I’ll Always Have Room for The Leftovers

By: Tory  |  Published: November 25th, 2015   |  Category: Tory Shulman News

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You know the feeling. When you get itchy and cold and you don’t know why. Everything starts to annoy you and you’ve developed a nail biting habit that eats through gel. You, my friend, are in binging withdrawl and I am here to help.

Maybe you’ve seen all the faves. Even the deep faves. “Narcos Smarcos!” you say with a sigh. “I need something new, something witty, something dry.” And suddenly you’re Dr Seuss.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: “The Leftovers” season 2.

If you’ve watched or tried to watch “The Leftovers” season 1 — I feel for you. I admit it had a great hook. What does the world look like when 2 percent of the population or 146 million people suddenly vanish into thin air? Practically speaking, how do people left handle the loss, the confusion, the lack of any closure? Ok, so far so good. And it was good. But the show got muddy and messy and so bogged down in melodrama and self-importance that it almost got swamp ass. (Did you see what I did there? Bogged–Swamp Ass. #yes) So much so that I knew exactly how many times to hit fast-forward on my remote control to perfectly skip the opening credits filled with gothic figures morphing into screaming demons. Ugh.
But season 2 is so different and so wildly more entertaining. The melodrama is replaced with a heightened sense of cheeriness and it’s this oddly, upbeat tone that leads to ultimately a more creepy show. And the buoyant opening is now one of my favorites of all time with a theme song I constantly sing in the shower.
Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon take in Lily, the baby left on their doorstep and move to a new house in a new location. Welcome to Miracle, Texas–a town famous for not losing a single person during the departure. Miracle is dappled in optimism and happiness –blooming with oak trees and friendly neighbors including the Murphys who live next door played by Kevin Carroll and Regina King. Sidenote: I have loved Regina King since Jerry Maguire but she soars in this role. To be honest, for you to believe some of the things that are happening to be even remotely possible you need actors that will absolutely ground you in reality and she is at the top of that game.  In fact, that goes for the entire cast. Theroux and Coon couldn’t seem more real and Ann Dowd as the ghost of Patti Levin is so gritty, she’ll give you road rash.
At the heart of this season is whether or not Miracle, Texas is, in fact, miraculous. Or is it all just a publicity stunt aimed at the bus load of tourists that pour in in everyday?  This singular question cleaves the town in two and only becomes more complicated when the wholesome Murphy daughter and her two friends suddenly depart into thin air.
I don’t want to give too much away but suffice it to say things get “weird” but in that “good weird” type of way. It’s old school Lindeloff at his very best and if you loved “Lost” you will love this Season. (Actually, there are an abundance of similarities between the two shows–enough for there to be forums on the subject but I enjoy my sanity too much to go jumping into that rabbit hole.)  If you like smart and bold cinematic choices you will love this season. If you like raw and earthy acting mixed with psychologically thrilling plot points you will love this eason.
So go on and heal thy binging jitters. There’s nothing better than some good old Leftovers.

Top Ten Revealed–Four Say Farewell

By: Tory  |  Published: July 31st, 2014   |  Category: Tory Shulman News

 

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Opening Number

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Stacey Tookey

Music : “Last Moment” by Christophe Filippi

Honestly-I felt like this was super “meh” and I definitely did NOT understand the moment when Ricky smeared what looked like shit on his shirt at the end.

Emilio and Bridget

Style: Jazz

Choreographer: Ray Leeper

Song: “Long Road to Hell” by Avicii

Ray Leeper always kinda scares me for some reason. He looks like that evil clown that frightens you in your dreams. No offense. Anyway-his pieces are always just “jazz hands” to me. Emilio was tight and they were nice and synchronized but nothing special. Honestly, how did Bridget get in those pants?

Rudy and Tanisha

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Song: “Seduces Me” by Celine Dion

Man, this was so breezy and floaty. Tanisha looked like she weighed one pound. Rudy the spaz did an amazing job at partnering her especially during the lifts. But I died when he did that ONE-HANDED lift. I was only mad since her dress sort of covered this amazing feat but it was still so beautiful.

Serge Solo: Latin Patrick Swayze. Cute not great.

Jacque and Zack

Style: Paso Doble

Choreographer: Jean-Marc Genereaux

Song: “Dragula” by Rob Zombie

I continually think that Zack is pretty amazing for a tap dancer. I thought Jacque looked heavy in his arms and I’m not sure if Zack wasn’t strong enough or if she wasn’t graceful enough. I did like Jacque’s tights and looked them up immediately on Etsy. So there is that.

Carly Solo: Cute but empty…like an adorable bunny. Felt more like a gymnastics routine.

