"I'm always willing to endure humiliation on behalf of my characters."
Ben Stiller- star of "While We're Young" brainyquote.com
If you're looking for current entertainment and need an evening out instead of binge watching "Peaky Blinders" episodes on Netflix, check theater times for three fresh films opening Friday, March 27th. "While We're Young" stars the always impressive actor, producer, director Ben Stiller and the superbly talented Naomi Watts (Birdman, St.Vincent) as Josh and Cornelia, a couple reevaluating their mid-life priorities after connecting with an eclectic pair of young lovers played by the charming duo of Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver. Written by acclaimed director, Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming) (The Squid and the Whale) the son of two movie critics,( no pressure), the film has already garnered positive press. Look for Maria Dizzia and much loved Beastie Boy, Adam Horovitz as safely settled besties to Josh and Cornelia. Check out the official trailer above.
Competing for your hard earned movie dollars this week is director Etan Cohen's "Get Hard" the powerhouse comedy contender starring the incomparable Will Ferrell and hilarious Kevin Hart. Ferrell portrays millionaire, James King, an unsuspecting wealthy financier who's framed for embezzlement while Darnell Lewis (Hart) is hired to harden him for prison prep. Imagine a modern day bad ass Professor Henry Higgins to King's clueless Eliza Doolittle. The creative writing team behind "Get Hard"includes Cohen, Adam McKay (Anchorman,Step Brothers, Other Guys) Jay Martel (Key and Peele) and Ian Roberts (Anchorman) so expect hardcore laughs."Get Hard" is Rated R for mature audiences.
If your weekend involves entertaining children or you're just young at heart DreamworksAnimation offers, "Home". "Home" features Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) as the voice of Oh. Super stars Rhiana, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin and many more lend their incredible talent. Director Tim Johnson brings a lovable alien's magical journey to life as he lands on planet Earth for a close encounter with a little human girl called Tip. Together their adventures entwine. Check your local theaters for availability and showtimes. http://www.moviefone.com/
"Certain songs like 'Enjoy the Silence' - to me, it always fits anywhere. There's something about that song that's really timeless, and I never get bored or feel like I have to muster something up."- Dave Gahan, vocalist, songwriter -Depeche Mode
March 19th, 1990 was the official release date of the now celebrated British electronic synth band, Depeche Mode's seventh and most commercially successful album, "Violator". Named one of Rolling Stone Magazines best albums of all time, "Violator" features such tracks as"Personal Jesus", "Policy of Truth", "World In My Eyes" and masterpiece "Enjoy the Silence".
Depeche Mode formed around the year 1980 in Basildon, Essex, UK with original members Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, Dave Gahan and Andy Fletcher. Early in their career Clarke dropped out of the band and classically trained musician Alan Wilder was added, departing in 1995. Today the core of the band remains, Gahan, Fletcher and Gore who continue to perform for devoted eager audiences of all ages across the globe. Song- writer, singer and keyboardist, Martin Gore has a new 16 track instrumental album due out April 27th entitled, "MG". For more info see their website http://www.depechemode.com/news/
The quality of Depeche Mode's writing and musicianship married with an illustrious stage presence has influenced countless contemporary artists such as German industrial band Rammstein, The Killers, Muse, The Deftones and Arcade Fire. Front man Win Butler, while promoting 2010's album, " The Suburbs" is quoted in Emily Smiths biography (2013), "The Depeche Mode Handbook-Everthing You Need to Know about Depeche Mode" as saying:
" I grew up listening to bands like Depeche Mode and New Order and bands that used a lot of sequences and synth stuff" he went on to explain, " there are songs to me on the new record that sound like Depeche Mode mixed with Neil Young."
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time's natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun's bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover's lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Poems of sentiment by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago, IL : W. B. Conkey Company, c1906.
