Monday, October 26, 2009

Juice Jam: The Cool Kids, Jack's Mannequin, Girl Talk

Over the summer, I started getting into the band, Jack's Mannequin, thanks to a good friend of mind. I got lucky when I found out that they'd be performing at my University's annual beginning of the year concert. Juice Jam (Syracuse it.yeah) brings popular bands and performers to the University every year. We've had All American Rejects once, and Gym Class Heros twice, to name a few. This year's line up was The Cool Kids, Jack's Mannequin, and Girl Talk. Before the ads for the concert came out, I had not heard of The Cool Kids or Girl Talk, but I was so happy that Jack's Mannequin was part of the show.

The Cool Kids really were not my thing. They were a hip hop group, but everything sounded awkward and not too cohesive. I'm not sure what it was, but I personally did not enjoy them. I feel like I would have liked them better in an indoor concert setting, but I also have to be in the mood to listen to hip hop..this must not have been one of those times.

Jack's Mannequin was next and I really enjoyed their performance. I love that their songs tell stories, kind of like more modern folk music. You can feel the emotion as you watch them play and feel the words in your heart as well. They sing about real things, real emotions, and real experiences. Maybe the lyrics don't state thesee things as plainly and simpley as other story telling songs, but its there, and its palpable. For videos of their performance, check out my youtube channel HERE

I think that I would have enjoyed Girl Talk more if they were performing in a club or at a party. Since his work is all mashups, the feeling was more of a DJ set then an actual concert. They had an absolute party on the stage, bringing some of the audience up to dance with them. His mashups are good and defintiely worth checking out. I'd definitely be into seeing him again, though in a different setting; it just did not seem to work in an outdoor concert setting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Degrassi Goes Hollywood

I've been watching Degrassi for about 8 years now. It has definitely made its way into my list of favorite shows; I watch it whenever its on, if I can. When I heard that they were making a movie...AND that Jake Epstein was going to be in it, I was beyond happy. The fact that it was airing before I went back to school so I could actually see it was even more of a plus.

When I first started watching Degrassi, the acting was not too great, but for some reason, I was addicted to it. This movie showed how much progress young actors can make. The increase in talent was so apparent, and the movie itself was so good. I loved that they brought back elusive characters like Craig, and age old grudges like the one between Paige and Manny.

In the movie, Jason Mewes is casting for a movie/musical that he wrote and is looking for a leading lady. Both Paige and Manny end up in the running for the part. Paige is already in Los Angeles and is interning for an extremely stereotypical stuck up celebrity there. When she is chosen for the part, she immediately warps into that girl, becoming a diva and even throwing fits on sets and trying to order everyone around. After seeing this behavior, Jason Mewes calls Manny who, along with Jay, Mia, Derek, and others take a yellow school bus all the way from Canada to LA with many pitfalls along the way.

Manny has been going through a rough time in college since she started dating an acting professor. He was able to warp her thoughts to the point that she believed that she had no talent and would never be able to make anything of herself with out his help and mentoring. This caused her to ruin her audition for Mewes' movie, but also sparked her need to get to Los Angeles and prove that she really was the best actress for the part.

Her trip to Los Angeles was definitely not the easiest one. Along with issues such as the bus breaking down, Manny also was on the road to self discovery. She broke down due to her lack of confidence in her performing abilities, and Jay was there to comfort her. In my opinion, this scene was very realistic and relatable. It was one of the best scenes of acting in the movie. She regained her confidence after performing a song with the Studz at a biker bar while the group took a break from their trip.

Ellie and Marco end up visiting Paige in Los Angeles right when she begins her descent into a full fledged diva. Ellie is immediately put off and finds out that Craig is also living in Los Angeles. She misses Craig and realizes that she still has a crush on him, but convinces Marco that she will not let him do anything to hurt her like he has in the past and goes to hang out with him. After a few days of hanging out, she realizes that he has changed, but her feelings for him are still very strong. When she is about to tell him how she feels, his girlfriend who he is living with comes into the room. Craig had never told Ellie about her, and Ellie is very hurt and ends up leaving, very distressed.

Ellie's father is very sick,and throughout the movie, she tries to escape going to visit him or talk to her mom about him through being with her friends, and later, alcohol. Marco thinks that Ellie drinks too much because of Craig and blames him at a party where they fight. They then realize that Ellie has disappeared and find her drunk and in the ocean, in a lot of trouble. Paige's obsession with being a diva causes her to lose her part in the movie and lose her friends as Ellie cannot stand her, and she ends up slapping Marco and ordering him around during a power trip. She even does the diva number on Manny, but all of them end up resolving everything later; she and Manny actually end up being friends and resolving their deep seated conflict that had run through most of Degrassi's seasons thus far.

