In the ATL win over TB. It's considered "running up the score" when a game is already out of reach and the other team keeps scoring. It's considered poor sportsmanship in the U.S. and Canada. Nobody told Atlanta that, lol.
Also, ESPN said that after week 3, the teams that have a 2-1 record have a 75% chance of making it to the playoffs. The teams that have a 1-2 record only have a 25% chance of making the playoffs. Hey, I'm just reporting the news people.
I SWEAR, if DA BEARS make it to the Super Bowl, I am dying my hair Orange & Blue for the occasion.
ATLANTA FALCONS VS. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
OMG is the first thing that comes to mind. It was just plain ugly. I did expect the Falcons to beat the Bucs but to the the tune of 56-14. So, I did get a chance to watch this devastation of a team by another. The look on Lovies face said it all. We had players sitting on the bench, heads down, some wiping their eyes, it was just sad to see. You can't stop the game because this is the NFL but I really do believe we ought to get the rule that the pee wee leagues have. Just stop the game before total annihilation!!! It was not enjoyable to watch at all. TB should have known the party was over with the 35-0 score at half time. If that wasn't a sign, surely the 56-0 at the end of the 3rd Qtr had to be. It looked like ATL just stopped trying to score, I don't even think their hearts were in it at that point. Tampa Bay finally mustered up 14pts in the 4th Qtr but by that time, it didn't matter, I guess that was just to say they didn't get shut out. The thing that happened that actually overshadowed the score was Devin Hester's 62 yard return for his 20th, return for a TD, breaking Neon Deion Sanders record. He even was given a penalty for high kicking it in, Deion style. Which was just a way of saying, "you wrong for that, 35-0 & you high kicking it into the end zone." He meant no harm, he was giving Deion his props. I would have loved for him to have still been a BEAR when he broke this record. It wasn't the Bucs worse beat down. That was on Nov., 17, 1985 when they were cut down to size 62-28 courtesy of the N.Y. Jets. I am sure the Falcons are going to need some of the 56 points they scored the other night, later into the season. I am curious to see what they do next. Well, other than that, nothing more to say about this game. I'm still trying to get the game replays out of my head, just to painful to even watch and it isn't even my team. M. Ryan threw for 286yds & 3 TDs. S. Jackson had 14 carries for 54yds & 1 TD. J. Jones had 9 receptions for 161yds & 2 TD's. As you know, Hester did his thing and broke the record for TD returns. That's not going to happen again for a long time. GOOD FOR YOU HESTER!!! M. Glennon threw for 121yds & 1 TD. B. Rainey had 11 carries for 41yds & 2 TDs. Dang, TB had a total of 11 penalties, costing them 110 yards and 5 turnovers. Just a sad day for them. I am sure a bunch of TB players were trying to get hurt, trying to get out of this game. SMH.
CHICAGO BEARS VS. NEW YORK JETS
How sweet it is to be loved by you, it's look sugar sometimes, how sweet it is to be loved by you.....oh sorry, I was serenading my BEARS on their 27-19 win over the N.Y. Jets. Chris and I both said we would win, 27-20, but I'm cool with the 27-19.
Now, I have to say a few things. First, what was with all of the dumb penalties, I mean I know we had a lot of newbies out there, but come on man, this is football 101. They were doing some dumb stuff out there the lords of football let us keep this one. We had some key plays, catches, etc., but I would be lying if I said I wasn't chewing on the little bit of nails I have left. My one thought was, please don't bring Michael Vick into the game, he is much more experienced than Geno and would have given us an even more difficult time in winning this one. So to the staff of the Jets, I thank you. Now, not taking nothing away from Bennett, he has come through big time in the last 2 games, but being in the locker room complaining about what other teams or commentators say about you is just stupid. "I wish they would stop saying, oh yeah, that guy is a big guy, I catch as well as any other player out there." OK, stop the presses. Bennett, I give you your props, you have made KEY, MAJOR catches and had you not made them we would have lost. But really, I am sorry, you are no Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffrey. You are having a great start to your season and take it at that, enjoy it and keep on doing what you doing. It's your job to catch the ball if it's thrown to you. Would you have anything to say if you were missing them? Right at this moment, Kyle Fuller is the man. He is setting his stat sheet on fire, matter of fact, I saw it burst into flames in Ray Lewis hands when they were talking to him on the post game show. He has been crucial AGAIN in our on the road win. THANK YOU KYLE. Brandon is a trooper, he is the guy that if you cut off one leg, he will say, come on coach, I can get this, he NEVER quits until his body parts won't let him perform. Cutler, I think he looked good out there last night, so I don't have any complaints. I know he threw some catches where he had to be throwing to Kareem or Wilt, bring it done some man. The Jets defense, man, they were a tough bunch to get by, they stopped Forte like he was trying to break out of prison. Their coverage on Marshal especially was tight! Hell, I thought Marshall had 6 arms & 6 legs through most of the game. That was not it, it was just all of the coverage on him. They shut him down. I think he ended up with 6yds, that along has to be an NFL record for him on least amount of yards in a game. Alshon, anytime you can dunk on the Willis Tower, there is pretty much nothing anyone can do about it. As soon as he shakes the rust off, it's game time baby!! The Jets had me worried, I was more afraid of losing this one to them, than I was about the 49'ers. Once they took Kap out of his mental game, he couldn't perform physically. The Jets had 21 1st downs to our 17, 72 total plays to our 63, 414 total yards to our 257, 300 passing yds to our 197, 114 rushing yds to our 60 and they only had 6 penalties to our 9 which cost us 95yds & them 78yds. They beat us hands down on paper, but paper don't win games, people win games. Corny I know, it just popped in my head, lol. Nuff said about this game, I mean it ain't the BEARS Blog, it's the NFL blog, at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. J. Cutler threw for 225yds & 2 TDs. A. Jeffery had 8 receptions for 105yds. Ryan Mundy got in on the party with a 45yd interception return. G. Smith threw for 316yds, almost 1oo more that Cutler, but it was futile. He had 1 TD and 2 ints. J. Kerley had 7 receptions for 81yds & 1 TD. The funniest part of the game you ask? When Lance Briggs had to introduce himself to several players coming off the bench. He didn't know who they were. Our bench is running thin mannnn. One of the writer's for the Sun-Times said that the way the Bears are playing now, they are starting to look like Lovie's Bears. I read an article this morning on ESPN asking, is it time to bench Geno? I'm sure Vick wants to know. But hold up, this morning, Eagles said Geno is there man, it's his team.
CHICAGO BEARS: 2-1
The BEARS went to 2-1 when we beat the N.Y. Jets on MNF, 27-20. Read all about it in the MNF update, directly above folks. We are now tied with Detroit, moving on up to the East side.
