GJ Willis' Art Notes

The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

I am a visual artist and writer living in Baltimore. I don't have any artist friends. Frankly, artists scare me, there so darn flaky. The above picture is either of me or proof that I'm a pretty decent artist. My goal is to be a self sufficient artist, whereas I wouldn't have to do something else in the day in order to eke out an existence. I also like to attend various cultural events around town. I go to plays, the symphony, etc. Also, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I found this out recently and it has explained a heck of a lot as to why I am as I am.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Today, I was deeply saddened when I learned that Coretta Scott King had died. The news did not come as an entire shock. She was 78 years old and had been hospitalized last year after suffering a stroke.

I first heard the news on 98 Rock. It seems that they are always the FM radio station that is the first with breaking news. After hearing the breaking news on 98 Rock, I did as I usually did when I hear big news on the radio. I scanned around the radio dial to see if any other station had picked up the story yet. It took 92Q about twenty minutes to get around to saying anything about it. It was about two hours before NPR said anything about it. I am not too surprised by NPRs delay because I always get the feeling that that station is on an endless tape loop. Everything, except of course, the Marc Steiner Show.

The most surprising thing I found out about Coretta Scott King in her later years is that she supported gay marriage.

link | posted by gail at 10:09 PM | 0 comments

Monday, January 30, 2006

Today, I listened to the UK Official Chart Show with JK and Joel. All in all nothing terribly exciting on the UK charts, except Biggie making it to number one. I suppose this would make him the second hardest working dead man in show business right behind Tupac. Di you know that last year on the UK charts Tupac had a hit song with Elton John? I kid you not!

I suppose the main reason I like to listen to the UK Chart Show is because I can. To the best of my knowledge AT40 (Americas Top 40) is only available via the radio. You can not listen to it on the web not even as a podcast.

My favourite new song that I have heard on the UK Chart Show is the Pharrel Williams song, Angel. The song is very reminiscent of the Amarie song, One Thing. I have to admit that I do not listen to hip hop music much. The reason for this that there is only one hip hop radio station in town. I was more into it when there were two stations in town 92Q and this other station called the X. I feel that since 92Q does not have any competition there is no hip hop variety in town. Musically, its like Russia during the cold war.

Anyway, here without further adieu is the UK Charts 1-10!!!

1. Notorious BIG/Diddy/Nelly....Nasty Girl
2. Arctic Monkeys...When the Sun Goes Down
3. Beyonce Ft Slim Thug....Check On It
4. Hi Tack.....Say, Say Say (Waiting 4 U)
5. Will Young....All Time Love
6. Shayne Ward....Thats My Goal
7. Nizlopi........JCB Song
8. Sun Block.....I Will Be Ready
9. Ordinary Boys.....Boy Will Be Boys
10. A-Ha......Analogue (All I Want)

link | posted by gail at 9:44 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I am deeply troubled by the events that occurred in the Middle East last week. The event in particular that I am most troubled by is the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Hammas won 74 out of 132 seats.

The reason I am troubled is because Hamas is a terrorist group. They have claimed responsibility for several bombings that have occurred throughout the years in the Middle East. They have also stated time and time again that their goal is to remove Israel from the map. With a group like this in charge I fear that the violence in the Middle East will only increase to a greater intensity.

link | posted by gail at 4:07 PM | 0 comments

Friday, January 27, 2006

mozart, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Its hard to believe but today is the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

I could not believe that while listening to NPR as they were doing a story on it being Mozarts 250th birthday not once did they mentioned the play or movie Amadeus as being a possible contributing factor to Mozarts continued popularity. The movie made Mozart appear to be a fun guy you would like to hang out with. The Mozart in the movie did not fit the stuffed shirt stereotype that one would associate with a classical music.

Anyway, it felt as though the person doing the story did not want to mention the play or movie. It seemed in a sense as though he felt it was beneath him. I felt that his ignoring the impact of the movie and play, Amadeus, was blatantly ignoring the obvious.

Heck, I had not heard of Mozart until the Peter Shaffer play, Amadeus came out starring Mark Hamill. Then after that the much heralded movie came out starring the poster boy for where are they now, Tom Hulce. Oh, well I suppose I should not worry or criticize because after all I do not fit into NPRs primary demographics.

