So Mia Michaels Thinks You Suck

Tonight’s show included the rudest (undeserved) comment from a judge I have heard on the show thus far:

“Will, you look tired of carrying [Jessica]…You look tired. You’re tired,” speaking about his dance partner, Jessica, who was praised last week for keeping up with such a well-trained dancer.

That was uncalled-for! The judges have had it in for several dancers with better partners for a couple of weeks now. The only problem has been that one week they congratulate the weaker dancer for doing a great job and stepping up to the plate, and then the next week they slam them as dragging the couple down.

While I’m on my rant, I’d like to mention that Mary Murphy has no place EVER telling anyone anything about the fashion police coming after them, with the dresses and hair that she wears. Her chest is almost always a movement away from a wardrobe malfunction of Super Bowl® proportions.

Finally, for the last time, Cat Deely, the decisions are UP to the viewers, not DOWN to the viewers.

PorkChop BubbleGum… What!?

Lindsey WaldenOne thing that sets your look apart from others is your hat, be it a sports team, a driving cap, beret, or a clothing logo. If you go to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, you might see Lindsey Walden’s hats getting walked around atop a bunch of twenty-somethings’ heads, and you can’t miss them. We sat down for a chat with her to get the scoop on her company, designs, and passion for making hats for everyone who wants their own look.

How did you come up with the name “Pork Chop Bubble Gum?”
That is the first question anyone always asks me, truthfully. My sister, her husband, and I were sitting around one night, and its when I first decided to start my own company and we were just brainstorming thinking of names and her husband blurted out, “pork chop,” and I blurted out, “bubble gum,” and we both looked at each other and I said, “that kind of goes weird together,” so since then it kind of stuck.

Are the hats you design unisex?
They are unisex, but I do have hats more geared towards guys and some geared more towards women. But I find guys tend to choose the hats that I designed for girls; it just matters if they are more comfortable wearing bright colors like pink and green, chains, and rhinestones, but yeah every hat can be unisex. Anyone can wear them.

PorkChop BubbleGum HatHow many specific lines do you have? Is there any specific line that seems to be selling more than other ones?
No, not really, I try to go with lines but each one of my hats are different, there really aren’t two hats the same. So I can do like the same print on a hat or put the same netting on a hat but it isn’t going to come out exactly the same, so line-wise I would have to go with “no.” I pretty much make what people are in the mood for, and people can come back later and say, “I like this, gimme this, gimme this and give me this color,” and I can make it happen.

They are basically all custom hats?
Exactly yes.

I know you live in Miami, and it’s filled with stars, have you sold any of your hats to any celebrities or stars of any kind?
Nope not yet. [C'mon, celebs! -ed.]

Have you done any fashion shows? How did it go?
I did a fashion show at Nocturnal in Miami. It went really, really well, the feedback was amazing. I also had a booth at Ultra Music Fest in Miami. I had a booth at Gemini Music Fest in Ft. Lauderdale. And July 3rd, I have space in Miami; and I have two other shows in July: I have Heaven Music Fest (I believe is the 26th), and another in Port St. Lucie, it’s a big house and stuff.

Have you ever decided in the future you may want to do shirts or pants?
Yes, yes, yes! Shirts: this is my next move. I am actually in the process of learning Photoshop and getting a screen printing machine. So yeah, shirts are definitely my next step.

PorkChop BubbleGum HatDo you do hats with custom graphics at all, like heat transfers containing drawings you designed?
No, not till I get a screen printing machine. For now it’s just free abstract work. Whatever falls on the hat falls on the hat.

If someone wanted to get a hold of you to buy one of your hats, how would they go about that? What is the pricing on your hats?
Right now I just have MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/porkchopbubblegum) but my website should be done like any day now. The cost of my hats, depending what they are, usually run $24.00 plus $6.00 s/h.

Do you have anything you want to add?
I just hope that everyone can support me; I’m new. I started my business in 2006 when I graduated college. Just now I started to get serious and want to take off with this. Just want to get my name off and I’ll be happy!