GREEN BAY PACKERS: 1-2
Man, is it too early to say that the Packers are having a bad season? I mean it's only week 3, they could come back, right? I sure hope not. One headline I liked in particular, Packers gets feasted on by Lions. Lions look confident taking this one, 19-7. That pretty much summed it up. I watched most of this game, had yard work to do, so I caught the first half and bits and pieces of the 2nd half. I am throwing up as I say this, Detroit played a better game. Rodgers just didn't get it done. Not to mention he was sacked twice. Rodgers said, "They've got a good defense, you've got to give them credit." How civil, they were probably cursing up a storm in the locker room. lol. It's not like the Lions didn't give them ample opportunity. Lacy didn't show up again, at least in my opinion, they were stopping him at ever point of go. The lions even had 3 turnovers and 6 penalties for 40yd and GB didn't capitalize on any of it. Matt said, "Our defense did an outstanding job of getting off the field all day. Against that group that they were going up against, that was pretty awesome." So ends another battle in the NFC North with Detroit being the leader of the group up until MNF and my BEARS tied it up with them. Come on guys, there is room for two at the top.....M. Stafford threw for 246yds and 2 ints. R. Bush had 12 carries for 61yds & 1 TD. C. Johnson had 6 receptions for 82yds. A. Rodgers threw for 162yds & 1 TD. J. Nelson had 5 receptions for 59yds. Packers LB Clay Matthews left with a groin injury. GB had won 15 of 17 meetings with Detroit & were 9-1 with Rodgers playing, that's up until yesterday. Guess the Lions got tired of that story.
Also, I'm hearing in the Packers camp that Peppers presence on the field is felt but Eddie Lacy needs to step up. Leave Lacy alone until AFTER Sunday's game, lol.
DETROIT LIONS: 2-1
Read about the cheese that the Lions had for dinner in the update for Green Bay. Oh yeah, the dummy of the game goes to Detroit Lions Middle Linebacker Stephen Tulloch who apparently thought he would try the "discount double check" after sacking Rodgers. Well, big boys can't drop it like it's hot, all that weight on your knees, he went down like a brick thrown into the water, fast!!. You guessed it, he has to have surgery for a anterior cruciate ligament. In layman's terms, he tore some stuff. So much for the celebration.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS: 1-2
Yep, you guessed it, Minnesota lost again. Read about their 20-9 loss in the Saints update.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: 3-0
Foles was viciously blindsided by Redskins DL Chris Baker at the end of a play. This caused Jason Peters to go after Baker. A bunch of Eagles rushed the Washington sideline and Baker and Peters were ejected after it was all over. After all of the feathers were done flying around, the Eagles came out soaring high above Washington. Baker, big ole butt said, "I didn't do anything, next thing I know I'm getting hit on the side of the head." Well Peters thought differently and let him have it. Rookie Jordan Matthews, the receiver who replaced DeSean Jackson in Philly, caught 2 TD passes and the Birds went on to claim the the NFC East at 3-0. That's coldddd, getting beat by your last team by the receiver that actually replaced you. And word around the Eagles crew, Sproles is the gift that keeps on giving, lol, I like that one. The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to win each of their first 3 games after trailing by at least 10pts in each game. The last time the Eagles were 3-0 was in 2004, they went to the SB that year. They lost to the Patriots. N. foles threw for 325yds & 3 TDs. J. Maclin had 8 receptions for 154yds & 1 TD. K. Cousins threw for 427yds, 3 TDs & 1 int. That's a lot of yards. P. Garcon had 11 receptions for 138yds & 1 TD. A. Morris had 23 carries for 77yds.
DALLAS COWBOYS: 2-1
It's like I always say, it don't matter how much you win the game by, it's the win that counts. The Cowboys saddled and whipped the St. Louis Rams, 34-31. I bet that's one of the best looking 3pts the Cowboys have ever seen. Terrence William scored the go-ahead TD late in the 4th Qtr and Bruce Carter returned an interception for a TD on the next snap. The Cowboys made a BIG TEXAS style comeback after being down, 21-0 and ripped the game right from under the Rams. Nope, didn't see this one either but I know one little cow poke that is pretty happy, he lovesssss the Cowboys. You got this one Lofton! Say whattttt, I finally see Dez name on the stats on the Sports Center app. You have to contribute in the game to get your props from them. T. Romo threw for 217yds, 2 TDs and 1 int. D. Murray had 24 carries for 100yds, 1 TD & 1 fumble. D. Bryant had 6 receptions for 89yds & 1 TD. A. DAvis had 327yds, 3 TDs & 2 ints. Z. Stacy had 12 carries for 67yds & J. Cook had 7 receptions for 75yds.
NEW YORK GIANTS: 1-2
Guess who finally got a win, the Giants. Read how the slayed the Texans 30-17.
I guess Eli don't have to go to counseling this week, he may be able to pull through and lift his head up before it's all over. They needed this win really bad. I am sure that the Texans, thought they had this, they are 2-1 right now, leading the AFC South.
I remember reading an article after Week 1 saying that Eli had not gotten use to the new play calls by the new OC, Ben McAdoo. Seems Eli knows them now. McAdoo called the same exact play, 3 times straight which netted 10, 13 & 4yds. The Giants already had shut the Texans down with a 14-0 lead going into halftime. That series of plays set the Giants up for a 39yd FG and the lead exploded 17-0. It worked out well considering that it was not something they practiced all spring and summer, it was a play they added specifically to the game plan for the Texans. The Giants learned a little something about the way the new OC operates. If it's working, he's going to call it until the opposition proves they can stop it. E. Manning threw for 234yds & 2 TDs. R. Jennings had 34 carries for 176yds & 1 TD. Bringing up the end was V. Cruz with 5 receptions for 107yds & 1 TD. R. Fitzpatrick threw for 289yds, 1 TD and dang, 3 ints. A. Blue had 13 carries for 78yds in this losing effort. D. Hopkins had 6 receptions for 116yds.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS: 1-2
Pushing & shoving, late hits and a brawl. No this is not WWE this was the game the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles played. The Eagles came out on top 37-34, I think the won the brawl as well. Check it out in the Eagles update. .
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: 1-2
Brees and the Saints celebrated their home opener with a 20-9 victory while the Vikings were left still looking for a running game in the absence of A. Peterson andddddd a rookie QB to boot. They loss Matt Cassel with a foot injury early in the 2nd Qtr. I don't see this going any better for the Vikings at all. Brees didn't take to kindly to Captain Munnerly swinging him into the turf and safety Robert Blanton piled on. Drew got up ready to beat the crap out of them, instead, he beat them on the field and I am sure that hurts a lot more. Colston had 2 catches for 25yds, one week after he was held without a catch for the first time in 87 games. The score with Colston marked connect # 64. It moved Brees and Colston ahead of the HOF pair of Johnny Unitas and receiver Raymond Berry. The writers said that Brees looked comfortable early on, really, you playing the Vikings, you could have sat on a lawn chair and sipped a mint julep and still won. D. Brees threw for 293yds & 2 TDs. K. Robinson had 18 carries for 69yds & B. Cooks had 8 receptions for 74yds. T. Bridgewater, who by the way looked like a deer in headlights, threw for 150yds and was sacked twice if I recall correctly. G. Jennings had 5 receptions for 70yds.
CAROLINA PANTHERS: 2-1
I am sure with the way the Steelers been playing lately, the Panthers thought this would be another one in the win column. Big Ben had other plans. The Steelers won this one convincingly, 37-19. I just wanna know if Cam cried. LOL. Read about it in the Steelers update.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: 0-3
:o(( read about the embarrassing 56-14 loss to the Falcons in the TNF update. Grown men crying, players not wanting to go back on the field, just awful.
