Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Admin Note: We'll Be Right Back

Greetings gentle readers!  We apologize for this place being dead for the last week or so.  Pop Wench Radhika has been swamped with her new grad school endeavors and I was avalanched (in a good way) with a whole bunch of family time.  But I've got a concert review that's been burning a hole in my pocket--so to speak--and three more concerts coming up in the next two weeks, so expect Pop Wenches to return to fine form this week!
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Friday, October 2, 2009

Live Blogging "Stargate Universe"

And after all these months of waiting to see what the new Stargate series is going to be like, we're live blogging commentary as the the Stargate Universe premiere airs! The standard warning about spoilers (lots and lots of spoilers) applies . . .

9:02PM - Kinda liking the new theme song. And did they just list Lou Diamond Phillips as a guest star?

9:04PM - Note to self: never chuck things through or jump through a stargate. You never know who you might be conking on the head on the other side. Robert Carlyle's character seems far too satisfied and calm with this outcome (ie: them ending up on the ship Destiny).

9:05PM - Another note to self: never be the commanding military officer when coming through the gate. According to what just happened to the head military guy here and what happened to the guy in the same position during the Stargate: Atlantis premiere, it's a total red shirt position.

9:08PM - Yay! Richard Dean Anderson. As sarcastic as ever, I see.

9:10PM - *sniff* They're aboard the Hammond -- the ship they named in tribute to General George Hammond and the late Don S. Davis. And I'm not sure if it's funny they beamed up David Blue's character the same way they did Jeannie (McKay's sister) in SGA or if it's cliche.

9:12PM - Michael Shanks better not only be appearing in an orientation video in this ep!

9:20PM - Epileptic colonel perhaps? Have the feeling that he's not going to last long in these circumstances. Twenty minutes into the show and I'm not hooked yet . . .

9:24PM - E.T. not phoning home just this second . . . And Dr. Nicolas Rush is creeping me out. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to like having such a morally ambiguous character as the lead.

9:30PM - And now the senator is sick too? Is anyone on this ship not broken?

9:32PM - Rush is wearing a wedding ring. They wouldn't do the "scientist who lost his wife and has gone off the deep end trying to find an alt universe version/turn back time" storyline, would they?? Oh, please tell me they wouldn't.

9:35PM - Oh, they did. Weepy, desperate Rush with a picture of his wife. Immediately followed by the "accident" that propels them all through the stargate. Not crazy about this storyline. At all.

9:40PM - Love seeing Sam Carter commanding the Hammond. And so Ronald Greer's (Jamil Walker Smith) character sounds like he's the Tom Paris character on this ship. Yes, I'm busting out with a Star Trek: Voyager reference.

9:44PM - Okay, so I guess Rush isn't responsible for a bombardment from outer space.

9:46PM - Wow. That's a new Stargate record for killing off a head doctor.

9:53PM - Matthew Scott (first guy through the gate) has bigger cojones than just about anyone. Anyone who's been part of the stargate program knows that anything could be on the other side of that wormhole. On another note, what female military officer spends time doing up her hair in a fancy coif like Tamara Johansen? Wouldn't that be a great way to not get respect from all the guys?

9:56PM - So Rush gave intel to the enemy to get them to bombard Icarus base and force them to dial the ninth chevron. Peachy.

10:04PM - "Really? Do we really?" At least one guy on this ship has watched his Star Trek and his horror movies. Good on him for knowing better!

10:10PM - Okay, I know this is a motley crew assembled on this ship, but there seems to have been a heck of quick breakdown in the chain of command and in military discipline. This just isn't feeling like the Stargate I've watched and liked. Am trying to give it the benefit of the doubt still. Maybe I'm not picking up on enough details or getting engaged enough because I'm blogging while watching?

10:15PM - Mysterious Ancient crates that can be tapped for future storylines. Got it. Seeds so they can set up a hydroponics farming system to provide them with a sustainable food source (that I'm sure will also be tapped for future storylines).

10:17PM - Does anyone else feel like someone's going to whip out a lightsaber and start training when that kino flying camera starts floating around?

10:27PM - Now the show has started to get interesting. I think everyone yelling at each other and trying to establish their relative bad-ass-ness was turning me off. Now that they're working on the ship problems, I'm more intrigued.

10;39PM - Well, I guess we jus found out which character was committing suicide in the first episode. The producers had said that would be happening. I'd guessed it was the paralyzed colonel, with the senator as the second choice.

10:44PM - I still don't believe a word Rush says when he says he wasn't responsible for creating the situation that brought them to the ship. And I found it rather satisfying when Chloe was wailng on him in anger.

10:48PM - I'm liking this scene between Chloe Armstrong and Matthew Scott right now. I think they're the characters I'm connecting with the most so far. Anyone feel differently? Scott seems like a truly good guy doing the best he can in a mindboggling situation. And Chloe . . . it seems like she has a strength and intelligence that could make her an fascinating character to watch as she grows into her own.

10:55PM - Kinos = the SGU MALPs. Saw that one coming.

10:58PM - Hmmm . . . still not sure what I think of this series. I'm going to give it one more ep next week to see if it really hooks me in. Am definitely looking forward to next week's premiere of Sanctuary though!
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For "X-Files" Fans Interested in a Good Cause

Actor Mitch Pileggi ("Walter Skinner" from The X-Files) has reached out to his fans to request for help for a family member. His sister, Judi Ward, has been diagnosed with a very rare, aggressive form of cancer called leiomyosarcoma. Since she won't accept direct financial help from her brother, Pileggi is offering up memorabilia for sale at a fundraiser in Southern California this Saturday and will be appearing in person at the event. Additional "big ticket" memorabilia items will be sold on eBay and a website has been established for direct monetary donations.

