ECLECTIC ARTS

Thursday, March 31, 2022

THE CONTRACTOR Film Review March 31, 2022 Eclectic Arts

THE CONTRACTOR

Paramount Pictures
Reviewed: 3/31/2022
Rating: 4.5 / 5

Available in Theaters and On Demand and Digital April 1st!


(Paramount Pictures)



The new film, “The Contractor” starring Chris Pine is an action thriller that is a fine addition to the genre.


The plot revolves around Special Forces Sergeant James Harper (played by Chris Pine), who is involuntarily discharged from the Army without access to his pension. He finds himself with no options and reluctantly decides to join an underground military group to make a living.


Chris Pine showed the world his acting chops in the film, “Hell Or High Water '' and guess what? He is paired back up with his co-star from that film Ben Foster. The chemistry between the two actors is unquestionably one of the best out there. They work so well together regardless of the characters they are playing. If I were a studio, I would develop a streaming series with the two actors asap.



((L-R) Nicolas Noblitt as Mike Jr.,Chris Pine as James Harper and Ben Foster as Mike in the action/thriller film, THE CONTRACTOR, a Paramount Pictures release.  MOTION PICTURE ARTWORK © 2022 STX FINANCING, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

   

Keifer Sutherland also adds his veteran experience to the film which, unlike a cashed in cameo appearance, is worthy of his name in the credits.


The tone of the film is stark at times and you really feel for the predicament Chris Pine’s character finds himself in.


“The Contractor” is a strong film and one worth seeking out in the theater or on digital.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

JULIA Debuts March 31st on HBO MAX Eclectic Arts Review

JULIA
Eight Episode Series
HBO MAX
Reviewed: 3/30/2022
Rating: 5 / 5

Debuts on March 31, 2022





It’s easy to forget the hardships any pioneer went through before they became famous in the public eye. There are not only a ton of food related shows in 2022 but there are whole channels dedicated to the subject.


When watching the new series from HBO Max, “Julia”, the viewer is reminded just how far we’ve come in more ways than one.


Julia Child was a best selling author that ventured into the realm of doing a cooking show on public television. At the time, it was unheard of. The naysayers were everywhere and the show almost didn’t happen.


The show does such an amazing job of showing all of the hardships Julia went through to get the show on the air (on her own dime - or rather, her father’s), let alone how it resonated with the American people.


Sarah Lancashire as Julia is just stellar in the role. She portrays the 6’2” Julia with such humor, humility, and insecurity that she basically becomes Julia in the first episode and every episode after. She is endearing and an unlikely hero which makes it easy to root for her success.


The supporting cast is a treasure of industry veterans that add a great deal of weight to the proceedings. David Hyde Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth, and James Cromwell just to name a few.


One thing that really struck me was just how for lack of a better term - full - the episodes look. The set design and how they were shot is a marvel to behold. From the patterns on Julia’s wardrobe to her home she shares with her supportive husband to the set where she conducts her show, there is such a richness to every frame that they require multiple viewings to catch all of the detail.


The first three episodes debut this Thursday March 31st and are absolutely well worth your viewing time.


Highly recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


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Monday, March 28, 2022

27th SEATTLE JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL March 24 - April 10th, 2022 Eclectic Arts


27th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
March 24th through April 10th, 2022


Purchase Tickets (Virtual and In-Person):  HERE!


Film Reviews



Fiddler’s Journey To The Big Screen
27th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/28/2021

Rating: 5 / 5


“Fiddler’s Journey To The Big Screen” is a wonderful documentary with plenty of interview footage from both film director Norman Jewison and film composer John Williams.


Being a musician myself and someone that loves cinema, it was really eye opening hearing about the details that both Norman and John looked at to make the musical work as a film. There were many things I never even considered that I will now look at with a keen eye for any other musical adaptation for the big screen.


The documentary features interviews with cast members from the film and the entire documentary is thoroughly fascinating. Whether you loved the musical or film or if you’re like me and have seen neither, either way, you’ll most certainly enjoy this documentary.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here




The Automat
27th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/28/2021

Rating: 5 / 5


I knew what an Automat was but that’s due to a comedy special from over ten years ago when one was shown overseas in Europe. The same design where columns of steel, with windows, and slots for money held various food items for purchase self-serve style. Had I not seen that special, I never would have known what the documentary film “The Automat” was about.


Director Lisa Hurwitz interviews family members related to the two founders Horn and Hardart of The Automat chain of stores as well as celebrities like Mel Brooks and politicians like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Colin Powell.


