Monday, July 30, 2012

Midvale Main Street Theatre: Rent

Any Broadway fan will know that Rent changed the face of American musical theater - bringing in a new era.  I hold my head high and proudly say that Rent is also bringing in a new era for Midvale Main Street Theatre.  

All of my readers need to first know that Rent is not for the faint of heart, please be aware it is very suggestive and contains vulgar well as an important message of community and love.

Speaking of community - not that this will make my thoughts on the show any more relevant - but I grew up performing with, including a 30-minute montage of Rent, Dan Rosenbaum.  Who is Dan?  None other than the man who performed the leading role of Roger Davis in the 2004-2005 touring Broadway production of Rent (watch him blow away "One Song Glory" here)He also understudied the role of Radames in Aida.  I have performed parts of this show with a Broadway Roger.  Now tell me it is going to be easy to impress me when there is that to live up to.  

Straight from the theater's website, here is the summary of Rent: 
Midvale Main Street Theatre presents the modern rock classic that defined a generation, RENT by Jonathan Larson.  Based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème, Rent (the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical) tells the story of a group of artists in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love, AIDS, and the impact they have on America.

As the show began, I heard the immediate whispers of my darling friend Leah fill my ears about Roger (Daniel Silva),  "He sounds just like Adam Pascal (the original Roger on Broadway).  He sounds just like him!"  

I could individually dissect each actor's performance, but I want to point out my three favorites:

1. Aleksndr Arteaga as Tom Collins.
This young man is phenomenal and blessed with the gift of natural talent.  I maybe gushed to him after the show (he is the most humble, grateful sweetheart, in case you are wondering) and he shared with me he has a mere couple of months of training under his belt.  This part is about as vocally challenging as a role can get and yet, as an audience member, you will never worry he's not going to send every note soaring through the rafters.  I am not exaggerating.  His version of "I'll Cover You" left half the audience in tears (you can see everyone wiping their eyes), and touches some place in the bottom of your soul where you rarely let that kind of vulnerability take hold.  He's breath-taking.  Which brings me to his counter-part.

2. Frank Castro as Angel Dumott Schunard.
I see Angel as the character that truly is an angel - the person who teaches love, unity, and acceptance to everyone, as well as living those principles.  Not to mention the comic relief.  Angel has sass and att-i-tude.  Every time I saw Castro enter the stage, I was filled with anticipation for what laugh I was going to get or what musical number with which my ears were about to be tickled.   Angel is also the character through whom vulnerability and the fragility of life are conveyed beautifully and tenderly.

3. Carolyn Crow as Joanne Jefferson.  
Ladies and Gentleman.  Wow.  This woman can blow the roof off the theater.  Every time she sang I just wanted to shout, "Amen!"  Her character is the lawyer straight-man to her romantic interest, and wild-child, Maureen.  At first, you see this plain-Jane laywer and you could easily dismiss the character.  But then.  Ohhhhh, but then.  She transforms every time she opens her mouth and you root for her.  In her duet with Maureen, "Take Me or Leave Me," you will find yourself rooting for team Joanne all the way and then screaming with applause as she exits the stage. 

I hope to find time to write more about this show but until then, let me just say...

Midvale Main Street Theatre has put on some great productions before - think Sweeney Todd or Hairspray.  After Hairspray (the best production of the show I saw state-wide) I did not think they could parallel the success of such a cohesive cast, an electric audience, and all-around strength in talent (aka no weak player in the lot).  I'm so glad they proved me wrong.  And then some.   I have seen this show on Broadway and parts of Midvale's production thrilled me more than the professional cast.  Not to mention that Rent is a difficult show to pull off in a respectful manner, but I'd say Midvale does it in about as classy of a way as you can with this subject matter.  You will be hard-pressed to find an all-around better production of this show at the community level anywhere.

You can still catch the show August 2, 3, 4 @ 7:00pm, August 4 @ 2pm at Midvale Main Street Theatre 7711 Main Street.  Admission is $15 and worth every penny - buy them here.  Both shows last Saturday were sold out, so you will want to make sure you reserve your tickets.