LANTA FALCONS: 2-1
Read about the 56-14 slaughter of the Tampa Bay Bucs in the TNF update. Also my guy Hester broke the NFL records. It's all there in the update.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: 2-1
The Seahawks again let the Denver Broncos know what time it is. Right now Wilson is saying, "Whose your daddy." The Broncos dropped this one 26-20 but not without a fight, this time they played a good game. No, this was not the SB rematch. Think about it, if it was, would Denver now get the ring and the trophy? NO! This is just what it was, their first game against each other after the beating Seattle bestowed upon them in the Super Bowl. I wish the announcers would make up their minds on Seattle though. When they lose it goes like this, "This is a young team and they are still learning each other, etc., etc., etc." When they win, it's goes something like this, "These guys have so much experience on this team, they know what they are doing, they have been together for a few years and they are here to stay." Ok, so what is it, young and still learning or experienced and got it together, they can't be both, I'm just saying. When they lose, call it what it is, a loss, no excuses, take it like an "experienced" team. I couldn't believe one headline that read, "The Seahawks are suffering from their first lost this season." Suffering? Suffering is when you can't quite pull that zipper up on your favorite pair of jeans, that's something to cry about, not that I would know about that, lol. I do. The media, they make it so dramatic. I guess they have to sale papers. No one person stood out in particular to me except, I guess Russell Wilson. Neither Sherman or Lynch exploded. Lynch did have 1 TD to his credit. The game did end in OT. The whole Denver team played a good game and did not look as if they had never seen a FB in their life. I still can't get over the terrible SB. I tell you this, if these two make it back to the SB, my money is on the Broncos. R. Wilson threw for 258yds, 2 TDs & 1 int. M. Lynch had 26 carries for 88yds & 1 TD. D. Baldwin had 4 receptions for 56yds. P. Manning threw for 303yds, 2 TDs & 1 int. M. Ball had 14 carries for 38yds & 1 fumble. E. Sanders had 11 receptions for 149yds.
SAN FRANCISCO 49'ERS: 1-2
I need a doctor, call me a doctor, doctor, doctor. Seem like different teams are taking turns on breaking records on the 49'ers. The Bears did it, with the win last Monday. Then the Arizona Cardinals did it. They beat San Francisco 23-14 and snapped a 4-game losing streak to the 49'ers. I wonder if Kap had any colorful words for us after this game. Drew Stanton, who is starting for the injured Carson Palmer for the second week straight, threw a pair of 3rd Qtr TD passes to Rookie John Brown & Arizona rallied to beat SF making them one of the few teams with an 3-0 start this season. Tom Kelly blocked a FG for the Cardinals, who outscored SF, 17-0 in the 2nd half. The 49'ers mounted two 80yd TD drives the first two times they had the ball, but didn't score again. They blew a halftime lead for the second week in a row. This season, SF has outscored opponents 59-16 in the first half, but they have been outscored 52-3 in the second half. WOW, that's nuts. This lost put them at the bottom of the NFC West, I bet that's a shock for them. D. Stanton threw for 244yds & 2 TDs. He has yet to be intercepted. A. Ellington had 18 carries 62yds. M. Floyd had 5 receptions for 114yds. C. Kapernick threw for 245yds & 1 TD. C. Kapernick had 13 carries for 54yds. S. Johnson had 9 receptions for 103yds.
ARIZONA CARDINALS: 3-0
Read about their win over the wounded 49'ers in that update anddddd, they are king of the hill in the NFC West.
ST. LOUIS RAMS: 1-2
The Rams got saddled and rode into the ground when they met up with the Dallas Cowboys. Though the score was only 34-31 it was a big win for the Cowboys. Read about it in Dallas update.
CINCINNATI BENGALS: 3-0
If I was a betting girl, I would have lost this bet. After 3 weeks, I didn't see the Bengals leading the AFC North with a 3-0 start. They beat, wait, smashed the Tennessee Titans 33-7 and heading into their bye week. From what I read, the forces were with the Bengals, "Andy, I am your father." Sorry had to throw that Darth Vadar line in. Not only did they win, Andy Dalton caught a TD pass, the first Bengals QB to pull that feat off. Dalton became the first NFL QB to score on a catch since K.C.'s Tyler Thigpen in 2008. The Bengals are off to their best start in 8 years. The led this game 19-0 by halftime. The Titans missed 2 FGs, they had one instance where the snapped the ball before Locker was ready. Just a series of mishaps in this one. They repeatedly negate drives with penalties. They did everything wrong after the news they received about the former kicker. Maybe the Titans will make a better showing next week. A. Dalton threw for 169yds & 1 18yd catch for a TD of his own. G. Bernard had 14 carries for 47yds & 2 TD's. A. Green had 6 receptions for 102yds total. J. Locker threw for 185yds & 2 ints. B. Sankey had 10 carries for 61yds. D. Walker finished the losing day with 4 receptions for 54yds.
BALTIMORE RAVENS: 2-1
The Ravens was determined not to finish Week 3, 1-2, they gave that honor to the the Cleveland Browns with a 23-21 win. It was one of those games that came down to the last seconds and a 32yd FG by Justin Tucker to close the deal. Justin was trying to win the spot from Cundiff. The Browns said that Cundiff missed 2 crucial 50yd FGs this season, he had the distance but has not been consistent with 50yd or more for a few years. He's with Cleveland now. With no Ray Rice or Bernard Piecre, rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro got a chance to peddle his wares. He ran 18 times for 91yds & a TD in his 1st regular season game. Coach Harbaugh said, "Lorenzo was physical, he was hard to tackle, the results speak for themselves." I don't think Lo is going to give the coaching staff a chance to wonder if he can hold down that spot. Harbaugh is giving no hints either. People are saying that the Browns are going to wake up Monday and wonder how this game got away from them. The Ravens made several big mistakes, dropping passes, an interception and failed to convert a 4th and inches at the Cleveland 20. Still, what all those mishaps, the Browns could not turn any of those things into a positive and they were leading this game 21-17 going into the 4th. They pretty much beat themselves. So now they are sitting at the bottom of the AFC North. J. Flacco threw for 217yds, 1 TD and 1 int. L. Taliaferro had 18 carries for 91yds and 1 TD. He is playing to keep this spot, even if Pierce comes back next week. S. Smith had 5 receptions for 101yds. B. Hoyer threw for 290yds & 1 TD. I. Crowell had 11 carries for 55yds & 1 TD. A. Hawkins had 7 receptions for 87yds. One more lost and according to the stats, Cleveland, along with a few other teams are pretty much done for the season. I'm just saying.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: 2-1
Guess whose back, back again, Shady's back, tell a friend. Looks like Big Ben and the Steelers are coming to life. They put the smack down on Cam and the Panthers, 37-19. I for one thought that the Panthers would take this one. But I guess Ben is done with his pity party and playing ball. This was a tight game going into half time, the score was 9-3, Steelers. But, as the Steelers of old would do, they ran up 28 more points and held the Panthers to only 16 more pts. Two of the fumbles they lost turned into scores for the Steelers. The Steelers ended up the day with 3 Sacks. The coach for the Panthers, Ron Rivera, took Cam out of the game late in the 4th Qtr. He said "I just don't want to see him get hit anymore." Along with the sacks, there were 12 hits on Cam. They ate him up! He was hurting, I could see that and it might explain the dazed look he had on his face in his interview at the podium after the game. The Panthers lost fumbles that led to scores, where they had zero in the first 2 games. Big Ben put a bow on the day with 196yds & 2 TDs. L. Bell had 21 carries for 147yds. A. Brown had 10 receptions for 90yds & 2 TDs. C. Newton threw for 250yds & 1 TD. K. Benjamin had 8 receptions for 115yds & 1 TD.
