Full disclosure: I'm already a big Beyoncé fan. Waking up last Friday to see that Beyoncé had released a new album felt a little bit like an early Christmas gift. No promotion, no warning; Bey had basically put the album in my stocking with a wink and a nod. At that, I'd have been pleased even if the album was just okay.
But it's not. It's better than okay; it's pretty incredible. I wanted to give it some time before I tried to review it because I knew I was riding so high off of the shock element... and the fact that her new album was finally here. But even after the surprise elements fade away, I haven't been able to turn this record off. The only other albums this year that have been like that for me have been Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady and Jay Z's Magna Carta... Holy Grail — so Bey is in good company.
I mentioned in my post on Friday that I was on my way to see the Backstreet Boys and I wasn't lying. I am wholeheartedly (still) a Backstreet Boys fan and their show in Camden, NJ on Friday, Aug. 16, marked my 10th Backstreet Boys concert. I had pit tickets, as well as their Gold VIP Package. So how'd it go? Was it worth it? Am I full of regret for how much money I spent on just one evening? Am I just really embarrassed that I'm an adult and this is my life?
Update 8/13/13: This review originally incorrectly identified the actors in the roles discussed below. The article has been updated. Thanks to the commenters who pointed out the mistake.
About a week and a half ago I was in Philadelphia for my cousin's wedding, and spent the following day doing some sightseeing. It was raining the entire day, so me and the group I was with decided that we should go see a show at night. It so happened that Wicked was playing across the street at the famous Academy of Music, so we bought some tickets.
I wasn't there specifically to review the show, of course, but I committed as much of it as possible to memory, and then wrote the first draft of what's below the next day as I traveled to Williamsburg, VA.
Warning: This review contains major spoilers for the show, so if you haven't seen it and don't wish to know anything about it, turn back now!
Over the weekend, Penn and Teller stopped by the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. I bought tickets to this event for my boyfriend as part of his Christmas gift, after he went through a phase where he was marathoning the duo's Showtime program with a name that's somewhat inappropriate for this blog. (It sounds like "bull pit" though!)
Personally, I've never had strong feelings about Penn and Teller one way or another. Prior to Saturday, I knew only what I'd gathered from half-watching their show. I knew I liked their logo, a red ampersand. I also knew one of them was super tall and loud, while the other was short and silent. I did not know who was who and my understanding of their schtick was that they sort of did magic (maybe?) but they really liked trying to dispel myths about things.
Here's what I, a semi-indifferent viewer, thought of the show (and if you want to see a review of their Vegas show, check out Mike's piece!):
Last year was one of firsts at Coachella®. It was the first time it brought a holographic singer to the stage. More than that, it was also the first time it spread to two weekends. Although the first first is not likely to come back, at least for now (one of companies involved folded shortly after), the second was apparently successful enough for other festivals to adopt it. This year the Ultra Music Festival did it in March, and the Austin City Limits Festival® will do it in October.
Although it's the in thing right now, this practice actually originated much earlier than last year. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage FestivalTM, for example, has run two weekends since 1976. So there was some precedent for this before 2012 — it just took a while for other festivals to catch up.