Critical Blast Best Actor in a Film of 2014: Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton Birdman Best Actor 2014 Critical Blast

For my generation, Christopher Reeve will always be the best Superman, and Michael Keaton will always be the best Batman. Taking on an iconic superhero role always runs the risk of stereotyping the actor, but Michael Keaton had already made a name for himself before donning the cape and cowl, with a string of comedies like JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY, MR. MOM, and BEETLEJUICE, contrasted with incredible dramatic performances in shows like CLEAN AND SOBER and, later, PACIFIC HEIGHTS.

As Riggan Thomson, the lead character of BIRDMAN (subtitled THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE), Keaton portrays a washed-up actor, best known for having played the titular superhero, Birdman. While Keaton may have had some experience to draw on for part of this, he's never been "washed up" and has kept busy his entire career. With BIRDMAN, Keaton delivers a disturbing performance of a man mocked by his past and taking incredible risks to redeem his status, even if it takes suicide.


Critical Blast Best Actor in a TV Series of 2014: Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister Best Actor Television Series 2014 Critical Blast

Peter Dinklage's star has been on the rise for a number of years now, but it certainly began shining its brightest when he took on the role of Tyrion Lannister in the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin's sword and sorcery epic novel series, GAME OF THRONES. The series features a wide cast of characters (and rumor has it you should never get too attached to any of them), but it was Dinklage and his portrayal of Tyrion that captured the hearts and minds of fans, as reflected in the votes for this category.

According to Hollywood legend, Martin had no other actor in mind for the part of Tyrion, and no other auditions were held for the role; there was no one else to be considered but Dinklage. Whether that's true or just an interesting bit of filmmaking apocrypha, what ultimately matters is that Dinklage brings the wit and wisdom, the comedy and tragedy, of this character to a level that resonates with fans.


"Thoroughly Modern Millie" Is Thoroughly Entertaining

Thoroughly Modern Millie runs through May 10 at the Kirkwood Community Center

I was recently invited to see Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Community Center. Millie, based on the 1967 film of the same name, was a hit on Broadway, winning a number of Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2002. I have always enjoyed works based on the 1920s, from art deco architecture aand design to the lavish lifestyles depicted in books like F. Scott Fitgerald's "The Great Gatsby." I had no idea what to expect from this show, but I had a hunch I'd enjoy it. I was right!


Heathen, a Kickstarter Graphic Novel You Need To See

Heathen by Natasha Alterici -- Back it on Kickstarter!

I love to browse Kickstarter for cool new inventions, clever board games and exciting graphic novels. Recently I came across Heathena new graphic novel project from Oklahoma-based artist Natasha Alterici. After reading the synopsis, I immediately backed her project. I then contacted Natasha to learn more about the project, her interest in comic books, and herself. 

Tell me a little about yourself and how you came to be doing a Kickstarter for this graphic novel project? What drew you, no pun intended, to the comic medium? And who are done of your artistic influences? Your style on Heathen reminds me of Ashley Wood, which isn't a bad thing!


Kinky Boots Is A Sexy Kick To Close The Fox Broadway Season

Steven Booth and Darius Harper in Kinky Boots, through 4/5/15 at the Fox. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

The 2014-2015 US Bank Broadway Series at the Fabulous Fox Theatre come so to a close with the dazzling musical Kinky Boots. Based on a true story and the 2005 movie of the same name, the Harvey Fierstein (book) and Cyndi Lauper (score) was the darling of the 2013 Tony Awards, winning Best Musical, Best Original Score (Lauper is the first woman in history to win the Tony as a solo female composer), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus), Best Sound Design (John Shivers) and Best Lead Actor (Billy Porter). It was also nominated in 7 other categories. That’s quite an accomplishment, and it’s well deserved. Kinky Boots is a sharp, sparkly story of acceptance in the tradition of Hairspray, featuring performances that will stay with the Fox faithful all summer.


The Million Dollar Quartet Returns To Rock The Fox Theatre

The Million Dollar Quartet runs Feb 27 - Mar 1 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

Some critics will scoff at The Million Dollar Quartet for its thin plot and light conflicts. If you see a review of this show somewhere that does exactly that, you should quit reading those critics because clearly they didn’t get it. This is a show based on actual events in which there wasn’t any real conflict. In fact, what conflict there is in this show is probably somewhat inflated if not outright fabricated. Every musical need not be as densely plotted as Rent or as elaborately staged as Warhorse. Sometimes a simple brick backdrop and four talented actors and musicians recreating a magical alignment of budding stars is all you need to keep the audience’s toes a-tappin’ until they raise the roof during the grand finale.


Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella Is Magic for All Ages

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Jan 20 - Feb1 at the Fox Theatre.

Word association time: what’s the first thing you think of when someone says “Cinderella?” I’d bet the top two answers would be “glass slippers” and “Disney.” The animated classic has been entertaining generation after generation for more than half a decade. What you might not know is that the famous theatre duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II created their own stage musical version just a couple of years later, but it didn’t actually play the gilded stages of Broadway until…2013! That seems completely ludicrous! The thing is, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was actually created specifically for television. It aired on March 31, 1957, on CBS, starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella. It was absolutely huge, drawing approximately 60% of the American television audience then. It has since been remade twice for television, perhaps most notably in 1997 with Brandy and the late Whitney Houston as Cinderella and The Fairy Godmother, respectively, airing on ABC.


Is Santa Claus Coming to Town? MyTopSportsbooks Makes Odds.

Is Santa Claus Coming to Town? What do YOU think?

NEW YORK, NY With just days until Christmas, children and adults across the globe are hoping to get all the presents on their wish lists. Once again, one man is deemed with delivering all these present the world over. Will Santa Claus once again get the job done? Is this the year that Santa doesn’t show up? Will Santa’s sleigh breakdown during his journey? Will he deem you naughty and put coal in your stocking? Once again beating everyone down the chimney the most reliable and accurate odds/information source on the web posted odds on all things related to Santa Claus! spokesman Geoff Johnson stated, “Now that everyone has a camera on their phone the race is on to be the person to video Santa Claus joyfully yelling, “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

Analysts at posted the following odds regarding Santa Claus and Christmas:


Live Nation, Hollywood Casino Enter Agreement on Amphitheatre Naming Rights

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre St Louis #HollywoodAmpStLouis

It's a day for building relationships. President Obama has just opened the door to normalizing relations with Cuba, and Live Nation and Hollywood Casino have come together in a multi-year agreement allowing Hollywood Casino to be the new name-in-title sponsor of the (now former) Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, which as of today is the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.

On hand for the live announcement were Dave Gerardi, President of Live Nation Midwest, and Todd George, Hollywood Casino General Manager.


Top 10 Romantic Comedies

Top Ten Romantic Comedies

Legend has it that whomever you kiss on New Year's Eve is who you'll be with the rest of the year.

Set the stage for romance with that perfect someone with some of these all-time best romantic comedies.


1. Four Weddings and a Funeral

The casting was amazing for this film. It is fun, unsuspecting and was a great introduction to Hugh Grant’s comedic brilliance, as well as many funny co-stars with a A+ script.


2. A Life Less Ordinary

Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz are huge talents that are under-rated. This movie is unpredictable, unusual, and funny.


3.  My Best Friend’s Wedding

Hilarious and light. I loved the storyline, casting, and especially the comedic talent of Cameron Diaz. A lot of situational comedy that is second to none.


4.  As Good as it Gets


Editorial: St. Louis In Flames Because The Process Worked

November 24, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

A few months back, when the St. Louis Cardinals were in the thick of the pennant race when the steamy St. Louis summer was still going strong, I was on Delmar Boulevard with some friends in the local theatre community, helping pack up after a fundraiser. I walked along the street in front of the Big Shark Bicycle Company, towards the Pageant concert venue, and my waiting car behind it. That night, nothing happened. Just a few short hours later, in the full light of day, a group of punks walked up on an unsuspecting bystander and beat him down hard, just past the Big Shark building where I'd been the night before. How do I know this? The punks videotaped the whole thing and posted it on the Internet. I would point out that both the victim and these punks were African Americans. This wasn't a crime with racial overtones. It was simply violence for the sake of violence. Along with this shocking video were reports of several murders in St. Louis that previous evening.


Kickstarter: Snape and the Marauders

Harry Potter fan film

It's hard to explain where fanaticism develops, but for anybody who has experienced it, they can commiserate on how it feels. They understand the planting of this seed and how it grows, burns, and consumes, driving people to follow something. When most people think of extremely passionate people, they automatically think of “nerds” or “geeks”. But, frankly speaking, everybody experiences fanaticism, whether it's being a football fan and buying a player's jersey or going to the shoe store three times a week for just “one more pair” of boots.


Does Presumption of Innocence Matter? Bill Cosby's Not-So-Sudden Problem

Bill Cosby

Jell-O Pudding. Fat Albert. Rape allegations. One of these things is not like the other -- one of these things just doesn't belong.