Emily and Teddy

Style: Broadway

Choreographer: Warren Carlyle

Song: “From This Moment On” Kiss Me Kate soundtrack

Dear LORD this was a first class mess. Emily has always reminded me of a tall bird and has lacked the grace the other girls own so easily. She looked like she was all legs and not very sure of herself or her footing, even slipping once. Teddy was fine but dipped at times and they were never EVER in synchronization. Especially the end which was a train wreck. The best part of the dance was Emily’s dress. I’m back on Etsy.

Casey Solo:  WOW. This is how you fight for your life with dance. Explosive with great extension. His constant smile is starting to creep me out but he put his whole heart into this and it showed.

Emily Solo: Wow. This is how NOT to fight for your life. Stiff and drab. She never had that “floating on air” quality that you crave. If you can’t guess it by now–I’m not an Emily fan.

Jessica and Casey: 

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Travis Wall

Song: “Like Real People Do” by Hozier

Favorite piece of the night. I loved loved loved it. I felt like Jessica wasn’t getting her fair shot in the past couple of weeks and the judges agreed eliminating both of her partners. But she always stood out to me. Even in the LA auditions. Her gorgeous face just grabs my attention more than any other girl and tonight was no different. She was so light she looked like she had wires on and was just flying in the air. The kiss was utterly electric. Her dress was perfect and light and yellow and breezy and her hair is the way I SHOULD have done my hair for my wedding. The entire piece reminded me of my favorite contemporary piece from any season: Ellenore and Ryan’s  “Your Ex Lover’s Dead” piece from Season 6 choreographed by none other than Travis Wall. (Even the yellow dress was the same!) Here is a link to see that one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTvZiLNhnrY

Teddy Solo: Fantastic arm and leg work. His joints are made out of butter. Like Buttah!

Serge and Carly

Style: Quickstep

Choreographer: Jean-Marc Genereux

Song: “A Cool Cat In Town” by Tape Five feat. Brenda Boykin

I really loved this piece. I thought it was full of fantastic technique. They were both super fast and super tight but I was even more impressed with their synchronicity. Super cute, super snappy and they never lost their energy even towards the end. I don’t understand how that is possible. I lose my breath while walking to the fridge. Amazing.

Jessica Solo: Every time she has a solo she nails it. Ridiculously sexy and incredibly athletic. I could watch her legs extend all day long. And so could my husband. Fuck, wait. I hate Jessica. Jessica sucks. Oh, who am I kidding? I love her.

Valerie and Ricky

Style: Hip Hop

Choreographer: Pharside and Phoenix

Song: “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake & Lil Jon

Dope. Buck. I sound like an idiot. But honestly, this was really original and very well danced. What was amazing to me was that even though I think Ricky is the best dancer of them all it was Valerie the tapper who totally stood out. She got down and gritty and her character work was top notch. I mean, that leg wave in a side split was everything. Epic move. I bet you anything it makes the intro next time they recut it. Amazing.

Girls Performance: Those dresses. Bridesmaids dresses anyone? I mean, I immediately started pinning. So strong and so beautiful to see all those women own the stage like that. Jessica stood out for me again but I was shocked again at how good Valerie was even though this isn’t her genre.

Guys Performance: You guys. The way they fell off the stage like that. Like fish. Or waves. Or fish. I loved everything about this EXCEPT the camera guy’s decision to zoom in on Emilio’s epic leap. Why didn’t he or she zoom out so we could see the epicness of this epic leap. Ok no more epic. But honestly, it was lovely and I understood why Travis said this was one of his favorite pieces.

Bottom Six:

Carly
Casey
Emily
Jessica
Serge
Teddy

Saved

Jessica and Casey

Obviously the right move–my bet is Jessica goes further than Casey and might even go all the way…Yes I did say that. WHAT!

Til Next Time!

 

 

 

Serge Solo: Latin Patrick Swayze

Jacque and Zack

 

 

 

 

 

 


So You Think You Can Watch So You Think You Can Dance Review

By: Tory  |  Published: July 24th, 2014   |  Category: Tory Shulman News

sytycd1-350x183OPENING DANCE
CONTEMPORARY
CHOREOGRAPHER: MANDY MOORE
SONG: “TAKE MY TO THE RIVER” BY ANNIE LENNOX

Very fluid and powerful. Filled with billowing cool costumes and scarves- it felt like you were underneath the waves and the choreography was clear and smooth. I love Mandy Moore.