The documentary keeps a very smooth pace for the viewer. The concept of the Automat and its appeal is really explored with a great human interest angle. For the two cities where you could find the Automat’s, they were an inexpensive alternative for basically everyone. Race, age, creed, etc. none of it mattered at the Automat which for the time when they were around was a remarkable characteristic. Visual evidence was shown where in a time of segregation, black customers were sitting down and eating right next to white customers. Families were shown as for five cents (later ten cents), everyone could buy whatever they wanted, much like a mechanized buffet of sorts.


The film also has a wonderful knack of showing how both Horn and Hardart really did their best to take care of their employees and in turn many of the employees were loyal to the company. It seems like such a simple concept but I’m sure we all have experienced both sides of that particular coin.


“The Automat” is a well done documentary that is certainly worth investing your time with.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here




Apples and Oranges
27th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/28/2021

Rating: 5 / 5


One of the best aspects of any documentary is when they cover a topic I know nothing about. The opportunity to learn something new always keeps me coming back for more.


In the case of the documentary film, “Apples and Oranges”, I knew nothing of a kibbutz or volunteering to work on one. In the 60’s, volunteers from all over the world wanted to spend a month or so working on a kibbutz in Israel. With the hippie movement in the U.S. I could see why some of the volunteers wanted to go to Israel. The communal aspect, working the land, learning about a new culture and people was extremely enticing. Not to mention meeting other volunteers from other parts of the world.


The film does a fantastic job of showing what life was like as both a volunteer and kibbutznik. Several volunteers from different parts of the world are interviewed which really helps paint the picture. The pros and cons are explored as well, particularly as the volunteers were slowly viewed as lower class folks in later years. And as the political landscape changed, so did the volunteer program.


“Apples and Oranges” is not only educational but entertaining as well. It hits all the right notes and I found it highly enjoyable viewing.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts


Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here




Persian Lessons
27th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 4/1/2021

Rating: 5 / 5



“Persian Lessons” is a wonderful drama about a man who pretends to be of Persian descent to escape the potential death sentence when he is in fact Jewish. A German commanding officer learns of this and he orders the man named Gilles to teach him Farsi. The only problem is Gilles doesn’t know Farsi.


Thus begins the story and it’s an intriguing one. The film illustrates the lengths some would go to in order to live another day in the Nazi concentration camps.


“Persian Lessons” was a top notch film with riveting performances. This is definitely one film to screen while enjoying the festival.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here



When We See Ourselves (shorts program)
27th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 4/4/2021

Rating: 5 / 5


I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. Anytime you’re partaking in a film festival, do yourself a favor and check out at least one of the shorts blocks (if not all of them). Some of the best ideas and creative licenses happen in the shorts programs. “When We See Ourselves” continues the tradition of bringing really intriguing film ideas as stand alone shorts or as the springboard to a possible feature length film in the future.


All six short films were diverse in what they brought to the table but they were all equally valid in their own right. From serious drama to claymation type animation, “When We See Ourselves” was strong across the board.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts: Social Media Links Here


It is not a typo that all of the films from this year's festival were rated 5/5.  They were all amazing productions that were well deserving of their ratings.  I only wish I had more time in my schedule to check out some of the other offerings and attend the in-person events as well.

Perhaps next year my schedule will allow me to partake in the in-person experience.  Until then - thank you to everyone involved with the 2022 Seattle Jewish Film Festival.  You all have much to be proud of.

Best,
Mark
EA

THE SPITFIRE GRILL Taproot Theatre March 26, 2022 Eclectic Arts


The Spitfire Grill

Music and Book by James Valcq 
Lyrics and Book by Fred Alley
Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff

TAPROOT THEATRE
Seattle, WA
Review: Saturday 3/26/22 8pm Performance


Performances through April 30th, 2022


(Marlette Buchanan, Pam Nolte, Fune Tautala, Sarah Garcia, and Brian Pucheu in The Spitfire Grill at Taproot Theatre.  Photo by Robert Wade)



The new production at the Taproot Theatre is the musical “The Spitfire Grill”. Based on the film of the same name, the musical follows the character of Percy (played by Sarah Garcia), recently released from prison, who starts her new life in the town of Gilead. Percy is put to work at The Spitfire Grill which is owned and operated by Hannah (played by Pam Nolte).


The Spitfire Grill has been on the market for ten years with no takers. Percy, along with Shelby (played by Kelly Karcher) and Hannah, decide to raffle off the restaurant in an essay contest (with an entry fee per essay of course).


