Friday, July 25, 2014
I should have mentioned this earlier, but if you are anywhere close near the Highland, IL area this weekend or next, you should come out and see 9 TO 5. It's a musical stage version of the famous 1980 movie that starred Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin. Dolly wrote all the music and lyrics for the show. I play five different characters in the show. The shows are always great shows and often the quality is just as good as some of the professional theatres in St. Louis. Plus, the theatre is air conditioned, so it's a great way to beat the heat. If you purchase your tickets online you can save a couple bucks than if you buy them at the door.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Sunday, July 06, 2014
The title character of DRAGON GIRL: THE SECRET VALLEY is an eleven-year-old girl named Alanna. She and her brother are orphans from a lower class background and are doing the best they can to survive in the medieval-type world in which they live. Alanna's brother Hamel works as a blacksmith and in his "free time" the two hunt and scourge the woods for game and edibles. One day while Alanna is out in the woods while Hamel is working, she discovers a baby dragon and a cave full of dragon eggs and discovers that dragons aren't the horrible creatures she has been led to believe. She's excited to share her discovery with her brother, but doesn't reveal her secret when she realizes that he's as frightened of and seems as hateful of dragons as most of the other people in the world. Alanna designs a dragon costume to wear in an attempt to get close to the creature and not get burned up in the process. Soon Alanna finds herself swept up in a journey that takes her to the secret valley of the dragons where she learns more and more about dragons. However, not everyone in the world is as fascinated by dragons and the famed knight Sir Cedric follows Alanna and becomes determined not only to rid the world of dragons, but steal the liquid treasure they seem to protect.
I enjoyed reading DRAGON GIRL: THE SECRET VALLEY. It's an exciting story with some great black and white illustrations. Many similar stories to DRAGON GIRL have a male protagonist and I found it interesting to have a female protagonist instead. There are some dangerous elements in the story, so the book might not be appropriate for children younger than five, but it should be fine for anyone older than that. Overall, a good story for anyone who enjoys graphic novels or dragons or graphic novels with dragons.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Written and illustrated by George O'Connor, ATHENA: GREY-EYED GODDESS is the second volume in a graphic novel series entitled "The Olympians" that tells the story of the ancient Greek gods and their mythology. ATHENA isn't an origins story, although there is a very brief introduction that summarizes the events of the first volume in the series (ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS). Instead, ATHENA is a story narrated by the Fates that tells four distinct tales about Athena: how she came to possess Zeus' aegis, how she defeated the giant Pallas, what she did with Medusa's decapitated head after Perseus used it, and her weaving contest with Arachne. The stories are each different and reveal distinct characteristics of Athena. Although the book doesn't strictly follow some of the more canonical elements with certain Greek myths, the book does an excellent job of combining many of those varying and sometimes conflicting stories into a unified whole. Although tastefully done, ATHENA doesn't shy away from the violence contained in many of these ancient tales. The tales of Athena are wonderfully illustrated and lend themselves well to the visual medium of a graphic novel. The inside of the book contains a genealogical chart which is extremely useful while reading these tales of Greek mythology. At the end of the book, there is a note from the author, some notes about the text, a few charts about various characters in the story (Perseus, Medusa, and the Fates), a bibliography, and some discussion questions. ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS was the origin story of the universe of the Olympian series and I like the way the series is progressing, now focusing on just one Olympian each. Overall, ATHENA: GREY-EYED GODDESS is a great book that anyone with an interest in Greek mythology is sure to appreciate.
Written and illustrated by George O'Connor, ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS is the first in a graphic novel series entitled "The Olympians" that tells the story of the ancient Greek gods and their mythology. ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS isn't just an origin story about Zeus. It's also an origin story about the creation of the universe and the world according to the ancient Greeks: from Kaos came Gaea (Mother Earth), from Gaea came Ouranos, and from Ouranos & Gaea came Kronos, and from Kronos came Zeus. ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS explains what happened to Zeus' ancestors, how Zeus freed his siblings, and the war that raged between Zeus and Olympians and the Titans. Although tastefully done, the story doesn't shy away from the violence surrounding the creature of the universe. The story is wonderfully illustrated and lends itself well to the visual medium of a graphic novel. At the end of the book, there is a note from the author, some notes about the text, a few charts about various characters in the story (Cyclopes, Metis, and Kronos), a bibliography, and some study questions. Overall, ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS is a great book that anyone with an interest in Greek mythology is sure to appreciate.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
TESLA’S ATTIC is the first book in the planned “The Accelerati Trilogy” by authors Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. The book revolves around middle school student Nick Slate and what happens to him when he moves into an old house in Colorado Springs with his dad and younger brother after their mother tragically dies in a house fire in Florida. The house they move to in Colorado Springs was given to them by their Great-aunt Greta and at one time belonged to the famed inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla.
After moving into the house, Nick discovers an attic full of what appears to be old household items. To raise some money and clean out the attic that he wants for his bedroom, he holds a garage sale and sells most of the items. However, some strange events happen at the garage sale which leads Nick on a quest where he discovers that the items he sold weren’t ordinary. Each of the seemingly ordinary objects contains strange and mysterious properties, such as a wet cell battery that brings dead creatures back to life, a Speak and Say that completes sentences and tells the truth, a baseball glove that attracts asteroids, and a camera that only takes pictures of the future. Nick and some of his new friends eventually realize that the objects once belonged to Nikola Tesla. Nick decides it would be better off if they collect the object and keep them safe. But Nick and his friends aren’t the only ones interested in tracking down the objects from Tesla’s Attic. There’s a secret organization called The Accelerati that is determined to find as many of the Attic objects as possible to use for their own nefarious purposes of molding the world and controlling people as they see fit. It’s an adventure Nick believes he was born to begin, but one that’s extremely dangerous.
TESLA’S ATTIC is a very enjoyable read. For children and young adults who might not be familiar with Tesla and his genius, TESLA’S ATTIC can work as a catalyst to learning more about him. The book is fairly easy to read, does a really good job of portraying realistic characters, and is full of exciting and unexpected turns (there are a couple towards the end that I did not expect at all).
The story is told from an omniscient point of view, which is a bit unusual in the current crop of young adult fiction. Personally, I usually enjoy omniscient point of view stories better than those told from the perspective of one character as it gives the story a deeper and richer texture.
Overall, TESLA’S ATTIC is a thoroughly enjoyable, thrilling, and fast-paced story that leaves the reader in eager anticipation of the next volume in the trilogy.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Ever see THE DUKES OF HAZZARD? Well, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best) will be in Greenville, IL this Friday and Saturday. He will be giving a special one-man show at the Globe Theatre Friday night and will be at Greenville Graffiti on Saturday as an honored guest and judge. If you are available Friday evening, I highly recommend you come out for the one-man show. It's not all that well known outside the entertainment community, but Best ran one of the most respected acting workshops in Hollywood for several decades. In addition to his cast mates on THE DUKES OF HAZZARD he was a mentor to Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Gary Busey, Teri Garr, Lindsay Wagner, Farrah Fawcett, and even Quentin Tarantino. If you have an interest in the movie business, this is one show you don't want to miss out on. Hollywood doesn't come this close to your neighborhood very often