Looking For Alaska

December 29, 2009

Looking For Alaska by John Green

An ordinary (despite his love for famous last words) Floridan boy, Miles “Pudge” Halter is searching for his own Great Perhaps. So Pudge decides to enter the world that is Culver Creek Boarding School. – An almost-cliché, half-battle between the Weekday Warriors and the scholarship kids, made up solely of pranks. – His Great Perhaps begins not long after he meets Alaska Young, the most gorgeous, clever, self-destructive girl he has ever known. Alaska tugs his hand to follow her into her life of adventures and Pudge falls hopelessly in love with her.

The writing style of this novel is effortlessly brilliant and thoughtful. – As Brighten’s album King Vs. Queen played quietly as a soundtrack for the book throughout my entire reading session. – I was Pudge smoking down at the smoking hole, looking off at Alaska. I was Pudge running from the Eagle after he and Takumi had set off the pre-prank firecrackers. I was Pudge lying on the hay buried ground drinking Strawberry Hill wine and feeling warm. And so I was literally Pudge sobbing after the death of Alaska.

Alaska was the real world of Culver Creek. You were always looking for her, and you found her. She was just another terrified, screwed-up human being with confused emotions. In a sense I reached enlightenment on the subject of Alaska’s death. I couldn’t have written a better ending. Some books give closure yet still leave you wondering. With Looking For Alaska there is no need for wondering and it ends nicely.

I now seek to find my own Great Perhaps. Though I am not a religious person, I now also seek to reach complete and total enlightenment.


The Killers Concert — “Golden Gods”

May 4, 2009

5/3/09

I’m going to sum things up for you. Reader, do remember when I told you if I could go to one concert all year it would be The Killers? That performance came yesterday night and I was in awe. I understand I say that quite frequently, and I’m getting tired of telling the same stories with different endings. When I go to shows I say “amazing” a lot, but this was not just an experience you save to your memory for the fun of it. It was more of an experience where it’s really hard to forget. The Killers are brilliant no matter what other people may say.

I sat in Roxann’s car panicking. My voice quivered when I spoke and my hands were shaking. “Oh my god.” I kept repeating looking at the longest line of traffic all waiting to see The Killers. “Woo-sah” Roxann began to say in order to relax me. Each time we inched forward a jolt of eagerness ran through my body. My palms became clammy and I unnecessarily fanned myself with my ticket. Finally the line of cars started to move. “Crap, it’s that Phelps family.” Roxann mutters. “Who?” my mother and I both ask. “Oh, this hate family who carry signs around saying ‘God hates fags’.” Roxann went on saying how they are this religious family who hate homosexuality and carry disgusting signs around stating effed up “facts” (look up Fred Phelps). As we drove past them I couldn’t control myself and shouted, “F*** you!” I also heard other cars shouting at these haters so I repeated myself loud and clear. I wondered why this Fred Phelps family would be at The Killers’ concert, then I put it together. Brandon Flowers, the lead singer, has said before that he is bisexual. So I’m guessing that is why the Phelps family would show up to piss people off.

The Killers opened the show with “Human”. When the audience recognized the tune, screaming burst into the night air and arms were flung over heads. I could still smell someone’s pot, cigarettes, and tons of beer. (I only know how pot smells because my mom burned sage around my house and told me it smelled like marijuana. Only, pot is a heck of a lot stronger. No matter what they tell you in shows and movies, pot does not smell good… unless you’re the one smoking it I suppose.) The tall man in front of me got his friends to move a bit so my view wasn’t completely blocked. I find it funny how at almost every show I attend there is someone to help me out. Or there is a just tall guy standing in front of or next to me. The woman behind my mother was annoying me and many other people. She was loud and obnoxious and she yodeled. During the intro I decided I’d just enjoy the moment without needing to take pictures to remember it.

Brandon’s voice sounded only slightly off pitch. I imagined him to be stiff and look nervous like he was on Saturday Night Live. Never would I have thought he’d dance around that big ol’ stage, beaming with energy.”I hope you brought your dancing shoes.” Brandon said. “There’s nothing wrong with it.” He finished. With the glowing blue lights shining down the far ends of the stage, you could see the guitarist and bass players’ silhouettes. The drum set had an oversized bouquet of flowers laying atop them. My mother thought they were trying to set the mood. Brandon Flowers, do you get it?

The next song on the set list was “This Is Your Life”. The yodeling woman behind us danced around with her messy hair and stained crooked teeth, beer in hand. The lyrics “Candy talks to strangers, she thinks her life is in danger, but no one gives a damn about her hair.” escaped Brandon’s lips. I was yelling along, not aware how horrible my voice sounded. These are some of my favorite lyrics. I danced like nobody’s business, and I thought I had “danced” at the AP Tour! I felt loose and calm, for once I didn’t feel an ounce of regret for my foolishnes. I have felt like I have to fight for happiness when it’s right in front of me, but this time around it came to me. And I didn’t “give a damn about my hair.”

