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Sunday, November 29, 2020

The DEFINITIVE Mandela Effect Pod Epi

In Episode 570, Germar Derron returns to blow. your. mind. Alternate realities, multiple infinities, dreams, and sexy harems. Just try to keep up. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Rankings: the Theeuhtahr [Updated: 11/21/20]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. Plus, Germar's life has shifted from music, to film, to . . . stage. And because he sees so many theatrical productions, he will rate and rank them here. Additionally, you're going to click this link because you want to know where your production ranks. This list does not include grade school or "junior" productions.

And remember, a score of 5.5 does not equal 55% or failure. It means that the show was better than 55% of all shows.

29. Silent Sky (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 6/10 This is the toughest entry. People involved will think I'm a hater. But a large component of the scores is "rewatchability." And even though this show may be better technically than "Mermaid" or "Wonka," it's not something you'd watch again and again. And that might not be fair, because we sing along to the hits from "Wizard of Oz," "Mermaid," and "Rock of Ages." But rules is rules. To justify this ranking, I'll include quotes from audience members: "the leads lacked chemistry" "I didn't get the set" "where were they supposed to be" "it didn't really catch me" "I didn't get the lights" "why are those stairs so big?" COVID-era shows are tough.  

28. The Wizard of Oz (2013, Southern Arizona) 7.2/10 Monkeys flew, witches melted--an all-around technical achievement. But it was also three hours long and you know how it ends.


27. It's a Wonderful Life (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 The leads dazzled. But you really have to love this era of storytelling, to love this show, in 2018.

26. Willy Wonka (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 It's always all about the Oompa Loompas! It was Wonka . . . wacky and colorful and kid-friendly.


25. The Complete History of America (Abridged) (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Tough to believe that three non-professionals (cast members) could pull this off--but they did.

24. The Little Mermaid (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Full disclosure: Germar works on most of these productions. He failed this production. Amazing performances, but inconsistent tech and art direction. #maskup  

23. Harvey (2020, Central Indiana) 7.2/10 Each cast member played their part to perfection. Also, see above: It's a Wonderful Life.

22. A Musical Christmas Carol 7.3/10 (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) The same perfect performances that we now take for granted from this production company. BUT a really poor technical outing. Me thinks "the -VID" strikes again.

21. Mamma Mia (2019, Michiana) 7.3/10 This Sophie SANGS. Beautiful cast. The director and choreographer put professional stamps all over this thing.

20. Tarzan (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.3/10 They used a real baby! They swung on vines and climbed trees. Go-ril-las stole the show. 


19. Scrooge: The Musical (2017, East Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Classic and timeless tale, done by a big diverse cast. Costumed fun.

18. Into the Woods (2019, Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Talented cast. The set designers and builders optimized, and creatively utilized, a tight space.


17. The Music Man (2019, Michiana) 7.5/10 The best ensemble performance ever. 


16. West Side Story (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.5/10 Every time Maria was on stage was the best thing you've seen on a stage. Rosalia . . . Anita . . . . Tony.



15. Now and Then (2019, Michiana) 7.6/10 Casual and modern. And by the end of the show, it's life-changing.


14. Cinderella (2018, Tour) 7.6/10 Beautiful set, world-class dancing, but no soul.

13. Into the Woods (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) 7.6/10 Pitch perfect ensemble singing. 

12. The Little Mermaid (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.6/10 Ariel nailed it. And the magic of the sea was felt throughout the performance.

11. Big River (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 I can't decide if the show is a story about:   1) two cons on the run; 2) crazy Tom Sawyer; or most likely 3) a love story between a white boy with a heart of gold and a runaway slave. Five outstanding performances made this a tough call.


10. First Date (2020, Michiana)  7.7/10 A show for people, born after 1984, who would rather see a movie than a play. A home-run from the director.

9. Of Mice and Men (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 Tough tough show, made better and worse by excellent performances.    

8. Animal Farm (2012, Southern Arizona) 7.9/10 Beautiful, moving, and important. When those pigs started walking around in their overalls, you couldn't help but feel the hopelessness of the cycle. 

7. Peter and the Starcatcher (2018, East Central Indiana) 8/10 Odd. And one of the best stagey mcstage plays of all time. And who doesn't love Peter Pan?


