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Thursday, August 31, 2006

The year of the dull awards show

After Sunday's snoozefest Emmy awards, I was hoping the MTV Video Music Awards would add some spice to the 2006 award season. Fans don't watch this awards show to see who takes home a moonman. Viewers watch to be shocked, as they were in the past by Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley's creepy on-stage smooch or a raunchy view of Lil' Kim pasty-covered breast.

Instead, we were bored. The fashion was OK but provided little shock. Funny man Jack Black couldn't ignite the show and the performances were, well, normal but not exciting.

As for the awards themselves, I'm still not impressed. James Blunt shouldn't have been invited, much less on stage receiving an award.

The Emmys were dull and predictable. The fashion was safe - even bad dresses weren't all that bad. The speeches were typical, with the exception of Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

But these recent shows have left me scratching my head. Is this all the entertainment world has to offer?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Heder, Thornton team up for some laughs

Since "Napoleon Dynamite," I've been a huge John Heder fan. Although he seems to be playing a variation on the same role, I find his good-boy image "flippin' sweet," as Napoleon would say.
Even though I walked out of "Benchwarmers," the film wasn't disappointing enough to overthrow Heder's hilarious portrayal of Napoleon.

On Sept. 29, Heder returns to the big screen with an unlikely co-star, Billy Bob Thornton, in "School for Scoundrels." In the film, Heder plays a man who never really learned to be a "man." Socially inept and a painfully awkward, Heder's character seeks out Thornton's advice and ends up going head-to-head with him for the girl of the film.

The stark contrast between bad boy Thornton and good guy Heder is curious enough to draw me to the theater and snag a few laughs.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

CD release a success for band

Until Saturday, I'd underestimated Losing Anna fans.

What won't you guys do for a front row view? I thought I was standing close to the stage until the flood of bodies began. People inching forward, bringing their friends, pushing me aside in the fight for some prime square footage.

This isn't grade school, and evidently there is no longer such a thing as "cutting." So, I lost my stage-front property to some adoring fans. Once the music started, I didn't mind so much.

The show was non-stop excitement. From the band's original songs to notorious covers, such as "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones, the crowd was enamored.

If you catch Losing Anna in concert, pick up a CD. For just $10, it is a steal. The tracks are catchy, combining engaging music with sincere lyrics about love, loss and spirituality. Singer Michael Donner's voice carries energy and, at times, vulnerability.

Check out Losing Anna on these upcoming dates:

  • Monday 9 p.m. at Saddle Ridge with Dirtfoot and American Tragedy.
  • Thursday 10 p.m. at Phoenix Underground.
  • Friday 8 p.m. at Boomtown Casino.
  • Sunday 8 p.m. at Boomtown Casino.

Friday, August 25, 2006

MySpace hits the campaign trail

MySpace is everywhere.

If you go to a concert, the band likely will make a quick tip for fans to check out their profile on MySpace. If you visit a comedy club, you might hear the comedian mention their profile as well. If you go to lunch with a high-school friend, at some point the conversation will drift to old friends found through the popular Web site. MySpace is everywhere and unavoidable in most conversations.

So, why should we be surprised to see mayoral candidates take advantage of this site's popularity? In fact, one candidate already has.

Liz Swaine seems to have beaten all other candidates to the punch with her MySpace profile. On her page, Swaine talks about her time working in TV, her husband, her hobbies and of course, one other little tidbit -- she's running for mayor of Shreveport.

As you peruse her profile to the beat of "Don't Bother" by Shakira, you can check out photos of Swaine sitting in her plane or riding her motorcycle.

It's a smart move for Swaine. Not only is this the easiest, most obvious way to connect with young voters, it's also the cheapest -- absolutely free.

Check it out for yourself:

Big weekend for Losing Anna

It's going to be a busy weekend for Shreveport favorite Losing Anna.

The group is celebrating their CD release at 10 p.m. Saturday at Flannigans with Another Big Machine. There is a $5 cover, but I'd try to come early. The last time I saw Losing Anna play at Flannigans, the show abruptly ended and the bar was shut down due to overcrowding.

If you can't make it out Saturday, you can also catch Losing Anna at 9 p.m. Monday at Saddle Ridge. The band will team with other local groups American Tragedy and Dirtfoot to raise funds for the Lion's Club. Money raised will be donated to the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation.

Return to old Hollywood

Sit down in any movie theater, let the lights dim around you and by the second trailer it's obvious today's movies are a far cry from the popular films of the past.

We're not entertained unless the special effects rattle our chairs and the screen is displaying disturbing scenes of violence and gore. We're an in-your-face entertainment generation.

But once in a while it's charming to return to a simpler time on the silver screen. In "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Audrey Hepburn plays a call girl, yet you never see her "calling." In "Bringing Up Baby" Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are funny without using trash-talking or stupid humor. It's refreshing to see the actors working to be entertaining instead of you having to work be entertained.

Here are some of my recent favorites:
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard
"Sabrina" starring Audrey Hepburn and William Holden
"Sunset Boulevard" starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden
"Bringing up Baby" starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
"The Philadelphia Story" starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant

Thursday, August 24, 2006

WANTED: A place to lay my head

House hunting is like going to the dentist. You hate it, but really what choice do you have?

For the second time this year, I'm looking to move and for the second time the results have been fruitless. I'm tired of apartment life. And since I recently got a dog with quite a spirited bark, I think apartment life is no longer fond of me. Just ask my neighbors.

After spending days scavaging Shreveport and studying the classifieds, the only 1BR/1BATHs I found either had bars on the windows or were too rich for my blood. In this town, it shouldn't be so impossible to find a decent place.

I resolved myself to the one thing I said I would never do after I graduated college. ... I'm getting a roommate.

TiVo: Companion to young singles

Hi, my name is Stephanie and I'm a TiVo-holic.

Hi Stephanie.

Frankly, the TiVo gives even the best of my former roommates some competition. In college, Kate often forgot to clean the bathroom. Melissa never remembered to buy milk. Ashley always borrowed my clothes without asking and Keri always left her dishes in the sink.

So, for the measly price of $12 each month, I've found the perfect companion. It always remembers to record my favorite shows. It always lets me know three days in advance when it needs to be hooked up for more programming information. It never fights me for the remote or wants to watch its own show. It lives up to its promises and never disappoints, therefore making the ultimate companion for any TV-addicted, young single. It takes care of your favorite shows while you go out.

Now, if it would only start paying half the rent.