When they played their cover of “Shadowplay” originally by Joy Division, the music video was playing on the big screen-like lights on the stage. I had never really cared for this song until my slate was cleaned last night. My love for that song began to build up and the eerie guitar in the beginning of that song definitely “set the mood” for the crowd. When you take time to think about the lyrics they are really quite depressing, but it’s such an addicting sound you cannot help but to fall in love with the lyrics. I later looked up Joy Division and Ian Curtis and it’s a brilliant, but terribly sad story. I also enjoyed “Sam’s Town”. It was played “acoustic”, but instead of a guitar it was piano that gave Brandon’s voice a foundation. “I hope you all have a place you can go to that makes everything better. Whether it’s in your head or a real place. And for me, that’s in the Mohave desert in Nevada.”

When The Killers were on stage you could sense these guys are passionate about making music. Similar to Jack White, except he comes out with a new band (Check out The Dead Weather, rad female vocals.) Though Brandon also spoke of love. “People let me ask you, have you ever been in love?” Brandon asked in a sort of sing-song tone. While some people screamed with excitement others remained quiet or simply said no. Brandon went on, “It comes so easily like a beautiful tattooed girl’s hair falls down her back.” I wonder how a frontman comes up with quotable things to say. I honestly can never seem to find the perfect words without having to think about them. Brandon continued, “And you know you wanna breathe that fire again.”

My favorite song by The Killers is probably “All These Things That I’ve Done”. I’m not sure how they do it, but The Killers can create masterpieces and this has to be one of their best. I am a big fan of their first album Hot Fuss, but their other albums have just as much potential. The Killers played “All These Things That I’ve Done” and the place blew up. The huge screen-like stage lights behind the entire drum set would flash back and forth between the words “SOUL”, “SOLDIER”, and “HOLD ON”. As Brandon moved around the stage skillfully, I am convinced he is some “God” (har-har). Each other band member leaned over their instrument making sure to strum the guitars strings at the right moment or strike the drum with enough force. Just when I thought the song was over, confetti shot from the stage. I reached into the dark, navy blue sky hoping to catch a piece I could treasure. The performance was complete with beach balls lingering towards the front of the stage.

When The Killers left the stage I knew that couldn’t be the end of the show. So I kept cheering them on, hoping they would grace us with their presence again… and they did. “Did you miss us?” Brandon asked. I’m not sure how hard I was screaming, I could no longer hear my voice. “Well we missed you too. You are a great audience.” Oh yeah! Brandon Flowers likes Kansas City! I thought.

The Killers sang three more songs. One was “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” and “When You Were Young” was the closer. The Killers had an amazing set and what a good way to go. At the end of the song “fireworks” streamed down like a fountain behind the drum set and Brandon said, “Thank you all for comin’ out tonight! I hope you had a great night!” and The Killers left the stage.

If I was only allowed to go to one concert this year, The Killers’ show would have been well worth it.

(View my pictures from the concert here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37265427@N06/sets/72157617548237223/)


AP Tour

April 18, 2009

Band line up: A Rocket to the Moon, Hit the Lights, the Maine, 3OH!3, Family Force 5

I arrive back at my favorite concert venue, The Beaumont. The same place I have seen some of my favorite bands. The All-American Rejects being the most recent. My jaw drops in astonishment. As I scan the line of people wrapping all the way from the doors to the tour busses; only to get longer. The five bands performing for the AP Tour this year I never would have thought to be so popular. Wrong, as usual. I aproached the line, people stopping to ask me if I had any extra tickets. “No, sorry.” I reply. (I later found out the tour in Kansas City sold out.) I bask under the warm Spring sun, wearing my purple zebra print skinny jeans. I tell ya, patience while in line for a concert can be hard work. Sometime around 6:20 I became fidgety, when doors were supposed to open at 6:00 pm. I turn around to see the line has now began to wrap into the parking garage. Thank gawd that’s not me. Is all I was thinking. A line of girls skipping yell exuburantly, one of them holds up a sign. It reads, “The Maine signing at 6:30”. Hell yeah! I thought, but instead I reply “Whooo!!” and lift my arms.

 I stood next to a tour bus, and after I while I started to wonder. As I saw people who I guessed to be the crew walk in and out of that bus I was curious which band was in there. The door swung open and I saw Pat Kirch from the Maine hold the door open. Each member walks out and last, but definitely not least, John O’Callaghan steps out. Practically gasping I exclaim to my mother, “Dude, that’s John O from the Maine!” One of the guys behind me leans over and tells me, “You should ask to use their bathroom.” I smile in reply. (He and his friend are a whole other story. College boys; I tell ya!)

