Theatre Review “Finding Neverland” @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts – Orlando, FL

Finding Neverland
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Orlando, FL
June 6th, 2017

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Finding Neverland is a story about how author and playwright J.M. Barrie overcame creative struggles when four children and their widowed mother came into his life one day in Kensington Park in London, just after the turn of the century in the early 1900’s. Jack, George, Michael, Peter, and their mother Sylvia Llewelyn Davies broke Barrie out of a creative “slump” he was in by helping him to rediscover his inner child, reminding him that sometimes you shouldn’t take life too seriously and should just have some fun.

Barrie draws his inspiration primarily through Peter, who lost his playfulness and imagination following the passing of his father. Although Jack, George, Michael and their mother tried to maintain positivity following their loss, Peter just wasn’t the same. He had seemed to “grow up” too soon. But when Barrie and the Davies’ all met that fateful day in Kensington Gardens, Barrie couldn’t help but feel like he had to somehow restore Peter to the child he was before his father’s passing. In the process of doing so, Barrie ultimately found the child that had been suppressed within himself for far too long. As a result of Barrie finding that child buried deep inside, he remembered Neverland – an imaginary place he had fashioned in his mind when he was a young boy. That imaginary place, combined with inspiration Barrie drew from his various adventures with the Davies family, is what drove Barrie to give life to the story of Peter Pan as we now know it.

Neverland itself can be summed up as a beautiful story… about how we came to know another beautiful story. There’s laughter, joy, a little bit of sadness, and a whole lot of fun. But Neverland, in its Broadway play format – now traveling North America – is truly a masterpiece of the stage. It’s not just the story that made it such an enjoyable experience – but also the fantastic cast that brings the story to life in front of a live audience.

For just a few short hours, I hung on every line and every lyric of the dialogue and song that projected towards me from the stage. I couldn’t wait for the next witty line, silly joke – or even sad twist in an overall whimsical and upbeat storyline. The four young actors that played the Davies children were wonderful. Rory Donovan, who plays the roles of both Charles Frohman, the man who backed Barrie’s plays, as well as Captain James Hook – was fantastic. His Hook was intimidating yet hilarious at the same time. The entire cast worked so well together, was so polished and really seemed like they were having the time of their lives up on the stage.

Throughout the play I didn’t look at my watch, check my phone, or even have a single thought about anything else in the world outside of that theatre – not even once. When the play broke for intermission I was annoyed; I didn’t want the fun to stop. When it finally ended, I wanted it to start from the beginning all over again. If you have a chance to catch this play while it’s on tour do yourself a favor, and anyone else who you might consider bringing along, and go buy some tickets right now. I promise you that you’ll have a blast, and for at least a few short hours you’ll forget about everything else in the world and do nothing by laugh and smile. And we could all use more of that in our lives.

Theatre Review: Wicked @ Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando FL

“Wicked” opened on Broadway in New York back in 2003 and has since com “a cultural phenomenon” according to Variety and called “the best musical of the decade” by Entertainment Weekly. “Wicked” has been performed in over 100 cities in 14 countries around the world being translated into six languages and is the winner of over 100 international major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards. And this month it is in Orlando, FL at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater from January 11 – 29, 2017.

If you have never seen or heard of “Wicked” here is a quick premise: The surprising tale of an unlikely friendship between two women in the Land of Oz, Wicked tells the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, long before Dorothy dropped in. Elphaba, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. Glinda is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. The remarkable odyssey of how these unexpected friends changed each other’s lives for good has made Wicked one of world’s most popular musicals.

This show was simply outstanding. Simply outstanding! I grew up in New York and visit the theatre district many many many times and have seen hundreds of plays. I loved the grand scale of it all. The sets, the cast, the music! It was all so amazing to me. When I moved to Florida in 2010, I thought I wasn’t going to be  able to see that scale of amazing again in the theatre…and that was true until I found the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’s Walt Disney Theater. These people put on shows like I have never seen. “Wicked” was so just epic and breathtaking that I feel like I have to see it twice to soak in all the magic that it was!

