Thursday, July 11, 2019

9 July 19 - Midsommar

Warning - there are NO spoilers in this review

Midsommar ...the highly anticipated follow-up to Ari Aster's break out cinematic hit, Hereditary, blogspot readers, was recently seen by this reviewer and she highly recommends seeing it ...especially on the big screen for its colorful beauty and optical effects well as the subtle horror that doesn't grab you right away like most movies within this genre. The keyword here is color. Contrast to Hereditary in which you are immersed within the dark, Ari takes you out of the dark and puts his characters and you the movieviewer in constant daylight at the height of the summer solstice in a quaint place that's in the middle of nowehere ...where everything and everyone is not what or they seem to be, blogspot readers.

What's different about Ari Aster's Midsommar besides touching on murder, suicide and death, he also tackles a relationship that is on the brink of breaking up though neither person wants to be the one to do the "breaking up" part. 

Meet our millennial couple, Christian and Dani ...and boy, do they have problems, blogspot readers. They want to break up but seem don't know how. Yes, they are that couple in dire need of a couple's relationship expert to help assist them in this delicate matter. Even Christian's friends can easily see there's problem with his relationship with Dani ...urging him to break up with her until ...tragedy strikes Dani which somewhat brings them "closer" together.

He's there for her yet not really "there" in sense of comfort and whatnot. In comes the idea of spending the midsummer solstice at a remote commune in Sweden where Christian's friend Pelle is from to celebrate the 90th tradition of midsommar. Festivities, fun, food, etc etc to be had during this nine day festival in which the invited guests are encouraged to participate. Seriously, blogspot readers, that's actually when the real fun as well as horror begins for our four American and two British characters.

Not going to spoil it for you, blogpsot readers, but if you have seen Ari Aster's Hereditary, you will understand and appreciate the way there's always a gradual buildup to the horror scenes. Midsommar will not disappoint you. SouthSide does advise that you keep a sharp eye on a few things throughout the movie like the bear in the cage and the walls around the commune.

Color, blogpot readers, is very important when viewing Midsommar despite opening dark and gloomy before dazzling the eyes with such vibrant array of colors from the clothing to the May Queen's flower crown. Never had SouthSide seen a movie in which color is also the prime focus and character ...especially within a horror movie. Ari Aster has started something here, blogspot readers. Color in his movies has way of being beautiful as well as frightening to hide what's lurking unseen (or seen) throughout this movie. Ari Aster's bedazzling array of color usage and paletting is quite jaw-dropping, blogspot readers, Violets, blues, pinks, reds, yellows, greens etc seem to pop to life on the big screen.It was in this reviewer's mind, deliciously terrifying which could make Midsommar a film class study on how color can effect directly as well as indirectly a certain scene or mood.

Yet, it's not all about color that what makes this movie such fun to watch. His casting choice was spot on, blogspot readers, featuring Florence Pugh as the emotionally clingy, wrecked Dani and Jack Reynor as the "I want to breakup with you but can't" Christian. These two had a natural chemistry between them which made it seem so real and believeable each time ...either separately or together on the big screen. SouthSide loved Vilhlem Blomgren as Pelle - that creepy Swede who comes from the secret remote cult-like commune village ...never really telling his friends what the nine day festival entails. And there's also William Jackson Harper (as Josh) and Will Poulter (as Mark) - who btw meet gruesome deaths that are never shown on screen but you somehow get the hint of happened to them. Oh yeah, keep this phrase "skin the fool" in your head too. There's also engaged British couple, Connie (Ellora Torchia) and Simon (Archie Madekwe) who were invited by their friend Ingemar (Hampus Halberg) who just happens to be Pelle's "brother".

During Midsommar, there will be moments when you feel as if you're experiencing a bad acid trip from the way certain scenes would appear to be "breathing" and "alive" through Ari's camera tricks. Things here have a way of becoming one with the characters or moving about them that throws off their sense of what is reality and what is not. They barely had any left after consuming homegrown drugs, sleeping pills and "special" teas during the midsommar festivities that you too will start feeling the trees breathe and becoming one with nature. And also, it wouldn't be an Ari Aster film without some weird ritualistic chanting, pagan references and rituals and music that pulls every scene together with the characters and what they're doing in that particular scene. Some might get weirded out by the sex scene with Christian and one of the maidens who has chosen him. Not going to say what happens but it's very interesting to watch Reynor's reaction as if he didn't know Ari was to have that happening during this particular scene.There's a lot of screaming going on too. Screaming to expell all the pent up emotions kept hidden and tucked away inside for far too long, blogspot readers, to which sets up the final shocking scene that ends Midsommar.

Not going to tell you what happens. See the movie, blogspot readers.

Granted Midsommar does take a slow start at the beginning to set up the characters and their arrival to Sweden, this movie will have you cringing in fear from the intense yet suspenseful scenes. It's overall a vividly colorful work of art that brings horror out of the darkness and into the light underneath the sunny beauty that is midsommar. The ending will either mind fuck your head or have you laughing.

SouthSide was simply blown away, blogspot readers, and she's going to see it again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

29 Jun 19 - Pride in the Park Photo Gallery

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide took over 500+ photos during Pride in the Park on Saturday. Here are some that didn't get axed. Enjoy!

Until next time, support your local scene,

29 Jun 19 - Pride in the Park

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's celebrating Pride Month!

On June 28, 1969, something incredible happened at Stonewall Inn in New York City in which exploded into the movement for the freedom of expressing being whomever or love whomever you want without judgement or prejudice. Within those 50 years, the LGBTQ community have made many strides and advancements such as the right to marry however there's still a long way to go like employment protections, Trans discrimination and protection. 