By the time the line actually starts to move it’s at least 6:30. Once I arrive in the building the place is thundering with loud music. Kids strutting around, people checking out merchandise, and others have already found their spot on the crowded floor. Antsy, I run over to the line for the Maine signing while my mom finds seats in the balcony. Bitting my nails, I watch the line, trying to mentally prepare myself for when I meet the band. As I begin to come some-what close to the signing table, two women walk towards the line. Counting bodies they turn to us and tell us they have to cut the line before the first band is on stage. The women cut the line a girl ahead of me. The girl explains to them how she’s with her friends so they end up letting her stay. “Awww!” I cry out. “The guys are good about staying after the show.” one of the ladies tell the line. Attempting to be hopeful, I slump back over to my mother.

The lights finally go out and the stage lights are turned on. I take a good look at the crowd and breath in hot air. Never have I seen such an energetic crowd. I feel like a part of me is missing not being able to be a part of that this time around. A Rocket to the Moon come on stage ready to rock. Reader, have I told you I adore red heads like Travis Clark and Nick Santino as well? No lie, it’s true. Though so far I’ve only deemed him and Travis Clark worthy. I was a bit iffy about A Rocket to the Moon when I sampled them on iTunes, but they really were great live. Good sound tinged with fun is such a great combination, don’t you think? A Rocket to the Moon’s sound was more fresh, less techno (well, only Nick’s old stuff sounds like that).

Yes, I have heard of Hit the Lights. Though they are another one of those bands who I think I’d like, but end up completely disagreeing with myself. There is something about his vocals that really annoys me. When I say whiny, I mean the person will savor one word to long and/or put too much force into singing. I think that was part of the problem. I guess I’m just a bit fastidious. While Hit the Lights were on stage I did not become a fan, though I did enjoy watching them perform. For me, if I am having fun that’s all that really matters. I watched the guys headbang and jump around the stage to some of their more pop sounding tunes, which I must admit was quite entertaining. Indeed I moved around a little myself, but I liked people-watching more. Kids had already begun to crowd surf and numerous boys were taking their shirts off. Some of ’em even swung their shirts high above heads in the air! This may sound slightly rude, but I was not at all dissappointed when Hit the Lights left the stage. I was eager for the Maine’s performance to start!

The intermission before the Maine were set to perform was longer. I could just feel that this is when the show would really begin. I’m getting a picture with John O! I kept repeating to myself over and over in my head. The Maine walked onto the stage and I went completely wild with girlish screams. John wore all black, making it hard for me to make him out with only the stage lights shining down on his soon to be sweating body. Each band said “f*ck” regularly, but I wasn’t going to take the time to complain. I became amused by John’s introductions before the Maine played each song. When the Maine played “Into Your Arms” John asked if the lights could be turned off to “set the mood”. Everything was pitch black aside from the flashing cameras being raised. “This song’s about sex,” said John and boy, I cannot tell you how many screams he recieved in return. — John O did mention that the band promotes safe sex.– Each member of the Maine did fantastic at keeping me entertained. Prancing around in their skinny jeans; and I loved when someone would stand on the speakers! John was probably the best lead singer to get the crowd involved in the performance (ag, I’m overusing this word). He even had the crowd form a “circle of love”. “Hey, dude.” John repeated over and over until he got some guy’s attention. “From you, I wanna see the best dance moves of all time.” More howls from the crowd as well as mine. John said, “I wanna see boys and girls making out!” “I know some of ’em are kinda  young…” one of the guitarists trailed off. “I know I wear girl jeans, but I would be making out with all these hot girls!” admitted John. Crowd surfing was going on through their set as well. A kid reached the stage and John spoke, “You’re kinda wild. I like you.” John O constantly splashed the crowd with his bottles of water. If only I had a good digital camera, that would have made for a brilliant photo.

My favorite song they performed was their cover of Akon’s “I Wanna Love You” from 2008’s Punk Goes Crunk. Of course I had to dance to this song, it was too irresistable! Though close runners up were “Girls Do What They Want” and “Into Your Arms”. To top off the Maine’s fabulous performance John said, “Hold on guys, I’m f*ckin’ comin’ out there.” He stood atop a speaker ready to jump into the crowd’s raised arms. People began clapping him on and finally, John jumped! It looked like the girls would swallow him whole and all I was thinking was, That must take a lot of trust!