" music heard so deeply That it is not heard at all, but you are the music While the music lasts.” ― T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems, 1909-1962
Imagine a world without music? It's like trying to imagine a world without LOVE. It's almost impossible. Do we really want to try? As an experiment watch your favorite movie with the volume down. Walk around a busy shopping center with earplugs or give up Spotify and iTunes for one week. Music lovers and musicians are conducting an orchestra in their heads at all times and every casual conversation evokes a song lyric. " Love is what I've got- I said remember that.." Music is one of the few activities that involves using the entire brain. Intrinsic to all cultures, music has surprising benefits including enhanced language development, improved memory and focused attention. Music is valuable for physical coordination and development in children and adults. Why were we labeled "band geeks" in high school? Resentment? Jealously? Did other teens secretly covet our sexy plumed band hats, bedazzled polyester jackets and white spats? Maybe. Did insecure bully's instinctively recognize musicians as more attractive, superior, cooler, smarter? Well, it doesn't do all that but scientists have discovered listening to music or playing an instrument allows us to actually learn better. Aware of this for many years, research confirms music has the power to enhance higher brain function. Harvard University researcher, Gottfried Schlaug studied the cognitive effects of musical training. Schlaug and his colleagues found a direct correlation between early-childhood music training and enhanced motor and auditory skills. They also measured improvements in verbal ability as well as nonverbal reasoning. Schlaug reported those suffering from tone-deafness often had an absent or reduced arcuate fasciculus, which is a fiber tract connecting the frontal and temporal lobes in the brain. A damaged or reduced arcuate fasciculus has been associated with language problems such as dyslexia or aphasia in young children. (see video above)
Music is for music's sake. English author and philosopher Alan W. Watts stated in his inspired lectures: "When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."
Schools across the country shouldn't have to fight to fund and maintain their music programs. Brain benefits aside, music allows us to fully express our unique creativity. Children who aren't coerced or forced to study music or learn an instrument but come to acquire a natural appreciation on their own will find it enriches their lives in the most profound and powerful ways imaginable.
"Don't call it uncertainty- call it wonder. Don't call it insecurity- call it freedom." -Osho
We all experience moments of nervousness, hyper awareness, fear. Do you perform or speak in public? Are you taking an exam? Are you going out on a first date with a crush? Do you have a job interview? Many of us get a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs when having to face certain events or people in our lives. There is nothing wrong with being nervous. Nervousness shows we actually care about the outcomes of our actions. However, we may notice the more we focus on ourselves, the more anxious we become, doubling our own discomfort. We imagine all the possibilities which lead to failure or disappointing our loved ones. How harshly do we judge ourselves? Would you judge others so harshly? Where did these negative and critical thoughts originate?
The real problem is we write stories in our minds that simply aren't true. "If I flunk this exam, I'll never get into college." "If I mess up this speech everyone will think I'm an idiot." " If they don't like me it's because I'm unattractive." " If I don't make everyone happy I'm unlovable." Your mind is constantly busy manufacturing terrible scripts that have nothing to do with the reality of your situation. So take a step back. Breathe. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to entirely rewrite and edit our dramatic scenes. In the eloquent words of author, Pema Chodron, "The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment by moment." How do we refocus our attention and overcome fear and uncertainty?
When we find ourselves in a fearful confrontation our adrenaline kicks in, our faces flush, our mouths become dry, our hearts beat faster. We become hyper alert and more aware of physical sensations. But if we can cool down and stay calm, we have the ability to refocus our attention on others. Our anxiety begins to slowly dissipate. We refocus on our audience, refocus on being part of a team or refocus on the individual with whom we're speaking. By taking our mental focus away from ourselves we can redirect all that nervous energy and conviction towards our initial objective. Why are we there? Why are we doing what we're doing?
Positive affirmations may sound like pop psychology cliches but we all develop strong mental habits which began in our own minds. We have to replace negative self-talk with positive thoughts. Believe we can't and we won't. Believe we can and we'll find a way. Remember the scene from the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein film, TheSound of Music when Maria was sent from the abbey to act as governess for the von Trapp children? Even though her future felt incredibly uncertain, she fought back her self-doubt with encouraging words, consoling her frustrations.