RICKY AND VALERIE
BOLLYWOOD
CHOREOGRAPHER: NAKUL DEV MAHAJAN
SONG: “ DILLIWAALI GIRLFRIEND” BY YAH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI

Oy Bollywood. Honestly, you have to be on cocaine to be able to do this genre. But these guys must be doing nose candy cause they handled it fine. Valerie–as always is totally adorable. I honestly think she couldn’t be any cuter–she reminds of a tap dancing Golden Retriever puppy. Although, as time progresses, I don’t necessarily only want to see “cute” from her so I am holding my breath. Ricky–as always is perfection. He is just on a different level than everyone else and he deserves to win it all. No joke.

EMILIO AND BRIDGET
CONTEMPORARY
CHOREOGRAPHY: TRAVIS WALL
SONG: “THE LEAVING SONG” BY CHRIS GARNER

I loved this piece. It was about someone being weighed down by their own guilt. As Emilio tried to move out from under Bridget-she used everyone of her amazing limbs to drape over him and weigh him down like an anchor. Using super sharp legs, aggressive pulls and pushes, Bridget really stood out for me for the very first time.

RUDY AND TANISHA
HIP HOP
CHOREOGRAPHER: DAVE SCOTT
SONG: “GOOD KISSER” BY USHER

HOLY HELL! That outfit! It was by far one of the sexiest outfits I have ever seen! EVER! This piece was supposed to resemble black and white comic books and Tanisha looked the part. Not only did the outfit stand out to me but so did Tanisha’s dancing. She took her time, she was graceful but strong and sexy as hell.  As far as I’m concerned she is on the same level as Ricky and if this were truly based on just talent they would both walk away with the whole thing. However, personality is also a huge factor in the voting so I’m not sure how long she will last. Rudy was, of course, adorable but my eyes were completely on that outfit. As were many teenage boys, I do believe.

MARCQUET AND JESSICA    
FOXTROT
CHOREOGRAPHER: DMITRY CHAPLIN    
SONG: “I PUT A SPELL ON YOU” BY NINA SIMONE

Man, this was an epic fail. I didn’t really think it was that terrible but the judges certainly did. Mary lambasted Marcquet for having poor frame and poor foot work. Nigel went after Dmitry which he has done in the past for choreographing a foxtrot that didn’t flow like Fred and Ginger. I thought it was altogether a “meh” performance but I did think Jessica looked absolutely fabulous.

CARLY AND SERGE
CONTEMPORARY
CHOREOGRAPHER: MANDY MOORE
SONG: “FOOLISH GAMES” BY JEWEL

Ever since Serge confessed that he sweats profusely while dancing, I get a little grossed out anytime I see him in rehearsal. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like his dancing, I just wouldn’t want to workout on the elliptical right after him.  His performance  tonight was wonderful–acting like that asshole guy we all know who won’t commit but won’t walk away. The best part was the final move where Carly did a back bend all the way to the floor using only her thighs and at the last second her head was caught by Serge’s foot. And then he steps right over her head like every douche bag you’ve ever met. Great acting–great performance.

EMILY AND TEDDY
SALSA
CHOREOGRAPHER: OKSANA DMYTRENKO AND JONATHAN PLATERO
SONG: “BRUK IT DOWN (SOCA REMIX)” BY MR. VEGAS FEAT. ALISON HINDS

This was by far my least favorite of the night. I don’t actually really like this paring since the two of them have very little chemistry but at least Teddy danced with technique. Emily was all legs and arms and not in a good way but in a “just been born fawn who is trying to walk across ice” kind of way. She looked uncomfortable and heavy in her lifts and very very awkward.  I felt the judges went kinda soft on these two to be honest.

JACQUE AND ZACK
JAZZ
CHOREOGRAPHER: SONYA TAYEH
SONG: “BACK TO BLACK” BY BEYONCE FEAT. ANDRE 3000

This is a major moment for me. This was the first Sonya Tayeh piece I didn’t really like. I KNOW! Shocking! And Nigel actually agreed with me. It was boring, it didn’t have any “wow” moments and it lacked any real emotions which is usually Sonya’s signature. I thought it was flat and that Jacque was only mediocre. But she did a very smart thing in the beginning of this competition and that was to get into a relationship with Rudy, one of the most charismatic dancers in the whole show. Hard to see people voting her off when they are so emotionally invested in that relationship.

CASEY AND BROOKLYN
HIP HOP
CHOREOGRAPHER: WILLDABEAST ADAMS
SONG: “HUSTLE HARD REMIX” BY ACE HOOD FEAT RICK ROSS AND LIL WAYNE

Wearing bullet proof vests and scuba pants these two tried their damnedest to get down and dirty and into the pocket which is crucial for this genre. Sadly, they did not succeed. The attitude just wasn’t there for either of them and the judges saw right through it. It was a noble attempt but sadly stiffer than starched shirt. I loved the choreography though and can’t wait to see more from Willdabeast.

