Flower women or Fruit women?

Of all the comparisons that you can make between women and objects, I think this one is the best.  If you think about it some women are like pretty Flowers.  Beautiful to look at, they smell nice, they often stand out and make a room shine. They are often used by men to draw attention to themselves, or used to decorate places, objects, or things. They usually have a nice slim stalk and pretty petals to look at, but that’s about it.  They can only serve a sensory or decorative purpose, you can’t live off of them because most contain no true sustenance. And they don’t remain pretty once they are removed from their perfect environment. And without that constant care and maintenance they demand, they will quickly wither and become ugly and useless.

 

However the women that are compared to Fruit, well they look nice also.  Some are smaller like Strawberries and Grapes, others a little bigger like Apples and Oranges, and some even bigger like Melons and Cantaloupe.  And when they are young and ripe, they too look and smell nice, and you can some what use them to spice things up.  But Fruit unlike Flowers, do offer sustenance, and they taste good as well.  So not only can you enjoy their beauty, you can gain true value from them.  Even once they’re removed from their growing environment, with the right love and care, they can continue to grow and become even sweeter.  And unlike Flowers, some Fruit can age gracefully and become an evolved Fruit.  Likes Grapes becoming raisins, Plums becoming Prunes, or Figs becoming Dates. They may become old and wrinkly but, they will last longer and will still taste sweet and offer you sustenance.

 

Lets me take this one step further, when men are little boys they don’t care about the way a girl looks or smells. They just care about how fun they are, and if they are a good friend or not, and what value they bring to the friendship. Some boys grow up and lose that innocence, and they are taught to pick Flowers, and the more rare the better.  But the problem with that mentality of going for just looks and the trophy of having that rare Flower. Is that Once her petals begin to wither, you become bored and quickly discard her, and pick a fresh Flower.  And you go through your whole life, picking Flowers, never to find that one exotic Flower that will remain perfect forever.  Because when you are young you dont realize that no matter how much fertilizer, sprays, or fancy flower pots you put that Flower in, eventually it will become wrinkled and useless.

 

Now some smart little boys always keep their love of Fruit , and when they grow up and don’t go after Flowers .  As a matter of fact they learn how to take care of that Fruit, and they pollinate together and reproduce even more Fruit. And as his Fruit gets old she can preserve herself and still be pretty and provide sustenance.   Now caution in extreme cases Fruitcan really preserve itself and be made into wine or Liquor.  Then her life can be prolonged for an even longer time. She will still provide you with some reduced sustenance, but you will be drunk. But then at least will make you happy and it will help you to forget about your problems. And that can even take away some of those aches and pains that you get when you are older.  But in either caseFruit is incredible for the long haul of a marriage and relationships.  It’s no wonder that some men prefer those Pear shaped women, or the ones with Apple bottoms. And dont forget about those Melons on women, we so often hear men talk about.

 

Now to be fair they’re also Vegetable  women that just offer sustenance, but don’t smell or look nice. And CookieCandy and Cake women that are very sweet to eat, and offer some sustenance, but they will only make you fat and unhealthy.  But I digress, and that’s another compariason we will discuss later.

 

So whats my perfect type of woman?  When I was a young boy I was a FARMER so I loved Fruit , but like all little boys I also liked CookiesCandy and Cake as well, even though I knew it wasn’t good for me.  And I tried my best to stay away from Vegetables.  When I was a teenager and then up to my late 20′s I avoided Fruits and Vegetables, and I picked many rare Flowers. (Some people would have even called me a FLORIST :)  Then when I was in my 30′s I went afterFruit primarily, but sometimes ended up with Flowers. During that time I learned many valuable lessons about picking too many Flowers, or the wrong type of Flowers, or trying to live on just Flowers alone.  And I learned the most important lesson of not picking another mans Flower.  I also learned hard lessons about not nurturing my Fruit properly and letting it spoil.  Or just letting my Fruit go for a Flower that popped up on the other side of the fence, because I mistakenly thought that it would be better to have the pretty Flower in the vase on a pedestal.  Instead of the Apple pie in the oven, if you know what I mean.

