Riverdance Turns 25

I couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the 25th anniversary of a show that changed my life: Riverdance. The stage show began as a 7-minute act performed during an intermission at the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, 1994. The performance was a smash hit with the audience, causing a chain reaction that breathed new life into Irish dancing around the world. The great minds behind this phenomenon are composer Bill Whelan, director John McColgan, featured dancers Jean Butler and Michael Flatley who also contributed choreography, producer Moya Doherty, and, of course, the rest of the hardworking crew & talented company of dancers.

Four years after Riverdance made its grand debut, I received a VHS from a family friend, a tape of the show during its 1995 debut run in Dublin. Four-year-old me had no idea my life was about to change. I can’t even tell you how many times that tape played while I leaped & twirled across the living room floor. It wasn’t long before I was taking my first tap class. Did I become an Irish dancer? No. Did I bring every ounce of passion I possessed as a proud Irish girl into ballet, jazz, modern, & tap classes for 12 1/2 years? YES I DID!!! 🔥

It’s hard to explain how much this show means to me, but believe me when I say it holds a very VERY special place in my heart. It was not only my introduction to the dance culture in both Ireland & Spain but also my introduction to dance. I lost my passion & did not pursue a career as a dancer, but I never lost my love for all things dance. To this day, I drag my dad to the theater if Riverdance visits our neck of the woods (he knows he loves it!). I’ve seen it five times, & I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

To the Riverdance companies & crews: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you have done. Happy Anniversary! I am looking forward to 25 more years of this special show!

Do yourself a favor & watch the moment when it all began:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAtkcHpSHCw

P.S. Shout out to María Pagés, the original flamenco dancer in Riverdance & my Spanish queen since the age of 4. 🇪🇸

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk6LYFwP8lE

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Super Bowl LIII

Let’s pretend two things:

1) Super Bowl LIII wasn’t utter crap. 😑

2) I wrote this on time. 😂

A m a z o n

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y-1h_C8ad8

If Harrison Ford is involved, I’m a fan. 😍

A v e n g e r s : E n d g a m e

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iFq6IcAxBc

The only time you will see grown men cry during a sport 💔

. . . although this particular Super Bowl made a lot of people shed tears of boredom. 😭

B u b l y 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRfsJi_0HHA

This is a reminder that Michael Bublé is a North American treasure. 👑

B u d   L i g h t

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoLiRI5swVk

Where does your allegiance lie? I bend the knee for House Stark. ❄️ 🐺 ❄️

C a p t a i n   M a r v e l

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCoPycawxUk

Another moment that made grown men cry. 😉

C B S

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvr8IyGuSVE

The Sheriff is a man of many talents. 🤠

C o l g a t e

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3QQnqI2Ee4

I just can’t resist Luke Wilson. 🙃

D o r i t o s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTMzIZhI7q8

🎵 I’m not a huge fan of the rap section, but this is a great commercial overall. 🎶

H o b b s   &   S h a w

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvAyMzXQ6n0

🔥 Dwayne. Helen. Idris. Jason. Roman. 🔥

H y u n d a i

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5FzKB5TW0Y

I’m in love with Jason Bateman. That is all. 💘

M i c r o s o f t

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YISTzpLXCY

There’s something in my eye. 😢 💕

N F L

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJjiIuH1VnY

For once, NFL fans can all agree on something: This commercial is F A N T A S T I C ! ! !

O l a y

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMkdqm4FFVw

The timing of the face ID malfunction is modern day horror. Genius!

P e p s i

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sYElEbRzKA

This is basically a Michael Scott SBLIII commercial, & I’m here for it.

P r i n g l e s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDakI68u2xE

If a company transformed me into a virtual assistant: Debbie Downer 🤪

S t e l l a   A r t o i s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=439muvajodg

This is on the list because of Jeff Bridges’ fashion choices & use of “Stella Artoes.” 😂

T – M o b i l e

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTEIPTnb7lE

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_hfxPnmgjM

This may or may not be me . . . 😂 😂 😂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEezKZ5XM4g

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Farewell Rio

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

With sadness, I bid farewell to the 2016 Olympics.  I have been filled with pride and joy watching my teams compete these past two weeks.  Yes, I said teams.  Of course USA is my number one, but I also support the countries that make up my heritage.  After all, they are underdogs compared to team USA.  No harm done!  Let’s take a look at the medal count:

