Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts

Saturday, July 17, 2021

What I Watched (and Liked) While on My 2021 Summer Stay-cation: TV Series - Part 1

[I review "Hacks," "Starstruck," "It's a Sin," "Mare of Easttown," "The Serpent" and "The Drowning."]

No way was I getting on a plane to go for a summer vacation, so, instead, some really good TV series have kept me company. So many good shows and too little time, so I thought I had better get this blog post out before I start watching the rest of the summer shows I have in my queue.

I had put out teasers for these shows on my Rosy the Reviewer Facebook page but these are expanded reviews and now you have a handy list of must-sees, all in one place!

Let me know what you think!


What happens when an aging Las Vegas comedienne whose career needs a boost meets a young, entitled and disaffected writer from L.A who currently doesn't have a career? Well, a LOT as it happens!

This is Jean Smart's year. First she was awesome in HBO's "Mare of Easttown (see review below) playing Kate Winslett's mother, and now this, a complete departure from "Mare," this time playing an aging Las Vegas comedienne whose career is in trouble and who hires a young, kind of pain-in-the-ass writer who is having a problem making it in Hollywood and needs a life boost.

Smart plays Deborah Vance, a legendary comedy diva who has had a long and regular residence at the fictional Palmetto Hotel in Las Vegas. Vance has been around a block or two when it comes to making a career for herself and she is one tough cookie but smart enough to know that her material might need some refreshing so she can appeal to a younger audience. It doesn't help that her boss at the Palmetto hotel has told her she will be losing her weekend gigs and when he threatens that her tenure at the hotel might be over completely, Vance hires Ava, a young politically correct bisexual feminist writer in search of a gig.

It's not by coincidence that Vance ends up with Ava. Ava made one of those "cancel culture tweets" and now her career is at a standstill. Jimmy, her agent, finds her this gig (it just so happens he also works with Deborah) and, even though we have an oil and water coupling, he puts it together. Deborah is tough as nails but the old school type, meaning she also has heart. Ava is a bi-sexual feminist who has nothing but contempt for Las Vegas and a woman like Vance, but she wants to make this work. Deborah doesn't get Ava and Ava doesn't get Deborah. We all kind of know how this will turn out but the journey is a fun one.

Ava is played by Hannah Einbinder, the youngest daughter of Laraine Newman, an early cast member of SNL. She holds her own with Smart, though her character is less charismatic. Actually her character is annoying. There is also great supporting cast - Christopher McDonald as Deborah's boss, Carl Clemons-Hopkins as Deborah's manager, Kaitlin Olson as Deborah's nutty daughter, Paul W. Downs as Jimmy, and Megan Stalter as Jimmy's hilariously and unapologetically incompetent secretary (her Dad owns the agency).

Created by Downs, Lucia Aniello, and Jen Statsky, this wonderful series grabbed me from the first episode. It's a funny look at the generation gap with smart writing and, better yet, Jean Smart! We like our women of a certain age getting their due! Smart has come a long way since her stint on "Designing Women." She is A-MAZING!
Rosy the Reviewer says... Smart and the series have been nominated for an Emmy as well as Einbinder and Clemons-Hopkins along with several production nominations, all well-deserved as this series is destined to be remembered as one of the best of the season!
(Now streaming on HBO Max)

A young millennial living in London "accidentally" sleeps with a film star. Let this charming rom-com begin!
Rose Matafeo plays Jessie, a young New Zealander living in London who just happens to have a one-night stand with Tom (Nikesh Patel, one of the stars of the 2015 mini-series "Indian Summers"), who just happens to be a famous film star. They meet in a bar, get a bit drunk together and end up in bed. But Jessie doesn't expect this to be anything. She has no illusions about herself and a relationship with a film star going anywhere. Jessie shares a flat with a roommate in East London and works two dead-end jobs (movie theatre concession and nanny). She is a kind of goofy but charismatic young woman and not your typical ingenue in a romantic comedy. She is always finding herself in decidedly unromantic situations, hence the comedy. Tom is not your typical movie star, either. He is actually a nice guy. You will like him! And Jessie and Tom share some witty and funny banter. That's what makes this so much fun. None of it is typical rom-com. Yes, it's a girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy again, yada yada yada kind of story, and at times improbable, but it is original and lots of fun.