Along the way in this small town, the audience learns about each character's background, struggle, and their truth.


The first act of the musical sets up the second act quite well. The truths are revealed that add the emotional weight that connects the audience to the characters. At first, I felt more like an observer than a part of the story in the first act but by the time the reveals came, I was fully invested in the narrative.


As with the other musicals I’ve seen on the Taproot Theatre stage, the production easily could have been in front of thousands of patrons. The actors all had strong voices to go along with their acting chops. Yes, all of them. Having seen at least four of the actors in previous Taproot Theatre productions, it was wonderful to see them tackle their new roles and songs with powerful artistic interpretations.


Sarah Garcia was perfect as Percy. She really developed layers within the character which only got better as the production continued. She worked very well with Kelly Karcher’s character of Shelby.


I didn’t like Brian Pucheu’s character, which is to say as an actor he aced the role of Caleb (Shelby’s husband). Brian made him difficult to root for and easy to dislike - which is a testament to Brian’s performance.


Pam Nolte of course is going to bring her A-game to any role and the character of Hannah was no different. She brought veteran leadership to the stage which raised the bar for every actor around her.


Being a musician - major kudos to the live band that performed as well. I would have loved to have seen them come out and take a bow after the actors (perhaps this could be changed for future performances) as they surely deserved it. The musicianship was spot on and ovation worthy.


“The Spitfire Grill” will give you hope that things can turn out alright in this crazy world.


Recommended.


“The Spitfire Grill” runs through April 30th. Tickets are available:  HERE!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

Sunday, March 20, 2022

6:45 AM Film Review March 20, 2022 Eclectic Arts

6:45 AM

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 3/20/2022

Rating: 3.5 / 5


On Digital & Blu-ray March 22



(Well Go USA)



The new film, “6:45 am” is a horror film from Well Go USA.


It’s a bit of a mix of “Happy Death Day” and “Groundhogs Day” rolled into one. If you’re familiar with either of those films, then you know “6:45 am” revolves around one incident repeating itself over and over again at the exact same time.


The film held my interest but the finale was a somewhat expected finish.



(Well Go USA)
 


Horror is definitely a genre where budget doesn’t necessarily equal quality. So, a lower budget film can be infinitely better than a big budget one where in some genres that is rarely the case. Horror films tend to be profitable as well so they are good starter films for many directors.


“6:45 am” was a decent viewing but it could have used more of a punch at the end. I would have also preferred a bit more on the horror side but that’s just me being in a mood for more gore than thrills or scares.



Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


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WIN A TRIP TO BROWNTOWN Film Review March 20, 2022 Eclectic Arts

WIN A TRIP TO BROWNTOWN

Gravitas Ventures
Reviewed: 3/20/2022
Rating: 4 / 5

On Digital Platforms March 22!


(Gravitas Ventures)



The new film, “Win A Trip To Browntown” is a comedy that reminded me of a throwback to the comedies of the 1980’s.


If you don’t know what browntown is referring to - think sexually.


What stands out about the film is the writing. It is really funny in places. It has a light air to it throughout which is a nice change of pace considering what all of us have been through in the last two years (and counting).


Writer, director, producer, and star George A. Tramountanas goes through an actual process of losing fifty pounds during the filming of the film to make the storyline work.


I didn’t know ahead of time that the film was shot locally here in the greater Seattle area. I noticed what looked like Shoreline Community College in one of the early shots and that’s what tipped me off. By the end of the film when local film guru Tony Kay appeared in a cameo, I knew for sure it was shot here.


If you’re looking for a well done comedy, “Win A Trip To Browntown” is a worthy selection.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here




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ULTRASOUND Film Review March 20, 2022 Eclectic Arts

ULTRASOUND

Magnet Releasing

Reviewed: 3/20/2022

Rating: 3 / 5

(Theatrical one-sheet for ULTRASOUND, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.)



The new film, “Ultrasound” is one of those films that falls into the “what is going on here” category. All that it seems isn’t actually what it seems at all.


When a film like that is done well, it can be inspired filmmaking, warranting repeated viewings as there are so many details that are missed the first time around.


In the case of “Ultrasound”, while it has its moments, the overall product comes up short. I’d say the first half of the film sets things up well where the viewer is trying to figure out just what is going on with the various storylines. The second half of the film is where it drops off and ultimately ends up not satisfying the finale that it needed (or deserved).


