For Whom the Bell Tolls: VI

I have decided to leave my feature article piece for another day as it might insight a bit of controversy, as well as the fact that I am having a rough time formulating a final draft. Some things just aren’t meant to be I guess. Luckily for me I am an entertainment whore and I have a stock pile of things to review! So here is another mini.

Literature: M. Butterfly, a play by David Hwang. Most of America is familiar with the acclaimed opera Madame Butterfly, the story of a U.S. soldier, Pinkerton, and his love interest in China, Cio Cio San. It is considered one of the corner stones of fine Western Opera. In Hwang’s spin-off of the opera he explores the story of a French diplomat, Gallimard, in communist China and his affair with Song Liling, a Chinese diva. The story uses the basis of Madame Butterfly, a western man infatuated with an exotic Eastern beauty and that which she represents. It is a wonderfully written play that explores the dualities of gender, sexuality, race, culture and imperialism. It spent a good deal of time on Broadway and is critically acclaimed for its originality and candor. The play explores the meaning of sexuality, love, and stereotypes when, after a 20 year affair, Gallimard finds out that his lover is both a Chinese spy and a man. It is extraordinarily composed in both dialogue and staging; its motives are relevant to modern society and revealing of the way in which global politics affect our perceptions of the world and the roles designated to each person by society. Star Rating: 5

Movies: Twisted, with Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson. Judd plays a homicide detective, neo-feminist-tough and troubled by a dark past. Her father went on a killing spree which ended with his wife and himself, leaving Judd’s character orphaned, to be raised by her father’s partner in the force, played by Jackson. The plot is set up from the start Judd has anger-management problems and an appetite for alcohol and anonymous sex. After she is promoted to homicide a string of murders occur. In the hunt for the killer, Judd finds that all of the men are previous lovers of her, all signs point the blaming finger at her. The plot reveals that she has a stalker and several possible suspects emerge: her new partner, an obsessive ex, a former lover and lawyer of a convicted murderer, among others. The movie had great potential to be an “edge-of-your-seat thriller” and a smart movie with great plot twists. Unfortunately all the twists were formula and the ending predictable. For the average American viewer, the movie was decent and moderately surprising, but for a person accustomed to thriller movies, it was a let down. Not only did I correctly guess the identity of the stalker within the first half hour (granted I did doubt my suspicions at points), but there were many loose ends and unexplained variables. In addition, the accuracy of the directors and writers research was obviously poor. The ballistics were not in keeping with reality and the twists fell short of my expectations. It was a decent movie for the twenty-first century viewer who wants to sit and be entertained without thinking, but for the more intelligent and movie-savvy, it was yet another trite cop-flick with an empowered chick and a crazed man whose obsession turns foul. Star Rating: 2

In closing I would like to ask all of you who have read this to please post a comment. The staff and writers of BP love to hear feed-back, we all work very hard in our free time to bring you the wonderful articles you read here. I do my best to comment on everyone’s articles and I would greatly appreciate it if you all commented on mine, even if it is one word, even if you didn’t like it. Thanks so much for reading!!

Tangled Up in Bleu

I suffer from chronic foot in mouth syndrome when it comes to music. More than often I will judge music before I even listen to it because..well..i’m an idiot and a snob when it comes to music. It is very rare that I admit my problem, so what you are about to read is a very rare treat.
I had gotten my tickets for Phantom Planet a month before the actual concert. The day I found out they were playing at my school I almost cooed out loud with delight. I have been a fan of Phantom Planet since senior year in high school, and was in ecstasy that they chose my school to play at while on tour to promote their new album.
The night of the concert I bounded into the auditorium dragging my buddy Erin with me. I could hardly contain my excitement. On the ticket there was no mention of an opening band, just Phantom Planet. I was so excited for them that I was shocked AND dismayed to see that there were two sets of drums on stage. Fuck, I thought, an opening band. I heard murmurs about someone named Blue..or something to that effect. I turned to Erin, and in my snide Nina way said, “Fucking opening band. This is going to fucking suck. I fucking hate stupid opening bands taking me away from my phantom planet.” And Erin just laughs…not sure if it was with me or at me, but she laughs. As the lights dim and the audience clap some jackass sitting behind me yells “You’re my boy Blue!” Great, I think, not only am I going to have to sit through some shitty opening band but there’s a loudmouthed asshole behind me.
The band took the stage, looking like a usual band these days. Bleu (not Blue) McCauley, the main dude on the stage of dudes, is exactly what you’d imagine him to be; Tall, skinny, wild curly hair, huge sideburns taking up almost all his face, sporting an old man cardigan. The other guys in the band fit every stereotype in the indie rock scene. The bassist with the buddy holly glasses, the dreadlocked keyboardist, the other guitarist with shaggy black hair wearing a size-too-small thrift store t-shirt, and the drummer with a big white ‘fro. Before they played even one note I was ready for suckyness to begin. Bleu first chatted with the audience a bit. He was kinda funny, seemingly friendly, and he seemed very excited to be there. I was impressed by his repartee with the audience, but could they play? Probably not, I thought.
They started playing, and at first I didn’t want to really hear them. I had this preconceived notion that I would hate them and that nothing they play would be good. After song two it hit me…Shit…this guy can sing…and the songs are catchy…I LOVE IT! I put aside the embarrassment that I talked all this shit about how I liked it, and I just got into it. The performance was just incredible. Every song was amazing, and Bleu really proved himself, at least to me, that he is an extremely talented musician and songwriter.
During the break between bands I went outside to the merch table to get the c.d. Standing at the table was Bleu himself, signing posters and other various things. I waited in line, bought my c.d. and then had a chance to get a poster signed by him, and he was really nice and funny and warm. I was so excited to be able to go home and listen to the c.d. and see if he’s just as good on the c.d. as he was live. (Phantom Planet was incredible by the way, but that’s not what this article is about.)
Bleu’s c.d., “Redhead” is a high energy, fun, and enjoyable album. Bleu has had a few of his songs appear in movies, and these songs appear on the c.d. “Somebody Else” is on the Spiderman soundtrack, “Trust Me” is featured in Against the Ropes and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. There are many catchy rock-out anthems (“Get up”, “Could Be Worse”) as well as some sweet slow songs (“Searching For Satellites”, “Watching You Sleep”.)
I couldn’t really tell you who he sounds like, but if you like Pete Yorn, Rufus Wainwright, The Counting Crows, or The Gin Blossoms, you’d really enjoy Bleu. Even if you don’t like those bands, I’d suggest check him out, you may like him.
Don’t be like me, give him a chance!
Suggested Listening:
“Trust Me” “That’s when I Crash” “I Wont Go Hollywood” “Get Up”
Web Site:
4.5 stars out of 5