Archive | Fun RSS feed for this section

Disney Doesn’t “Wreck-it” with Wreck-It Ralph

10 Nov

After the more recent disappointments of The Borrower Arrietty and Brave, I was somewhat wary to see Disney’s most recent animated film, Wreck-it Ralph.

The advertisements looked promising, giving me a small hope that this would be the film that once more redeemed Disney’s animated films in my eyes, but I reminded myself that the ads for Brave and Arrietty had looked gorgeous too. So when my boyfriend and I finally made it down to the theater this week, I held my breath as the lights dimmed.

To my great relief, Disney had pulled it off. (Possible Spoiler alert!)

Wreck-it Ralph opens with a pixilated Steam-boat Willie, and then the lead character, Ralph begins to narrate over a close up of what appears to be an old arcade game, complete with 8-bit music, where we see Ralph living his day-to-day.

Ralph is the bad guy–but as all the ads point out (and  out of Street Fighter Zangeef’s mouth)–he isn’t a bad guy. It’s easy to feel badly for Ralph, a character who is programmed to be the villain of his game, wrecking an apartment for the hero, Felix, to fix; however, even after the arcade closes and the characters are allowed to be themselves, Ralph is still rejected by his fellow game characters and lives a lonely life in the dump.

The story takes place on the 30th anniversary of Wreck-it Ralph’s game, Fix-it Felix JR, with Ralph attending what appears to be an Alcoholic’s Anonymous style meeting of game villains where he admits that he wishes he knew what it felt like to be the hero. Here Disney playfully injects bad guys from games as familiar as Bowser from Super Mario, Zangeef from Street Fighter, A Pac man Ghost, and Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog along with characters the younger generation may recognize. (I couldn’t figure them out myself.) Ralph also admits that he doesn’t want to be the bad guy any more–but the group of baddies laugh it off and encourage him to take it, “one game at a time.” and not to “go turbo”.

After returning from his meeting, Ralph realizes that the other characters in his game are celebrating their 30 year anniversary with a party and, a little hurt his invitation never arrived, promptly makes an appearance there. The hero in his game, Felix, is a sweet and utterly loveable little man with a magic hammer is urged by his fellow characters to “get rid” of Ralph. Too nice to tell Ralph to hit the bricks, Felix invites Ralph in for cake instead, where Ralph is egged on by some of the other characters and ultimately he ruins the party. Ralph insists to the disbelieving group that he could earn metals just as easily as the hero, Felix, and is challenged by another character that if he gets a metal he live with them in the apartment instead of in the dump.

Urged on by the idea of living with the other game characters, Ralph embarks on a journey to obtain his own hero metal.

The audience travels with Ralph on his journey to be a hero and to be treated fairly through various games as Ralph “game jumps” to a very Halo-esq game called, Hero’s Duty, a one person shooter where he is faced with massive Bug-monsters that become whatever they eat. With absolutely no finesse, Ralph manages to steal a metal, but in doing so, also launches himself (literally) into another game as he struggles with a Bug that has clung to him in a stolen escape pod. They crash land in a game called, Sugar Rush, which is sort of like a candy-land racing game, where the Bug sinks and disappears in frosting. Here Ralph encounters a little girl called, Vanelope Schweet, who promptly steals his hero metal, thinking it’s a coin.

It turns out that Vanelope is in her own string of trouble,  and like Ralph, facing  isolation from her fellow game characters. The other characters claim Vanelope is a glitch that can’t be allowed to race with the other characters (or compete in the reindeer games!) and feeling badly for the girl, Ralph promises to help her.

Meanwhile, In Ralph’s game, the Arcade is open for business again and Ralph is a no show. Gamers who play notice the missing villain and bring it to the manager’s attention thinking the game is broken. Felix and the other characters finally realize that Ralph is missing and Felix promises to “fix-it” and sets off to find Ralph before the plug on their game is pulled. Felix and the female captain from Hero’s Duty team up, Felix searching for Ralph and the captain seeking out the Bug that escaped her game with Ralph.