I am sure that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were amazing in their original roles on Broadway. No doubt. But these two leads in Orlando were absolutely breathtaking! Their voices really pick you up and take your through this amazing story behind “The Wizard of Oz”. The talent on this production overall is just A+. With all the shows I’ve seen I have to admit this was in no question of the best in recent year! Must see this show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts or at least during its North American tour.

Dr. Dilznik and the Last Rekrute Release the First Video from Their New Album

MediaMikes favorite hip-hop duo, Kansas City based Dr. Dilznik and the Last Rekrute, have released the video for the first single off their upcoming album, “SOS – Stuck on Stoopit,” the fourth and final installment of the Stoopit series, scheduled for release this coming Spring.

The song, “Adios Caballos,’ was produced, mixed and mastered by legendary Kansas City producer S.G. and samples the song “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzurus, best known for it’s inclusion in the film “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Check out their new video here:

Book Review: “McElligot’s Pool” by Dr. Seuss

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
Series: Classic Seuss
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 12, 1947

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I have read many Dr. Seuss books over the years. The usual suspects are titles like “The Lorax”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”. Well between you and me (and all of our readers), I personally have never read “McElligot’s Pool” or at least I don’t remember reading it. My folks might have read it to me when I was a kid. I did learn that this was a very important book, released in 1947, from Dr. Seuss since it was the first Seuss title to feature full-color art on every other page.

Official Premise: This adventurous picture book tells of Marco-who first imagined an extraordinary parade in And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street-as he daydreams of all the possibilities that await him while he fishes in McElligot’s Pool. Optimistic and exciting, this tale is the perfect bait, and readers young and old will be hooked on this fish-tastic favorite.

Having a three year old daughter, she already loves Dr. Seuss, thanks to PBS’ “The Cat in the Hat Knows A lot About That”.  So when we received this book, we immediately had to sit down and read it. It was a very exciting moment because it wasn’t just the first time for her, like I said, it was also a first for myself. The book, like all Seuss stories, is such a fun read. Nearly 70 years and this book has not lost any charm, it still engaged both of us through every word.

If you are wondering why are we reviewing a near 70 year old book, it is because we were asked to join the Dr. Seuss Classic Celebratory Tour!, which includes reviews from all different blogs covering the first 44 books from Dr. Seuss in preparation for the release of the lost book, “What Pet Should I Get?”. Check out below for a complete list of the tour and also enter here for a chance to win the newest Dr. Seuss book.

Dr. Seuss 44 Classic Book Celebratory Tour
  1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, 1937 – The Young Folks.com
  2. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938 – Bookish Antics
  3. The Seven Lady Godivas, 1939 – The Eater of Books
  4. The King’s Stilts, 1939 – On Starships and Dragonwings
  5. Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940 – The Book Cellar
  6. McElligot’s Pool, 1947 – Media Mikes
  7. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, 1948 –Mommie of 2
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck, 1949 – Nonperfect Parenting
  9. If I Ran the Zoo, 1950 – Live to Read
  10. Scrambled Eggs Super! 1953 – Word Spelunking
  11. Horton Hears a Who! 1954 – Bookiemoji
  12. On Beyond Zebra! 1955 – Jessabella Reads
  13. If I Ran the Circus, 1956 – Book Hounds
  14. The Cat in the Hat, 1957 – The Bookbag
  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1957 – Nightly Reading
  16. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958 – Winter Haven Books
  17. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, 1958 – Alice Marvels
  18. Happy Birthday to You! 1959 – Chapter by Chapter
  19. Green Eggs and Ham, 1960 – Poland Bananas
  20. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, 1960 – Once Upon a Twilight
  21. The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961 – The Mod Podge Bookshelf
  22. Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, 1962 – Good Books and Good Wine
  23. Dr. Seuss’s ABC, 1963 – The Irish Banana
  24. Hop on Pop, 1963 – Mundie Moms
  25. Fox in Socks, 1965 – Page Turners
  26. I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965 – Book Rock Betty
  27. The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 1967 – Giveaway Train
  28. The Foot Book, 1968 – I Am A Reader
  29. I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories, 1969 – Cuddlebuggery
  30. I Can Draw It Myself, 1970 – The Children’s Book Review
  31. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? 1970 – Curling Up with a Good Book
  32. The Lorax, 1971 – Elizziebooks
  33. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972 – Reading with ABC
  34. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? 1973 – Me, Myshelf, and I
  35. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, 1973 – Paperback Princess
  36. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! 1974 – Presenting Lenore
  37. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! 1975 – YA Books Central
  38. The Cat’s Quizzer, 1976 – Lille Punkin’
  39. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978 – Confessions Of A Vi3tbabe
  40. Oh Say Can You Say? 1979 – Ex Libris
  41. Hunches in Bunches, 1982 – No BS Book Reviews
  42. The Butter Battle Book, 1984 – Novel Novice
  43. You’re Only Old Once! 1986 – Dad of Divas
  44. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 1990  – Jesse the Reader
ABOUT DR. SEUSS
Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of the Lost Dr. Seuss Book “What Pet Should I Get?” [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of lost Dr. Seuss book, “What Pet Should I Get?”, Media Mikes would like to give our fans a chance to win a copy of the book. If you want to win this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Dr. Seuss book. This giveaway will remain open until August 7th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email