Aleksndr Arteaga.....Tom Collins
Ashlee Brererton.....Mimi Marquez
Frank Castro.....Angel Dumott Schunard
Carolyn Crow.....Joanne Jefferson
Michael Howell.....Mark Cohen
Shawnee K. Johnson.....Maureen Johnson
Daniel Silva.....Roger Davis
Sterling Young.....Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III
Garrett Fairbourn.....Ensemble
Ryan Fallis.....Gordon, Ensemble
Thomas Fitzgerald.....Steve, Waiter, Ensemble
Travis Fryer.....Ensemble
Anna Harris.....Ensemble, Maureen Johnson (Matinee)
Ryan Honeycutt.....Ensemble
Liz Rowley Hilst.....Ensemble, Joanne Jefferson (Matinee)
Richard Johnson.....Mr. Johnson, Mr. Grey, Ensemble
Charity Jones.....Alexi Darling, Ensemble
Taylor Lawrence.....Ensemble
Cassidy Ross.....Ensemble, Mimi Marquez (Matinee)
Berlin Schlegel.....Ensemble
Kristina Stone.....Mrs. Cohen, Ensemble


Murray Arts in the Park: Hello, Dolly!

Friday night, I hit up Murray Amphitheater for their latest "Arts in the Park" production  - Hello, Dolly.

I must tell you, "old school" Broadway isn't typically my cup of tea.  I've performed a 30-minute montage of this show before, which usually warms your heart with familiarity and nostalgia a little, but not in this case.

What did I like about this show?
I adore the feistiness of Dolly Levi and the pinache with which Sara McDonald portrayed her in acting.  Dolly's costumes were out of this world - fitting Sara like a glove and giving me a serious case of covetousness.  Rossy Thrall as Minnie had spunk enough to give me a smile on more than one occassion.  Galen Chatterton's curmudgeonly Horace Vandergelder had me convinced.  Ernestina Money was definitely the much-needed comic relief.

I recognize all of the immense amount of work that went into this show, as I've received updates regularly from cast members.  I recognize many community members love the show because I was witness to some exuberant audience members who thought the show was a sing-along based on the various singers I heard from behind me throughout the show.  Another little girl was singing "Hello Dolly" at the top of her lungs while using the restroom during intermission.  I watched the elderly audience members light up when the spotlight hit Dolly (Sara McDonald) in her gorgeous red gown as she descended the stairs singing "Hello, Dolly."

I wanted to love the whole instead of the sum of the parts.  Overall, however, I simply was not won over.  If you are a fan of the show, you will be tickled to see it. You can catch the show for $10 at 8pm at the Murray Park Amphitheater - 493 East 5300 South - through Wednesday, August 1.

Friday, July 27, 2012

You Seem a Little MIA, Larissa...

Some of you have inquiring minds and have asked me why my once-daily posts, even twice-daily, have started dissipating into maybe twice-weekly posts. 

And most of you who have asked hit the nail on the head when you surmised that something good must be going on in the romantical arena of my life.

I've been having too much fun, running off to Vegas to get married and then annulled.  Because that's the only way you can do the fun stuff.

I kid. 

But I really have been having a blast, going to the Brave premier, attending the Shakespeare Festival for the first time, seeing musicals, watching endless improv comedy performances, laughing my face off, cozying up at the drive in, hosting parties, shopping on the Vegas strip, driving on long road trips, crashing one of his gigs, attending baseball games, perusing a museum, cheering on a parade, meeting more family members in one day than I think even exist in my own family, talking into the wee hours of the morning night after night, and, well, the list goes on.

I have learned to treasure the times I have with someone who values my opinions, my ambitions, and who I am as a person as much as I value those things about him.  I adore sharing and being shared with.  My life is fabulous, truly, whether independently so or accompanied.  But doesn't it put an extra spring in your step when you wake up and know that someone else remarkable wants to share some of their life with you?

That about sums up the past little while of my life.  And I'm going to continue to embrace every moment. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Makes a Best Friend?

I was on the way home last night, listening to some wee-hours-of-the-morning bizarro radio program.

This woman called in and was talking about her best friend, who was a male and whom she had had relations with while he had a girlfriend, but then he cheated on both of them and lead three women on/manipulated them for 7 months before sitting all three of them down together and picking one.  I suppose this was the Jerry Springer of radio? 

The host asked her, "What made him your best friend?" 

Her response, "He knew everything about me."

I don't need to tell all of you what you already know, but the host then lambasted her with a piece of reality about how a best friend would not treat you that way.

My mind got to wondering, "Why did this woman think this awful man was her best friend?"