3OH!3. Man, these boys are funny. And they were a lot less annoying without all the half naked girls in their music video. Offensive lyrics and a wild performance matched together creates a good crowd response. Opening their set with “Punk Bitch” the crowd goes nuts with shrill screams and crowd surfing. Judging by the crowd response, at least two thirds of the kids at that show were there for 3OH!3. As annoying as 3OH!3’s song “Starstrukk” can get I sang along. I knew the lyrics and if you don’t take it seriously then the song is fine. The view of the crowd from the balcony was amazing. Watching everyone push, shove, bounce, and crowd surf was interesting! 3OH!3’s “gang sign” was flashed several times throughout their performance. Sean and Nat had a good sense of awkward humor. “I never took ballet, yet I’m silky.” Sean said, moving around the stage. Flailing his arms in positions that were supposed to be karate moves. Walking towards a guitarist Sean lifting his leg as if he would kick him. “You see that,” he spoke into the microphone. “easy.” Sean repeated a couple times. “I could,” *pause* “kill you.” Sean said, calmly,  lifting his leg once again to the guitar player. Nat was swishing his long dark hair around as he danced. As a crowd surfer just about reached the stage one of the guys asked, “Dude, where’s your shirt?” The boy said something I couldn’t hear and the next thing I heard was one of the guys asking, “Is this your shirt?” “No, this is a white shirt.” and Nat threw the T-shirt to him. Later, Sean was shaking his hips after finishing one of their songs. “AWKWARD!” He cries out into the mic. Turning around he continues, “You know what we do with awkward silences? We take them and make them more awkward.” After a good performance, I think I might just buy their album.

As soon as 3OH!3 finished their set at least half the crowd began to leave. “Nooo!” I said. “This isn’t fair to Family Force 5.” I felt bad knowing that Family Force 5 wouldn’t get the same crowd response. Though some people stayed a tad longer to buy 3OH!3 gear I watched them leave the venue as well.

Did I mention Tuesday, April 14, 2009 was a special day? Why? You ask. Let me inform you, Tuesday, Soul Glow Activatur (also known as Solomon Olds) turned thirty years old! Members from some of the previous bands (including 3OH!3) came out and sang to Soul Glow and the remains of the crowd followed their lead. Sean of 3OH!3 smashed Sol’s face right into his cake lit with 30 candles. “Aw, you suck!” Solomon said, wiping the frosting off of his face with a towel. “Now you’re gonna have to lick it off!” Soul Glow Activatur yelled. Sean walked over and licked icing right from Sol’s cheek, picked Solomon up and swung him around!

Family Force 5 mounted the stage, filling the room with good energy. Each member dressed in a red, longsleeved shirt and white skinny jeans. Soul Glow Activatur introduced each member, “This is Phatty. This handsome devil here is Chap Stique. Nadaddy, and this twig of a drummer is Crouton.” Family Force 5 are probably some of the best and most choreographed performers if we are talkin’ bands. With complete honestly, I can say, Family Force 5 DID NOT get nearly enough attention for their performance! The guitarists would stand on the gigantic speakers and Sol’s loud screams were deliciously deffening. The drummer, Crouton, would get up and do freaking hand stands… on the drums!!! How can you not enjoy that glorious maddness?!?! The now small, empty balcony’s only life left was me, headbanging and cheering at Family Force 5’s wicked dance moves. I absolutely loved “Supersonic” live and the reaction of each band members on stage. With their over-the-top enthusiasm really made Family Force 5’s performance worth while. During one of their songs, Sean of 3OH3 came out and started dancing around. There stood a board in the back, and when you touched a square section, it would light up. Sean skipped his way over there, punching the board in a pattern. To sum it up, Family Force 5’s performance was perfectly courageous and definitely a “force” to be reckoned with.

The show ended and I walked on over to the merchandise tables. I spotted Nick Santino signing EPs and taking pictures. He was just about the skinniest thing! With big red hair standing up, I almost didn’t recognize him. “Can I get a picture with you?” I asked hopeful, a smile spread wide across my face. “Sure.” Nick replied, sweeping (yes, actually sweeping) his arm over my shoulder. *sigh* I will cherish that photo forever and always, for I got a picture with Nick Santino! Glancing quickly around the room. Hurriedly (I had a test the next day, so I had to get home) I couldn’t find John O’Callaghan. Though at the Maine’s merch table was Garrett Nickelsen, the bass player of the Maine. He and his “uber cool self” allowed me to take a picture with him too. At the last second I licked my lips, long story short. I ruined the picture. Oh well, at least Garrett looked awfully cute!

This night shall be remembered.


