Review: Revels 2017 ‘The Sky’s the Limit’

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Photo by Tiffany Johnson

The ’Rettes dazzle Dodson Auditorium with the production of Revels, “The Sky’s the Limit” while paying tribute to the late Deana Bolton-Covin, the second instructor of the Rangerettes, who died during the summer of 2016.

When you jump on the ‘Rette Jet 767, buckle up and brace yourself for airport glitz and glam. The show opened with a nostalgic tone, of a time when stewardesses were all young, beautiful women, with a video advertising the theme of Revels, “The Sky’s the Limit.” The show features all of the places the ‘Rettes have traveled this year, including, New York City, Hawaii and Washington D.C.

Early on, we meet our MC, Meghan Robertson, a Rangerette Forever who now resides in New York. Her quirky antics and multiple voices draw the crowd in to get to know a fully developed character. She has her highs, when she performs a Spanish number, and her lows, when casting directors in New York shoot her down after a wonderfully performed musical medley. This will be one of your favorite parts of the show if you are into any kind of musical theatre. The mashup she sings consists of songs from the musicals Rent, Les Miserables, Hairspray and so many more. It’s so perfectly put together; you can’t help but squeal in your seat.

The actual takeoff was intense with an early, polished hip-hop number, with all of the women garbed in a flashy red color. At this point in the show I wondered how many sequins were used in the making of the costumes. Each costume was amazingly bright, blingy and caught my eye, but was never too overwhelming.

When the Rangerettes finally touch down in New York, they were greeted with an urban jungle. Sky scrapers surround the performers. Each destination also came with its own video showing photos and videos from the trip. The Rangerettes were in uniform on surf boards, dancing among tall buildings and mingled at the Black tie and Boot event held in Washington D.C.

During the show, the organization honors Paula Jamerson, retired Coordinator of Alumni Relations. The women also dedicated the second-to-last dance number to remember Deana Bolton-Covin and all of the work she did to “bring the Rangerettes to a new, polished perfection.”

Of course, the managers had their time on the stage, but I want to save the surprise of the actual performance for you. Let’s just say it involves grass skirts and flowers.

The entire performance was an entertainment extravaganza, and I’m sure the Rangerettes would love to have you back on the ‘Rette Jet 767.

 

 

REVIEW: The Rage Room in Longview, a smashing good time

Rage RoomPhotos by Tina Marie Reed

Every time I tried to turn the steering wheel in my car, the pain in my wrists and knuckles reminded me of what I had done the night before. No, I hadn’t been inducted into an underground fight club; I went and destroyed a room of objects with a baseball bat.

The Rage Room in Longview is the place a person can go to if they have a bad day or to get their frustrations out. You could call it what it says on the business’ Facebook page: alternative therapy. This is probably the only chance in your life to destroy everything in a room and it is totally allowed and worth the price of entry.

Owners, Kevin and Ashton Rossow, got the idea from a Rage Room in Canada.

“I figured nobody else would bring it to Longview, so we did,” Kevin said.

One of the best parts of the experience is the choice of weapons: baseball bats, crowbars, golf clubs, a sledge hammer and a large pipe wrench. Next, you put on protective suits, gloves, face mask and a body shield; then, you begin your shopping. Shopping consists of picking out your items. The amount and size of items you receive depend on the package you purchase.

Kevin said the best deal would have to be the Super Smash Party Package.

This Package allows four people to enter the room and destroy 20 small items, 12 medium items, eight large items and two electronics. This comes out to $79.99, and if you split that up between four people, it comes out to about the price of a Starter Rage Package, which is one person and five small items. So, the best value and idea is to rage together.

When I entered, Kevin was super open and inviting. He set me up into the Office Space package, which included a selection of items from the shopping area, and a printer. In the shopping area, a large blue bottle caught my eye, so of course I had to grab that, the rest of my items were beer bottles, vases, plates and a Mason jar.