“Ultrasound” is a middle of the road brain teaser of a film.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here




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HAVANA LIBRE Film Review March 20, 2022 Eclectic Arts

HAVANA LIBRE

MAKEWILD
In Association With
VACATIONLAND

Reviewed: 3/20/2022

Rating: 4 / 5





The new documentary, “Havana Libre” is a great reminder of the power of social media and also how wonderful democracy is.


The film follows the underground lovers of something you wouldn't think would be outlawed in Cuba - surfing. Yes, you read that right.


Due to the government fearing defection by surfboard, surfing was deemed a no-no. Of course, some of the locals made their own surfboards and ran the risk of harsh penalties if they were caught riding the waves in Cuba.


The social media piece picks up as a video that was made by one of the surfers caught the eye of the surf community around the world. The video went viral and opportunities started coming their way such as traveling to Hawaii as guests.


The film is done in such a way that you are rooting for the surfers from Cuba. You hope to see the laws change so they can freely pursue their love of surfing - both personally and professionally.


“Havana Libre” is a powerful reminder not to take your freedom for granted but also to follow your dreams.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET "PLOT POINTS" March 19, 2022 Eclectic Arts

Plot Points
PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET

McCaw Hall
Seattle, WA

Review: Saturday 3/19/22 7:30 pm Performance


Performances run through Sunday March 27th


Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Crystal Pite’s Plot Point, which PNB is presenting on a mixed-bill with works by Robyn Mineko Williams, David Parsons, and Justin Peck, onstage at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall March 18 – 27, and streaming digitally March 31 – April 4. For tickets contact the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424 or PNB.org. Photo © Angela Sterling.




It was mixed-bill time on Saturday evening. The Pacific Northwest Ballet's “Plot Points” is also Rep 4 for the 2021/2022 season. The very first performance I ever reviewed was a mixed-bill back in November of 2018. For my personal artistic taste, they are, well, a mix. I am happy to report that “Plot Points” was by far my favorite mixed-bill I’ve ever reviewed.


The program consisted of four pieces. A world premiere, a PNB premiere, and two other pieces rounded out the performance.


Beginning with the world premiere of “Before I Was” with choreography by Robyn Mineko Williams, the program was off to a questionable start. I was left confused by this piece. This isn’t necessarily a reflection on the piece as I am still wet behind the ears as a ballet reviewer but whenever I see a piece where I’m left scratching my head, that’s not good. My plus one was also confused by it so it wasn’t just me. I think the ballet faithful probably have a different opinion of it but I was just hoping the rest of the program would resonate with me more than this one did.



Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Elle Macy in David Parsons’ Caught, which PNB is presenting on a mixed-bill with works by Robyn Mineko Williams, Crystal Pite, and Justin Peck, onstage at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall March 18 – 27, and streaming digitally March 31 – April 4. For tickets contact the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424 or PNB.org. Photo © Angela Sterling.



Thankfully, the next piece “Caught” with choreography by David Parsons grabbed my attention and never let go. The use of strobe lights with the strict dance timing of dancer Kuu Sakuragi created a wonderful feast for the eyes. There were intentional moments where the strobe lights made it appear as if Kuu was never on the ground - walking and leaping through the air from block to block, much like flipping pages in a book to create motion. For those that had never seen this piece before, it was mesmerizing and Kuu’s dance was an incredible show of athleticism and grace. An inspired piece.


“Plot Point” with choreography by Crystal Pite was up after the first intermission and being a fan of film, this one also got high marks from me. I loved the marriage of dance and cinema to create a unique narrative that I would love to see utilized more. The inspiration from Hitchock’s “Psycho” and the film noir genre created a spectacle that was also mesmerizing. The sets, costumes, lighting design, all of it made for an ambitious piece that was executed flawlessly. I could have watched a full program of this type of work.



Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Justin Peck’s The Times Are Racing, which PNB is presenting on a mixed-bill with works by Robyn Mineko Williams, David Parsons, and Crystal Pite, onstage at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall March 18 – 27, and streaming digitally March 31 – April 4. For tickets contact the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424 or PNB.org. Photo © Angela Sterling.
 


The last piece after the second intermission was the PNB premiere of “The Times Are Racing” with choreography by Justin Peck. A more modern day take on dance, this was a huge ensemble piece that also featured soloist moments that really, really worked. It was a contrast to the other three works and was an uplifting piece that ended the night on a high note.


As I mentioned earlier, this was by far the strongest mixed bill I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. If you’re a new patron, you’ll find at least one piece that you’ll be excited about (probably more than one to be honest). If you’re a seasoned patron, I’m guessing you enjoyed all four or nitpicked at one piece due to it not being “traditional” ballet material.


