Special effects seem to be at a the crux of human entertainment these days, doesn’t it? Every episode of almost every studio made episodic drama, situation comedy and major motion picture is loaded with some flavor of special effects. Even shows like, “Big Bang Theory” or “How I Met Your Mother” have increased their effects budget with effects of dream sequences, stunts or layered images to help draw in the audience.
Pop-culture does not seem to have room for TV shows, movies or even plays that have to completely depend on the integrity and talent of the performers.
This was evident as I walked into the Carol Marsoni Hall of the Straz Center for the opening night performance of STOMP last night.
The house was littered with empty seats. The mezzanine and balcony were completely empty.
All I can say is to the lovers of music and theatre that decided to skip out on this performance, it is your loss. The simplistic cohesiveness of this ensemble show is something that does not come around all that often.
STOMP is a percussive music, comedy and movement performance that is matched by nothing I have ever seen. This group of seven performers make music without the use of musical instruments as we would define them. They basically use junk you may find in a dumpster in New York City. Garbage can lids, plastic tubs, match boxes, zippo lighters, are just a few of the items these talented performers use to make a beat come alive in a way that I was not only riveted, but I couldn’t help but want to move my feet with the beat.
The use of the artifacts along with their feet and the movement was visually stimulating as well. Within the first few numbers, all I could think of, was this group is making music with everything except the kitchen sink, and of course in the very next number four of the performers came out with kitchen sinks strapped to their torsos. Water in the sinks plus, cups and utensils seemed to come alive as the ensemble mixed their sounds together in one cohesive unit.
There is no special effects, no extra special lighting, no words, no special costumes just the performers and their props. Simple entertainment at it’s finest and extremely riveting.
Percussion was not the only thing used for entertainment. There was many parts of each number where comedy was used to infiltrate the performance with the laughter of the audience. Comedy alone is not easy, but comedy without one audible word for the entire show is extremely difficult and this group pulled it off with precision and ease.
This was one of the most entertaining ninety minutes I have had in a long time. What made it even more fun was the ensemble incorporated the audience within the show. Patterns of clapping, foot stomping, and finger snapping made for an interactive experience that just compounded on the immense fun this show had to offer.
In simple terms, STOMP was outstanding and I highly recommend everyone take the opportunity to go see it.
STOMP is playing at the Straz Center of the Performing Arts April 30 – May 3. Please visit the Straz Center website for more information.
Ghost The Musical Tampa FL – A Goof Review
The supernatural seems to be all the rage nowadays. The silver and big screens are filled with zombies, vampires, demons, spirits, you name it. Prior to the latest trends, the 1990 movie Ghost starring the late Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore was a blockbuster hit. Not only was it the top-grossing movie of 1990 but it took home Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Whoopi Goldberg).
The theatre trend started with musicals becoming movies like Mama Mia and Rent, but lately, the trend has moved in the opposite direction to include Ghost. Can movies be turned into musicals and still retain the original vision of the screenwriter?
As I anxiously awaited the opening number in the orchestra section (main floor) of the Straz Center for Performing Arts‘ Carol Marsoni Hall, I pondered this in my head. I happened to notice in the program that Brian Joel Rubin wrote the script for the musical as well as the movie which increased my optimism and my excitement.
Now, as I have previously written in prior reviews, I love the theatre and especially musicals. I have experience on stage as a performer and behind the scenes as a designer and director, which is why my reviews tend to get a little in-depth. This one will be no different.
Ghost’s plot centers around Molly(Katie Postonik), who is in danger after her lover Sam Wheat(Steven Grant Douglas) is murdered. Sam, now a ghost, using a reluctant psychic, Oda Mae Brown(Carla R. Stewart) tries to save her.
This musical was a multimedia extravaganza, with video being used as an introduction and as background, and foreground for a good amount of the duration of the show. For example, video of stock tickers, traffic and crowded sidewalks as a background for a dance number to symbolize the hustle and bustle of New York City.
Most of the time, the ocular stimulus was way too much. It pulled from the actors’ performances as well as the dancers. There was so much going on that my eyes didn’t know where to focus. I literally had to decide what of the action going on-stage was supposed to be the central focal point.