Written by Alice Snedden and Matafeo, who started in stand-up and was a TV presenter, writer and actress in New Zealand, this series is reminiscent of another British series, "Catastrophe." Both are irreverent, unexpected and funny with stars you can relate to, so if you were a fan of that you might enjoy this too.
Rosy the Reviewer says...comedian Rose Matafeo is a real girl. I like that and I like her. And I liked this. Just six short episodes so very bingeable. And there is a second season in the works. Can't wait!
(Now streaming on HBO Max)

Five friends living in London deal with a pandemic that appears suddenly. Except this doesn't take place in 2020 and it isn't Covid. This is the 1980's and it's AIDS.

There was a pandemic that appeared suddenly. It was a natural virus probably from animals. There was no cure and millions of people died from it and its related illnesses. All kinds of conspiracy theories and misinformation swirled around it. Sound familiar? No, I’m not talking about the coronavirus. I’m talking about AIDS. Remember AIDS? How quickly we forget when something else comes along.
This five-part HBO Max series follows five friends in London whose lives are affected by a repressive environment toward gays made more turbulent by the onset of the AIDS epidemic. Richie (Olly Alexander) and Roscoe (Omari Douglas) have left their homophobic families to make something of themselves in London. They join up with Jill (Lydia West), Ash (Nathaniel Curtis) and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) and form a sort of family, and we follow them over a ten year period, from 1981-1991 as they navigate their new lives in the shadow of this mysterious illness that is starting to take hold. It’s a coming-of-age story but also the story of what it was like to be gay in a repressive environment that was seemingly trying to kill them, literally and figuratively. And watching this series, you don’t want that to happen because the performances are wonderful and you care about these kids.
There is a personal side of this for me. Growing up in the Midwest, my best childhood friend was gay, though we never thought of those things in the 50’s, and he died of AIDS much later after I had moved away and we had lost touch. His mother, who still lived in my hometown, took care of him in his last days and was shunned because everyone was so afraid of the disease, not to mention contemptuous of gay people. My mother was a staunch conservative, but I remember her standing up for my friend’s mother. Didn’t matter what or why, he was her son. I was proud of my mother for that.
Rosy the Reviewer says…from “Queer as Folk” creator, Russell T. Davies, it’s gritty and raw, but it’s also thought-provoking and poignant, a story about that other disease, one that is still with us but that we seem to have forgotten. And a reminder that fear and misinformation helped the spread of AIDS just as fear and misinformation has helped to spread the coronavirus.
(Now streaming on HBO Max)

A detective in a small Pennsylvania town investigates a murder while dealing with her own turmoil.

Kate Winslet stars as Mare Sheehan, a troubled sergeant detective in a small Pennsylvania town, who lives with her mother, Helen (Jean Smart) and young grandson, Drew (Izzy King). Mare is haunted by a cold case of a missing young girl. She lost some credibility with the community by not solving that case and it was particularly close to home. Mare grew up in Easttown and went to high school with the missing girl's mother and every time Mare sees her she is reminded that she didn't solve that case. Now she has another case to solve, the recent murder of a teen mom and the community is reeling and looking to her to get this done.

But Mare has her own problems. She is also haunted by the suicide of her son and a custody battle with her drug-addicted daughter-in-law who wants her son back. Mare's mother is not particularly supportive; Mare's daughter (Angourie Rice) is keeping her sexuality a secret; and Mare's ex-husband is getting remarried. Things aren't going so great for Mare and the weight of the world is written all over her. But a handsome writer comes to town (Guy Pearse) to give Mare a chance at romance and a young county detective (Evan Peters) also shows up to help, though Mare is not particularly pleased about an outsider coming in.
Created by Brad Ingelsby, this is not just a crime drama but a character study as well, and a look at how a crime can affect an entire small town. This is not a pretty New England town. This is a town rife with poverty and drug addiction. What sets this HBO crime drama apart from other crime dramas is how gritty and real it is. You are drawn into this town and into its inhabitants.

Though there are some very interesting and well-drawn characters with stories to tell inhabiting Easttown, this is Winslet's showcase. And Winslet displays her ability to inhabit a character right down to a perfect Pennsylvania accent. This is Winslet as you have never seen her. And when you compare Smart's performance here with her performance in "Hacks (see review above)," you will realize what an effortless and effective actress she is as well.

