Tag Archives: Xanadu

Paula’s Picks Presents You Have To Be There From Kristina

If you are lucky enough to live in the Portland, Oregon area, or happen to have an Internet connection (which I suspect you might if you’re reading this) then you had the opportunity on Thursday May, 6th, 2010 to tune into the Paula’s Picks program on KBOO FM during her program and hear her present “You Have To Be There” performed by Helen Sjöholm from the musical “Kristina.” “You Have To Be There” is written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA. Paula Small is a friend of mine that I went to high school with and she moved to Portland and one of the fun things she does out there is host a radio program on the first and third Thursdays of every month for KBOO.

The last time I saw Paula was when she was back in town to visit some family at the end of 2008, so I took Paula to see the Xanadu production at the La Jolla Playhouse, and when I saw her online on Facebook and I said hello using the chat feature of Facebook, we ended up discussing some music. I was so excited about the live album “Kristina At Carnegie Hall” coming out and I’d just gotten it in, I sent her “You Have To Be There” to share my excitement about the show. Paula really liked the song and we both commented about how it starts out similar to “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” but ends up being a much more powerful song. Paula thought it might make a great addition to her show the following night.

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Only At Wal-Mart Mamma Mia! Packaged With Xanadu

Wal-Mart is home to some interesting deals, and it seems they have a deal designed just for me, only problem is I already have both items they’ve packaged together. What they’ve done is get with Universal Pictures and packaged some of their movies together in little Wal-Mart exclusive packages usually for a great price. In this case, what was packaged together was Mamma Mia! The Movie with Xanadu.

No doubt the decision was made because Mamma Mia appeals to a musical audience that appreciates ABBA as that is the basis for the music in the musical. Olivia Newton-John headlines Xanadu as a very late 1970’s early 1980’s attempt to build on her amazing success in Grease with a musical like picture. What Wal-Mart and Universal execs probably didn’t realize the packaging of ABBA and Olivia Newton-John together is something that’s been done before. When ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden, Olivia Newton-John was also competing in the contest for England. And when ABBA were making a concerted effort to try and build their success in the United States, they appeared on one of Olivia Newton-John’s television specials along with Andy Gibb. So it’s not the first time ABBA and ONJ have crossed paths.

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Ryan’s 10 Most Incredible Things About About 2009

Now that 2009 has come to a close and 2010 has begun, I can safely say that it’s a year that has been very challenging and although I am not the least bit sad to see 2009 go, it certainly was not without some really incredible experiences for me that I would like to highlight before wipe the slate clean and start fresh with 2010.

This list was especially difficult to narrow down since 2009 was the year I kicked my blogging into high gear. I had started Ryan’s Incredible World in 2007 didn’t actually start blogging until 2008 and I would maybe make no more than five entries a month. So picking my highlights of 2008 was relatively easy since there wasn’t so many blog entries to go through to pick out the defining moments.

I had joined a couple of 30-Day blogging challenges which requires 30 blog entries in 30 days and it essentially got me into the habit of making almost daily blog entries. Now it’s pretty safe to say that each month sees about 25 new blog entries. The constant blogging has actually helped bring a bigger audience to my blog, so if your first time reading any of my writing has been in 2009, then no doubt something I wrote in 2009 caught your eye and is why you’re here reading this entry now. I am grateful for the many folks who’ve read my blog and left me comments, it’s been a pleasure to hear your feedback throughout the year. In any case, I looked through every post of 2009 to select what I feel were the 10 Most Incredible Things about 2009 that happened for me. You’ll note I combined a few complimentary things to narrow it down to 10.

I do hope you enjoy my reflection on 2009 and continue to join me on my quest to find the most incredible things of 2010. Without further ado, in no particular order.

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Christmas 2009 With The Family

Christmas 2009 was special in many ways this year. First off my mom and dad were in their new house in Temecula. Also this year my brother and his wife came out from Nashville to spend Christmas here in Southern California. And my grandfather on my mom’s side also came down from Calgary to spend the holidays here. It’s first Christmas in a while that many of us have been together.