Anyway, my favorite pieces from Mozart are the obvious ones like A Little Night Music and the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro. I also liked a production of The Magic Flute that I saw on PBS a couple of years ago.

link | posted by gail at 10:43 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Here is my list of worst movies of 2005. These are movies that I feel were not worth the money I paid to see them. They were nothing more than expensive made for TVmovies or in one a case a boring episode of the Discovery channel writ large. As I did yesterday I am limiting this to movies I actually paid money to see and now regret. Obvious choices like Deuce Bigelow: European Gigilo and The Dukes of Hazzard are not included because I was smart enough to avoid them. However, I was not smart enough to avoid these five gems.

And in no particular order here is my short list of worst movie of 2005.....


, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

March of the Penguins...I know that I am probably alone in this, but I really felt bored out of mind while watching this movie. I fell asleep several times. I was waiting for some fisticuffs or maybe a car chase to occur. Sadly, there was no action what so ever in this penguin movie. Not even hot Cinemax after dark penguin sex. I feel that this movie would have been best aired on the Discovery channel instead of hoisting it on paying movie goers.

Fantastic Four...This was an ok movie. But after Spiderman came out the bar has been raised for comic book movies to be more. I hope that they do a better job of developing a better script with Fantastic Four 2.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...I found this movie to be an absolutely stupid and pointless remake of a film classic, Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. There were so many things about this movie I hated. Chief amongst the things I hated was Johnny Depps portrayal of Willie Wonka. He was doing nothing more than a very creepy Michael Jackson impersonation.

Another thing I hated was the tacked on storyline about Willie Wonkas father. Nowhere in the Ronald Dahl book did it mention or allude to Willie Wonka having father issues. I hate it when movies add sub plots for the sake of making something more modern. Also I really loathed the new songs that the Oompa Loompa sang. In my opinion none of these new songs were as memorable as the ones in the original movie. In my opinion if it aint broke dont fix it!!!

Must Love Dogs...I found this movie to be a lifeless paint by numbers romantic comedy. John Cusack and Diane Lane could have done much better. I know in my original review I said I would buy this movie to add to my John Cusack movie collection. In after thought I think adding this movie would be a big mistake. I prefer to remember Cusack in his glory days and not in the times he had to sink to appear in tripe like this.

The Island...This I felt was not terribly bad for a TV movie. However, the problem was I paid money to see it!! This movie I feel is best viewed on a Saturday afternoon between channel surfing.

link | posted by gail at 8:59 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Today, I thought it would be fun to post my favourite movies of 2005. I am limiting the list to movies I actually saw that were released in the United States in 2005. Thus, movies that appear on a lot of big time movie critics lists like Crash and History of Violence are not listed because I never saw them. Tomorrow, if Im feeling up to it I will post my worse movies of 2005.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

For starters I have to say that my favourite performer of 2005 is Terrence Howard. He was in two of the movies that I loved in 2005. In my opinion Terrence Howard has replaced Denzel Washington as the sexiest man in Hollywood. Lets face is Denzel is getting old and fat.

And without further adieau here is my Favourite movies of 2005


1. Hustle and Flow....This movie in my opinion is the best movie ever made about rap music. The movie stars Terrence Howard as a broke ass pimp who wants to turn his life around to follow his long held dream of becoming a rapper. In my opinion Terrence Howard deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. If you have not seen this movie yet see it now!

2. Four Brothers...I loved this movie about four adopted brothers who set out to avenge the death of their mother. Also I loved the sense of family that that you felt between the four adopted brothers of different races. Terrence Howard, also apppears in this movie. Unfortunately, he gets killed.

3. Lord of War... This movie that came out during early fall starred Nicholas Cage as an arms dealer. The movie had a very powerful message coupled with an offbeat sense of humour.


4. 40 Year Old Virgin...I found it be a very funny and heart warming picture. After all how could I not like a picture where the lead characters apartment looks a lot like my own.

5. Wedding Crashers...This is yet another movie that I found to be fun. Its about two womanizers who like to crash weddings to get laid. I also like this movie because it stars one of my favourite comedic actors, Owen Wilson.

6. Brokeback Mountain...I loved this sweet love story between two hunky ranchers.

7. Walk The Line...I am not a fan of country music but I like Johnny Cash. I felt that Joaquin Phoenix did a great job portraying the man in black, Johnny Cash. Phoenix even did his own singing. Since I know little about country music to my ears he sounded just like Johnny Cash. Also Reese Witherspoon was brilliant in the movie as Cashs future wife, June Carter. Watching this movie after a year ago seeing Ray kind of made me wonder if EVERYONE WAS ON DRUGS DURING THE 60s. I mean is there a possibility that there might be a Mr. Rogers movie where he battles a secret heroin addiction? I will not even get into Captain Kangaroo or Scooby Doo because I feel that they are so obvious. Scooby Snacks anyone?