6. Sister Act (2019, East Central Indiana) 8.5/10 F.U.N. Also, it's sexy (or it could be), funny, and colorful. Everyone in the cast got a chance to shine.

5. Matilda (2020, East Central Indiana) 8.7/10 Story? Weak and common. Writing? Random and superfluous. 8000 kids dancing in perfect sync, and singing in perfect harmony with perfect pitch in perfect Harry Potter accents? Nailed that shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

4. My Fair Lady (2017, East Central Indiana) 9/10 The perfect Eliza. Perfect direction.


3. Rock of Ages (2018, East Central Indiana) 9.3/10 If you like the 80s, or listen to the same 10 songs on some wack work FM stations, you'll love this. Plus, it's sexy and makes no sense.

2. Annie (2018, East Central Indiana)  9.5/10 THIS is cheating. Cute little girls, performing classic choreography, to Jay Z's most popular song.

1. Beauty and the Beast (2019, Farmland Indiana) 9.6/10 Everyone sang everything like Whitney sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Plus, they DANCED--DANCING in a show, in Indiana!!! I guess when you collect a check, you get the steps right.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Shortie: Y'all Not Hungry Enough


What happened to hard work? Imma tell you like my seventh grade student told me, "personally, I think you garbage." Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Rankings: the Theeuhtahr [Updated: 11/8/20]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. Plus, Germar's life has shifted from music, to film, to . . . stage. And because he sees so many theatrical productions, he will rate and rank them here. Additionally, you're going to click this link because you want to know where your production ranks. This list does not include grade school or "junior" productions.

And remember, a score of 5.5 does not equal 55% or failure. It means that the show was better than 55% of all shows.

27. Silent Sky (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 6/10 This is the toughest entry. People involved will think I'm a hater. But a large component of the scores is "rewatchability." And even though this show may be better technically than "Mermaid" or "Wonka," it's not something you'd watch again and again. And that might not be fair, because we sing along to the hits from "Wizard of Oz," "Mermaid," and "Rock of Ages." But rules is rules. To justify this ranking, I'll include quotes from audience members: "the leads lacked chemistry" "I didn't get the set" "where were they supposed to be" "it didn't really catch me" "I didn't get the lights" COVID-era shows are tough.  

26. The Wizard of Oz (2013, Southern Arizona) 7.2/10 Monkeys flew, witches melted--an all-around technical achievement. But it was also three hours long and you know how it ends.


25. It's a Wonderful Life (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 The leads dazzled. But you really have to love this era of storytelling, to love this show, in 2018.

24. Willy Wonka (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 It's always all about the Oompa Loompas! It was Wonka . . . wacky and colorful and kid-friendly.


23. The Little Mermaid (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Full disclosure: Germar works on most of these productions. He failed this production. Amazing performances, but inconsistent tech and art direction. #maskup  

22. Harvey (2020, Central Indiana) 7.2/10 Each cast member played their part to perfection. Also, see above: It's a Wonderful Life.

21. Mamma Mia (2019, Michiana) 7.3/10 This Sophie SANGS. Beautiful cast. The director and choreographer put professional stamps all over this thing.

20. Tarzan (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.3/10 They used a real baby! They swung on vines and climbed trees. Go-ril-las stole the show. 


19. Scrooge: The Musical (2017, East Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Classic and timeless tale, done by a big diverse cast. Costumed fun.

18. Into the Woods (2019, Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Talented cast. The set designers and builders optimized, and creatively utilized, a tight space.


17. The Music Man (2019, Michiana) 7.5/10 The best ensemble performance ever. 


16. West Side Story (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.5/10 Every time Maria was on stage was the best thing you've seen on a stage. Rosalia . . . Anita . . . . Tony.



15. Now and Then (2019, Michiana) 7.6/10 Casual and modern. And by the end of the show, it's life-changing.


14. Cinderella (2018, Tour) 7.6/10 Beautiful set, world-class dancing, but no soul.

13. Into the Woods (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) 7.6/10 Pitch perfect ensemble singing. 

12. The Little Mermaid (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.6/10 Ariel nailed it. And the magic of the sea was felt throughout the performance.

11. Big River (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 I can't decide if the show is a story about:   1) two cons on the run; 2) crazy Tom Sawyer; or most likely 3) a love story between a white boy with a heart of gold and a runaway slave. Five outstanding performances made this a tough call.