I entered the rage room, and was delighted to know I could hook up the music of my choice to the bluetooth speaker in the room. Also, there is no need to worry about bothering anybody with the noise you create since there is only one room to rage in, and appointments have to be made ahead of time.

Kevin suggests playing music during your rage because it helps take away the awkwardness while breaking items. I have to agree. I mean, the thought of doing something you’re not usually allowed to do is awkward enough, but once you blast your music and get in the zone, the smashing commences.

I turned on Tyler, the Creator, set up my items and destroyed everything.

I think my favorite part was grand slamming a printer into the wall, running over to it, and beating it like it had tried to mug me.

During the time I was swinging the bat, everything was out of my mind except for the repetitive action of smashing the printer or glass around me. I was going so crazy that it took me a minute to realize my torso was hurting and I was sweating so bad my hair was damp. This was 15 minutes in and I had 15 minutes left. With the rest of my time I took the opportunity to snap some selfies while looking super hardcore in my white protective suit and holding the bat. I’m not going to lie, I felt like I could have been some sort of super hero vigilante. Unfortunately, Bat Girl is already taken.

My favorite weapon to use was the bat. It was more familiar to me than the rest of the tools and had a nice even weight. The only other tool I used was the crowbar, but I didn’t like it because I would have to pry it from the printer every time I swung. I was too afraid to use the golf clubs because I was worried I would bend them on accident and I felt I was too weak to handle the other weapons.

One of my concerns was having glass stuck in the bottom of my shoes, but from what I could see and feel, I could not find any.

In conclusion, I would have to say I had the best night of sleep I have had in a very long time. This isn’t just therapy; it’s a workout, a way to have fun and also perfect to do with friends.

For more information and to set an appointment, log on to www.facebook.com/rageroomlongview

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Green Day Review

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Green Day is still breathing, as singer Billie Joe Armstrong will remind you in the seventh track on their 12th studio album, “Revolution Radio,” which dropped Oct. 7.

The best thing about Green Day is their loyalty to their music. They keep making it, even if it doesn’t break any new ground. Musically, there aren’t any new sounds in “Revolution Radio.” The cohesive sound is essentially a summary of all their albums since 2004’s “American Idiot.”

Lyrically, however, Armstrong definitely has something new and relevant to say. The titular song encompasses the message of all 12 songs: a pseudo-punk revolt against violence in America. Its first lines, “Scream! with your hands up in the sky, Like you want to testify for the life that’s been deleted” reflect the waves upon waves of police violence that have plagued the US for years now, and Armstrong’s desire to start a revolution against it all. The second track and first single, “Bang Bang,” is from the perspective of a mass shooter.

I think Revolution Radio is more of a personal expression of Armstrong’s angst regarding the state of the US, rather than an intensive analysis of it. Its message is too muddled and vague; one song repeatedly declares: “We live in troubled times.” Times are usually troubled for aging ex-punks.

In December Billie Joe tweeted “my mission for 2016? to destroy the phrase “pop-punk” forever.” Green Day has been referred to as pop-punk for ages and Armstrong hates it. He wants to prove that he and his band are truly punk, but can you really be punk when you endorse Hillary Clinton, or any political candidate? I don’t expect him to endorse The Donald, nor do I think he should, but punk has always been about fighting the establishment, and Green Day has lost sight of this, if they ever knew it at all. This album certainly hasn’t destroyed pop-punk.

If there’s one word to describe the way Revolution Radio makes me feel, it’s tired. As much as I love Green Day, I’m ready for something new from them. Some lyrics are actually recycled from older songs. “Too Dumb To Die” is taken right from “Sex, Drugs & Violence” from 2012’s “¡Tré!”. Perhaps the greatest difference from their previous work is the lack of adult language. Track 8, “Youngblood,” has two f-words, but the rest of the album is totally clean, perhaps further evidence of their deviation from punk.

Despite the band’s decaying originality, I once again must admire their loyalty, which I reciprocate. They don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Even in their mid-40s, they are here to shout at the world through their music that things need to change.