Questions, Comments, Concerns: The Passion

It’s time for another live TV production for everyone on the Internet to comment on! We’ve previously covered The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz, Grease: Live! and now we’re giving our thoughts on everyone’s favorite musical, The Passion. Although it’s technically not a musical, but more of a story with music.

What even is The Passion? It’s basically the story of the final days of Jesus’ life. This passion play has been done for years around the world, but this specific show is derived from a British TV production, where celebrities paraphrase certain Bible passages which tell the story of Easter, and in between, they sing live performances of pop songs relevant to the story. Meanwhile, a group of people carry a huge cross towards the main stage in the center square where all the action takes place.

The Passion has been huge in The Netherlands over the past few years, and each year it takes place in a different city. In the American version, Tyler Perry’s The Passion took place in New Orleans on Sunday, which was Palm Sunday aka the Sunday before Easter. Whether you’re a believer or not, there’s still a lot to talk about regarding the actual show, so here are some questions, comments, and concerns that came up while watching this musical event for the first time.

Question: What is this stage?

It looks like it could double as Justin Bieber’s latest tour stage.

Concern: This is not a play

Apparently this show is more of a presentation than a theatrical play. I thought it was more along the lines of telling the Easter story with music, but according to Tyler Perry, it’s not. He is the emcee/host/storyteller/narrator of this show, and I also didn’t realize he was going to be doing an opening monologue and continuously explain what’s happening or what’s about to happen. He starts on the Bieber stage in the middle of New Orleans’ Woldenberg Park, and at one point, he’s trying to get through his speech but people start cheering and he pauses to let them continue cheering. It’s… weird? He also says, “…As New Orleans becomes our Jersusalem” there are more cheers from the crowd, who are v excited to see their city turned into the big JC’s hometown.

Comment: Yolanda Adams is serving Jesus chic in this dress

Gospel singer Yolanda Adams sings the first song of the night, When Love Takes Over, originally by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. I guess it works.

Comment: I’m thrown by the pre-taped packages

Tyler Perry throws to the huge video screens which show Jesus (Jencarlos Canela) rolling with his crew aka the disciples featuring Prince Royce (Peter), Chris Daughtry (Judas) and Christian singer Michael W. Smith (misc. disciple) singing Celine Dion’s Love Can Move Mountains. They’re initially on a famous New Orleans trolley and make their way to some large park and it’s clear this was one of the pre-taped segments for the show. I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around what’s happening. Like there are these folks on the trolley who I think are acting as if Jencarlos is Jesus, but the folks near Tyler Perry are regular audience members. So I guess the Bieber stage is present day and everywhere else is “Jerusalem”? Does it even matter that I have to delineate which one is which?

Question: Is Tyler Perry going to keep telling us what’s about to happen?

Is it necessary to give a character breakdown of all the people in this show? Tyler Perry gives a brief description of the main players in JC’s crucifixion story, but I feel like we can figure it out? But I guess if no one’s saying lines describing what happened in makes sense? And I get that if people are tuning in and not familiar with the Bible/this story and have no idea who the “characters” involved in this story are, you have to explain it… but why are they watching anyways?

Comment: I see you Pontious Pilate

 You talkin’ to no one, Seal.

Comment: Tricia Yearwood is still a solid singer

Trisha is playing the role of JC’s mom Mary. By “playing” I mean Tyler Perry tells me she’s Mary and Trisha sings a song describing how Mary felt towards her son Jesus. On the bright side, I will say it’s hard to cover a Whitney song and be good at it but Trisha’s doing My Love Is Your Love justice.

Concern: All of the disciples’ scenes are possibly pre-taped

We cut to JC and his disciples in a coffee shop and JC is all, ‘Yo Peter, you gonna be the main man to build this whole Christianity thang’ and Peter’s all… ‘Imma dip out byeeeeee’.

Comment: This is giving me Left Behind vibes

Right now, I feel like I’m watching a Christian movie and Kirk Cameron is going to pop up at any second.

Concern: Jesus is… offputting

Is it horrible that I do not care for the way Jencarlos is playing Jesus right now? It feels forced and he has a hint of cockiness to how he’s playing it, and I don’t like it one bit.