In any event, “Plot Points” is a strong program and one I highly recommend everyone see before it closes.


“Plot Points” runs through March 27th. Purchase tickets:  HERE!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

Sunday, March 13, 2022

JUJUTSU KAISEN 0 Film Review March 13, 2022 Eclectic Arts

JUJUTSU KAISEN 0

TOHO Animation
Reviewed: 3/13/2022

Rating: 4.5 / 5




The dark fantasy film from TOHO Animation will be available in both English dub and subtitled and will arrive in more than 1500 theaters nationwide on March 18th. The film will also be released in select U.S. based IMAX® theaters. For more information, visit https://www.crunchyrollmovienight.com/


The new animation film, ”Jujutsu Kaisen 0” comes with much acclaim and box office credentials preceding it. A massive hit in Japan where it was released just before the Christmas 2021 holiday, the film makes its way to U.S. theaters this Friday March 18th.


If you already know the background behind the film, then you already have your ticket and are eagerly awaiting its theatrical release here in the U.S. If you’re like me and have zero knowledge of anime, manga, or the film’s origins, then you’re in for a treat.


For the uninitiated, the film’s animation and CGI work is just plain overwhelming at times in a good way. There is so much to take in that it really takes repeated viewings or showings to catch all the details of both the story and the visuals.






Without giving too much away, the basic premise is a high school student Yuta Okkotsu is haunted by the apparition Rika Orimoto. Yuta enrolls in the mysterious high school Jujutsu High where he develops self-confidence and that all may not be as it seems.


There are of course a million more details than that but, “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” really needs to be experienced rather than to be read about online.


One aspect that struck this genre newbie is that I was amazed at just how many layers of sub context was woven into the storyline. There is a lot to think about and I feel many animated films don’t get the credit they’re due for this fact. And this film has even more layers of morality, life choices, and brain fodder than the average animated film.






Do your due diligence and learn which version is showing in your theater - the English dubbed or the subtitled original Japanese language film. Personally I always watch the subtitled version of any film as I want to hear the original language as it was intended but to each his own.


One thing is for sure - “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” is one heck of a ride!


Recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


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Saturday, March 12, 2022

THE PILOT Film Review March 12, 2022 Eclectic Arts

THE PILOT

WELL GO USA
Reviewed: 2/28/2022 (published 3/12/22)

Rating: 3 / 5

Available March 1st


(Well Go USA)



The new film “The Pilot” came out at a very inopportune time with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia a few days before it’s release. It must be commended that Well Go USA offered media the option to release their reviews when they felt comfortable doing so. Thank you for the consideration, Well Go USA.


With the war showing no end in sight, I decided to release my review now - a few weeks after it had been written.


The film tells the story of a Russian fighter pilot that is shot down in enemy territory during WWII. Based on a true story, the film definitely has its strong points.


The fighting sequences and the action overall are really done well. There was absolutely a budget for this film and it shows in these scenes.


The story overall is a bit all over the place and it would have been infinitely better if it had been edited down a bit. The way it is presented it doesn’t build up the anticipation rather it goes from highs to lows to I’m not sure where it's going.


Overall, the film is a decent viewing for the action sequences but the story may lose some viewers.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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HOLMES and WATSON Review Edmonds Driftwood Players March 10, 2022 Eclectic Arts

HOLMES and WATSON
by Jeffrey Hatcher

EDMONDS DRIFTWOOD PLAYERS
Edmonds, WA

March 10, 2022 Performance


(Tod Harrick, Tom Stewart, and Mark Velednistky from the Edmonds Driftwood Players production of, "Holmes and Watson".  Photo by Dale Sutton/Magic Photo)



The past seven days has seen a return to many in-person events for Eclectic Arts. While a few were return visits from late 2021, others were full on returns since pre-pandemic times. Edmonds Driftwood Players falls into the latter category.


Their mainstage production “Holmes and Watson” was a fine return to live theatre (they had done a radio play during the holidays previously). I’ve been writing a lot about consistency lately and this production is a perfect example of it.


When things are consistent for an audience, it makes a world of difference. I don’t mean whether or not something resonates with a patron but the level of quality presented each time. Plays, concerts, heck restaurants too, etc. everything that is consistently good develops a loyal group of followers.


The basic premise is that Sherlock Holmes is dead. Dr. Watson is summoned to Scotland to investigate three men who declare that they are actually Sherlock Holmes.