 

So now after all this, who is my perfect women?  Well she is a woman that starts off as Flower and becomes Fruit. Just like an Apple or Cherry blossoms can become Apples and Cherries, other Flowers can become Grapes and Passion fruit. The best thing about having a Flowering Fruit woman is that she is beautiful when she is younger.  And she will become even better with age. If she is nutured properly and allowed to grow in her natural environment, she will grow to become a life giving and sustaining Fruit.  As long as she stays a healthy Flower and doesn’t pollute herself with pesticides and chemicals.  And doesn’t pollinate with the wrong men, she will grow into a life sustaining Fruit.  But she can’t be picked too young and forced to be Fruit.  She can’t be  put in a pretty vase and expected to stay a Flower forever.  No matter how many time you change the water and add chemicals, her petals will eventually wither and wrinkle.  But a Flower that has become Fruit, may age and wrinkle, but it will still be sweet and be able to feed and nourish you when you are old. I guess my experiences in life have taught me a thing or two about  Flowers andFruit.  And even though I grew up as a young boy being a FARMER.  I still remember what it was like to be a FLORIST, and don’t get me wrong it had its up and downs.  But I know I am the happiest with Flowering Fruit,  and life is just great being a GARDNER :)

 

Fin: Sir Hombrebailador

 

Loves Warrior

I am an experienced warrior on the battle field of Love. I have fought many battles and claimed many meaningless victories. I have many wounds and scars from those battles, those wounds have made a callus around my heart. And the battles have made me a stronger warrior. I have learned to protect myself in battle from all angles and possible attacks. I have learned to attack my opponent with speed and skill before they can gain the advantage on me. I have acquired the armor necessary to protect myself from all that have tried to twist and manipulate my heart. I was once a young squire playing with swords hoping one day to be a gallant Knight. Now I am just a battle weary Knight hoping to be a young squire again. I am tired of the lies, and politics of Love. I am tired of having to constantly look over my shoulder, worried that one of my own will betray me for another. Betray me for gold, fame, a bigger castle, or a Knight with a more pleasing face. I am saddened that maidens no longer expect or accept chivalry. I am saddened that there is no honor amongst noble men and women. I am saddened that there is no more magic in the world. And I am saddened that a person’s word is no longer their bond, everything must be written and witnessed or it won’t matter if you betray it. I have taken many easy victories, it has becomes childsplay to best an opponent. None are worthy, none are a challenge, none are deserving of my true abilities. None understand my true ambition or goals. I have fought and won too many battles, and never truly enjoyed victory. I no longer want to pretend to be the Knight everyone expects me to be. I never wanted to be that Knight, but this is the only Knight the maidens will accept. I want to be a Knight that can finally remove his armor, and truly heal his wounds. I want to be a Knight that has a maiden that he can truly Love, protect, and trust. I no longer wish to battle opponents. I no longer want to enjoy the company of many maidens. I want to believe in magic again. I think you are that one special female warrior that understands me. You have fought the same battles that I have, and dealt with the same betrayers that I have. I want someone that is my true equal both on and off the battlefield. I want someone that will watch my flank when I am in danger. I want someone that will react to my thoughts, before I speak them. I want someone to defend my honor against anyone that would dare stain it in front of her. I want to share my kingdom with that maiden. I hope to share my life one day with a Queen like you. But Alas this poem has fallen on deaf ears, because I am still on the battlefield and you are still asleep. Waiting naively to be awoke with a kiss from the Prince you destroyed long ago.  Fin

Sir Hombrebailador

Pole Dancing soon to be an Olympic Sport!

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So I know what you are thinking why am I, a serious dance enthusiast, talking about pole dancing? Because it’s freaking amazing that’s why!  These dancers are not the strippers that your Grandmother warned you about.  And in all honesty most of them are not strippers at all, but serious dancers or fitness enthusiasts.  Pole dancing is now considered a form of performance art, its no longer associated just with strip clubs and loose women. As a matter of fact it was greatly influenced by the Chinese pole acrobats, who perform in a non-erotic stage performance or circus environment.  And pole dancing has recently gained popularity as a form of fitness, a growing number of gyms and dance studios offer classes, usually in private rooms away from the eyes of gawking men.  And I have literally seen a Church group advertising a pole dancing class in their recreation center, for women only of course.  Plus there are a wide range of amateur and professional competitions that are held in many countries around the world.  Through my extensive research on the internet looking for pole dance information, I have seen the videos of champions from Japan, Russia, Argentina, Australia, the Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, the US, and many other countries.  And I predict with the growing craze around the world and the intense strength, acrobatics, and concentration required to do this sport.  I think pole dancing could become an Olympic sport eventually, well that’s my opinion at least.   Because these girls train hard, and they have the core, arm, and leg strength of Olympic level gymnasts. Now I am not saying sign your daughters up and teach them to work a pole at 12 so they can go on to compete in the World Pole Dancing Championships when they are older.  But if you are over 18 years of age and you want to hone your skills, then more power to you.  And take my word for it, the coming wave of artistic pole dancers are a force to be reckoned with.  Well actually you don’t have to take my word for it I am including some pics and videos showcasing some insane pole dancing skill.  Like I said earlier I have done extensive research on YouTube (not strip clubs), looking for the best pole dancing videos I could fine, and this woman is one of the best I have ever seen.  She is amazing, artistic, and passionate like any great jazz dancer. She gained fame on the TV show Ukraine’s Got Talent and her name is Anastasia Sokolova. She has great skills like most great pole dancers, but she adds a level or professionalism and art that I have so far seen unmatched. And like a true performance artist her set design and costumes are amazing. For example the first video featured below is full of sharp poles that look like she would be impaled on one if she made one mistake, but don’t worry she’s completely safe.  She also has picked great music and is performing to El Tango De Roxanne from the Moulin Rouge sound track, performed by José Feliciano. And if you like her pole dancing skills, search her name on YouTube, she has a lot of other videos that are just as awesome with more really cool sets and costumes.