As I predicted, this series has many Emmy nominations: Best Limited Series; Lead Actress nomination in a Limited Series for Winslet; a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Smart and varied production nominations.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Winslet as you have never seen her. Many well-deserved Emmy nominations for this gritty and real detective drama. (HBO)

The real-life story of Charles Sobhraj, a murderer and thief, who preyed on young hippies as they wandered cluelessly around Asia in the 1970's.

Who knew backpacking around Asia in the 1970’s could get you killed? Well, it could if you happened to meet up with Charles aka Alain (Tahar Rahim) and his sidekick Marie-Andree aka “Monique (Jenna Coleman),” both adept at taking on various personas, charming young hippies and then poisoning them and stealing their passports and money. He didn't do it for the thrill. He did it to maintain his lifestyle. However, you can tell he looks down on his victims and that somehow they deserve to die.

When Charles first meets Marie-Andree, she is a lonely insecure woman but he is able to make her feel special. She needs him and will do anything to keep him. They form a gruesome twosome as they make their way around Asia looking for easy marks.
Because two of the missing are young Dutch backpackers, Dutch diplomat, Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle), is drawn into the search to nab these two, despite inexperience, little help from authorities, and lots of red tape and he eventually finds himself dangerously embroiled in their tangled web. It’s a dramatized true story that unfolds in this eight-part Netflix series that is INTENSE, but hugely engrossing and entertaining, in a gruesome sort of way.

Tahar Rahim is a perfect serpent as Charles, a man who can slither into the lives of his unsuspecting victims and just as easily slither out of getting prison time and you “Victoria” fans may recognize Jenna Coleman in a very, very different kind of role as Monique but she makes it work. I didn't even recognize her at first. And Billy Howle as Knippenberg is also memorable, especially since he is the only likable character in this.
Rosy the Reviewer says…if you like true crime, this is as good as it gets.
(Now streaming on Netflix)

Even though Jodie (Jill Halfpenny) lost her son in a drowning accident eight years ago, when she sees a young boy she is convinced he is her son.

If you like your British mysteries twisty and turny, you will like this one (but aren’t all British mysteries twisty and turny)?
I have this theory about British mysteries and crime dramas. Watch the first episode and then fast forward to the last one when everything is solved and you will realize you didn’t miss much in-between because in between it’s all red herrings and coincidences.
This one, created by Francesca Brill and Luke Watson, is also like that but it’s only four episodes so you can do it!
Jodie’s four-year-old son, Tom, went missing eight years ago at the beach. He was assumed drowned but no body was ever found. Jodie has never gotten over his death. So eight years later when Jodie sees Daniel (Cody Molko), a kid who looks like her son right down to the scar on his face, she is certain it’s her son. Is he? Well, nobody believes her. Not her ex-husband or the police. Nobody. But she forges ahead anyway, getting a job at Daniel's school and insinuating herself into his life, much to the suspicion of Daniel's father, Mark (Rupert Penry-Jones), who himself acts suspiciously, adding to the possibility that Daniel is the missing Tom.

Is Daniel young Tom come to life nine years later? Therein lies the drama in British crime dramas. Like I said, they have to fill in those in-between episodes but it's compelling and an easy-to-binge sesh since there are only four episodes.
Rosy the Reviewer says…It’s a nice linear story (aren’t you sick of the ones that go back and forth without any context?) that is easy to follow though I have to say the ending is a huge stretch. But you will enjoy the journey.
(Now streaming on Amazon Prime via Acorn)

Thanks for reading!

See you soon for My Summer Stay-cation Part 2 where I will review more great series!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Childhood Summers

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a semi-tongue-in-cheek and rather snarky piece about hating summer ("Why a Woman of a Certain Age Hates Summer").  Though I am not going to take any of it back, I thought I should mitigate that view a bit by sharing another side of me that has some fond memories of summer.


Summer for a woman of a certain age is one thing, but I was also once a little girl and have some fond memories of summers past.

My birthday was in June and it was usually right when school ended, so my birthday heralded the beginning of summer for me, and though I liked school and was a good student, I liked having the summer off. I mean, who wouldn't? (Kind of like retirement except now I have an endless summer).

I am just back from my 50th High School Reunion and a family reunion which took me back to my hometown.  I will write more about that next week, but that trip back to Michigan also included a circle tour of Lake Michigan that included towns and sights that I saw over 60 years ago with my family.  I particularly remembered Charlevoix, Petoskey and Mackinac Island so seeing those places again after so many years brought back many happy memories.