The All-American Rejects

April 10, 2009

Band line up: Vedera, Ace Enders and a Million Different People, Shiny Toy Guns, The All-American Rejects

Walking towards my favorite concert venue was nerve wracking. My heart thumped loudly in my chest. My conscience screaming in my ears, Tonight you are going to see The All-American Rejects!!! My mother and I are almost to the line when I see the drummer, Chris Gaylor, from The All-American Rejects right in front of me. He’s talking on his cell phone so there is no way I’ll get a picture with him. I show him a big smile that says, I know who you are!And he winks at ME and walks behind a fence. I stop and turn to my mom. “What?” she says. I slap her arm and yell, “The drummer from The All-American Rejects just winked at me!!!” “What? He did? I didn’t see him.” she replies, confused. “That was him back there he was talking on the phone and he winked at me!” yell back at her. “I didn’t take a good look at him.” my mother replies. I instantly knew this was going to be a good night. What a great way to kick off the first concert of the year, don’t ya think? — Let me just say this. I never really thought Chris Gaylor was cute. He is adorable in person and surprisingly a lot slimmer standing up. (I have a fetish for nose rings.)–

It seems as if we stood in line forever, but we got there just in time. A few moments after we came a boat load of more kids came. I payed my minor fee and showed them my ticket. Since The Beaumont had been redone I liked it much better. I wandered towards the huge merch table crammed full of AAR T-shirts. “C’mon Phoen. We gotta get our seats.” I followed my mom to the balcony. “Wait, I want to check for floor seats.” I rushed down the stairs and reserved a spot a few feet away from the stage. Closer to the side than the middle, I was happy anyway.

At first I had mixed feelings about Vedera. Though it’s hard not to like them because one, they are also from Kansas City. And two, the female lead singer, Kristin May, is awesome. Vedera walks onto the stage grabbing their guitars and taking their places. Being the first band sucks sometimes. Actually, most of the time it bites to be the first band. I didn’t know any of Vedera’s songs though some sounded familiar. Probably thirty second iTunes clips. Kristen has a really powerful voice that I enjoyed listening to. A band is really only as good as it is live  and Vedera didn’t get enough respect for their well earned performance. She sang, played guitar, played piano, and even dance around a little.

Ah, yes. Ace Enders (and a Million Different People). I had listened to a song or two online and was disappointed with the lead singer’s vocal talent. Though the instrumental was alright. His voice was a bit whiny for me, but at least he was putting some effort into it.  I did like one of the songs I sampled, though I can’t recall the name. It was slow and calming.  Ace Enders finish their sound check and walk on stage. The two girls in front of me are getting on my last nerve. They are wearing their hair up in high ponytails. Each time they move their heads their hair swishes right in my face. I was constantly holding my hand up as a shield. I stand on my tip toes, at the same time attempting to keep my balance. As Ace Enders begin their set I am caught off guard by the sound. Never have I been two feet away from the stage. My ears are beginning to get used to the sound, but I can feel the vibrations from the noise in my chest.The band jumps around, head bangs a little. Finally the crowd starts to get with the picture. “Run faster, faster.” are the only two words I can remember of their first song. Because Ace Enders were having fun and totally feeling Kansas City I jumped around too, enjoying the moments that time would steal soon. “How is Kansas City doin’ tonight?” the lead singer would ask numerous times. The crowd howled back with excitement. They sang a song about getting old. “Who knows what I’m talkin’ about?” he asked. “Yeah, I’m gettin’ old…. Like 107.”  (he’s really only 26) That made me smile. Ace Enders and a Million Different People sang a song called “Bring Back Love (Year 2020)”. The lead singer, Ace, (Yes that’s really his name) gave us an introduction about how people care too much about money and there doesn’t seem to be enough love. Ace told us to “get cheesy” and wave our hands from side to side “like we are hippies or something.” We sang those three words, “bring back love” over and over even after the music had stopped and everyone seemed a little tamer.

While waiting for Shiny Toy Guns, you know how the venue will sometimes play background music? Well, all of the sudden “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by JET comes on. I adore this song so of course I started to sing along as well as many other people. I was spazzing out dancing around in the little space I had. “Big black boots, long brown hair. She’s so sweet with her get back stare.” I sang loudly. After that they played “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. During the song, Shiny Toy Guns’ sound check started and blocked out parts of the song. Things quieted for a moment and I could hear the start of “Somebody Told Me” by The Killers. Then odd noises began to buzz again and I could barely hear the song.

Shiny Toy Guns. I cannot say I’m a fan. Their performance was theatrical and though they didn’t say much, it looked like Shiny Toy Guns were putting a heck of a lot of effort into that performance.  Their stage lighting with smokescreen, their makeup, and sound reminded my mom of 80’s New Wave bands. The drummer was wearing gloves and head phones, banging away at his drums. I did really like “Ghost Town” which I bobbed my head to. The female singer has a high pitched voice and what shrill screams can escape her mouth! I think I took three good pictures of them and decided to save the rest of my memory card for The All-American Rejects performance.

The crowd had to wait a bit longer. During this wait a mosh pit did not start, but the crowd would push backwards and forwards. When I was pushed I started freaking out. I must have had some look on my face because the next thing I know a girl smiles and asks me, “Is this your first concert?” “No.” I reply. “I’m just freaking out.”