8. Capote...I found this to be an outstanding movie about Truman Capote and the steps he went through to write his masterpiece, In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman was nothing short of brilliant in the lead role. He is an absolute shoe in for getting an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

9. Cinderella Man...This was a great boxing movie about one was about Great Depression era boxer Jim Braddock. I know nothing about boxing but I enjoyed this movie.

10. Ladies in Lavender....According to the IMDB this movie was released in 2004 but it did not reach the States until 2005. This is a very sweet small budget English movie about two elderly sisters who ‘adopt’ a young foreigner who washed ashore on their beach.

Honorable Mention:
Syriana, I found this movie to be good. However, the plotline never connects the various storylines. I know that this disjointed feeling was a deliberate part of the movie. It was showing that no one is really aware of what is going on in the Middle East not even the people who are in the thick of things. I know this because the director and writer of the movie said this many times while being interviewed on NPR about the movie.

The one thing I can say about this movie is that George Clooney deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting actor for this movie. His performance was phenomenal. Even though he gained several pounds for his role in the film you could not take your eyes off him.

link | posted by gail at 10:37 PM | 1 comments

Monday, January 23, 2006

The bus #1 bus I got on this morning was leaking rainwater over almost every seat. It made me wonder how it is determined which bus the driver takes out in the morning. Is it the drivers choice or does someone choose it for them? Who knows maybe our driver is not very well liked and thus he got the crappy bus.

Also I have to say that ever since the big Baltimore bus rescheduling of 2005 that nearly every bus I attempted to board in the morning has been crowded. The buses were so crowded that drivers would not allow any new passengers on board. So thus, there were many a morning where the buses passed me by. Whenever this happened I had to walk several blocks down to the light rail station. This whole situation was due to the fact that they were running the short Neoplan buses in the morning instead of the regular sized buses. I suppose some genius over at the MTA felt that no one really rides the bus at 5am in the morning.

Recently, it should be noted in fact just around Christmas time, they started running regular sized buses in the morning. So thus I have gotten a seat as usual instead of having to hotfoot it down to the light rail station. I hope that they do not go back to running the short buses in the morning ever again.

link | posted by gail at 9:23 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Today, I listened as usual to the BBC Radio 1s Chart Show with JK and Joel. While searching around the web I found
a fan run message board for JK and Joel.
In addition to hosting the countdown show it appears that they also host a Morning Show which is called a Breakfast Show over in the UK.

January 22, 2006

1. Arctic Monkeys.....When The Sun Goes Down

2.Notorious B.I.G.-P.Diddy-Nelly....Nasty Girl

3. Will Young....All Time Love

4. Beyonce Ft. Slim Thug....Check On It

5. Shayne Ward....Thats My Goal

6. Nizlopi....JCB Song

7. Sun Block....I Will Be Ready

8. Hi-Tack....Say, Say, Say (Waiting 4 U)

9. Richard Ashcroft...Break The Night With Colour

10. Son of Dork....Eddies Song

First off the good news as far as the UK chart goes, X-Factor winner, Shayne Ward, has finally been knocked out of number one. He was replaced by a new Arctic Monkeys single, When the Sun Goes Down, which debuted at number one. Maybe its just me but I feel suspicious of a new single debuting at number one. I like the Arctic Monkeys however, there new song to me lacks a hook. I do not know..... Maybe I need another listen?

Anyway here is link to a short video of the Arctic Monkeys single, When The Sun Goes Down.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Now the bad news, also in the top ten is the first UK Pop Idol winner, Will Young. He debuts at #3 with the ballad, All Time Love. Its a sweet little run of the mill ballad, nothing special. It should be noted that Will Young has branched out into acting. He appears in the movie, Mrs Henderson Presents. The movie stars Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. I believe the movie is about an older woman who decides to open a strip club in World War II London for the, ahem, morale of the troops. Also I understand that Will Young does a nude scene in the movie....

Anyway, here is a short video link to the Will Young single, All Time Love.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

One of two big surprises in the countdown for me nationality wise, were Son of Dork. I always thought they were Americans until JK and Joel talked to the lead singer. Shockingly, they are British!! Their lead singer has one of those high pitched nasally singing voices associated with American pop punk groups like Good Charlotte and Weezer. Their single Eddies song debuts at #10 on the charts.