CLEVELAND BROWNS: 1-2
Read about the Browns 23-21 loss to the Ravens in that update.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: 2-1
Didn't get a chance to see this one. Judging from the score, the Patriots barely made it pass the Oakland Raiders with a 16-9 win. The papers said that the Patriots sluggish offense beats the Raiders. So, what I'm getting is this, the Patriots played bad but the Raiders played worse. Looks like the Raiders is staying in the favorite spot, dead LAST in the AFC West. Brady threw for 234yds & 1 TD. S. Ridley had 19 carries for 54yds. J. Edelman had 10 receptions for 84yds. D. Carr threw for 174yds & 1 int. D. McFadden had 18 carries for 59yds. No other Raider contributed anything worth while.
MIAMI DOLPHINS: 1-2
Read about their 34-15 lost to the Kansas City chiefs in that update.
NEW YORK JETS: 1-2
Read about their 27-19 loss to DA BEARS on the MNF update.
BUFFALO BILLS: 2-1
They were charged and beat by the San Diego Chargers, 22-10. Read the details in the Chargers update.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: 1-2
Now, maybe I'm tripping. I'm seeing all kinds of headlines after the Colts whipped the Jaguars 44-17. One is "License to drive, time to hand Luck the keys." Who the heck they think been driving this team to their shabby 1-2 start going into Week 4? UnLuck has. My personal favorite, "Andrew uses full arsenal in air raid." You beat the Jaguars, and so has everybody else that has come up against them this year. So now you believe this is the beginning of a beautiful love story. Luck still has a long way to go, as Tony Romo said, "0-2 is a deep whole to get out of." Here you are at 1-2, same difference. They had a 30-3 lead at the end of the 3rd Qtr, which, as you all know, they are good for dropping the big leads in the 4th Qtr, so that along is a surprise that the Colts held on. Luck had 4 TDs, nobody ever said he couldn't throw, he's not a closer. It's as simple as this, everyone expected the Colts to win and the Jaguars to lose. End of story. Beat up on Denver, Seattle or Arizona, then maybe, Luck can have the keys. It was Jacksonville's 4th consecutive double digit loss & the 21st in the teams last 35 games. I'm just saying, at this point, Florida State University can beat the Jaguars. The Jaguars benched Chad Henne at halftime and gave Rookie Blake Bortles a chance. Henne said, "I hope he plays really well, I'm really pulling for him and I'm going to be his biggest cheerleader on the sideline." Ok Henne, don't cheer yourself out of a starting job. After reading the article, Bortles did play well. Henne left the game with 33yds & was sacked 3 times. I really want to see who starts in their next game. I'm fair, I write good stuff to. Luck is the frist Colts QB since Johnny Unitas in 1967 to complete at least 75% of his passses for 350 yeards, with 4 TDS and no INTs in a game. The jaguars have been outscored 119-27 since leading Philly 17-0 at halftime in the season openers. That can't be good for moral. A. Luck threw for 370yds & 4 TDs, that is impressive. A. Bradshaw had 9 carries for 65yds and T. Hilton got a piece of the cake with 5 receptions for 80yds. A. Bortles had 233yds, 2 TDs & 2 ints. Bortles was the 3rd overall pick in May's NFL draft. A. Robinson had 7 receptions for 79yds.
TENNESSEE TITANS: 1-2
On a sad note, a few hours before kick off, the Titans learned that the former kicker of the Titans, Rob Bironas had died overnight in a car crash in Nashville. He'd been released in March after his 9th season with the team. Sending out condolences to his family. Read about the crushing 33-7 loss to the Bengals in that update.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: 0-3
Read about the 44-17 beat down from the Indianapolis Colts in that update. The Jaguars seems to like that last place spot. They have been holding down for the last 2 years in the AFC South. Maybe longer, but I would have to look that up.
HOUSTON TEXANS: 2-1
Read about their lost to the N.Y. Giants, 30-17 in that update.
DENVER BRONCOS: 2-1
Oops, they did it again, let the Seahawks win. But, at least it was NOT an humiliation of the Broncos. Read about the 26-20, respectable loss in the Seahawks update. Yes some wins are respectable and then you have the Falcons and the Bucs, that's all I'm saying.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: 1-2
They aren't kicking up any sand at all this year. They are off to a 1-2 start going into week 4. They beat the Miami Dolphins 34-15 which ain't saying much either. There numbers were neck and neck with the Dolphins, nobody had any big advantages. The Chiefs even had 2 turnovers and still won this one. Alex Smith was sacked in the end zone which led to a safety and again, they won. The one thing I read in at least 2 articles is that Tannehill remains inconsistent. Do they have a back up QB they can send in, it couldn't hurt them at this point. Well, I got my team to worry about, I can't be giving no advice to nobody else, lol. A. Smith threw for 186yds & 3 TDs, not bad for a days work. K. Davis had 32 carries for 132yds, 1 TD & 1 fumble. J. McKnight had 6 receptions for 64yds & 2 TDs. R. Tannehill threw for 205yds & 1 TD. L. Miller had 15 carries for 108yds. M. Wallace had 5 receptions for 74yds.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: 2-1
Phillip Rivers leads the Chargers to a 22-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. Whether they are 6-4" or 5-10", Rivers has his choice of receivers that he can count on. Last week it was A. Gates, this week it was Eddie Royal. They fill like the have the weapons on the Chargers to be a contender. They are 2-1, tied with Denver. This is their 3rd time in 4 years with a 2-1 start. They built on the momentum they had following the 30-21 home win over the Seahawks. QB E.J. Manuel had difficulty finding chemistry with his receivers. Coach Dough Marrone said that they were not in sync. Manuel also gave up a safety after being penalized for intentional grounding in the end zone with 3:23 remaining. The Chargers had 3 sacks on the Bills. Sounds like it would have been a good game to watch. P. Rivers threw for 256yds & 2 TDs. D. Brown had 31 carries for 62yds & M. Floyd had 2 receptions for 98yds. E. Manuel threw for 238yds & 1 TD. F. Jackson had 6 carries for 34yds and 8 receptions for 78yds & 1 TD. He did double duty but it would not pay out in this game.
OAKLAND RAIDERS: 0-3
Read about their expected lost to the New England Patriots, 16-9, in that update. Despite the loss, the sports shows said that the Raiders showed real fight in this loss. So did the Decepticons against the Autobots and we ALL know how that ended.
