Thursday, July 9

lately in entertainment.


concerts.

Paul McCartney Out There Tour at John Paul Jones Arena -
As soon as I heard that Paul was going to be performing so close to home, I knew that a.) I had to go and b.) I had to take my mom. Mr. Q and my wonderful sister in law made it happen for us as a combination mother's day/30th birthday gift. Afterward, Breeze said, "so I take it seeing Paul McCartney was a religious experience?" and she wasn't wrong - Paul has been #1 on my concert bucket list forever. Mom and I took some precautions to avoid the traffic problems my cousins and I dealt with when we saw Fleetwood Mac at JPJ - we ate dinner very early and walked around the shopping center close to the arena until traffic started looking iffy, and were in our seats with time to enjoy the preshow presentation of songs and pictures from Paul's amazing life and career. I started crying as soon as the lights dimmed and I knew he was about to come onstage; it was so hard for me to believe how lucky I am. I cried four more times throughout the show - for "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Here Today," "Blackbird," and "Hey Jude" (and I'm talking a full-on, shaking hands breakdown for that one!). The long set list included Beatles songs, Wings songs, and newer singles from Paul's solo career, and state of the art visuals including a lifted stage for "Blackbird" and lasers and fire during "Live and Let Die." Another crowd pleasing moment was Paul and his band members coming out for the first encore waving the United States, United Kingdom, and Virginia flags.


video


books.

My Fight, Your Fight by Ronda Rousey with Maria Burns-Ortiz - A lot of people are surprised to find out that I enjoy watching mixed martial arts because I am such a pacifist and don't even enjoy playing contact sports. I kind of got into it by accident; somehow Mrs. V and I got really into Georges St. Pierre's last fight, and then Mr. V ordered UFC 168 and as soon as I saw Ronda Rousey coming out to Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" I developed a major girl crush. I'm always skeptical of cowritten celebrity memoirs, but in this case, Burns-Ortiz is Rousey's sister so the conversational voice is seamless. The book opens with a prologue written by UFC president Dana White, who went on record in 2011 saying women would never fight in the UFC. I was surprised by how tough Rousey's life has been - a fight for survival from birth onward. Reading about the things she has struggled with - her father's death, abusive relationships, disordered eating, feeling let down by Team USA when she saw the support other countries' Olympic judo athletes received, and even homelessness following her bronze medal win - really helped me understand where her take-no-prisoners attitude comes from, and made me respect her even more.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Why did it take me so long to finally read this book? If you're a fan of kick-butt heroines like Katniss Everdeen, fantasy worlds like Narnia, unique takes on supernatural ability like X-Men, or all of the above (are we soulmates?), get yourself to the library and get to reading. In the world of the book, some children are born Graced - gifted with special abilities which range from being a really good juggler to being able to read minds. Katsa, King Randa's orphaned neice, can kill a man with her bare hands, and Randa uses her as his special henchwoman. Unbeknownst to him, Katsa and her allies are working against Randa and bad guys in general by taking on their own special missions, and one rescue mission in particular gets Katsa involved in another country's tangled affairs, and tangled in the arms of a handsome prince who suspects that Katsa's Grace is more than killing.

To the Nines by Janet Evanovich - I guess my reading theme for this summer so far is tough women, but I was in the mood for something light and fun. This is probably my favorite Stephanie Plum book so far - I took a long break after #8 because I was feeling burnt out on the series and I'm glad I did because coming back to the series felt like catching up with old friends. There's just enough love triangle (Trenton cop Morelli being trustworthy and dependable, bounty hunter Ranger being intimidating and flirty), just enough family drama (Stephanie's sister Valerie going into labor, Morelli's Grandma Bella's visions of Steph's impending doom), and lots of fun with Vincent Plum's office staff members, Lula and Connie (Vegas road trip!). This book also subverts one of Evanovich's go-to character types, and being able to solve the mystery before Stephanie made the book's ending more suspenseful instead of making me frustrated with her Lucy Ricardo approach to bounty hunting.


movies.


Chef - Summer weekends have me turning to Netflix for entertainment, and I decided to check this one out knowing very little about it. Jon Favreau plays the titular chef, Carl, who gets in trouble with the owner of his restaurant (Dustin Hoffman) for getting too creative in the kitchen, forcing him to cook traditional (read: boring) customer favorites on the night a critic is set to visit. When the critic blasts Carl in his review, Carl takes to the Twitter account his son set up for him to send a scathing direct message - that is actually a public reply, now gone viral. After he quits the restaurant, Carl takes his ex-wife's (Sofia Vergara) advice and invests in a Cuban food truck. The resulting father-son road trip also goes viral. This is a fun, lighthearted movie with my favorite soundtrack since The Lincoln Lawyer.



Camp Takota - I can't resist a camp movie, and when the familiar faces of YouTubers Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Mamrie Hart popped up on Netflix I decided to give their film project a chance. Written by Mamrie, the movie's set-up is pure Chick Flick territory: Elise (Grace) has a job in YA publishing (paranormal romance department), a hot fiance, and a honeymoon in Paris just around the corner. After losing her job and catching her fiance cheating on the same day, Elise decides to take her old summer camp boss up on an offer to come "home." She's not the only "old" camp counselor - her best camp buddies Maxine and Allison are still working there (believe me, this happens in real life too). She develops a crush on the farmer next door, bonds with her art class students (FYI, the art teacher is always the slacker counselor IRL too), and helps save the camp  from evil nerds (of course!). Since I am pretty sure I'm basically the target audience for this movie (former camp counselors who want to write YA books and go to Paris?), I have to say that even though the plot is a little too predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed the water balloons, awkward Poison Ivy infections, side ponytails, and choreographed dance routines and the three main characters reminded me of my own camp besties.


television.


Girl Meets World - What's that you say? That I am 30 and GMW is a show for children on the Disney Channel? You know who else are in their 30's? Cory Matthews, Topanga Lawrence-Matthews, Shawn Hunter, and Angela Moore. The show may have gotten Disneyfied, but Disney obviously knows that aging TGIF fans are tuning in alongside the 'tweens for this one because it's packed with cameos and shout-outs to the original series. I will admit that I got a little misty eyed when Mr. Feeny asked Maya if Cory is a good teacher. STOP JUDGING ME INTERNET GEEZ.



The Astronaut Wives Club - Y'all know I was excited for this retro goodness, and so far it's completely living up to my expectations - I even found myself researching NASA history to see just how realistic the show's depictions of the Mercury launches is (turns out it is fairly accurate!). The show focuses on the individual wives more during their husbands' missions, showing their range of personalities and how each reacts to the expectations NASA has of them to be the perfect supportive housewife and mother.  Everyone, including the astronauts themselves, seems to be questioning what they really signed on for.

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