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Monthly Archives: August 2009

I’ve been working in a customer service/technical support capacity for more years then I care to recall at this point. I have learned quite a bit from this time on every level from the technical to the psychological.  But, the thing that I think I have learned the most is cynicism.

You see, any job in which you deal with the public will make you begin to wonder if the human race has somehow used civilization to dodge Darwin’s law and actually begin to reverse the process of evolution, but working a technical support line, that’s a true traipse down the road to hell.  When you’re dealing with someone who’s computer has gone kaput, half he time they can’t even communicate the problem in an intelligent manner.

It’s funny, but I’ve learned there are two types of people when it comes to tech support war stories, those who think you’re making it up and former techs who have been there themselves and just shake their heads in sympathy.  The reason for this is simple I think.  We, as human beings, want to believe that people are generally intelligent.  That they are capable of cognizant function on a high level, and will always be able to see the solution to a problem with a little coaxing.  Techs have learned this is just not the case.  Human stupidity is rampant.

Now, I know what you’re going to say.  These people are not stupid they are ignorant when it comes to the area of my expertise.  In many cases, you may have a point.  However, there is something about a broken down computer or internet connection that seems to suck all the smarts out of people.  And while these people may not be stupid in general, they are certainly capable of extreme acts of stupidity when dealing with a technician.

No sane person truly believes there is an “any key.”  No one who is using a sliver of the brain God granted them thinks the cops are coming to their house when they get an “illegal operation.”  And, no human being with even a scrap of intelligence truly believes that when i say “right click” it means to take out a pen and write the world click on their screen.

The real trouble of this, though, is that anyone dealing with this sort of thing on a day in and day out basis begins to become disgruntled toward the rest of his fellow men.  Every little act you see out in the real world begins to be seen through the lens of human stupidity.  You begin to become one of the many fine connoisseurs of cynicism that exist in the tech industry.  You can shake it off, but you still sigh every time someone makes a stupid lane change, goes to the express lane with three times the number of items posted, or has to get out of their car to use the drive up ATM.

Believe me, human stupidity abounds.  We ALL have it in some portion,some of us just know its there and shake our heads in sympathy.

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Well, I guess it couldn’t last forever.  After two weeks of pretty solid releases we are now encountering a pretty soft week.  There’s not a lot to talk about here, but there is some potential.  I feel a bit dubious that the potential will be realized, but there is potential.

This is going to be a rare week where I do not issue a Pick of the Week.  Looking at the national releases this week, I do not feel any of them have a strong enough pedigree for me to endorse wholeheartedly, so, in order to avoid losing the trust of my readers, I will not give my stamp of approval out this week.

That being said, on with the show…

Halloween II

Trailer

Synopsis: It is that time of year again, and Michael Myers has returned home to sleepy Haddonfield, Ill., to take care of some unfinished family business. Unleashing a trail of terror, Myers will stop at nothing to bring closure to the secrets of his twisted past. But, the town’s got an unlikely new hero, if they can only stay alive long enough to stop the unstoppable.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I admit, I did not see Rob Zombie’s remake of the original “Halloween.”  That fact makes it difficult for me to truly know what to expect from his remake of the sequel.  I avoided the first one because I feel that John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” (still among the most successful independent films of all time) is one of the best examples of the horror genre that has ever been made.  The film plays on our fears like a finely tuned instrument and offers us a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of death that, because of his lack of supernatural origins, seems more real (and thus much more visceral) than the likes of Freddy and Jason.  In my mind, the first two “Halloween” movies actually comprise a single film in two parts, especially since “Halloween II” picks up mere minutes after the end of the first.  I don’t really know what Rob Zombie is capable of here, but remaking the classic films of a genre is a dangerous games, and the fans of the originals are going to be very critical of any alterations.  Personally, I would save the ticket money and rent John Carpenter’s original two films and watch them back to back.