So many people think that the proverbial magical wand of "they know everything about me" waves and *presto* the title of best friends is bestowed. 

Knowledge about intimate details of your life does not a best friend make. 

Too many people crave companionship to a detrimental extent.  Too many people willingly divulge their deepest secrets, emotions, and life details to anyone who is willing to listen.  But does the listener even care or want to know this information?  Is the listener worthy of your trust simply because they listen?  I hate to say this, but I think some folks all-too-willingly get trapped in bad situations because they give and let others take.

Real best friends are reciprocal.  Real best friends may not necessarily know everything about each other as far as details go, but know everything about each others' hearts. 

There is not a soul on this planet who knows everything about me, but I can gaurantee there are many people who know me.  They know how I will treat people, how I will react, why I am who I am, what makes me get the point.  Never once have I looked at one of my best friends and thought, "I can't believe they did that to me."

Choose your friends to keep you emotionally healthy the same way you choose your fitness and diet regime to keep you physically healthy.  Don't waste time on the Cheetos that may make you feel good for a moment.  Hold out for the enriching, wholesome things that will make you better in the long run.  Just like the gym with your physical health, you have to stretch yourself and push yourself to the very edge of comfort and sanity...but it is always, always worth it.  Be patient.  You will find those who love you and they will change you for good forever. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Online Dating Misrepresentations

I have had several of my friends lament to me about their online dating adventures.  I encourage all of them to find love however they need, yet have learned through several terrible experiences with men who online date that online dating will not be for me.  But that's a story for another time...and you will totally understand why I encourage everyone to do it, yet personally have some heart-breaking trust issues.

My real question today is this: Do you feel people misrepresent themselves, mainly physically?

Popular Daddy Blogger, Single Dad Laughing, had an experience where a lady misrepresented her weight drastically.  He wasn't turned off by her weight so much as the fact that he felt lied to and betrayed.  But there was no convincing her or most of his readers that the weight was not the reason for the rejection.

In almost all of the lamentations I have heard, there is some tale of how the young woman or man was significantly larger in person than in photos.  Why do people do this?  I would never want to be that girl that shows up and my date is immediately disappointed.  There are plenty of men out there who like their women with more to love and plenty of women who like teddy bear men.  Why must we lie?  There is a difference between putting your best foot forward and putting your non-existent foot forward.   And why go into a date knowing you will begin it with disappointment?  I just don't get it.

What do you all think?  Have you had any experiences like this?  Why do you think people do this?  

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Marvelous Wonderettes: So Nice I Saw Them Twice

Remember how I wrote a very Pollyanna-esque report on The Marvelous Wonderettes?

I was a little apprehensive that perhaps what I wrote was too generous and glowing.  So I returned to the show.  Was it really everything I thought?  After all, I was distracted by more than a dozen of my friends in attendance, all of my friends involved in the show, documenting for a friend, the fact that it was preview night, and the company of my mother.

I am proud to say that the show was so wonderful I am blogging about it again.  Because it is that enjoyable and because the four-member cast only have so many friends and family - they deserve audiences larger than 30 people.  Go see the show!  Details here.

I have never cried watching a movie, so I'm definitely not that crying over-emotional type of girl.  Yet, Kristen Fox began to sing her solo of Secret Love and about thirty seconds in my arms welled with goose flesh and my eyes began to tear up.  To me, this may be the most tender moment of the show - the only moment where one of the characters looks entirely insecure and stands there baring her soul without any humor or choreography - just raw emotion.  I did not even notice this number the first time I saw the show, which is why I know was distracted.   I cannot imagine this song being sung more perfectly.  Ever.  By Anyone.  This song came from her soul and from the depths of perfection vocally.  Wow.  Then she knocked my socks off with the ending of You Don't Own Me in a way that was definitely not executed in my first viewing.

What about the rest of the girls?  They have found their balance in the group numbers and in their belting solos that was not there my first time.  I have never really experienced seeing a show once and then seeing it again only a week later and having it be exponentially improved...but it was.  Wow.  The little moments were more noticeable in the mannerisms of each character - Cindy Lou's facial expressions of jealousy and brattiness, Betty Jean's awkwardness in every movement, Missy's shyness, Suzy's all-American sweetheartness and gum-chewing.

