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Wild At Heart

Wild At Heart

Just in the middle of doing some work when I came across a story that oone of my favorite actresses, Brittany Murphy died Sunday morning after collapsing at her Hollywood Hills home. I was attracted to her ability to take fragile characters and give them a certain smartness and sexiness, esp in movies like "Girl, Interrupted", "8 Mile" and "Sin City". She is one of the few actresses that could get me to see a film based on their track record. She also dabbled in music with her group 'Blessed Soul' and a club hit, "Faster Kill Pussycat", she had with Paul Oakenfold.

That same day, Big Brother and the Holding Company guitarist James Gurley also passed away. He was born right here in Detroit. Last week, bassist Chris Feinstein of Ryan Adams & The Cardinals also passed on.

I went this weekend to see the opening of the "Jersey Boys" at the Fisher Theatre. The "Jersey Boys" is a documentary-style musical based on the lives of one of the most successful 1960s rock 'n roll groups, the Four Seasons. In 1960, the group known as The Four Lovers evolved into The Four Seasons, with Frankie Valli as the lead singer, Bob Gaudio (formerly of The Royal Teens - remember the hit "Who Wears Short Shorts"?) on keyboards and tenor vocals, Tommy DeVito on lead guitar and baritone vocals, and Nick Massi on bass guitar and bass vocals. The musical, which won 4 Tony Awards, takes a stroll down memory lane giving the audience a look at how the band formed including looks into the life of a Jersey teenager. It goes on to hit some of the high points that formed the style and success of the group. The Four Seasons are something of a musical enigma since they charted 30 songs (with an additional 9 by Franki Valli) but yet remained somewhat away from the radar of most critics and music writers. Even during their heyday, more attention went to their contemporaries such as the Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, etc but none of them have a successful musical based on their lives. I wasn't sure what to expect opening night, but I found a compelling story filled with facts I didn't know about including the role actor Joe Pesci had in getting the group together and ties with the Jersey mob. This story is beautifully bookended by a ton of their hits which are explained including "Sherry" (originally Cheri), "Walk Like a Man", my personal favorite "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" and Can't Take My Eyes Off You". The play is very high energy and it is hard not to sing along with the actors onstage who really bring the band and the era alive. This is right up their with "Mama Mia" though I like this a lot more. This is a must-see musical esp for rock N roll fans. My grade is an A+.

At the theatre, I do apologize for not getting this out last week and I regret it speciafically since it is a terrific film. The movie "Skin" biographical film about Sandra Laing (Sophie Okonedo), a South African woman born to white parents but was classified as coloured during the apartheid era. her parents are played wonderfully by Sam Neill (Abraham Laing) as the hard nosed father fights for her daughter to be white but has trouble accepting people of color himself and Alice Krige (Sannie Laing) as her mother who fights for her happiness no matter what path she takes. Sophie brings a nice complexity to her character and the director does a good job not getting too preachy with the material. South Africa at this time really had no compassion for the coloroed people of the area with frequent displacement from their homes and basic lack of rights. The scene which does it for me is during a school physical, a doctor takes a pair of calipers to her head to measure her brain size. I can't imagine the humiliation involved in something like that and I applaud the cast and director for bringing this movie to the screen. A very must see film. My grade is an A.

I mentioned "The Maid" over the weekend and admit to being a little disappointed based on the description of the film, however the movie does have an interesting story of a maid who has been with a household for 23 years. When Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) begins to suffer dizzy spells from exhaustion her boss, Pilar, decides to hire an additional maid to assist Raquel in her everyday chores. Raquel is fiercely territorial and works hard to drive away her rival maids until Lucy comes along. She is also strong-willed and quickly learns how to reach Raquel eventually becoming a close friend which gets Raquel out of her shell and learing to enjoy life beyond the household. While a bit slow at times, the movie does a great job looking at the life of one woman and her period of personal growth. A nice film which gets a B+ out of me.

I see a bunch of days this upcoming week with no concerts of note for me but that is to be expected during the holidays. I hope everyone has a nice Christmas and I'll see you all after the holiday.

Tuesday (12/22)-

Wednesday (12/23) - Sounds and Spirits @ magic Stick featuring a ton of local bands including The Hard Lessons, The Satin Peaches, Silverghost, Friendly Foes, Outrageous Cherry, Amy Gore, The Octopus, The Mydols and a lot more including some local rock supergroups. Polish Muslims @ Berkley Front

Thursday (12/24) -

Friday (12/25) - Merry Christmas

Saturday (12/26) Goober and the Peas @ St Andrews Hall, Koffin Kats @ Small's, Sponge w/Mansfield Park and Giftus @ Crofoot, Jeff Daniels @ Purple Rose Theatre

Sunday (12/27) Mustard Plug and Flatfoot 56 @ Magic Stick, Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Palace Of Auburn Hills

I also hope to see some people down at the Little Ceasar's Pizza Bowl at Ford Field as Ohio takes on Marshall. Also, local movie fans can head down for a free event at the Crofoot this Wednesday as they present "CHIEF PONTIAC'S HOLIDAY MOVIE NIGHT" with new works by Matt Barth, Laura SchwartzCHWARTZ, Erin Cosens and more.

I'll leave you with a Los Straitjackets Christmas song.