The lights dim. The All-American Rejects sign lights up. I hear music and the crowd is wild with butterflies of excitement boiling in them. I scream at the top of my lungs. The crowd begins to push. The lights of the AAR sign flicker and I can tell they will open with “I Wanna”. Tyson, Chris, Nick, Mike run onto the stage. It takes a minute, but sooner than I know Tyson starts singing. The crowd goes mad and every time I jump off the ground I feel like I’ll fall on someone. People surround just about every inch of me and I’m finding it hard to breathe. Occasionally when I jump a gust of fresh air will find me. “How you doin’ tonight Kansas Ci-tay?!” Tyson asks, mischievously. I scream hard, unable to hear myself. “How you doin’ Kansas City bitches?!” He asks again, saying “bitches” fast. More screams, howls, and swoons from the crowd. “Girls, say dirty.” Tyson moans. “Dirty!” the crowd and I yell back. “Say dirty!” Tyson says again. “Dirty!” I scream back, grinning. This goes on for a couple of times and leads into the song “Dirty Little Secret”. I am sweating. This is the first time I have ever perspired at a concert. No lie. Strange as this sounds, I loved it. Especially when I would feel the the breeze overhead. I had my crappy digital camera whipped out throughout The All-American Rejects’ whole performance. Tyson leans close to me and I barely saw it. A tall guy behind me and my mom grabs my camera and tries to take his picture. “Aw, sorry.” the guy says. I thank him anyway because not many people are nice enough to take a good picture for me. Later a fan-girl yelled “I love you Tyson!” The guy who used my camera asked me, “Who’s Tyson?” “Is he the lead singer?” “Yeah.” I replied. “He’s gay.” the tall guy said back, his chin resting a few inches over his girlfriend’s head. “What? No, I love him too!” I defended. “No, look at the way he’s dressed and the way he talks and acts.” he paused for a minute. “Maybe he’s bi if you’re lucky.” he joked. I giggled. I don’t believe Tyson is gay. He is just a performer and a maybe a tad of an attention seeker (meant in the best possible way) on stage. I’ve had a crush on him since the third grade and that isn’t changing anytime soon.

The acoustic rendition of “Mona Lisa” was really beautiful. “You can sit beside me when the world comes down. If it doesn’t matter then just turn around.”

I loved how every now and then Nick Wheeler the guitarist closest to me would have this grin slowly spread across his face. He’d lean over ever so slightly and a few of the girls in front of me would scream, throwing their hands out to him… But so did I a couple of times *wink*. 

Tyson got off the stage while he was singing and walked through the little passage way that spaced out the crowd from the stage. As soon as I saw him get down I jumped, stretching my arm out as far as possible. Other kids did the same. We smooshed each other, one of top of the other. Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach him. 

 I don’t remember what order the songs were played or all of the songs they did play. I just remember I had an effing great time. The All-American Rejects sang “The Last Song” and I had a bad feeling this was it. And it was. Until the crowd began chanting, “ONE MORE SONG.” over and over again. Until finally they came back out for two or three more songs. Yes, AAR did play “Gives You Hell”, seriously, how could they not??

The show did come to an end at last. As people slowly spread out, The All-American Rejects threw guitar picks off the stage. I pushed back towards the stage attempting to catch one. Then Mike threw set lists, and the crowd gobbled them whole. As soon as I saw one of the guys grab a towel I knew it would be complete madness. He threw it. A mob of girls attacked it. Literally. It was pretty brutal to watch. I walked off towards the merchandise tables once more, eyeing a T-shirt I really wanted (and ended up purchasing). Two of the band members from Vedera were giving away free EP/samplers, signing them, and taking pictures. The guy hands me an EP and I asked him to sign it. “Sure!” he says with a smile. He was extremely nice and when he smiled he looked even cuter with his long hair. (What can I say? I am in fact a fan-girl, but it’s not like I build shrines for them. Just saying, “he’s cute”. Simple as that.) I get a picture with Kristen May and Ace from Ace Enders and a Million Other People.

I honestly can say this was one of the best concerts I have ever attended. Seeing a band I’ve been listening to since third grade, one of the bands who got me listening to rock music. C’mon, it doesn’t get much better. Having one of the band members wink at me, seriously. I was practically hysterical during the car ride home. Much thanks to my mother who takes me to these shows! Thanks to each band for coming out and special thanks to The All-American Rejects. Thank you for enjoying the Kansas City crowd because no one ever favors us!

— Nixie


Who Watches The Watchmen?

March 11, 2009

03/08/09

Who watches the Watchmen?

I did. Though I missed the premiere on Friday, I made it to a matinee show Sunday afternoon. –I usually loathe Sundays, I find them miserable. Knowing that another week of school starts the very next day. Back to the movie.– I am a superhero movie geek. I’ve seen every Spider Man movie, most of the X-Men films, Electra, Dare Devil, Superman Returns, Batman Begins , Batman: Dark Knight, (In fact, when I was around five and seven, I used to watch the “Batman Beyond” series. For for Christmas last year, one of the gifts I received was the first PG-13 Batman cartoon movie! “Batman: Gotham Knight”.) Iron Man, Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Wanted. Though I am yet to see “Push” and interested in the new “Wolverine” movie they have in store for us later this year!

Fresh out of reading the graphic novel I remembered just about everything. Seeing scenes from the movie and the book collaborate together. The special effects made certain things stand out, the most noticeable being their costumes. The patterns and nutural matalic colors on Nite Owl and Ozymandias suits were simply neat. Doctor Manhattan’s glow of energy was almost a soft neon blue in a way. It made me think the things he’d touch would feel a slight electric shock. The actors and actresses looked almost exactly alike to their characters in the book. Malin Åkerman was the perfect woman to play the Silk Spectre. Although her costume was revealing, I loved the patent shine. Rorschach was my favorite character and still remains my favorite character. I found that I became addcited his edge, his merciless personality, and his black and white shape changing mask. The quote that I can remember most of Rorschach’s is also my favorite. “All the whores and politicians will look up and shout, ‘Save us!’… and I will whisper, ‘No.'” The film production of “Watchmen” stayed true to the book down to certain quotes from the characters, but minor scenes were rearranged and taken out. Most importantly, the ending was changed. I do miss the newspaper stand parts which would include another comic that vaguely relates to the some of the plot.

Watchmen opens up with small bits of the past. Shots of the original Watchmen. Pictures being taken. The actual move begins with The Comedian’s death. His death was precise and the track that was playing during that scene was Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” made it seem elegant in a twisted way. The Comedian put up a pretty good fight before he was thrown out a window. Though what do you expect? He’s six foot two and more than two hundred pounds of muscle. The movie basicly revolves around his death, opening up into inner and outter conflict that the characters have.

I never had payed much attention to the doomsday clock in the novel, but now that I look over the chapters it shows a small picture of it in each illustration of the chapters. The director captured each character so precisely. From their look so their inner fear, struggles, misunderstandings, and personality. While reading “Watchmen” I found it hard to relate to Dr.Manhattan because he was treated like a god, yet he couldn’t relate nor understand human beings. In the film, I became much more attached to him for a number of reasons (and no, not because he was nude… *awkward silence*). First of all the actor who played Doctor Manhattan was Billy Crudup who happened to be Russell from “Almost Famous“. I have a favorite quote of his as well *wink*. “She is beautiful. After each long kiss, she plants a smaller, gentler one upon my lips, like a signature.” They kept this in the movie and I was thrilled about this.

“Watchmen” is filled with non-stop violence and action that can be painful to watch, yet leaves you waiting for the next scene whether it’s chilling and gut-wrenching (I cringed once or twice) or a kissing scene that could possibly turn into a sex scene. The emotion I felt while in the theatre at times was overwhelming for me. Without reading the book most things will take you by surprise and leave you pondering later on. It is complex and confusing and I don’t know how many people are able to put the events together to find who The Comedian’s killer is.

Walking out of the theatre dazed, mouthing the lyrics to My Chemical Romance’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row”. The first word that entered my mind was brutal (Don’t you love that word?) All in all, the graphic novel and the movie are pure brilliance. Allan Moore is a genious for even thinking of an idea for a book so strangely intricate that unfolds and leaves you thinking. (I think you readers are growing tired of my variations of the word “complex”.) This is by far the best superhero movie I have ever seen and maybe even the best superhero movie ever made. FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS.


REVIEW: “Burned” by Ellen Hopkins

January 31, 2009

My mother was kind enough to pick a copy up for me a few days ago. I devoured the whole book in one day. I was glued to just about every page as I was addicted to Ethan and Pattyn’s romance, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Pattyn Von Stratten is a good Mormon girl. She feels plain,as she takes care of her stay-at-home mother’s jobs like cleaning, washing clothes, and taking care of her six younger siblings (technically five) along with the help of her favorite sister. While her mother lays around the house all day. When her father comes home with “Joannie” most nights, there is trouble. The kids are rushed back to their rooms as their mother takes the blow. The abuse. Pattyn has her first sex dream, and it involves her school crush. Though instead of kissing Justin, it is Derrick who steals her heart for the moment. After the first kiss there are a lot more, with tequila and beer along the way. One day her father finds her in the said, “compromising position”, and things keep going in a downward spiral for Pattyn until finally her father sends her to live with her Aunt J for the summer.