In an email to the webmistress of one of the actor's longtime fansites, Pileggi wrote: "As you’ll see in the attachment my sister has become ill and is financially in pretty dire straits. She refuses to accept money from me directly and I’m trying to figure out ways to help her. I will be at the fundraiser mentioned in the flyer and they will be raffling off some memorabilia that I am providing them. I’m also going to have my sister-in-law sell some of my more valuable “stuff” on eBay and give the proceeds to my sis."

The attachment mentioned is the flyer below, which explains that Ward's financial difficulties began when she was laid off last year and subsequently lost her health insurance. The fundraiser at which Pileggi will be appearing will be held this Saturday, October 3 at 2 PM at the following location:

PC's Bar & Grill
4250 Los Angeles Ave.
Simi Valley, CA

Mitch Pileggi's acting credits encompasses a range of sci-fi and fantasy shows including The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen, Stargate: Atlantis and Supernatural. Most recently, he's been seen on the small screen in the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy reprising his role as Larry Jennings, head of the board of directors for Seattle Grace, and in the second season premiere of FX's Sons of Anarchy in the recurring role of Ernest Darby, head of a rival gang.

(I know this is an unusual post to find on Pop Wenches, but I've lost two family members to cancer in the past 18 months and another family member is currently losing her battle against the same disease, so this hits close to home. I can also say from personal experience that Mitch Pileggi has always been very kind to and appreciative of his fans, which earns him an extra gold star in the karma department.)

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Concert Review: Kylie! (at Fox Theater in Oakland)

I've always been a bit baffled by why Australian pop star Kylie Minogue isn't bigger in the US. She's HUGE in Europe. She's basically the Madonna of the Commonwealth countries. Wednesday at the Fox Theater in Oakland was not just the opening night of her North American tour, it was her first North American tour ever! And she's been making singing for over twenty years! I guess these things all come down to marketing. Maybe with this tour she'll get more exposure state-side?

Experiencing the show, though, you would never guess that this is someone most Americans have never heard of. This was a stadium-sized show packed into a theater-sized venue. I counted no less than 7 giant, brilliantly-lit screens, most of them moving on rails between songs. I won't spoil her grand entrance, but she was constantly surrounded by dancers in outlandish outfits, wearing riot gear masks or wings. Her own costumes seemed crazy elaborate, too. I was surprised to find via the production video diary that the costumer was still stitching them together the day before the show! I liked her unusual boots in the leather fetish segment of the show.

I'm actually only familiar with a few of her bigger hits. I must admit some of her songs sound like generic dance pop, but the best ones are great dance pop. The amazing Michel Gondry-directed video for "Come into My World" made me a fan, and "Can't Get You out of My Head" is quite self-descriptive, especially the mash-up with "Blue Monday". Perhaps my favorite performance of the night, though, was her latest rendition of her first hit single way back in 1987: a cover of "Loco-Motion". Rather than singing it in the original upbeat bubblegum pop tone, she chose a sexy, jazzy style that reminded me of "Minnie the Moocher".[bxA]

Gentle Readers, this is a good time for your Pop Lecher-at-Large to point out his other favorite moment of the evening: While the brass section played, Kylie said that their music made her "want to SHAKE!" And she proceeded to vibrate her booty. Yowza. (This, in turn, might be a good time to point out her Agent Provocateur commercial [possibly nsfw] from several years ago.) Kylie doesn't dance as much as other pop stars, but when she does move, she sure knows what she's doing!

And yet, these talents were perhaps fully appreciated by only a minority of the attendees. You see, some of the greatest applause came when the visuals featured men in Speedos taking a shower. This from an audience that was over 90% male.

It must be said that Kylie knows her audience! And she pandered to it in multiple ways: I really enjoyed how the background showed the Golden Gate Bridge during one of the more down-tempo segments.

Gotta love that gaudy fainting couch, too. (It tops the one in last week's "Mad Men"!) I wonder if the background will change for each stop in her tour?

This show certainly featured the most enthusiastic audience I've seen. The roar of the crowd deafened me each time Kylie appeared in a new outfit. The audience wasn't quite as dancy as I expected, but I wonder how much of that was due to the sound quality? The audio at the Fox thist time was better than it was during the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show, but it still could have used more dynamic range. Perhaps I was just standing too close to the stage?

Kylie ended her encore with an ebullient performance of "Love at First Sight". Perhaps some Americans will feel that way about her after this tour.

P.S.: And if you're not familiar with it, check out the "Come into My World" video, and be sure to watch at least till the 1'10" mark.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

In Preparation for the "Stargate Universe" Premiere

The new installment in the Stargate franchise, Stargate Universe, premieres tomorrow on SyFy. We've written plenty about it here on Pop Wenches over the past year, but if you need a fun way to while away the ime between now and the premiere, enjoy some of the video clips we shot at the SGU panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Two clips below and plenty more over at the Pop Wenches You Tube channel: www.youtube.com/popwenches.

And for a little more fun as we head into Friday, here's a clip of the first four minutes of the SGU pilot ep:

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