The Final Destination

Trailer

Synopsis: On what should have been a fun-filled day at the races, Nick O’Bannon has a horrific premonition in which a bizarre sequence of events causes multiple race cars to crash, sending flaming debris into the stands, brutally killing his friends and causing the upper deck of the stands to collapse on him. When he comes out of this grisly nightmare, Nick panics and persuades his girlfriend, Lori, and their friends, Janet and Hunt, to leave. They escape seconds before Nick’s frightening vision becomes a terrible reality. Thinking they’ve cheated death, the group has a new lease on life, but unfortunately for Nick and Lori, it is only the beginning. As his premonitions continue and the crash survivors begin to die one-by-one-in increasingly gruesome ways, Nick must figure out how to cheat death once and for all before he, too, reaches his final destination.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Shouldn’t this be “Final Destination 4”?  Or, are we to believe they really mean it this time since this is “THE Final Destination.”  Beyond the rhetorical issues involved in the title, this movie just makes me sigh in resignation.  You made a good movie.  It was called “Final Destination.”  It did well at the box office.  Be happy with that for a change!  Of course, that didn’t happen.  We’ve had two monotonous sequels already, and now a third.  The premise was original once.  That’s the very definition of original.  Now, it’s just sad.  Hollywood really needs to get a hold on the constant rehashing of teen horror films.  But, I’m guessing that won’t happen as long as teen dollars keep buying tickets to these exercises in futility.

Taking Woodstock

Trailer

Synopsis: It’s 1969, and Elliot Tiber, a down-on-his-luck interior designer in Greenwich Village, New York, has to move back upstate to help his parents run their dilapidated Catskills motel, The El Monaco. The bank’s about to foreclose; his father wants to burn the place down, but hasn’t paid the insurance; and Elliot is still figuring how to come out to his parents. When Elliot hears that a neighboring town has pulled the permit on a hippie music festival, he calls the producers, thinking he could drum up some much-needed business for the motel. Three weeks later, half a million people are on their way to his neighbor’s farm in White Lake, N.Y., and Elliot finds himself swept up in a generation-defining experience that would change his life, and American culture, forever. The film features a standout ensemble cast and songs from a score of ’60s musical icons, including The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe and the Fish — plus a new recording of “Freedom” from Richie Havens.’

MovieDruid’s Comments: I see a little bit of potential here.  They have an interesting story based in true events.  They have an interesting cast including Emile Hirsch (“The Emperor’s Club” & “Into the Wild”) and Liev Schreiber (“Defiance” & “The Painted Veil”).  And, finally they have the backdrop of Woodstock and the festival’s music which altered the culture of this country forever.  But, despite all of this, there are a few things that are troublesome.  First, a movie that sets out on this scale is bound for either greatness or absolute mediocrity.  My fear is that comedies, and this film is being marketed as such, that go this route fall into the latter category much more often than the former.  I have a modicum of concern about director Ang Lee as well.  He has a gift as he showed in films like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Sense & Sensibility,” but he is also a bit inconsistent having also been responsible for the train wreck that was the original “Hulk.”  This one could definitely go either way, but I hold out hope for its potential.

As I was driving in to work yesterday I was doing my normal thing and listening to the news on the radio.  Overall, it was the same things you hear every day, and I actually began to tune it out because there was nothing new or interesting.  Then, my ears caught a story that got me thinking all day.

Apparently Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, one of the leading publications on the business aspect of sports, had just released their rankings of the 239 markets in the U.S. that are homes to minor league franchises of various and sundry types.  They apparently looked at continued support of the local teams vis-a-vis the various economic factors (i.e. unemployment, average income, etc.) in the region.  The thing that caught my attention was the fact that the Harrisburg/Hershey market had been ranked first of the 239. (check the rankings here)

This isn’t a major surprise, I suppose.  I mean, we do have the 10 time Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears right here in my backyard, but it was an interesting news item.

The real point here, though, is it got me thinking about the role sports in general, and minor league sports specifically shaped my early life and relationships.

When I was a kid we moved around alot, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past.  But, one thing that always seemed to be there was my dad taking us out to the ballpark every once in awhile.  It didn’t matter whether it was the Richmond Rifles for hockey or the Nashville Sounds for baseball (to name just two of the many teams I got to see), the point was we were there together.  We were out there cheering on the home team, chowing down on stadium hot dogs (a food I am convinced may well be what the Greeks meant when they said “ambrosia”), sucking down sodas, and just being the guys (and girls, sorry mom and Vicki). Those were formative moments.  They were moments that tied us together and made us closer with the shared memories.  They were moments I will cherish forever.

My dad took me to Chicago Bulls games during the Jordan era and the home opener the year the Carolina Panthers officially moved into what was then Ericsson Stadium.  But, somehow sitting watching the Richmond Braves or Charlotte Checkers play will always stick out in my mind more.  There’s just something about a minor league game that the majors can’t touch.  There’s a bonding that took place, lessons that were taught, and relationships and memories that were built that will always be special.

Every time I have the chance to walk into Metro Bank Park on City Island to watch the Harrisburg Senators or into the Giant Center to watch the Hershey Bears, I remember those games with my family, and it brings a little smile of nostalgia to my lips.

