Monday, July 28, 2014

The Twin Cities Theater Scene 2014-2015

I love the theater. I love seeing a production up on stage. The actors, the music, the set, the costumes ... I love it all. There is just something about sitting down in a darkened theater and watching a story unfold - it pulls me in.

Every year I compile a list of all the shows shown across my favorite theaters in the city for the next season. helps me keep track of everything. This year, I thought I would share it for anyone else interested. 

Here are the theaters I include. These are linked for more info to each of their pages:

Also, remember that many of these places have great ways to save when you buy tickets! Some things to look out for:
  • General rush - The Guthrie and Ordway have general rush before many performances, check the site for details. Tickets can get down to $20!
  • Student/educator rush - If you have a student ID, you can rush for the Orpheum and get great seats for $20. 
  • Packages - Make sure to ask if they have special packages. That might be for X number of plays combined or maybe for students or something else.
  • Under 30 - Many places have special opportunities for tickets for those who are under 30 to encourage the arts with young people. For example, at the Guthrie you can register for their Under 30 group and then just call them up on any given rush day and reserve tickets for rush prices as soon as the box office opens that day (rather than waiting in line with everyone else before the show opens). 
  • Corporate discounts - Some companies are donors/sponsors at the theaters, so make sure to ask if there are any corporate discounts. My employer, for example, has 20% off at the Guthrie. NOTE: the discount doesn't work on top of other deals that may be going on or for rush tickets.
And here is my master list. Enjoy!
  • My Fair Lady
    • Guthrie
    • June 28-August 31
  • Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    • Guthrie
    • July 19-August 31
  • Evita
    • Ordway 
    • August 12-17
  • The Book of Mormon
    • Orpheum
    • August 20 - September 14
  • The White Snake 
    • Guthrie
    • September 9-October 19
  • Heidi Chronicles
    • Guthrie
    • September 13-October 26
  • La Fanciulla del West
    • MN Opera
    • September 20-28
  • Dirty Dancing
    • Orpheum
    • October 7 - October 19
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It
    • Ordway
    • October 14-19
  • Hansel and Gretel
    • MN Opera
    • November 1-9
  • A Christmas Carol
    • Guthrie
    • November 13-December 28
  • Cocktail Hour
    • Guthrie
    • November 22-January 4
  • Irving Berlin's White Christmas
    • Orpheum 
    • November 25 - November 30
  • Motown The Musical
    • Orpheum
    • December 16-December 28
  • I Love Lucy
    • State 
    • January 20-January 25
  • The Elixir of Love 
    • January 24-February 1
  • Oliver!
    • Pantages
    • February 4-March 1
  • Midsummer Night's Dream
    • Guthrie
    • February 7-March 29
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
    • Guthrie
    • February 14-March1
  • Pippin
    • Orpheum
    • February 17-February 22
  • The Manchurian Candidate 
    • MN Opera
    • March 7-15
  • Beauty and the Beast
    • Orpheum
    • March 10-March 15
  • Annie 
    • Orpheum
    • March 31-April 5
  • Mr Burns - a post-electric play
    • Guthrie
    • March 31-May 10
  • Carmen
    • MN Opera
    • April 25-May 10
  • Jersey Boys
    • Orpheum
    • April 28-May 3
  • The Crucible
    • Guthrie
    • May 11-May 24
  • Camelot
    • Ordway
    • May 12-17
  • Juno and Paycock
    • Guthrie
    • May 23-June 28
  • Damn Yankees
    • Ordway
    • June 16-28
  • The Music Man
    • Guthrie
    • June 20-August 23
  • Once
    • State
    • June 23-June 28
  • Stage Kiss
    • Guthrie
    • July 18-August 30
  • Kinky Boots
    • Orpheum
    • July 28-August 2
  • Pirates of Penzance
    • Ordway
    • August 4-16

#34in84

Back on the wagon, and feeling really good. Got my running shoes laced up, got my kindle full of new books and feeling a renewed sense of energy to get going and get back in shape. Last week I went 7 for 7 on all my goals (and tracked them in my goal tracking app!) ... so that's great! 

