Review: ‘If/Then’ at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis
Mar 2016 22

If Then Musical 2016 PosterHave you ever wondered, in your daily life, “what if?” For most people, thousands of decisions are made at regular, without a thought going to what might happen if they were to choose differently, or how the smallest choice may have vastly different outcomes if made differently. “If” I do this, “Then” this might happen. That is exactly the premise for “If/Then,” an original and fascinating look at one woman’s life which splits into two very different paths – all based on what seems like a trivial choice. The outcome is a brilliant new musical that makes you think harder about your own decisions, and just how life may turn out upon travelling a different route.

The story follows Elizabeth (JACKIE BURNS), a recently divorced woman who moves back to New York after over a decade in Phoenix. One day while meeting up with her old boyfriend Lucas (ANTHONY RAPP) and neighbor Kate (TAMYRA GRAY) at the park, she is forced to make what would seem like a trivial decision. Jackie Burns IF THEN musicalShould she go listen to music in Brooklyn with Kate, or protest a city development project with Lucas? Yet either decision will shape here entire future into drastically different circumstances, and it is here where the show is split into two stories: one following “Liz” who dons her glasses while riding the subway with Kate and her girlfriend Anne, and one where “Beth,” with her perfect vision (or contacts), joins Lucas for his protest. The glasses or lack thereof are how we keep the stories straight, and are a quite effective tool.

With music by Tom Kitt, the man responsible for one of my favorite musicals of recent years – Next to Normal (Read our reviews of the Fox and New Line performances) – the songs throughout the show are extremely catchy, and quite memorable. Being a newer show, I hadn’t had the opportunity to hear any of them previously, but was delighted to find so many instant hits. Listening back to the original cast recording after the show, I realized that this would be one I’d instantly want to add to my musical playlist.

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160: ‘Deadpool’ Box Office Report (2/12 – 2/14)
Feb 2016 17

This week Joe marvels at the fact that we made it to episode 160, while the rest of us marvel at the fact that we let Joe make to episode 160.

We also learn that the secret to internet fame is shipping people poop, Tom meets The Maltese Falcon and laments the fact that it’s an old-timey reference. And our guest (Chris Frank) has seen Lincoln’s blood.

It’s Reel Spoilers 160: ‘Deadpool’ Box Office Report (2/12 – 2/14).

You’ve been warned.

Starring: Tom O’Keefe, Kevin Brackett, Dan Graney, Joe Buttice
Guest Host: Chris Frank
Run-time: 50min

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A Rivalry Renewed: Cards and Cubs Set to Do Battle in Playoffs
Oct 2015 09

The start of October, all the yearly  telltale signs that fall has begun are everywhere:  the days are shorter and nights cooler, the high school down the street is having their homecoming bonfire, and the St. Louis Cardinals are preparing for the playoffs.  Well, the later may not happen every year, but as the Cards prepare to enter their 12th season in the playoffs in the 2000s, it has come to be an autumn expectation in St. Louis.  MLB postseason logo 2015 transparentAt nearly 40 games over .500 the 2015 iteration of the Cardinals boasts baseball’s best record and are the top seed in the National League.  The Cardinals hit the 100 win mark for the ninth time in team history and the first since 2005, drawing more than 3.5 million fans for the fourth time.

Early season ending injuries to ace pitcher Adam Wainwright, and first-baseman Matt Adams coupled with significant injuries to veteran outfielders Matt Holliday and Jon Jay meant that four of the Cardinals nine opening day starters would miss considerable playing time during the season.  This should be enough to doom most teams.  Instead, the Cardinals have put together one of the best seasons in recent memory.  The team played over .500 baseball every month of the season (with October still pending), and even their worst month, September, saw them winning games at a .536 clip.   Their 19-6 start was the best by a St. Louis franchise since 1899, one year before the team even adopted the “Cardinals” as their name.  (They were known as the St. Louis Perfectos in 1899.)  In their 74th game, the Cards racked up their 50th win, making them only the 18th team since 1965 to win 50 games before losing 25.

