Tag Archives: Pop Culture

Under The Boardwalk Documentary Showcases Monopoly

If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.

What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”

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Doctor Who Returns With A New Face

When Doctor Who was relaunched in 2005 at the hands of Russell T. Davies, it was returning after nearly a decade away from the public eye. Russell T. Davies viewed the relaunch as more of a picking up where the story left off as opposed to being a complete restart as the current trend for bringing new life to past entertainment properties.

To aid new viewers in getting up to speed with the lore of Doctor Who, a new companion, Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, so the getting to know the world of Doctor Who is told through the eyes of a character that’s meant to be the audience, someone from our time and experience being drawn into this fantastic world for an incredible journey. Old enemies of the Doctor, familiar to long time fans are new to Rose and new audience members and they become educated quickly. The end of the first season taught the audience about one of the Doctor’s greatest tricks to ensure it’s long term endurance, the ability of the Doctor to regenerate.

As Christopher Eccleston left the series and David Tennant took over the role, for the character of the Doctor, what this allows is the Doctor to take on a new face and personality every time the Doctor regenerates. This easy way to change actors also allows each new actor to bring their own touch to an established character. David Tennant’s first season as the tenth Doctor was aided by Billie Piper’s second season as Rose Tyler, as those of us new to Doctor Who had Rose’s getting used to the new Doctor to help aid us through the process as well. Eventually the storyline had Rose depart being the Doctor’s companion and we had a few others take on being the Doctor’s companion during David Tennant’s run.

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Ugly Sweater Party & Bea Arthur In Star Wars

Ugly Sweater Party 2009Last night I attended an “Ugly Sweater Party” at the home of a local friend, Mike Kurtz. The premise of the party is that you’re suppose to find an ugly sweater or sweatshirt to wear to the party. You have the option of buying something new that’s hideous or comb the racks of the local thrift stores to find something ugly. It’s just a fun excuse to have a great theme party.

The party is also a pot luck of sorts and I brought some cookies. I didn’t have time to make some sugar free ones so I just bought some pre-made cookie dough packages from the supermarket and baked those up for the party. Pretty quick and easy. Some people did some creative things, such as one person brought a whole plate of olives that were creatively stacked and stuffed with some carrots and cream to look like penguins. Mike and his partner Ian had wonderful meatballs for the party.

To compliment the theme of ugly sweaters, one of the worst television holiday specials ever was screened. It’s the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s so bad that George Lucas has said if he had the time and a hammer he would track down every bootleg recording of it and smash it. And yes, it was horrible. I’m amazed they got the original actors to consent to making this steaming pile of crap holiday special. The sets looked terrible. The costumes were pretty bad, especially the Wookies that made up the rest of Chewbacca’s family. Even the animation for the cartoon segment introducing Boba Fett was bad too.

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Funny And Offensive T-Shirts At TShirtHell.com

T-Shirt Hell - Money For RentA good friend of mine pointed me to a website that makes some pretty darn funny t-shirts. As someone who can appreciate a t-shirt that makes people laugh when they read it, I was just rolling with laughter when I saw the shirts offered by T-Shirt Hell.

No what T-Shirt Hell offers, pushes the envelope in terms of funny. In fact, a lot of the shirts they offer are just downright offensive. Some shirts push the envelope through the use of strong language while others use offensive stereotypes, and some just push the boundaries of sexual innuendo. It seems no stone is left unturned even poking fun at pop culture icons like Ronald McDonald, The Smurfs, Disney, Han Solo, and Pillsbury Dough Boy. Even Al Gore, Barack Obama, and Wal-Mart get skewered. (I’m guessing all the George W. Bush ones have been retired?)

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Xanadu Works Its Magic In San Diego

Last night I took the opportunity to check out the new stage version of Xanadu that is currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. Technically I have a ticket for the show next week, but I got an offer in my e-mail to see the show earlier through Goldstar and at bargain price, so why not take a chance and go.

The seat I ended up with was an on-stage seat. Basically how the set is structured is that it looks a little like a Ancient Greek amphitheatre with a main performance area at the front of the stage and some tiered seating towards the back of the stage where additional audience members get seated and fill out the presence on stage. Sections of the on stage seating are left empty so that the cast members can sit and be part of the background and jump back into the show when appropriately timed. Additionally some props for them are stashed in the seating for use during the show as well.

Unlike regular seats, we had to be given a briefing on what we were expected to do which is basically have fun and stay seated until the orchestra plays its final note. There would be no chances for a bathroom break and if we had to leave, we could but would not be able to return to the stage seats. And we would not be issued our copies of the playbill until after the show. The show runs about ninety minutes so no problem there. We were also issued a glow stick and instructed that we would be told by the cast when it is time to break the glow stick to activate it and wave it around.

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