I have a good friend who has been deployed in Iraq with his PA National Guard unit for nearly a year now.  Anyone who has ever had someone they care about in a combat zone will understand how nerve wracking that can be.  Luckily, we got word from him recently that he should be home soon, which was some of the best news I’ve heard in a while.

The one sunny side there has been to him being overseas is that we have managed to stay in pretty consistent contact with him in a way that I would guess many friends and family of soldiers have not.  You see, along with being a great father, a loving husband, and a good friend he is a geek, something he shares with the rest of our little circle of friends.  Now, I know you’re thinking: What does being a geek have to do with being able to stay in contact while deployed to Iraq?  Allow me to enlighten.

Our entire group are those people you always hear about that play a game called World of Warcraft.  If you have never heard of the game (and, I can’t imagine how considering the size of the player base and the marketing Blizzard has done) it is a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game, or MMORPG for short.  My wife and I, along with our friends spend many evenings as Orcs or Night Elves battling across a fantasy landscape.  The height of geekdom, right?  Well, take into account that this game has allowed me to meet and befriend people from all over the world.  When was the last time you had the opportunity to hang out with a group from all over the U.S., Canada, and even a few Europeans for an evening.

In addition to WoW, many of us use a program called Ventrilo, basically a Voice over IP program that lets us actually talk to each other while we play.  Great for strategizing, even better for socializing.  The combination of the two has made me some good friends over he lst few years, and allowed me to hang out with my local friends even when we can’t get together physically.  Call me a geek if you want, look down at me as “one of those gamer types” if you must.  It doesn’t phase me, I’m quite comfortable in my geekiness and gaming is only the merest facet of it.

The reason these two things are apropos to my friend in Iraq is that we have been able to continue to play with him and even talk to him on a frequent, sometimes even daily, basis.  Before he left he invested in a laptop and, even though connectivity over there can be sketchy, he still is able to log in and knock out a couple quests or battlegrounds with us while chatting a bit. You can’t imagine the weight it takes off your shoulders to hear a friend’s voice over Ventrilo after hearing the latest casualty news.

I feel honored to have a friend like him.  He is definitely one of my heroes, and my respect for the man knows no bounds.  And, I know that all of us back here in Pennsylvania are chomping at the bit to have him back home.  I’m just grateful that he’s been able to talk to not only his friends, but his wife and kids so regularly.

So, Godspeed, my friend, come home soon, come home safe.  But, until you do, I’ll see ya in Azeroth.

When I was a kid, I waited with fierce anticipation for the coming of summer right alongside all my compatriots.  Summer was the time of freedom, swimming pools, and ridiculous shorts.  Basically, kid heaven.

Except for the job lists.

Every morning when my siblings and I arose to face another summer day full of possibilities we found those little pieces of paper waiting for us.  I look back on them now and wonder why they seemed like such a big deal, but as a kid they were hundred foot barriers between me and the carnival that was the world during the summer months.  Every day I came down to breakfast with a certain sense of trepidation.  What was I going to required to do today before I could frolic?  Vacuum an entire floor of the house?  Dust rooms that were never used anyway?  Mow lawns?  You never really knew what slave labor you were in for.  Except for that one last job.  That one was always there and always the same.

Read for half an hour.

This particular job was, as a younger kid, the worst. A whole half hour?!? That was like forever plus infinity!  I had things to do, and they required daylight!  By the time this half hour was over the day would have flown.  It seemed the height of injustice to remove a half hour from my day, and during the summer no less. That’s time I can never get back, my childhood bleeding away while I do something silly like read.

The funny thing is, it didn’t stay a “job” for long.  My mom would take us to the library every week to pick out a new book to read. Slowly, that half hour started seeming like not such a big deal.  Then came the day that I actually frowned at the rest of the list because it was between me and my shiny new book from the library.  I wanted my half hour!

Looking back, I realize that the one of the greatest gifts my mother ever gave me was that half hour each day.  That simple act of having us take time out of our summer days to read has instilled in me a lifelong love of reading and writing.  These days I devour books like a starving man at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and usually have at least two or three writing projects in progress at any given time.

There are alot of things I wish I could say to my mom these days.  Lately, those things have been haunting me.  Most of them are pretty standard ones I guess.  I wish I could say “I love you,” “Goodbye,” and especially “I’m sorry.   But I find that one of the things I want to say the most is because of those little slips of paper we got every summer when I was a kid.

I’d like to say: “I have a lifelong love of reading and learning,  Thank you.”