Feels good to get my legs really moving again and be running for real. I am not back up to my normal pace ... obviously ... but it will happen soon.

In the meantime, I have decided to take a daily instagram pic of my workout and tag it with #34in84. Just a little extra motivation to lace up those sneakers each and everyday. Will see what happens when I have 84 images with that tag. I know my goal ... and I really hope I can reach it. And I really think I can!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

50 Shades of Grey | Frame by Frame

Oh Fifty. Fifty, Fifty, Fifty. Of course I've read them! Haven't you? They are so bad that they're hilariously good. I mean really, come on! The writing is terrible and the dialogue is corny and at times I hate the characters ... but it's easy, light, fun, breezy and oh-so-good in a bad way. 

I love reading and can be found doing it every. Single. Day. A lot. I read while I do my cardio (1-2 hours daily) and again before bed since I have a really hard time falling asleep (another 1+ hours). And on the weekends I read over brunch or while sitting at the lake, etc. You get the idea ... I read a lot. Which means I need a lot of books. I will read pretty much anything.

I grew up and still adore the classics. Jane Austen is a favorite (duh ... I am a woman after all). Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite books. I love the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And Jules Vern. You get the idea. I also absolutely adore light chick-lit ... especially if it takes place in London or anywhere outside the US. All Sophie Kinsella's books and anything similar. And these days I'll take anything if it's on my Kindle. Everything from Gone Girl to Fault in Our Stars to ... well ... 50 Shades of Grey. 

Honestly ... if it gets me through 1+ hours a day on the treadmill each and every day, I'll read it. 

So anyway. Yes, I have read 50. And yes, I am really looking forward to the movies.

The trailer came out today (duh) and it totally lives up to my expectations and makes me excited for Valentine's Day (something I thought I would never say). As I watched it the first (and second ...) time, I noticed a few things here and there and thought it would be fun to do some frame by frame commentary of my thoughts. How it compared to what I thought form the book, etc.

Here we go ....

Can we pause first and discuss the music? I mean, wow. Great use of that slow and dark remixed Crazy in Love. Seriously. Well done. 


[Pause to drool over Jamie Dornan's abs]


And so it begins. Grey's office and perfect little blonde at the beginning is just what I expected. The office itself is clean and simple. I like how they have him just looking out at the skyline and you can't see his face ... as though we don't know what Dornan looks like. Ha. 

"Mr Grey will see you now" ... indeed. 

Totally random, but in the book I swear they sit on a white couch. There' s no couch. I remember the silliest details ... I know ... story of my life.

And ... there he is. I really didn't have much of an opinion going into the casting here, but I like him. He works. My only complaint is that he is a little too baby-faced. But, when the shirt comes off, it all just works. 

"There's really not much to know about me. I mean look at me"
"I am."
Oooooo. Such deep dialogue. 

And Anastasia. Plain-Jane Anastasia. Yup. that outfit sucks. And so does her hair. And she is appropriately timid and shy. Check, check, check.

Remember how I said I remember the silliest details? Yeah, well. The photo shoot in Portland is supposed to be in one of the hotel's suites ... not a big conference room. Just sayin' ...

"What is it about elevators."

And Charlie Tango. Such a great way to travel. So efficient. And let's not forget about the yummy man next to her. 

The tortured soul at the piano. And from what little we see of the great room in his apartment at Escala. Nice views. Crazy floors. Huge windows. Big piano. Brooding bad boy. Check. 

I was a bit confused at first thinking this was Grey's room. Too feminine. But it's her room at his place. Duh.

Dinner with the fam. No biggy. Personally, this seems a little formal. I pictured his family and the dinner scenes more casual. Just my opinion ... 

Gliding. Totally wanna do this now! 

Yes please. 

Oh man. Hope you know what you're asking for Anastasia. First look at the "red room". 

Post "red room of pain". The apartment is just like I imagined - all white and open and clean lines. And, those jeans. The jeans she is always talking about. The "red room" jeans. 