Wreck-it Ralph is a movie about not making judgements–but even the villain of this film may surprise you. I think it may have been a first for me since I was young that I didn’t immediately know who the villain was and I loved the surprise. (I won’t spoil it for you.) The film is full of jokes that all ages can enjoy between the obvious “duty” jokes to the more adult themed (over the kids heads) jokes, this film is one I would consider seeing in theaters again.  Disney managed to pull it out of the bag for me on this one. The graphics are smooth and gorgeous and even the music is helplessly catchy. It gets a five our of five cupcakes from the Restless Writer scale.

 

Advertisements

The Australians at the Omni Parker

9 Oct

The funny thing about plans, as cliche as it sounds, is that they never go the way they’re supposed to. Yet, what I love most about making plans often times is breaking from them and deviating to a path that I may have never otherwise taken.

Last night, I had  originally planned a time out on the town with one of my girlfriends who is visiting from Europe.  I decided that once I left Baltimare at 5, I would meet her at” the place”, Max and Dylan’s for dinner, and once we were full (and probably a bit tipsy) we would stake out together on one of the many ghost tours that skulk around Boston this time of year. It was a good plan. A solid plan. And I had always wanted to go on a ghost tour. So, I booked the non-refundable tickets, eager for the night to arrive.

I didn’t expect Baltimare to be so overloaded and hold me up until 5:30, or the trains to lock one side of the station due to a holiday that I didn’t have off so I would have to take an extra 20 minutes to get to the platform–but most of all I didn’t expect my girlfriend to find herself deliriously ill and cancel on me last minute either. There I was, staring miserably at her mess of missed text messages that I hadn’t seen until hours after she had sent them, feeling my night was ruined. Without her–there would be no dinner, no drinks, and most disappointing of all: no ghost tour. I was beside myself–until I decided to embrace this alternate path.

My fingers flew across the tiny keys of my phone as I dialed up another friend in hopes that he could make plans with me last minute. Somehow–he was free. I felt myself lifted from my disheartened state as if I were tied to a Zeppelin. So the adventure was back in business.

Our tour group met at the mouth of the Central Cometary across from the Colonial theater and my friend met me at Boyleston Street Station. I felt giddy that I had managed to get a hold of someone on such short notice. Our guide was a stocky man of a regular build, and glasses dressed all in black with a battery lit lantern to guide us to him. A message bag was slung over his shoulder like so many other Bostonians, giving him an oddly immature appearance. He spoke in a light Boston accent and to our great relief was interactive, expressive and captivating. As our guide led us around the commons, to the site of the “Great Oak” where people were hung for crimes, to the library that houses a book bound in human skin–he constantly kept us as well as the rest of the group enthralled in his stories. I was fascinated by the stories he came up with–mainly in that I had never heard them before. As best put by my friend during the tour, “Even if it’s all B.S. they’re interesting stories.”

Our tour concluded at the most haunted hotel in Boston, The Omni Parker House Hotel. Built in 1855 and located at 60 school Street, just down the street from Park Street Station, this hotel (though old) still speaks volumes of its rich and luxurious past. I have walked by this hotel more times than I can count over the years but I had never taken the time to go inside. Crown molding like I had never seen up close before lines the vestibule all the way to the concierge desk in the back. Heavy, dark wood paneling covered the walls and floral somewhat antique-looking furniture was placed against the walls and around small tables in a welcoming fashion as you pushed your way from the cold into the lobby. A smell of liquor greeted our noses as we entered, as we walked past the hotel bar and restaurant, “The Last Hurrah”. This hotel seemed to give off a slightly masculine scent of sweet cigars smoked over many years (but not in an unpleasantly overpowering way) mixed with brandy aged to perfection. I found myself more fascinated by the hotel itself than our previously enchanting guide. Here, we were told of the many haunts the hotel boasted, as well as being the inventor of the Boston Cream Pie.

Evan and I eagerly wandered into The Last Hurrah after tipping our guide, and after some finagling, managed to get ourselves a table. Here, the molding seemed more modern, but the feel was still of a gentleman’s lounge. I could imagine men in three-piece-suites, brown in color, smoking cigars in the high-backed armchairs having once sat here among friends, and possibly women, for some reason in my imaginings to be in flapper dresses and pearls. This was a place of masculine beauty and great comfort; and I immediately liked it.