Here is a link to a short video of their single, Eddies Song.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

The other nationality shocker for me was Belle and Sebastian. I had no idea that they were British. It was also surprising to hear JK and Joel explain who Belle and Sebastian were. This was surprising to me because I have been hearing them on the radio ever since the inception of WTMD. And to think they are virtually unknowns in their own land..... Anyway, they debuted on the charts at #13 with the song, Funny Little Frog. To me it does not sound very remarkable.

Here is a link to a long form video of the Belle and Sebastian single Funny Little Frog.

I have added a photo badge on this page from Flickr. It is HTML based and not the Flash version. I did not want to use the Flash version because it only displays the most recent photos you have uploaded. I preferred the html badge because it randomly displays three of the over 200+ paintings and photos that I have uploaded to Flckr. The photos it displays changes each day. The Flckr photo badge is on the left side of this blog below my weather girl badge.

link | posted by gail at 7:22 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, January 21, 2006


James Blunt, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Today, for fun I checked up on how the music career of James Blunt is doing in the States. Also today for the first time ever I watched the video to Youre Beautiful in its entirety. I had no idea that it was slightly morbid in tone. It appears that at the end of the song Blunt commits suicide. Despite this somewhat disturbing imagery I still love the song and feel that there is a strong possibilty that it might make Top 10 on the Pop Charts.

So far his cd, Back To Bedlam has gone gold!! He is number 6 on the US adult contemporary charts with Youre Beautiful! He also has just cracked the Top 40 Pop singles charts with Youre Beautiful! I even heard Youre Beautiful played on the very mainstream MIX106.5 Looks like James Blunt is on his way!!

One interesting gossipy thing I learned is that he has allegedly broken up with his long term girlfriend and is now dating Jessica Sutta of the Pussycat Dolls. I am not 100% sure but I think they might be a singing group that consists of strippers.

link | posted by gail at 3:27 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, January 19, 2006


, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

I can not believe the news!!! I just found out today that new episodes of Doctor Who will finally air in the US on the SCI FI channel!!!! The episodes are due to air Fridays in March. Oh, Happy Day!!!

Also I just learned that the new series will finally be released on DVD in July!!

I am absolutely ecstatic that I no longer have to buy my Doctor Who DVDs overseas.

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I am doing the Snoopy Dance!!! Woooooooooooo!!!!!!!!! Hoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! and Yabadaba Doooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

link | posted by gail at 9:15 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Last night I watched the Golden Globes. Hurray for Brokeback Mountain and Philip Seymour Hoffman. I saw both of the movies so I feel great that I picked winners to watch. My favourite acceptance speech of the night was George Clooney winning for best supporting actor in Syriana. He lamented that he was the first winner of the night and thus he hadnt had the opportunity to get a drink yet.

link | posted by gail at 10:14 PM | 0 comments

Monday, January 16, 2006

Today I took off work in honor of it being Doctor King Day. This is the very first time in my employ at the company that I took that particular day off. I kind of felt funny about doing it in the past because my cousin was the head of the NAACP. I know that probably does not make much sense but thats how I felt....

link | posted by gail at 9:53 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Today, I went to church for the first time this year. I didn’t go on Christmas Day because I wanted to be with my family. I know that sounds odd because of the meaning of Christmas, but Hey I logged in serious time in church last year. I admit I was not there as many times as the really tall lady with the curly hair. She is there so many times you would swear she lives there.

I didn’t go on New Years Day even though I really wanted to see what a sermon done by someone other than the usual ministers would be like. The reason I did not go was that it was New Years Day for crying out loud! New Years Day is the day I spend in recovery from eating the ginger bread house I made on New Years Eve. I did not go last Sunday because I was not feeling well.

So today on Martin Luther Kings birthday was my day to make it back. There was also a babys dedication service today. Last fall they did another baby service at the church so I thought I knew what to expect.

Today, the only seat I could easily get to was on the aisle. After the baby dedication service, Rev. Hubbell went down each center aisle and showed everyone the baby. We were invited to greet the baby. This I felt was stupid and dangerous because it is the middle of winter and I imagine a number of people are fighting colds which could easily be passed on to the baby. I did not touch the baby when they got to my row. I felt very uncomfortable. I like babys but am not sure what you should do with them. Besides I might have germs which might make the baby sick. I feel that this whole passing the baby around situation was absolutely foolhardy for the babys parents to agree to. To the best of my knowledge the parents last fall did not have a passing the baby around section of there daughters dedication service.