My parents’ new home in Temecula looked great with my mom’s Christmas decorations. Some of the things that weren’t yet finished when I last visited at Thanksgiving were finally done such as the backspashes in the Kitchen. The cabinet doors for the cupboards in the kitchen were finally back with the center sections of them cut out and glass inserted to replace the wood removed. The old iron bed frame that was in the lower level guest room had been completely repainted to a metallic grey color and the new mattresses for both the lower level guest room as well as the upstairs bedroom had arrived. About the only thing that still hadn’t arrived yet were the blinds for all the windows.

I came over on Christmas Eve to take my dad and grandpa to the Xanadu production in Costa Mesa. This gave my mom some time to do some errands without my dad and grandpa in her hair. My brother and his wife were arriving late Christmas Eve and I since I had to work I decided to stay over at my folks place, go to work, and then return to my folks place first thing in the morning after work. I had volunteered to have my schedule changed at work in order to work Christmas Eve so that my usual night off could be given to someone on the shift with kids. As I’ve gotten older it’s become less important to enjoy Christmas morning at the earliest possible moment, it doesn’t make much difference to me if the festivities begin at 6 am, 8 am, or 10 am when I’d be back from work. Small kids on the other hand, every extra hour they’d have to wait for mom or dad to come home from work would feel like an eternity so I didn’t want to deprive one of my co-workers from the chance to spend an early morning Christmas with their kids.

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The Touring Xanadu Stage Show Returns To Southern California

One of the highlights of 2008 for me was the opening of Xanadu at the La Jolla Playhouse. The stage show that became a surprise hit on Broadway and was even nominated for a few Tony Awards, made its debut as a touring show in San Diego. Following San Diego, the show moved to Chicago and then played a brief stint in Tokyo before going on a brief hiatus for a few months, but now the tour is back on the road starting in Costa Mesa, California, just a short drive from San Diego.

I immediately fell in love with the show when I first saw it and then proceeded to see it several more times before it’s run at the La Jolla Playhouse finished it’s two month run. I took several friends to see the show and one of the highlights was when I took my mom to see the show as I was able to get on stage seats for that performance. I didn’t tell my mom until we got there that we’d be sitting on stage, she wasn’t so amused by that, but we had a good time and she enjoyed the show.

With the return to Southern California, I definitely wanted to see the show again, and since my dad was back from doing work in Austin, Texas and my grandfather was in town it seemed like a good opportunity to take them to the show. I asked my mom if she wanted to see the show again, if we did the Christmas Eve matinée show and she said she was interested but had too much to do to prepare for my brother and his wife’s arrival and Christmas to take time out to see the show. But she did like the idea of me taking my father and grandfather to the show so that she could get some things accomplished while they were out of the house. So I booked the tickets for my dad, grandpa, and I to see Xanadu on Christmas Eve at 2 pm.

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Xanadu Movie Screening Is Incredible Fun

The Xanadu Movie screening the other night was so much fun. Not only is it a classically bad movie, one I happen to love immensely, it’s got an incredible soundtrack, and the screening as a part of the Out San Diego monthly movie screening series was the first time I got to see the movie on the big screen. The audience was encouraged to sing along and talk back to the movie in ways probably similar to screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and so the screening became an interactive fun event.

The audience here in San Diego shouted back at the screen causing fits of giggles during scenes that were definitely cheesy, and others were greatly enjoyed by the audience, that by the time the movie finally progressed to the final scene in the Xanadu club and Olivia Newton-John knocks the title track out of the ball park, the audience was cheering in excitement. It was a fun night out and a much better experience than sitting home and watching Xanadu on DVD. Now to just get up to Orange County to see the Xanadu stage show again before it moves on to its next destination. Continue reading Xanadu Movie Screening Is Incredible Fun

Xanadu Returns To San Diego Tonight For One Night Only

XanaduTonight is the night that Xanadu returns to San Diego. No, it’s not the fantastic stage musical that was here for two months last year. (That’s actually opening up tonight as well, but further up the road in Costa Mesa.) Tonight, it’s the Original Motion Picture version of Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly that is playing here in San Diego.