This year I sat on the porch of the Grand Hotel and thought of that trip with my parents so many years ago.

My family didn't vacation very much - in fact I only remember three or four road trips that we ever took together - so those trips are vivid and happy summer memories from my childhood.

As a little girl, I was madly in love with horses. 

I subscribed to horse magazines and would spend hours thinking up really cool names for horses.  I read "Black Beauty" and all of the ponies of Chincoteague books by Marguerite Henry, reveled in movies like "National Velvet" and went horseback riding at the local horse rental place with my brother whenever I could.  I never made it past riding western and hanging on for dear life to the saddle pommel but my dream was to have a horse of my own one day. 

Alas, the closest I ever got was owning and driving a Mustang.

I grew up in a beach town and believe it or not never learned to swim.  I also had freckles and freakishly pale skin so I risked third degree burns every time I ventured to the beach.  But despite those shortcomings, I have many happy memories of beach outings.

My Dad always wore a hat and a tie - even at the beach!

When talking with my son who has young children and comparing notes about the differences in my, his and their childhoods, we get a laugh out of what was OK back in the day and frowned upon today.  For example, I had a worry wart of a mother but I ran all over the neighborhood during the summer and didn't come home until she rang a big bell and called out my name.  Likewise, everybody ate peanut butter and dogs roamed free. 

And remember sandboxes?

When I was young, there was always a sandbox in the park and almost all kids had sandboxes in their back yards. We never thought about cats soiling our play areas or whatever else modern parents worry about.  Sandboxes used to be a fun source of summer fun when you couldn't get to the real thing - the beach.  Having a sandbox was a thing.  Now not so much.

Like most towns of 80,000 people we had a robust Fourth of July Parade in our downtown and all kinds of summer celebrations.  

My recent trip back home was jarring when I discovered there was no longer a downtown (more on that next week), so seeing this picture was a happy reminder that we actually had one once.  My Dad played trumpet with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, even though he was not a veteran.  I guess they needed trumpet players. and here my sister was the flag bearer.  I always liked parades when I was little. Now not so much.

I guess the point of all of this is a bit of nostalgia.  I am back from my 50th High School Reunion after all.  Did you hear me?  I am back from my 50TH High School Reunion.  That means it's been 50 YEARS SINCE I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL!!!

So I am still in a bit of shock about that. But being back there in my old hometown in the middle of summer, my childhood summer memories returned and reminded me that I was once a young girl who enjoyed all that summer had to offer...and not a bitchy old lady writing snarky blog posts about hating summer.

I have decided to be grateful for every summer that I live through!

Enjoy the rest of your summer everyone!

Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday

for my review of

"Florence Foster Jenkins"
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  
 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why A Woman of a Certain Age Hates Summer

I know that "hate" is a strong word, so let me just say that I have always had an uneasy relationship with summer.

It's not really summer per se that I hate, it's all of the baggage that summer connotes.  It's not just the bathing suit issue but it's shorts and picnics and reruns and sun.  Let me elaborate.

It started early.

Let's begin with the sun.

I grew up on Lake Michigan so you would think that I was a beach bunny.  NOT! I had (and still do) the palest skin you can imagine.  Just sticking my arm out the car window would result in third degree burns.  I was so pale that my brother called me Casper (for the Friendly Ghost).  Thanks, Bro.  So while other people are swanning about in bathing suits and sleeveless dresses and shorts, I was wearing long sleeves and trousers.  Add that to the fact that I am now a woman of a certain age, I don't want those upper arms flapping around anyway, so sleeveless tops are out.  And I hate to say this, but the sun doesn't match how I feel when I wake up in the morning, either, which is crabby.  I am not a morning person and seeing that old sun there every single morning just doesn't match my mood and makes me feel even crabbier.  I am more of a rainy day kind of gal.  But then if it rains too much, I bitch about that too.


I don't like heat, and summer brings the heat.  I don't like to be sweaty and now that I am of a certain age, my idea of a fun summer is sitting in front of a fan.

Power mowers and power washers.

Summer invites people to get out into their yards and cut the lawn, weed wack, power wash, and hell, why not build a deck while you are at it?  Anything so you can make some noise, guys, right?  And why not do it at 8am when I am trying to continue my beauty sleep?  Or why not get out the old weed wacker after I have had a hard day of retirement, when I am ready to sit out on the deck with Hubby and enjoy Happy Hour?  We even had one neighbor who power washed his car IN THE RAIN!