As a kid, my family moved around a bit.  In fact, by the time I graduated from high school I had actually attended seven different schools.  Now, at the time, I thought that was the ultimate in terrible, but these days I look back and realize that I got to experience a greater slice of America in my childhood than many people get their whole lives. 

One thing you learn if you move around, or travel within the U.S., is that region to region food changes alot.  That’s a simple truth that most people will say: well, DUH!!  But, if you’ve lived in many places you get to a point where there are certain things you miss when you move out of those regions.

Well, Pennsylvania is freakin’ chuck a block for this sort of thing.  Everything from pretzels (if you’ve never had pretzels that weren’t some national brand, my sincerest sympathies) to various Lancaster county sweet treats, there is something for everyone.

But, I didn’t know until a few yhears ago that sometimes they even come with a show. 

My wife and I have gotten into the habit of every so often taking a jaunt out to Philadelphia for little reason beyond getting a steak sandwich.  Now, my personal recommendation is Jim’s Steaks on South Street.  The line is usually out the door and around the corner, but this is for good reason. 

We came to Jim’s second, however.  Before we discovered Jim’s, we frequented Pat’s Steaks at 9th and Passayunk.  Pat’s is a little place on an odd triangular corner at the edge of Philadelphia’s Little Italy.  The place is pretty much just a stand where they sell theit product to an eager clientele.  Their steaks are good, but a bit grisly for my taste (which is why we now eat at Jim’s).

One summer night, my wife and I were enjoying a steak and a cool breeze at one of Jim’s cracked plastic tables when a car pulled up abruptly and disgorged the cast of the evenings entertainment.  My wife and I were delighted as we did not realize our dinner came with a show, and thus we settled in and took everyhting in.

The scene looked like something straight out of a “Rocky” movie with a colorful group of Philadelphia Italians in a heated arguement with another group of Philadelphia Italians working inside Jim’s.  The whole thing seemed to center about how someone had treated someone’s sister in a way that was less than acceptable and the brother of the jilted sister was demanding some sort of retribution.  I kept waiting for Sylvester Stallone and Burt Ward to come wandering up to break everything up.

All in all, it was absolutely riveting and entirely entertaining.  I would recommend the show to anyone, but it seems to have closed for the season as when we returned it did not recur.  I think perhaps the whole project was scrapped for budgetary reasons. 

Hopefully the Balboa Theatrical Society will be able to find a new funding source, they were quite good.

Hey, MovieDruid fans!

I’m back with yet another astonishing foray into the world of movies through the warped lens of my mind.  This week’s crop,while not as interesting as last week, does bear a look.  As a production note, I will not be commenting on the release of “X-Games 3D: The Movie” which does release nationally this week.  It doesn’t really qualify as a cinematic experience in my humble opinion any more than the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana concerts did earlier in the summer.

Oh, and by the way, for you fans who have not already noticed, I have added a link at the top of the blog called “MovieDruid Reviews.”  It is here you will find my reviews of the films I attend.  I will update it as often as possible, hopefully at least weekly.

And, now, without any further ado, I turn to this week’s national releases…

Post Grad

Trailer

Synopsis: Ryden Malby had a plan. Do well in high school, thereby receiving a great college scholarship. Now, that she’s finally graduated college, it’s time for her to find a gorgeous loft apartment and land her dream job at the city’s best publishing house. But when Jessica Bard, Ryden’s college nemesis steals her perfect job, Ryden is forced to move back to her childhood home. Stuck with her eccentric family–a stubborn do-it-yourself dad, an overly thrifty mom, a politically incorrect grandma, a very odd little brother–and a growing stack of rejected job applications, Ryden starts to feel like she’s going nowhere. The only upside is spending time with her best friend, Adam–and running into her hot next-door neighbor, David. But if Ryden’s going to survive life as a post grad, it may be time to come up with a new plan.

MovieDruid Comments: This kind of comedy usually ends up being a bit too cutesy for my taste.  That’s not to say it will be a bad movie, but these films invariably end up with saccharine sweet endings that just make me roll my eyes just a little.  The cast, however does has enough bright spots to give me hope with Alexis Biedl (TV’s “Gilmore Girls” & “Sin City”), Michael Keaton (“Mr. Mom” & “Pacific Heights”), and Carol Burnett (“Annie” & “Horton Hears a Who”) is prime roles.  My biggest concern is the director, Vicky Jensen.  The largest body of her work has been in art departments and the like, and almost all of her work is in animated fare.  In fact, her only two directorial efforts which have been released besides “Post Grad” were “Shrek” and “Shark Tale.”  She definitely has some directorial talent, but it remains to be seen what will happen when she is working with actual people rather than animated characters.

