Katy Perry Sugared Me Sweet

Although my Top 40 radio days are long gone, I must admit I find Pop Princess Katy Perry‘s music ~ and persona ~ infectiously irresistible.  So during a recent trip home to visit family, my 10-year-old niece had little problem twisting my arm to take her to see Part Of Me, which documents Perry’s latest world tour, her struggle and subsequent rise to stardom, and elements of her personal life.And I’ve gotta say, I enjoyed every minute of it.  I laughed, I cried, I was moved, I was even inspired.  Perry has traversed quite a path from gospel/Christian singer (she was raised in a strict Pentecostal household by a preacher father and his wife) to the fearlessly daring pop force she is today.  After all, her first hit single was “I Kissed A Girl” (and she liked it).

Perry is the real deal.  She writes her own songs, (which she seems to churn out with remarkable consistency and speed), 13 of which have become hit singles, five off of one record alone (Teenage Dream), tying her with Michael Jackson and becoming the only female in history to do so.  She has a remarkably powerful and beautiful clear voice to boot.  Perry demonstrates a sincere interest in and devotion to her fans (at times forcing herself to personally greet fans backstage in spite of utter exhaustion), and she in turn (deservedly) has masses of devoted fans, as evidenced by the sold-out shows and the adoring comments of the many interviewed throughout the doc.  She is unfailingly loyal, surrounding herself with and employing many of her friends and family from early on in her career to now.  Perry was by no means an overnight success, which makes it all the more gratifying to see her reach the enormous success she has today, particularly in light of her true talent, hard work, drive and never-give-up attitude, not to mention because she appears to be a genuinely good person. Continue reading

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Rock of Ages – Rocks You Like a Cheesy Hurricane

Who ever thought a cohesive narrative could be pieced together based on rock hits of the ’80’s?!  Well…it can’t.  Yes, the less than stellar ratings on Rotten Tomatoes should have been fair warning, BUT as a child of the 80’s, how could I resist checking it out?!  And insofar as the tunes are concerned, it was a fun (and nostalgic) trip down memory lane,  with 80’s classics ranging from ballads like Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian”, Foreigner’s “I Wanna Know What Love Is” and REO Speedwagon’s “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” to the hard-driving rock anthems such as Guns ‘n Roses’ “Paradise City”, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll” and Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.  In addition, there are (deservedly so) multiple songs included by the likes of Journey, Pat Benatar, Styx and many more.  In that regard (along with the hairstyles and clothing), it was a bit like traveling back in time…to possibly the cheesiest decade in history.

Within the first 10-15 minutes, my (fellow child of the 80’s) friend and I were looking at each other with ambivalence, wondering aloud if this was going to be the biggest waste of an afternoon ever.  But then, an odd thing happened… It started to grow on us.  We laughed.  A lot.  Granted, half the time we were laughing because it was so bad, it was funny; the other half of the time because it actually was funny.  And frankly, it became harder and harder to decipher what was meant to be comedic and what wasn’t.  I began to wonder if it was really just ALL poking fun at itself ~ even in its more earnest, seemingly serious moments.  Regardless, I think the key was just giving ourselves over to the cheese.  Heck, the 80’s themselves were cheesy!  How could a movie exploiting them be anything but cheesy itself?  It just became a matter of embracing it in all its garish glory. Continue reading