Living with Pattyn’s Aunt J was supposed to be a punishment not a reward, but things start to go Pattyn’s way. Then she meets Ethan. This can’t just be a summer fling, right? Right. Ethan shows Pattyn love, more than she had asked for. Though if her father were to ever find out she was dating than, Ethan who was not Mormon, they both would be dead. Literally. Pattyn has to go back home at the end of summer vacation. *** SPOILER ALERT*** As Pattyn takes the abuse from her father, bruises and blood are left. After that she finds out she is pregnant. Pregnant with Ethan’s baby. Plans are made for Ethan to come down and get Pattyn one day after school to take some time to ponder what they are going to do. Not noticing someone has taken off their licence plates, the police attempt to pull Ethan and Pattyn over during their “escape” drive. Pattyn orders Ethan not to stop, go faster. Until the accident. Ethan and the baby are both gone, dead. Pattyn is devastated (so was I) and decides life no longer matters….

I absolutely adored this book. I was intrigued with Pattyn and Ethan’s romance, which I wish could be real ALL the time. I loved her Aunt J, she reminded me of the woman who played Bella’s (Twilight) mother IN THE MOVIE. Happy, outgoing, smart, loving. I wish I had an aunt like that, cross that, I do. I was terribly annoyed that her mother, her sister, nor her own self told anyone (minus Ethan) about their beatings from their father/husband. This book explored the emotions of  joy, excitement, lust and love, complete with anger, hurt, devastation, and tragedy. Weaving together a masterpiece, which I would recommend to any Ellen Hopkins fans or just someone looking for a quick yet intriguing and beautiful read. FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS.


REVIEW: The Killers – Day & Age

January 2, 2009

01/02/09

 

200px-killers_day_age3As the instrumentals begin the sound remind me of a cowboy tune, not country but cowboy.  Like Muse’s “Knights Of Cydonia”. Brandon Flower’s flawless vocals that I’ve loved since second grade started singing, ” Console me in my darkest hour, could this be that the truth is always grey. Caress me in your velvet chair, conceal me from the ghost you cast away. I’m in no hurry, you go run and tell your friends I’m losing touch.” The first track is already brilliant with its unique sound and beautiful lyrics. The next song is one of the first I heard off of this record, I believe it’s called “Human”?  The Killers played “Human and “Spaceman” on Saturday Night Live and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, now that is big. Rolling Stone magazine has already given the album, song, and new music video for “Human” five stars and I must agree with this choice. “And I’m on my knees looking for the answer… you gotta let me know.” Two singles in a row?? Yes, “Spaceman” happens to be the next track. Again Flowers leads the way with his vocals, “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, ooooh-oh.”

The Killers have always striked me as a band who seemed to have been a classic forever, like The Beatles. I adore the creative lyrics from “Spaceman” and “A Dustland Fairytale”. I am happy when I listen to music and if so I sing. I was singing to “Spaceman”  even if my voice is terrible I enjoy singing to my favorite songs.

Here comes that cowboy sound again with “Joy Ride”. I flip through the cover art. (Did I ever tell you cover art is one of my favorite things in purchasing a CD?) A picture of each of the band members created with speckled dots to match their skin tone, hair, and shirt. It seems odd, but truly creative. “A Dustland Fairytale” was one of my favorites on this album. Flowers sang of a kiss, Cinderella in a party dress looking for a gown, her price looks as she has always wanted him too, yet something is not right. Decoding lyrics is one of my specialties, I wonder what was going through their head at the time to create something so brutal or astonishingly beautiful.

As the track listing goes on I listen to, “This Is Your Life” and “I Can’t Stay”. “I Can’t Stay” is one of my favorites, the simple lyrics make me want to dance and sing along. It has a similar sounding intrumentals, but only in certain parts like Fall Out Boy’s “w.a.m.s”. I don’t know what it sounded similar too though. “In the dark for a while now, I can’t stay… much longer.”

I promise you, if I were ever graced with the chance to see The Killers, I wouldn’t care if I only went to at least two shows that year. All I would ask for is a phenomenal performance, great sound, and of course pictures taken with my digital camera. The song, “Neon Tiger” is interesting because from what I got out of it, Flowers was singing of being free. “Run neon tiger, you’ve got a lot on your mind.” The last track on the album was finally here, “Goodnight, Travel Well”. As soon as I heard  the guitar, bass, and drums Flowers vocals matched the tune along with the lyrics. The Killers know how to end it good. This was definitely a five star album if you are a fan of The Killers you should go grab a copy at Target for only $9.99. Even if you are new to The Killers you should try it out by listening to the tracks on YouTube or iTunes. And with that, I shall conclude my review.

Losing Touch 4 stars

Human 4 stars

Spaceman 5 stars

Joy Ride 4 stars

A Dustland Fairytale 5 stars

This Is Your Life 4.5 stars

I Can’t Stay 4.5 stars

Neon Tiger 4 stars

The World We Live In 4.5 stars

Goodnight, Travel Well 5 stars