Picnics, which are also a big part of summer, are another thing I came to loathe.

There were just too many of them. My mother was obsessed with picnics.  She must not have had a very exciting life because her idea of a good time was eating outside.  We even had a picnic table in the driveway.  We had one of those homes where the garage was in the back of the house, so to put the car in the garage, you would drive down a driveway next to the house to get to the garage.  Well, our picnic table sat on the driveway in the back.  Every sunny day in summer, we had to haul all of the food out to the picnic table and then haul it all back in again when we were finished.  And if that wasn't bad enough, every Sunday after church if the weather was nice, we would have to go to the lake for a picnic. More hauling.

My sister managed to get out of some of this by sitting in the car listening to the ball game on the radio.  I would have joined her, but I didn't like sports either. I would have rather stayed home and watched "Louisiana Hayride" on TV. Anything but this.

Speaking of watching TV.

Another thing I hated about summer was the TV reruns.

Of course, as a woman of a certain age, I grew up when there were only three TV channels. The networks started their new programming every fall.  Now as you know, I am a TV addict and that started very early. I could recite every TV program on all three channels starting at 7pm all the way up to the late night talk shows for every day of the week.  And I was only seven! Back then, there were only so many network shows and once they aired the new ones, in summer they showed them again. So by the time summer rolled around, I had already seen all of the TV shows I wanted to see, so I couldn't wait until fall when there would be new ones.

Now that I am a woman of a certain age and I can choose from 100's of channels, reruns are not a problem but summer programming is.  In summer, the networks cart out new shows to test whether or not they are worth bringing back in the fall and most of them are duds.

Sunday drives

Though as a little girl I was plagued with Sunday drives most of the year, they were even more frequent in summer.  My mother didn't drive so the Sunday drive was a big deal for her. Like I said, she must not have had a very exciting life.  My Dad would drive, she would be sitting next to him up front oohing and ah-ing over other people's houses, and I would be bored out of my mind in the backseat, not to mention being nauseous from the food I had just eaten at that picnic I just endured. 

Now as a woman of a certain, I don't mind going for a bit of a ride but I just can't find the time. I am retired after all.

You feel guilty if you don't go outside.

I'm not really an outside person.  I can appreciate the beauty of nature but I prefer seeing it from the car or out my window while I am watching TV.  But in summer, especially around here, where it rains 9 months out of the year, when the sun comes out (and that's usually only in summer), you are made to feel guilty if you don't hop off your butt and run outside to catch the rays.

So as a woman of a certain age, summers can be an annoyance...but then I start remembering some happy childhood summers and am reminded how quickly the time has passed and that I should be grateful that I am still here for another summer when so many people are now gone.

And I am.

Oh, geez, the guy across the street is power-washing again!

Thanks for reading!
See you Friday

for my review of

"Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie"
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  
 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Stay-Cation: My Summer in Concerts

Retirement has its perks, but there are also downsides.


Suddenly, there just isn't as much.

And we are a one-person-retirement household, meaning I am the only person who has retired.  Hubby still works.

So with those facts in mind, planning a major summer vacation can be a challenge.

Last year we went to Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, London and the English countryside to the tune of about $9000 (I know, but you aren't going to catch me backpacking and staying in hostels - didn't you see "Hostel?").

So this summer we stayed home.

And it has been a beautiful summer (and you know how I feel about summer as per my "overrated" blog post and "What's Good About the End of Summer" post).  It has been the most beautiful we moved here over ten years ago, and according to the natives, the most beautiful Seattle summer ever.  We have had blue skies and sun with temperatures in the high 70's and low 80's every day.  No humidity, just perfect weather.  It's been so perfect that I find myself waking up some days and thinking, "Geez, sun AGAIN!?"  (Check with me in November, though, when it gets dark at 4pm and the rain has started).

So staying home for the summer.  What to do?

Why, let's go to a few concerts, especially outdoor concerts.

So that's what we did.

Here is the "Rosy the Reviewer" run-down on my summer concerts:

May 30 - Lionel Richie (with Ceelo Green) at Key Arena

I know that May 30th is not exactly summer, but I had to include this concert.
Ceelo opened for Lionel and was accompanied by female guitarists in red mini dresses. Of course. He sang his hits including the "real" lyrics, and let's just say his biggest hit is NOT called "Forget You!"

