Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Miss TLC Review of Madonna's MDNA Tour (Airs Tonight On Epix!)


The name Madonna can equally invoke love, hate, huge smiles & rolled eyes. I am a woman who grew up in NYC during the 80s & 90s. I LOVE MADONNA. If you didn't, there was something wrong with YOUR life. In our current microwave world (with 10 second attention spans and a new pop star turnover rate of 20 a day), Madonna may not have been able to enjoy the same staying power. However, Madonna came up in the 80s, the defining era for SUPERSTAR pop stars (Michael, Prince, Janet). She quite possibly ran the world at the time. From her mark on fashion to her moves as an envelope pusher and sex symbol; Madonna was ever-evolving. Her latest video, her recent ensembles, her thematic albums, her rumored relationships, and her infamous "Sex" book garnered headlines and made her a household name (with even a TV movie about her "early years" airing in primetime on a major network a mere 10 years after she hit the scene).

I could go on about Madonna for hours (and not in a silly fan way, but more as an admiring spectator who accepts her highs/lows, and enjoys a healthy debate about her achievements and level of talent), but this post is about her MDNA tour. Why would I post about the MDNA tour NOW (when I attended the show in September)? Well if you haven't heard, the tour film is being debuted tonight on EPIX. I couldn't be happier. I love to watch Madonna's shows live (having attended the Drowned World, Re-Invention, Confessions, Sticky & Sweet, and MDNA installations), but I also love re-watching the TV versions at home to check for missed details and see how the productions translate onscreen. For something as acrobatically grand as Drowned World, the TV version did not do the live experience justice. But for something like Re-Invention, the filmed piece (shown through the documentary I'm Going To Tell You A Secret) represents it beautifully. Tonight will reveal the translation factor for MDNA.

The MDNA Tour was at times dark & somber, and relied heavily on her new material. Some fairweather fans and newbies attending with the hopes of seeing "Material Girl" & "Burning Up" (both "retired" onstage during the Re-Invention tour) were disappointed. What was up with the creepy Gregorian chants, onstage murder scene & drawn-out experimentally dramatic version of "Like a Virgin"; I loved it all. Well not the LAV performance...I can respect what she was trying to do (imagine performing the same song 40 million times...you are gonna want to try flipping it into new genres and representations...some work/some don't); But I did enjoy the darkness and creepy feel of the beginning portion of the show. You see, I called Madonna's tours "installations" before for a reason. Her live shows are full-blown EXPERIENCES. She is not a band who you go to see live for the "jam" versions of her tunes. She is not a diva who you go to see for the 'stand still in a rhinestone floor-length gown' vocal runs that give you goosebumps. And she is not a teen sensation who lip-synchs the entire show while revealing new breakdancing trick dancing throughout. She includes elements of all those things while entertaining the shit out of you with cool costumes, inventive sets, and amazing outside talent. One of the things I appreciate most about Madonna tour shows is the way she intertwines the performance vignettes in between her songs. When she takes a break or goes to change, you will still be marveled by tightrope walkers, flamenco dancers, or an eclectic musical group (Kalakan) she discovered while on a birthday vacation (an actual story told during the MDNA show).


One of the biggest newsmaking moments of the MDNA show was Madonna's nod towards Lady Gaga. At the time, they were embroiled in a passive-aggresssive "catfight" over the obvious similarity of Gaga's "Born This Way" and M's "Express Yourself". I thought the way Madonna addressed the situation was wildly entertaining (and crowned her the winner in the battle). By melding together her recent hit "Give Me All Your Luvin'" (which already makes mention of copycat pop stars in a general sense), with her own "Express Yourself" and Gaga's "Born This Way", the audience could not deny the plausibility of M's argument that the songs were so similar. The cheeky, "you know I'm the Queen" performance elicited thunderous cheers from the crowd. Not to mention that the colorful red & white bandleader uniforms worn during the grandiose drummers-hanging-from-wires-while-Madonna-dances-her-ass-off number popped onstage and created a magical moment that by itself was one of my favorite song showcases I've seen from her thus far.

In the end, the MDNA show had a clear linear development from dark to light. It seemed like Madonna was showcasing a wild girl who was killed, died, reflective in the afterlife, and then resurrected to rock through the end of the show with huge celebratory party performances of "Like A Prayer" and "Celebration". Definitely a successful statement piece if I ever saw one. All hail the Queen indeed.