This next girl is one of my favorites as well, I don’t know her name or if she has won any competitions.  But the performance seen in this video is competition worthy, even if it is really raw and sexy.  She has an amazing body and her movements are animated like she’s moving in reverse.  And her strength and ability to go up and down the pole, either upside down or right side up, are simply amazing.  When you combine all that with her body’s flexibility and many of the one-arm tricks she performs, this all makes her also one of the best you will ever see.  Oh and the song she chose is awesome also its Paradise Circus (Zeds Dead remix) by Massive Attack.

And next up in my world tour of pole dancing is Yukari Makino Pole Dance Champion of Japan in 2011 and 2012. The other girls in the videos I presented showed sex appeal, power, agility, athleticism, and passion. Yukari has all that as well, but her strong point is grace and elegance. Just looking at her costumes you can tell she is more reserved than most pole dancers, but that’s to be expected because Japan is all about honor and pride. With that said, if any of these women were being judged for doing ballet while pole dancing, it for sure would be Yukari that wins that title. During the times that she was on the floor moving from pole to pole I thought I was watching a great ballet performance. And when she was on the pole it looked as if she was performing ballet upside down and defying gravity. It’s no wonder that she is the champion in Japan for pole dancing 2 years in a row. I don’t know the name of the songs she’s using, because it changes a few times in her mix, but no matter what the title of the music was, it suited her dance style perfectly.

Now people I know what you are thinking why would any self respecting girl pole dance? Or I don’t want to see these STRIPPERS shaking their butts!  Hey give these girls a chance and watch the videos, they will change your mind about their skill and their talent. They have trained and worked their bodies to physical perfection and they deserve a chance to change your mind. And besides ladies, men are in on the act as well, and they compete also, either solo or partnered with a woman or other men.  They utilize their power and strength to pull off similar incredible moves done by male gymnasts.  Plus like I mentioned earlier and as you will see in video number 4, in China pole performing is done by men and women.  And these men show the strength and agility that most pole dancers have, only times ten.  After all they have had a big head start on the rest of the world when if comes to acrobatics and they were the originators of pole performing.  There is even a pole gymnastics competition in India called Mallakhamb, where men do incredible power moves and hang upside down from a pole with just their legs, that’s video number five.  And believe it or not here in the US inner city boys are developing a subway style pole dance of their own, utilizing the poles, both vertical and horizontal inside subway cars.  It’s pretty incredible to see, which is why I chose to include it as the last video.  And just like Hip hop, Break-dancin, and Krumpin were born from the streets and embraced by young inner city kids, I expect to see this new urban dance grow in popularity as well. So no matter how you slice it pole dancing is sweeping the world and is here to stay.  So make sure you watch all the videos so you can see what I am talking about, and post a comment and let me know what you think,

by Anthony Hombrebailador

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkOMMq9iNj0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvGjp77Uo3E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iIT5WUxFvA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HT-sYnGILE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM6kUQXxdAI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l98kfwE-wOg

for more info on Anastasia Sokolova visit her website@ http://vk.com/sokolovadancestudio

Your email:

 

La Palapa, Ellicott City Maryland

La Palapa
8307 Main Street
Ellicott City MD 21043
410-465-0070

http://www.lapalapagrill.com
lapalapagrill@aol.com

Salsa night is every Thursday, with Salsa classes starting at 8pm with dance instrutor Eileen Torres.  Social dancing starts at 10pm and the party continues until 2am, there is plenty of public parking behind the building in the public lot and the surrounding streets.  For more info contact  La Palapa directly.