When Lionel came out, he warned the crowd it was going to be all the hits, "all night long."  And it was!  He wore us out.  He reminded me of Sir Paul who, when we saw him last summer, at 71 played for three hours straight without a break.  You could tell he loves to perform.  He never left the stage.  Same with Lionel.  He is 68 and sang all of his hits all the way back to his Commodores days. 

In between songs he said “I have noticed something tonight. We have been together for a very long time. Think about it. When I was in love, you were in love. When I fell out of love, you fell out of love … You got old. I stayed young.” 

He added to that with a cute bit where he said to the audience:

“Your relationship is over. Words you thought you’d never hear are being said to you. ‘I never want to see you again.’ You’re out of your mind in confusion. You don’t know where to turn or what to do. Alcohol is not the answer. You’re completely out of your mind. You don’t know where to turn, so you turn and rush home. You pull out your album, CD, cassette, 8-track. And you call on Lionel Richie.”

That theme carried through - "You just met your true you rush home, you pull out your album, CD, cassette, 8-track.  And you call on Lionel Richie."

And over and over for a few songs.  And he was right.  Lionel's music punctuated many love stories and break-ups.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I hate arena venues, so I don't go to Key Arena for just anyone, but Lionel was on my bucket list and he did not disappoint.

June 22 - The Yardbirds at The Triple Door


This sixties group is most famous for its early members (at various times), Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck and the song "For Your Love."

No, neither Eric, Jeff or Jimmy were there.  But two of the original members are still with the group: Jim McCarty on drums and Anthony "Top" Topham on guitar and at 71 and 67 respectively, they looked their age.  But the other members are young guys and the lead singer and guitarist Andy Mitchell was really good.

They performed in a nightclub setting (that included dinner) and by most standards, the set wasn't very long.  The senior citizens in the group needed a rest, I guess.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a nice blast from the past.

June 28 - Cher and Cindy Lauper at Key Arena

Cher needs no introduction.  At 68, she still looks fabulous and puts on a terrific spectacle of a show.

When she came out in full Cher regalia, she told the audience she was 68 and asked "What's your granny doing tonight?"

She sang many of her hits with lots of costume changes and dance numbers, all very Las Vegas.

And yes, she sang "Half Breed!"

At the end, she was suspended from the ceiling and "flew" all around the arena singing "I Hope You Find It," like the Madonna (the saint, not the singer) blessing her flock.

I have been a huge fan of Cher's ever since Sonny and Cher were on "Shindig!"  I wanted to BE Cher, though I looked like her complete opposite - light coloring and nowhere near as skinny.  I adored her clothes.  Those bell bottoms and fringed vests. Here is my Cher impression from back in the day.

I wasn't alone in my adoration.  At the concert, Andie McDowell just happened to be sitting nearby and, of course, I had to go over to say, "Hi."  I said, "I don't want to be that person..." to which her husband immediately replied, "But you are going to be, right?"  But she was very good-natured and was appreciative that I knew she was filming her new show "Cedar Cove." She even introduced me to her co-star who was also with her.  My feather earrings (homage to Cher) kept getting caught in my shirt, which was so embarrassing!

Rosy the Reviewer says...she has a one word name for a reason.  She's Cher!

June 29 - Steve Winwood at Chateau Ste. Michelle


Here is the deal with the Chateau. 

It's a winery with a lovely outdoor amphitheater.  In the summer, they have shows with performers running the gamut from Pink Martini to Crosby, Stills and Nash.  It's a gorgeous venue when the weather is nice.  Not so great if it rains. Shows go on rain or shine.

You can get reserved seats or you can buy General Admission seating which means you sit on the lawn.  We call those people "Lawn People."  The "Lawn People" start lining up in the morning for some sold-out shows that don't start until 7pm or 7:30pm.

We get the reserved seats because number one, even though the tickets are cheaper, no way am I waiting in line for hours to secure a good spot to see the show. Second, I don't do lawns.  I might not be able to get up especially after consuming the requisite portions of wine that you stock up on there at the winery before the show. 

And "Lawn People" do not necessarily sit on the lawn because the tickets are cheaper.  They actually LIKE it because they have their chairs (they can't be tall chairs), they have their blankets and tablecloths and food and some even bring little tables.  They have it down.

"Lawn People" waiting for the gates to open.