The nearly complete manuscript for “What Pet Should I Get?” had languished for more than 20 years after Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, died in 1991. In 2013, Geisel’s wife, Audrey, and his friend and secretary Claudia Prescott re-discovered the work, complete with black-and-white illustrations, while they were cleaning out the author and illustrator’s office space, according to a press release. The book also features the same characters from Seuss’s “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.”

Also be sure to check out our participation in the Dr. Seuss Classic Celebratory Tour! below and our review of the classic book “McElligot’s Pool” by clicking the image below:

Theatre Review “Slava’s Snowshow” Orlando FL, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Tuesday, February 17, 2015–Sunday, March 1, 2015
Walt Disney Theater
120 minutes (2 hours)

“Slava’s Snowshow” is like nothing I have ever seen before on the stage. I have seen a dozen of the Cirque du Soleil shows and since Slava is the original Cirque du Soleil clown, I knew sort of what to expect. Still I haven’t been to a show that literally it has almost been a week since I saw it and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. This award winning international clown show has been touring for 20 years and I hope it goes for another 20 years. Even though this is a circus show, it is really magical. The set is extremely simple yet so effective. There is so much done with so little. The colors are so vibrant and the use of music blends in so beautifully.

Since this show is called “Snowshow”, I also expected the use of snow but never like this. Watch the 30 second clip below to just get a glimpse of what you can expect. You literally have snow exploded at you like a avalanche and it is breathtaking. Before the break, there is also a part with a spider web that takes over the entire theater. Words connect explain how terrifying yet at the same time exhilarating experience it was. to top it off it end with dozens of balls flying into the audience and the kids went crazy for that!

This was the first time that I got to visit the brand new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, FL and it is a marvel it is own. The parking situation is not great at all though and the staff was also quite nasty and rude. I don’t just mean one person either, I mean every single employee that we encountered was unpleasant. Luckily it got overshadowed by this amazing show. If it comes to your city, I highly recommend.

Win a Copy of Dr. Dilznik and the Last Rekrute’s Latest CD [ENDED]

They were the guests on the most popular episode so far of our “Behind the Mikes” Podcast and to celebrate, Kansas City rappers Dr. Dilznik and the Last Rekrute have given us three copies of their latest CD, “I’m With Stoopit! 3 1/2” to give away to our readers.

The 16 song CD features the KC duo at the top of their game and includes guest appearances by Mr. Luna, Riff Raff, Dirt Nasty and Andy Milonakis.

All you have to do is let us know below your favorite rap artist. It could be international superstars like Eminem and Dr. Dre or maybe it’s someone that’s starting out and needs a shout out! Three random entries will be chosen to win a CD. This giveaway ends on Sunday, June 1st. Good luck!

Dr. Seuss’ 110th Birthday Official Merchandise Giveaway [ENDED]

Media Mikes is teaming up with TVStoreOnline.com to giveaway some great official Dr. Seuss merchandise to celebrate his 110th birthday! If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Dr. Seuss book. This giveaway will remain open until March 14th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.


Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat White Adult Costume Hooded Hoodie with Attached Hat

You can wear it here or there, you can wear it anywhere! Pull off just the right look for the party with ease! Why even bother with an uncomfortable traditional costume? Dr. Seuss has got you covered. Now you can show up as Cat in the Hat just by wearing this awesome hoodie! This hoodie comes with the classic hat attached to the head, making everything just a little bit easier. This hoodie runs a bit small, so you might want to get one size larger than normal.

White
80% cotton/20% polyester
Small Fit: We suggest buying one size larger than you normally would


Dr. Seuss Fishes Swim Vintage Heather Charcoal Adult T-shirt

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! No matter which fish you like best, you can have them all on this awesome t-shirt. This officially licensed shirt features the famous characters from the popular Dr. Seuss book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. If you’re a Dr. Seuss fan, this is the perfect choice for you!

Charcoal Gray
100% Cotton
Print is distressed for a vintage appeal
Officially Licensed
Athletic Fit

DVD Review “Dr. Kildare Movie Collection”

Starring: Lionel Barrymore, Lew Ayres
Distributed by: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
DVD Release Date: January 23, 2014
Running Time: 737 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With all the flashy films being released today with ridiculous large budgets, some times it is great to revisit simple classics from an earlier era of film. Dr. Kildare is a character created by the author Frederick Schiller Faust, under the pen name Max Brand. This movie collection release includes the series of films that he was featured in, which were released in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The character continues right through the 70’s with a radio series in the 50’s, a TV series in the 60’s and 70’s. If you are a fan of this character, then these films are a must to revisit.

The collection included the following 9 films: “Young Dr. Kildare” (1938), “Calling Dr. Kildare” (1939), “The Secret of Dr. Kildare” (1939), “Dr. Kildare’s Strange Case” (1940), “Dr. Kildare Goes Home” (1940), “Dr. Kildare’s Crisis” (1940), “The People vs. Dr. Kildare” (1941), “Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day” (1941), “Dr. Kildare’s Victory” (1942). Also as an added bonus, there DVD set contains the unaired 1960 MGM-TV pilot film for the “Dr. Kildare” series starring Lew Ayres and also co-starring Robert Redford!. This is a real treat for any fan as well.

Official Premise: Although not the first actor to don the scrubs of Max Brand’s idealistic young intern, Lew Ayres owned the role for a series of superlative medical dramas that cemented in place all the ample talent that had long been on display, starting with All Quiet on The Western Front (1930). Ayres’ costar, the needs-no-superlatives Lionel Barrymore, who, as the grumpy, garrulous and brilliant Dr. Leonard Gillespie found a regular supporting role that was roomy enough to showcase his prodigious gifts that would continue in a series of flicks even after Ayres departed the title role.

When it comes to the quality of these films you have to consider that they are all over 70 years old. According to Warner Archives site, they have been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored for this DVD release. So they are not perfect but still have that classic quality about them.  They are also presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.37:1.

If you are looking for the more “Dr. Kildare”, Warner Archive Collection have released the TV series available in their Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) sets. “The Complete First Season” was released back in April 16, 2013 and “The Complete Second Season” was just put out this year on January 28 2014. They are available via available via WBShop.com & Amazon.com like this release as well. Like this release since they are MOD, we do not know how long they will be produced so get them while you can!

William Shockley reflects on roles in “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman” and “Showgirls”

William Shockley (born September 17, 1963) is an actor and musician. Shockley was born in Lawrence, Kansas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in political science. Shockley has appeared in many movies and TV shows including Welcome to Paradise, In Justice, Showgirls, The Joyriders, and most notably Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in which he played Hank Lawson. He also appeared in the 2007 film Treasure Raiders.

Mike Smith: You led a rather nomadic lifestyle as a young man. Did that experience help prepare you for the different roles you’ve played as an actor?
William Shockley: Moving around all the time during my childhood actually proved to be a huge plus. I can pretty much travel anywhere and feel comfortable with my surroundings. I was forced to learn how to acclimate and get along with strangers. I’m sure that living in different parts of America and living abroad in Europe gave me insight and perspectives that I have woven into various characters.