Conclusion:
All in all, it looks pretty true to the book. 
I think the actors are well cast and from this 3 minute trailer they seems to do a nice job in the roles.
And the dialogue in the movie is just as bad as that in the film (just like Twilight ...). 

So, if you are too fancy for this, so be it. But for the rest of us ... I am going to enjoy giggling through it all. 


UPDATE 7.29.14
This BuzzFeed post is awesome. Must read!
14. There would be a winky emoticon after basically every sentence in this script.


P.S. 
When I first read 50 (right when it was just getting big), I went to Seattle right after. Yeah ... I had to go to Escala. Obviously. 




30 Things To Do Before I Turn 30

This month was my birthday. Came and went just like I every year. As I mentioned before, I am not huge on celebrating. No reason really, I just don't make a big deal out of it. I like to usually be out of the country for it actually, but this year I wasn't.

My birthday last year ... in Tokyo!
Anyway, I turned 29. That doesn't scare me or anything - I don't have a problem with growing older. But it did hit me that this is my last year of my 20s. That next year at this time I will be in my 30s. Yikes. That's just a bit ... wow. When you think of it like that, it makes you think a little more. I am happy, I have a great family, friends, things I love, I travel and have hobbies ... my life is good.

But I suddenly felt like I need to do more. Like I need to pack some more things into my 20s before they are gone. There are some things I will never care for and some things it is too late to worry about, but there are still some things I want to do, and now seems like a good time!

So I made a list. 30 things to do before I turn 30. Some are big. Some are small. They are in no order at all. Some of these are things that I just haven't gotten to doing in the Cities because I put them off, others are things I have always wanted to do.

So here they are, and I have already started ticking them off!

  1. Visit a new country on my own
  2. Reach my weight goal (and maintain for more than a few weeks, which is where my trouble is)
  3. Go speed dating 
  4. Visit the Mill City Museum
  5. Look into doing volunteer work at the MIA or Walker
  6. Visit the Swedish Institute
  7. Brush up on my Spanish language proficiency
  8. Do a bike ride for a whole day around the chain of lakes paths
  9. Take my camera out for a day and photograph Minneapolis, and another day in St Paul 
  10. Go through all my old toys and books and such at my parents house and take photos and document things 
  11. Do a brewery tour
  12. Get a tattoo
  13. Go to a Twins game
  14. Go to a Wild game
  15. Do the Twin Cities 10K
  16. Eat a Jucy Lucy at 58 and compare it to Matt's 
  17. Go to the St Paul Winter Carnival 
  18. Do at least one month of a paid online dating service (again)
  19. Make a Romanian dish on my own 
  20. Eat at Rabbit Hole
  21. Host a party at my place
  22. Try to get my photography shown somewhere
  23. *Personal*
  24. Go to Art-A-Whirl
  25. Go to a Walker After Hours party 
  26. *Personal*
  27. Find an occasion to wear the awesome dress I bought for a wedding last year 
  28. Really clean out my closet of things that I really just shouldn't hold onto anymore
  29. Take an awesome trip and be out of the country having a grand adventure ON my 30th birthday
  30. Chef's choice ... let's see what other awesome opportunities come my way ... 

I, of course, reserve the right to alter these as I see fit ...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Things That Are Better In Europe

One month after coming home Europe, there are a few things I just want to comment on that are way better in Europe. They just are ...
  • Intersections - Hello? Roundabouts are the best!
  • Cars - No giant SUVs. Just cute little compact cars everywhere. Oh ... the Audis and BMWs and Mercedes and Lamborghihis and ... etc ... 
  • Rest stops and gas stations - They are just soooo much nicer!
  • McDonalds - I mean, really. They are just classy over there. And clean. And they have a better reputation ... they are more of a special treat. And McCafes are just plain fancy. 
  • Sparking water - It's available everywhere!
  • Walking culture/cities - Self explanatory.
  • Public transportation - Sooo much better! I get major motion sickness on buses, so the only one I can use is metros and trains ... and they are just so abundunt and well connected in Europe.
  • Trains - Yeah ... awesome.
  • Cheap airlines - Ditto the above.
  • Food - It's awesome! (though maybe this is a bad thing ... not sure)
  • Weekend getaways - It's so easy! Hey, let's go skiing in Austria this weekend. Let's go to the beaches in the South of France next weekend.
  • The great outdoors - This is just me being being partial, but I prefer big mountains and expansive seas versus lakes and plains. 
  • Driving - Well, at least the Germans. Other places ... not so much.
  • The autobahn - A. Mazing. 
  • Cyclists - They are just so fit. And they go up and down those mountains. Oh man.
  • Dessert - Umm ... yeah. Those little pastry shops are amazing. Such amazing and fancy works of art!