Comment: Cross bearers are part of a glorified news report

Throughout the show, a giant illuminated cross is being carried through the city with more and more people joining the group as they go along the route. Joining them is Nischelle Turner, who is a reporter on Entertainment Tonight – I only know this because I have to watch ET every day but they didn’t mention it during the show. She’s basically like the man on the ground with the cross bearers and talking with some of them as they go. So that’s a thing we didn’t see in Grease: Live!

Comment: “Celebrity” cameos are happening

Jesus goes up to a food truck and asks for loaves and fishes (see: parable). Top Chef alum and The Chew host Carla Hall works on the Fish & Bread (???) truck and happily gives it to him, but did we need a cameo from a familiar face in this?

Comment: No one likes Creed

this is a real angelfire site

Jesus is singing Creed’s With Arms Wide Open during The Last Supper but I think JC would still be on the side of most people by saying Creed isn’t the best.

Concern: Time is going slowly

Trisha Yearwood is currently singing contemporary pop hit Hands by Jewel and legit I feel like I’ve been watching this for 2 hours but it’s only been 30 minutes.

Comment: The cross just went down Bourbon Street

The illuminated cross was brought down New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street, which if you don’t know is home to a bunch of bars and a lot of Mardi Gras celebrations. So that’s a first. Nischelle interviewed a man who is in the military and also a woman whose teenage son was killed due to violence, so in addition to the Christian story they’re telling, they’re also incorporating social issues. Tyler Perry made a few (horrible) jokes too. I’m just so confused as to what this whole thing is.

Question: Why is Judas singing Evanescence in an empty factory

Judas is having some internal struggles while he battles betraying Jesus, so he decides to since Bring Me To Life by Evanescence in a dark, empty, creepy factory building. I find it impressive yet unnerving due to the location, but Tyler Perry has a different response, saying of the (pre-taped) scene, “Wow, I believe he’s in turmoil.”

Comment: The audience is feelin it

 A lot of the audience members are really feeling the show and are getting emotional. It looks like it could be a scene from Jesus Camp. But then there are some who are the folks who constantly are aware they’re on TV and wave every chance they get.

Comment: Jesus Christ: The Unauthorized Musical

I just realized the best way to describe this show – an unauthorized musical about the final days of Jesus’ life. Remember how a couple of producers in LA have made the Unauthorized Cruel Intentions musical and the Unauthorized The O.C. musical (which I pitched songs for) and the upcoming Unauthorized Friday Night Lights musical? This is what that is. Retelling a story with the characters singing “modern” pop songs is exactly what The Passion is and I wish I truly understood that before I watched this.

Question: Why is it taking so long for Judas to kiss Jesus

Honestly, there’s no time for singing. He needs to betray him immediately. I will say that this is a powerful scene with the police taking Jesus away while the other disciples fight back and an eerie reminder this is what’s happening in America and not just fictionalized Jerusalem.

Comment: Lil Wayne tho

This commercial featuring Lil Wayne just aired and I am dying. He’s actually really funny! And maybe the most entertaining part of this show!

Question: Where is Hoobastank?

Because they’re still getting royalties off The Reason 12 years later and honestly, good for them. But was I missing Hoobastank in my life? No.

Concern: How heavy is this cross tho?

Photo Mar 22, 12 20 03 AM

I know a bunch of folks are carrying the cross and the weight is distributed evenly, but still, it can’t be easy to carry a large illuminated cross for 2 miles.

Comment: A real musical in a faux musical

Trisha’s singing You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel and I’d honestly rather watch Carousel right now.

Comment: Seal as Pontius Pilate

Jesus is in custody and brought to the Bieber stage for the first time since the show started an hour and a half ago. Seal also shows up as Pontius Pilate and I’ve always thought that if Seal played a villain it wouldn’t be a stretch. Also, they’re singing a song I’ve never heard before called We Don’t Need Another Hero, which is apparently by Tina Turner for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Comment: I think I’m biased against Seal

Remember last week when I said Kiss From a Rose was overplayed and I ended up hating it because of its heavy rotation? I think that has made me subconsciously dislike Seal and throughout his entire rendition of Mad World, I tuned out.

