Sunday, February 18, 2018


After being released on Thanksgiving Day, I finally got around to seeing Coco today (because I was at the mall and walked by the dollar theater inside and decided I wanted to see a movie). I loved this film so much and I am actually kind of bummed that I didn't get to see on Thanksgiving (my friend Kevin Ann didn't want to see it, but I think she would have liked it). This just might be my favorite Pixar film (my favorite has always been A Bug's Life)!!

Coco follows the story of Miguel, a young boy living in Mexico with his family. All he wants to do is be a musician. However, due to his great-great abuelito abandoning his family to pursue his music, the family forbids any kind of music in the home. On Dia de Muertos, he gets transported to the Land of the Dead and meets up with family members. He goes on an adventure to find the greatest musician of all time, Ernesto de la Cruz, who he believes to be his great-great abuelito.

The movie has a great narrative "twist" that was so touching that tears came out of my eyes. I loved the message of remembering family members, and how that keeps them living in the Land of the Dead. I thought it was clever and smart to have those in the Land of the Dead going about life still, doing things; I like the idea of after death being a time when one is still "living". All they want is to be remembered by those in the Land of the Living.

At the end of the film, Miguel tells his baby sister that the photos of loved ones on the ofrenda aren't just photos - they're family members. All. The. Feels.

The film is so beautiful, not just emotionally but visually too. The colors are amazing and the world of the Land of the Dead is detailed and marvelous. If you haven't seen this movie yet get out and see it!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Gary Allan at Winstar

I have wanted to see Gary Allan in concert for quite awhile. He played at Winstar last year in February but I just wasn't able to make it happen. This year I made it happen! I bought a ticket Friday afternoon for the Saturday show. I put on my most country outfit, which is a checkered shirt I bought eight years ago at an H&M in Las Vegas, black jeans and boots (not cowboy boots, mind you, boots from Target), and headed out in the cold weather.

I discovered Gary Allan years ago when I was still into country music. I heard "It Would Be You" and immediately loved it. I followed him over the years, and when he released the masterful sad song, "Songs About Rain," I couldn't get enough of it. I'm not a music junkie or aficionado, but I know that this song has a very interesting structure. It has several lines in the middle of the verse that build up to a crescendo in the middle. I love it. Listen to how he sings and the music is composed in the line, "Well I thought I was over you, looks like maybe I'm not."

What I like about Gary Allan is that he's not "pure" country - the dude's from Bakersfield, California. I think his record company tired to make him into country at the beginning, but as he became more popular he has been able to be true to himself (he even named one of his albums See if I Care).

It was a good concert, but I wasn't sure how it would end after, not even halfway into the show, he had already played "It Would Be You" AND "Songs About Rain." By the end, I realized his encore song would be "Right Where I Need to Be."

He still has an incredible voice, but there were times I felt like the instruments overpowered the songs themselves. I think most of his songs work better without the bombastic, over-produced-ness of a live show. I bet he sounds great at really small venues with just a guitar and few other instruments.


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