Havana Club, Baltimore Maryland

600 Water St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 468-0022
http://havanaclub-baltimore.com
Salsa night is on Fridays with a free class starting at 8:30, social dancing starts at 10:00 with free admission before 10pm, $10 after.  Valet parking is $10, and there are drink specials before 11pm.  The night is hosted by Alexandra and NIss with Salas Now, for more info contact them at http://www.salsa-now.net or contact Havana Club directly..

The Houston Salsa Congress

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Friday, after work, I already had my duffel bags in the car, and a few pair of dancing shoes packed. So, at five o’clock, I opened my car trunk and hoisted some clothes and hangers up to the office bathroom on the seventh floor—and started making my transformation into “salsa vixen.”

Half an hour later, I emerged from the super conservative law firm in a tiny leopard print dress and some black, Givenchy fishnets. I’ll be different, I thought. Little did I know that four hours away, in the Sheraton Houston Hollowbrook Hotel, for the 8th Annual Houston Salsa Congress, I would find at least a hundred women wearing some form of fishnets, and, yes, ALL of them, donning a similar leopard-print dress.

In the Congress dressing rooms, dancers with gems-studded stockings, sequins on their satin pumps, and rhinestones in their hair, adjusted shoe straps, fastened long, fake eyelashes, and lined and re-lined eyes and lips. Faces were flawless, skin smooth and tan, and costumes sparkled with glitter.

I arrived late, and found a lone empty seat in the middle of the audience. Peering over and between heads, I tried to catch a glimpse of the dancers on stage—spinning and shaking shoulders and doing splits under the bright lights. The audience whooped and whistled as both professional and student teams displayed their talents, and by the time the performances were over, the audience was more than ready to hit the dance floor.

As volunteers and congress workers cleared the ballroom of chairs to make room for social dancing, I ordered a plastic cup of “vino tinto” from the bar and took a break on a couch in the ladies restroom. Women of all nationalities and backgrounds came in to look in the full size mirror—adjusting shirts, pulling down skirts, re-applying makeup and giving a quick peek at the rear-view. I chatted with an Italian woman and her Spanish teacher, as well as a woman from Africa, and a long-legged white girl in pink lace hot-shorts who looked like a full-blown model.

Glass of wine down, I made my way back to the dancehall just as the New Swing Sextet came out on stage, each in demure black suites, finding their respective place behind the bongos, bass, and piano. However, as the music started, it was the song of the vibraphone, and the round, satin-covered drum sticks bouncing across white keys, that filled the room with a chill yet euphoric, New York-style salsa. No loud horns and in-your-face tempo. Just laid back, smooth jazz from ages past—like music for dancing on tip toes.

One of my first dances of the night was with handsome Karisma dancer, Carlos Hernandez, of New York. Whom I met one night while commenting on his red plaid pants. His dancing is passionate and unique. He spun and swayed and brought me to complete stops. Then he broke out complicated footwork, dipped me, and turned me this way and that, until all I could do was try to follow, and watch in awe the spectacle I was observing. He comes up close to you, looks directly in your eyes, and then is off in his own world. Low to the ground, and then back above you, as if he owns you.

Later on the carpet, I watched him dance with Desiree Godsell—one of the most original, soulful and creative dancers I’ve seen. Originally from Houston, Texas, she now lives in New York and dances with Griselle Ponce in Jersey’s Finest. Together, she and Carlos twirled and twisted on the carpet, like a spontaneous freestyle rap—each one cutting the coolest line they knew, and the other responding with something even better. Their faces emoting sheer pleasure, and Desiree kicking into the air and then dropping down to the ground in guaguanco, and then spinning on one leg. The best of the best. I stood against the wall, grinning from ear to ear, enjoying my gin and tonic, and what I felt was the best seat in the house.

Saturday night, the dancers came out in their sharpest attire—cats from New York, Chicago and Dallas wearing blazers and bow ties, with tight pants and loafers. Hair slicked back and diamond earrings. The women all in small things that showed lots of leg. As the ballroom filled for the performance, seats were quickly taken, and afterward, swarms of people stood around the seating area, spilling into the hallways, drinking, talking, and having to be shushed during announcements.

The energy was high and only continued to escalate as Boston performers turned out to represent in true style. Masacote gave a high-class performance to Latin Funk, with an organic feel—cool and modern, and different from what you normally see on the stage. Instead of sequins and spandex, Ana Masacote in her tan sheath dress and fur rimmed collar was like Salsa on Saks Fifth Avenue.