Question: Is Lifehouse a Christian band?

Trisha Yearwood is singing Lifehouse’s Broken, which is not only a song I’ve never heard of but, seamlessly fits as a song Mary sings as she says goodbye to her son. It’s such a good match that I’m wondering if Lifehouse made a foray into Christian music.

Comment: Tyler Perry has confidence

The way pastor Tyler Perry is talking and saying how “amazing” the show is makes it seem like he’s overly confident like he is well aware all of America is watching and tweeting about this show right now. Update: 6.61 million people tuned in to see The Passion, which is way down from when Fox did Grease: Live in January. To put it in perspective, more people watched Steve Harvey’s new kid talent show Little Big Shots than The Passion.

Question: Is Jesus about to pull a Michael Scott?

After the crucifixion (that Tyler Perry described to us instead of it being acted out), Jesus rises from the dead and Jencarlos shows up on the roof of a building overlooking the Bieber stage and the reveal of his location is legit like Michael Scott going on roof of Dunder Mifflin and threatening to jump. Also, it’s really windy which is a bit concerning.

Comment: I guess that was ok

Photo Mar 22, 12 09 28 AM

I think the main problem is that although I knew what the idea of the show was, I still thought it was going to be more like Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar. Not to say it was horrible. You know who probably really liked this show? My parents. My parents who are super in the big JC and are probably talking about it like we talk about the last episode of Scandal. So, glad they finally have a TV program to chat about.

 

Advertisements

The Real World New Orleans: Where Are They Now?

June 14th, 2000 – the day The Real World: New Orleans premiered on MTV. It’s been 15 years since we were introduced to the true story of seven strangers – David, Melissa, Kelley, Jamie, Danny, Matt and Julie – and found out what happened when they stopped being polite and started getting real.

Turns out that story became one of the most memorable seasons of the groundbreaking reality show, and my personal favorite. I was the kid who watched too much TV when I was younger – not only a lot of it, but probably stuff that was out of my demographic. The first season of The Real World I watched was season four, in London, like, in real time. It was 1995 and I was nine years old. By 2000, I was a seasoned vet of TRW, and the New Orleans cast/show spoke to me on a deep level. It probably had a lot to do with Melissa, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

When I moved from Boston to LA about six years ago, my two friends and I stopped in New Orleans on our road trip, and I had to put the Belfort Mansion on the To Do list. The house is a huge two-story 19th century Greek revival mansion in the Garden District, and when producers found it, owners were in the process of turning it from apartments to a single-family house. This is what it looked like during filming:

After the cast moved out, it took about four and a half years to turn it into the single-fam residence, and that’s what it is today. This is what it looked like in 2009 when we creepily stood outside and took pix of ourselves in front of it:

1929290_554294457431_6913468_n

The color is more beige in person, and the “Belfort” sign on the door is gone. So now that you know what the mansion is up to these days, let’s take a look at what the Real 7 at 7 are up to today.

David Broom

Photo Jun 15, 1 21 21 AM

Then: A student from Chicago who had a 4.0 GPA, didn’t drink or smoke, as working out was his vice. He was known as a ladies man and aspiring musician, as evidenced by his classic hit, Come On Be My Baby Tonight.

Now: David now goes by the name, Tokyo Niyeli, a nickname given to him by his friends because of his love for Japanese anime. He lives in Chicago and continues to do some work with MTV, but he’s also a YouTube personality, thanks to yet another moniker, Chef Showtime. He’s combined his love of cooking and music into one by creating videos of original tunes with recipes of his favorite foods, like this apple pie. It’s actually annoyingly catchy, just like Come On Be My Baby Tonight, which I still think about and sing outloud to this day.

Melissa Howard

Photo Jun 15, 1 23 43 AM

Then: Originally from Tampa, Florida, Melissa was known for bringing comic relief to the house, and is possibly the funniest person to have ever been featured on TRW. She liked to paint, was often the center of attention, and butted heads with David. Often.