We found ourselves seated beside a couple, possibly in their 50’s, with twanging Australian accents and smiling eyes. They were married, on vacation from home to visit their daughter who was going to medical school at Harvard. The man wore a bright yellow sweater and had striking blue eyes that seemed to be constantly twinkling with mirth beneath the surface. His hands were large and rough, wrapped around his half-empty glass as he jokingly complained about a woman who had “a big fat head” at the bar who was blocking his view of the baseball game.  His wife was a fair-haired, petite woman with laugh lines around her mouth and eyes that made me hope I would look that pleasant and warm as I get older. I liked the woman at once, and wish that I wasn’t so horrible at remembering names that I could recall theirs. She had once been a nurse, I learned, and was now happily retired with her husband. She and I struck up a conversation and somehow it turned to literature and books that we loved, the love of physical books, and our dislike of the modern “Kindles” and “Nooks” available. When I told her of my hopes to one day be known as a great young adult novelist–she wanted my name at once and I gave her my card with an autograph at her request.

“For when you make it big one day–I can say I met you on Holiday.” She told me warmly. They were beautiful people. Warm and vibrant. And over an irish coffee and a piece of the Omni’s wonderful Boston Cream Pie, I felt myself feel suddenly very alive and connected to the world again. Though I stumbled home a tad later than I had planned–I couldn’t help but think how wonderful the unplanned moments in life can sometimes be for the littlest reasons. I smiled, knowing that if my plans hadn’t gone so wrong that the evening wouldn’t have felt so perfect.

The Omni Parker House

Ghost Tour

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of the Marshfield Fair and a T.K.O’Malley’s Review

26 Aug

My earliest memory of the Marshfield Fair– which has been a tradition in the county since the 1800’s– is a memory that I attach to my great grandmother, Noni. I can’t exactly remember how old I must have been when she first began to take me, but I could guess roughly eight or nine–as I specifically remember not being tall enough to peek into the Clydesdale horse stalls to see them, without help or without pulling myself up by the bars of their stalls. I also remember the Bee keeper stalls, which even now as I am in my twenties continues to fascinate me for reasons that I can’t quite pinpoint. Noni had always been fascinated too. Together we would tromp the Fairgrounds, riding on the rides I was tall enough to squeak on and waving to Noni as I gleefully swung round, and round on them. I even remember that she would pay for me to play at least one game at the Fair to try to win a prize–but I never remember ever winning.

Noni passed roughly three years ago, and she and I hadn’t been to the Fair together for many years before that. For the first time in roughly twelve years last night; I went to the Marshfield Fair. It’s funny how memories come back so quickly and with such force when certain sights, smells and sounds overtake you. It was as if I were small again, and she was leading me around pointing at the prize winning animals, and giving me bites of cotton candy and various tasty fair foods. Her ghost seemed to linger with me for the whole night as I chatted with my friend and his family. I felt a small almost child-like joy as the lights of the Fairgrounds came to life, voices spiraling, laughing and screaming as we passed rides, vendors calling out to people as they passed by to tempt them into winning prizes full of sawdust. One prize I did stop to try my hand at winning–was a live Goldfish. I knew it was a rip-off and that I could buy a goldfish of my own at a pet store if I wanted, probably for less than what it was costing me to try to win one, ($5 for a bucket of ping-pong balls) but it was the excitement of the idea. The sense of old-time charm that drew me to it. And I happily won. Proudly, I displayed my prize–a fat orange Goldfish in a bag, swimming excitedly in a circle–to my friend who snapped a trophy photo of sorts for proof. I knew Noni would have smiled.

My Prize!

Posing with my Goldfish Prize at Marshfield Fair

In entirety, this weekend gave me back a sense of myself that I felt had been missing lately. I woke up this morning to a gorgeous day, and another friend waiting in the wings for an adventure to Scituate. Off we went, stopping only for an ATM, Gas and a quick car wash, we drove into the center of town where the charm of a seaside town has a heavy hold, and people milled about looking pleasant in their Sunday best. It was a sleepy sort of day, and the town moved at a pace that suited this. We wandered past the harbor at first, soaking in the smell of the ocean that I had missed all summer, before heading for lunch at a place called T.K O’Malleys.

