Eurovision 2016 – Georgia

Georgia has chosen to use an interesting selection process for their 2016 Eurovision entry. Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz was chosen internally by GPB, the Georgian broadcast network. The band was then given five songs to perform, which were released as music videos. The viewing public and a professional jury voted on which song should be performed in Stockholm.

Midnight Gold was the winning song. Let’s take a look and listen.

I’m a rocker chick at heart and I love me some indie rock. Some. Not all.  Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive hits my sweet spot. This does not. I don’t like all the reverb and the heavy bass, and the strident beat. Which isn’t to say Midnight Gold is bad. If this is your style of music, this could be your 12 points.

One thing I did like is that this is different, meaning it’s not a ballad. If, during the Eurovision semi-final performance, Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz come on after five boring ballads, best believe Midnight Gold will stand out.

As it stands, the song is almost 30 seconds too long. Eurovision songs can be no longer than three minutes. Midnight Gold will be shortened, and potentially tightened and improved. I’ll reserve final judgment for their actual performance.

Kisses and best wishes to Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz and Georgia!

You can read more about Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz here.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on

Hamlet Live Encore

One of the hottest tickets in the world right now is Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, at the Barbican Theatre in London. I wanted to see it so much, I thought about traveling there, but aside from the cost, the tickets sold out long ago.

Then a friend invited me to see Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, live at our local San Franicsco Bay Area movie theater. No joke! On October 15, the stage production was broadcast, live and delayed, to theaters all over the world.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet

Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet

Benedict Cumberbatch was brilliant as Hamlet: moody, mercurial, brooding and funny. He throws himself into the character and the play, and the takes the audience on a wild, energetic ride. He’s an active Hamlet who can’t sit still even as he chides himself over his own inaction.

The setting of the play is timey-wimey, half-contemporary and half-vintage. The costumes and the sets were disjointed, but so is Hamlet’s mind, so it worked. The rest of the cast contained an admirable assortment of actors who were up to the task of performing with a world famous celebrity.

It was an amazing experience, but what was even more amazing is that our theater was only half full. I don’t think this was due to lack of interest in Shakespeare. I wouldn’t have known about this showing if my friend hadn’t told me. There were no advertisements or trailers in movie theaters that I saw. Nothing on social media caught my eye. My friend happened to belong to a mailing list and got the notice.

I’m certain our theater and theaters all over the U.S. would have sold out if the showing had had some advertising. I feel bad for people who missed it.

But never fear! Encore performances of Hamlet will be shown in local U.S. movie theaters soon, via National Theatre Live, an organization that brings live stage plays to movie theaters worldwide. They have a mailing list, which I’ve subscribed to now. No more missing out on great theater, like Coriolanus, starring Tom Hiddleston, which had been previously broadcast live.

Here’s where you can find encore performance information for Hamlet. If you love Hamlet or Benedict Cumberbatch, or both, this is not to be missed.

Epic Binge

The last days of the 2015 summer binge season are upon us. I love me a good binge and the shows I’ve watched have varied in length from 4 episodes to 12 to 189.

Yes, 189 episodes. Now, that’s an epic binge.

Netflix recently added a tasty batch of telenovelas, Spanish language television shows, with English subtitles. Telenovelas are sometimes referred to as soap operas, but that’s not quite right. They are shown nightly during prime time, and have elements of both soap operas (emotional drama, romance) and serials (action, crime and punishment). Telenovelas don’t ramble on for years. The story and show come to a definite end.

After looking over what’s available on Netflix, I chose to watch Lo Que La Vida Me Robó (What Life Took From Me) because you can’t beat that title. The show takes place in Mexico, in a lovely, seaside resort town called Agua Azul. It tells the story of Montserrat Mendoza, a beautiful young woman caught in a love triangle between two men, rich Alejandro Almonte and poor José Luis Álvarez.

Sounds simple, but it isn’t. There’s a lot in the subtext about social inequality, social justice and corruption. The corruption is on the governmental and personal level. A vast fortune is at stake and it turns good people bad and bad people worse. All the characters, from the kindhearted maid to the evil governor, have been robbed of something by life, and this shapes their personalities and how they move forward.

I started the show in May and still have about 40 episodes left, so this will extend into a fall binge. Lol. An interesting benefit is that my nearly forgotten high school Spanish has  significantly improved.

No, I haven’t watched the show continuously. I’ve broken it up with other binges. I’ve watched some great shows and can recommend the following:

Empire (streaming on Hulu)

The story of a family dynasty set in modern American hip hop culture. After the first few episodes I realized it’s based on The Lion in Winter and shouted out, “Cookie Lyon is Eleanor of Aquitaine!” This increased my enjoyment tenfold.

Orange is the New Black (season 3) (streaming on Netflix)

Still quite good, but wanders seriously away from the source material. If you haven’t read the book, you won’t care.

Hjørdis (streaming on Netflix)

A sweet, funny, wise little Danish show about a schoolteacher named Hjørdis who is trying to combat bullying in her school.

Witnesses (streaming on Netflix)

A French crime drama set in small coastal city. A young woman detective and her older male colleague each face personal demons as they investigate a series of bizarre and escalating murders.

Orphan Black (season 3) (purchased on iTunes)

The clones are back! And I want to add that I’m delighted Tatiana Maslany has been nominated for an Emmy. She is an outstanding actress, playing all those roles in a single show.

Just a quick note to explain, I don’t have cable or satellite TV. I use an antenna for broadcast television and have an Apple TV box for streaming. I have subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Perfect for binging, whatever the season.