Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nothing is Juicier than a Plum Novel

Who’s the baddest Bounty Hunter around? Stephanie Plum!
Who’s the funniest heroine in modern fiction today? Stephanie Plum!
Who has the funniest Grandma in the “Burg”? Stephanie Plum!
Who is involved with the sexiest cop on the beat? Stephanie Plum!
Who lusts after the hottest mystery man in noveldom? Stephanie Plum!
Who has the finest former hooker cum bounty hunter in town as her sidekick? Stephanie Plum!
Over 13 books, Janet Evanovich has created not just a great character in Stephanie Plum , she has created a fantastic supporting cast in Grandma Mazur, Mom and Dad Plum, her sister, her sister’s fiancé and their kids, Lula, Ranger, Morelli and the “Burg” along with all the villains and guest starts in each novel . Each story is filled up with action, a little romance and abundant local color like the 2 gay guys who bought the funeral home and according to grandma Mazur, serve better cookies than the mob guys they got it from. Joe Morelli’s Italian grandma and her evil eye puts me in mind of some of my crazier Hungarian relatives. Wait! Stephanie is half Hungarian! Maybe that is why I have such affinity for her. Dinners at the Plum residence are nothing less than epic for their hilarity. Please, take a weekend at the beach, cabin or backyard, pour yourself a local ale of your choice and sink your teeth into this rich, colorful and hysterically funny world called the “Burg”.
Meet the cast:
Stephanie is a single woman living with her pet hamster in an apartment building with a bunch of old people. She has become a bounty hunter because she couldn’t get another job after losing her job as a lingerie buyer. Her bounty hunter skills are limited only by the fact that she couldn’t find her way out of a wet paper bag. She basically blackmailed her slimy cousin Vinnie to hire her. So begins one of the funniest, fun loving-est, romps in novel series writing!
Grandma Mazur is crazy. Her favorite social activity is going to the neighborhood funeral home for viewings. She even picks up a man at one of them. She thinks Stephanie has a great job chasing bad guys and tries whenever she can to join the chase.
Mom and Dad Plum are a typical longtime married couple. Dad tries to just ignore everything going on around him while pretending he is in control while mom deals with the stress of Plum family crises with ironing and tippling.
Valerie is Stephanie’s, (once the perfect now just as screwed up as Stephanie), sister. She married the right guy, moved to California, had two girls, and then left by said perfect husband and moves back to the “Burg” into mom and dad’s house. She is employed and then gets pregnant by the goofy and loser lawyer Albert Kloughn who turns out to have a phobia of getting married.
Take neon pink spandex, pair it with leopard print leggings on 5 inch spike heels and you have Lula. Lula is Stephanie’s sometimes sidekick who is a former hooker who still dresses like she is in the biz. She is constantly on a diet that she cannot stick to. Her favorite places to go to for stress relief is the chuck-a– cluck chicken place and the donut shop. When she isn’t helping Stephanie tracking down evaders of the law, Lula is file clerk at the bail bonds office and the sometimes paramour of Tank, one of Rangers tough guys.
Ranger is a fellow bounty hunter. He is dark, latin, mysterious and oh so sexy. The heat coming off this bad boy has sometimes melted Stephanie’s clothes.
Joe Morelli is Stephanie’s on again off again, love of her life. Joe is a local cop and can be mysterious in his own ways when he goes undercover. His Italian good looks and hot bod gives Ranger a run for his money in the sexy dept. but Joe is at heart a regular guy who wants a regular life with Stephanie. For him regular life means his girlfriend works in an office, store, or even factory not a bounty hunter who regularly gets her cars blown up or demolished and keeps her gun in the cookie jar. Steph loves him a lot but for all her bitching about bounty hunting likes it too much to give it up even for a hunk like Joe.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I love theatre. I love the movies too, but there really is nothing like live theatre. I can’t interact with a flat screen the way I can with live performers. Live theatre is the only real “Live Action” show. There is an energy and excitement to live dancers pirouetting, singers belting out my favorites, orchestras filling the auditorium and actors creating a whole world right before my eyes. The audience’s applause returns their energy back to them and the dancers leap higher, the orchestras swell and the actors get funnier or more dramatic.