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Jun 2015 22

We, as human beings love violence.
There is just something about watching two guys, and now women in some cases, get into a cage and go at it.
However, there is more to the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) than just fighting.
Like any sport, it takes talent and mental toughness.
On Friday, June 19, Bellator 138 aired live on Spike TV from Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
The main event was Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock.
The fight was being billed as “Unfinished Buisness”, as it was 7 years in the making.
While some viewed the fight as more of a circus, the other fights on the card were worth watching, as there was a strong Midwest presence on the card.
Pacific’s own, Justin Lawrence returned home for the first time in 5 years, in what would be his first fight under Bellator.
Lawrence delivered quite a show for the fans, who gave him a raucous ovation.
Lawrence defeated Sean Wilson by TKO in a featherweight bout. Lawrence improved to 8-2 and looks to be on his way to breaking into the Bellator main card.
Former Mizzou All-American, Michael Chandler, returned home, as he hails from High Ridge, Mo. Chandler opened the main card on Spike TV by defeating Derek Compos by choking him out.
The crowd chanted MIZ-ZOU throughout the fight.
Bobby Lashley, who attended Missouri Valley College, easily won his heavyweight fight against Dan Charles, by tossing him around like a ragdoll.
The fight of the night belonged to featherweight champ, Patricio Pitbull and challenger, Daniel Weichel.
Weichel appeared to have Pitbull knocked out as the bell rang at the end of the first round, however, the ref did not step in until after the bell.
The fight would continue into the second round.
Pitbull needed just one punch in the second round, as he knocked out Weichel, to retain his belt. It was a stunning turn of events.
The main event featured Shamrock vs Slice.
Shamrock was led to the cage by his family and Animal, former WWF Wrestler of Legion of Doom.
Slice walked to the cage by himself.
As the fight started, Shamrock appeared to have Slice in a choke hold. The arena was waiting for Slice to tap, but he did not.
Instead, Slice broke the hold, got up and pummeled Shamrock with a flurry of punches. The fight was stopped, just over 2 minutes in, as Slice won.
Overall, it was quite a fun evening, as many of Bellator’s other fighters were run to speak with. Tito Ortiz was in attendance, as was Granite City’s own, Matt Hughes.
Many St. Louis Rams players were seen in the crowd as well.
Former WWE wrestler, MVP, was also in the crowd.
Bellator President, Scott Coker, said the promotion would be returning to St. Louis, as it was a great crowd for the event.

Jun 2015 17

Chandler 2

By Juan Ramos
Michael Chandler (12-3) has always embraced competition.
The former Bellator light heavyweight champion began his wrestling career at Northwest High School.
The High Ridge native and former Mizzou All-American said MMA seemed like a more attractive route than wrestling internationally.
“MMA would be a better avenue than wrestling internationally,” Chandler said. “It was a change, so I figured I would try it. I haven’t looked back since.”
Chandler’s MMA career skyrocketed, as he won his first 12 pro MMA bouts.
However, Chandler suffered a split-decision loss to Eddie Alverez in 2013, losing his title.
Chandler dropped a second split decision, to Will Brooks, in a fight for the interim belt.
In November 2014, Chandler lost his rematch to Brooks by TKO.
The 28-year-old is looking to end his skid at Bellator 138, Friday, June 19, at Scottrade Center.
Chandler will face Derek Campos (15-4) in a co-headliner slot, which will air live on Spike TV.
A four-time NCAA qualifier at Mizzou, Chandler’s last wrestling match of his career was in St. Louis during the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Chandler defeated Matt Moley of Bloomsburg in the fifth-place match.
In Chandler’s eyes, his wrestling background gives him a big advantage over his opponents.
“It’s very massive,” he said. “Aside from the physical aspect that I can pick guys up and put them down, I learned a lot from wrestling. The mental aspect of what wrestling has taught me and, more important, what wrestling at a Division I program like Mizzou has really made me the man I am today and the competitor I am today. It’s helped me in so many ways that I can’t even begin to describe.”
The former Mizzou wrestling standout said defeating his opponent will be no easy task.
“He’s a tough guy,” Chandler said. “He’s got good cardio. He’s always in fast-paced fights and so am I. I think I’m better on my feet and on the ground, in the wrestling department. I fully intend to go out there and put on a dominant performance.”
Before his three losses, Chandler was widely viewed as the face of Bellator, but after three losses and a change in leadership with the promotion, some feel he has lost his top spot.
Chandler disagrees.
“I think I’m one or two fights away from getting another title shot,” he said. “When I win that title, I will still be the face of Bellator. It’s great to be part of that. I’m just looking forward to getting this train rolling. It all starts June 19.”
Being a wrestler by trade, it may be easy to assume Chandler prefers taking a fight to the ground, however, he has no preference.
“I have finished fights standing and finished fights on the ground,” he said. “Both are great ways to finish fights, as long as you do it in a dominant fashion. So, I think it’s a tie. Obviously the fans love a knockout more.”
The light-heavyweight division in Bellator features some strong competition from the likes of current champion Brooks, but Chandler still feels he is one of the top dogs.
“I think I’m one of the elite guys,” Chandler said. “It’s not to brag, but I’ve put a lot of dedication into this. I’ve put my heart and soul into this sport. I think I train harder than anybody else and have made sacrifices that other people won’t make. I’m more disciplined than so many other guys. I feel like I deserve to be the best.”
Once again, Chandler pointed to his wrestling background as a tool that has enabled him to be more successful than other fighters.
“I have that drive to constantly improve and get better,” he said. “With that attitude you should have no other choice than to be successful and be elite. That comes from my wrestling background at Mizzou.”
While at Mizzou, Chandler was known for putting on strong performances in front of hometown crowds. While some fighters may get nervous fighting in front of a home crowd or on television, Chandler doesn’t let it affect him.
“I think you got to separate yourself from all that other stuff,” he said. “You have to realize that a fight is still a fight against another man, your same size. The cage door is going to close and you’re going to go into competition-mode to try to win the contest.”

chandler

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