My eyes didn’t feel that way all the time. The scenes underground with the Subway Ghost(Brandon Curry) were incredibly vivid and they worked really well. Unfortunately, most of the other moments where the talented dancers of the ensemble were visually drowning in the fast-moving video that played around them. There was a point that any audience member, focusing stage right, would miss some amazing movements going on stage left, due to the multimedia being shot in the foreground.
When I am asked to review shows at the Straz, it usually opening night in order to turn around the article so it can be used for marketing purposes. In my experiences as an actor and director, sometimes tweaks are taken care during opening night. There are the different sound, lighting, and technical obstacles that appear when the house is full of warm bodies which then lend to acting struggles as well.
With that being said, I was disappointed with the performances of both Katie Postotnik(Molly) and Steven Grant Douglas(Sam). Not only were their singing voices falling flat more times than not, but the chemistry and the heat needed between them was just slightly more than a flicker. There were small moments here and there, but they were few and far between.
The singing was flat overall without prejudice of the performer, which lead me to believe that maybe the monitors that feed the music on stage may not have been fully functional. If the performer does not hear the same pitches as the audience there will be perceptual differences which could sound like their singing is falling flat or sharp.
Robby Haltiwanger, who portrayed Carl Bruner, had more chemistry with Molly in the few scenes they shared than the entirety of scenes with Sam. There was a fleeting moment between them, but it had enough heat that it seemed to linger on stage for the rest of the show. Regardless, of the fact that he too fell flat during most of his singing numbers, his acting skills seemed far superior to those of Molly and Sam.
The best performances came from Carla Stewart(Oda Mae) and those performers playing her sisters, Lydia Warr(Louise) and Evette Marie White(Clara). Their pitches were spot on, and they seemed to have more fun on stage than a lot of the other performers. The characters of Oda Mae and her sisters are what I would consider the comic relief to what should have been a very emotional story. They brought much-needed hilarity at a point where the rest of the show was failing. My opinion must have shared with a number of the other audience members because it was only when these talented women came out for the curtain call that the ovation became standing.
One aspect that did disappoint me was that Carla tried to mimic Whoopi Goldberg’s performance from the movie. Of course, this could have been a directorial choice. It is evident that Carla is a phenomenally competent actor whom given the creativity might have made different choices that would have played to her strengths.
When a new musical is first presented on Broadway and then sent on tour, it usually takes five years for the rights to the show become available. During those five years there are minimal changes that a director can make from the original Broadway version, so a lot of the issues I mentioned may have fallen into that category.
In summary, while there were some great moments, the multimedia, inferior acting and pitchy voices tended to distract from what was an award-winning script.
Ghost is playing at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday, April 27th. For more info please see the Straz Center website.
It has been a while, and I have a ton of ideas that I am anxiously awaiting to share with you. Unfortunately, time has been getting away from me. Between training myself, a full-time job and being at capacity with 15 individual clients I am struggling for time to post. I promise I will figure out a way to make time. I am so lucky to have such great people to bounce ideas off of, that sometimes, by not posting, I feel like I am letting all of you down, so I promise to post more even if the posts end up being a lot shorter than usual. (Which the length is probably not your favorite part of it anyway. I know I ramble.)
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my personal opinion of compression, a disclaimer.
I am not a medical professional. The opinions that are shared on this post come from research, my own experiences and the experiences of athletes I have personally witnessed and information I have researched. Every athlete/person has a different body and some products and/or methodologies may be advantageous for some and may even be dangerous for others. This post deals with my beliefs and my research. (Was that clear?)
Lately, most of the questions from other athletes, including clients of mine, have asked about compression. This usually centers around calf sleeves, but does include some of the other compression apparel as well. My answer is usually, for recovery and for temporary use they are great, but not for training. Why? Great question.
I am going to use calf sleeves as my example.