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• Team USA 🇺🇸 | 121 Medals | 46 G – 37 S – 38 B

• Team Great Britain 🇬🇧 | 67 Medals | 27 G – 23 S – 17 B

• Team Spain 🇪🇸 | 17 Medals | 7 G – 4 S – 6 B

• Team Israel 🇮🇱 | 2 Medals | 2 B

• Team Ireland 🇮🇪 | 2 Medals | 2 S

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What were your favorite moments in Rio?? I have so many I could mention, but I will try to narrow it down.  I felt like a proud mother watching Michael Phelps have one last successful Olympic games after the rough few years he’s had (maybe he’ll be back!).  The USA women’s gymnastics team kicked butt and made me feel more patriotic than I have ever felt in my entire life.  Shout-out to Michael Phelps (5G, 1S), Katie Ledecky (4G, 1S), and Simone Biles (4G, 1B)!!  According to Google, they are the top medalists for 2016.  Team USA made me proud all around, but it felt good to dominate artistic gymnastics and swimming.  After a rough start, I am so proud of Spain for getting the bronze in men’s basketball.  Also, a silver in women’s basketball.  Top 3 in the world.  Not too shabby!!  I watched Marc Lopez & Rafael Nadal win gold in men’s doubles.  I’m pretty sure I grew gray hair during that match.  The stress was real, but Lopez earned his first medal, and Rafa now has a gold medal in singles and doubles.  I watched Team GB get the gold in women’s field hockey.  It was a stressful but thrilling game.  Well done ladies!  I did not have the pleasure of watching Ireland at all, but I am nonetheless proud.  Last but certainly not least, I want to express my admiration for Team Israel.  My heart breaks knowing that the Israeli athletes continue to be treated like trash.  However, they held their heads high, maintained composure, and walked away with two medals.

Farewell Olympics!  See you in Tokyo!! 🇯🇵

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

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– Lauren Michele <3

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What’s Happened to the Theatre?

Art & Design Studios. The Historic Lansdowne Theater Restoration. John Milner Architects. Web. 8 June 2016. http://artanddesignstudio.com/Architectural-illustration-5.html.

Art & Design Studios. The Historic Lansdowne Theater Restoration. John Milner Architects. Web. 8 June 2016. http://artanddesignstudio.com/Architectural-illustration-5.html.

Back in March, my dad was kind enough to buy tickets to Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games featuring a special performance by Michael Flatley.  We did what we always do: dress up and eat at a nice restaurant before the show.  After arriving at the theater and finding our seats, I had time to people-watch.  Unfortunately, what I saw horrified me.  Attending the theater doesn’t mean you have to wear expensive clothing, but, out of respect for the cast and crew, you should look presentable.  It breaks my heart to say I saw more than one hoodie that night.  I rarely get to see theater performances therefore each and every time I go, it is a special occasion.  Theater is different from the cinema.  Movie theaters are set up for comfort, and the actors aren’t feeding off of spectators in person.  Theater performers prepare months in advance for live performances; when the time comes, they can see the audience and feed off of what they see.  Show them that you care!!

Other Lord of the Dance-Related Blog Posts:

• Dream Come True – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/dream-come-true/

• Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games Review – https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/lord-of-the-dance-dangerous-games-review/

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– Lauren Michele <3

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The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale | April 2016

💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀

Take a deep breath TWD fans.  Let’s talk through the pain.

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* * * Warning: I will be talking openly so please DO NOT read this if you have not watched the season 6 finale.  There may be SPOILERS ahead.

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1.  I have no idea what is wrong with Maggie, but I’m scared.  What happens if she miscarried??  Every human that dies becomes a zombie.  What does that mean??  Are things about to get really weird??

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2.  I’m pretty sure Carl and Enid will never be friends again.  He locked her in a closet!!  I know he was trying to protect her, but I don’t think she will be very understanding.  On the other hand, maybe she will be.  The group has worse things to deal with now.

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3.  I loved watching Carol’s progression into the kick-butt category but didn’t realize the toll it had taken until this episode.  She stared death in the face and taunted her shooter to finish the job.  She has managed to stay alive, but fear and emotion are starting to make her unstable.