If you like what you see here and want to help an aspiring local artist out, head over to her MySpace page and get yourself a new lid. We will update this interview when her website is done and help her out any way we can.
The Expressionist Magazine

Jason Dowd – All Eyes on Me

Jason DowdLooking for a different kind of photo experience? Dread gathering the kids up in the car and dragging them to a photo studio? Dowd Studios, Inc. is the answer to your woes. The owner, Jason Dowd, worked in a studio for years and heard all the wishes of the customers that patronized the business. With these wishes in mind, he designed a professional studio that can be set up in the comfort and convenience of your own home or office. Dowd Studios was established in August of 2003.

Erika ArtAbout Dowd Studios

Dowd Studios is a small company owned by Jason and his wife Fran. They are a home-based business whose mission is simply “to take a great photos and be affordable for all budgets.” Their studio not only offers portraits, but also photograph business and church events, school, modeling and maternity photos, passports, custom design graphics, and website design. If you want it photographed, they will do it… within the law of course. The studio has a website that allows you to get all the information you need about their services. You can order and proof your prints online and purchase stock photography from their online store.  To contact the studio simply go to www.dowdstudios.com

Recognition and Shows

Throughout the years Dowd Studios has had many accolades. He was the AmSouth Business of the Month for February 2005 and his work “Eyes of a Child” and “Candle Light” was published in a coffee table book called Endless Journeys. His work was featured in the local community newspaper The Laker and county wide papers The Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times. Jason’s picture “Jack Murphy Stadium” won first place in ArtFest 97.

Hawkinsville AssylumJason’s work is available for purchase and viewing at Fincher’s Barbecue Restaurant in Macon, GA on Houston Rd. The restaurant has twelve of his photos from his Georgia Collection. His photos are also available for purchase at Fast Frame in Tampa on Bruce B. Downs. Two of his pieces are on display at Beck Gallery in Lutz, FL. Jason is always looking for places to show his work and encourages anyone that knows or has a connection to please contact the studio.

Dowd Studios and the Community

Jason is dedicated to a business that benefits not only benefits his family, but his community as well.  He is proud to volunteer his services with the American Cancer Society. Dowd Studios has helped the ACS each year since 2005. They have donated time and materials with a photo booth at the Cattle Barrons Ball in Dade City where all sales go directly to the ACS. This year Jason and his wife did an overnight walk for the cure.  Dowd Studios makes regular contributions to the American Diabetes Foundation, and Jason and his wife volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Florida.

Prominent Clients

Dowd Studios has worked with some large names in the community. To date, the studio has worked with 16 Second Stare, HOK Architects, Johanson and Associates, The Academy of The Holy Name, Belks Department Store, and former Tampa Bay Lightning’s Dave Shaw. Most recently, he did a photo journalism piece for the San Diego Voice and Viewpoint of Senator Obama’s Florida campaign stop in Tampa.

Dowd Studios is here to stay… and when you have your portrait taken, look into the camera, and you will see why Jason says, “It’s all eyes on me.”

Chris Rock at TBPAC for Two Shows

Chris RockFormer star of Saturday Night Live, movie star, and stand up comedian extraordinaire Chris Rock is coming to Tampa for July 2nd and 3rd at 7:30 p.m. at Carol Morsani Hall at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in downtown Tampa.

His new act, “No Apologies World Tour,” has been getting rave reviews and has plenty of new content with topics touching (and slamming) politics, culture, and anything else that he deems worthy of stabbing fun at.

Tickets are $55.50-$99.50 and can be purchased at TBPAC, tbpac.org, or 813.229.7827.

Indie Films at the Beach Theatre, St. Pete

The Beach TheaterThe Beach Theater and Emerging Pictures are having a three-day film festival featuring 3 films: Married Life, The Counterfeiters, and Paranoid Park ending tonight and tomorrow.

Tickets are available at the door and are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students, seniors, and active military. Anyone not familiar with The Beach Theatre, it is located at 305 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach 33706.

Here is the rest of the schedule:

Married Life

Monday, 6/30, 7:30 p.m.