While running, biking, swimming or any major activity using the legs, the muscles are constantly in motion. That motion is what naturally makes the muscles stronger. The muscle moves and is loaded with either more repetitions, or with weight. The full range of motion of each muscle is imperative to the strengthening of the muscle. Compression holds that muscle in place and limits the movement therefore limiting the range of motion. While compressed the muscle cannot fully develop while training. Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the lower leg in the running position.
As you can see the gastrocnemius muscle and Achilles tendon, when the knee is flexed, both constrict and then elongate when the knee straightens. Here is the epitome of the range of motion naturally occurring when running. The more flexion and constriction that take place the more they are stretched causing the breakdown of the fibers. After the recovery period the fibers wrap tighter and in more abundance aiding in a strength and endurance. Now imagine that gastrocnemius muscle remaining constricted due to a calf sleeve. It seems to me that this would dictate that it would not have full range of motion also causing the Achilles tendon to remain stretched without the full ability to absorb the impact. This could unintentionally damage the Achilles tendon, the gastronemius muscle and the soleus muscle. If not damage, it will limit the ability to be strengthened. This is why I personally do not recommend calf sleeves during training workouts.
I do however do not mind wearing compression while in recovery to include immediately following the cool down of a workout. I mentioned the healing of the fibers earlier. In order for the fibers to heal and become stronger after the breakdown, blood must be pumped through the muscle and with it water for hydration. Compression does help to isolate that area helping to keep the majority of the blood and water being pumped through the body to the point of the compression. With the legs either elevated or even walking around and at that point limiting the movement, it would allow for the blood to pool in that area helping to re-hydrate the muscle thereby helping to heal faster. In turn, an occasional training run or race, with compression at the tail end of an injury, might also benefit, but in a very limited quantity, and duration.
Hey there boys and girls, guys and gals. It’s the Goof comin’ at ya from Tampa, Florida to give you the first episode of what I hope to be one of many.
The Goof Views and News.
These will be personal perceptions made during specific times or events that may resonate some of you and news of events that have happened or will happen in the future. For instance, as I have posted on FB and Twitter, I have registered for the Chicago Marathon as I did in 2011 prior to the Florida Ironman. Ta da! The first news of the post.
The Views (Seeing through the eyes of the Goof)
I was at Disney World this weekend enjoying some rest and relaxation and I wouldn’t say it was an epiphany, but it was a clarification of sorts. I just happened to be in line at Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrow Land when I saw a couple coming toward me. He was a larger man riding in one of those motorized carts, and she was walking beside him. She wasn’t a small person either. They obviously were not concerned about their conversation being overheard and I heard him swear at her for some reason. She yelled back at him, “Well if you would do something about it, you wouldn’t have to ride around in that thing.” He snapped back with, “You think it is that easy, well you try it.” She ended up retorting with, “I am! You <insert explicative here>! You don’t see me needing a <insert another explicative> wheelchair. Do Ya?” The large man pushed what I assumed to be the accelerator and moved ahead of her.
This is what I recall, it may not have been their exact words, but it did make me look around a bit more during my weekend visit. Without being completely rude I started focussing on the more obese adults and I noticed something. Ninety-five percent of the adults that were obese looked miserable. I am not including people that just had a few extra pounds on them, I am talking about adults that were obviously fat.
There was not one of them that looked like they were having any fun. Here we are in the happiest place on earth, with perfect weather, scents of food, and sweetness in the air, upbeat music, not a noticeable speck of negative energy in the place and these people are miserable. Why would anyone want to do that to themselves? Don’t get me wrong, I have never been that big. I have been fat where I needed to take some pounds off, but never obese, so I can only imagine how hard it is, but to willingly stay in misery, just sounds exhausting to me.
Later, I sought out children that were, let’s just say, were in need of some more activity, which took all of thirty seconds. While there were some that were running around, in my estimate, seventy to eighty percent of them were whining for somewhere to sit down. Sit? When there are rides, and new things to touch, smell and see? Of course, most of them had parents that were in the same condition. Go figure.
There are articles on articles explaining the epidemic we have in this country of obesity, but they are words on a page and maybe a picture. I was able to watch this before my very eyes and they burned with disgust, pity, and sadness. The next morning, I got up and ran six miles to clear the images from my head and come up with some kind of dream resolution. The next time you are at an event or a place where there are families and a lot of people become aware of this. (Athletes: the Gasparilla Distance Weekend coming up, would not be a good place for this kind of perception.)