I really enjoyed this movie, but I do not think that it would have done well if it were not on television. I loved that they brought Michael Seater in; his character added comedy to the movie, and we also got to see that his talent was multi faceted. I had no idea that he also sang. I also loved that they brought Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes back, and definitely enjoyed Pete Wentz's cameo in the movie as well. The soundtrack is great too, what I love most about it is that the actors in the movie actually have songs on the soundtrack. They have so much talent, and the songs are awesome. Check it out if you want... I defintely recommend it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Honor Society Rocks the Fall, No Duh!

I was so excited to go see Honor Society at a venue that was semi close to where I go to school. Unfortunately, they really don't have any more planned besides this that was on a weekend, or in a place convenient for me to travel to during the week. I will only travel to places within 4 hours of me, and I won't go over an hour and a half if I have class the next day.

Anyway, so we get to this festival called "Rock the Fall" in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. The weather was pretty crappy, and the event itself pretty much sucked. What was worse was definitely the strict no cameras rule. As well all know, hiding cameras in random places in your bag or your pockets usually are let through since they are unseen. Rock the Fall was complete security overkill. They were legitimately doing pat downs for cameras and other "illegal" concert necessities. Later, we found out that it was artist's request that there be no cameras allowed in or used, period (when i say allowed, I was told to put mine away aduring the concert after I had snuck it in. Yes, they WERE that strict). Based on those performing that day, we narrowed it down to Drake Bell being the reason that cameras were not allowed.

The line up was Tiffany Giardina, V Factory, Care Bears on Fire, Honor Society, and last was Drake Bell. Tiffany Giardina did a really good cover of "Candy" by Mandy Moore, but most of the songs that she performed ended up being covers. Her songs were good and I would probably listen to her more if I had her music. Her guitarist (who is kind of an asshole...totally selling himself off to illegal teenies instead of trying to talk to people of legal age) did a really good cover of "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon.

There was no merch meet and greet for Honor Society that day, but because Kat had tweeted that she was going to try to work something out, we stood in line at the merch tent for most of V Factory's performance. We then realized that our group actually had gotten fan club meet and greets and standing in that line was basically a waste of our time. The meet and greet ended up being held outside the strict security so cameras and gifts were allowed..this was especially good since the gifts that I had brought them were not exactly concert appropriate.

The meet and greet was really fun; it was great to see them again. I apologized//explained about not being able to go to the Toronto show (it ended up that I had a 9:30 am class at Syracuse and would not have been able to get back there in time for it) and then gave them all their gifts and Jason his late birthday present that I was going to give to him in Toronto...I told them to look in their bags and their reactions were so cute. I'm hoping they did like what I got what I got them/made them...Wish I could find out haha.

I got hugs from all of the guys, and yes, Jason still gives the best hugs, but I'm open to be proven wrong haha...After that, we took our HS Where Are You Now picture with the CD and the Rock the Fall banner and then went back into the venue to watch Care Bears on Fire, which...they really aren't a favorite of mine.

Honor Society's performance was by far the most energetic and had the most fans dancing and in to the concert. The gentlemen put on a high energy, totally awesome show. I always have fun at their shows, and today was definitely another one to add to the count. As miserable as Rock the Fall was, their performance completely made up for it. Jason saw a sign that my friend had made for him that I got to hold that said "I heart Jason" and we got eye contact, smiles, and nods from all of the guys throughout the show. Mike also threw his pick at me, which (coincidentally?) went right down my shirt. It fell out out the bottom and a bunch of girls started looking at it, but it ended up being under my shoe and I was able to keep it. Now all I need is a drumstick and I've got something from each of them.

We waited by the fence after the performance, but they ended up getting in to a van and leaving for their flight to Houston. Earlier I had given Kat the name of an amazing restaurant there...I've gone there for my whole life and its basically the best Mexican food one will ever eat. I'm not sure if they ended up going there, but if not, hopefully they will have time to go there when/if they return to Houston.

While we waited to see what was going on (if they were going to have a general meet and greet or not)We met some girls and started talking to them. One of them had caught Jason's pic and had dropped it out by the fence. We pretty much organized a search party using cell phones and eventually the golf cart from the venue (getting them involved too, as well as random people who were standing around)helped us with its lights to find the pic in the grass. We were unable to find it and we are pretty sure that someone picked it up and stole it, but claimed innocence. Some fans really suck. The girls were sweet and we kind of became friends which was cool. It's nice to talk to older fans instead of the younger teen fans, and its nice to see that Honor Society in fact DOES have a strong 18 and over fan base.

I would post concert pictures but the ones I was able to take did not come out very well...if anyone is interested in seeing pictures though, let me know and I will post what I did manage to get.

Here is my meet and greet and HSWAYN picture though.