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Carrie Underwood “Play On” Concert Review

In: Dan, Music

After the spending previous night in the interior of BC, playing a show in Penticton, Carrie Underwood soared into Vancouver last night for the next stop on her Play On tour. She took to the stage at Rogers Arena (formerly GM Place) and belted out her latest hits and a few surprise treats to the sell-out crowd.

I decided to surprise one of my best girls, Saxon, to an early Christmas gift by taking her to the concert, unbeknownst to her until we were literally walking up to the stadium. The shock and excitement on her face made the entire idea worthwhile! Believe me, it was hard not to call her every night leading up to the concert to shriek giddily about the amazing night in store, but I held my tongue! For weeks!! I was nearly dying from hidden excitement!

Carrie’s first opening act, Nashville band Sons of Sylvia, left many mouths agape with both their looks and talent. Probably best known for their songs, Love Left to Lose and I’ll Know You, these boys were fantastic. Naturally we were running into the stadium as these boys took to the stage and unfortunately missed the first song of their performance, but they sounded pretty fantastic (and the crowd appeared to love them) as we stood in line for cold beverages.

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Book Review: Half Broke Horses

In: Dan, Random Reads

A few months ago I tackled Jeannette Walls novel The Glass Castle, the powerful autobiography of her life growing up with two of the most dysfunctional parents even written in recent literature. It was one of my favorite books of the year so naturally I eagerly anticipated picking up another novel in her collection, Half Broke Horses.

I was instantly swept up with the country western storyline focusing on the lives of ranchers, small towns and most importantly, cowboys. The story is the pseudo-narrated tale of Walls’ inspirational and unwaveringly tough grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. The story is told, and in turn written, in such a gracious and fluid manner that as the years melted away and lines of aging appeared on both the pages of the book and Lily’s face, my imagination was set into motion. There’s a power that certain writers have over me that keeps a permanent, half-cocked smile on my face as I make my way through their pages and words. Walls’ is one of those few writers whom consistently remain on my best recommendations list, and Half Broke Horses is no exception.

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It’s officially the start of the Holiday season, at least in my calendar that is, and what better way to officially kick it off than a musical dedicated to Christmas?! Alasdair and I went to check out the opening night performance of White Christmas – The Musical at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage on Granville Island in Vancouver and it was fantastic! Both the renovated theatre and the musical and its performers are a sight not to be missed!! The show is being presented by the Artsclub Theatre Company and is running from December 8 through January 2, 2011.

I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about the show or the original Paramount Pictures film; however, it didn’t take me long to be swept up in the glory of the musical. The opening scene takes place in 1944 in the middle of World War II focusing on two lieutenants, Bob Wallace played by Jeffrey Victor, and Phil Davis played by Todd Talbot, in the army serving in the 151st command (or something along those lines – I’m going off memory here folks). The story quickly progresses through the end of the war and jumps to 1954, ten years later, with both men now performing in a duo song and dance troop that’s taking the US (and the Ed Sullivan Show) by storm. The men are introduced to a set of singing sisters, The Hanes Sisters that quickly enrapture their attention and hearts. The storyline carries the four protagonists to Vermont for a performance at a small inn on Christmas. The magic that unfolds with a few surprise twists of fate along the way is the quintessential platform for this heartwarming musical.

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Concert Review: The Temper Trap

In: Dan, Music

Last night (December 7th) The Temper Trap took to the stage at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver and it was a show not to be missed! I have to say I was pretty giddy with excitement that I was finally going to see this troop live. I took it all in with Alasdair and our good friend Jason and his boyfriend.

The band is most noted for their original smash hit, Sweet Disposition, off their debut studio album Conditions released in 2009. Needless to say, this was the highlight of the show for me as the crowd simply lost their mind when the first few chords were strung. The momentum of the crowd and the reverberation as the audience echoed the song back at the band was mesmerizing. These specific moments in time are the main reason I love going to concerts and live shows. The collective agreement of love mustered forth from an adoring audience is invigorating, and somehow reminds me that as often as we fight among ourselves, there are still moments that can truly unite us as human beings.

Most people reading this are probably scratching their head wondering if and where they may have heard The Temper Trap’s music. The most mainstream inclusion is on the soundtrack and as part of the teaser trailer’s for the film, (500) Days of Summer. If you haven’t seen that movie either, then you need to break out of your sheltered bubble, as both the movie and the band are phenomenal!

view a video after the jump

Book Review: Mockingjay

In: Dan, Random Reads

It is complete, and I have been amazed. That is the simplest way of stating the effect that the trilogy written by Suzanne Collins has had on my mind. A few weeks ago I began reading the Hunger Games, unbeknownst as to what lied ahead. Quickly, I was swept up in the story of Katniss Everdeen and her devastating life in District 12. The first book, aptly titled The Hunger Games explained and explored ideas of the ruling Capital, the yearly tortuous event of The Hunger Games and result of being a tribute and surviving the worst game known to the country of Panem.

Believe me, it is worth cycling back through my previous two book reviews of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, to gain even a slight understanding of my love for this trio of brilliant literature. The third, and currently final edition of the trilogy, Mockingjay, is the perfect summation of what each unique character within the story had to face up to this point and the exquisite continuation of telling the story.

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Whistler: skiOUT.com

In: Dan, Totally GAY!, Travel & Leisure

Last Saturday, I headed up the mountain to check out Whistler/Blackcomb as the hill recently opened for the 2010/2011 season, and believe me I was STOKED to strap on my board and hit the slopes. I was joined by fellow cast member, Rich, and we drove up for the day with our friend Matt who introduced us to the boys at skiOUT.com.

I hate to admit it but I was ignorant to skiOUT prior to Matt filling me in; they are a group of people who get together on a regular basis to hit the slopes for a day of skiing or snowboarding and then convene for après drinks at the end of the day to recollect on the conditions, runs and anything that involves the mountain, yes, including the men! I found myself spending most of my time with Peter, the man in charge of skiOUT, and his partner Calvin as they too were boarders. And let’s just be frank, its way better for boarders to stick together and let the skiers go off and tackle their mogul-filled runs on their own.

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Movie Review: This Movie is Broken

In: Dan, Movies

Based on my post of the recent Vancouver show for Broken Social Scene, it was recommended that I check out the recently released movie showcasing the band and their musical talent, as a sort of soundtrack if you will, aptly titled This Movie is Broken directed by Bruce McDonald.

The film itself is an indie version of a boy-loves-girl scenario, where unfortunately the girl doesn’t necessarily feel the same about him. The focus of the film is her love for the Toronto band; Broken Social Scene and wanting to see their concert while she is back home in Ontario for a short visit. The film takes place during the city workers strike that forced the concert to be moved to the Harbour Front Center in Toronto.

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Quiznos’ Facebook Superbowl Contest

In: Dan, Random Reads

If you know me well then you know I love me some coupons and contests. The simple idea of getting a discount or winning a prize for absolutely no reason at all gives me this warm feeling inside that I can describe as none other than EXTREME EXCITEMENT!

Lucky me (and best moment of the day), as I find myself stumbling across a unique contest with a platform I personally have never seen before. Quiznos, the company whose sandwiches I’ll never eat as I don’t like toasted bread surrounding my meat, has put together a Facebook contest to send one person and their best friend to the 2011 Superbowl in Dallas, Texas. Heck yeah!

What makes this contest so unique?

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