*Almost at the end of the 25 most moronic players in NFL history. I give you morons #'s 15-11*
It's getting weird folks*
# 15 - Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson
Chad Johnson's moronic behavior began with his TD celebrations. Then he decided to change his last name to Ochocinco because he wore the number 85. Johnson was arrested in August 2012 after he headbutted his wife. Johnson received a year of probation, which he violated in May 2013. In June 2013, Johnson was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He reached a pleas deal to keep him out of jail, but the judge nullified that after Johnson slapped his attorney on the butt.
# 14 - Ausar Walcott
Never heard of Ausar Walcott? Well don't fret because I hadn't either until he made ESPN for being a moron. Walcott was involved in a fight that left the men he punched in critical condition. The man didn't die, but Walcott has been charged with attempted murder. Walcott is claiming self defense, but that won't keep him off the moron list. Hasn't anyone learned from Ben Roethlisberger? Just say no and walk away.
# 13 - Aqib Talib
Aqib Talib got a quick jump on being a moron in the NFL. During the 2008 NFL rookie symposium, Talib was involved in a fistfight with fellow rookie and Tampa Bay teammate Cory Boyd. Then in 2009, he beat up a taxi driver and was arrested once more in 2011 when he supposedly fired a gun at his sister's boyfriend. Talib is still playing in the NFL, somehow. He's no longer with the Patriots.
# 12 - Albert Haynesworth
Ah, good ol' Albert. He began his NFL career by kicking his own teammate during training camp in 2003. Haynesworth followed that up by stomping on the helmet-less head of Andre Gurode. After being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007, Haynesworth went on to sign a 7yr, $100 million dollar contract with the Washington Redskins in 2009. He immediately had problem with the Redskins coaching staff, failed to show up for off season workouts and became known as one of the biggest free agency busts of all time.
# 11 -
Suh quickly made a name for himself in the NFL based on his "dirty" style of play. He crossed the moronic line in 2011 when he pulled a "Haynesworth" and stomped on the arm of Green Bay Packer offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Then in 2012, Suh was involved in yet another controversial incident. During the Turkey Day game against the Houston Texans, Suh intentionally or unintentionally kicked Matt Schaub in the groin.
The sun started to settle in the West. The shadows were forming over the manicured gardens. Night was coming and so was the start of a great show at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL.
It’s Saturday Night, the weather is nice, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash are in town. Fans young and old came to sing the songs performed by these greats. This was a tremendous venue for these Woodstock (1969) performers.
The three men came out armed with guitars, backed by a sweet band, and gifted with sweet harmonies. Not too many bands have ever been able to rival CSN in vocals.
“Carry On” was a perfect song to start it up with. All the old hippies dressed in their sixties tie dyed gear began to dance. Colored lights illuminated the musical display being set forth for the sold out show of concert goers.
“Marrakesh Express” has always been known for being a popular song amongst the fans. A great song with it’s up beat patterns and vocals that are just amazing. Always great harmonies.
“Long Time Gone” reminds a lot of people of the Woodstock Movie. It plays in the opening and was just a crowd pleaser. CSN were really hyped up for this show and they were letting it all hang out on a Saturday night.
When “Southern Cross” first started, the place just went wild. Everyone was singing the song throughout almost the entire way. “When you see the Southern Cross for the first time you understand now why you came this way.” When you see it done live by CSN you understand why you came to the show. Now everyone knows what all the hype is about.
Of course the boys had to take an intermission which was very cool for the aging entertainers and concert goers. David Crosby has lived two lives, but he looks amazing and is still harmonizing well. If you ask him, “It’s what I was put on this Earth to do.”
Helplessly Hoping was another great hit and Graham Nash is just still a top quality singer. His vocal contributions have long been present in this band and many others. He has been a full time member or singing backup with Dave for other bands. It’s like hearing a group of musical deities.
“For What It's Worth” was brought out from the Buffalo Springfield library and Stills did a great job as usual. He was a little raspy compared to the other two vocally, but where he lacked in one category he made up for it another. His guitar playing has always been a leading voice within this band since the start.
“Guinnevere” is just an amazingly graceful song. Each time they play this with such emotion and love from one man to this woman. No where can you hear a song like this written today. Sung in such a way it made a young lady cry. “It’s my favorite song by them. By anyone!!”
“Our House” was a sing along with lighters going and people chiming in on every note to this great hit. This song has some of the most children friendly lyrics put out. It just has an innocence about it that makes flowers in the hair of beautiful women mandatory.
“Chicago” a great song performed in honor of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. When they “Won't you please come to Chicago just to show your face” the excitement level went up immensely. Even in a far suburb of Chicago, it still makes many of us warm to hear about the city history in song.
“Teach Your Children” is probably the most known song by this band. Appearing in several commercials, being all over the radio, and possibly on a few kid shows like Sesame Street over the years, you would have to have to live under a rock to not hear this song. This is such a great song that was originally intended as a vocal lesson for The Grateful Dead. They would teach the members of the Grateful Dead how to sing harmony for their upcoming albums, Workingman's Deadand American Beauty.
The sold out show at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL. was just an amazing time for people of all ages. One is really overtaken and just in awe over the beautiful presence of the theater. The grounds surrounding were just filled with very well behaved attendees. No one got too crazy or out of hand. The sight of people enjoying a nice picnic lunch/dinner and beverage of choice just completes the scene of a serene summer weekend.
As the night came to a close, the crowd cleared out by shuttle buses back to the Botanical Gardens parking lot. They carried their chairs and coolers that had their leftover spinach dip and wine. Tie dyed people of all ages headed back to their vehicles excited from such a good show and exhausted because they got their monies worth.
Fans young and old came to sing the songs performed by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Night settled the temperature and set the evening for a memorable time. Alcohol was being consumed, people were dancing, and some of the greatest songs ever written were being sung. What more could you ask for? Maybe a time machine to bring you back to Yasgur’s Farm in 1969? Watch their second show ever and have some fine milk from his dairy?
For more Ravinia events, visit www.Ravinia.org.
Four strangers are quarantined together as the Black Plague sweeps through London. They must struggle through personal and social prejudices as they try to survive being cooped up together for weeks. Fear of contamination and imminent death from the agonizing plague, hope of escape, and sexual strain haunts their daily confinement. Will the fittest survive not only the plague, but each other?
Director Jeffrey Clark Stokes has brought a team of newcomers and old hands returning to the stage to create his directorial debut. The highlight of the cast is Caroline Phillips, the young actress playing Morse, a strange girl who sneaks into the boarded-up house and has a profound effect on the wealthy owners’ lives. Her belief in each moment is governed with a direct simplicity and a strong voice, bringing bewitching contrasts of innocence and depravity to this ravaged setting.
A fresh look at a small space, the audience is in effect taken into the quarantined room and has the chance to experience the ghastly confinement through all-around, staggered seating, bringing actors and audience close together. Stripping away any semblance of presentation, a tension-filled realism is achieved as these family-like relationships tauten and wind around themselves.
A brilliant score by DePaul student David Samba ushers us into this hellish house utilizing murmuring winds, groans and repetitive dripping and tapping. The score emphasizes Wallace’s poetic wordplay and grotesque imagery, which startles, horrifies, and repulses even as it invites a closer look into the physical agonies of life in the Black Plague era.
Ghost Light Productions’ One Flea Spare runs July 13-25 at 7:30pm at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave, in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The show runs 2:10 with a 10 minute intermission. Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com.