I won’t give away the plot as there are the expected twists and turns as one would expect from a Sherlock Holmes story.


However, where things really went up a notch was the cast. All of the players were strong - noticeably so. They did such a fantastic job of putting forth the layers of the story that by the finale, the reveal was spot on. It made the audience nod in amazement when they found out what the reality was from the fiction, myself included.


The direction from Curtis Rawls (Death Tax) cannot be understated, either. He has a knack for getting the most out of his actors and this show was no exception. Extremely solid directing going on throughout this play.


This show was a welcome return to just how good the Edmonds Driftwood Players can be. Let’s hope that “Holmes and Watson” is the start of a consistent series of productions from Edmonds Driftwood Players in the future.


Well done!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


Purchase tickets:  HERE!

Friday, March 11, 2022

JUDAS PRIEST w/Queensryche March 9, 2022 Everett, WA

JUDAS PRIEST
Queensryche

Angel Of The Winds Arena
Everett, WA
Wednesday March 9, 2022

(All Photos by Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2022)


Everett, WA was oh so ready for a night of heavy metal from Judas Priest. Touring to celebrate their 50 Year Anniversary (which had been sidelined due to the pandemic), the tour started strong but then went on a break due to the well publicized health of guitarist Richie Faulkner.


With Richie thankfully back on the mend, the band resumed the tour and roared into Angel Of The Winds Arena on March 9th (from the original October 2, 2021 date).


Original support act Sabaton was replaced with local heroes Queensryche for this leg of the tour.


Opening with “Queen Of The Ryche”, the five piece band was welcomed with open arms by their hometown fans. As vocalist Todd La Torre said - they were sticking with a set of classics. Earlier in the tour they aired one Todd era tune per set list but now it was nothing but songs from 1990 or earlier.


While I’ve covered the band several times since Todd joined in 2012, I have not seen them for a long time in an arena setting until tonight. Todd and drummer Casey Grillo always bring the energy. It was even more apparent at this show than ever before. Returning guitarist Mike Stone kept things tight as original members Eddie Jackson and Michael "Whip" Wilton did their best to match the energy.


The band sounded fantastic and their set list kept things heavy which was a smart choice. My only gripe is that their last studio album is a killer with plenty of heavy material. I think they made a mistake by dropping the one Todd era tune for the shows going forward. Please reconsider and put a song back in from any of the Todd era albums.



WIth the defenders of the faith cross symbol descending from the rafters as “Battle Hymn” played over the PA, the crowd roared and Ritchie then launched into set opener, “One Shot At Glory”.


The band was in fine form, dare I say pissed off form. Having covered them in 2018 and 2019, this Judas Priest had more of an edge to them and I think the pandemic had a lot to do with that. The near-capacity crowd was also giving the energy back to the band so things were electric all night.


One area that the band has really excelled at recently is keeping the set list fresh. I’m guessing Richie might have something to do with the deep cuts that have been aired over the last four or five years. I mean when they returned in 2019, they changed the entire set save for three songs from the 2018 tour (even though it was the same tour). That’s just incredible and the diehard fans really appreciate those kinds of gestures.


This tour went as far back as the first album with, “Rocka Rolla” being aired - a song I’ve wanted to hear live for years. They made pit stops along the way for most of their discography, which is vast.


The Metal God - Rob Halford - was still singing and screaming his ass off. He is a legend and rightfully so in the metal community and he really deserves to be acknowledged as a legend in the music industry, period.


Kudos also to Andy Sneap. I’m glad the band or management or both came to their senses and kept Andy in the band for the tour. He has absolutely grown into the role and you can tell he has more confidence with the material and he is playing even more of the leads now. Well deserved respect, Mr. Sneap.


Just like in 2019, longtime fan favorite, “Victim Of Changes” is back in the set. This song never disappoints live as it is the quintessential Judas Priest song. It has everything they’re known for and it sounded amazing on Wednesday night.


Of course there were encores. No Priest show is complete without the Harley Davidson rolling out on the stage before they launch into, “Hell Bent For Leather”.


The show ended with, “Living After Midnight”. The band took their bows, waved to the audience, threw picks and drumsticks into the audience, and then triumphantly walked off the stage.


I overheard many in attendance say that this was their first metal show back since the pandemic. There was a lot of pent up emotion at this concert and it absolutely spilled over into the energy throughout the arena.


Judas Priest are legends of the genre. On Wednesday night in Everett, WA - they left no doubt that they are the defenders of the heavy metal faith.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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(All Photos by Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2022)





















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(All Photos by Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2022)