Now: Melissa moved to Los Angeles after TWR to be a stand-up comedian, and when she was a guest on The Late Show with Craig Kilborn, she straight up asked for a job, and ended up working as a PA on The Jamie Foxx Show. Later, she became a cast member of Oxygen’s prank show Girls Behaving Badly, and later appeared on Bravo’s Battle of the Network Reality Stars. In 2007, she married Glassjaw rocker Justin Beck, and converted to Judaism.  They live in Long Island, and they have two daughters – Shalom, 6, and Maja, 2. She is an excellent writer and her pieces can be found on her personal Tumblr here.

Kelley Limp

Photo Jun 15, 1 24 23 AM

Then: A sorority girl from Arkansas who was steadily dating a medical student called Peter throughout her time in the house. She became BFFs with gay friend Danny, and had an aspiring career in broadcast journalism.

Now: After the show, she was a caterer and event planner, and eventually moved into being a life coach. Scored big time after marrying actor Scott ‘Dimples’ Wolf in 2004. They live in Los Angeles with their three really super cute kids.

Jamie Murray

Photo Jun 15, 1 22 36 AM

Then: A web entrepreneur from Illinois who had that haircut all the cute boys had in the 2000s. Melissa had a crush on him, but he always brushed it off.

Now: Jamie is still in Chicago and works for Internet company Pauwow.com, which apparently is ” easiest and most conclusive way to poll your friends on Facebook.”

Danny Roberts

Photo Jun 15, 1 22 06 AM

Then: Gorgeous, southern boy from Atlanta, who is close to his mother, but not so much with his father. He’s BFF with Kelley, and was secretly dating Paul, an officer in the military, whose face had to be blurred out to protect his identity thanks to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. Four years after TRW, he and Paul appeared in an MTV special in which Paul revealed his identity.

Now: Still gorgeous and still based in Atlanta. He scored a few acting jobs, including a season four cameo as a ‘French’ guy in Dawson’s Creek, and toured schools talking about diversity in sexuality, coming out, and public policy, particularly Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He jumped from career to career, working at a corporate non-profit foundation, to working as a recruiter for real estate website Redfin, and now he works as a talent scout at MailChimp (Yes, that MailChimp). In 2013, he married someone he became friends with in college, and reconnected with after TRW. He also goes by Jason Danny Roberts, his real name, now.

Matt Smith

Photo Jun 15, 1 25 21 AM

Then: Despite looking like a ska/punk rocker with crazy shirts, the Georgia Tech web design student was a devout Catholic who was a big hip-hop fanatic. Julie had a crush on Matt, but he treated her more like her protective brother.

Now: Matt is the founder/CEO of smithHOUSE, a Phoenix-based design focusing on mobile, web, social media, and branding. He is happily married with four daughters who are really super cute. You can keep up with him via his blog, on which he still calls himself a ‘hip-hop mogul’.

Julie Stoffer

Photo Jun 15, 1 25 52 AM

Then: The Mormon girl from BYU. Because of the school’s strict policies, she was constantly worried about her living with men on the show, which goes against the school honor code. She was the ‘innocent’ one and arguably learned a lot from being in the ‘real world’ the most out of all her castmates. She flirted with Matt a lot, but alas, he’s just not that into you.

Now: After appearing in a Real World/Road Rules Challenge or two, and co-hosted G4’s video game-centred show, Electric Playground. She ended up transferring to University of Connecticut, and in 2004, she married Spencer Rogers, an ophthalmologist. His work has taken them across the country, where they lived in Northern California, and currently live in San Luis Obispo, along with their daughter Evelyn and son Westley. Oh, she also changed her name to Juliet.

BONUS:

Some of my fave moments from the show, all happen to feature Melissa. She’s said in an interview that after she saw Ruthie on TRW: Hawaii, a fellow ‘brown girl’, she thought she had a shot of being on the show too. For me, it was one of the first times I had seen a young Filipino girl/woman on TV, and I found her fascinating. Her impressions of her mother, Mercy, was so familiar to me because I knew her. I knew Mercy in real life, not necessarily in my own mother, but parts of her, her friends and relatives. Melissa’s humor was also something I related to, because that is also my default quality. So, here it is, maybe my favorite moment from the season, and all of TRW (that I’ve seen). There are so many things to love about this, the kertanging, the friend playing the computer, Jamie and Kelley listening to David, but the best is Melissa’s comedic commentary.

