Into the Woods

This post is about the Stephen Sondheim musical play called "Into The Woods" which me and my brother and sister watched last night. At first, Adam didn't feel like seeing it, but when me and Bettina started laaaaughing, we had to talk him into sitting down with us to watch. "Into The Woods" is a modern fairy-tale blend with a comedic twist, merging together such childhood classics as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and by a lesser degree, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, plus introducing brand new characters: a baker and his wife who desperately wish for a child (notice that when someone thinks of "baker" in the fairy-tale sense, it's always a man, isn't it? Food for thought, huh? And not the baked kind).

It is a play in 2 acts. Act 1 is there to get you reacquainted with the characters you knew as a little boy or girl, and find out what actually happened in the stories, all the while listening to Stephen Sondheim's fast-paced lyrics set to wonderful music. The witch in the story (who comes from the Rapunzel part of the show) is played by Bernadette Peters, who has such a marvelous vocal range, I had no idea! When she does a witches cackle, she can reach those high, high notes like no one I've ever seen! Plus the character she got to play is so funny; who would think that a witch could have some real depth of character? (Unless of course you read books or watch musicals like "Wicked", to those of you who have, I say never mind.)

By the beginning of Act 2, Jack has killed the giant, Little Red Riding Hood survives being eaten by the wolf, the baker and his wife have a baby boy, both Cinderella and Rapunzel get their princes (there are 2 Prince Charmings in this story, and they're brothers! Who knew?), and the witch has changed from an ugly old crone to a young and youthful beauty, but her witchy powers are lost in the bargain. Everybody thinks that it's happily ever after for them, but to be continued... Actually the 2nd Act is a lot better as a surprise. I don't want to spoil it for you. Just know that it's got a lot more drama than in Act 1.

"Into The Woods" is a wonderful story with some lessons to learn from, and even if it's based on fairy tales, adults can appreciate the wry humor and intelligent lyrics of Stephen Sondheim. Check it out at your nearest library if it's got it, and you'll be happy you did, I promise.


Entertainment Blogging!

This Sunday and last night I had such an incredible dose of high entertainment that I must do a rave to get it out of my system.

MTV Video Music Awards: What an incredible spectacle! My favorite part of this event was the Michael Jackson tribute; Madonna gave a wonderful speech about her times with him. The dancers executed his signature moves perfect to a T! And Janet Jackson? So talented!
Moving on, I couldn't believe Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift's thank you speech! Before this eyebrow-raiser I honestly couldn't care less about these music artists, but now I think because of this both of them will be getting more publicity. I don't know any of their music, but now I'm interested in learning more. Beyonce and Lady Gaga were also stunning. I love to watch these incredibly lucky people give such wonderful performances, with choreography that makes me tired just from imagining how tired they must be doing the dances, and costumes that are weird and wonderful, as well as innocently suggestive.
Strangely enough the extended preview for "New Moon" did not excite me. Of course I have taken a personal vow not to get entangled in this strange vampire-werewolf love triangle, because my sister had a spell cast over her during the time she was reading the 4 book series by Stephanie Meyer, and it was near impossible to get her to do anything else! Therefore I've decided to swear off epic fiction novel series unless/until I have children of my own. The movie looks good enough, but for me, it isn't a must-see.
"This Is It", however, is a definite must-see! An exclusive documentary of behind the scenes footage leading up to the Michael Jackson tour that will never be? Bring it on!

Last Night: On a trip to the library, I browsed through the non-fiction DVD section and found some great viewing material: a Stephen Sondheim musical "In The Woods", "The Nutcracker" ballet (I've seen it before but I'm recommending it for my younger brother Adam), and a collection of Michael Jackson music videos from the album "Dangerous". Little did I know just how much awesomeness the "Dangerous" DVD actually contained! The entire uncut version of the "Black and White" music video, the 1993 Superbowl half-time show concert version of "Heal The World" (my new favorite M.J. song ever!!!!! excuse my gratuitous exclamation point usage), clips from the 1993 Grammys and M.J. receiving the Music Legend Award, clips from his "Dangerous" world tour (can you begin to comprehend the scale of such concerts?), and behind the scenes with Michael Jackson, Macaulay Culkin, Eddie Murphy, and Michael Jordan! Never before have I seen Michael Jackson like he was on the DVD, and I have an all-new wealth of respect for him as a person, not just a personality. Me and my sibs were transfixed with him and his music videos from beginning to end. I'm so, so sorry that he had to leave this planet in it's state. It's been almost 12 weeks since his untimely death, and only now am I realizing what kind of a treasure has been taken away. This is my time to say I love you Michael Jackson, I miss you, and I'll never, ever forget you or your legacy. I hope and pray (though I'm not the praying type) that his kids can find some way to get some closure and live a semi-normal life again.
During the DVD, Jay Leno's new show on NBC was going on, and right after the Michael Jackson movie was over, we turned it off to see Jay Leno's first guest, Jerry Seinfeld! I enjoyed watching this show a lot! After Seinfeld came Oprah Winfrey (Seinfeld did most of the questions while Jay could only sit and look funny trying to get a word in), Kanye West (who very publicly and soberly apologised for the whole MTV interrupting Taylor Swift ordeal), and President Obama (although the interview wasn't actually genuine; it was edited to be humorous rather than live). The final segment was the "Headlines" shtick. I love when Jay Leno does those!
After Jay Leno, me and my sibs just had to see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert after their 3-week vacation hiatus. Hilarious. The great thing about these guys is even though they make fun of politicians and people in the public eye, they always do it respectively. The exception is Fox News, they actually do make fun of it, unapologetically (Jon Stewart's item on the 912 Project was funny). After the Colbert Report, I was sorry to shut up the magic box, but I still felt very satisfied after my generous helping of pop culture and current events.