The Scottish city of Glasgow wallows in economic depression, as this laborer’s family struggles through the hardships of basic survival. “All we’ve done wrong is to be born into poverty,” the father says in comforting the overworked wife wrapped in his arms. A crash look into the real housewives of Glasgow circa 1930, overcrowded and unsanitary apartments, unfaithful relationships, being unemployed and broke, rebellious teenagers, and human rights verse human cruelty clash in this epic three-act play at Edgewater’s Raven Theatre.
A complex tale of interweaving lives, Robin Witt impeccably directs a strong cast in the creation of this fast-moving family drama, sure to be a summer hit! Touching on many modern issues, this story carries its audience through a roller coaster of fears and tenderness: the joys of raising children, the sorrows of disaster befalling loved ones. Family, even society, pull together as economic struggles break them apart.
Especially touching is the graceful performance of Lori Myers playing Maggie Morrison, the matriarch who leads her family through this desperate saga. She clings to love although gossip, fighting, rejection, and illness nearly break her heart in two. A masterful portrayal, Myers carries the show with a touch of genius, inviting the audience to share her trauma and rejoice in her triumphs.
Great talent work in Chicago, nowhere more so than in this production. A slice of life, featuring excellent costuming by Kate Murphy and ingenious audio effects by Victoria Deiorio contribute to making this charming production an evening that leaves its audience with hope and enjoyable entertainment.
Griffin Theatre Company’s Men Should Weep runs July 5 to August 10 at 7:30pm at the Raven Theatre Complex, 6157 N Clark St in Chicago. The show runs 2:40 with two 10 minute intermissions. Tickets are available at www.griffintheatre.com or by calling 866-811-4111.
In reference to (www.guitarsite.com), the lead singer and guitarist of The Trews revealed where the groups’ name came from in one of his interviews. He said the mom of the bands’ bassist suggested we call ourselves trews. Scottish trousers are known as trews, and the thought of the men wearing them makes for numerous woo-hoos! The front man adds “Given our Scottish heritage the name would be a fitting one to choose.”
The first photo I saw of the Hard rock/Alternative rock band, The Trews, made me wonder if I may have a few loose screws. Was I seeing double views? Are there two sets of male twins in The Trews?
Before you get a Double Mint Gum commercial stuck in your noggin, I should unveil I soon discovered there are not any twins in The Trews. The born and raised Canadian artists, Colin MacDonald (lead singer and guitarist), his brother, John-Angus MacDonald (guitarist), and their cousin, Sean Dalton (drums) along with their childhood bud, Jack Syperek (bassist), have all been playing together since ten plus years ago. The Trews’ hometown is Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and their present cribs are in Toronto. Also, The Trews have won a lot of prestigious awards, some include two #1 singles and 13 Top Ten from Canadian radio.
Yes, The Trews are not just some Joe Schmos. Bruce Springsteen asked The Trews to play on stage with him while he performed (kudos!) In addition, Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, the new Guns n’ Roses, Kid Rock, KISS and others invited them to open for their shows.
The Trews graced the stage on Tuesday evening at Chicago’s Double Door, where The Rolling Stones have played before. Promoting their new album, The Trews, is the main reason for their current tour. And for the record, I did not witness anybody bored out of their gourde.
There was a very close to even amount of men and women, as far as The Trews’ fans go. A fraction of the hot ladies wore super tight jeans, but thankfully I did not see any camel toe. (Although, that is not the nastiest of things, and does not make one a straight-up ho.)
Most of The Trews’ tunes they played had hooks that wheeled me, and the rest of the audience in and really feelin’ it. The Trews were the s***! They also had me and the crowd singing, dancing and head banging—I loved every bit!
And let me tell ya, The Trews left us wanting more, more, more! Indeed, their show was absolutely not a bore. You have to see The Trews on tour.
Steppenwolf Theater will be the testing ground for Kenneth Lonergan’s “This Is Our Youth” before the play goes to Broadway for its launch in September. Powered with young, talented actors Micheal Cera, Kieran Culkin and 18-year-old fashion blogger turned actress, Tavi Gevinson, we are taken to a lived-in Manhattan apartment in 1982 during the Reagan era. Archetypal slackers, “Dennis”, “Warren” and “Jennifer” are rich kids with all the drugs and self-indulgent worries a group of college-aged kids can ask for.
It all starts when Warren (Cera) intrudes on his self-absorbed pal, Dennis (Culkin) with fifteen thousand dollars that he had swiped from his father after the two had a major argument. Having spent some of the money already, Warren recruits Dennis’ help in trying to replace it before he returns the cash back to his father – hopefully undetected. Dennis, not at all cool with the fact that Warren has now made him accomplice, devises a hair-brained scheme where they would buy some coke, keep some for themselves, cut it and then resell it for a profit exceeding the amount needed to replace the full fifteen thousand dollars. Of course, nothing goes as planned.
In the meantime, throughout constant belittling of Warren by Dennis, Jennifer comes into play, a girl that awkward and nerdy Warren has had a crush on for some time. Plenty of clumsiness takes place between the two before common ground and mutual interests are observed. As the story develops we see plenty of layers shed from each character exposing various vulnerabilities.
The plot is not rocket science – simple and to the point, but the dialogue is plenty and engaging enough to capture one’s attention all the way through to where interest is never lost for a moment. For those whose youth enveloped those early 1980s years, plenty of references are made that will make you think, “Oh, yeah. I remember those – or that.” “This Is Our Youth” is a witty comedy that is refreshingly not overly dark, heavy and depressing. It’s a classic story of a bad situation that gets worse in a very realistic way. Cera and Culkin are a wonderful team and their chemistry is through the roof whether they are bickering or horsing around.
“This Is Our Youth” is a modern day classic that has been performed around the world and has had a revolving door of talent taking on its roles, most notably Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin during a West End run over a decade ago. Anna D. Shapiro directs this production to perfection, brilliantly capturing all the character nuances and bringing this story to life in a theatre-in-the-round setting, creating an atmosphere to which one feels a part of the play.
Funny, charming and sharp, “This Is Our Youth” is pure theatre bliss. Cera, Culkin and Gevinson are electric.
“This Is Our Youth” is playing at Steppenwolf Theater in the upstairs theatre through July 27th. For tickets and/or show information, visit www.steppenwolf.org or call 312-335-1650. Captivate
If you have any fondness for tales of the golden era of Hollywood, and in particular the work of the beloved movie star comedian, Jack Lemmon, you will thoroughly enjoy this moving and entertaining one man show starring Jack’s son, Chris Lemmon.
Writer and director, Hershey Felder had a similar solid hit last year with "The Pianist of Willesden Lane” in which a daughter tells the story of her mother surviving the Holocaust. Jack Lemmon Returns script was originally based on a memoir by Chris Lemmon titled, A Twist of Lemmon. Felder took the book, added some wonderful music and had Chris do the entire piece, not as himself- but as Jack, which makes this piece especially unique and enjoyable. All of the monologues flow beautifully into each other along with the music and never before seen photographs projected above the stage to create a touching, and funny progression that is very polished and theatrically satisfying.