Later, Hacha Y Machete performed one of my favorite routines— with a powerful, dark and sultry piece of music that combines perfectly with their raw energy and leg-shaking, fist-pumping choreography. By the end of their performance, you were ready to jump up and holler, and the audience did just that.

After all of the performances were over and the chairs were cleared for social dancing, I grabbed Darlin Garcia, and walked in on his sharply-suited arm, happy and ready to dance. Mr. Darlin is a smooth and perfect lead—one who dances with you at the level you can handle but always pushes you to do things you never did before. A true gentleman, he dances with all sorts of women, not just professionals. I see him on the dance floor grinning and getting down with any level of dancer, and one can see him dancing not just with his partner, but more with the music itself, as if the clave and tambor were the only thing that mattered, and all else was secondary.

By the time four o’clock rolled around, I had already taped and re-taped my blisters. The Band-Aids that I had wrapped around my toes had fallen off somewhere. The water jugs all empty and bar closed, I sat in the hallway waiting for my ride until the dance floor was cleared. Hallways stood empty, and ballroom doors were locked. Flyers from upcoming salsa congresses were strewn about like confetti, and everywhere were night pass wristbands, hair ties, and an odd dance shoe—lying around in the aftermath. My ears ringing and body completely dehydrated there were energy drink posters with hot Latin babes on the walls, and the Bachata room vacant when it had been so thick and heavy with sweat and sensuality. I felt like back in the days when I went to raves and there was always that side jungle room—all dark and earthy. These Congresses are the Latin version of those raves that young American kids used to do. But whether your musical taste is House music and Trance, or Salsa and Bachata, I think people everywhere will always find a place to go out and dance until the sun comes up. It’s just something we dancers do.

by Christina Gates

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Click here to view the 2010 Houston Salsa Congress videos

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Creole, This is who I am

Williams Boys

What is a Creole? It depends who you ask. Ask that question to a dozen different people who call themselves Creole, and you are likely to get at least two dozen different answers in almost as many languages. Their responses will vary based on the person’s age or where they grew up. The answer will even depend on race. Even among ethnic Creoles, some identify as White, some Black, some Native American some Hispanic, and some, all of the above.

There are two accepted definitions. In the United States, the original meaning of Creole, dating back to the 1700′s, was any person of French or Spanish descent who was born in Colonial Louisiana before the Louisiana Purchase. Later, as those Creoles and their progeny would marry or have children with Native Americans and slaves, those children were also referred to as Creoles. In modern times, the two groups are differentiated as French Creole and Louisiana Creole.

Their racial identity was a bit more complicated. A Creole person could have a legal status as White, Black, or a Free Person of Color, with their personal rights varying dependent on that status. Their racial classification was based not only upon strictly established ratios of African forebears, but also subjectively upon a person’s appearance.

It is this fluid sense of self that has made the Creoles a rarity among American ethnic groups . While maintaining an entirely separate and distinct culture of their own, Creoles have still managed to assimilate into American society as a whole.

Their impact on popular culture is evident everywhere. All over the nation, people of every race eat Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Shrimp Creole. Churches and dance venues across the South have Zydeco dance nights, with live bands keeping the traditional music alive. There has even been a Grammy award given for best Zydeco Album.

There are many famous Creoles. In music, Beyonce Knowles, Fats Domino, and Clifton Chenier are all Louisiana Creoles. Known as the “Marine’s Marine” and the “greatest of all leathernecks”, Lieutenant General John Arthur Lejeune, served as Commandant of the Marine Corps. On television, The Cosby Show had both Phylicia Rashad and Sabrina Le Beauf as mother and daughter.

Creoles are even represented in the animated world. On the long-running Fox show, King of the Hill, one of the main characters is “Bill”, or more properly, “Guillaume Fontaine de la Tour Dauterive”, who demonstrates his proficiency in Creole French, despite never having learned it. It is implied that he just instinctively understood his native tongue.

For all the inroads that Creoles have made into American society, they have fiercely clung to a strong sense of cultural identity. There is a Creole flag, despite the fact that there never was an actual Creole nation. French and French-based Louisiana Creole are still spoken by over a hundred thousand people in Louisiana and Texas.