Today, the city of Chicago celebrated 50 years of Pride with its first Pride in the Park event. That alone, blogspot readers, was history in the making! This was the first event not to be secluded to Boystown neighborhood. This event was held in the heart of  Chicago's downtown with a gorgeous lakefront view very nice weather too! It was a perfect day to celebrate being free to love and be whomever without any judgement or shame. As an ally, SouthSide supports her LGBTQ daughters, friends, co-workers, relatives and adopted family members every day. And today, she was among many supporters celebrating with the community. 

Pride in the Park was a one-day event that featured not only LGBTQ awareness and services but also music and food! This fest boasted a solid of talented artists like Taylor Dayne, Kathy Sledge, Steve Aoki and Tamar Braxton with Iggy Azalea headlining before a spectacular fireworks display to cap off the night of celebration. The opening acts featured in the lineup included Alexis Michelle, CoCo Montrese, Todrick Hall, Miss DJ Meg and Gia Woods. This being Chicago's first Pride music fest SouthSide is very caution not to call it a success. Still, this event had a very good turnout. There were (as to be expected) a few hits but a lot of misses (like malfunctioning ticket scanners in which some had to key in the numbers ...hampering a speedy entry to the fest) that definitely need to be addressed and taken into consideration when planning for next year's Pride in the Park 2020 (if it happens).


SouthSide along with others she met throughout the music fest noted that it wasn't a total sellout but that was to be expected. Granted, it was a fest outside the range of Boystown/Lakeview neighborhood. Though the event was a welcoming safe place, many who wanted to attend probably felt they wouldn't be safe. This reviewer would like to commend the city for having security and police presence to ensure attendees had their sense of security and safety in mind. She also liked how the sponsors had booths to show their dedication towards inclusiveness for the LGBTQ community however, they were spaced quite far apart from the staging area (ie general and VIP sections). Needed more than one food vendor too. One important thing noted by this reviewer - the bathrooms in the VIP section were not handicapped accessible. If there were handicapped accessible port-o-johns, the people at the gate didn't notify SouthSide who walks with a cane due to injury to her knee. The (women's) restroom was very disgusting and half way through the event, there was no water available to wash hands ...also need more security to keep an eye on men entering the women's restrooms.

Despite the misses, SouthSide did note a lot of hits about Pride in the Park. The musical lineup was spectacular! To see Taylor Dayne and Steve Aoki as well as many others perform live - what a FANTASTIC job the organizers did to get performers like them to come to Chicago. This reviewer was able to catch Taylor Dayne celebrating 30 years of her number 1 hit singles like Tell It To My Heart and I Will Always Love You (gosh, she feels SO freakin old right now). She also performed a solid but soulful rendition of Prince's/Sinead O'Connor's song Nothing Compares 2 U with shout-out dedications to Prince, George Michael, David Bowie, Maurice Waters, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson before doing a funky version of Barry White's Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe. In between dancing and reviewing, SouthSide getting recognized by those who read her blog or seen her around town...but she had fun meeting people visiting the city as far away as San Diego, CA. She met a woman from the Ukraine and this was her first time in the Midwest - "WOW" was her reaction to the music, city and everything else. She was in town for the parade happening on Sunday with a group of friends.

Then next it was Kathy Sledge from the Sister Sledge fame featuring the hit song - We Are Family. Yes, blogspot readers, everyone in attendance were one big happy family as a group of lovely Queens shared the stage with her during this song as well as a few dancers to show off their skills as the Greatest Dancer. SouthSide would pick the guy in the lime green clothing as the winner ...his movements along with his fan display was totally a crowd pleasing. Then it was local hip hop/rap artist KC Ortiz who took the stage in the best sparkly sequin green dress of the day! Even this reviewer has tried to pull off wearing green and it doesn't look right on her. Two finger snaps in the air for her/him. Steve Aoki, blogspot readers, had the wildest and best music performance of the day. From performing bits of Old Town Road to his infamous Cake Me (yes, he actually tossed 10 9x13 sized cakes into the audience}, Steve pumped a lot of high energy into the crowd especially during the BTS and the Pikachu songs and when he's standing on his DJ stand. Yet, the highlight of his set was his remix of John Lennon's iconic song - Imagine which brought tears to SouthSide's eyes before ending with a HUGE explosion of confetti everywhere!. Cake and confetti ...felt so sorry for the poor maintenance workers having to clean up the mess after his set.

Before SouthSide forgets, in between acts, there were mini show-stopping numbers performed by local drag personalities and there was even appearance by one of Ru Paul's Drag Race contestant too. In the meantime, Tamar Braxton wins for having THE hottest male dancers to ever strut around on stage, blogspot readers. Her set included a brief rendition of Lady Marmalade in between featuring her song list of hits and karaoke contest during her song Love and War. However, sadly, blogspot readers, Iggy Azalea's headlining set had some minor setbacks like a late start which meant her set had to be shortened and fuse blown in which she had to perform part of a song on a dark stage. SouthSide's new group of friends - April, Tracey, Chef Marco and his husband the cute chico named Paco were so excited to see this artist ...joining the crowd shouting for Iggy to come on stage. She dedicated one song Goddess to her social media friend who is also a Trans woman named Michelle (who also joined her on stage during the song) because she felt inspired by what this woman has to go through in life. Trans people face discrimination, hate crimes and even murder ...and believe it or not, their life expectancy is 35 years old! We have to do more to protect our Trans people, blogspot readers.

Immediately after her set, the night skies were ablazed with a firework display in the park, blogspot readers!

Pride in the Park was fun..hopefully there will be one next year, blogspot readers.

Until next time, support your local scene.