T.K O’Malley’s had a typical sort of Irish Pub feel, but with the bonus of having the option of being able sit on the outside patio overlooking the bright, breezy harbor. Entering the restaurant was at first slightly confusing, as there are doorways to the left and right of you when you first walk in–luckily to the left we spotted a cluster of Hostesses sporting blue TKO’Malley’s t-shirts, hovering over the hostess stand and made our way that way. I held my hand up with two fingers, which in any restaurant would generally indicate table for two, but here only got me slightly blank stares, a chomp on what I hoped was gum in one girl’s mouth, and a mumbled, “Inside or out” from one of the hostesses that had her back to us. I looked to my friend for confirmation, and luckily he confirmed we wanted to be outside as I had barely managed to hear what had been asked. The hostesses then handed us a small slip of white paper that read, “Patio Voucher” and told us to head out to the patio. This was somewhat irritating to me. I had worked as a Hostess at Fenway park for a short while,  so I know that  it is the job of a good Hostess to greet customers, direct them to the appropriate table, ask if they need anything else, and alert the waitstaff that they have a new customer. These girls (who were only busy chatting at the hostess stand) did not guide us to the patio door–they only laughed and told us, “Any door out.” and waved us aside. It felt lazy and unwelcoming. Not a good start.

Once we got out to the patio, the confusion continued. More hostesses in blue shirts at another hostess stand clustered, staring blankly at us as we handed them the slip of paper the previous hostesses had handed us inside. The girls asked us how many again, to which we answered two, one scurried around the patio looking at the few vacant tables before coming back looking confused. Then one of them asked us to wait as they went inside, conceivably to interrogate the other hostesses about us. There were just way too many hostesses, and not enough communication. Finally a hostess returned and asked if five or ten minutes would be okay–to which we agreed. By this time we were slightly frustrated. Why had the indoor hostesses not been informed of a wait time for the outside? There appeared to be more than enough of them to run messages, and inside it seemed to be slow.Luckily, it was   only roughly two minutes for a wait and we were promptly seated at a table with an umbrella and menus.

Our waiter was the best service we had received since we entered the restaurant. He arrived straightaway with his clipboard to take our drink orders, (card us for said drinks as I constantly look underage) and scurry off to the bar to bring them back. The beer selection was fair, and my companion and immensely enjoyed sipping them with the cool breeze off of the water and the warm sunlight on our skin as we browsed our menus. The food was mainly a selection of pub foods–and not much to write home about. Though they did appear to have a varied selection of “University” themed burgers. Should I ever return there–I will probably investigate these. The main draw of TKO’ Malley’s has to be it’s prime waterside spot.  As we were waterside, I craved fish and took part in their Cape “COD” Ruben sandwich, which was a cod filet on rye with thousand island dressing, coleslaw and a slice of cheese. The portions were HUGE and I only managed to finish half of the sandwich but it wasn’t bad. The dressing and slaw were tasty, though the fish seemed a little mushy and was probably less fresh than I would have hoped. What the fish lacked–the slightly toasted bread made up for in crunch and flavor. My friend and I also shared a basket of sweet potato fries which were served with Maple syrup–but I wouldn’t recommend having these with the Syrup. The fries are delicious on their own–and unless you’re a big  Maple Syrup person–the Syrup overpowers the fries taste.

Prices were fair when the bill came, and we tipped our friendly and helpful waiter well. We were pointedly ignored by all of the hostesses on our way out. I couldn’t help but think of how easy it would have been to dine and dash had I been that sort of person. They wouldn’t have even noticed us.

All and all, the day was wonderful and easy-paced. Full of winding seaside roads, looming gorgeous houses, and even a stop at a historical lighthouse. I returned home sleepy but full of a bubbling happiness that only a day near the shore can bring.

 

 TKO ‘Malley’s website link in case you would like to check it out for yourself.

More information on the Marshfield Fair.

The Amazing Spiderman and the not so amazing restaurant The Back Deck

6 Jul

As today I decided that I was too beat to actually work on my novel draft, I decided instead to fill in my lovely readers on my fourth of July adventures and misadventures.