After the service I headed over to Walgrens to but stuff for my nieces baby shower. I got her $55 dollars worth of Walgrens baby things. In addition to the baby things I got her a box of sugarfree chocolates. I did this because she has gestational diabetes.

For almost the entire time I was there for the baby shower I visited my dad. We both watched the Indianopolis/Pittsburgh game. I do not know much about football. But just as I was about to leave the game got exciting. I stayed on the edge of my until the game was over. All I knew was that Indianopolis has a winning streak but there streak ran out on Sunday. It looked as though the Steelers were going to take the Colts to the cleaners but just as the end was about to end Indianapolis managed quiet a turn around. Alas, it was too much late. The Steelers and there towel wielding fans won the game.

link | posted by gail at 8:14 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Today, I checked my phone messages and found that one of my nieces longtime friends left a message for me. It turns out that her friend will be throwing a baby shower for my niece over at my nieces place. This is all nice and well but all throughout Christmas I kept asking her if there was anything I could buy for the baby. She kept telling me that she already has everything.

I called up her sister to see if she had the slightest inkling of what her sister might need. To my chagrin her sister was out of town so I spoke to her teenage brother instead. He also had no idea because she had told him like me that she had everything for the baby. He suggested that I just buy something for her instead of the baby. Somehow it did not seem right to got to a baby shower with presents for the mother instead of the baby.

Then I decided to call back her longtime friend who left the message. She was a lifesaver. She told me that she and my niece had made a list of all the things that she might need. I have to admit that it surprised me that there existed a list of things that she needed for the baby.

This made me wonder if the reason she never told me anything she needed is because I am as poor as a church mouse. Heck, a church mouse has more money than me. Also it seems as though almost every time I run into my nieces they ask, when am I getting a car? You see both my nieces and the vast majority of their friends can afford cars. I, on the other hand can not.

link | posted by gail at 4:42 PM | 0 comments

Friday, January 13, 2006

Its Friday the 13th! Eeeek!

Today, I could have sworn that I was listening to the Howard Stern Show at work. It came in very faintly near the ghetto of the dial that contains all the NPR stations. The show sounded very low key and laid back. Then when I got home I went over to the DCRTV website and it turns out that my ears were not decieving me. There are folks out there who are running pirated broadcasts of his satellite Sirius show on regular terrestrial radio. I have to admit it felt bittersweet while listening in. Sweet because Stern was back on the air. Bitter because I know it will not be long before the radio pirates are caught and Stern will be off the regular airwaves again.

link | posted by gail at 4:15 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, January 08, 2006

vettriano_singing_butler, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

The above is a painting by Jack Vettriano called The Singing Butler

Today, I actually painted and worked on art. I can attribute this to being re-inspired by the book and calendar I bought of the artwork of Jack Vettriano. Also this evening I listened to BBC Radio 1s Chart Show with JK and Joel. By the way I just went by JK and Joels personal website not the one featured on the BBCs website. I have to say right here and now, JK and Joel have an online store to beat all other radio DJs! I have never seen anything like it before. They offer a wide range of products. They have everything from electronic items to baby stuff! JK and Joel are complete money grubbing capitalist whores!! God I Luv Em!! JK and Joel rule!!

As far as the BBC countdown chart goes X-Factor winner Shayne Ward is still number one with his ballad, Thats My Goal. I figure the only reason it is number one is because he won a singing contest on TV.
I have to say that I am not that into the song because ballads are not my thing. However, much to my chagrin, I found myself singing along to it. I do not know why this happened maybe the song has subliminal messages in it or something?

Anyway, here is a link to a short video stream to the song I do not like but found myself singing along to.

Also while listening to the Chart Show I was introduced to a lot of new music, well new to my American ears.

I really enjoyed a group called Hard-Fi who do a song called Cash Machine. I believe I have heard this song played on WHFS. They play it on their station commercial.

Here is a video stream to their song, Cash Machine.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

I also found myself liking a group called Editors. That’s right Editors not The Editors. I enjoyed their song called Munich. The song is somewhat reminiscent of the 80’s. I have no idea if WHFS has added them to their playlist or not.

Here is a link to a short video stream of Editors singing Munich.

ArcticMonkeys, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

I also enjoyed listening to the current in vogue group that is getting a lot of press on both sides of the Atlantic, Arctic Monkeys. I really love their debut song, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. It has a very lively punk rock sound to it. I have no idea what the rest of their cd sounds like. All in all I hope they do not turn out to be a one hit wonder.