MS: You’ve done a lot of episodic television, most notably “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman.” Is there a comfort as an actor when you’re adding to the same character each week as opposed to a one-shot film character?
WS: Being a series regular on a television show like “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was a true gift. I loved the privilege of developing a character over a 6-year run. I became very attached to the role of “Hank Lawson”. He was a complex character… lots of layers, which is wonderful. He was one guy on the surface, and a totally different person in his heart. The great writing on “Dr. Quinn” was a huge bonus. I’ve done many films as well, and I seem to always want to do a sequel to a film when I have a character that I connect with and enjoy portraying. I feel this way about “Born Wild”, a film coming out this summer, where I co-star with Barry Corbin, Kix Brooks (of “Brooks & Dunn”), Tanya Clarke, Joe Lando and Justin Deeley. The role in “Born Wild” is “CJ Jennings”… a guy with a wayward, troubled past, who goes back home to reconcile his future. “CJ” has so many issues and so much baggage, yet at the end of the day, he finds redemption. I also got to reunite with Joe Lando, from “Dr. Quinn”, on this film. Joe is a dear friend and it was great to be back on a set with him.

MS: You’re upcoming film, “Reaper,” teams you up with “Starship Troopers'” Jake Busey. Did the two of you get to trade any Paul Verhoeven stories?
WS: I actually didn’t have any scenes with Jake. I worked with Danny Trejo and Vinnie Jones, both great actors and a lot of fun to be around.

MS: In the almost 20 years since it’s release, “Showgirls” has blossomed into a cult hit, with midnight showings ala “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Did you have any idea when you were making the film that it would still resonate all of these years later?
WS: I don’t ever have a preconceived idea of how a film will resonate with the audience. As an actor, all I can do is prepare to the best of my ability, show up on the set, and deliver the goods. The rest is up to the director and producers and other actors in the film. You can only control yourself in this type of setting, and then, anticipate the best.

MS: What do you have coming up next?
WS: I actually have several films coming out in 2014. “Ambush at Dark Canyon”, a western that Team Two Entertainment produced (my production company) starring Kix Brooks and Ernie Hudson, was released January 14 and is available on DVD at Walmart. This summer I’m in two films, “Born Wild” and “Dug Up”, a redneck-stoner-zombie-comedy. Later in the year “Reaper” will come out, followed by “Finding Harmony” with Billy Zane and Allison Eastwood, and a western, “Hot Bath ‘An A Stiff Drink”, with Ronnie Blevins and Grainger Hines. My partners in Team Two Entertainment are Kix Brooks, Dustin Rikert and Eric Brooks. We have a big announcement being made this Spring. There’s a really awesome deal being set up that I’m very excited about. Stay tuned for those details.

Blu-ray Review "Hats Off to Dr. Seuss: Collector's Edition"

Starring: Allan Sherman, Bob Holt, Hans Conried, June Foray, Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones
Narrators: Eddie Albert, Boris Karloff
Directors: Hawley Pratt, Chuck Jones, Ben Washam
Number of discs: 5
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Running Time: 132 minutes

Specials: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

2013 marks Warner’s celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Seuss’ “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”. What better way to celebrate than give your “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” with this amazing collector’s edition including five of his classic TV specials. The first is “The Cat in the Hat” (1971), “The Lorax” (1972), “Horton Hears a Who!” (1970), “Green Eggs & Ham And Other Stories” (1973) – which was formally titled “Dr. Seuss on the Loose” and includes “The Sneetches”, “The Zax” and “Green Eggs and Ham”.  Lastly “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (1966) wraps ups this release. Each of these are available for purchase on Blu-ray previously. If you own these already then this is a simple repackaged box set but if you don’t then it is worth it to check this out. I look forward to sharing these TV specials with my daughter as she grows up.

The Cat in the Hat: It’s a rainy day at home and siblings Dick and Sally have nothing to do. But all of that changes when The Cat and his messy sidekicks, Thing One and Thing Two, burst onto the scene, bringing with them adventure and chaos much to the dismay of a worried pet goldfish. Then, The Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Daisy-Head Mayzie, a girl who mistakenly thinks that the flower blooming on her head will only bring trouble, but eventually propels her to fame and fortune. And finally, blast off to The Hoober-Bloob Highway, where every road from a space laboratory leads to Earth… and eventually to gratitude.