Perhaps this duality of assimilation and isolationism can be explained by the Creoles own varied racial makeup. In the excellent documentary, “Too White to be Black Too Black to be White”, by Maurice M. Martinez, this dual identity is explored. One of the commentators therein was Marianne Jacques Newman, a poetess and educator, and she explained it best:

“The Creole is like the prototype of a melting-pot man. He has a little bit of this and a little bit of that. So I think what makes “Creole&” is that you have to recognize that you are part of many ethnicities. You’re not totally African-American, you’re not totally French, you’re not totally Spanish. You’re a combination of everything. I think recognizing that diversity is unique, because you say “THIS IS WHO I AM”

by Albert Fontenot

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Les Miserables

 

Les Miserables

Let me start by saying that this is not just a play turned into a movie, it’s a convergence of movie, musical  play, opera, art, emotion, tragedy, and song.  This is the best 2 hours and 38 minutes you could spend this year, and it was not just one movie, it was six great movies in one.  Where other directors shamelessly drag you to a movie three or four or even 12 times to tell a simple story and collect ridiculous profits.  Director Tom Hooper does an amazing job of keeping you in awe of the set design and scenery, entertained by the music and the pageantry, destroyed emotionally by the story, and then your’re finally resurrected before the film is done.  Les Miserables the movie is based on the musical written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, whose original production was based on the French novel written in 1862 by Victor Hugo.  With the screen play adapted by Boubil, Schönberg, William Nicholson, and Herbert Kretzmer.  In this amazing movie you will see a slave taken from rags to riches, and a thief lifted from Hell by a generous man of the cloth.  You will see an innocent woman’s soul cast into darkness, and see her child spared a life of misery, while other children pay the ultimate price of death.   You see the plight of an un-yielding military man that breaks his ultimate vow.  And finally you see the true face of the Heroes of the French Revolution.  There was a perfect cast of characters assembled for this film, especially the casting of the mega star Hugh Jackman, who plays the lead character Jean Valjean and gives us a riveting performance.  I was so impressed with his singing voice and the passion and anguish in his face, as he projected so much emotion.  He is a true star of stage and screen, its no wonder he did Broadway musicals like Oklahoma and the Boy from Oz.  This usually goes unknown to most that he posses stage talent because he is known for movies like X-men, Van Helsing, and Real Steal.  But Jackman’s performance in Les Miserables makes you forget that this guy is Wolverine a comic book superhero.  But as great of a performance that Hugh Jackman gives, it is Anne Hathaway that steals the show.  Anne’s performance as Fantine is one of the greatest movie performances in the last 20 years.  Her singing voice is as noteworthy as those of any great opera singer, but she has one distinct advantage which is her acting ability.  The emotions she portrayed, the anguish on her face, the distress in her voice, and her plummet into darkness, were all Oscar worthy.  She should be a shoe in for best actress, even though she only did a supporting role.  There are only two flaws in this film, one would be Anne Hathaway is not in it long enough, and second was the casting of Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert.  Don’t get me wrong Crowe did a great job of acting and being the ultimate antagonist for Jean Valjean, but his singing voice was nasally and irritating, you could tell he was pushing his voice to its limits.  This would have been a near perfect movie with a better singing actor playing his part.  But those are my only two complaints about this film. and rest of the supporting cast also gave amazing performances especially Eddie Redmayne who played Marius Pontmercy and Amanda Seyfried who played Cosette the daughter of the ill fated Fantine.  These two star crossed lovers will make you believe in love at first sight, and how one moment in time can change your life.  There was a certain innocence and naivety that they both possessed and they were able to make you remember the first time you fell in Love.  And with every true Love story there is a tragic third wheel that loses that love, and that part was played amazingly by Samantha Barks who played Éponine the daughter of the Inn Keepers.  