The movie is notoriously known for being a bad movie, as it has a very loose plot, but despite the fact the movie bombed originally, it’s soundtrack was a massive hit for the record label. The collaboration between Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) on the title track, Xanadu has made the song one of Oliva’s biggest hits. Filling out the rest of the album are more fantastic songs by ELO and ONJ. Wisely, the songs weren’t put on the album in the order in which they appear in the movie, they were placed so that one side was the ELO side and the other side was the ONJ side. As the both acts draw different audiences, it made sure the fans of each artist could enjoy the work of their favorite if they weren’t as big a fan of the other.

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Xanadu Is Coming To San Diego One Night Only

XanaduOne of the previews shown during last week’s “Mommie Dearest” screening was that their December movie of the month is their FilmOut monthly film series would be “Xanadu.” While “Xanadu” is considered one of the worst movies ever made, depending on who you ask. I happen to love the movie.

I’ve been an Olivia Newton-John fan for as long as I can remember and I’ve always had a soft spot for the movie. And when the Broadway musical version of “Xanadu” was here in San Diego last year, I had to bust out the movie version a number of times to enjoy it yet again. I’ve never actually seen the movie on the big screen so this will be an exciting night for me. To give you an idea of how much of a fan I am of this movie, I have the movie on VHS, Laserdisc, two different DVD releases, and the original soundtrack on vinyl, as well as three copies of it on CD. (The first was a cheap Australian release, the second was when it was finally released in the US with a really nice job done on the liner notes, and the third copy is because it was included for free with the latest DVD version.) And as for the stage show, I saw it eight times when it was here at the La Jolla Playhouse. And I am looking forward to it coming to Orange County later this year too.

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Becoming King Kong Thanks To Bryer’s Smooth And Dreamy

Ryan As King KongIf you haven’t checked out the special “Webisodes” at the website for Bryer’s new Smooth And Dreamy Ice Cream, you should head on over to SmoothAndDreamy.com to check out the fun little mini-movies they’ve made. The webisodes as they’re called, star Jane Krakowski of 30 Rock (and formerly of Ally McBeal) and they playfully allow her to step into classic movies from today’s perspective. The first one they did was a very witty take on “Gone With The Wind” and they’ve recently added one of “King Kong.”

The website even includes behind the scenes footage to show how they’ve taken modern day Jane and inserted her into scenes from the classic films. And you can see some of the outtakes in the behind the scenes footage. I think they’ve brilliantly cast Jane as she’s a riot on 30 Rock, she fearlessly goes for the laugh no matter what. She’s very much like a modern day Lucille Ball.

Additionally, the website has a fun little area powered by oddcast.com which allows you to upload a photo of yourself and get inserted in to a scene from each of the webisode clips. I tried out the King Kong clip and found it absolutely hilarious. Especially since the photo I uploaded features me wearing a Xanadu baseball cap (as you can see in the photo above.) I’ve included the clip here so you can enjoy the full bit of it. Keep in mind this is just a small clip from the webisode, be sure to see the full thing.

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Losing A Little Weight & Finally It Shows

Ryan in Xanadu Hat - May 2, 2009It’s definitely a great feeling to take a few new photos to replace some of my older profile photos and actually see a little bit of a difference in terms of weight loss.

In the last two weeks I’ve been following a new program designed by Jorge Cruise, and I’ve already lost about 6 inches off my stomach. I’ve also managed to go down a size in both my uniform top and my pants for work. It’s taking a little getting used to the smaller pants and shirt because they don’t feel as roomy as my old ones were getting to be, but I’m liking it. Can’t wait until I’m trading these ones in for smaller ones as well.

The best part is I haven’t really had to buy any new clothes yet, because I’ve actually already got a bunch of relatively new clothing I’ve bought but because I didn’t like how they fit at time, they’ve sat in my closet waiting for the day I lose some weight and I can wear them. Well that day is finally here and it’s been fun feeling like I’ve got a whole new wardrobe that’s already sitting inside my closet.

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