Movies | A Few Reviews and A Few I Am Really Looking Forward To

It's been a slow movie summer I would say. And nothing has blown me away. Quick list below with a few reviews ... plus some upcoming movies I am optimistic about.



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Pretty good. I didn't really know what to expect, but I enjoyed it. 

Transformers: Age of Extinction 
So bad. Just bad. Just, darn. Bad. I mean ... I love me some Marky Mark. And you KNOW I am a huge Stanley Tucci fan. But the rest of this is just plain bad. And I was really hoping for at least "good". Just an action packed thriller with good special effects. But it couldn't even deliver on that. 

22 Jump Street
So funny! Hilarious! Great chemistry between Hill and Tatum. Great play on their relationship and super fun. I honestly loved it! In fact ... I saw it twice! And the closing credits! Hahaha. Awesome!

Maleficent
Meh. Ok. 

The Fault in Our Stars
Pretty good. I nice representation of the book. And I just soooo love Shailene Woodley. And Ansel Elgort. Except every time I see him I can only think of him as Trish's brother in Divergent and then I cannot help thinking about the end of book three ... and then I get all teary eyed. Again. Oh gosh ... here come the waterworks!



What I'm Looking Forward To
Lucy
Guardians of the Galaxy
A Most Wanted Man
Frank
Magic in the Moonlight
The November Man
Happy Christmas
Wish I Was Here
What If
Let's Be Cops
Sex Tape
The Giver
If I Stay

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014 | Hitting Refresh

I cannot keep going the way I am. So I have hit the Refresh button and we are starting from the beginning ... again. 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Mildred Pierce | Then and Now

I grew up watching the classics on AMC and TCM. Hepburn, Grant, Crawford, Crosby, Sinatra, Kelly, etc. I love them all and I just adore classic movies. 

Mildred Pierce is one of those movies I saw when I was very young. At the time, it seemed very dark and sinister. I recently rewatched it and it is still excellent, but not quite as dark as I recall. When I was flipping through my Amazon Prime streaming I came across the HBO mini-series version staring Kate Winslet. Of course, I had to watch it. 


Kate Winslet won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Mini-Series, and let me tell you ... she totally deserved. The 5 part mini series - also starting Guy Pearce and Evan Rachel Wood - was really really excellent. I have to say though, it is different from the original film, which got me to researching.

It turns out that Mildred Pierce is actually based on a novel by the same name from 1941. When the first movie was made, however, the Motion Picture Production Code wouldn't allow some of the parts of the book to be translated to the screen. Wow! For example, incest and infidelity could not be shown on screen, and both occur in the book. In fact ... they occur at the same time. Mildred's daughter, Veda, sleeps with her mother's second husband, Monty. Yikes! Mildred finds them in bed together and strangles Veda almost to death. So, since in 1945 they couldn't show all that in the movie, they did a different ending to the story that included a murder mystery. 

Who knew? I sure didn't.

The 2011 HBO mini-series adaptation does not miss out on the original book, however. According to what I can find, it is a nearly perfect adaptation of the book. The dialogue is apparently word for word. I will say, it gets a bit long. But it is so well made and the actors do such a wonderful job that it works. 

So, if you have Amazon Prime and want something good to watch with amazing acting and a great story, check out the HBO section and Mildred Pierce. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

You're always in my head | Bern Rosengarten

I've been listening to a lot of Coldplay recently. Kinda obsessed with the new Ghost Stories album. Yup. All the songs are great. And, as always, the lyrics speak and are very emotion filled. They transport me to another place and time. The song Always In My Head (video included below) sticks with me, makes me think.