"I Have Confidence"
What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what's the matter with me?
I've always longed for adventure
To do the things I've never dared
And here I'm facing adventure
Then why am I so scared?
Why are we so scared of the unknown? Rest assured, it's normal to desire security. Staying in our comfort zones gives us a sense of safety. Letting go of our need for certainty, letting go of fear little by little allows us to gain more strength and courage. The more courage we gain, the more positive steps we take in obtaining what we really want in life. Word by word, moment by moment, chapter by chapter, we give ourselves permission to create reality from our own passions and dreams. Each day, we should wake up and realize we are the fearless authors of our own story.
A special birthday wish, March 14th, goes out to my niece.
I will always believe in you, Bri. Love you, forever.
"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" - Maya Angelou, poet
The first female to become United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright was quoted as saying at the 2006 Celebration Luncheon for the WNBA's All-Decade Team, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." Building a worldwide support system for women and girls is crucial for further advancement. True, women in many countries have come a long way but disturbing facts remain. Globally, only 24 % of senior management roles are filled by women. Each year, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked into slavery, 80% are young girls. In some countries the gender pay gap is 15% or higher. 70% of those living in poverty are women and children. So while we have every reason to celebrate our she-roes we must seriously examine why progress is being stalled or completely halted for so many. We must protect our human rights. When we empower ourselves we must find a way to empower others. (photo's above: First female, African-American astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison, Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman appointed to the U.S Supreme Court, Admiral Michelle J. Howard, first female four-star admiral in the history of the United States Navy.)
March has been designated "Women's History Month" and Sunday, March 8th is "International Women's Day." Many classrooms, college campuses and international organizations will honor and discuss the inspiring, courageous and often tragic timeline contributions of women in history. Let us also thank our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, teachers, mentors and all women who have loved and supported us on our journey. Please take a moment to remember all men and women who have fought and those who continue to fight for human rights, justice and human dignity every day, all over the world.
"The two big unfixables are aging and dying."-Dr. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal
The New York Times "Best Sellers Nonfiction Books "list for the week of March 8th, 2015 includes the factual account of a former Navy SEAL and the political memoir of a White House campaign strategist. At number five is a courageous examination of aging and death in our society by masterful author and surgeon, Dr.Atul Gawande. Being Mortal has spent 20 weeks on the best sellers list for its illuminating look at a subject most of us refuse to speak of with much honesty or openness.
"Hope is not a plan. We find from our trials that we are literally inflicting therapies on people that shorten their lives and increase their suffering out of an inability to come to good decisions." http://atulgawande.com/book/being-mortal/
Dr. Gawande's insightful comments come from professional observations as a physician and the personal experience of losing his own father to cancer. With great compassion Gawanda focuses both on medical procedures and living conditions in later life. He addresses the reality of those nearing the end making their own choices. Living situations are primarily aimed at "safety" concerns at the expense of retaining autonomy, especially when a spouse or adult children are making the decisions. Dr. Gawande shows us how physical conditions are most often treated as medical crises needing to be callously corrected instead of managing pain and ensuring quality of life. Knowing when a treatment is causing greater suffering or has become futile for a patient is imperative. Gawande eloquently discusses a topic many people fear and yet must face. Being Mortal has been suggested as required reading for those in the medical health care field but it should be seriously explored and contemplated by anyone who faces mortality- all of us.
New York Times Best Selling Combined E-Book & Nonfiction for the Week of March 8th
10. THE BLACK COUNT, by Tom Reiss
9. YES PLEASE, by Amy Poehler
8. BELIEVER, by David Axelrod
7. THUNDERSTRUCK, by Erik Larson
6. KILLING PATTON, by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
5. BEING MORTAL, by Atul Gawande
4. THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, by Daniel James Brown
3. WILD, by Cheryl Strayed
2. UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand
1. AMERICAN SNIPER, by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice