Friday, June 26, 2009

Tim Burton puts the cherry on my Sunday

As if I didn't already love Tim Burton enough... and as if I didn't already love Johnny Depp enough... and as if I didn't already love Carroll's Alice and Wonderland story enough... they're ALL COMBINING TO BRING ME..... Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland around March of 2010. Depp will be playing the Mad Hatter, while the Red Queen will be portrayed by Burton's long-time girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter. Martin Sheen (Frost Nixon/Underworld) will play the Chesire cat, Anne Hathaway will play the White Queen, and newcomer Mia Wasikowska will play Alice. From what I hear, the plot will go something as follows... Alice is now about the age of 16 and has completely forgotten about her earlier trip to Wonderland at the age of 10 or whatever... she is about to be proposed to and finds herself in desperate need of an escape. She finds herself once again staring down a rabbit hole and plunges deep, back into a Wonderland with some old, familiar (and somewhat haunting) faces.

Man I love Burton. Especially when it's Burton and Depp, because Johnny seems to be the only actor who can match Tim's visual imagination and group it with some fantastical performances. Other things the duo have worked on together are Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, the Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sleep Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor. And of course, my favorite movie of all time, the Nightmare Before Christmas, has the golden stamp of Burton, too.

Below are some images released for the upcoming film, which according to Depp in a recent press conference in California is going to be something really special. Several times he declared shock that he wasn't fired for his extreme character choices in portraying the Mad Hatter. As you can see, the look that Depp helped invent is a bit insane... which is appropriate given the undercurrent of the story. Expect another quirky performance, such as his portrayal of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean or Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The photos are property of Disney Enterprise, Inc.

Well, that was weird.

Dude. Michael Jackson died. He friggin' died. And right before he was about to go on a 50-event tour, too. Dang.

I feel like this was probably the weirdest and most shocking celebrity death that could have happened. Mostly because he's had so much plastic surgery and been on so many drugs that I intrinsically assumed he would magically last forever. Sort of like Keith Richards. He's one of those celebs that you can just picture living forever on the fringe and outliving even the cockroaches. I mean no disrespect; he just seemed well preserved.

This whole thing made me come to several realizations, however, most of which pertain to technology. First observation, it's sort of sad when TMZ is your fastest and most accurate news reporting source. They knew what went down WAY before the real news stations even bothered to collect details. It was hours and hours. Perhaps it's because the methodology TMZ uses to collect their news is so disgusting that there's no way it isn't true. They're like the town gossip, who you don't really like, but when they do speak up about an event it tends to be right on. CNN drug its heels and eventually got up to speed. But you have to wonder how this sort of pecking order will continue to mold the news industry. In the days of twitter and camera phones and facebook, news just isn't that hard to transmit to others. TMZ has way more weapons in its arsenal than legit reporting stations who have their so-called hoops to jump through first. And while I appreciate a news source that bothers to confirm details BEFORE broadcasting, there's something to be said about breaking a story.

The second technology-based observation is how our age of technology has transformed what people perceive as real relationships. When I got home from the bar last night, I decided to get on facebook. Well lo and behold, nearly every facebook status in my news feed was either "Michael Jackson R.I.P." or "you will be missed" or "omg my life is over bc MJ died." I'm sorry, but are people forgetting that most everyone pretty much hated this man at the end? Let's not pretend to be all buddy buddy now. If he had died in the 80s at the height of his career, then ok, fine, post your tidbits about how your life has lost meaning. But don't act like you are rocked to the core because of this shocking blow. Shocking, yes. Life altering, no. Reminder: you were not Michael Jackson's friend (excluding all you MJ die hard fans out there). The obsession with celebrities never ceases to surprise me, especially how attached people can get to them and how they begin to feel like they genuinely know them.