All three of these actors did this movie turned musical justice, not only with their singing voices, but also the emotions of joy, anger, happiness, and despair for a lost love, that they brought to the screen.  These three were the rays of light that cast hope into the darkness of this film, and they were in many ways the salvation for all the tragedies and pitfalls that befell their friends and relatives.  And for a little humor at times to give your eyes a break from watering, enter the Inn Keepers, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.  That’s right Borat and Bellatrix (evil sorceress from Harry Potter) make a surprise performance as two sneaky, thieving, conniving Inn keepers.  These two provided great comic relief as Thénardier the Master of the house and his wife Madame Thénardier.  They are the guardians of young Cosette played by Isabelle Allen who gives a great emotional singing performance for such a young girl.  You can tell right away from the way the Thénardier’s pick pockets and rob their guests, that they are one of the reasons that Fantine has to struggle so much to keep her daughter safe.  Even after Fantine’s death when Jean Valjean goes to rescue the young Cosette, these two slimy characters sell her to him.  Sacha and Helena do a great job through out the film when they pop in and out with their sliminess, and you can’t help but to love to hate them.  There are other great supporting cast members that brings to life the French Revolution and all the young men that died for freedom.  Young actors like, Aaron Tveit who plays EnjolrasKillian Donnelly who plays  Combeferre, as well as George Blagden, Fra Fee, Alistair Brammer, Hugh Skinner, Gabriel Vick, Iwan Lewis, Stuart Neal.  And last but not least the youngest,  Daniel Huttlestone that plays Gavroche the streetwise urchin that helps the revolutionaries by exposing Inspector Javert’s plot, and delivers the letter from Marius that eventually reaches his love Cosette.  Little Daniel gives a great singing and acting performance and with his French accent, he reminds me of the young boy in the musical Oliver, which coincidentally he was in playing the part of “Nipper”.  Little Daniel also played Gavroche in the original musical production of Les Miserables so this part was easy for him to portray.  And there are also many other notable performances by cast members, just too many to call by name, performances by the street people, the ladies in the factory, the slaves, the townspeople, and many more.  But one notable cameo performance was that from Colm Wilkinson who plays Bishop Myriel the Bishop of Digne, the man of the cloth who gives Jean Valjean shelter in his church and a second chance to become a good man.  Mr Wilkinson actually played the part of Jean Valjean in the original Broadway and West End musical production of Les miserables.  And there is another cameo from Frances Ruffelle who played the original Éponine in those same musical productions, but this time she plays one of the prostitutes.  Many time you will hear people say that most books are better than the movie, or they can never make a great stage play into a movie, I say after seeing this film this is not one of those cases.  There is no way even the grandest stage can bring to life this incredible piece of work to an audience.  You could not capture the same opening scene of hundreds of slaves pulling a large ship into repair by long heavy ropes.  You could not capture the dirtiness of the streets and the despair of the people inflicted with the Black Plague.  Nor the villages, the factory, the church, the bridge that Javert fell from, the firing of the muskets and the cannons, and the thousands of people that assembled for the French Revolution barricade scene.  So for all you doubters that have seen the original production, I suggest you shed your doubt and go and see this film.  And for those of you that have never seen Les Miserables this will be a joyous day for you to have seen this masterpiece put on to the big screen.  You will be added to the roster of people that can say they experienced a truly great cinematic experience in their lifetime.  You will be among the people that can say they saw Gone with the wind, Casablanca, Jaws, Star Wars, the Exorcist, ET, and Avatar when they played for the first time ever in the cinema and set a new standard for movies, you will be part of that history.  One final word this is a musical so expect for most of the movie to be sung, some people are surprised by this once the movie starts.  But if you have seen any of the other great musicals like Annie, Grease, Singing in the rain, Moulin Rouge, the King and I, Fame, Fiddler on the Roof, the Sound of Music, or even Little Shop of Horrors then you will love this film.