Here is a link to their record company that includes the full video to, I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

A singer I heard for the first time and liked listening to on the Chart Show was Simon Webbe. His song No Worries sounds like something that might play well over here in the States. It has a nice laid back hip-hop sound to it.

Here is an audio stream to the song, No Worries.

k, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

The one group I have become absolutely floored with are Kaiser Chiefs. The group has a very catchy punk rock sound. The two songs I have heard from them, I Predict a Riot and Everyday I Love You Less and Less have been nothing short of brilliant. I predict big things for this group if the rest of their cd is as good as those two singles have been. Again I have no idea if they have been added to the playlist of WHFS. I would be in absolute shock if WTMD started playing them.

Here is a link to a short video stream of I Predict a Riot. I could not find a video link for Everyday I Love You Less and Less.

One song on the Chart Show that has no prayer what so ever of being heard outside of the UK is a song called the JCB Song. It is so British that even I can not comprehend what the singer is going on about. The JCB Song is done by a duo called Nizlopi.

Here is a short video link to the duo Nizlopis uncomprehendable JCB Song. If you can tell me what they are singing about please let me know...

link | posted by gail at 2:31 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, January 07, 2006

onceonthisisland, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Trisha Jeffrey and J.D. Goldblatt in Once On This Island

The big event today was going to Center Stage to see a matinee performance of Once on This Island. I will always think of this show as Fiona’s show. Fiona was the former assistant supervisor at Center Stages Telemarketing Department. Every year she would insist that they put on Once on This Island. I remember her saying that it was the best play she ever saw.

This was my first time seeing the musical. However, many years ago, I did read the book that the musical was based on, My Love My Love or The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy. This is the only book that I have ever read that has made me physically cry in sorrow. To me the play did not live up to the book.

After the show I went down to the Gallery to pick up a calendar for my cubicle. I first went to the book store in the Gallery but as I picked up a calendar from the display they had up all the calendars toppled down. I felt frightened and quickly left the store and headed over to Barnes and Nobles.

I ended up getting a calendar illustrated by my favourite living artist, Jack Vettriano. The calendar oddly enough is called,
Jack Vettriano 2006
. I also found a coffee table book of his work on sale for 14.95. The name of the book was Lovers and Other Strangers, Paintings by Jack Vettriano. This is makes the second Jack Vettriano book I own. A couple of years ago I bought his Fallen Angels book. I also got a Farside Appointment book and a book on colour mixing recipes.

Oh, before I forget here is a quick review of Once On This Island.

Once On This Island

Viewed January 7, 2005
Center Stage, Baltimore, MD

Directed by Kenneth Lee Roberson

The Cast

Lakisha Anne Bowen....Andrea
E. Faye Butler.................Erzulie
Lavon Fisher....................Asaka
J.D. Goldblatt.....................Daniel
Heaven Leigh Horton.......Little Ti Moune
Christopher L. Morgan.....Papa Ge
Miah Patterson....................Little Ti Moune (alternate)
Erick Pinnick........................Armand
C.E. Smith............................Tonton Julian
David St. Louis....................Agwe
Gayle Turner........................Mama Euralie

Quick Review

Overall, as I said previously the musical was not as good as the book. I also found it hard to understand what the characters were singing. This could have been because they were singing in dialect. Also none of the tunes they were singing were particularly memorable.

As far as the cast goes they were all pretty good. I can not recall any particular standout performances amongst them. They were all just good. I did see two faces in the cast that were familiar to me, Erick Pinnick and E. Faye Butler.

As I was watching the play I got this feeling that I had saw the man who plays Armand somewhere before. It turns out that he is a native of Baltimore. So odds are I probably saw him around town somewhere before he moved to New York to become an actor. Who knows maybe I even went to school with him or his kin?

It was also nice to E. Faye Butler return to the Baltimore stage. Butler is a phenomenal singer. However, I felt kind of uncomfortable looking at her in the costume she had on. It really accented her Dolly Parton-esq assets of which I was unaware of until this show.

link | posted by gail at 3:46 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, January 05, 2006

happy-birthday-1, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Today is my birthday. I spent it feeling depressed and borderline suicidal. Since I’ve written this entry it is apparent that I have decided not to end it all.

Why am I depressed? I’m 36 and I have no children, husband, or even ex-husband. The vast majority of women in my age range are either married, divorced, or at least have a child.

My eldest niece already has a child and my other niece, her sister, is about to give to birth to her first child. Also my eldest niece is engaged or was engaged. I never really asked her if the wedding was on or off. By the way in case you are wondering both my nieces are in there mid-twenties and not teenagers.