One of the places/memories that is always in my head is my time in Switzerland and the person I became while living there and the emotions it evokes. I've been to Switzerland 5 or so different times. Of those, I spent two of the best summers living there, in Bern. And the Rosengarten overlooking the city was my place. 

I got to stop there (very quickly) on this last trip to Europe in June and snap "my" pic at the wall. Compiled below are those photos I have digitally from my 2008, 2011 and 2014 visits. I need to get the original film ones from back in the day from my parents house to add. 





Been There. Done That. | An Updated Travel Timeline


AMS Over The Years | That One Bridge from the Ocean's 12 Movie

If you are a movie buff like me ... you may recognize this bridge in AMS from Ocean's 12. You know, where Brad and George are talking and Brad get's his idea about lifting up the whole house. And he walks away and George keeps talking to himself cause he doesn't realize it. Classic.

Anywho. Here is me in the same spot over the years. Too bad I don't have this same photo from my first trip in 2003. That was before the movie came out ... so the bridge wasn't as cool and didn't really merit a photo I guess. Darn.

\

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Flashback | 2008 UEFA European Football Championship

All this World Cup excitement has got me thinking back to summer of 2008 when I had just graduated Uni and taken 3 months off before starting my career to live in Switzerland and bum around Europe. AKA: most amazing summer ever!

That summer, Switzerland and Austria co-hosted the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. It was really cool to be living there at that time and get to really feel the excitement and see it around every street corner. I remember one game when the Netherlands was playing in Bern (where I was living) and there city was just COVERED in orange everywhere you looked. So cool.

The final game was hosted in Vienna and was Spain v Germany. Although I didn't have tickets, I went out for three days around the game to just be part of the general excitement and atmosphere. The whole city was just taken over! It was so cool! A very different and unique way to experience Vienna. Watched the final game in the heart of old Vienna on jumbo-trons along with thousands of others and then got to celebrate the night away in the streets. Particularly awesome/special because I am a BIG Spain fan and they won. Yay!

One of the coolest things was this big lineup of GIANT futbol shoes, one representing each team. Then for each game that was being played each day, they would bring those two shoes front and center along with a giant ball with the game info on it. Really cool.

And while I was there snapping away photos, a big bus of German fans came by singing and all happy. And then a group of Spanish fans walked up chanting as well. The bus stopped and the German fans got off and the two groups began approaching each other. I totally thought a fight was going to breakout. But instead, they all started hugging and slapping each other on the back and then they all posed together for pics with the German and Spanish shoes, with the German and Spanish flags draped over each other. Super cool!


  

 



July Challenge | Cut Back on Spending

I'm broke.

Not like "broke" broke. But broke enough. I pay for my MBA out of pocket ... my grand European adventure last month cost more than expected ... I like to eat out ... I like to go to movies and plays ... and I like to shop. So, yeah, I'm broke, but it's my own fault. I'll survive, but things are tight.

And with the semester coming up again in September and some possible trips coming up for the fall, I need to just buckle down and save some money. I use a great budget app and have calculated out that I can still have some fun and spend some misc dollars here and there AND still save a good chunk, but I gotta stick to the budget!

So July has official become "no random shopping and keep the budget in control month". Yup. That's the official name ... trademark pending.

What that means:

  • No more clothes/accessories - I have plenty. I have plenty I have never even worn. Better than doing more shopping, how about I just workout like a crazy person and fit into my smaller clothes that I haven't worn in ages. Plan!
  • No beauty upgrades - Skipping the partial foil and manicure this month. 
  • Cut back on dining out - I can still have my Sunday brunch (duh) and maybe eat out one other time each week, but let's keep it to just those two.
  • Movies are still in scope - duh. But it's a slow month ... shouldn't be more than one per week.

So, yeah. If I can do those things, I should be able to save a good chunk this month (in theory, enough for a plane ticket to Europe and far far away from here).

So here we go ... day 1 ... GO!


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