Living in Boston makes the fourth of July a holiday of madness–but the good kind. Fireworks,food, tourists and all sorts of fun seems to burst forth from our fair city. But when rain threatens a good time here in Boston, a need for alternate plans arise.

For my boyfriend and I, out alternate plan became a trip to the movies: The Amazing Spiderman.

Now, many people seem to think that this movie is trying to be a continuation of the previous Spiderman movies involving Tobey Mcguire and the storyline with the Maryjane (Kerstin Dunst)  love interest. But this is a reboot people. Not only is the storyline different, the leading lady is too. This is Spiderman done better–and thank god for that because the world does not need another Tobey Mcguire style Spiderman.

In this version of our favorite web-slinging hero, Peter Parker is introduced at first to the audience as a child in his parents house. His loving, affectionate parents are playing hide-and-seek with the young Peter, when they discover their house has been broken into. Peter’s father, in a panic, begins unearthing hidden documents in the house, stuffing them in a bag and the whole family up and leaves in the middle of a rainstorm. They arrive, rather wet for the wear, at Aunt May and Uncle Ben’s house, where Peter’s parents say their goodbyes to him and tell him to be good. They never explain to Peter where or why they are going, but the way in which the film is shot, it seems his parents explain some unknown plight to his Aunt and Uncle before they leave him there. It is a tearful goodbye. We later discover they have died in a planecrash. (Familiar? Yes, but more personal this time.)

Flash forward to Peter in high school. He is bullied, but not the primary focus of the bullies until he sticks up for another kid getting his face stuffed in pizza. A beautiful blonde, Gwen Staci steps in when Peter is getting his head kicked in, this starts Peter’s crush on her. When Peter returns home later, it seems his Aunt and Uncle’s basement has flooded, and while helping his Uncle save things from the water downstairs, Peter discovers his father’s breifcase, which is fill of strange science research and a newspaper clipping.

With a little research, and some help from Uncle Ben, Peter discovers the man in the clipping is a former co-worker of his father, Dr Connors. Of course, Peter wants to know more about his father’s work, so off he heads to steal interns name-tags at Oscorp and effectively meets the Doctor. This is where Peter also is introduced to mutated spiders that Oscorp uses to spin super-strong thread–one of which bites Peter and gives him the crazy abilities of a Spider!

I won’t spoil too much more for you, but I will let you know that there is so much more going for this Spiderman than in previous movies. Rather than being the pushover, picked on kid from the previous films, Peter is a snarky, clever and witty character as seen in more recent comics. The film not only captures great humor and whimsey, but also has a certain depth of humanity that seemed skimmed over previously. The deaths within the film are touching, and sometimes unexpected. The villain is complex and hard to hate entirely. And the suit–is damn cool.

I went into The Amazing Spiderman thinking it would be disappointing–but this storyline brings a strange animal hybrid mad scientist tidbit into the story that makes it work far better. Rarely was there a moment in this film that made me ask, “Really? Yeah Right.”

After the film and in high spirits, my boyfriend and I set out to find a good meal. As it was the fourth of July we expected crowds and probably busy eateries in full swing–so when we stumbled across a new place nearby Max and Dylan’s and Fajitas and Ritas at  2 West Street, Boston, MA, 02111 we were intrigued. On we stumbled, putting in our names with the host stand. AS you walk into The Back Deck, a replica of a back yard patio comes to mind. Chairs and tables tend to be on the lawn-chair side, fake hanging plants and painted images of men in grilling-mode adorn the walls. A bar that looks as if it belongs poolside somewhere is the primary focus as you walk in to the left. It looked wonderful. But as we stood in the doorway, watching people who had walked in after us be seated first–we began to suspect something was amiss. After fifteen minutes of waiting for a table, we were seated. My boyfriend and I had only just sat down when we realized we would not like these seats. The wooden seats and table felt unstained and rough, and I worried that before the night was out that I would have splinters in my legs. The set up of the menu was somewhat of a concern as well. At first, my boyfriend and I thought we had only been handed the drinks list–but with some fiddling found that the menu was set up in a clipboard like fashion and had to be turned upwards. It was somewhat confusing. Our waiter stumbled over to the table, looking sweaty and sarcastic.

“Sorry folks. I’ll be right with you. Have you ever waited tables before?”

