Chicago is coming to town for a short run at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts, and my brother and I really want to go see it. I was first introduced to Chicago during a Shriners event that featured the cast of Mamma Mia performing “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago. Although it was slightly strange to see the cast perform a song from a different musical, the occasion sparked my curiosity about Chicago.
Shortly after the Shriners event, which was about a decade ago, my brother and I watched the movie version of the musical featuring Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Queen Latifah. We both fell in love with the story and the music. We watched the film again that Easter, and I remember my grandfather remarking that he couldn’t believe we liked it so much because the music was from “his time.” To us, though, it didn’t matter. The songs are catchy, the story is compelling, and it’s definitely one of the shows I’ve wanted to see for a long time. I really hope that we will have the opportunity to make it to the North Shore for the upcoming performance.
The North Shore Musical Theatre version of Chicago stars Heater Parcells as Roxie Hart, Sean McDermott as Billy Flynn, and Bahiyah Hibah as Velma Kelly. Directed by Nick Kenkel, this version will feature all-new staging and unique choreography reimagined for the New England audience. I’m excited to see some of my favorite songs, like “Cell Block Tango,” “All That Jazz,” and “Mister Cellophane,” performed live to new choreography and to sing along with my brother as we watch Roxie try to weasel her way out of being convicted for the murder of her husband.
The show only runs through early October, so get your tickets today!
Recently, I went to the Raynham Flea Market for the first time and it was, in a word, awesome. I love yard sales and flea markets because people sell a lot of weird stuff and you never really know what you’re going to see. I used to go to yard sales to look for inexpensive crafts, games, and puzzles for a job I had a couple of years ago, and I absolutely loved it. Without an actual purpose though, I never really make it a point to seek them out. Raynham is convenient for people living in Massachusetts and Rhode Island with a central location at the intersection of Routes 495, 24, and 44.
When I arrived at Raynham, I was overwhelmed by how big it is. There are vendors outside, like you might see at a county fair, who sell sunglasses, purses, T-shirts, jewelry, and art. There are also small stores selling candy, household products, hardware, and toys. In addition, there are yard-sale-style booths set up by individual people. The market has dedicated booths inside with lots of memorabilia, action figures, albums, and video games. I saw just about every gaming system imaginable, even ones that were released in the 1980s and 1990s. To top it all off, food vendors were selling all kinds of delicious treats.
Regrettably, I only had about an hour to spend there, but my friends and I are already planning a return trip, and this time we will stay longer. I want to see everything that the market has to offer! Raynham opens its doors every Sunday at 8 AM and vendors are allowed to keep their booths open until 5 PM. I look forward to exploring the entire market to see what treasures I can find.
Recently, Apple released its newest versions of the iPhone, the 6 and the 6 Plus, and gave us a taste of the upcoming Apple Watch, which will hit shelves early next year. In all honesty, the watch reminds me too much of Dick Tracey or Inspector Gadget for me to ever buy one. However, I am excited about the new phones, and I’m in the process of deciding which I should buy as a birthday gift to myself. I think the iPhone 6 may be more practical for me than the 6 Plus, but I haven’t ruled out the latter completely.
The primary difference between the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus is the size of the screen: 4.7 inches for the 6 and 5.5 inches for the 6 Plus. The 6 Plus also has a slightly higher resolution and a better contrast ratio. Because of the size, though, the 6 Plus is also more than an ounce heavier than the 6, which is a bit of a drawback. Both models have the impressive A8 chip with 64-bit architecture and the M8 motion coprocessor, so in terms of speed they are the same.
The iPhone 6 Plus has a slight advantage over the 6 with optical image stabilization, but both models have received a drastically improved camera with new sensor upgrades, better tone mapping, and Apple’s new “Focus Pixel” technology, which allows users to manually select autofocus points. In terms of video, the new phones both allow shooting in 1080p HD at 60 frames-per-second, an impressive feat for a handheld device. The front-facing camera, used for FaceTime, also got an upgrade with burst-mode capabilities and a larger aperture.
As with the iPhone 5S, the new models come with Touch ID, but now this capability is integrated into the new Apple Pay system. Starting in October, iPhone 6 users will have the ability to pay for purchases at retailers around the country using the phone’s fingerprint technology for faster, more secure purchases.
Fall is pumpkin season. Accordingly, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have rolled out their traditional pumpkin spice offerings for lattes, donuts, muffins, and more. This year, Nabisco has joined the fray with a limited-edition Pumpkin Spice Oreo, which should hit shelves soon. I’m definitely excited to try them because I love Oreos, pumpkins, and fall. This new combination sounds like a slam dunk.
To boost excitement about the upcoming release, Nabisco sent out a number of teaser packs of the cookies to various companies in hopes of generating advance reviews. After reading people’s reactions to the newest pumpkin spice treat, I am even more intrigued. The new variety uses a blonde, rather than a chocolate cookie, with strong vanilla undertones that are reminiscent of ladyfingers. Many reviews say that the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice flavors are understated and don’t overwhelm the flavor of the creme itself. This is somewhat surprising considering how overpowering pumpkin spice can be.
Nabisco seems to be debuting its new flavor Oreo at exactly the right time. Many people may have seen the recent infographic circulating on Facebook and other social networks that lists the overwhelming sugar content and disconcerting number of artificial ingredients in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. I wonder what impact this image will have on Starbuck’s sales this fall, if any. At any rate, people may look elsewhere to get their pumpkin spice fix, and who doesn’t love a tasty Oreo?
Because the Pumpkin Spice Oreos are a limited-edition flavor, I’m going to make sure that I snag a package as soon as I can. When they all disappear from the shelves, they might be gone for good!
I don’t watch a lot of daytime television because I’m not a fan of most of the hosts, but I like catching Ellen DeGeneres every now and then. She’s consistently funny and kind to her guests and audience, never grating or patronizing. Recently, Ellen featured musical icon Nicki Minaj on her show and revealed the “other” version of the artist’s recent “Anaconda” video. One of the first singles from Nicki’s upcoming album, “Anaconda” is a reimagined version of the Sir Mix-a-Lot 1990s single “Baby Got Back” retold from the female perspective. As one might expect from Nicki, the video featured her and a number of backup dancers twerking to the song.
After Ellen introduced Nicki, she congratulated her on receiving more than 100 million views of “Anaconda” in less than two weeks, but said that she would have gotten even more if she had released the “other” version. Ellen then plays clips from the video in which she has edited herself in as one of the backup dancers. Always one to commit fully, Ellen dressed for the role perfectly and showed off her “impressive” dance skills, popping, dropping, and twerking for the camera. Nicki, a wonderful sport, appeared delighted by the video and Ellen’s humor.
Nicki’s “Anaconda” video has been making shockwaves elsewhere with many others wanting to join in on the fun. During Fashion Week in New York, Nicki spent some time with Alexander Wang’s models and attempted to teach them the dance, which has also resulted in a hilarious video. YouTube has countless other renditions of the viral video performed by both sexes.
While the “Anaconda” video has received a lot of criticism, it has definitely put Nicki back on the map and made me excited about her new album, which should hit shelves before the end of the year. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll see her on her next tour!