After mulling this around for the last few days, my desire to help has increased. I know there are an abundance of people with this same desire and some of them more so if they have been able to overcome this obstacle for themselves, but I really want to help and the kids even more so. We need to bring this epidemic more into the open and encourage people to move around and do something for a minimum of 20 minutes a day.
On to the News
I have entered into a partnership with Brenton Ford from Effortless Swimming. He has a new program called Swimprove where a swimmer can log into a website and access an abundance of material to help them swim faster and more efficiently As I have stated in numerous posts before, I really need help on my swimming.
I will be accessing his website and will be following his advice to the letter and bringing you my results, epiphany’s and observations. This program of Brenton’s is not just for beginning swimmers, but for triathletes, open water swimmers and masters swimmers that would like to improve and become faster. Included is not freestyle but the butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke as well. I am really excited to get started and document what I have learned.
Gasparilla is this weekend and I am taking on the Beck’s Lite Challenge, so I will be running the 15k and 5k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.
Which races are you running?
I am currently coaching at FitNiche on Tuesday’s with a new program called the Technical Tune-up. I have a number of runners just looking to have a structured workout that includes warm-ups, and cooldowns and gives them access to a coach running with them paying close attention to their form in order to create more efficiency and keep them injury free. Most of my runners are return clients, but I do have some new clients that have joined the flock. I am really excited to be coaching again. The program goes for 8 weeks and then renews. I still have some slots available, so if you feel like you are getting injured a lot or just not making any progress, or just want a structured workout, come on out. Tuesday Nights starting at 6:30 pm at FitNiche in Hyde Park Village.
The owner and I are working on the marketing for a new course as well, but I will announce that later when the details are flushed out.
That is it for this episode of the Goof Views and News. Have an amazing week and train hard athletes, but also train smart.
My coaches all have always tried to instill in me the importance of a good night sleep. Especially as the intensity and duration of my workouts have been increasing. The issue for me is that I have a phobia of growing older. What does one have to do with the other? I always feel like I am wasting my life away by sleeping. Think about it. As athletes we all want to experience life to the fullest which is why we train and race. Sleeping is eight-ten hours of time we could still be experiencing life and what the heck are we doing but laying there. What a waste! Or is it?
With an anticipated two Ironman Triathlons on the horizon for me, I decided to dig a little deeper and find out what happens during sleep and what benefits it gives us. I am not talking about the regular answers that we hear all the time; “it recharges the body”, “muscles grow during sleep not during workouts”, yada yada yada. I am not going to bore anyone with the “What is Sleep?” lecture. We all received that in high school biology and health class. I am just going to hit the nitty gritty about why we as athletes may need more sleep, because that is what I wanted to know.
Hormones & Muscle
During our waking hours, the body burns oxygen and food to provide energy. This is known as a catabolic state, in which more energy is spent than conserved, using up the body’s resources. When we sleep we move into an anabolic state – in which energy conservation, repair and growth take over. Levels of adrenaline and corticosteroids drop and the body starts to produce human growth hormone (HGH).
A protein hormone, HGH promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and bones by facilitating the use of amino acids (the essential building blocks of protein). Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep than at any time when awake.
I have always heard that sleeping more when fighting infectious illness aids recovery. Getting enough sleep can also help resist infection, as some studies of healthy young adults have shown that moderate amounts of sleep deprivation reduce the levels of white blood cells which form part of the body’s defense system.
A killer of cancer called TNF – tumour necrosis factor – also pumps through our veins when we are asleep. Research has shown that people who stayed up until 3am had one-third fewer cells containing TNF the next day, and that the effectiveness of those remaining was greatly reduced. So that little factoid hit me over the head like a ton of bricks.
JUST as the world is governed by light and dark, human beings also have an inbuilt body clock called the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm regulates all the processes of the body, from digestion to cell renewal.