We on the other hand usually sign up for "The Social," a members and reservation only event that provides free VIP parking and food and wine.  Well, it's not free.  We pay for the privilege.  We have that down.

Chilling at "The Social."
So that's the drill at The Chateau and Steve Winwood was our first concert of the season.  Depending on the line-up, we usually get tickets for several shows.  This year was a record seven concerts.
Steve Winwood was a member of Traffic and Blind Faith, among other groups, and he can play multiple instruments - guitar, mandolin, keyboards, violin, etc.  Here he played a fantastic long version of Traffic's "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys." 
Rosy the Reviewer says...He is 68, still fit, multi-talented, and he rocked the venue.

July 16 - Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band at Chateau Ste. Michelle

Ringo's All Star Band consists of great musicians from other bands who come together to showcase Ringo.  The group varies from year to year, though this year was the same as last: Steve Lukather from Toto (he's my new Guitar Hero, but more on him later), Gregg Rolie from Santana, Todd Rundgren ("Hello, it's Me"), drummer Gregg Bisonette, and Richard Page from Mr. Mister.  Ringo sings his Beatles songs and the other members sing songs from their bands.  And let's just say that you can tell Ringo spent a lot of time behind his drum kit, because his stage presence is not the best.  His performance consists mostly of walking back and forth across the stage while he sings, but he wisely also showcases the other musicians and their hits.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this picture tells it all.  A rocking evening.  And, hey, it's Ringo - a Beatle!

July 17 - Replay America:  Naked Eyes, Martha Davis of the Motels, Patty Smyth of Scandal and The Go Go's with Belinda Carlisle at Chateau Ste. Michelle

Martha Davis from The Motels.


Patty Smyth from Scandal and Hubby being Hubby.

Naked Eyes, and I am up there with them!  "There's Always Something There To Remind Me!"

Rosy the Reviewer 80's love fest.

July 23 - Joan Baez at Edmonds Center for the Arts

She came, she sang, she left.  Joan did her 90 minutes, but she was in great voice, and personable.  She has a reputation for being a bit grouchy sometimes, which is why we didn't get a very good picture despite being in the front row.  We were scared she would yell at us.

Rosy the Reviewer says...she has let her hair go white, and she herself admits she is singing a little lower these days, but you would never know she was 73.  She looks great and her voice is still beautiful.

August 3 - Toto and Michael McDonald at Tulalip Casino Amphitheater

Another outdoor venue, but not as nice as the Chateau.  However, Toto kicked rock and roll butt.  There's my guy, Steve Lukather, who has taken over some of the singing and the helm with Toto (he mostly played guitar before).  When I saw him with Ringo last year at The Chateau, I was up front and as he was leaving the stage, I mouthed "You're FAB-U-LOUS" to which he mouthed, "You're fabulous" back to me, or I think he did.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

The headliner was Michael McDonald.  Unfortunately, after Toto's kickin' set where he had briefly joined them to sing "I'll Be Over You," he faltered when it was time for his set. He couldn't sing. It was terrible.  His voice was cracking all over the place.  People were leaving in droves. That's pretty bad for a guy who is so known for his voice that it's said that women wanted to make love to it.  His voice, not him. He even apologized for his voice.  Let's hope it was a temporary condition.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Toto will rock your world.  Michael McDonald, maybe not so much.

August 8 - Creetisvan at Starbucks - Madison Park


Hubby and his bandmate, Mike Tiano are Creetisvan.  Check them out.   They were joined by Ashley Brewer for a special performance.  She took time out of her busy schedule to join her Dad and Mike, er, Creetisvan for a Rush song, "Time Stand Still."

Rosy the Reviewer says...A must see in the Seattle area. 

*You can catch them tonight (September 17th) at the Celtic Bayou in Redmond 9pm.

August 9 - Jeff Beck and ZZ Top at Chateau Ste. Michelle

Beck is 70 years old and still a guitar god.

I didn't realize I was a ZZ Top fan. 

The fur guitar.

Rosy the Reviewer says...If the Chateau had a roof to blow off, it would have.  They ROCKED!

August 24 - Peter Frampton and his Guitar Circus featuring Buddy Guy with special guest, Don Felder

Everyone probably remembers Peter Frampton more as the pretty boy with the long blonde hair and the talk box.

His looks overshadowed his talent to a certain extent. He never got the props for his great guitar playing.

