Why musicals are awesome.

Last night, I saw a wonderful, light French musical Les Chansons d'Amour (Love Songs). Being a huge fan of musicals, I do not understand when people think of them as a lower form of theatre/movie genre. These people probably only saw one or two musicals in their lives, and those were probably too old-fashioned for them to love and get interested in this genre. The Sound of Music, for example, is a great family movie, but certainly not enough to make you want to explore that section of your DVD rental. In truth, the musical is a genre so complex and gripping, once you start watching it, you'll never go back.

So, here's a list of 5 very different musicals, and I guarantee that you will like at least a couple of them.

  1. RENT (Chris Columbus) - My favorite movie of all time. If your idea of a musical involves nuns singing on top of Austrian mountain tops, think again. RENT is a modern story about a group of young people living in East Village, dealing with such universal issues as poverty, AIDS, estrangement from their parents and identity. The music is contemporary as well, blending rock, pop and gospel. The original Broadway production was a vehicle for today's stars like Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs, and the movie version also includes the majority of the Broadway cast, with newcomers Tracie Thoms (The Devil Wears Prada, Death Proof) and Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Death Proof). If you like it, check out: Fame.
  2. Evita (Alan Parker) - If you are more of an opera goer, you may find this movie starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas a real gem! Commonly known as the movie Madonna should have gotten an Oscar for, it is an emotional story of a young girl rising from poverty to become the first lady of Argentina. The film doesn't have any dialogue - everything is sung out and it resembles an operetta. Madonna also went into history as being an actress with the most costumes in the movie, followed by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. If you like it, check out: Phantom of the Opera, La Vie en Rose.
  3. Across the Universe (Julie Taymor) - From the visionary director of Frida comes a love story told exclusively by means of the songs by The Beatles. The new arrangements are superb, and the performances by Jim Sturgess (21) and Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen, Life Before Her Eyes) are thrilling. It is also a film for those who love lush, trippy visual effects. If you like it, check out: Mamma Mia!, Pink Floyd: The Wall
  4. Cabaret (Bob Fosse) - An almost-musical, this Liza Minnelli masterpiece is a story of two lovers and their life in the Nazi Germany. A moving, powerful movie is especially driven by its music and the title track and is also ranked as 63rd on the American Film's Institute's list of the 100 greatest American movies. If you like it, check out: New York, New York.
  5. Once (John Carney) - Once is an Academy award-winning Indie musical, about two struggling Irish musicians who fall in love. It is very naturalistic and low-budget, but a true gem for Indie film lovers! If you like it, check out: Les Chansons D'Amour.
Are there any musicals you love? I am always into watching new stuff, so let me know! And thanks to all my new readers for reading, I love you guys!

The Fear of the Unknown

The heather-stepper, the horned stag,
The antlered hart hard driven by hounds,
Invading that forest in flight from afar
Will turn at bay and die on the brink
Ere ever he'll plunge in that haunted pool.

It is universally known that the greatest fear known is the fear of the unknown. As portrayed in the extract from Beowulf I typed above, a deer would rather die by hands of hunters than plunge in the lake where, rumor has it, lives a monster. Even though the monster is portrayed by Angelina Jolie in the movie, but that's another story.

It is ridiculous when you think of the things people do just because they are afraid. They pass up on great opportunities in life, good life lessons, a better income, a marriage, etc. And usually, there is nothing to be afraid of. The things we do, or rather not do are all dependent on our own insecurities and our stupidity. This is why opening one's mind is essential to opening one's life in terms of happiness and fulfillment. If you feel like you are stuck in a daily routine, unable to get out of it, do something immediately!

The best thing to do is travel, of course. It is also the most expensive things on my list of suggestions. However, nothing opens one's eyes as a trip to another culture. Still, if this is out of your reach, there are billion things you could do. Read a book that you would normally not read and find yourself surprisingly identifying with the characters. Even better, join a book club! Watch a film that you would normally never pick out at a rental store. Try a new sport. Meet new people. Do whatever you can to step out of your comfort zone and just... Breathe.

Go Miss Bimbo!

Recently, I stumbled upon a horrible blog post by a woman named Rose DesRochers. The title of the post was 'Ban Miss Bimbo virtual fashion game'. This lady basically wrote about how bad it is for little girls to play this game, since your main objectives are to get a boyfriend, go shopping, go clubbing, get a plastic surgery, etc... Mrs. DesRochers is also a mom, which she flaunts in her posts constantly.

First of all, if you don't wanna play a game, don't. Easy as that. Similarly, if you don't want your daughter to play Miss Bimbo, don't let her play it. But please, don't go as far as to advocating that a game should be banned just because of the way you perceive it. I hate it when people think that their feelings and views should be adopted by everyone else. Oh, and you're a mom? Kudos.

Now, of course I am not writing this because I'm a Miss Bimbo fanatic. I simply believe in the right to make a choice, and see the mindsets of people like Rose DesRochers as the greatest obstacles on the path to tolerance and diversity. Look at MPAA, for example, or PDE in schools, or editing movies in order to show them on TV. Or gay marriage, for God's sake!
My opinion is - mind your own business!

Why poetry is for EVERYONE!

Many people think that poetry is something annoying - mandatory when you’re in high school, non-existent when one grows up and takes on day-to-day life. Well, think again. As with many other things, the reason a lot of people are not interested in poetry is because they have never been exposed to things they would like. Just like books or movies, there are things you probably won’t like, but I am sure there is something in the world of poetry that you just might come to appreciate. So, I took it upon myself to help you dive into it by selecting 5 poems, some more famous than others, for you to check out!

  1. Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was a pretty cool dude. Not only is he the father of science fiction (!), he also liked writing poetic and spooky stories. Annabel Lee is his last finished poem, and is considered a masterpiece. The main theme is the death of a beautiful woman, one of Poe’s favorites. It has inspired many modern works, including Nabokov’s novel Lolita.
  2. The Flea by John Donne. This is a pretty racy Renaissance poem written by John Donne. It’s basically about a guy begging his love to have sex with him, as well as trying to explain that virginity is not such a big deal after all.
  3. Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare. Aside from writing plays, the Bard also wrote poetry. His famous sonnets are famous for being romantic AND dedicated to a man!
  4. Mad Girl’s Love Song by Sylvia Plath. The famous neurotic, Sylvia Plath, was most talented and most unhappy. This poem is also linked to her novel, The Bell Jar (a must-read!).
  5. To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell. Another naughty one. It gives Carpe Diem a whole new meaning.

Hopefully, you’ve read something you liked. I am also exploring poetry at the moment, so if you have any poems YOU like, let me know. And thanks for reading!