Five Things I Am Into Right Now, May 2012

All hail the month for pop media!

Shows are ending on TV and the blockbusters are here each weekend, arriving like new loud neighbors to disturb the quiet neighborhood and old homeowners.  It is hard for me not to put on my geek hat, put down my copy of Charles Dickens, and relish in this time.

Literary degree be damned, it is just time to have fun- look it is sunny again. Actual sunlight!

Sigh…

So in this list I embrace the fun. For example, check out my number one:

The Avengers

I loved this movie.

In many ways, it captures what I always felt comics and comic book movies should be. In other words, it is fun. This is not moody or overly dark, this is straight-up heroes saving the world, and really do we need anything more?

What I loved most about the movie are the things that surprised me in it. For one, the humor really added to the film, to the point I can’t imagine the characters or plot really surviving without it. It makes the film in so many ways.

Also, I loved the fact that you could tell that Joss Whedon (writer and director extraordinaire) is another comic book fan since he creates so many comic book dreams for the watchers. What happens when Thor’s hammer meets Captain America’s shield? You can find out here.

Seriously, buy a ticket to this one and have a good time.

Rufus Wainwright, Out of the Game

When my son was born, my wife kept joking that Rufus was going to be referred to as Uncle Rufus. See, my wife wants to be friends with him, go shopping with him, have him hang out at our house. We have seen him about four times in concert now, and a part of me always wonders if she secretly hopes he will see her in the audience and say “There, there is my new best friend. Make way everyone for my new best friend.”

The thing is with being a Rufus fan is he has kind of been in a different place musically for a while now. His last album release was kind of dark with just a solo piano, he created an opera, and performed an entire concert as Judy Garland. Not exactly the same as releasing a new “April Fools” for the fans to sing along too

Rufus seems to acknowledge that point just in the title of his new CD.  Out of the Game feels like a return after a long absence. I won’t call it Want Three, but it feels really close. A really great album from an old “friend.”

Final Fantasy XIII-2

I know I “liked” this one in an earlier month, but it doesn’t feel honest not to mention a game that I end up playing for about an hour each and every evening.

While the plot is a little more loose than other Final Fantasy games, what I love about it is what it says about time and time travel (I care about this a little- see my novel My Problem With Doors here).

The two heroes spend their time trying to create a better future for their world, but here is the kicker that I’ve recently discovered, there are multiple other possible endings for the game, based on the decisions you make! They are called paradox endings, and they cover all of the different possibilities. For example, there is bleak, despair, and dark, as well as silly, romantic, and, well, plain awesome.

I love this concept, it almost feels groundbreaking to me to do this in a story, and I kind of wish I thought of it first; just imagine the possibilities in a post-modern novel… Okay, now stop imagining, this game beat you to it.

Typically, I am not the guy who spends his time trying to collect everything possible for an RPG game, but I can’t turn away from this one. It calls to me. I’ve even had a dream about playing the game. Man, that is not healthy.

Holy Musical B@tman

I wrote about Team Starkid just earlier this week here, but this is their new musical comedy on youtube.

Yes, Team Starkid plays are fun and surprising, but what I love is there is always something more than that to them… Here comes my corny bit- what I am talking about is heart.

They have a lot of heart in their plays that make them more special to watch. For example, in Holy Musical B@tman one of the themes throughout is the idea of companionship. All of the superheroes are loners, but they don’t want to be; however they don’t know how to be friends, because as Team Starkid wisely catches on to- they are all orphans. Genius!

FYI, this is not a show for the little ones in the household, but I recommend checking it out when you get a chance, and then check out their Harry Potter shows and Starship. You can find links to the show via the Team Starkid Web site here.

The Music of Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins is one of the last great jazz artists still around and performing. Today, sadly you almost only need your fingers to count the remaining living legends (Roy Haynes, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Dave Brubeck, etc.), but that is life. So let’s move on from that dark point to this- I am seeing Sonny Rollins in concert this October!

Woohoo! (And I do not Woohoo often)

I could not be more ecstatic about this. Sonny has always been one of my favorite saxophonists. I have most of his CDs on my ipod, and he is one of my go-to artists when I need to do something creative and I need the inspiration. The idea of seeing him in concert almost sounds like a religious experience to me now.

Yes, in October I am going to the church of Sonny.

Anyway, in preparation for the concert I’ve been re-listening to a lot of his music, and discovering some of his recent live releases like Without a Song, Road Show Volume 1 and Volume 2. I highly recommend all three… But if you don’t know Sonny, start with Saxophone Colossus and tell me that “St. Thomas” (the first track) doesn’t make you immediately smile?

See.

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