St. Louis Baconfest Returns
Aug 2014 15

Fun fact: you can’t spell “awesome” without “bacon.”

I lied. You can. I’m not very smart. Whatever.

The fact remains, though, that bacon is more popular than ever. Whether it’s as a part of your diet or as the subject matter of your wardrobe, bacon will forever be on our minds and in our hearts (mostly as bits of saturated fat).

 

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Nom.

After last year’s premier of Baconfest, Team Bacon LLC is gearing up to present the Second Annual St. Louis Baconfest, set to take place this coming Saturday, August 13, at the Soldiers Memorial off 13th and Chestnut. Just as was the case last year, the centerpiece will be a world-record hog log.

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Explore the Sights and Sounds of the Amazon with the RIO 2 Tour, Coming to St. Louis (July 12)
Jul 2014 09

RIO 2 is on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD July 15

rio 2Join the fun this Saturday, July 12 at the St. Louis Galleria from 1-6pm!

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings the party to the people with its cross country RIO 2 Summer Party Tour. Families will have plenty of reason to shake a tail feather down to the tour; it’s full of interactive activities for all ages including portable viewing stations to watch soccer games, live from Rio; screenings of RIO 2; Samba performances and lessons; customizable Carnival masks; soccer challenges, and much more! All guests can also turn their fun into a global sensation by joining a cross country karaoke from the party via the sing- and dance-along photo booth.

With the Blu-ray/DVD and Digital HD release right around the corner, Fox Home Entertainment will bring the party from the Amazon this summer with a bunch of family-friendly fiestas across the country. You can find the Summer Party Tour any time of day, check out pictures from the tour, follow the GPS enabled tour bus, and explore all sorts of RIO 2 goodies at www.rio2summertour.com. Follow the tour on social media with #rio2summertour.

Review: ‘Hands on a Hardbody’ at New Line Theatre (May 29-June 21)
Jun 2014 05

Chances are that if you’re watching live theatre in the Midwest, more often than not it’s tough to be genuinely surprised. That doesn’t mean there is any lack of talent or amazing shows that come through town. And we have a great theatre community in St. Louis. Yet there is a huge difference between seeing a show that you know will be amazing – and feeling completely surprised by something risky and new. Most shows we see are already proven, and who can blame them? It’s expensive to put on a show, and especially to bring us something new from Broadway. Yet this isn’t the case with New Line Theatre, who time after time produces shows that are different and widely unknown. Artistic director Scott Miller has a true talent for recognizing the potential in shows we might otherwise have never seen, and filling them with some of the best actors in town. With that being said, I introduce you to their latest success: Hands on a Hardbody.

hardbody-1Based on a documentary film which follows true events from 1995, Hands on a Hardbody takes the audience to Longview, Texas for an annual competition of endurance. The prize? A brand new pickup truck. And it’s a musical. How wonderfully strange and fantastic the synopsis sounds. But you haven’t seen or heard anything until you’ve been to the show.

Songwriter Amanda Green is no stranger to bringing us this sort of unexpected gem. My first introduction to New Line Theater was in 2012 with their production of High Fidelity, based on one of my favorite films. But a musical? Green was responsible for those lyrics, and the show was an absolute blast. And how about the surprise Broadway hit “Bring It On The Musical,” based on a 2000 high school comedy about cheerleaders? Green teamed up with the mega-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) and Tom Kitt (High Fidelity, Next to Normal) on that one, which completely caught me off-guard with how fun it was. And now Green, along with Trey Anastasio (Phish) and a book by Doug Wright (Quills, The Little Mermaid), has done it again. This time with a musical about a contest to win a truck. On paper, it’s hard to imagine that the show could be so amazing. But I’ve learned to trust both New Line and Green by now, and both have yet to let me down.