There is no hash slinging ala “Mommie Dearest”, but Chris acknowledges Jack’s two decade long struggle with alcohol addiction. A telling moment about Jack’s narcissism is when “Jack” describes the thrill of winning his first Oscar for Mister Roberts and realizing after a few hours of celebration that he had literally left his wife behind, sitting all alone in the auditorium, which signaled the end of his marriage to Chris’s mother and actress, Cynthia Stone.
Lemmon has wonderful stage presence, as himself and as his dad, Jack. I was unaware that both he and his father were such gifted pianists. Jack introduced Chris to music, who later earned a degree in classical piano and composition. Chris recalls how after his parents divorced, while he was only two, Jack would make time to visit him almost everyday at his beach side home to play piano together. Chris says that although his new stepmother did not really welcome his presence, Jack was still “a little bit in love with his mother” and he remained his father’s beloved “hotshot” son without interruption.
The one piece of video in the show was of French Actor/Director and Mime Jean-Louis Barrault's performance in the silent film Children of Paradise, which Jack Lemmon studied intensively. It shows how ahead of his time Jean-Louis Barrault’s expressive hand gestures were - like a series of poetically powerful hand mudras, which were able to make people laugh and cry at the same time.
Chris does an amazing job of recreating young Jack’s many complicated trademark mannerisms, comical stuttering and gracefully manic hand gestures. He also does some fantastic impersonations of the friends in Jack’s start studded life like James Cagney, Billy Wilder, Jerry Lewis, Gregory Peck and even Marilyn Monroe.
Chris Lemmon grew up near Marilyn Monroe and relates a great story of how he snuck into her yard once while she was surrounded by secret servicemen during a tryst with JFK. The armed men tried to remove him but Marilyn stopped them and said “No! That’s Jack Lemmon’s son! “
The ninety minutes flowed so quickly and intensely that I wanted it to go on longer and pack in even more star recollections. Chris said afterwards that he and Felder had a rough time cutting the piece down to this exact running time especially when it came to cutting a section about Jack’s great friendship with actress Shirley Maclaine. He further explained that an intermission or even three extra minutes could stop the pace of this one man show in its tracks.
There is a real market for this special piece. After the show I felt like I had experienced a visit with real Hollywood royalty in both Jack and Chris and wanted to see Jack Lemmon’s movies again, and read Chris Lemmon’s biography with this new perspective.
At 59 Chris Lemmon is the perfect age to play his father as a young man and into old age when Jack died of cancer at the age of 76.
Chris’s stage version of his beloved father is more than an impersonation. Because of Chris’s skill and because Chris Lemmon is “blood”, his remarkable performance borders on actually “channeling” his late father’s huge spirit. It is truly exciting and haunting to watch. At times I felt I was actually witnessing Jack Lemmon joyfully “stepping into” his son’s face and body. After congratulating Chris and meeting his lovely wife and daughters at the end of the night, we hugged goodbye and I told him how much I loved his dad. I could have sworn I saw Jack Lemmon himself with his broad smile winking at me over Chris’s shoulder.
Hershey Felder said after the show that they brought “ Jack Lemmon Returns” to Chicago first because of all the cities in the U.S., Chicago is the only city that truly welcomes new theatre and longs for it’s success, instead of sitting arms crossed in judgment.
Do not miss your chance to see this remarkable and beautifully written and directed piece of theatre while it is running here at The Royal George Theatre, which is being performed through June 8th. Visit http://www.theroyalgeorgetheatre.com/ for more info.
The Houston Ballet might not have shown us the world (shining, shimmering, splendid), but they did present the city of Chicago with an incredible production of “Aladdin” filled with the same sorcery, riches, splendor, magic, love, and romance as we’ve come to expect from the heartwarming tale of an impoverished young ne'er-do-well who becomes part of a whirlwind adventure.
The Houston Ballet made its debut at the Auditorium Theatre with celebrated English choreographer David Bintley's ballet "Aladdin." The ballet was originally created for the New National Ballet of Japan in Tokyo in 2008, and the Windy City was only the fourth city to experience the performance, sharing the magic carpet ride with such cities as Tokyo and London. Most people will know the story of Aladdin from the popular 1992 Disney movie of the same name. However, the Houston Ballet's "Aladdin" follows the more traditional story of Aladdin from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights). There’s no singing genie or clever monkey named Abu, but there was no need for it in this breathtaking production.
The caliber of talent that took the stage this past weekend would leave the staunchest of critics in awe. From the background dancers to the principle dancers, everyone commanded the audience’s attention with a technique and grace that prove why the Houston Ballet is a world renowned. The moment the curtains rose, the dancers instantly transported us to old Arabia. Set against spectacular scenery created by the English designer Dick Bird and coupled with an exceptional original score by Carl Davis and performed by the Chicago Philharmonic, the audience was immediately under the spell of Aladdin’s magic.
While there were many highlights throughout the 2 ½ hour performance, one of the standouts had to be the cave of wonders. When the evil sorcerer convinces Aladdin to enter the cave and retrieve the magic oil lamp, Aladdin is met with jewels and riches beyond his imagination. The jewels onyx, pearls, gold and silver, sapphire, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds were all brought to life by dancers, making the riches literally dance before Aladdin’s eyes. The audience watched on, as mystified and entranced as the young peasant boy himself. Equally impressive were the comings and goings of the genie throughout the performance; whether he hovered in midair or vanished and appeared in a cloud of smoke, the genie entered with power and pizazz that would make Robin Williams himself proud. In one scene at the royal court, when the genie transforms Aladdin from rags to princely attire, the scene erupts into a frenzied dance with the genie, jewels, slaves, and courtesans. The high energy, fast moving dance was so synchronized you’d think one person was controlling the dozens of dancers on stage. It was graceful, powerful, magical, and was the definitive mark that this ballet is here to stay.
Who doesn’t love the story of Aladdin? It’s a rags to riches story that has stood the test of time. The Houston Ballet’s production of “Aladdin” is nothing short of spectacular. Folks young and old gave the performance a standing ovation and were captivated for the entire duration of the performance. The sheer talent and pageantry of the ballet was a welcome change to Chicago and the Auditorium Theater. I hope more shows like this breeze through the Windy City for Chicagoans to experience. So the next time “Aladdin” flies into Chicago on its magic carpet, be sure you jump on and enjoy the ride.
Contemporary dance is an art form like any other. As a style of dance it is much more of a philosophy than a strict technique like, say, traditional ballet or modern. Rather, it draws inspiration from both techniques and creates an entirely different experience for the audience. Much like art, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether you are a fan of contemporary dance or not, you should take the time away from the bitter winter cold and venture into the Auditorium Theatre to experience The Joffrey Ballet’s presentation of Contemporary Choreographers.
Like many of the contemporary showcases performed by The Joffrey, Contemporary Choreographers is split into three productions: Crossing Ashland, Continuum, and Episode 31. Let’s quickly cover off on some highlights; Episode 31, the final performance in the series choreographed by Alexander Ekman, is actually quite fun. It can adequately be described as a dramatic playground, bringing a youthful approach to dance with a touch of humor; no seriously, people were laughing along to the performances.
