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Music Monday: Review of ‘Frank’ by Amy Winehouse

In honor of the new documentary Amy, that is currently in theaters, I opted to do her 2003 debut album Frank, which just celebrated its ten year release earlier this monthFrank. When I first heard her mainstream success I was astounded by her voice, and that forced me to look and see what else she had done. Let me tell you Frank makes Back to Black a sad follow up. Don’t misunderstand me, Back to Black is great, but Frank is amazing by comparison. So I hope after reading this, it will get you out there and listening.

Frank opens with “Sent Me Flying” and that soulful voice and the soft piano had me hooked right in. The album picks up a little in “Know You Now”, but still keeping with her soft voice and jazzy sounds. Her stand out for me on the album, “F* Me Pumps”, is nothing like anything she has. It has a very interesting rap feel actually, and a continuous rhythm. I think it’s brilliant, and I think that if she was still with us we would have gotten a few more like this for sure. “In My Bed” is most likely her most popular song from this album, and with hypnotic baseline you can just love along with. The album flows along beautifully, and has upbeat and slow down songs that made me know in my heart that she was an amazing artist.

So if you have never listened to her, or you’ve never heard of Frank (a travesty in my opinion), then get up, go over to that computer (who am I kidding your already in front of your computer), and click on iTunes or Spotify and just give five of the tracks a listen. If you don’t like it then you’re either from another planet or have zero taste. So until next week, I say, “Later nerds and enjoy listening!”

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Movie Review: Amy

Amy is a brilliantly crafted together piece that tells the heartbreaking story of the incredibly talented six-time Grammy award winner, Amy Winehouse.  The film is told in the stark details of her own words using archival footage and personal accounts from the people who were closest to her during that time.

Amy, a young ingenue with an amazingly unique voice, is able to capture the attention record executives, who immediately recognizes her as a once in a life time talent. We see her life chronicled through the accounts of two of her oldest friends (Juliette Ashby and Lauren Gilbert), as well as her close personal friendship with her first manager, Nick Shymansky, as she starts on her path to eventual stardom. We also get a keen look into her life as a child and her demons through interviews her mother, Janis, and father, Mitch, who are contrite in their acknowledgement of where they might have failed Amy along the way. All of the interviews have a sheer honesty to them that transports the audience into the middle of a life in chaos, and a girl who was not prepared for the media attention and fame she would receive.

BAFTA Award-winning director Asif Kapadia (SENNA), shines an unfiltered light on the sensationalism of the media at the time, while letting the audience relate to the person and the pure musician behind the big hair and the thick eyeliner. As a fan of Amy Winehouse, hearing unreleased tracks, seeing footage from old performances and studio time, I was mesmerized all over again by the unique presence of the singer/songwriter’s voice and words. Her soulful new age jazz style ushered in a renaissance of sound that you can see still influences artists of today in the likes of Hozier and Sam Smith. Seeing her actual process revealed on the screen made my heart bleed for her as we are clearly shown a soul in pain, crying out for help the only way she knows how to, through her music.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Amy Winehouse and her music, Kapadia expertly weaves a tragic tale of self-destruction that is profoundly moving and powerful. Giving audiences the time to reflect on the choices we make in life, Kapadia leaves us with a cautionary message on how quickly loved ones who suffer from addiction can be taken from us, how important it is to recognize signs early, and how futile our efforts are when they are not willing to help themselves in their recovery.

Amy is in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on July 3. It opens nationwide on July 10.

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Costumes to avoid this Halloween

You spent hours shopping in the stores and online looking for the perfect, modern, socially relevant Halloween costume, and finally your searching has paid off! You’re feeling confident, looking absolutely amazing and are ready to show that Halloween party what you’re made of.

Yet when you get there, things are looking spookily familiar. Turns out, you’re not the only one who had that perfect, modern, and socially relevant costume idea. Now the scariest part of your Halloween isn’t that creepy, realistic zombie in the corner who must have hired the makeup team from The Walking Dead, or the mystery of what actually is in the punch bowl, but the constant comparisons to another person’s costume.

Wonderful.

Don’t be a cliche this Halloween! Here’s a list of some Halloween costumes for guys and gals to absolutely avoid this year.

ABSOLUTELY ANYONE FROM DUCK DYNASTY

Image courtesy of guardianlv.com


This Halloween season we’re sure to see plenty of Robertson-would-be’s. All you need is camouflage pants, a semi-dirty black shirt, and a full, scratchy fake beard and voila – you’re a redneck millionaire. Add a blue plastic cup full of iced tea (or at least a drink costumed as iced tea),and then you can be the goofy, loveable and at times incoherent Uncle Si. It’s no secret that the world is in love with Duck Dynasty right now, and the costume itself is actually really easy and inexpensive. But that’s why you need to avoid it. In fact, many party stores and costume retailers are already carrying their own versions. Sure, it’s a great, crowd pleasing costume, but if you’re going to be out in public with many other costumed characters, you might want to reconsider this one.

Image Courtesy of heisenbergchronicles.tumblr.com

WALTER WHITE (BREAKING BAD)

Continuing on with the TV costume trend, the notorious, fictional drug lord Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is another addition to this year’s costume ‘don’t’ list. Fan’s are still reeling from the recent series finale of the enormously popular AMC series Breaking Bad, so this Halloween we’ll definitely get to see many different variations of Walter White, including the basic bald caps and glasses to his crystal meth making safety gear.

 

 

 

Image courtesy of newegg.com

CATWOMAN

An obvious inclusion, as well as a perennial favorite. Whether it’s the basic cat ears and whip, Michelle Pfeiffer’s messy stitched getup, Halle Berry’s original take, or a vintage take with Arkham City’s sexy yet functional suit, you can’t hit a Halloween party without seeing some variations of Gotham City’s sexy anti-hero, Selina Kyle.

 

Image courtesy of timeinc.ne

NEARLY EVERY MODERN POPSTAR

A lot of pop stars utilize wacky, colorful get-ups in their performances, which makes recreating that as a costume extremely fun. The problem is, most of the time people have the same idea, and Halloween gatherings tend to look more like the VMA’s or a look-a-like convention. So while your Nicki Minaj costume may be supreme, chances are someone else is channeling her as well. Expect to see plenty of Nicki’s, Lady Gaga’s, Kesha’s, Katy Perry’s and, a perennial, Amy Winehouse’s this Halloween season.

 

 

Know of some more cliched costumes that we should add to the list? Let us know down below in the comments!

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