Green Eggs & Ham and Other Stories: Join Sam-Am-I and his persistent attempts at introducing a reluctant fellow to a most delectable dish. Their escapades take them across a zany landscape while assembling a cast of characters that only the imagination of Dr. Seuss can bring to life. Will Sam-I-Am convince his new friend to take a chance and finally try something new? Find out in this timeless tale the whole family will enjoy. Then, meet The Sneetches, who teach us that being yourself is the best way to fit in, while the story of The Zax reminds us that there is nothing to gain from being stubborn.

The Lorax: The award-winning tale of The Lorax tells the story of the greedy, tree-chopping Once-ler and his equally greedy, tree-chopping clan, the brave little Lorax who speaks up for the vanishing forest, and the boy who could right all the Once-ler’s wrongs with a seed and a lesson learned. Then enjoy Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You? and Butter Battle Book, a pair of bonus Dr. Seuss television specials sure to delight.

Horton Hears a Who!: Based on the 1954 book of the same name, the 1970 animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who tells the classic story of an elephant named Horton who just so happens to be the only creature capable of hearing the people of a tiny planet floating on a speck of dust. Or perhaps just the only creature who will listen long enough to hear them. Fully remastered, the special also features Horton Hatches the Egg!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Every who down in Who-ville likes Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Who-ville did NOT! So the cuddly as a cactus Grinch (with termites in his smile and garlic in his soul) tries to wipe out Christmas for the cheerful Who-villains, only to discover: maybe Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from as store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more! Narrated by Boris Karloff and animated by cartoon legend Chuck Jones, it’s an award-winning Who-roast-beast-feast of a holiday classic.

When it comes to the Blu-ray presentations, each of these are equally very impressive with their 1080p transfers.  The colors are very crisp and really pop out well. You can’t forget that some of these specials have a few years under their belt.  There are various audio tracks on each of these specials.  The best of the bunch gets awards to “The Cat in the Hat”, “Green Eggs & Ham and Other Stories” and “The Lorax” with a nice DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track.  They are clear and work well with the dialogue and music.  Next up are good but not really up to Blu-ray full potential. “Horton Hears a Who!” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” both come with a Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps) track.  Seeing that these are two of my personal favorites, I was a little let down but overall it is not a total letdown.

On the scale of special features, this release delivers a nice collection of extras.  To start their are four additional TV specials including “The Butter Battle Book” (1989), “Daisy-Head Mayzie” (1995), “The Hoober-Bloob Highway” (1975) and “Pontoffel Pock & His Magic Piano” (1980). Other bonus features includes a sing along version of “The Cat in the Hat”, which is fun for the little kiddies (and the big kiddies also).  There is a 1994 documentary “In Search of Dr. Seuss”, which worth a watch.  There is a featurette for “The Lorax” called “The Trees! The Trees! The Voice Of The Trees”.  Another featurette includes “Dr. Seuss and the Grinch: From Whoville in Hollywood” follows the road from the pages to the screen. Lastly there are four interactive puzzles. Also I should mention that this release comes with a booklet of rate Dr. Seuss artwork including a few images of his hat collection.  I wish this was much longer but still very cool.

Author Dallas Clayton talks about new book “Make Magic! Do Good!” and being called the new Dr. Seuss

Dallas Clayton is a children’s book author of “An Awesome Book” series, as well as his new book “Make Magic! Do Good!”. He is also being called the new Dr. Seuss. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dallas about his work and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: What is it about being a children’s author that drives you?
Dallas Clayton: I like being able to share ideas with people who are open, welcoming and in many ways innocent. Also I like having maximum fun at all times.

MG: How does it feel to be considered the new Dr. Seuss?
DC: Flattering. A bit overwhelming at points, but ultimately exciting. I mean, really that’s something I’m never going to be, that dude was a massive force not unlike the Beatles or Jordan. I can only hope to be the best version of myself.

MG: Tell us where you got inspiration for latest book “Make Magic! Do Good!”?
DC:  Make Magic! is just about sharing small simple inspirational silly poems with kids and adults. It’s a real mixed bag of fun thoughts that swirl up in my head coupled with colorful drawings that maybe in some small way can make people’s days a bit brighter.