West Palm Beach makes it easy to indulge in my favorite pastime. Within a 20 minute drive I can get my fill at Palm Beach Drama Works, The Cuillo Center for Theatre Arts, Florida Stage, Maltz Theatre, Lake Worth Playhouse and the crown jewel of them all, The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

Palm Beach Drama Works is located on Banyan Street in downtown West Palm Beach. This regional company has been around since 2001 and features classic plays and comedies with innovation and fresh interpretation. This season is filled with greats like “The Subject was Roses” by Frank Gilroy, “Agnes of God” by John Pielmeier, and “Benefactors” by Michael Fryan.

The Cuillo Center for Theatre Arts is located on Clematis Street also in downtown. The building that is the Cuillo has a long history of presenting theatre being the previous home to other companies one might remember, Florida Repertory Theatre and The Stage Company. It was also home to the Grand Kettler Theatre which was one of the first movie houses in West Palm Beach in the 1920’s and 30’s. Today the Cuillo presents an eclectic mix of theatre, comedy and cabaret performances. Their current offerings include “Viagra Falls” and “A Jew Grows in Brooklyn”.

The crown jewel of downtown is The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
The Kravis opened its doors 15 years ago and since then has presented world class entertainment for all of Palm Beach County and nearby Broward and Martin Counties. The Kravis not only provides the big names in entertainment but presents local companies like Ballet Florida, Palm Beach Opera, Palm Beach Pops and Miami City Ballet. They have a serious commitment to bringing live performance to the kids of our community too. In 15 years of business the Center has brought theatre, music and dance to over 1 million children in our Community. This season will continue the tradition of star filled presentations with Queen Latifah, kd lang, Martin Short, Steve and Edie, “Spamalot”, “Sweeney Todd” and oh so much more.

Just outside of Downtown other wonderful theatres thrive in our area.

Check out one of the finest regional Theatres in the country at Florida Stage. Located in Manalapan, Florida Stage has a long tradition of bringing cutting edge, new works to our area. This season will feature “End Days”, A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage” and “Ward 57”.

Lake Worth Playhouse, located on Lake Avenue in downtown Lake Worth has been providing the community with great theatre for over 50 years. This quaint community theatre is staying current with the times adding a film series to their lineup, as well as, a concert series featuring great regional musicians. The mainstage season consists of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, Hollywood Arms”, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”.

Just north of West Palm Beach lies a theatre with another long and interesting history. Located on the corner of Indian Town Road and A1A in Jupiter, the Maltz Theatre, aka, the Jupiter Dinner Theatre, aka, The Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre has completely revamped and reinvented itself with a beautiful 554 seat theatre. This professional regional theatre is one of the most recent additions to the rich theatrical community of Palm Beach County presenting classics like “Man of Lamancha” and new works like “Food Fights”.

Don’t just sit in the dark with a flat screen. Come on out and experience real 3D, live, interactive theatre abounding in the area. There is no Business like LIVE THEATRE Showbusiness!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Myron Bolitar