A special surprise for me was when I was innocently sitting in the back near producer Stephanie Johnson, and she motions for me frantically.   The next thing I know she points to the script, saying, "This is your line!" as a microphone enters my grasp.  Thank heavens it was the easy closing line, "Ladies and Gentlemen!  The Marvelous Wonderettes!"

For a Marvelous time tonight and Saturday, call on the Wonderettes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Politics: I Side With...

I stumbled upon the most fascinating political quiz that asks you some basic overview questions and then calculates who you side with out of the presidential candidate pool for 2012.

Go to I Side With and take the quiz for yourself.

My results told me I am 69% with Romney, 63% with Obama, and only 44% with other Utah voters.  No surprise on the Utah thing:-) 

What are your results?

Image from

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Great American Pastime

I love baseball.

My uncle used to ump for the minor leagues in the Cleveland area (and had to get double knee replacements as a result).

My parents' business used to sponsor my youth softball team.

My dad used to let me skip school twice per year to attend Reds games with him.

My lil sis is getting married at home plate on the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Field. 

So you can tell, the love kind of runs in the family. 

This summer, I've taken a hiatus from performing on the stage to give myself an opportunity to perform on the softball and ultimate frisbee fields... amongst other summer enjoyableness (wink wink).  I'd love to be able to practice outside of games or hit the batting cages, but being able to play at all is enough to make my little heart happy.

Not only does playing get me going, but before and after the games, dozens of my friends are filtering in and out of the ballpark for games of their own, since this is a church organized event.  I have often found myself sitting and chatting with people for an additional two or three hours.  On those evenings, I can't help but sit back on the cement bleachers, take a deep breath of the popcorn and leather in the air, let the sun radiate on my skin, listen to the crack of the ball amidst the laughter, and think to myself, "Summer doesn't get much better than this." 

This was me after a wicked slide to third base post-storm a couple of years ago

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Marvelous Wonderettes - Midvale Arts Council

Anyone who has been exposed to me for any period of time knows of my absurd love of music from the 1950s and 1960s.

The Marvelous Wonderettes, currently showing at Midvale City Park's amphitheater, has no shortage of these gems from days gone by: 
Mr. Sandman Heatwave
Lollipop Mr. Sandman Reprise
Sugartime It's In His Kiss
Allegheny Moon Wedding Bell Blues
All I Have To Do Is Dream You Don't Own Me
Dream Lover With This Ring
Stupid Cupid I Only Want To Be With You
Lipstick On Your Collar That's When The Tears Start
Lucky Lips It's My Party
Secret Love Son Of A Preacher Man
Mr. Lee Leader Of The Pack
Born Too Late Maybe
Teachers Pet Maybe I Know
Sincerely Needle In A Haystack
Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight Rescue Me
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me RESPECT

Thank You and Goodnight/Sincerely

Now that you know the soundtrack, you are probably wondering, "Who are the Marvelous Wonderettes?"  I suppose the more appropriate question would be "What is..." considering this is a musical of the most nostalgic proportions.

To give a little history, once upon a time, there was  a small, blackbox theater and a playwright (Roger Bean).  He wanted to write a musical about girl song leaders singing 50s and 60s songs, but in order to accommodate the actresses and the quaint size of the theater, he needed to fashion the show in such a way that the performers could remain on-stage throughout the entire show.   And so The Marvelous Wonderettes was born.  

Straight from Midvale Arts' websiteThe Wonderettes is an epic journey down memory lane to Senior Prom 1958 at Springfield High School. At prom we meet the Wonderettes - Betty Jean (Paige Moore), Cindy Lou (Melody Chapman), Missy (Kristen Fox) and Suzy (Megan Smyth), four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts with voices to match. You can vote for the Prom Queen and learn about the lives and loves of these four energetic performers. We are treated to the girls performing beautifully arranged renditions of classic 50s songs. After intermission, we see how their friendships have changed and endured as we follow the girls to their ten-year high school reunion. The Wonderettes perform high-octane and soulful renditions of classic ‘60s tunes. Don’t buy a ticket – Buy two! It’s a show you’ll want to see twice!

The thing is, they aren't joking about buying two tickets - you really will want to see it twice, at least I do.  I'm currently trying to finagle my schedule to get back.

You see, typically I write reviews of shows in as unbiased of a manner as possible - extracting myself from my friendships and trying to point out the positives of a show more than the negatives as long as those negatives didn't remove me from the feel of the show.  But this show?  In addition to the oldies tunes, also in no shortage is my love for these performers and the pro team behind the musical, as I know them all.  These ladies have touched and changed my life both personally and professionally.  I am their biggest fan and their harshest critic.  After all, when you love someone you know everything they are capable of and you are starkly aware of where they believe their flaws are.