The question took me off guard but I admitted I had previously worked as a hostess and bussed tables at Fenway. The boy smiled and laughed and admitted that it was a hard job and that he would be with us shortly. Well, shortly ended up being much longer than I anticipated. I should have never given him the feeling of sympathy with my answer. I did not feel sorry for him. I felt annoyed. By the time he came over to take our order we already knew what we wanted for food, and drink as of twenty minutes beforehand. He was brisk with us, and hurried off after our orders were taken.

Once the food arrived, I wasn’t any happier. I had ordered the waldorf salad (which generally shouldn’t be hard right?), but wasn’t exactly pleased with the state of the lettuce. Much of it was brown and wilty. Luckily, the apples were fresh and the dressing was tasty. But even the Walnuts had a stale sort of taste to them. Our drinks were the worst of all. Mine ended up tasting disgusting, but as our waiter was mainly absent, I couldn’t order a new one. Instead, I watched in irritation as he chit-chatted with tables that hadn’t been there nearly as long as we had, and growled under my breath when he ignored me calling him twice.

I believe that the waitstaff is the heart and soul of a restaurant. If they aren’t pleasant–the whole place falls apart for me. This waiter was a shining example of who not to hire in a restaurant.  When he finally came to check on us, we just wanted the check and wanted to get out of there. It took him fifteen minutes to bring it to us, then as he put it on the table he said,

“Yeah sorry, don’t do this Fucking job.” and left. He never told us his name either.

I was aghast at his professionalism. My boyfriend happily left a shoddy tip. We will never go back there again.

So to all you waiters and waitresses out there–I know your job is difficult. I have done it. But please, dear god, be polite and courteous as possible. Or accept the fact that your tips will be cruddy.

Brave movie review and JulNoWriMo

2 Jul

So, I know I had mentioned wanted to review Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter the movie–but I haven’t gotten around to see it yet. Instead, my boyfriend was patient enough to sit through Pixar’s latest movie, Brave, with me.

Mainly, I think he was attracted to the fact that it was a Pixar film, because generally, they do not disappoint: but in this case I probably should have waited for it to come out on dvd.

Brave focuses on the Highland princess, Merida, and her thirst for the freedom to be who she is. Little does she know it, but her mother the queen is grooming her for her betrothal to one of the three clans eldest boys who then show up to try and “win” her hand with an archery tournament. Merida, determined to change her mother’s mind, seeks out a witch in the forest who gives her “a spell to change her fate” and “change her mother.” so she doesn’t want to force Merida to marry anymore. However, this crazy witch’s spell backfires, and literally changes her mother into a Bear.

Now, when I saw the trailers for this movie–I had no idea this was the direction this movie would take. And I’m rather disappointed. Though I loved the movie, and it’s message of mother-daughter bond rekindled, I was upset by how generally not creative this concept all was. I mean, all I could think of was another Disney movie called, Brother Bear. Made in 2003, Brother bear focused on the Native American folklore of “Spirit Animals” and involved a boy who kills a mother bear in vengence of his bother, who is then himself transformed into a bear in order to care for the slain mother bear’s son, Koda. The boys bond in bear form, much in the way that Merida bonds with her mother while her mother is in the form of a large black bear.

Overall, the film Brave is  beautifully animated, the details especially on the animals are amazing–but the plot itself leaves something to be desired.

To address that odd title of JulNoWriMo, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this: it stands for July Novel Writing Month, and I will be participating. The goal: 50.000 words by month’s end. I will be using the plot for the novel I’ve been planning. I’m rather excited, but also already tired. Wish me luck–and sorry if due to the novel I do not post as much here.

Miniature Tigers? What Fun?! (A concert review)

23 Apr

The most wonderful thing about the House of Blues in Boston–is that there is a restaurant attached. Why,do you ask, is this the best thing? Three words: Pass the Line.

For my birthday gift this year, I asked to go to a concert at the House of Blues. Not just any concert: Fun. If you don’t know who Fun is–tune in to your local radio station some time. Or better yet, watch some television and keep yourself posted for the Chevy Sonic commercial with all the crazy car stunts. That, my dear reader, is Fun. The song everyone– from the tweens to the moms–seem to be singing lately is ‘We are young’. Frankly, it’s a bit disappointing that this is the song that caught everyone’s attention, since they have far better songs to offer. Nevertheless, since this commercial aired during the Superbowl this year, they’ve become suddenly and overwhelmingly popular.

