oil, Sarandon becomes a “tiger mother” trying to protect and save her son, a youngster suffering from a disease doctors claimed was incurable. In Moonlight Mile, Sarandon’s “Jo-Jo” grieves in her own sarcastic way for a daughter killed in a random act of violence. Both of these roles showcase Sarandon’s skill in portraying strong yet vulnerable women who must deal with tragic situations. On the other hand, Sarandon can play outrageous moms almost as well as she nails these serious ones. If you don’t believe me, check out Anywhere but Here.

And speaking of outrageous movie moms, another favorite of mine is Juliette Binoche’s character in Chocolat. The luminescent Binoche projects a wonderful playfulness as the mother of a preteen daughter in this unusual romantic fantasy. Maybe the two don’t always get along, but how could anyone stay angry at a mom who makes everyone’s favorite chocolate confections?

Shirley MacLaine’s memorable turn in Carolina as a grandmother who raises all her son’s daughters is also something special to me, probably because I spent so much time with my own amazing grandmothers as a child. Playing Grandma Mirabeau, the incomparable MacLaine exudes raw energy, bold determination and an unwavering love for her character’s dysfunctional family. It’s a flamboyant and poignant performance worth treasuring.

(For Kelly Tucker and Sue Litton, with love from Mom.)

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