Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Calamity Jack by Shannan Hale, Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale (review)

Title: Calamity Jack
Author: Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Illustrator: Nathan Hale
Pages: 144
Genre: Graphic Novel
Dewey Decimal: YP GN Hal
ISBN: 978-1-59990-076-6
Cost: $0

I have reviewed earlier work by this group (Rapunzel's Revenge) and was pleased by not only the story, but also the art. Calamity Jack being their newest installment, I was once again pleased.

The story line follows Rapunzel and Jack to the bright lights of the city where we find an evil lurking. While it was fairly easy to figure out who was behind the evil and how he was manipulating things in his favor, it was still a fun ride to the end. There were even a few plot twists I did not see coming.

I think what I enjoy so much about this book is that it gives a different spin on a classic fairy tale. We have all heard the story about the golden goose and the beanstalk and the woman in a shoe, but authors like this give those stories a new life. And the illustrators take it a step further.

So I would check out this particular re-imagining of a classic because it really is more enjoyable that those dusty, musty, older versions.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Smokey Joe's Cafe at the Riverside Dinner Theater (review)

Title: Smokey Joe's Cafe
Words and Music: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer: Rollin E. Wehman
Director: Stephen R. Hayes
Genre: Musical
Cost: $64.50 per person (includes meal, does not include bar bill or tip)

Today's performance at the Riverside is one of the best I have ever seen. And I do not say that lightly.

You see, we have been attending shows at the Riverside for several years. And we have seen some good shows, some not-so-good shows, and some great shows. But of all those shows, we have rarely given a standing ovation. Even for many of those great shows.

Today we stood and clapped. And the performers deserved it.

The meal of choice tonight was a apple-smoked bacon pork chop, mixed veggies, and a baked potato. And there were chunks of corn bread and the usual salad. Our server appeared to be a bit new to the process of being a waiter, but that was the only negative aspect of the evening (unless you count the bizarre hairdo we saw).

The play was a musical revue, which is new to not only us but also to the Riverside. And I liked the change. There was little to no plot at all, simply song and dance. There was some acting, but it was very sparse and very well played. The songs were straight out of the 50s and 60s, so I knew most of them having grown up listening to "oldies." And to say the performers sang well would be an injustice to their skill. There were many new faces in the cast making their debut, but they performed quite well.

Of particular note was the group of four men who sang many songs together. They reminded me of the Four Tops or something with their skill. And the star of the show, the one singer that gave these four a run for there money, was TaLon Thomas. She was Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight rolled up into one package.

So if you have not had a chance yet to see this particular performance at the Riverside, I suggest you do so while you still can.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Plundered Booty (review)

Title: Plundered Booty
Author: Travis Erwin
Illustrator: N/A
Kindle Locations: 19 pages (PDF)
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Erw
Kindle Cost: Free (via PDF)

This short story is a neat little peek into the life of a car salesman. Granted, it is a short story and it is a very small look into the life, but it was entertaining. I am not sure if it would be a good candidate for a longer novel, but even if this one kept going at a slow pace it would still be better than some others that I have read.

The story follows the "Captain" (which I was really hoping would be a real Captain of some sort) through a rough day at the office. His boss just died and his asshole of a son just took over. And by asshole, I mean capital-A-asshole-jerk-wad.

But in the end, the Captain gets his booty. Just not the booty I was hoping for. And I think that was the biggest downfall of the story, it was not long enough to turn into some bizarre tale of how this guy lost a leg, sailed the high seas, and taught a parrot to talk.

Alas maties, this was just about a car salesman. It sounds boring, but it was still entertaining enough to read.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Greatest Show On Earth (movie review)

Title: The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)

Jimmy Stewart is a clown.

No seriously, he plays a clown in this movie. And Charlton Heston is in the movie too. And Betty Hutton. And Bob Hope and Hopalong Cassidy (as cameos of sorts).

The star-studed movie takes place under the big top of the circus. And while many people knock this movie as something to be ashamed of, I personally found it refreshing. Sure, it is a movie about the circus, but to see how much of it was filmed with an actual circus as well as how many stunts the actors performed, I was impressed.

Factor in a decent plot (complete with a love quadrangle, jealousy, and murder) and you have a pretty darn good movie. Granted, not the best, but still enjoyable enough to be worth the time spent watching it.