Just this past week I wrapped up reading one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic sagas, The Hobbit. Years ago I was inspired to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, also written by Tolkien, as the books were transformed into films. Accordingly, I felt it was necessary to also read The Hobbit, as it too is now being made into a motion picture, and I desperately excited to see the prequel to the trilogy that inspired me only a few short years ago.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction novels, there are a few series that capture my imagination and draw me in, constantly bringing me back for more. J.R.R. Tolkien has that uncanny effect on me. There is something so deeply innocent with his lead characters, complimented by fantastical plotlines that simply shouldn’t fit together in the regular sense yet are perfectly entwined through his written word. While I am sure there are thousands of book reviews out there for The Hobbit, from people who are much more qualified than I am in the field, I thought I would take a stab at an attempt regardless.
Alrighty folks, we’re back in the hot seat with another two dancers leaving the competition, just a few weeks shy of reaching the finale. I’ll be honest; if all four ballroom contestants are still standing at the end of this episode I am going to lose my mind! I just can’t stand to see another incredible dancer be sent home while the judges hand pick their favourites to stay. I’m over it! Anyways, enough ranting for now, and let’s get on with the show.
The night opened with the standard group performance, this time it was an incredible Sabrina Matthews contemporary routine, perfectly complimented by the vocal styling of Florence + The Machine. I absolutely loved this piece and watched it twice in a row just to fully appreciate the piece. I recommend you go back and watch it again, trust me, you will love it even more the second time through. I want to offer Sabrina a sincere apology. I have been incredible tough on her choreography these last few weeks, as I haven’t really seen anything original from her, in respect to the duo pairings. I stand corrected. This routine absolutely changed my opinion of her, and I am willing to admit when I am wrong. In this case, I was off the mark, and am now eating crow.
Well folks, last week we saw your votes decide who would be in our top ten of season four of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and ultimately, these will be the performers hitting the stage across Canada in their upcoming fall tour. Did your favorites make it through? Naturally, I think the majority of Canada is surprised (and a little unnerved) at the number of ballroom dancers still in the competition, but it’s how it goes when the judges are making the decisions instead of the actual voters. Seriously, how many more times can Yuliya find herself dancing for her life before Jean-Marc FINALLY gets the hint…
Anyways, on to the performances!!
Alasdair and I took in our final installment of this year’s Bard on the Beach season, the second performance enacted on the Studio Stage, Richard III. This is the first year since I’ve started attending Bard on the Beach in Vanier Park that I have attended all four shows, and it has been a riveting experience. Each and every performance was a night I looked forward to, and all four unique shows had it’s own unique breakout acting performances and interesting character and plot developments to keep audiences, young and old, entertained night after night.
Richard III is a continuation of the story that is told in the complementary Studio Stage performance happening at this year’s Bard, Henry VI, which I saw a few weeks back. I fully recommend seeing both of these performances, and if you can manage it, try to see them back-to-back, or as close together as possible. It was a blessing having the memory and storyline of Henry VI still fresh in my mind as the tale of Richard III began. Believe me, I was still consistently referring to the Bard program to remind myself of the intricate story line, including marriages, the transfer of royalty and The Crown, and the several beheadings and murders that are carried out throughout each of these two plays.
Well Canada, here we are again. Another week of ‘devastating’ eliminations with ‘the most brutal cuts yet’, according to Leah Miller’s banter. This time, we’re cutting down the remaining top twelve contestants to reveal Canada’s top ten dancers, who will eventually go on to perform in the cross-Canada tour throughout the fall. Definitely an exciting night, except for the lone two performers who don’t make it through.
The night started in regular fashion with the top twelve dancers hitting the stage for a group routine. The camera work on this routine was really well done, and I absolutely loved the fade from black and white into full color. The blend of dance styles was really well done; there was a cool mix of Jazz, Broadway, a few different Ballroom styles and a dash of Cheerleading. Also, have the boys dance shirtless with ties and suspenders definitely added to the hotness factor. Okay, wait, I’ll clarify. Matt and Christian being shirtless added to the hotness, in my opinion. This piece was surprisingly choreographed by Jean-Marc and his leading lady in life and dance.
With the American version of So You Think You Can Dance wrapping up last week, and crowning Melanie as the season eight winner, I can now shift my focus solely to the Canadian competition. I’ll admit; I’m still a bit miffed after last week’s eliminations. I definitely think Carlena and JP deserved to stay and I am extremely tired of the judges saving (therefore announcing) their favourite dancers week after week. The fact that Yuliya and Denista are still in the competition has me absolutely baffled.
HOLY SHIT FOLKS! This is it!! In a few short hours America voted and Cat Deeley will have revealed this year’s favorite dancer from So You Think You Can Dance, season eight! I can hardly contain my excitement and nerves. By the time you’re reading this article, your more than likely in the know, but I’m going to recap the night for you one last time. If America has their heads on straight, we SHOULD be seeing Melanie, who rightfully deserves it, take home the title and the swathe of prizes that go along with the accolades.
The night opened with a performance from this year’s top twenty dancer, and it was definitely cool to see them all back on the stage again. I had actually forgotten about Ryan! This routine was incredible, and choreographed by the legendary Sonya Tayeh! Then Cat Deeley came out in a SMASHING outfit!
The judging panel was stacked again for the final performances, with seven people joining us to relive their favorite moments from the season. Lil’ C, Robin Antin, Tyce Diorio, Sonya Tayah, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Screaming Mary Murphy, and Skeletor (Nigel Lythgo). Man oh man, I can’t wait for a break from his unnecessary perviness.
I recently finished reading Russell Brand’s first autobiographical feat, My Booky Wook. While this isn’t his latest attempt at shock literature, as he has more recently released his second autobiography, My Booky Wook 2, I felt I should start at the beginning if I was going to truly understand the genius behind the comedy. This book ended up in my to-read pile as part recommendation from the BF and another part genuine interest into a man who has recently emerged on the North American comedy scene, yet has been enjoying wild fame across the pond in the UK for nearly a decade.
I’ll be honest; this book is NOTHING as I expected it to be. When I think of Russell Brand, the first thing that comes to mind is uninhibited wit, sarcasm and crass (often wildly inappropriate) humor. This is not what My Booky Wook offers to its readers. This incredibly shocking memoir details Brand’s life throughout his childhood and the traumatic incidents that drove him into extreme addiction, including alcohol, a variety of drugs and ultimately, sex.