The Counterfeiters

Monday, 6/30, 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 7/1, 3:00 p.m.

Paranoid Park

Monday, 6/30, 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 7/1, 5:00 p.m.

Lyrical Hip-Hop Takes Center Stage

The D\'Umos

The amazing husband and wife choreography team, Napoleon and Tabitha D’Umo, are taking the hip-hop routines on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” to an all new level. What is completely different about their routines is that they are no longer just tricks and hitting hard; they mean something. There is a story to be told, emotions to be felt, and a floor for viewers’ jaws to hit.

Each week, my favorite routines have either been their contestants or included their contestants. One week it was a soldier leaving his wife to go to war, another routine was a pair doing a jailbreak, and a husband leaving his wife to go to work, but it was breaking her heart.

Tonight was the first time I had heard the term, “lyrical hip-hop,” but it struck me as a profound category. Some of my favorite routines on the show have been the free-style genres, like jazz, hip-hop, Krump, and the occasional contemporary. What was always lacking from hip-hop and Krump was any sort of audience connection, other than pushing pants lower and turning ball caps to the side and screaming wildly. I admit that I can get plenty riled up with a great hip-hop, but it’s purely for the “wow” factor and the energy level. Emotions are cool, though.

The hitting is still there, and the popping is just as strong as any dance routine, but there is an emotional bond between the performers and the audience. Gone are the days where the viewers will be satisfied to have seen a bunch of hot tricks and steps strung together…

That’s how it is in my book anyway.
The Expressionist Magazine

Hell’s Kitchen – the Final Two

Tonight’s episode was especially entertaining, as Chef Ramsay softened up a tad and becomes more of a coach rather than a beast. As he has in previous seasons, he wanted to see how the contestants handle the pressure of running the show from the hot plate “at the pass.”

First up was the competition to mix things up. Everyone’s family was there for a Ramsay-catered lunch. Christina was the only contestant who had the presence of mind to know that something was up and started tasting her food and picking it apart as they ate. Corey and Petrozza were oblivious to the impending doom and the challenge came down on them hard: figure out how Chef made the dish and fix it for him in 45 minutes.

Christina had everything correct except for the puree that she chose rather than cream. Corey had everything right except she chose buffalo over venison. Poor Petrozza had the whole thing right, but plain old forgot to make the puree altogether. With that, Christina won and went on a lame tour of L.A. and a couple of restaurants with Chef and her parents. Corey and Petrozza had to clean the glasses and break blocks of ice by hand.

Prior to dinner service, Chef Ramsay did his usual pep talk to test the contestants’ fire and authority by having them yell at him. Petrozza and Christina pretty much sucked. Then Corey didn’t do too hot for her first attempt and Ramsay threw the plate he was holding as he showed her what authority is all about. Best line of the night: laughing, Petrozza didn’t realize that Ramsay threw it and said, “I didn’t get to break any plates.”

Petrozza manned the hot plate first and missed the sabotage by the sous chef, Scott, who left the peas out of the risotto. Meanwhile, Christina burnt her first attempt at a salmon and then proceded to pass on the replacement raw. Ramsay started getting really mad at her and, of course, asked her if she wanted to go home. Other than those little things, Petrozza did fine.

Corey was next and also missed Scott’s intentional meat sauce swap until she had already poured it on the Wellingtons. Fail! Right from the start, she couldn’t read the food tickets and was very hesitant. After that, she pretty much stayed on top of the game and the kitchen ran smoothly under her watch.

Then it was all eyes on Christina, including all 42 of Ramsay’s eyes. Just to make things difficult, she caught the basil in the mashed potatos rather than the mint. While the kitchen kept turning out food with her direction, the mistakes of earlier were just below the surface, waiting to boil over.

Ramsay refused to pick a winner of the service and told them to each nominate one person.

Corey nominated Christina, Christina nominated Corey, and Petrozza nominated Christina. After a commercial break and a very long sentence, Ramsay revealed that the first finalist is…

Petrozza

After another unbearably long, pausing sentence and some flashback clips, he chose for his second finalist…

Christina

With that, Corey left on good terms and with a British farewell kiss from Ramsay and a couple of compliments.