The second performance in the series is Continuum, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. This was the least entertaining performance for me; I would equate the performance as a whole as looking a blank white canvas in an art museum with a title like “Block 39.” To many, they would draw a profound and ethereal message from the blank white canvas, while others might see just a white canvas, blank and without meaning. Many of those in the audience gave Continuum a standing ovation, but to me the performance lacked a story and with it a reason to enjoy and watch it. Then again, it followed one of the best contemporary pieces I would safely say is the most enjoyable contemporary performance I’ve ever seen, so I am slightest biased.
Throughout the opening piece called Crossing Ashland, choreographed by Brock Clawson, dancers in streets clothes created the vision of pedestrians passing each other on the street, walking briskly back and forth across the stage. These stoics in street clothes turned expressive when they stripped away their outer layers of clothing and exposed the vulnerability of their inner selves. Crossing, the dancers showed us what we look like; dancing, they showed us the enormity of what we feel. The performances’ emotions were palpable to the audience and after each dancer took the stage you begged them to say longer. The dancers themselves were drop-dead, makes-you-want-to-go-workout, idol-worthy specimens, each and every muscle working to show their emotions. In lament terms, they were hot.
So what makes Crossing Ashland special? It’s the fact that the dance is so relatable, so understandable to the audience; two people pass on the street, their hands touching slightly, longingly, but then they part. So much is said in those moments without saying a word, and when two dancers portraying their emotions take the stage and perform a deeply passionate interpretation of breaking-up and making-up, you are captivated. Crossing Ashland could easily be made into a full length production and take the stage for a full two hours and no one would be bored. And more importantly, it could introduce an entirely new generation to contemporary choreography that isn’t limited to what one sees on televised dance shows or in the movies.
So cross Wabash Avenue and make your way to the Auditorium Theatre to see Contemporary Choreographers. The show runs through February 23rd. It is a breath of fresh air to a modern style of dance that will hopefully leave you breathless.
Throughout the last century, The Phantom of the Opera has taken on many forms. Originally written by Gaston Leroux and published in early 20th century France the Phantom soon found its’ way onto the silver screen right here in the U S of A with Rupert Julian’s silent film depiction. Currently however, The Phantom of the Opera is most well known for the incredibly moving musical adaptation composed primarily by Andrew Lloyd Webber and making its’ debut in 1986 London. The musical received 2 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Michael Crawford (the Phantom himself) Best Actor, paving the way for a 1988 debut on Broadway where it became an immediate classic and eventually the longest running show in Broadway history. After receiving 2 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Crawford again achieving Best Actor in a Musical, the Phantom of the Opera would be transcribed into 13 different languages to be seen by over 130 million people in theatres all over the world.
Now, considering the rich history and evolution in production throughout the many tours The Phantom has undergone, I can’t help but feel my reviewing this most recent version of Lloyd Webber’s adaptation to be somewhat arbitrary. You see, until I experienced this new production by Cameron Mackintosh, my knowledge of the Phantom was limited solely to Joel Schumacher’s 2004 film depiction and because this film was written and produced by Webber himself it, of course, is a masterpiece. That being said, having not had the pleasure of witnessing any of the previous musical productions of this beloved theatrical classic, I offer you a fresh perspective on this spectacular new production by Cameron Mackintosh.
Nostalgia filled the air that night at the Cadillac Palace Theatre January 15th as the auctioneer presented old relics of an opera house long past. Spirits rose as the enchanting melody emanated from that silly little music box where that bellhop monkey we’ve all grown to adore played the cymbal. Hearing those notes served as a firm reminder of all the gripping music that so effectively captivates my heart and I began to feel a stir of emotion as I watched with anticipation. But as we all know, the show doesn’t truly begin until the auctioneer presents “lot 666”… the monumental chandelier was lowered, uncovered and illuminated!
The magnificent display proved a worthy reflection of the production to follow as the stage was, to say the least, impressive. A set such as this, nearly 30 years in the making and after grossing over 5.6 billion dollars worldwide, certainly shows the extraordinary progress in quality and an unmistakable attention to detail was visible throughout the set. The integration of tracks and mobile parts made for an engaging display. The set itself however, as impressive as it was, merely emphasized the wardrobe which brought life to each character in an undeniably authentic fashion that drew me into the romance and magic of it all. The Phantom of the Opera was brought to life in a truly striking new light and I couldn’t imagine a better venue to bare witness to such a spectacle. The Cadillac Palace offers a wide range of seating options all of which provide an excellent view of the stage and the décor, in one word, grandeur.
I soon took note that some characters added a sense of lightheartedness to this new production that caught me by surprise. Carlotta Giudicelli (performed by Jacquelynne Fontaine) and Ubaldo Piangi (Frank Viveros) for instance, immediately jumped out to me and the audience both, carrying an untraditionally high-spirited weightlessness that was otherwise uncharacteristic to their personalities. Even amid the wake of the ominous Phantom, Carlotta and Ubaldo’s playful touch managed to lift the audience to a blithesome state of ignorance receiving laughter and applause in nearly every appearance from Scene 1 “The Dress Rehearsal of Hannibal” to Scene 7 “Don Juan Triumphant” in the second act. There was never a dull moment while either shone on the stage.
Nevertheless, their characters serve merely as a distraction only building suspense while The Phantom (exceptionally performed by Cooper Grodin) lies wait beneath the stage. Finally making his first appearance in Scene 3 “Corps de Ballet Dressing Room” while singing the masterfully conducted “Angel of Music” his voice struck me as nothing less than should be expected from the man chosen to portray The Phantom. It is only in the scenes following that The Phantom must prove his love to Christine (performed by Julia Rose Udine) and Grodin’s portrayal to the audience, for it is in these moments that one falls in love with The Phantom of the Opera. I must say, Cooper Grodin being as well seasoned and experienced as he is, having had an ample education in music and the performing arts, and having played such major rolls in theatre, taking on the roll of The Phantom and doing so as well as he has is truly an admirable accomplishment, a milestone to be proud of for the rest of ones’ life. My hat goes off to you sir, for as you led Christine deeper into the labyrinth and ever closer to The Phantoms’ lair I was no longer watching the portrayal of Cooper Grodin, but The Phantom himself had entered my mind!
We’re all aware of The Phantom’s infamous nature behind the mask, while precarious and fraught with danger at the turn of a hat, still somehow affording a mysterious and even seductive quality that continues to draw you in. However, once unmasked, I found that Grodin’s portrayal of these seductive yet insidious attributes to depict more of an unnerving and disturbing performance that I felt took away from the suspense almost entirely. I felt that his mystery was lost too quickly and any attraction Christine may have still suffered had died. If these were the intentions of the new production, then it only left more room in the spotlight for the beautiful Julia Udine to portray Christine who, let’s face it, is the true star of the show.
From ballet dancer to center stage, Miss Christine Daaé carried the innocence of an angel. Julia’s portrayal of Christine was outstanding! Her voice did more than match that of The Phantom’s, but carried an unwavering familiarity that held true to the classic. Song and word alone could never do her justice and the nature of her performance can only be experienced firsthand. For it is only our beloved Christine, that can bring The Phantom to his knees and the crowd to their feet.
The Pahntom of the Opera is playing at Cadillac Palace through March 2nd. For tickets and more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.