And for those who are specifically interested in the setlist for the show I attended (on September 6, 2012 at Yankee Stadium), I've listed it below:

  • Girls Gone Wild

  • Revolver

  • Gang Bang

  • Papa Don't Preach

  • Hung Up

  • I Don't Give A Fuck

  • Express Yourself

  • Give Me All Your Lovin'

  • Turn Up The Radio

  • Open Your Heart

  • Masterpiece

  • Vogue

  • Candy Shop

  • Human Nature

  • Like A Virgin

  • I'm Addicted

  • I'm A Sinner

  • Like A Prayer

  • Celebration




  • Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    The Don Is Gone - R.I.P. Tony Soprano


    It has been sadly reported that actor James Gandolfini has died today of a stroke while on vacation in Italy. He was 51. The actor recently wrapped filming on the movie "Animal Rescue" with Tom Hardy, and direct from the mouths of everyone I knew who encountered him on set, he was a total down-to-earth gentleman.

    Gandolfini made a mark in Hollywood as an abrasive gangster in films such as "True Romance", but his true breakout role came in the form of the HBO series "The Sopranos", which aired from 1999-2007.



    A MISS TLC NEW TRAILER ALERT: "Only God Forgives"

    Just reuniting the "Drive" team of Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling gets me excited. The soundtrack, cinematography, graphics, and limited dialogue in that film easily propelled it onto my personal favorites list. I know there are some who felt the limited dialogue caused the movie to drag and become a little too "arthouse", but I beg to differ. By limiting the dialogue, you essentially force the actors to ACT. Their body language becomes the script, and the grace of Gosling's cautious and measured movements in "Drive" created an exceptionally heavy tension throughout that entire movie. Brilliantly shot if you ask me.

    This is why I am equally excited about "Only God Forgives". Allegedly this piece has the same sparse wording, and relies heavily on the choreography of its actors in fight scenes and in slowly filmed vignettes. Not to mention Ryan looks gorgeous in every perfectly captured frame.



    "Only God Forgives" is slated for its U.S. release on July 19, 2013.





    Miss TLC Hearts Healthy Snacking: Danielle Roasted Coconut Chips


    Healthy snacking is the key to happy living. Which is why I love to stumble upon new delicious treats with health benefits. Let me spread my wisdom to any of you looking for guilt-free snacking. Danielle Roasted Coconut Chips. I'm a HUGE fan of coconut anything so these were made for me. My sister spotted them in a store and bought me a bag to try. Needless to say, I've been buying cases of them online ever since.

    This is ALL that's added to these little gems of nutritious deliciousness:

    Fresh Coconuts
    Sugar
    Salt

    They are crunchy, very slightly sweet, slightly salty, and perfectly coconutty.



    Hot Shoes

    Charlotte Olympia must have been inspired by the Gatsby craze when designing these two new beauties:








    To add to the Hollywood glamour, these shoes are named "Art Deco" and "Leading Lady" respectively.

    The Charlotte Olympia "Art Deco" retails for $1195, and the Charlotte Olympia "Leading Lady" retails for $945.





    [To view more "Hot Shoes" pics (believe me, it's worth it), just click "Hot Shoes" in the Labels list located on the right sidebar under the music videos. Enjoy!]



    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    A MISS TLC NEW TRAILER ALERT: "The Wolf Of Wall Street"

    ...Speaking of Leonardo DiCaprio (see earlier post below), his latest partnership with Martin Scorsese is officially on its way. Based on the book of the same name, Leo plays Jordan Belfort, a former "boiler room" runner, who was convicted of crimes related to stock market manipulation (for which he spent 22 months in jail).



    MISS TLC SAYS: I love this story (who wouldn't purely for its entertainment value?), so I am fully onboard for this one. I do love Leo, but Matthew McConaughey & Jonah Hill are poised to make a big splash in this one as well. Perhaps this pairing can finally net Leonardo the Oscar that's been escaping the talented actor thus far (but probably not). He's very believable as Jordan with the boyishly trustworthy looks and excited outbursts. "The Wolf Of Wall Street" is set to be released on November 15th.

    PS - Doesn't Kanye's "Black Skinhead" fit perfectly into this trailer? Good timing for Yeezus.



    "The Great Gatsby" Was Great In Some Areas, Fell Flat In Others (A Miss TLC Movie Review)


    As it turns out, I am not a huge fan of "The Great Gatsby" story. You would think I would revel in the debaucherous parties, heavy drinking, and scandalous love affairs. However, I don't think the book is all that 'great'. It's very elementary in its storytelling and falls flat as far as epic narratives go. Don't get me wrong. I DO love the roaring 20s. The music, the fashion, the backdrop of a world dripping in excessiveness - all my scene. But based purely on the prose, there is nothing that really pulls me into that time through "The Great Gatsby" book. Well Baz Luhrmann made sure to pull you into the period. The lush, colorful party scenes in his recently released movie DO have you yearning for an invitation from Jay Gatsby much moreso than Fitzgerald does. Now it should be mentioned that Fitzgerald was not a fan of the overindulgence of the "new monied" crowd in Long Island. One of his underlying intentions in writing the Gatsby book was to issue his own social commentary about the wasteful life of those same rich partiers. Therefore, its probably not a coincidence that the book doesn't present to me the romanticized version of the flapper scene that is often advertised elsewhere. However, my main issue with F. Scott Fitzgerald's storytelling is that it seems indecisive in its delivery. On one hand, you can almost taste the venom in his descriptions of the party people attending Gatsby's fetes; but on the other hand, he seems to be envious of the world he is observing from the outside. This all makes sense considering he was a willing participant in the overindulgence of the era, but at the same time, it caused irreparable damage to his beloved wife Zelda (who suffered from alcoholism).