Now he's balding and wanting to be taken seriously. He is a great guitar player.  Buddy Guy is the veteran.  We were sitting next to a couple who had come all the way from Canada, not to see Frampton, but to see Buddy.

Don Felder is an ex-Eagle.  His rendition of "Hotel California" was a treat. He is also a nice tall handsome man, which I like.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Peter Frampton wants you to take him seriously, dammit.  And you will.

September 12- Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Chateau Ste. Michelle

When a person is 80 and still out there doing what he does, you can be forgiving.  But you know what?  We didn't need to be forgiving.  Frankie still has it.  His voice is clear with that distinctive sound, he sang all of the hits with some new songs thrown in and he remembered all of the lyrics.  What more could you ask?  None of the original Four Seasons were on hand.  He is backed by young guys, and I wish they had done more of the signature moves.  But it was Big Band all of the way. One wonders, though, why there was no mention of the death of Bob Crewe, who wrote so many of their hits.

Rosy the Reviewer says...we were dancing in the aisles remembering those early teen years, and I was trying to remember how to dance the Mashed Potato to "Sherry." 

September 14 - Crosby, Stills and Nash at Chateau Ste. Michelle

Crosby, Stills and Nash defined much of the 60's ethos with their songs of love and protest.  All have been through some hard times.  Crosby chronicled his struggles with drug addiction and the law in his autobiography, and he looked much better than in recent years.  Nash also wrote a tell-all that sums up the times. Stills' voice is not what it once was and he seemed a bit disoriented at times.  It was ironic that Nash and Crosby sang "Wooden Ships," when it used to be a Stills-Crosby duet since they both wrote it.  But Stills can still play the guitar.

I saw David Crosby when I was 17 and he was with The Byrds.  They played at a local roller rink.  David was dancing all around with the locals in his fringed poncho and hippie brimmed hat.  I also remember that night dancing with a fellow who said he was being sent to Vietnam the next day.  I knew what that meant.  I excused myself.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if they come your way, a concert not to be missed no matter what your age.

As I said the concert was wonderful, but we almost didn't get to see it.
I am very much a Type-A personality.  The good side of that kind of person is that we are very reliable.  We can be trusted to get the job done, as it were.  So for that reason, I am the keeper of the tickets.  I can honestly say I have never forgotten to bring the tickets.  And when I have them in my possession, I check and double check to be sure they are still there.  While at "The Social (which I explained earlier)," I swear the tickets were in my purse, but when it came time to take our seats, they were nowhere to be found.  I could not explain it. Hubby hiked back to the car to see if the tickets had fallen out of my purse.  But those who know me, know that I carry a ginormous purse. 

How can something fall out of that thing?  Hubby must have taken everything out of my purse and put it all back a million times before the full impact hit him.  The tickets were not there.

Once the realization hit, then blame began.  There has to be someone to blame, right?  I saw divorce in Hubby's eyes. I could hear my Mother's voice saying, "See?  That's what you get for making fun of "The Lawn People." 

As we mumbled and grumbled, still at "The Social," a couple sitting near us said, "Did you lose your tickets? We heard someone found some tickets in the parking lot.  The name was something like Browder or Brainer.  They took the tickets to the Will Call."

Hubby and I couldn't believe it.  Browder, Brainer?  How about Brewer?

We hightailed it over to the Will Call booth and sure enough, there were our tickets. Unbelievable. There really is good in the world.  That concert was sold out.  A "Lawn Person" could have upgraded to reserved seating.  But then, as I said, "Lawn People" like to be "Lawn People." 

But even as I write this, I still can't figure out how those tickets printed out at home on 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper could have fallen out of my purse.  I know I checked that they were there when we were eating and drinking.  I think a gremlin took the tickets from my purse when I was getting more wine.  My mother would certainly say, "See?  That's what you get!" for getting more wine.

But what a summer! 

We saw some incredible performances.  These performers are icons of the music business and their music reflected the times and punctuated the youth of Baby Boomers.  They are in their 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's now, but they are still rocking.  Their staying power and ability to still draw big crowds says something about their talent, their music and their relevance. Will Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande and Maroon 5 be around 40 years from now?

Rosy the Reviewer says...If any of these bands  I saw this summer perform in a venue near you, go.  They are not getting any younger. You may not get another chance.

Thanks for reading!

See you Friday for
 "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Pt 2"
The Week in Reviews
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