So buying a meal at the House of Blues restaurant was a small price to pay for the opportunity to cut the seemingly endless line of eager fans at the door to get in. My boyfriend and I were one of the first guests inside, and the venue is by far one of my favorites. Small and warmly lit, the walls are lined symmetrically with artwork that looks as if small children completed them. The walls are painted in warm colors, and the stage is adorned with multiple religious symbols and the phrase “Who do you love” is framed at center stage. Arranged in three tiers of viewing, a bar adorns each level, back lit and glowing in the dim but welcoming light. The bottom level is standing room only, and features the authentic crowd-crushing capacity that most concerts are known for. I personally prefer to be able to see the stage with ease (as I am a regrettably short 5’4′–it is almost guaranteed that someone will be taller than me and will block my view of the stage.) and prefer the mezzanine level. There are two options for this level: standing room and ticketed seating. For both Fun and last year’s Panic at the Disco concert, I preferred standing room, just simply because you can wriggle closer to the stage if you get there early.   The standing room is to the left and right sides of the stage, and the seating is in the back. Above this level is similar, but shorter in length and can hold less people. I suppose this would be the best bet for those of you who find crowds extremely unpleasant but still love loud music.

The doors opened at 6, but I felt as if we were eagerly waiting, leaning against the railing for about an hour before the opening band, The Miniature Tigers began their set. Having been curious about this opening act, I had looked into the Miniature Tigers prior to attending the concert. From what I heard in their recordings, I doubted I would enjoy them. (Though nothing will ever surpass the horror that was Foxy Shazam. They played with their feet…literally…) Yet, I ended up being pleasantly surprised in that the Miniature Tigers were much better to listen to live than they were in recording. (A rare find–like a Charizard card in the original 150 decks.) However, I always find that the opening band is supposed to complete one simple task–warm up the audience for the band they really came to see. The Miniature Tigers seemed to fall a bit short in this respect. True, their lead singer did his best to get the audience interacting, but due to their somewhat mellow Modest Mouse meets The Beatles and Whites Stripes sound–it was difficult to get the audience pumped. Their last song, ‘Sex on the Regular’ was catchy enough to get a little “wiggle” (as the lead singer put it ) into the crowd. After re-listening to them, I think they may be something I could even get into.(And apparently their song ‘The Wolf’ was in  that movie Easy A.)

It was a bit of a long wait between the opening act and the main event–but was decidedly well worth it. Per when I witnessed Fun for the first time last year (At the previously mentioned Panic at the Disco concert) the lead singer, Nate Ruess, burst onto the stage full of energy and enthusiasm. This time, Nate sported a bright green Celtics Jersey, Rhondo’s to be specific, and proceeded to admit to the crowd that he wore the Jersey everywhere and that Fun had deep roots in Boston.

All members of the band seemed high energy and their joy was contagious. The crowd hooted and hollered, being encouraged by the band to sing along and make friends with strangers beside them. Fun lives up to their name with ease, and was a highly interactive and personable experience. Even in a crowd of easily hundreds, I felt as if I was interacting with the band. (If not the whole room.) They opened with the song, “One foot” (which I felt was an odd start out of the gate due to it’s strange almost grim lyrics) and ended with an encore of their newest song “Some Nights”. From start to end the energy was up, and Nate worked the crowd with the skill of a master performer. Each song was introduced like a personal friend of the band, and even the parents of the guitarist and the drummer were in the audience and brought to attention. The audience left with grins on their faces and I left with a skip in my step. Fun is by far one of my most favorite concert experiences yet, and I look forward to their next appearance nearby.

http://www.ournameisfun.com/

http://miniaturetigers.com/

http://www.houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/boston/

Burger and Beer Day: The Mayflower Brewery and KKatie’s Burger Bar Review

15 Apr

There are many food matches in heaven: Spaghetti and meatballs, bacon and eggs and my personal favorite burgers and beer.

