Film Review: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

To Wong FooStarring: Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo
IMDb synopsis: Three drag queens travel cross-country until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town.
(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114682/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)

My verdict: I had never watched To Wong Foo, and Michelle knows how much I love The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, as outlined in my last review, so she decided to show me it. I really loved it! It’s still sad to see Patrick Swayze on screen, such an amazing talent, taken too early. Having grown up watching Dirty Dancing more times than is healthy as a teenage girl, Patrick Swayze will always hold a special place in my heart. He is fabulous in To Wong Foo, as the stunning drag queen Vida Boheme. Vida ties in first place in the “Drag Queen Of New York” contest with Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes), and together they journey to Hollywood to take part in the “Miss Drag Queen of America Pageant”. “Drag princess” Chi-Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo) tags along, though disaster befalls them and their car breaks down, eventually leaving them stranded in the small town of Snydersville. The rest of the film documents their time in Snydersville, which is sadly inhabited by a small bunch of locals who don’t take too kindly to Vida, Noxie and Chi-Chi. Will they make it Hollywood in time? You’ll have to watch!

Rating: 5 glittery ballgowns out of 5

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The Voice 2016: Battle Round 1: 27th February 2016

** SPOILER ALERTS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE OUTCOME OF TONIGHT’S SHOW! **

As mentioned in my post from last week “The Voice 2016: my ones to watch“, I’m a massive The Voice fan. I picked out my favourite 9 auditions and this week we saw whether any of my favourites made it through to the next round. So, away we go!

It was such an emotional night, I’ve never seen so many tears! This year, part one of the battle rounds seemed less shouty than last year, and left you able to hear how good the singing was as opposed to just how loud some of them could scream.

Jolan (Team Ricky)
Jolan was paired up with Efe Udugba to sing The Jam’s Beat Surrender.
It’s a great song that you really don’t hear often. I really couldn’t call it, as they were both so invested and sang their hearts out. In the end, Jolan won and sadly no-one stole Efe. It’s such a shame to lose anyone this talented, but I know you can only have a certain number go through to the next round.

Chloe Castro (Team Ricky)
Chloe was paired up with Alaric Green to sing Hope There’s Someone by Antony and The Johnsons.
It was a really emotional performance with both Boy George and Ricky Wilson tearing up. Their voices really complimented each other, and even though I hadn’t favourited Alaric’s initial audition, I really enjoyed him tonight. Again, I couldn’t call it, but happily Chloe was picked, though Alaric was stolen by Boy George, so he’s also through to the knockout shows. He’s got a great voice, so it was fantastic that he’s through too.

Tobias Robertson (Team George)
Tobias was paired up with Laura Begley to sing Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division.
It was a slowed-down version and sounded beautiful. I felt both were equally pitched during the song, but when Laura was picked, I could see why. So, Tobias is my first loss of the battle rounds, but I’m sure we’ll see more from him as he’s really talented.

Bradley Waterman (Team Paloma)
Bradley was paired up with Rick Snowdon to sing a mashup of I’m A Man/Something’s Got A Hold On Me by Bo Diddley/Etta James.
What a battle! I hadn’t favourited Rick’s audition, but he can sing! It was a very rock concert performance and both singers gave their all. Sadly though, Paloma chose Rick, but Bradley was stolen by Boy George, so he’s still in!

Cody Frost (Team George)
Cody was paired up with Heather Cameron-Hayes to sing Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O’Connor.
Another amazing performance! To say I was underwhelmed by the auditions, quite a few people have impressed me tonight where I hadn’t favourited their original audition, and Heather is one of those people. It was another emotional performance, with Boy George crying pretty much throughout. I couldn’t call it, but George chose Cody but Paloma stole Heather.

So still to battle next week are:
Kevin Simm (Team Paloma)
Vangelis (Team George)
Mia Sylvester (Team Ricky)
Rachel Ann (Team Ricky)

This means that this week, I still have the below in the running and going into the knockout round:
Jolan (Team Ricky)
Chloe Castro (Team Ricky)
Bradley Waterman (was Team Paloma, now Team George)
Cody Frost (Team George)

But we sadly said goodbye to Tobias Robertson (Team George) 😦

One Direction wins British Artist Video at The Brits 2016!

So last night was The Brits, and it was fabulous! I’m a huuuuuuuuge One Direction fan, and I was so glad to see that they won “British Artist Video” for Drag Me Down. Such a great song and a well deserved Brit win. If you haven’t seen the video in all its glory, here it is!

The Voice 2016: my ones to watch

I have been watching The Voice since it started in 2012 and I love the format. In this superficial world that we live in, you can tell that some singers have been passed over in previous competition-type shows because of how they look. The Voice forces the judges to listen to the singer and their, erm, voice, and not be distracted by aesthetics. The last blind auditions show for this year has just been broadcast, and now we know who the judges have for the upcoming Battle rounds. Below are my favourite auditions so far, but I have to say that I was disappointed by this year’s quality. I felt that last year was much stronger, however, there are some great performers and if the right people get through, it will be a great set of live shows.

Cody Frost
Which team is she in? Team George
Cody sang a very different version of ABBA’s Lay All Your Love On Me, it was simply mesmorising. She was the first person I was really excited to see.

Kevin Simm
Which team is he on? Team Paloma
Kevin used to be in Liberty X (the group formed from the people who didn’t get into Hear’Say, and were much, much more successful!), and you can see why he progressed so far in Popstars. It was a flawless performance, and I can’t wait to see him in the Battle rounds.