Oh, well, I suppose I was not meant for that type of a life.... I suppose it is best to be happy with what you got. The way I see it, I have peace of mind and do not have to be in constant worry over whether my decisions will have a negative long term effect over the life of another human being that is left in my care. I am free to live my life as I see fit. No worries!

link | posted by gail at 3:46 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

narniafamily, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Today, after work I went to the movies to see The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. The reason I went to the movie was because as a child I read the Narnia books and I have off tomorrow for my birthday. So I thought I would give myself a treat. I have to admit I felt a bit apprehensive about seeing the movie because it has been touted as a Christian movie in some circles.

I think that the main reason for this is that C.S. Lewis, the author of the book was in addition to being a fantasy writer also a noted Christian scholar. I did not find this out about him until Shadowlands came out in 1993. Shadowlands was movie starring Anthony Hopkins as Lewis and Debra Winger as his wife Joy Gresham. The movie was about how Lewis in his later years met, fell in love, and married Joy. Sadly, soon after the marriage, his wife died slowly from bone cancer.

As far as all the Christian undertones of the Narnia series of books is concerned all I can say is that I was completely unaware of it as a child. To me the Narnia books were just fun, escapist, adventure books. I suppose looking back, Aslan could be considered as a Christ like figure. He dies and then comes back. Other than that I just do not see it.

As far as the movie goes I found it to be very entertaining. I did not see it as being particularly religious. To me it was just an enjoyable childrens movie. Overall, I have to say that it was a very good adaptation of the book. The children were perfectly cast.

I wonder if they will make a movie of the next book in the series, The Horse and His Boy? You now that I am on the subject it would be nice for once if someone made a movie out of the true first book in the Narnia series, The Magicians Nephew.

The only odd thing about the audience for the movie was that I saw two men who came to the movie together. I found it odd because men are not usually in the habit of going to childrens movies with one another. Then I noticed as they were leaving that they both wore earrings and walked kind of funny.

link | posted by gail at 6:18 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Today, I went back to work today feeling depressed out of my mind. I felt like breaking down and crying several times today.

For the first time ever there will be nothing decent to listen to on the radio. It will just be me and my iPod. Howard Stern is off the air and on its place on the radio dial are The Junkies! God, how I loathe them! Every time I see their billboards up around town I want to shake my tiny girl fist at them.

Alas, I decided to go to the movies to cheer myself up. The movie I saw was Brokeback Mountain, also known as the gay cowboy movie.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

The main reason I wanted to see it is because I have never seen a gay cowboy movie before. Besides it has two hot guys in it who are hot for each other.

Overall, I found it a brilliant and moving love story. Albeit, it took a long while for Jack Twist and Ennis to declare their love and do the deed. It was fun to watch the reaction of a few audience members when it finally happened. A couple of men immediately stormed out of the theater. I am not sure if they left because they were offended by the guy on guy action or if they had somewhere else to go....really, really, fast.

In all there was a total of two big gay love scenes. The first one was very rough and violent in tone. I have to admit that the first one frightened me a bit. So in a since I can not entirely fault the men who ran out of the theatre. In the first love scene it seemed as though they were trying to draw blood by hurting each other. The second love scene was much gentler in tone.

The two leads in the movie were believable. I loved the sexual recklessness of Jack Twist played by Jake Gyllenhaal and the quiet stoicism of Ennis played by Heath Ledger.

Overall, I think Heath Ledger deserves an Oscar nod for playing the cowboy who found it hard to come to grips with his sexuality. It should be noted that both of the cowboys eventually married female clones of themselves. Jack Twist marries an equally sexually overt woman while Ennis marries a quiet woman. Despite, there straight marriages they continue on with there relationship on the downlow.

The one thing I hated about this movie was that someone died at the end. How come Hollywood can not seem to make a romantic movie without someone dying at the end?

As far as the audience goes I did see a couple of men who seemed to have been dragged unwillingly to the movie by their girlfriends. These I suspect were some of the ones who fled whenever Jack and Ennis got that special look in their eye. Also I was surprised by the number of women who were in the audience. A few of those women came in groups. I was surprised by the number of women I saw because I thought that the audience would be comprised primarily of gay men. All in all the majority of people in the theatre were either females or gay men and couple of uncomfortable heterosexual men. Also it should be noted that the theatre was absolutely packed. This of course was a surprise because it was a weekday.

link | posted by gail at 11:16 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, January 01, 2006

This evening for the first time ever I listened online to BBC Radio 1’s year end official countdown show with JK and Joel. The reason why I was listening to the BBC instead of my usual internet radio station of choice,
Virgin Radio, is because Virgin Radio was not accessible on iTunes at 32kbps. I could only pick it up at at 128 kbps. I do not know if this will be a permanent situation or a temporary glitch. The best way I can describe the radio format of Virgin Radio is Jack FM with real live DJs!