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Like Hipsters? Love Pub Crawls? Join the ‘Dress Like a Hipster Pub Crawl’
May 2014 20

pub crawlI remember back in the day when being uncool was, well, uncool. When I was in elementary school, every kid had to have the latest fashions: the Adidas jackets, the shoes with soles that lit up, track jackets, etc. Those who didn’t get in on the trend were shunned, outcasts.

Somewhere along the way, though, it became cool to buck the trends. Mainstream trends became bete noire to some, preferring to set their own avant garde trends and other French words I’m not sure I’m even using properly.

Mere mention of the word hipster can either fathom fond thoughts or pejorative dirty words I’m not allowed to print here. Regardless, when one hears the word hipster, one’s mind tends to conjure up certain images: a scarf, perhaps a fedora, big glasses with thick frames, and (at least for the guys) thick mustaches.

Leave it to the founders of the wildly successful St. Louis Baconfest to come up with yet another non-traditional social event in the form of the “Dress Like a Hipster Pub Crawl,” taking place Saturday, July 12, in Soulard. The brainchild of Matt Willer and Matt Guillot, owners of Team Bacon LLC, the pub crawl is scheduled to begin around 2 and end when all the pubs in the area close.

“We ultimately decided to do it because we like to create things, and once I came up with the concept, well it’s just too funny to not move forward with it!” Matt Willer exclaims. And who could argue with his initiative? Last year’s Baconfest drew over 15,000 people, well over the 10,000 they’d anticipated.

The pub crawl isn’t anticipated to be quite as large, he says. “With our marketing plan we’re anticipating about 1,000 people participating,” Willer estimates. Still, with some strong marketing and word of mouth, there’s no reason to believe they can’t easily achieve this number.

Everyone attending will receive a hipster start-up kit consisting of hipster glasses, a scarf, stick-on mustache, gloves with no finger tips, and a beer koozie that says “I only drink craft beer.” Those who register by June 1 will receive a ticket for $22.09, while those registering by June 30 will have to pay $32.64.

Excited as Willer is, he’s quick to admit that he looked to outside sources for inspiration. “Recently, one of our friends and her boyfriend, both not hipsters, decided to dress as hipsters and went to a popular coffee & beer establishment called Foam. They thought it would be a fun date to change their clothing style for an evening, experience the local hipster culture, so that’s what they did. And they had a great time!” he explains. “Their date idea inspired me to come up with a pub crawl where people dress up like hipsters.”

The event is still in its nascent stages of planning, so plenty is still up in the air: drink specials, the number of stops, even the stops themselves. Willer will be updating the website as more information becomes available.

Regardless, he feels confident this event has every opportunity to succeed, mainly because of its unique identity. “Many other styles have already been done in pub crawl form in St. Louis and around the country. However, no one has done a hipster themed pub crawl here.

“It’s something new, and themed events are fun.”

For more information, check out the Facebook page. To purchase tickets, visit the official website.

Review: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at the Fabulous Fox (May 29 – Apr. 11)
May 2014 02
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat National Tour 2014. Photography by Daniel A. Swalec

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat National Tour 2014. Photography by Daniel A. Swalec

Tony Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler directs and choreographs this perennial favorite. Under his experienced hand, all the well-loved music and humor sparkles, enhanced by brilliant, yet subtle, updates for today’s audience. For an evening of high-octane song and dance in full Technicolor, catch the show at The Fabulous Fox now through May 11th!

This particular show features a dynamic married duo – with Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young of “American Idol” fame leading the cast. These two in particular impress with stellar vocal technique and solid acting skills to boot. DeGarmo performed in the show as a choir kid and said she has long looked up to the role of the Narrator.

Usually a ‘narrator’ role fades into the background as a story takes off; that’s not the case with JOSEPH. Here the Narrator’s songs begin, end, and anchor the entire show, woven seamlessly (for the most part) throughout the rest of the music. Sometimes she speaks directly to the audience, offering a running commentary on the show; at other moments when she seems to act as a character within the story, and steals center-stage with some knock-out songs. DeGarmo rises to meet the demands of the role with great panache.

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