Shorts

Trailer

Synopsis: “Shorts” is set in the suburb of Black Falls, where all the houses look the same and everyone works for BLACK BOX Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated, whose Mr. Black’s BLACK BOX is the ultimate communication and do-it-all gadget that’s sweeping the nation. Other than keeping his parents employed, however, Mr. Black’s BLACK BOX has done nothing for 11-year-old Toe Thompson, who just wants to make a few friends. But, then, a mysterious rainbow-colored rock falls from the sky, hits him in the head and changes everything. The Rainbow Rock does Mr. Black’s BLACK BOX one better: it grants wishes to anyone who holds it. Before long, wishes-gone-wrong have left the neighborhood swarming with tiny spaceships, crocodile armies, giant boogers–and outrageous magical mayhem around every corner. But, it’s not until the grown-ups get their hands on the Rock that the trouble really starts. Now, Toe and his newfound friends must join forces to save their town from itself, discovering along the way that what you wish for is not always what you want.

MovieDruid’s Comments: This looks like a pretty good family friendly film.  The premise is fairly original, which is a godsend in this day of cookie-cutter kids films, and they seem to have a definite vision for the film that almost looks like one part Willy Wonka and one part Edward Scissorhands.  I think the most interesting thins here, though, is the director.  I would never have expected a film like this from a director like Robert Rodriguez (“Desperado” & “From Dusk Til Dawn”).  Then again, it’s easy to forget he also did the “Spy Kids” movies and “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl in 3D.”  Rodriguez always brings a unique voice to the screen, and I see no reason to believe it will be any different in this case.

Inglorious Basterds – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: “Inglourious Basterds” begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.

MovieDruid’s Comments: For the sake of fll disclosure I should preface anything I say about this film with two facts: A) I am a dedicated fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work and B) I am a WWII buff and read, view, etc. anything I can that is related to the Great War.  That being said, this movie has the makings of a blockbuster.  The cast, other than Brad Pitt (“The Strange Case of Benjamin Button” and “12 Monkeys”), is made up of mainly unknowns or character type performers.  There aren’t really any other big names here.  However, Tarantino has shown a great deal of panache in coaxing fantastic, and sometimes career making, performances out of his cast.  The interesting thing about Tarantino is that as his career has gone on the production values have continued to rise because the studios are willing to give him the budget he needs more and more often.  The premise alone here is fascinating, but when you put a man with such a polished cinematic vision as Quentin Tarantino behind the camera, and an actor with the range of Brad Pitt in front of it, you truly have the makings of something breathtaking.

I’ve been a Shakespeare fan for almost as long as I can remember. When I was 12 I found a tattered copy of ” Hamlet” amongst some old books in our house and devoured the story in less than a week. “Hamlet” remains my personal favorite to this day.

One of my favorite lines from the play is uttered by Claudius just after Ophelia’s death. He says:

“When troubles come, they come not single spies. But in battalions!”

(I have seen this with “sorrows” rather than “troubles”, but my first reading used “troubles” and the word seems much darker to me somehow.)

As I’ve grown up, I have come to realize the truth of this statement goes beyond the life-shattering events (such as pratically everyone being dead by the end of “Hamlet”) to the simple mundane “troubles” of everyday life.

If your alarm doesn’t go offin the morning because of a power outage, having to rush to get ready is just the beginning. You’ll probably be late for work, forget to grab something for lunch, forget your wallet because you’re in a hurry (so, no lunch for you), and maybe forget your security badge as well. All of these things can be easily attributed to being in a rush, but they make us feel like the whole world is out to get us. It becomes very easy to throw up our hands and give up in those circumstances. God knows I’ve been there, done that.

But, when the troubles come in battalions, think of this. Your uncle didn’t murder your father then marry your mother. His ghost didn’t haunt you demanding revenge. Your girlfriend didn’t go crazy then drown herself. And, that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

At least you’re not Hamlet.

Living in a town like Hershey, PA is an interesting experience.  For the bulk of the year, it is a relatively quiet town, a typical American small town you might say.  During those times it can be a pleasant enough place.  Yes, we have our problems, but overall Hershey is a beautiful and friendly community.