Disclaimer given.  My honest opinion?  I loved the show.

I talked through the performances with several friends after attending preview night and we all agreed that the only real downfall, and I feel like I say this a lot, was not the fault of any performer or director.  The plot is a bit frantic for the first act - showing the vibrancy, youth, and pettiness of teenage girls and young love.  As we move into the second act, the plot slows down and it feels like we are being told, "High school is the pinnacle of all things amazing, your life will only get strange from here and it will be all the fault of men."  Even then, the characters are written with room to actually develop instead of being flat like most jukebox musicals.        

The Marvelous Wonderettes is not a show with big production value or a life-changing plot, but you won't care one bit about that as you sit back and enjoy every minute.  It's one of those shows I don't really care to critique or dissect because that might ruin the charm for me - the charm of this throwback to a more innocent time.  Were all the harmonies perfect?  Nope.  Were there squeaks?  Sure.  Do you care?  Not at all, the good far outweighs any flaw.  I've seen these gals perform before and I have never heard them sing like this.  In fact, the friends I was sitting with could not tell, for the most part, which girl was singing which harmonic part - a true sign of musicality.

And lets talk about how much you will laugh.  I am not an out-loud laugher to the extent that I could be heard on stage from the audience.  And you know what?  One of my friends wrote me, "I loved hearing your laugh."  Yes, I laughed that hard.  My hatred of audience participation?  Blown to smithereens at this performance.  The Mr. Lee number where they make an audience member a character and pull him on stage is supreme...and I don't want to spoil that for you so I will leave it at that.

The costumes made me jealous - so bright, colorful, vintage-looking, and fun!  In the second act they change to 1960s costumes and it just gets better from there.

I want so badly to write so much more and give away every fun little morsel about this show, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone.  This may sound strange, and perhaps like a dig, but I truly mean this as a compliment - if you know any folks age 55 or older, you need to take them to this show.  Need a night out with the grandparents?  Perfect.  They will be all smiles.

You can still catch the show at 455 West 7500 South July 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21st - that's tonight through Saturday.  Take blankets, chairs, and picnics if you so desire.  Tickets are $7 general admission, discounts for children, seniors, and family passes.  You can also purchase tickets online here.

They begin the show singing, "Mister Sandman, bring me a dream..."  And that dream is you in the audience.  Go.  Now.  They only want to be with you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Yeah Samake

Yesterday evening, I had the great privilege of listening to the man who I hope is the future president of Mali.  Yeah Samake.

I cannot put into words the inspiration I felt listening to this man.  He truly is a selfless servant of the people who is willing to give everything to help his country.  Rare is a person who loves their country so intensely.  His history is remarkable - where he has been and where he is going.  He is also a man of God who uses LDS gospel principles to help govern.  These principles have helped bring about great change in Mali - a country that is 90% Muslim. 

I highly recommend listening to him - you will feel grateful for your life and inspired to make things happen. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Office Pet Peeves

You want to know what drives me berserk at work?

1. When people enter our department and they tap on my desk or drag their fingers across it.  I understand my desk is right at hip-level and on the right-hand side, making it quite a convenient thing to do.  But I get really involved in my work and it scares the bejeebies out of me every time.  A lot of people come and go out of our department, mainly because the 12-member "lunch bunch" congregates in our area and we are the event planners.  I've gone so far as to place books, rolls of paper towels, stacks of papers, etc. on the edge of my desk and you know what?  Someone always moves them because they bump them when they walk in because they are tapping my desk.  Yes, I've politely asked them to stop and they never seem to realize they are doing it.

2. When people enter or leave our department and reach under my desk, within 12 inches of my bum, to use my trash can.  Do they not see the six other trashcans around that no one is sitting near?  WHY must they come so close to my bum and invade my space?  Then tap on my desk after depositing? 

3. People come barreling around the corners all the time, especially out of the kitchen while holding beverages.  No one can see you!  Slow down!  I've been part of, or witnessed, more than one collision and more than one extreme jumping session.  You'd think this place was a water park/haunted house.