Okay, I am behind the times. I read my first Myron Bolitar book just a couple of months ago. I know, I know. Where have I been? This character is the coolest! The first Myron book was published in 1997 with “Deal Breaker" and Harlan Coben is his creator. He has written a total of 8 Myron books since then.
I have read some of his stand alone books Like “The Woods” and “Tell No One.” They were good reads with twists and turns that leave you dizzily hanging onto the last pages but honestly they don’t stand up to Myron.
Take a tablespoon of witty repartee, add a cup of a decent “who done it”, sprinkle liberally with man humor, and stir in a cast of well drawn side kicks and you have a really tasty series. Myron is an almost famous basketball player. He made it to the big court but was injured during the first game. Instead of wallowing in self pity, Myron goes back and finishes getting his law degree. Since he can’t be a sports star anymore he decides he is going to represent them. He opens MB Sports Reps. (The MB stands for Myron Bolitar, tricky, eh?) He is joined in this business by his assistant the sexy and bodacious Esperanza, a former professional wrestler and his best friend, the sociopath Windsor Lockwood III.
What makes this series great for me is each book stands on its own but when read in order I feel like I have made some crazy friends. I can’t wait to see who Myron is going to rescue next or whether it will be a woman or a man Ezperanza is hooked up with. Let us not forget Win. He cares for nothing and no one but Myron and Ezperanza. He is a really rich, really screwed up guy who uses his evil powers for good and never fails to rescue Myron from every near death predicament he finds himself in.
In between car chases, gun point confrontations Myron and Win play movie, tv and broadway trivia. Name the show and those guys know it and can tell you when it first ran. In “Back Spin” they have a bet about whether or not Jack Klugman wore a toupee in “The Odd Couple.” Myron proves it by going back to a long lost episode of the Twilight Zone where Jack’s hairline is farther up his forehead than his Oscar character 10 years later does.
Again there are good plots here. From the story of his girlfriend’s missing sister to the golfer couple who had their son kidnapped, mystery abounds. These are not suspense novels. These are seriously great mysteries and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Pull a fully body lager from the fridge and belly up to the books, gang. You won’t want to put either down.

Eat, Pray Love

Well, here goes, I have decided to put my reading and sipping to some good use. I have decided to blog about books and my favorite beverage while reading, wine.
I live in South Florida and I average about 2 books or so a week. I read everything from paranormal romance to metaphysical self help stuff and an entire gamut of great literature in between.

Right now I am reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is a combination of travelogue, journal, and self help. Ms. Gilbert takes me from New York all the way to Indonesia with stops in Rome, Naples, and an ashram in India. She intersperses her wonderful descriptions of places I have only dreamed about with tales of love, breakups, family and friends. I didn't like Ms. GIlbert at first. Leaving her husband because she doesn't want to be married any more really bugged me. I have a hard time with leaving a marriage because "we've grown apart." How about trying to grow back together again? I have been married 25 years and there were definite times when I didn't want to be married anymore but I went to bed and in the morning I got up and tried again. (I am now stepping down from my soap box).

After the marriage or as the marriage is dissolving she falls in love with another man and another dysfunctional realtionship. I want to say at this time I think Gilbert is really brave. She puts herself all out there, warts and all and says "It's not so bad." She leaves the ex-husband, the boyfriend and heads out by herself to the great wide open world.

I loved her time in Italy. I felt like I became friends with her. She made even the most simple meal of cheese and olives a gourmet treat. I wanted to stand next to her and giggle over the frolicking nymph fountains. I can't wait to get enough money together to explore her cities, eat pizza at Pizzeria de Michele and visit Venice bfore it sinks. Shiraz was my wine of choice as I traveled Italia with Elizabeth, spicy, rich and aromatic just like the country of Ceasear.

Her stay in the Ashram in India was, for me, nothing short of profound. I felt her frustration with her meditation practices and loved the outspoken Richard from Texas. He is a true Southern Sage. I especially loved what he had to say about soulmates. He said, "Soulmates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave." That is worth thinking over. This morning as I drove down Ocean Ave. toward work I wound down car windows, breathed in deeply of the ocean air and chanted : Ohm Namah Shivayah. It was soothing but no great insights yet. I have to say I didn't feel wine was appropriate with all the yoga and vegetable eating going on in this section of the book. Grapefruit juice with its sweetness and hint of bitter was the beverage of enlightenment.

After reaching several serious moments of Bliss, Liz heads to Indonesia, Bali to be specific. She has healed a lot of wounds since leaving the Ashram. Amidst the rice terraces and monkeys she hooks up with a medicine man she met 2 years previous and embarks on a love affair with a sexy, older Brazilian. Hmmmm... I am thinking maybe something light like a Chardonnay with green, tarty, flirty flavors.

It would be easy to say this book is about one woman's journey around the world. Love and spirituality were the spices of the story. The truth of the matter is this book is about one woman's journey to love and spirituality and the world just added some flavor. Namaste:)Mame