MG: How does “Make Magic! Do Good!” differ from “An Awesome Book” series?
DC:  Make Magic! is a collection of poems, 50 poems whereas the books in the Awesome Book series are just linear books. One poem vs. 50 poems. When you think of it that way, it’s a steal really!

MG: Tell us what we can expect from upcoming “Awesome Book of Love!”?
DC: Mega radness? I dunno, it’s a book about the idea of love. The concept of what it means to be in love. Ultimately my love poem to the world.

MG: What else do you have in the cards upcoming?
DC: Two books over the next two months, plus three books next year, touring, working on a ton of film and TV stuff, just making as much as possible and trying to hug everyone everywhere.

DVD Review “Check It Out with Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1 & 2”

Actors: John C. Reilly, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Carol Kraft, Doug Foster
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Cartoon Network
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Run Time: 132 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I am a fun fan of anything that comes out of the mind of the comedy duo Tim and Eric from “Tom Goes to the Mayor” to “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”.  So I understand their rare brand of comedy and obviously this is not for everyone.  John C. Reilly is total gold playing Dr. Steve Brule.  “Check It Out with Dr. Steve Brule” is a fantastic spin-off from the madness that was created by Tim and Eric.  The show itself is even more awkward that its predecessors but it works…oh so well.  I recommend this show very highly…for your health! Where’s season three Adult Swim?

“Check It Out” Season 1 and 2 includes all 12 episodes from the series. It is a parody of a local market’s news magazine show starring Oscar-nominee John C. Reilly as Dr. Steve Brule. Each week our host Dr. Brule will introduce his audiences to local celebrities and interesting things around town as well as providing health and lifestyle tips. Produced by John C. Reilly ands Absolutely Productions.

I was hoping for some great special features here but they are most M.I.A. The only present extras are some deleted and extended scenes.  They are a nice continuous of the show but I feel like they could have done so much more.  I would have loved to seen some commentary tracks from Dr. Steve Brule and maybe even Jan and Wayne Skylar all in character.  But nonetheless, this DVD is a must purchase for all fans of Tim and Eric’s work and those looking to see Reilly in one of his most zaniest and funniest performances.

Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen talk about their music project This Girl and “Dr. Horrible” sequel

Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen are the co-writers behind such amazing projects like “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog” and Fox’s Dollhouse.  They recently released an EP album together under the name of This Girl.  Everyone seriously needs to check out this album, it is very fun and catchy.  They also just recently announced that they will be writing Marvel’s upcoming “S.H.I.E.L.D” TV pilot with “The Avengers” helmer Joss Whedon.  Jed & Maurissa took out a great deal of time to do a song-by-song analysis of their album and also discussed the long-awaited “Dr. Horrible” sequel.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how the name This Girl came about?
Jed Whedon: We were trying to present something that wasn’t just us and was trying to put a concept behind it. If you look at the photo shoot we did, it was me pushing Maurissa into the front.  And I think we were just talking and I was like “Hey look at this girl!” and Maurissa said “Hey, that could be the name” [laughs]. So that is how it happened.

MG: How long would you say this album took to complete?
Maurissa Tancharoen: Well it was sort of drawn out over the course of last year. It is a side project to pass the time since we were stuck at home for a long time. I had a rough health year last year. So Jed out of the kindness of his loving-husband heart [laughs], figured to pass the time we should record some songs. We worked on it sporadically over the course of last year. We never pushed to get it done and took our time we it. Right Jed?
JW: Yeah, I would say about a year. We would work on it for a while and then just toy around. When we realized that we were close to being done, then we gave a real push to finish it up.

MG: Tell us the inspiration behind the songs first up “Bombs” Away”
JW: Usually the way we work is music first. We just started building tracks and of course a ton of then never go anywhere. So, I think the general concept of the record was the make something upbeat and fun. Maurissa has a little bit of the R&B background.
MT: [laughs] Yeah, he told me “Let try and make you sing as white as possible.
JW: [laughs] Yeah. Like a androgynous, very vanilla sounding pop record. That was our inital concept.
MT: That was also the concept behind This Girl was that the songs do fall under the indie pop category. But overall they are all over the map. Like “Mr. Electric” is just so different” and “Dangerous” has a little bit of hip-hop and R&B vibe but very subtle. You are this girl on each track basically.