4. When anyone walks up behind me and grabs my shoulders or chair (and ironically someone walked up behind me and grabbed my chair right as I typed this).  I restate that I get extremely absorbed in my work.  My co-workers are boisterous, so I've learned to tune out.  Unfortunately, tuning out includes the sound of people walking up behind me.  I've expressed how much this scares me, to no avail.  Not to mention the personal space thing.  For some reason I have no personal space in my personal life, yet a huge bubble in my professional - although I would say that is a good thing. 

5. For three years, I've run live events on Wednesdays from 10:30 -12:30.  I send out an e-mail to the entire company with the event information the night before each event.  They know I am running an event.  Yet, every week from 10:30-12:30 someone gets upset with me because I can't immediately respond to them and they need help.  Every week, someone will come tap on my shoulder while I'm frantically running a live event (lots of technical ins and outs) to try and get an answer to a trivial question.  I always help (I couldn't stand being "the mean girl" if I said, "go away, I'm running an event" and even when I say I am running an event and turn around, they proceed to ask anyway), but all I ask is for the courtesy to be left alone while I'm trying to run a live event  - is that too much to ask?

All things aside, my work really is quite pleasurable and I say all of these things in good humor.  I've never actually gotten mad about it and my patience is boundless...but ya know, we all have things that bug.

What really grates your cheese? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Pornography Problem

Pornography addiction destroys families.

Pornography addiction destroys lives.

Pornography addiction destroys.  Period.

My question is this: Do you think that some folks in the LDS faith, or any religion for that matter, are too quick to state that any consumption of pornography is an addiction? 

For most religious people, there is a shroud of mystery surrounding this thing that is constantly referred to as one of the biggest problems in our society today.  Of course curiosity is going to catch hold of folks - male and female.   I believe that almost all adolescents have been exposed to pornography in some form, whether on accident or intentionally seeking it out.  I have heard many women state that any man who has ever looked at pornography in any way is automatically disqualified as a future spouse candidate.  Call me a fool, and good for these gals for holding out, but I truly believe the percentage of men who have never been exposed to this would optimistically be somewhere between 1% - 5% - and that is within religious congregations.  (this is my own random, non-fact based statistic - don't judge)  We are viewing the world through rose-colored glasses if we truly believe the majority of people have not been exposed. 

I know men who are not particularly religious who will consume this type of "entertainment" a few times a year and have perfectly normal, healthy, well-functioning lives and relationships.  Yet it often appears that any consumption at all of forbidden substances is illogically dubbed an "addiction" by religious onlookers. 

I do not condone pornography.  I think the effects are disgusting, immoral, demeaning, and inappropriate.  I do not want it in my home.  I do not, however, believe a person is disgusting if they viewed pornography.  I support and agree with what the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints have to say on avoiding pornography.   However, I believe many people too quickly judge - too quickly jump to illogical conclusions. 

I cannot state that I think a person who has ever or currently does watch pornography is not or will not be a good husband or wife.  I do not believe that.  Yes, I have seen real addictions literally destroy families, relationships, and marriages - several very close to me.  Yes, I have seen a person talk to their bishop about a potential problem and be talked down to to such a point, even called disgusting, that they left the church.  Yes, I have also seen real addictions overcome and beautiful futures grow.  And I do mean any addiction here as well as pornography - alcoholism, obesity (food), video games, drugs, etc.  But, I will state again, any consumption does not mean there is an end-all problem. 

And here I come into the definition of what exactly pornography entails.  
Pornography: writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement OR the production of such material.  Pornography comes from the Greek pornographos, meaning "the writing of harlots," from pornēa harlot + graphein, to write.

I think each person needs to figure the line of appropriateness for themselves.  I have a friend who struggled with an addiction and, in order to keep his mind clear, will not even look at nude artwork, which is something I find beautiful.  For the ladies?  I'm not even going to get into what I've heard about Fifty Shades of Grey.  

Now that we know the definition of "pornography," what about "addiction?"  
Addiction:  the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

Under this definition, someone who has viewed pornography is no more an addict than someone who has had a drink of alcohol is an alcoholic.  I am not condoning these behaviors in any way, don't get me wrong.  I believe these are not healthy behaviors.  What I am saying is that I do not believe a religious person has an addiction simply because they have a behavior contrary to what their leaders teach.  I've seen at least one man fall off the wagon completely and into an addiction because he felt that after his first experience he was already doomed.  I'm sure there are deeper psychological issues behind that decision, but no matter the reasons, the thought pattern disgruntles me.