Body temperature falls throughout the night. By about the sixth hour of sleep it has dropped to about three degrees below the temperature it was in the evening. At the same time, our metabolic rate drops too which if you’re trying to lose weight may not be a good thing, but it serves a purpose.
The skin The top layer of the skin is made of closely packed dead cells which are constantly shed during day. During deep sleep, the skin’s metabolic rate speeds up and many of the body’s cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins.
Since proteins are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for the repair of damage from factors like ultraviolet rays, deep sleep may indeed be beauty sleep.
The body requires a regular supply of energy and its key source is glucose(sugar). This is constantly burned up to release energy for muscle contraction, nerve impulses and regulating body temperature. When we sleep, our need for these energy reserves is marginal so the digestive system slows down to a sluggish pace. The immobility of our bodies promotes this. Hence, the reason for not eating too late. The acid and enzyme levels have dropped to a point where food is not digested as quickly.
Maybe all those coaches were right. We produce HGH to repair muscles, our immune systems fight cancer and diseases, our skin repairs itself and our digestive system cuts out, so we do not need to burn any sugar. It sounds like I have been looking at this all wrong. I should be sleeping in order to extend my life. Can you say epiphany? (Hopefully you can say it better than I can spell it. It didn’t come up in spell check)
After all the reading on sleep I have completed, I am really tired. Maybe I ought to get some sleep.
(or Carpe Sleepum?)
|Ragnar Relay Finish|
Happy New year from the IronGoof. I hope everyone had a relaxing and pleasant holiday season. I took some time away from the Social Media stage for awhile which of course, coincided with my off-season and the holidays. Oh, I checked in from time-to-time, so I wasn’t completely away, but for the most part the last couple of weeks was pretty much spending time with family for the holidays, working a little and of course just this last weekend; Ragnar Relay: Miami-Key West. More on that later.
I want to mention my opinions on New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, to RESOLVE to make changes leaves a lot of room for disappointment, but to decide to make positive changes in your life or set goals allows for a journey. It is a trail to blaze and a challenge to conquer, not just an idea that might take shape. I always thought the best way to start a new year is to document what is to be accomplished in the coming year. What makes this blog kinda cool is that now I can publish it and be accountable to everyone. So here they are:
1. Get over my fear of leaving my day job and get my business off the ground.
2. Reduce debt by minimally 50%
3. Re-commit to a financial plan and budget
3. Complete my Certified Personal Trainer, USAT Level 1 coach and USATF Level 1 and minimally begin my Certified Nutrition Professional.
4. Blog at least 5 times a week
Sports & Fitness:
1. 2 Ironman Triathlons: IM Louisville, IM Florida
2. IM FL in less than 12 hours
3. Running average pace at 7:30 min/mile at RPE 2
4. Biking average pace at 22 mph at RPE 2
5. Swim at 1:45 per 100m at RPE 3
6. Start CrossFit as strength training
7. 1 half-marathon at 1:35 or less
A little aggressive? Absolutely, but isn’t that what life is all about? As my friend Casey would say, “Go big or Go home!”. The secret goal I have, which obviously will not be so secret anymore is to take on the motto: “Always be doing something that matters.” For example, watching the boob tube means nothing and does nothing for anyone. Does that mean I am going to stop watching TV? Heck no, but this year it will not be the only thing I am doing. If the TV is on, then I need to be doing something else as well. Blogging, training on the bike trainer or the treadmill, foam rolling, stretching, something besides just being a spectator.
That is the plan for my year. What are your goals?
I have so much to write about. I have reviews to blog about, race reports to write. Be prepared to be seeing a little more activity than normal from the Goof.
|Brandon Half Marathon|
Brandon Half Marathon Race Recap
Nexus 7 tablet review
Hydro Flask Review
Just Say No 10k Race Recap
Samsung 18 megapixel Camera review
Ragnar Relay Recap
I might be doing all this in just a couple of posts, so it may be long, or will it. I may have another way of getting you the information. Just wait and see.
Here’s a new tag line I am adopting to keep all of you motivated this year from my friend Summer Bailey:
(Seize the Moment)