Anyway, I really enjoyed listening to the year end countdown on a
BBC Radio 1. The two hosts of the show JK and Joel seemed to be pleasant enough blokes. I think I may make this a part of my regular weekend routine.

There are two acts in the UK year end top twenty that I feel have a strong possibility of charting in the States. Those two acts are Sugababes and
Shayne Ward. I believe I have posted last year about my positive feelings about the possible US chart success of James Blunt and Daniel Powter. Trust me those two guys will eventually be top 10 or top 20 sometime this year in the States. I can feel it! :)

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

The Sugabes are a girl group trio. There song, Push the Button is a very infectiously catchy dance tune. I also understand that they recently hired Madonnas producer to work with them.

Here is a video stream link to their song, Push The Button.

, originally uploaded by willisgirl.

Shayne Ward is the winner of the UKs X-Factor show. X-Factor is a show similar to American Idol complete with Simon Cowell as a catty judges. So I figure hey, if Kelly Clarkson is succeeding on the charts over there as well as at home maybe, Shayne Ward can do the same. His song Thats My Goal is a ballad that appears to be about a guy who has done something wrong and is apologizing to his girl. It's not a very cutting edge song nor is it my cup of tea. As I have written before I am not into ballads.

Anyway, >here is a link to the video stream of Thats My Goal.

The most surprising duo on the UK charts is of course 2Pac and Elton John. This proves to me once and for all that 2Pac is lurking around laying low somewhere. After all, how can the hardest working man in rap really be dead if he’s off making duets with Elton John?

As far as the rest of the chart goes I can not understand the allure of an old man singing an old song being the top song of the year. The song, Amarillo sounds as if it is trapped in a timewarp of early 1970something. I also do not like that annoying crazy frog song. I can not believe how stupid some people can be for making a cell phone ringtone on of the top songs of the year.

Ok, enough of my dislikes. Two groups that I heard for the very first time and love from this chart are the MVPs (Most Valuable Playas), the Body Rockers, and The Arctic Monkeys. The MVPs and the Body Rockers have a dancehall vibe going on while the Arctic Monkeys have a punk rock feel. I hope to hear more good stuff from them in the future.

Below is the UK countdown in its entirety.....


1. Tony Christie...Amarillo
2. Shayne Ward....That’s My Goal
3. That Damned Crazy Frog Axel F Song!!!!
4. James Blunt....You’re Beautiful
5. Mc Fly...It’s All About You
6. Akon...Lonely
7. Pussycat Dolls.....Don’t Cha
8. Westlife......You Raise Me Up
9. Nizlopi......JCB Song
10. Madonna.....Hung Up
11. 2 Pac featuring Elton John....Ghetto Gospel
12. SugaBabes... Push The Button
13. Daniel Powter... Bad Day
14. Gorrilaz... Feel Good Inc.
15. Will Smith...Switch
16. Mario......Let Me Love You
17. Jennifer Lopez....Get Right
18. Nelly featuring Tim McGraw....Over and Over Again
19. Mariah Carrey....We Belong Together
20. Snoop Dogg Justin Timerlake, etc.......Signs
21. 50 Cent....Candy Shop
22. The Body Rockers....I Like The Way
23. Pussycat Dolls...Stick Wit U
24. Oasis......Lilah
25. The Audio Bullies....Shut You Down
26. Robbie Williams.....Spread The Word
27. The Arctic Monkeys.....I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor
28. Sean Paul.....We Be Burning
29. Black Eyed Peas.....Dont Phunk With My Heart
30. MVP.....Roc Ya Body (Mic Check 1,2)
31. The Gorrilaz....Dare
32. Eminem...Tin Solidiers
33. Sunset Strippers....Falling Stars
34. Amarie......One Thing
35. Stereophonics....Dakota
36. Kelly Clarkson.....Since You Been Gone
37. Black Eyes Peas....My Humps
38. Oasis....The Importance Of Being Idle
39. Westlife featuring Diana Ross..When You Tell Me That You Love Me
40. Ciarra.....1-2 Step

link | posted by gail at 11:58 PM | 1 comments

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