It might seem that these last few weeks have seen an outpouring of allegations against America's favorite dad, Bill Cosby. It might seem that way, but in truth this has been a rumor that's been simmering for a long time.

The fuse to these flare-ups appears to trace back to stand-up comic, Hannibal Buress. Well, not directly, because he picked it up from your average Google search, but he does bring up the allegations in his stand-up routine when he attacks Cosby's "smug old man" attitude toward modern black society. From that point on, one alleged victim after another has begun popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain.


The Box Office Boo Boo That Tanks Dumb and Dumber To

Dumb and Dumber To

A single scene can elevate a mediocre film into a great film. By the same token, a single scene can take a mediocre film and taint it to the point that it's all audiences will remember.

At this point, I'm thinking the Farrelly brothers have to still be debating whether or not it would be worth the cost to recall all the prints of DUMB AND DUMBER TO just to excise about thirty seconds -- little more than a cameo, really -- that drew groans from preview audiences.


Justin. B. Williams: The Day Walker Out of Ferguson

2.3.N PIMPIN feat Day Walker and TheGIFT.I.C.

Justin B. Williams is a busy man these days. In addition to work he was already performing with his HI FIVE Community Development Corporation and his career in music as part of 23n PIMPIN featuring Day Walker and TheGIFT.I.C. he has also become a correspondent for the Allman in the Morning show on 97.1 FM, as well as Susie Moore's podcast, Q with a View.

What's propelled Williams -- a.k.a. The Day Walker -- into the spotlight is a combination of being the right person in the right place. In this case, the place happens to be Ferguson, Missouri, where The Day Walker has been in the thick of the peaceful protests, while working in cooperation with Emerson Electric to help revitalize Ferguson.


Dirty Dancing At The Fox Theatre Is A Dirty Shame

You'll have the time of your life at the Fabulous Fox!

“Dirty Dancing” is the quintessential chick flick. Patrick Swayze’s Johnny represented the archetypical bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, while Jennifer Grey’s Baby was the wide-eyed ingénue whose heart could never be filled by the merely ordinary. The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis opened their 2014-2015 season with Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, a rather unusual bit of phrasing that hides the truth of it: this show barely qualifies as musical theatre. 


Bye-Bye, Boo Boo: Sex Offender Concerns Cause TLC Cancellation

Sometimes, very rarely, I have my faith restored in the humanity of reality television show producers.

TLC, which has brought us such "learning" opportunities as 19 Kids and Counting, The Little Couple, and Breaking Amish has cancelled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a spinoff of Toddlers and Tiaras, which focused on the family of child pageant contestant, Alana Thompson, and some over-the-top redneckery and gross-out moments, replete with farts, poop jokes, almost-vomits, and things that make you want to bleach your mind.


McPike Mansion Focus of Dave Glover 2014 Halloween Tradition

The McPike Mansion in Alton, IL

Saint Louis is a town of quirks and traditions. We toast our ravioli. We warsh our cars before driving them down Route farty-far. We make little trick-or-treaters tell us jokes when they come to our door. And if we have a radio, we tune in Dave Glover on FM 97.1 for his annual Halloween show.

Dave's first Halloween show began on a lark, based off of his fondness for the Don Knotts classic film, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." And since St. Louis and the surrounding area is host to a plethora of historic haunts, he thought it would be fun to find some people who profess to be chickens and have them face their fears in a rumored haunted house.


Archon 38: Impressions from a First Time Attendee

Archon 38 is a science fiction convention that ran from October 3 through 5, 2014 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Illinois. I had intended on attending for at least two days, but unfortunately some personal matters prevented me from meeting that goal and I was only able to attend until mid-evening on October 3rd.  I was able; however, to draw some good impressions from the show and am excited to return for next year’s event, assuming my luck is a little more cooperative.


Chicks Dig Zombies

Walking Dead Preferred by Females over Males

Women prefer the walking dead at a rate of 62% over the 38% of males. Of course, we mean the AMC show The Walking Dead, not actual zombies (unless you're into the strong, silent type, who really is into you for your brains).

This statistic comes from the social analytics firm, StatSocial, which compiled the statistics based on Twitter data tracked from the week of October 7th through October 13th and a pool of 651,000 tweets. If you're a zombie on the prowl, look for a 25 to 34 year old woman in Texas (although New York City or Los Angeles would be your better bets).

For a breakdown on the numbers, check out the infographic below.




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