 

Carnival is Weird: World Edition

For partiers and the lackadaisical types, this week has been perfect so far. On Monday, many Americans stayed at home or enjoyed a good sale thanks to Presidents Day. On Tuesday, many folks reveled in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Many kids have the entire week of for winter break, and hell, Mardi Gras is still alive and well. For those who need a quick reminder, Mardi Gras = Fat Tuesday, a celebration of everything in excess before you fast or give things up for Lent, the time period leading up to Easter. Now Mardi Gras is the biggest celebration in the U.S., but around the world, there are oh so many more extravagant parties.

When I studied in the Netherlands, I happened to be in Nice, France during their weeklong version of Mardi Gras, which is Carnival. You probably relate the term to the biggest one in Rio, where I’m pretty convinced no one goes to work for like, a good month. I had never experienced anything like it before – drinking, parades, people dancing in the street, just a lot of organized chaos and large bejeweled costumes. People do Carnival big overseas, and to be quite honest, some of the floats and masks and costumes are just plain weird. And scary. But mostly weird. While you’re sitting at work today, here are so people around the world that are actually having a better (yet odder) week than you.

Brazil

Sao Paulo – If you stare into her glasses long enough, you’ll think she’s the love child of Beetlejuice and Lady Gaga

Rio – I feel like this is the version of the Hulk I would see if I was tripping on shrooms. Do kids still do that these days?

Rio – Obviously Rio has the largest Carnival in the world with tourists flocking there every year, but the scariest thing about this picture isn’t the creepy sleeping mask float – it’s the thousands of people crammed in that arena. I MEAN THE PARKING MUST BE A NIGHTMARE

Rio – Carnival: Where you can get a cheerful reminder that global warming exists and we’re all gonna die soon

Paraty – Outside of Rio, there are plenty more Carnival celebrations, and in Paraty, they have what’s called the “Bloco da Lama” or “Mud Block” carnival party. According to local legend, the off tradition of covering yourself in dark mud and dancing dates back to 1986 (exactly our year of birth), when teens who were hiking in a nearby forest slathered themselves in mud to ward off mosquitoes as they went through the town. The tradition has grown every since. IDK, you can go to the Korean Spa and get something like this without the danger of diseases or whatever is in dark mud.

Germany

Cologne – Nothing says “I’m ready for Lent” like cut plastic watering cans with tiny disco balls and feathers attached to it.

Munderkingen – My, what large nostrils you have scary clown man!

Wuerzberg – For some reason I feel like this pink elephants got lost on their way to the pride parade.

Mainz – Is this the episode of Walking Dead where the dude from Love Actually starts killing German zombies?

Wuerzburg – Ich wanna Rock and Roll all night!

Mainz – Vlad Putin. In a bear costume. On a float that says “Problem Bear” … in GERMANY.

Dusseldorf – Apparently the Germans like to incorporate a lot of political floats in their parades.

The Netherlands

Roermond – I just feel like people must be high 24/7 during Carnival week in order to just get through it.

Italy

Venice – Never has Venice looked so much like the set of Pretty Little Liars.

Hungary

Mohacs – I know where the wild things are

Spain

Aguilas – Not shitting you. These are dancing Jim Carreys from The Mask. Apparently Aguilas is 21 years late to the party. Sssssmmmmookin! *jazz hands*

Luzon – In more frightening Carnival news, Luzon holds the La Fiesta de los Diablos y Mascaritas, or Festival of Devils and Masks. Clearly the dude with the horns represents the devils and the ladies are the masks. Couldn’t pay me enough to hang out with these people.

Luzon – I mean come on. For Lent I would give up hanging out with anyone who dresses like Babe the Blue Ox’s long lost evil twin brother.