MG: Speaking of “Dangerous”, tell us a little more about that track?
JW: “Dangerous” was our first track. The concept was basically to do a really light vocal about getting your heart ripped out of your chest. The idea was that the music would be so kind and easy-going but the lyrics would be darker.
MT: She is basically a stalker or the quiet voice of the stalker. She is saying take my hard and crush it cause I am watching you and that is all I want.
JW: We had the track and had the idea of a jazz guitar. So I brought my older brother Sam in, he is an amazing guitarist. We recorded for an hour and just riffed on it. The guitar wasn’t meant to be this epic solo. But on one of the takes, I told him to just go crazy with it and that is the one we used.

MG: Next up we have “In Your Dreams”, tell us about that one?
JW: The idea was to make a five song album. We had the five tracks and Maurissa said we should just put it out. I thought let’s just do one more and whatever it is it will end up being our favorite. Your last song always ends up being your favorite.
MT: And it is…it is definitely our favorite.
JW: So, that one was the only one with a chorus before any tracks were laid down.
MT: I just love the story about a guy living a very monotonous life and wanting to be elsewhere.
JW: It is sort of a braggy mean song.
MT: It is a very mean song but again it is sang so gently it tricks you.
JW:  I just love the idea of “Your obsessed with me. You know it. Your pathetic” and then the last line of the chorus is “In your dreams”. Like “Yeah right, you wish”. In general that is something we like to do, which is play the lyrics against the song. It gives it this nice extra layer.

MG: Awesome, I love that song also; next up tell us about where “Second Nature” came from?
JW: That is another one that started with a drum beat feel. We wanted that to be kind of upbeat…
MT: That is also a sad song…all of our songs are sad [laughs].
JW: Yeah [laughs], considering how upbeat we always are.
MT: I guess since we were having a harder year, it came out in the lyrics.
JW: Happy lyrics are boring. Jane Doe is about a girl feeling sorry for herself. The music just grew organically from a general feel and then just sort of evolved.  I know that may seem a bit boring but it is true.
MT: That is the way that Jed has always worked. It is the music first. It is funny when he comes up with the melody. He will sort of half record the melody. It will be a bunch of gibberish and then a line that totally sticks and becomes the actual chorus.

MG: One of my favorites, tell me about “Mr. Electric”?
JW: That was one of the tracks that I had the hardest time with, since it was a hard mix for me.
MT: We almost took it off.
JW: We didn’t like it very much and now of course it’s everyone’s favorite.
MT: It just stuck out and was different from the rest. Up to the very last minute we were going to yank it. It is just unbelievable the response we have gotten about it from fans.
JW: It is basically another dark side of a happy song. I guess it is sort of a 50’s upset, “Mr. Sandman” rip-off. It is about a drug dealer and a girl that keep getting hooked. We also have a cool video concept in mind for it.

MG: “Remains” was previously released a single back in 2009 for “Dollhouse”, tell us about why you chose to close the album with it?
JW: We just wanted to put in on the album. Since we only had one tune out there together, we wanted want to put it on one album. “Remains” is a more genuine track and we  felt like it was a good bridge between “In Your Dreams” and would also work well after “Mr. Electric”.

MG: Any more plans for Jed Whedon and The Willing in the future?
JW: We do have a lot of projects going on right now. If we ever have any downtime, which is where This Girl came from, I will definitely spend time making a new one. That is the plan right now. I hate saying that though since when it comes out in four years people are going to wonder what took so long.

MG: Jed, if your brother can stop making films that gross $1 billion dollars [laughs], where do you guys think that a “Dr. Horrible” sequel lands your timeline?
MT: It is definitely in our timeline.
JW: It is for sure. There are a lot of projects in the works now. Everyone in the world now know how busy Joss is now. We are definitely planning to do it.
MT: We have more of a solid plan to aim to start next year.
JW: Not only do we think we will get it done, we also think it will be pretty great.

photos by kate danson
http://katedansonphotography.com/