I had a Plymouth adventure this weekend with my good friend, Donnie and his lovely sister Lindsay.  Saturday was a gorgeous day for getting up a little on the earlier side and popping down to the commuter rail heading toward Kingston. I was astonished to find that from my stop, it was only $6 for a round trip to Kingston and a half an hour or so later I had arrived with Donnie eagerly greeting me. Off we went to his sister’s house to pick her up and then to the Mayflower Brewery. When I mentioned to Donnie that I wanted to tour this place, he had no idea what I was talking about.  Apparently, he had driven by this micro-brewery millions of times without realizing what it was.

Located at 12 Resnik road in Plymouth, the brewery is nestled in a little strip mall–that could easily be overlooked. Upon entering, we were not at first sure we were in the right place. It seemed to small! As you enter, you find yourself in a small, stand-up bar area. To the right is a small fridge where they sold bottled beers beside a small sales counter and to the left the well-polished wood bar top greeted us. Aside from two other patrons quietly sipping beer at the bar and two staff members–the place was empty. We were immediately greeted by the male staff member asking if we were here for a tour or free samples, to which we of course replied that both would be required. The female bartender was quick to provide us each with a small glass from the tap, explaining each brew as it was poured and tasted. The male staff member soon identified himself as a volunteer–who just simply liked talking about beer. The staff was informative and personable, making us feel right at home very quickly as we chatted from topics ranging from the beers themselves to places nearby that would be nice to visit on such a gorgeous day.

Soon, it was time for the tour, and the bartender quickly became our tour guide as well.  To my pleasant surprise, we were allowed to travel with our beer tastes in hand, (and the barkeep did as well) as we were led around in an informative but not impersonal tour of the tiny brewery contained behind the bar. Questions were readily accepted (and I eagerly provided them–as I can’t contain my curiosity for long) and I was very impressed with the way in which the tour was given. It was explained in a way that made it clear all of the staff members were well informed and passionate about what they participated in. Once the tour was done, we returned to the bar top and finished our tasting session. It was here that Lindsay and one of the staff members began to talk about a Burger Bar nearby called, K Katie’s.

“Yes,” the male staffer said “They have a burger that uses two grilled cheeses as buns.”

I was sold.

So not long after purchasing a growler full of fresh beer (only$11! and everything else had been free) we were heading down the road to K Katie’s Burger Bar. We took our time wandering over the graveyard, checking out older graves in the beautiful sunshine and breathing deeply the air that smelled of a mix of seawater and local eateries. KKatie’s looks like any other typical hole-in0the-wall bar but has an exceptional menu that doesn’t seem to fit the atmosphere.

Situated on 38 Main Street in Plymouth, you enter K Katie’s and find dark wood paneled walls and lit neon signs advertising various beers on the walls. It is a seat yourself establishment, and was fairly empty due to how early in the day it was when we arrived. As we sat, the waitress was already swooping upon us with bright green laminated menus, and a smile.  She patiently tended to our picky beer needs as Lindsay ran through several beers they didn’t have on tap currently–but the bartender (who was easily within earshot from our table due to the small size of the establishment.) was eager to send over tastes of beer that might suit her pallet before she made her decision. At first glance, the menu is a-typical bar food–but with a twist. Their burgers are all gourmet and full of different varieties and uniqueness that I had never seen before. (None of them were waistline friendly–but I was okay with that for the day.) I ended up with what was called “The Juicy Lucy” which was a burger topped with pickles and onion and rather then having the cheese on top–has it melted in the middle. Taking my first bite, most of the cheese dribbled out the back end–but then became a fun dipping tool. Their sweet potato fries were the best that I have ever had, and they also offered “green fries” which were essentially crispy green beans with a ranch dipping sauce.  Not up for a burger? That was fine too as KKaties also offered other menu options. But for sure–this is my new favorite burger joint.

Donnie then insisted that we visit a place nearby called Cupcake Charlies which sold, you guessed it, cupcakes of all sorts. At this point, I was so full I felt ready to pop–but I managed to squeeze in a taste of their Funfetti cupcake. (To be honest, the cake was far superior to the frosting from what I tasted. )

All and all, a fun time had. Foodies rejoice!