GROUP PIECE
CHOREOGRAPHER: SONYA TAYEH
SONG: “SO BROKEN” BY BJORK

Now this is the type of Sonya piece that I am used to. Creative moves, innovative transitions and incredibly moving to say the least. She nailed this one for choreography but Tanisha nailed it for standing out. As Misty Copeland said: “Tanisha, you were the team captain tonight” and she absolutely was. Her confidence is blooming every week. I just wish she had longer hair and softer make up but that is besides the point.

GROUP PIECE
CHOREOGRAPHER: TRAVIS WALL
SONG: “LOVE RUNS OUT” BY ONE REPUBLIC

Travis is like the cool kid out of all the choreographers. His dances are always just really cool and neat and slick and polished. Ricky stood out by leaps and bounds (pun intended) giving my theory that Tanisha and Ricky will win the whole thing more clout.

GOODBYES:

We said goodbye to Marcquet and Brooklyn tonight. I have to say, I thought the judges were extremely harsh on Marcquet the entire time and I’m not sure why. As for Brooklyn, I had a hard time distinguishing her from Carly or Jacque so I think that was the right move. Can’t wait til next time!!!


5 Fantastic Documentaries

By: Tory  |  Published: July 10th, 2014   |  Category: Tory Shulman News

BUCK


Dear equine lovers, this one is for you. This 2011 documentary tells the story of Buck Brannaman, more famously known as “The Horse Whisperer.” And yes, Robert Redord (Bob, to his closest friends) does make several appearances. Buck grew up as a child performer of rodeo rope tricks who was horrifyingly abused by his violent and angry father. But like all good documentaries the journey twists and turns and Buck grows into one of the most successful and innovative horseman in the World. Learning from his painful past, Buck teaches horse training clinics 9 months out of the year that teach extreme gentleness and sensitivity instead of the “breaking a Bronco” approach.
FUN FACT: Buck and I drink the same libation. You have to watch to find out what it is!

 

 

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI


I’m shamefully admitting right now that I used to be the type of sushi eater who only ordered California Rolls. I know, I know. I’m a moron. After this documentary though — bring on the sashimi baby!! This film takes a look at Jiro Ono, an 85 year old sushi master who is absolutely fucking adorable. He is also absolutely fucking amazing who owns, arguably, the best sushi restaurant in the world.  He owns Sukiyabashi Jiro, the Michelin three-star restaurant at the bottom of a Tokyo subway station. The film is well-rounded and delves not only into the fascinating world of sushi-mastery and it’s incredibly delicious nuances but also into the life of a man who ardently believes that hard work and discipline can make anything possible.
FUN FACT: The Prez himself visited the restaurant a month ago! Rumor is: he didn’t finish his meal. Ooh. Faux Prez.

 

SPINNING PLATES

I know, I know. Another food doc? Guys, I really love food. I like it a lot. (say it like Jim Carey so it’s funny) This salivating documentary takes a look at three wildly different restaurants and the people who run them. My favorite story highlights the Chicago hotspot Alinea–known as the best restaurant in the United States and its young, hipster-fab chef Grant Achatz.  Grant recounts the story of when he discovered he had tongue cancer and found out that he would have to lose his tongue. For a chef, losing their tongue would be like losing their soul so rest assured the stakes are not only incredibly high in this film but they are also cooked to perfection. Hey-O!

LAST PLAY AT SHEA

I love this documentary. I showed it to my family and my Dad didn’t even fall asleep once! Huge. It’s hard to describe the film but it basically parallels Billy Joel’s 2008 Concert at Shea Stadium right before it was demolished with the history and importance of the stadium and Long Island. Great music. Great story lines. With fabulous surprise guests and surprisingly fun animated footage–Amazon this immediately for a good time.
FUNFACT: It’s narrated by Alec Baldwin!

 

 

CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS

 

Cave_of_forgotten_dreams_poster
I just watched this on the airplane and had NO idea it was a 3D doc! Well, it was fabulous in 2D so feel free to watch it regularly.  Made in 2010 by one of my favorite documentary filmmakers Werner Herzog, it tells the history of the Chauvet Cave in France that holds the earliest human-painted images ever discovered. We’re talking Ice Age, Wooly Mammoths and Neanderthals, people. The amazing part of this film is that no one other than scientists have ever entered the cave so the hand-drawn paintings of lions, tigers, panthers and horses look like they were drawn yesterday. Unbelievably, some of the images are drawn with extra horns or feet so as to make it look like the animal is moving when lit by torch light. That’s early cubism. Picasso n Shit. Watch it now.
FUN FACT: Keep a look out for the hand print of the dude with the crooked pinky. You can follow him throughout the cave.


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