    Getting back to Gatsby the movie...Baz did a wonderful job visually stimulating the audience with the colors and costumes of the era. But as far as the music goes, the movie was a disaster. As much as I appreciate Jay-Z as an artist, he did not add to the film with his construction of the soundtrack. I already addressed my concerns towards this in an earlier post. Unfortunately I was proven right. For example, Jay allowed his wife to re-record a classic song ("Back To Black") that should not have been touched by anyone except Amy Winehouse (unless they were creating a very similar cover version). Granted, he was not the Music Supervisor for the film, but I find it suspect that snippets of two songs connected to him, "H To The Izzo" and "Empire State of Mind", both made it into scenes (where they felt out of place and forced). I happen to LOVE the soundtrack as a standalone album, but I don't believe any of those same (modernized) songs should've been placed in the movie itself. The movie needed pure JAZZ. The story is set against the backdrop of the jazz age for heaven's sake. The tempermental nature of jazz directly matches the highs and lows of Jay Gatsby's personality. And the beautiful riffs set within many jazz masterpieces could've easily set the tone for the erratic behavior conducted by Myrtle, Tom, and the various partygoers and co.


    My other gripe with this movie is in the casting. Leonardo DiCaprio was pure perfection in the title role. If Jay Gatsby was a real person, I would 100% believe that he looked, spoke & acted like Leonardo. Holy moly, he looks delicious in this movie. As for the rest, I think they were all bad choices from the casting department. I happen to know that practically every hat in Hollywood was thrown into the ring for the role of Daisy, and it was a highly contested race. In the end, Carey Mulligan won the coveted job. Carey is beautiful and Carey is talented, and I loved Carey in "Drive", and thought she was perfect in "Shame". But Carey is not Daisy. She was too preciously plain and sweet to carry Miss Buchanan. As for Tobey Maguire? Too timid. And Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher were just 'eh' to me.


    As a period piece, the movie succeeds (minus the music). The clothes, the language, and even the opening credits graphics followed suit by placing you right into this historical moment. But the biggest problem I think I had with the film is that it was a fairly straightforward representation of Fitzgerald's book (except for Nick's stay in a sanitarium); and as I stated at the start of this post, I'm just not in love with the book.





    Random Question



    Saw this in a neighborhood store and wondered...are people really hiding their washing machines with designated covers? Is it a bad thing if people see your washing machine?















    [To view more "Random Question"s (believe me, it's worth it), just click "Random Question" in the Labels list located on the right sidebar under the music videos. Enjoy!]



    Monday, June 17, 2013

    A Miss TLC Delicious Drink Recipe (For Your Summer Sipping Pleasure)

    The Miss TLC style of drink creation involves mixing ingredients in whatever measurements YOU desire, and tasting as you go along. In my world, the science is in the flavors you add to your cocktail, not in the amounts. So feel free to try the gems I will post throughout the summer and use a heavy hand (if you are a heavy drinker) or a light hand (if you are a light drinker). Use more of the mixers & sweet additives (if you like your drinks sacchariferous) or less (if you like to taste the alcohol). My recipes are listed by element (i.e., for buzz, for fizziness, for sweetness, etc.).

    The first in my series of Miss TLC Summer Sips is the Grapefruit Thyme Sparkler. This drink is perfection for anyone who likes gin (get on board if you don't!) and/or herbaceous flavors in their spirits. Grapefruits offer amazing health benefits as well so...why wouldn't you want to drink this deliciousness?

    The Miss TLC Grapefruit Thyme Sparkler


    FOR BUZZ:

  • Hendrick's Gin (you can use other brands of gin if you must, but Hendrick's offers top of the line taste when it comes to matching the herbal flavors of the thyme and grapefruit)


  • FOR BODY:

  • Fresh Grapefruit Juice


  • FOR SWEETNESS:

  • Simple Syrup


  • FOR AN HERBAL FRESHNESS:

  • Fresh Thyme


  • FOR FIZZ:

  • Seltzer



  • Mix all ingredients together, garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme & enjoy!

    (Oh, and always drink responsibly. :))



    Nice Nails

    60s fashion has always been one of my go-to style inspirations. Last week's manicure reflects that era nicely. Using a mod black & white vibe alongside ballerina pink evokes the days of Nancy Sinatra in a mini-dress with her hair teased up high.