I absolutely love me some good entertainment, whether it be books, music, theater, television, or movies, as long as there's a story to be told, and an awesome storyteller to tell it. That's why I started thinking: maybe I should change this blog into a critique for pop culture, instead of using it solely for documentation of my daily doings for posterity. I love everything about the entertainment industry, and I have opinions that must be heard and/or read! So from now on, "Welcome to My World" will be a place where I can share awesome discoveries concerning anything from animation to zines. And perhaps I should have a more regular, less erratic blogging schedule; I definitely should write on Monday, since it's usually right after a weekend of great entertainment, and perhaps on Wednesdays and Saturdays I can blog as well. I'll work it out somehow. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to also take a gander at my Art Blog on the side link every so often too. Good night everybody! (Sorry, it should actually be "Good afternoon", but I can't help it. I just love Yakko Warner's catchphrase!)


The best birthday gift of all!

This post is dedicated to my dad, Benny, who is the best guy ever!

Today he was browsing on Craigslist, and he found this awesome 15" screen Sony VAIO laptop that runs Windows Vista! How much was it? A negotiable $280! The ad came right from our neighborhood, so my dad called up the guy who advertised and asked to come over and see the computer. Me and my sibs decided to join our dad on the walk to the guys' house, to watch and learn how he "works his magic".

We spent about an hour at the guys' house, verifying that all the features on the machine worked. You know, standard: Does it go on the internet? Does it play DVDs? Does it shut off and restart without any problem? One can't just buy a computer from some stranger without first making sure that everything works.
Finally, when we were satisfied that everthing was in good order, Benny offered $250 for the Sony VAIO. The guy accepted! He pretty much had to accept, given how much time we spent waiting for him to download the right codecs and plugins and getting an internet connection going so he could prove it goes online.

Now, we've got a brand-new computer, just what me and Bettina wanted for our birthday!

Because the new computer runs Vista, I'll be able to use a graphic tablet on it for my Photoshop artwork! I saw some WACOM models in Best Buy for $100 to $200. Instead of having Benny buy it for me, I'd like to get it using money that I earn. Now how I'll earn it is another story altogether. I'm still working that part out. I'm thinking of being a computer tutor for senior citizens. I can show grandparent how to send emails to their grandkids and how to adjust settings so it's easier for them to see and hear their computers. There's a good market for it, and I'm patient, tutoring pays well. Now if I can just get myself started...


I'm Back! (From Hiatus)

Where have I been these past coupla weeks while you've been thinking in that stashed away corner of your mind that I live in, "Where in the world is Annette and why isn't she posting any new artwork or witty samplings of her fascinating life?" I've been in Boston again.
I didn't want to share online that me and my family had been away from home for 2 weeks; you never can tell what kind of creep or innocent person in a strange predicament can find out from you if you upload every single secret goings-on of yours.

Anyway, here I am, back at a computer, where I can finally let the cat out of the proverbial bag and present a venerable fountain of mildly interesting anecdotes from me and my family's travels in the great capital of Massachusetts. Hopefully you've read about me and my sister's adventures in the apartment in July, and if not, don't worry about knowing what I'm talking about. This is mostly for my own benefit you know. It's so unlike me, but I haven't been journaling in any way, shape, or form for this whole fortnight, online or in some blank pages of a notebook, and I fear my memories are stirring restlessly and if I don't set them up straight and neat they might leave me! So, here is a mess of memories as organized as I could make it, no day-to-day details, but flavors of fond moments with my whole family or just me and my dear sibs.
Road trip fun in the yellow bug, pizza places, Ben and Jerry's ice-cream, Reservoir walks, 2nd season of "30 Rock", Faneuil Hall, feeding squirrels and pigeons in the Public Gardens, 1st DVD volume of 22 "Pinky and the Brain" episodes, the Arnold Arboretum (again, only it was sunny this time around), September 1st and all the free curb-side treasures you can find (mattresses galore and other cool stuff), visit to the fenced in hospital in Walden where me and my sister were born 18 years ago,"Eat, Pray, Love" on the trip back, stopping at my dad's friend Efi's house and hanging with Efi's daughter, Olivia (who's a cool girl, btw), Adam performing a spontaneous Elvis number in "Timpanos" backed by a live band, and finally, listening to Paul McCartneys best "Wings" hits to keep us awake during night-driving!

Confusing as this may look, simply reading through the preceding paragraph will, for me, bring me right back to this wonderful 14-day period of my life and flood me with wonderful memories.

In other news, tomorrow is my birthday. Yippee! I went on a walk with my family tonight and I mostly talked with my dad about my future as an adult. I feel I must find some kind of purpose to dedicate myself to, a cause, a service I can provide for other people that only I can give. I'll write some more tomorrow to tell you how my big day went.