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4.  I was concerned when Morgan told Carol’s shooter he could leave alive.  He has tried my patience this season with his “zen” approach to the zombie apocalypse.  Thankfully he did what he had to do: shoot the enemy.  Seriously though, the one time he decides to kill a (bad) human, and he wastes all of his bullets.  One headshot would have sufficed.

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5.  The Saviors taunted Rick’s group the entire episode, but the worst blow was the stunt they pulled dressing two zombies with items from Daryl and Michonne.  That was cruel considering no one knew Daryl, Glenn, Michonne, and Rosita were in danger.

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6.  This episode had me on edge the entire 90 minutes.  By the end, I had cried and said goodbye to every character just in case.  When Eugene left with the RV, I was sure he was a dead man.  Next thing I know, I’m watching several beloved characters kneel before Negan and fear for their lives.  My body was shaking.  My hands were partially covering my eyes.  Tears were streaming down my face.  I was not okay.  I’m still not okay.

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Closing Thoughts:  First of all, let’s take a moment to appreciate the stellar cast.  The regulars did a fantastic job, especially those who came face to face with Negan.  Watching Rick go from confident leader to powerless victim was heartbreaking.  The Saviors’ whistling sent chills down my spine and freaked me out, paving the way for Negan.  I knew Jeffrey Dean Morgan would kill it, and he did not disappoint.  In the end, it was implied that someone died a la Lucille, but the identity was not revealed.  I was so emotionally shaken that I didn’t think twice about the cliffhanger until I read social media comments.  I have come to expect cliffhangers from TWD so I wasn’t bothered, but I understand why fans are upset.  After numerous mid-season and season finale cliffhangers, people were craving some closure, closure they once again did not get.  I trust that the writers know what they’re doing, but I do think the show has lost some of its edge in the eyes of viewers.  I have not given up and don’t plan on doing so anytime soon.  The Negan storyline is promising in terms of edgy content, and I’m nervous/excited to see what happens next.

💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I saw “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” last night.  I could gut the movie and critique it piece by minuscule piece, but that is not what I’m going to do.  Let me lay it out plain, simple, & to the point.  If you are incapable of reveling in gloom, loud noises, knock-down, drag-out fights, & a mash-up of iconic comic book imagery, this is not the movie for you.  You have been warned!

* Note: Beware!!  I did not intentionally mention SPOILERS, but there may be some mentioned by accident.

My love and respect for Christopher Nolan’s trilogy had me on high alert when plans for this movie surfaced.  I was upset and nervous about a new Batman because he is the man, the hero of all heroes in my eyes.  Christian Bale killed it as the “Dark Knight.”  Even though Ben Affleck is a fantastic actor, I was nervous because I HATE change.  I should have known better than to doubt.  The movie pulled me in with a Hulk-like grasp and didn’t let go until the closing credits (sorry for the Marvel reference).   The visuals were well done; they created a believable environment of equal parts gloom and chaos, appropriate for this particular story.  The acting confirmed smart casting choices.  Each time a familiar face appeared onscreen, I was overwhelmed by childlike excitement.  I’m still iffy on “The Flash.”  I love the character but don’t know much about actor Ezra Miller, and the suit could easily become cheesy.  I am trying to keep an open mind until I see him in a full scene/movie.  Director Zack Snyder deserves acknowledgement.  By default he takes any and all blame and goes down with the ship.  However, he is an amazing director and does not deserve the criticism he’s receiving.

I went in with doubts and tentative expectations, and yet I have nothing substantially negative to say.  Why did I enjoy it so much?  I let go of my thoughts and enjoyed the movie for what it was.  Was it perfect?  No.  A lot of content was stuffed into 151 minutes.  However, DC fans have waited a long time for a live action version of the Justice League.  I believe a sense of urgency drove the filmmaking process.  I refuse to ruin this moment of triumph in the DC Universe.  The films will only get bigger and better from here so why waste breath on complaints.  Instead, let’s all enjoy the mental picture of a 22 year old woman (me) tearing up from pure, nerdy joy in the movie theater.  You’re welcome. ;)

Official Website – http://batmanvsuperman.dccomics.com

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX_iASz1Si8

Batman & Superman Inspired Art – Dark Knight | Man of Steel

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– Lauren Michele <3

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