    Perfect example is the above picture of Nancy Sinatra glammed up and ready to go.






    [To view more "Nice Nails" pics (believe me, it's worth it), just click "Nice Nails" in the Labels list located on the right sidebar under the music videos. Enjoy!]





    Where Have I Seen You Before? Matthew Perry on "Who's The Boss" Edition

    As I was flipping through the channels at 3am last week, I stumbled upon an old episode of "Who's The Boss" and couldn't believe who was sitting next to Ms. Alyssa Milano on the couch... It was Mr. Matthew Perry!





    I had no idea that Samantha Micelli and Chandler Bing ever met. Who knew.






    [To view more of "Where Have I Seen You Before?" (believe me, it's worth it), just click "Where Have I Seen You Before?" in the Labels list located on the right sidebar under the music videos. Enjoy!]




    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    'Mad Men''s Madness


    All season the tension has been mounting on 'Mad Men' with violent symbolism. Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Megan's days are numbered, or else another (major) castmember would be killed off in her place. The evidence leading into last week's episode was fairly convincing in that many believed the signs pointed to Megan being murdered while Don was in L.A. After all, why would Don have hallucinated Megan in the same "place" as his (dead) military friend? Megan said she "moved here", and we knew she didn't really mean L.A. Did she move into the afterlife?


    Well it turned out that Megan was still alive and well in NYC when Don returned. However, there is still a (small) chance that Don has been in a state of hallucination all along. The season started with his morbid fascination about death when the doorman caught a glimpse of the light on the other side. Has Don been dreaming the rest? I strongly doubt that theory. I just think that this season has been one big identity crisis for Mr. Draper. After all, the promo posters for the current season (shown above) illustrated the two sides of Don Draper, and seemed to want to evoke the confusion he has been feeling while trying to remain true (family man, hard working exec Dick Whitman-esque), but also letting his destructive side return (affairs aplenty, carelessness at work). Don reemerged as a lothario this season while Megan focused on her career. The affair with Sylvia Rosen has shaken him to the core, and his dalliance with Betty had a lasting effect as well. Don is clearly losing his grip on his reality (master of the universe), and has begun doubting his power in the workplace, the bedroom; and now even within his own family. (Considering Sally can now blow up his spot at any time with news of his affair with Ms. Rosen, Don is on VERY shaky ground.) Is he the boss anywhere anymore? He couldn't keep Sylvia, Megan is more obsessed with fame, and Betty used him like a toy and went back to her secure "first lady life" with Henry like nothing ever happened between the two. His agency is in turmoil, and the world around him is in the midst of a social revolution. What's a Don to do?


    Well now that there are only two episodes remaining, our curiosity will be addressed sooner than later. I hate to burst everyone's bubble but Matthew Weiner has issued a response to all of the "Megan's gonna die" hysteria, and claims NO ONE is dying this season. Well alright then. The similarities between Megan and Sharon Tate are still eerie. Having Megan wear a t-shirt that Sharon Tate wore in a photo shoot for "Rosemary's Baby", which Sally was shown to be reading on the night the apartment was broken into by Grandma Ida, was still a bit much if it meant nothing (Megan in that famous t-shirt shown above). But as some fashion bloggers have pointed out, other characters invoke famous faces from the 50s & 60s on the show but they are NOT them. I believe it's all just a ploy for the show to feel as authentic as possible. And it works. Which is why we all keep coming back for more.





    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    (Not) Hot Shoes

    Speaking of my love for a black & white design, the B&W palette does not always work. Case in point, these Louboutins are just not working for me. They look juvenile and I'm surprised by the overwhelming off-ness coming from Christian's couture house.





    I think it's a combination of the matte & patent leather, and that hideously cheap looking tie on the front. No thanky on these CL.

    The Christian Louboutin Foraine shoe retails for $995.





    [To view "Hot Shoes" pics (believe me, it's worth it), just click "Hot Shoes" in the Labels list located on the right sidebar under the music videos. Enjoy!]


    Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    Hot Shoes

    I am always a sucker for a black and white design, so these Alice & Olivia beauts with the Mondrian-like herringbone caught my eye in a second:






    Unfortunately, wedges do not look good on me, so I don't think I will be purchasing them. Ugh...but they are just SO beautiful!!! Good job Alice & Olivia. :)

    The Alice & Olivia Sorell wedge retails for $325.





    [To view more "Hot Shoes" pics (believe me, it's worth it), just click "Hot Shoes" in the Labels list located on the right sidebar under the music videos. Enjoy!]





    Saturday, March 16, 2013

    Random Question



    Is it safe to say that SoapNet's The Fashionista Diaries (which aired for 1 season in the summer of 2007) is never returning for season 2?
















    [To view more "Random Question"s (believe me, it's worth it), just click "Random Question" in the Labels list located on the right sidebar under the music videos. Enjoy!]