We need to keep our eyes open and our attentions alerted to avoid temptations.  However, I hardly think that because an individual consumes one bad thing, they are on their path to destruction.

I am not saying to run out and rekindle a relationship with someone you left because of an addiction.  What I am asking is to please not be so quick to jump to a conclusion about someone's moral integrity and mental state.  Please do not exacerbate problems or blow them out of proportion.  Please love people as much as you can.  Please know I put a lot of thought into this post and I hope it reads as I intended.

Post-article, I found this article about women's addictions, which is fascinating:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Men's Two-Toned Dress Shirts

There was a hot trend a couple of years ago that I could not stand - men's two-toned shirts where the collar and the cuffs were different colors than the rest of the shirt.

You can still see these shirts around, but not nearly as rampant as they were, thank heavens.  I really can't figure out why I don' like them, as any dress shirt is quite nice in comparison to, let's say, a t-shirt, but I think I'd almost prefer a t-shirt.    

Random, I know.  I rediscovered my displeasure with these in Las Vegas this past week when I maybe got a little too passionate about my dislike.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


How the heck am I supposed to type this?
Worst of all, I pressed the little button to listen and it was this satanic loop of several voices talking over each other.  No thank you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rated R

If you've been friends with me for any period of time, you've probably heard me utter the words, "I don't watch R-rated movies."  I own over 550 movies and not a single one of them is of that rating.

You see, it is easier to simply give that blanket statement than to say, "If I feel it is a historically important film - aka Schindler's List - then I will watch it.  Or if someone knows me well and can fast forward anything I'm sensitive about then I'm okay.  Or if there is no nudity and only two F-bombs.  Or, or, or."  I hate when people don't know me well and try to convince me to watch something I'm nervous about because, "Well you watched that R-rated film, why not this one?" 

I'm a sensitive soul.  Regardless of if I were LDS or not, I would not watch a lot of the more crude films.  I do not care to see other people's sexy time or explicit guts or drug use or hear the F-bomb fifty times.  I have a very vivid imagination - I get the point.  I have a ClearPlay to edit when in doubt.  Basically, what I'm saying is that I have seen less than two dozen R-rated films in my life because it is just easier, given all the contributing factors to that decision.

Here's where I confuse the snot out of myself.  The filter I have with movies is not the same filter I have with stage productions.  My favorite musical is Jersey Boys.  I haven't counted in any of my three viewings thus far, but I'm pretty sure they drop the F-bomb at least 40 times in that show.  Once and Next to Normal  are both productions with some heavy swearing and mature content, yet both are shows I would highly recommend.  Honestly?  These productions enrich me instead of offend me.  Greatly enrich me...touching some place deep inside of me I rarely know exists except when I am enraptured in these shows.

Back to the movies. 

Two nights ago I had my first experience with Waiting for Guffman.  It is rated-R.  And I love this movie - I laughed my face off (I'd say laughed my butt off, but it is still quite prominently is my face, but you get the point).  If you have ever been in any community theater production, this movie should be on your must-see list.

But what about the rating?  I am disillusioned.  Was this movie offensive or crass?  Not at all, in my opinion.  In fact, I would venture to say that at least half of the PG-13 movies I have recently seen were much, much, much more assaulting to sensitivities. 

So where is the line?  R-rated films are of the devil, right?  I'm afraid to say that is far from true.  A good standard, yes, but not all-encompassing.

What are your opinions and viewing habits on pirate movies?  Pirate movies?  Yes.  Rated Arrrrrrggggghhhh.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Withholding the Truth vs. Lying

There is a very fine line between "withholding the truth" and "lying."

Wouldn't you say?

I can think of a time, years ago, where I pretended to like video games because a guy I was dating loved them.  Was this a lie for me not to tell him (for the record, I don't hate them, I just don't get them)?  I suppose it doesn't matter because the relationship ended after a couple of months, but if it hadn't ended....would it have been a lie for me to go into a committed relationship with him whilst he was under the illusion he was getting a person he was not?  If I told him the truth and he didn't care, then it would be okay.

Now take that to the extreme.  After a certain amount of time, is it a lie to not tell someone about major health, addiction, or mental issues? 

I have never personally experienced someone withholding information like this from me, but events in others' lives have caused me to wonder.

I want to know what you all think about this.