Final TwoThat’s it, Petrozza and Christina face off next week for the grand prize. If it was anything like last year’s showdown, it is going to be riveting. I’m looking for some celebrities and at least two ridiculously hard contests to decide the winner.
The Expressionist Magazine

So You Think You Can Dance – Top 18

King and QueenLast night saw two more contestants leave the competition. All in all, I thought the performances were good from Wednesday night, with a couple of exceptions. The choreographers seemed to step up to the plate and only delivered one bad costume/routine act of the night, in my opinion. Thayne and Chelsea got a raw deal with their routine because the costumes and story didn’t come through at all.

There are certainly a fair share of athletic, attractive girls this year, but the men are a bit sparse in the mass-appeal department. Some are gangly while others seem to lack personality either when dancing or during the interviews. They do make for some interesting pairings, and most of them are working.

Before getting to the Bottom 3 couples, I have two groups of favorites right now: a couple favorite and two individual favorites. I think the strongest couple so far is Joshua and Katee. They had two back-to-back great routines and performances. This week’s Broadway number was out of this world entertaining. Individually, I love Twitch and Kherington the best for their skills, looks, and personalities.

The Bottom 3 couples last night were: Thayne and Chelsea, Marquis and Susie, and Chris and Comfort.

Thayne and Chelsea were victims of a bad routine, so I can’t really blame them for being in the Bottom 3. Their dancing was fine, but the movements, story, and costumes doomed them to the dance-off.

For the salsa dance, I thought Susie and Marquis plain old sucked. Nigel was right when he judged them and said that he’s seen more chemistry in high school chemistry 101. They didn’t have any hotness at all and Marquis moved like a go-go dancer.

Chris and Comfort pretty much bombed the krumping. Of course Comfort did great, because that is what she does, but when you put her with Chris… it was just awkward. My favorite part was during the judging when Nigel said that his grandma is more gangsta than Chris and Chris replied that he didn’t want to grab his crotch on TV. /sad

After the dance-off, which was good for everyone but two, the decision was made pretty easy. For the second week in a row, a couple was voted off together as Marquis and Susie left the show. I wonder what she will be doing for a career now, because she sure as heck isn’t going to be let back into the school system after what she wore for tryouts.
The Expressionist Magazine

Reviewing The Best of Broadway: The Lion King

The Lion King Broadway BillCue one of the spine-tingling-est songs of all time, add a huge stage with the coolest man-made sunrise known, and then toss in the most innovative animal costumes ever made, and you have the most captivating opening to any Broadway musical out there. From the opening note, The Lion King delivered everything that the banners, billboards, and posters hyped it up to be.

It is opening weekend of The Lion King and they will be in Tampa until May 22. Our seats were fantastic: right on the isle of the center section in the 10th row. That placed us spot-on level with the stage so that we couldn’t see the stage surface, but we weren’t missing the performers’ ankles, either.

The show brings a new appreciation for the talent that the performers have to sing, dance, and act in all of the crazy costumes they had. The ensemble had about 25 costume changes by my estimate, and some of them were quite elaborate. It was not your typical Broadway musical where the ensemble remains relatively human and does a quick change. We are talking about changing from a hyena to a lioness to a piece of savannah grassland, complete with makeup changes. Truly, though, words cannot describe the coolness of Mufasa’s and Scar’s lion faces and the way they could drop down in front of their face to create a very effective lion appearance.

If you have seen the movie as many times as most, the lines are right from the movie, with the exception of some live audience flair, such as the stage curtain looking “like a shower curtain from Target,” as Zazu so comically pointed out. As long as children can sit through the animated movie, they will have no problem being enthralled with Broadway’s interpretation, and this is an excellent opportunity to expose them to the arts in an attractive and entertaining activity. The running time is about 2 1/2 hours with a 20-minute intermission.

Don’t let this gem leave town without experiencing the Best of Broadway!