by Anthony Hombrebailador

If you would like to read more movie reviews and read great Afro Latin articles about music, dance, food, and culture, click here and subscribe to Sabor & Style Magazine for free!

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If you would like to read more movie reviews and read great Afro Latin articles about music, dance, food, and culture, click here and subscribe to Sabor & Style Magazine for free!

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Batman the Dark Knight Rise scores a B-

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I know what you are thinking, how could anyone not agree that Batman the Dark Knight Rises, is not a great move? It has everything action, suspense, romance, betrayal, and even patriotism. I would agree you are right; it has everything that makes a movie like this a great movie. Great for all to enjoy and feel good after they walk out of the theater. It has all of these things except for the one prime element, where is Batman? First of all let me point out that almost all of the stars of this film and most of the production crew are not American, and the movie was not shot by an American company and probably not in America.  The last time I checked Batman was created here in America, so why is DC comics letting the Britt’s put their paws into one of our Icons, and in my opinion ruining his image.  I for one am sick of these made for everyone comic book or science fiction movies. These movies are based on something that’s not for everyone, because not everyone reads comics or Sci-Fi.  And some of these same people don’t even watch Anime or cartoons. So why should this movie have the things removed that make Batman appealing to kids and kids at heart, just so the general public can enjoy Batman on a generic level. Where were Batman’s cool gadgets in the Batbelt? Where was the Batmobile? I didn’t see the Batarang used once; he didn’t glide with his Batcape once. He didn’t use the smoke bombs to disappear once. Would you go watch a Wolverine movie and be happy if he just boxed the whole movie and never used his Adamantium claws?  How about go watch an Iron Man movie and Tony Stark just wears the armor but walks around and never flies or fires his repulsors. He just smacks people around, oh and gets stabbed through the armor with a regular knife, just like what happened to this Batman.  Come on really? his outfit is supposed to be bullet proof, but he can get stabbed with a regular knife and by a girl no less.  I am tired of Hollywood castrating our Heroes so the general public can all enjoy the movie so it’s more believable.  Like this current James Bond is a prime example of a more generic appealing to all audiences hero.  Where is the hidden laser in his watch, or exploding cuff links, or a ink pen gun? And no car that becomes a sub or a plane, he is basically a chiseled abs, CIA agent with access to nice cars and an expense account, how is he James Bond?  But back to this Quasi-Batman movie, let’s talk about the plot, evil guy takes a device built to help mankind and turns it into weapon.  Didn’t they do that with the microwave device in the first movie Batman Begins? Next, lets release all the criminals and take over Gotham, and takeout the bridges so no one can get in or out.  Didn’t they also do that in the first movie but it was Arkham Asylum that they released the prisoners from. Next let’s plant a bomb (that originally was a device designed for good) and give the detonator to some unknown person that will set it off if the people try and leave the city, thus leaving their fate to live or die up to them.  Didn’t they do that in the Batman 2 the Dark Knight returns? But that time it was two boats that had bombs and either boat could destroy the other if the people decided to push the button.  So to me it’s obvious that they had no real story-line going into this film and no imagination.  Now let’s talk about stupid plot elements, what in the heck were they thinking with the stupid pit scene?  Batman, the escape artist, detective, inventor, scientist, gymnast, Olympic level athlete, etc.  He can’t make a grappling hook and attach it to that rope that was around his waist and just throw it to the top of the pit?  And a kid could make the jump on the first try but Batman couldn’t?  And why were those men in the pit not working together to climb out of it, they were obviously helping to train him to get out of the pit. And where in the heck were the guards? And I thought it was a dark pit, it looked well lit to me, the pit was BS.  Another big problem for me with this film is changes to original storyline. This new Robin protégé starting off as a cop with the actual name of Robin that he chooses not to use, give me a break. That’s as bad as the first X-men movie making Rogue 16 and not having Ms Marvel’s stolen powers, so no super strength or flight for her. The original Robin got the name because he was in the Circus with his family the Flying Graysons.  He was given the name Robin because once he swooped in like a Robin and saved his dad from a fall. So no circus trapeze training equals a non-acrobatic, non-fearless Robin in later films. Robin is supposed to be able to jump off of building and swing like Spiderman across the city, he doesn’t have the glide cape like Batman so he relies on acrobatics and agility.  Batman Begins was a great movie and this series had potential to become a truly great Batman series, but they came up short in the second film and completely failed in this final attempt to tie it all together.  In the end this movie could have been a regular cop or military espionage movie. He did not have to be in Batman’s suit since he didn’t use any of the cool gadgets anyway. He didn’t have to have the Bat Helicopter to fly around the city and winch the bomb out to the ocean and blow himself up to save the city. That could have been done with any coast guard helicopter and its winch.  And every vehicle that the Batman I know owns, has remote and autopilot functions.  So he blowing himself up would also not have been an option.  Another major problem for me was how weak Batman was, Bane kicked his butt and showed him mercy and threw him in that stupid pit.  So he gets out of the pit and basically goes up against Bane again and was getting his butt kicked again until Catwoman saved him.  And aside from him not being able to fight, he was also stupid.  How could he not prove that he didn’t make those trades that cost him his company.  How could he not know immediately after sleeping with Talia that she was up to something, I knew it right after it happened.  Especially because he signed over control of that weapon to her, which also was a big give away that she was going to betray him.  Batman’s security systems should be un penetrable, his hideouts should not be discoverable, and for petesake Alfred would never abandon Bruce Wayne, and the list of inconsistencies goes on and on.  So this was not a Batman movie to me this was a remake of the Peacekeeper with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman.  Just another nuclear scare lets stop the terrorist’s movie with a little romance thrown in.  I am not saying don’t go see it because it sucks. It’s a good movie but it’s not a Batman movie.  Want to see a great Batman movie watch Batman Under the Red Hood or Batman Year One. Also any of the Batman the Animated Series from the 90’s, or any of the Justice League Unlimited series released in the last few years, then you will see what Batman is all about.     fin

by Anthony Hombrebailador

If you would like to read more movie reviews and read great Afro Latin articles about music, dance, food, and culture, click here and subscribe to Sabor & Style Magazine for free!
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