10. First Date (2020, Michiana)  7.7/10 A show for people, born after 1984, who would rather see a movie than a play. A home-run from the director.

9. Of Mice and Men (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 Tough tough show, made better and worse by excellent performances.    

8. Animal Farm (2012, Southern Arizona) 7.9/10 Beautiful, moving, and important. When those pigs started walking around in their overalls, you couldn't help but feel the hopelessness of the cycle. 

7. Peter and the Starcatcher (2018, East Central Indiana) 8/10 Odd. And one of the best stagey mcstage plays of all time. And who doesn't love Peter Pan?


6. Sister Act (2019, East Central Indiana) 8.5/10 F.U.N. Also, it's sexy (or it could be), funny, and colorful. Everyone in the cast got a chance to shine.

5. Matilda (2020, East Central Indiana) 8.7/10 Story? Weak and common. Writing? Random and superfluous. 8000 kids dancing in perfect sync, and singing in perfect harmony with perfect pitch in perfect Harry Potter accents? Nailed that shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

4. My Fair Lady (2017, East Central Indiana) 9/10 The perfect Eliza. Perfect direction.


3. Rock of Ages (2018, East Central Indiana) 9.3/10 If you like the 80s, or listen to the same 10 songs on some wack work FM stations, you'll love this. Plus, it's sexy and makes no sense.

2. Annie (2018, East Central Indiana)  9.5/10 THIS is cheating. Cute little girls, performing classic choreography, to Jay Z's most popular song.

1. Beauty and the Beast (2019, Farmland Indiana) 9.6/10 Everyone sang everything like Whitney sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Plus, they DANCED--DANCING in a show, in Indiana!!! I guess when you collect a check, you get the steps right.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

America is a Teenager

 

I will eventually leave this country. I will return after you make it through adolescence. Vote for us at Discover Pods Awards!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Kanye West was on Joe Rogan

 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

In Episode 566, Germar talks about Joe Rogan talking to Kanye West, who talked so much . . . about nothing. West is running for "leader of the free world" and wants your vote! But first hear Germar talk about finally being nominated for a podcasting award. Vote for us now at Discover Pods Awards!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Focked by Your Feelings

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

In Episode 564, Germar covers what he's covered and will cover again--your thoughts and feelings. But this time he really nails it. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

What "Social Dilemma"?

In Episode 563, Germar discusses everyone's favorite Netflix-based water cooler conversation, The Social Dilemma. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Indie Music: Shihori "Soul Trip"

by Germar Derron

Earworm: ". . . sticky musicstuck song syndromeor Involuntary Musical Imagery (IMI), is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing."

"Soul Trip" = instant earworm.

In most reviews at this site, I place myself in the role of A&R, artist manager, producer, or engineer.  Because these artists are independent, often unknown, sometimes still wet behind the ears, I write in an advisory fashion. Here, that technique seems superfluous and silly. But why does a new artist, an indie artist, sound this polished--this radio ready? I did some digging.

Shihori just entered my musical world, and has only performed stateside for a mere two years, but she's no newcomer. Her musical resume reads like all of my favorite artists' resumes, but for the country of origin. Though her path was bumpy, she's already experienced major success in a tough and large market--Japan. 

The title, "Soul Trip," seemed to allude to soul music or--maybe more appropriately--a neo-soul sound. But after I let it loop for awhile, it felt more spiritual. I feel more than I hear here, and I dare not listen. Then, I realized that soul in this instance, may be wholly referencing that intangible unseen human essence. And I felt that ride, the trip, more with each play.

Shihori answered my unasked questions: 

I wasn't allowed to just be myself. Japanese culture forces you to be the same as everyone else, so I was bullied...because I was very different from other kids. Through those experiences, "love who you are" became the core message of my music...and now I think America needs this message too. What does it matter if your skin color is white or black? What matters more is what your SOUL looks like.

I felt this quote, much like I feel this song. My Japanese friend, Ai, told similar stories of being bullied because she too wasn't . . . the same. "Unfortunately," her Russian father passed on his brown hair to her. So, she felt a connection to my struggle as a Black man in a country that believes I'm not "the same."

And many years later, those struggles remain. That cultural connection remains. And it's all perfectly captured on this track. 

Shihori's good. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

Better Late

 

In Episode 561 Germar talks about his new girlfriend--she's spectacular. Follow him everywhere @GermarDerron.

 
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