As far as I'm concerned, the real Michael Jackson died a long time ago... right around the time he officially made the race change to become a new person. The only remembrance we've had of his old and true self since the new millennium is his older albums. I love Michael Jackson's music as much as the next person, but let's leave fanaticism at the door and simply be appreciative of a good artist. Which most of the bars did because pretty much no matter where you went in Ann Arbor last night, the venues were hopping with MJ's hits. I heard Thriller three times at Babs Underground. (Side note: I did NOT hear Dirty Diana, which happens to be a personal favorite.. and I was quite angry.)

The only thing that could possibly result from all of this that might legitimately effect everyone is that (and I'd bet quite a bit of money on this) a record label will now re-release some sort of greatest hits album. Or perhaps we'll now be offered some never-before-heard tracks that hit the cutting room floor. Sort of like what happened with 2Pac.

On a related note, how much does it stink to be Farrah Fawcett? I mean, the one thing celebrities always have in common is that when they die, they become immortalized and have a day dedicated to remembering their careers and whatnot. This was Fawcett's chance to be remembered and to earn a tiny shrivel of "oh yeah. I remember her. She totally rocked." Instead, her fame and glory was completely overshadowed by the MJ stuff. Too bad...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer festivals are herreeee!

I love this time of year. Not only does the weather facilitate happy people and more breathable clothing, but it also marks vacation time and fun activities. One such activity is Ann Arbor's Summer Festival, or more specifically Top of the Park. It launched last weekend and goes full swing this month. I'll definitely be attending Wednesday night with roommate Rachie, because the film they intend to play against Rackham Auditorium is none other than TWILIGHT. omg. Should be exciting. I'm planning to take my camera around and shoot some pics of the area and locals, including those awkward teenybopper middle schoolers who crowd around the fountains and oh-my-god-help-me-now hold HANDS! Premarital touching is the best.

Other days I'm looking forward to are not this Friday but next, June 26, when Diana Krall and My Dear Disco take to the stage. Diana is obviously awesome, but I'm actually more excited for local band My Dear Disco with their uber talented lead singer, their quirky techno vibe, and their lead guitarist Theo, who happens to know my boyfriend and has cool hair. Gotta love a rocker with cool hair. So free flowing and fluffy. The very next day on Saturday, June 27, the Macpodz take to the stage and they're supposed to be very rock out, as well.

The only other night of significance is sometime the week after that when they play the Triplets of Belleville, a French cartoon that won best foreign short film at the Oscars a few years ago. The music in it is supposed to be awesome and quirky and I love movies like that. Also Jose Hernandez is on stage that night, a little-known Swedish songwriter despite his Latin name. He's ah-maze-ing. His songs sort of have the same vibe as British songstress Laura Marling, American songwriter Ben Jelen, Gavin DeGraw and Rufus Wainwright. He plays a lot of acoustic things and somber, but very good lyrically and has a lot of range from song to song. Very much recommended.

Further into summer I'll also be busy attending the Rothbury Music Festival near Traverse City with my friends Beth and Tom. Camping out and listening to bands and concerts all day. The headliners are Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. The Madpodz will be there too, as well as like 30 other bands.

Also the Ann Arbor Art Fair is in July, which as always is a great time to live near Ann Arbor, despite all the parking hassles. Then in the beginning-middle of August I'll be basking in the sun in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my darling Christopher and his family. Great timesssss. Summerrrrr~!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Work, work, rain, work

It's a rainy Thursday, which I love... but I'd be loving it more if I still had a window to look out of at work. But I don't because....

BIG TIME OFFICE MOVE this week. The Saline Reporter is now playing house to ALL the Southeastern Michigan Journal Register Co.'s weekly newspapers. That means the people from the Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Ypsilanti and Belleville papers are all here. It also meant I had to give up my office upstairs by Michelle and move downstairs into a large room with all the other sports writers. We're all crammed in the dungeon, as it will from here on out be called.

BUT, joy in small things. I have probably one of, if not THE, best desk. And I'm facing a wall. And TRUST, that is a good thing. It means I'm not facing a bunch of other writers. So I have my Twilight poster, just so, right over there. And I have Don Draper decorating the right side of my wall, just so, right over there. I've got my desk feeling homey, and everything is in its proper spot. Now I just need to get the rest of the room to feel that way. I may end up setting up a partition so that I don't feel like the sports writer sitting behind me is constantly gazing down my butt crack or over my shoulder at my Twilight blogs. That would be nice.

Mostly I just hope the transition goes smoothly. Which it won't, but hope for the best, right? Now my Saline pages are going to be down, down, down. I usually have 4-5 pages for sports in Saline. Now I'll have 2. I'll have 2 for Milan, as well, but I've always had 2-3, so that isn't critical. In the fall, there will be four additional pages added to each sports section, but that will be regional content that I'm not in charge of handling. That now falls to Don Richter of Chelsea, who is taking the sports editor position.

Which brings me to the next thing, that I now have two bosses. Since I'm still writing sports and still writing news features and whatnot, I have two editors. Technically Michelle is still the highest person in rank for me, because she is the main editor of all the papers now. BUT, I am reporting stories to two different people. We'll see how this all turns out.

Never a dull moment.... never ever..

oh yeah and I almost forgot about the awesomeness that is UP. Yeah, I finally saw it. It was great. Especially the dog, Doug. What a cutey. He had the exact personality that I feel all dogs inherently have, down to the body language. Interestingly enough, Pixar was very adept at creating a bit of a sob story, too, because I teared up a bit in the first five minutes and continued to at various points throughout the movie. Good to know I still have some emotions left that produce actual tears. None of the water left my eye, though. (Crying equivalent of "but I didn't inhale")

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ahhh, thursdays...

I have to admit, I enjoy peace and quiet at work sometimes. I'm usually the first person to get here on Thursdays because we publish this day and people are recovering from their busy deadline days and sleeping in a bit. Sometimes there's nothing better than a coffee, bagel and morning to yourself in your music-filled office.

In other news, I purchased a new iPod. It's the silver iPod classic. I had one of the older iPod versions. The color clickwheel one. But it broke, and this was about the fourth time it has done so. Plus, I was almost completely maxed out on space, because the older iPods could hold 20 GB. My iTunes has about 18GB of music. So basically, I'm enjoying the added space of my 120GB iPod and have finished syncing it and updating and whatnot. This was actually quite a process to be honest. Because I couldn't just go out and buy an iPod when mine broke originally. I didn't have the most up-to-date version of iTunes on my Powerbook... which a new iPod would require. But I couldn't update my iTunes because I didn't have a new enough software version. So basically I had to spend an entire day backing up my Mac to my portable hard drive. Then another few days were spent updating my software to Leopard. Once that was done I could update my iTunes and other applications. And finally I could buy an iPod, which obviously was followed by the four-hour charge time and data transfer. But now I'm finally set. I have a new music device. My iTunes has a functional Genius, which has created just masterful playlists for me. And I'm happy. It's exciting.

I also bought a pair of Ed Hardy's that I've been wanting. P.S. those are shoes. Sort of like Converse, but typically more artful and colorful. My pair has an asian art sort of tiger drawn on. They look cool. I'm so very pleased with myself.

I also have to admit I'm not that sad that I don't have a show anymore. I used to watch House, Mad Men, American Idol and such. But all those shows are done at the moment and I've had way more flexible free time. It's sort of depressing that we dictate our life schedules around TV programming. So I feel sort of relieved to get back to what life used to be for me before I got hooked on something. I'm still reading a lot, still writing, still trying to write other independent things, and getting back into music. I've missed music a lot and wonder if I should consider buying a French Horn. Instead for the moment I'm getting back to teaching myself guitar and considering piano lessons. I'd enjoy if I had the capacity to write songs, and I think playing piano would be really helpful. I actually have a full-on keyboard that is really nice, but we'll see. I should have had Jeff Wenzinger teach me while I lived with him junior year. The kid is crazy talented and probably would have been a lovely little mentor.

So that's what's up in life right now. There are also massive amounts of changes coming with my newspaper that aren't announced or official yet. I'll know officially and be able to post something about it on Monday. Should be excitinggggggg.