That all changes from Memorial Day to Labor Day and for the first weekend in October.  There are other hotspots, I suppose, but the summertime and October really stand out.  The reason is Hershey is a town which has tourism as one of its top industries. During the summer months people flood into this small town from all over the northeast to go to Hersheypark, attend concerts at Hersheypark Stadium or the Giant Center, and see sights like the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa and the Hershey Kiss streetlights.  In October, the Hershey-based Antique Auto Collector’s Association has their annual Fall Meet and members from all over the country descend upon us.

Now, I know what you’re saying.  How bad could it be?  I mean its Hershey for goodness sake!  Well, I thought the same thing until I lived here through my first summer.  The sheer volume of people coming through town, especially on any holiday, is insane.  This is especially problematic because the Township of Derry (no, we technically are not Hershey, and don’t say Derry Township, it upsets their sensibilities) continually strives to keep Hershey’s small town feel.  You know what, I like small town feel.  I like tree lined streets and the like.

It just isn’t practical during the peak seasons!

The only ways into Hershey are on state roads that are never more than four lanes, and this ends when you get to Hershey.  Almost every street in town is a typical small town two laner.  Even Hersheypark drive, which sees the bulk of he traffic is only four lanes for the bulk of its length.  You know what this means?  It means get in and out of Hershey for locals is a royal pain in the ass.  And, of course, the tourists A) feel a certain sense of entitlement, after all they are on vacation, you are not and B) often have no idea where they are going and drive in very erratic fashion.

And, if you want to grab a bite to eat, get a tank of gas, or anything of the sort better plan on getting it done out of town.  The restaurants are jammed to the gills and many of them, as well as some gas stations, jack their prices up during the season.  My wife and I were in a local diner a few weeks ago and I saw a man snapping his fingers at a waitress and even try to grab a passing server by the arm.  I almost fell over from lack of surprise when he left and I saw New York tags on his car.

It’s like that everywhere in town.  I find myself wishing for Labor Day weekend and a reprieve from the madness.

I suppose for the next few weeks I’ll have to content myself with watching grown adults climb through bushes to get their picture taken with the street sign at the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa.

If it’s called “Tourist Season” then why can’t we shoot them?

(One side note before I begin.  I have added a page a the top of the blog for movie reviews.  I’ll give my thoughts on films I’ve seen here.  The inaugural review is for “District 9.”)

As I have stated in several places on this blog, I am a movie buff.  My adoration for cinema ranges from old black & whites to modern CGI effects, from the deeply dramatic to the darkly hilarious.  I also am a fan of the theater, and partake of the stage as often as a show that sounds interesting presents itself in a venue and at a price that match up with my situation.

When I moved to Hershey, I never expected to find a place that would allow me to indulge both of these loves in the same building: The Hershey Theatre.

The Herhshey Theatre, for those unfamiliar, was built by Milton S. Hershey in 1933 after he and his wife had vacationed in Venice, Italy.  The entire interior of the theatre is a magnificently crafted panorama of italian lava rock, marble, and mosaic that is truly breathtaking to behold.

I have had the privilege to attend several productions at the theatre, running the gamut from “Avenue Q” to “Movin’ Out” to “Fosse.”  In addition the theatre has a classic film series each year.  Through this series I have been able to see some of my favorite classics like “Casablanca,” “Harvey,” and “The Maltese Falcon” on the big screen.  The combination of the classic entertainment and the breathtaking setting make for an unforgettable experience no matter how often I return.

A few days ago I popped out to their website to see if this season’s classic film series had been announced.  Overall I am ecstatic with this year’s crop which includes “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” and Errol Flynn’s “Robin Hood.”  However, I am disheartened a bit by the selection of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Now,let me preface this by saying I am not a prude.  The film does not in any way offend me.  I am, in fact, a fan.  I love the movie, and have had an opportunity once or twice to attend screenings with the full audience participation.  This is actually what cause my discomfort.  I have seen what a theater looks like after a showing of “Rocky Horror,” and the idea of the Hershey Theatre, with its crushed velvet seats, beautiful mosaics, and marble floors, being subjected to such treatment makes me want to cry.

I tried to console myself by thinking they were not going to be doing the audience participation, but, lo and behold, for an extra couple dollars per ticket you can get your audience participation props right from the theatre.  Their only caveat is “no organic outside props will be permitted.” Even if this is fully enforced,which I imagine every attempt will be made but someone will at least try to sneak something in, the mess in the theatre is going to be incredible.

It somehow doesn’t seem right to have such a thing happen to such a beautiful and historic place.

I only hope that this doesn’t become a catastrophe.  I’ll pray for the cleanup crew.

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