Lesaka – Spain, seriously, what’s up with your Carnival traditions? In the small village of Lesaka, townspeople dress as the “Zaku Zaharrak”, or “Old Sack”. After the sun sets, they cover their faces with white handkerchiefs, stuff themselves with straws in sacks, hold a stick of an inflated animal’s bladder (which is used to hit people), and roam through the streets for hours dancing to an accompanied band. Hide yo kids. Hide yo wives.

Switzerland

Lucerne – I’d like to call this series “Switzerland takes well-known children’s story characters and fucks it all up”. Here is Shrek and Princess Fiona, who is apparently being held at gunpoint.

Lucerne – “How do you expect me to grow, if you won’t let me blow??”

Lucerne – Antonio Banderas sure has changed since his split with Melanie Griffith.

Lucerne – In which the Native American crying by the side of the road goes to see Dr. 90210 and has a botched face lift.

Lucerne – Just kidding. THIS is the episode of The Walking Dead where the dude from Love Actually travels to Switzerland in the 1960s.

Lucerne – Something has changed within me. Something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game

Lucerne – Frozen 2: The long lost third princess of Arendelle returns from Star Trek Deep Space Nine

Solange Wore A Cape To Her Wedding And We Can All Stop Trying

Solange Knowles – sister to Bey, aunt to Blue Ivy, daughter to Tina, kicker to Jay Z – tied the knot to music video director Alan Ferguson yesterday in New Orleans. Because nothing is private, pretty much their entire weekend was documented, including the happy couple rolling up to the wedding venue in style on white bicycles.

Unlike her sister, Solange decided to share her big day with us peons, releasing exclusive photos to Vogue of her and her bridesmaids (yes, including Queen B & Miss Tina & a very happy Janelle Monae) of her all-white wedding that would make Billy Idol proud. I have so many things to say about this but I don’t think it would be appropriate for the entire post to consist of emojis that look like this:

IMG_1009.JPGSo I’ll try to use my words instead. Solange wore three different outfits for her wedding, the first being the cream Stephanie Rolland jumpsuit as seen in the pre-ceremony transpo pic above. This is probably my favorite look out of the three, because it gives her a feel of class with the cape (praise hands with palms facing out emoji) but a feeling of fun since she’s in a jumpsuit and ready for anything. Also, it’s backless. IT’S BACKLESS! For the actual getting married part, she opted for a dress designed by Humberto Leon for Kenzo, and lawd help us all she looks like a freaking vision. Like an angel in a cape sent from heaven to let us know that all our style sins have been forgiven. Paired with those gold stacked bracelets, I would imagine Solange wearing nothing else on her wedding day. Finally, Solange, hubs, fam & friends took to the streets of Nawlins with a celebratory band and dancing and now I know what I want to do for my own wedding. The third look was the more fun reception style, back in a jumpsuit by Stephanie Rolland but this time the cape had more ruffle to it.

IMG_1008.JPG

Of course, there are more photos featuring all of the wedding party (yes, flower girl Blue Ivy) smiling and laughing and having the time of their lives. But as we all know, weddings are usually a lot about the bride and what she’s wearing, so I’m gonna go back to her for a sec.

Solange has become a fashion maven over the past few years whether you have paid attention or not. I mean there’s a reason why she shared her exclusive pix with Vogue. Solange has never been one to be afraid to wear a certain color or style or trend, in fact if I were to sum up her fashion style, it would be fearless eccentricity. She dares to be different and doesn’t give a shit if you like it or not (but if you have an semblance of taste, you will).

Of course, a penchant for fashion and style runs in the family, with Bey as the Instagram model for every outfit she wears and Miss Tina – well we all know Miss Tina used to design the Destiny’s Child outfits back in the day, and back then they didn’t seem as ridiculous as they look now. BTW TINA KNOWLES SLAYYYEEDDD AT THE WEDDING. ok end caps.  So with fashion in her genes (jeans?), it makes sense that Solange is a style savant and a woman with enough balls to wear not one but three capes to her wedding. If you need a refresher of how all her past looks have led up to this glorious day in all white everything, here are just some of her best looks. Praise Solange and her infinite style wisdom and cape.