Chloe Castro
Which team is she on? Team Ricky
Chloe has a lovely style, and I loved her outfit! Straight after I had seen her audition, I put in the YouTube comments, “I have been really disillusioned with this year so far, and Chloe has just grabbed my attention and made me want to watch it again! She’s got a lovely tone to her voice and I can’t wait to see what she sings next.” It’s true, this year has been a real strange one for talent, but I was so glad to see Chloe go through. I think she’s got the right coach as having seen Ricky coaching last year, you know he really cares about getting the very best out of each person.

Tobias Robertson
Which team is he on? Team George
Tobias sang You’ve Got A Friend In Me which you don’t hear as an audition often! He has such a gorgeous tone to his voice.

Bradley Waterman
Which team is he on? Team Paloma
I thought Bradley’s audition was great, a different spin on Cee Lo Green’s song. It will be interesting to see who Paloma pairs him up with in the Battle rounds, but I really hope he progresses on as he’s really good.

Vangelis
Which team is he on? Team George
Vangelis was very brave taking on a Culture Club song when Boy George is one of the coaches, but clearly it paid off. It was a great version, and I can’t wait to see more from him.

Mia Sylvester
Which team is she on? Team Ricky
Mia has an amazing voice and I have no idea why only one judge (Ricky) turned. It’s just crazy! She’s such a great find for the show, and I can see her progressing quite late on into the final shows. Such a great audition and I loved Ricky’s reaction when he realised that he was the only coach to turn, and that he didn’t have to battle with the other judges!

Jolan
Which team is he on? Team Ricky
Before Jolan’s audition, I really thought that Kevin Simm was my all-time favourite, but then Jolan came along and barged Kevin out of the way! I love Terence Trent D’Arby, and you don’t hear his music very often, unfortunately. Jolan did an amazing (or “flawless” as Ricky said) performance, and I must have watched his audition at least 10 times by now. Not only does he have a great voice, he’s cute too and seems like a genuinely nice guy. Bring on the Battle rounds, I really hope he gets through!

Rachel Ann
Which team is she on? Team Ricky
To say that Rachel Ann is only 16, she has such a great voice, simply phenomenal. To say that she was also playing the keyboard too is outstanding, as I should imagine that trying to concentrate on just the keyboard alone in such a big audition would be enough to throw anyone off! A great audition 🙂

So, this year I have someone I’m interested in in all teams, but the scores so far are:

Team Ricky = 4 contestants (45%)
Team George = 3 contestants (33%)
Team Paloma = 2 contestants (22%)

Actually, not all of the teams. Weirdly I have none from Will’s team, which I hadn’t noticed until just now! I just went through all of #TeamWill again to double check that I hadn’t forgotten to save anyone’s audition videos, and nope, I actually don’t have anyone in #TeamWill!

Special mention goes to Lester Preston Jr, whose audition I loved, but sadly no-one turned for him (just, how?!). Hopefully we’ll see him again in the future.

Only 7 days to go until the Battle rounds, I can’t wait!

Film Review: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Priscilla
Starring
: Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp, Bill Hunter

IMDb synopsis: Two drag queens and a transsexual travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.
(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109045/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2)

My verdict: This is one of my all-time favourite films ever! I loved watching Guy Pearce in Australian daytime TV when I was at school; first as Mike Young in Neighbours (from 1986 to 1989) and then as David Croft in Home and Away (1991 to 1992). He’s such a great actor and he is hilarious in Priscilla.

Hugo Weaving plays “Tick” who lives in Sydney and gets offered a job performing his drag act as ‘Mitzi Del Bra’ in a hotel for a friend in a remote town called Alice Springs. His two friends, transgender Bernadette Bassinger (Terence Stamp) and hyperactive Adam Whitely (Guy Pearce) come along for the journey aboard their bus, which Adam names “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. The journey doesn’t go as smoothly as it should, with all kinds of disasters befalling them. Along the way, they meet Bob, a middle-aged mechanic (hilariously played by the wonderful Bill Hunter, who I also loved in Muriel’s Wedding and Strictly Ballroom), who tags along for the ride after a showdown with his wife Cynthia.

I don’t want to give too much away, but if you haven’t seen this, it’s a must! There are plenty of fabulous outfits, ABBA songs, dance routines and even some ping pong balls.

Archers fan from Devon ‘accidentally’ raises £22k for Refuge

I spotted this on the BBC news website earlier and I thought it was a great story.

Archers fan Paul Trueman from Devon was inspired to start a fundraising campaign on behalf of one of the characters in the Archers, Helen Titchener whose storyline is she’s being abused by her husband Rob. Paul said, “There’s a joke among Archers fans that we think it’s real, but if it was real you would go and get her. I thought ‘what if you could create a Just Giving page for a fictional person but give the money to real women who we know are in that situation? It happened accidentally really – I know there’s a huge Archers following on Twitter and once I’d shared it, it just took off.”

The initial target was originally set at £1,000, but at the time of writing (6:50pm on Sunday 7th February 2016), the current total stands at £38,875! All of the proceeds of the fundraising will go to the domestic violence charity Refuge to support real women who are sadly in Helen’s position. Such an amazing amount of money, I can’t wait to see how much they raise in total!

You can read the BBC news article here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-35501587

You can donate to ‘The Helen Titchener (nee Archer) Rescue Fund’ here:
https://www.justgiving.com/helentitchener/

Quote of the day: 7th February 2016

The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything but they make the most of everything.

I have been guilty of “all or nothing” thinking. Throughout my life I have been of the opinion, ‘if everything isn’t 100% happy in my world, then nothing is happy in my world’. This kind of thinking is so destructive and leaves you with a false sense of what your life actually is like right now.

Recently, our life has been negative in so many ways, but I have had an epiphany this weekend, and much like Howard Beale’s character in the film Network (1976) reminds us, I am reminding myself (and anyone else who needs reminding),

“I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!”