Archive for April, 2014

Coming Soon: Movies In Theatres This Week

Posted: April 28, 2014 by MichaelSmithNC in All, Movies, Trailers

The Amazing Spider-Man 2



w/ Special Guests:


Oh Honey 1

Red Hat Amphitheater Raleigh – July 14

The Fray is Slade, Joe King (guitar, vocals), Dave Welsh (guitar), and Ben Wysocki (drums). The Denver-based foursome formed in 2002 after high school friends Slade and King bumped into each other at a local guitar shop. The Fray achieved national success with their 2005 debut, featuring the hit singles “Over My Head (Cable Car)” and “How to Save a Life,” which went double-platinum. The band also earned a 2010 Grammy nomination for their self-titled release.

Tickets go on sale Friday May 2 at 10am:
All Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-745-3000
Duke Energy Center box office
Belk box office at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.

For further details or to purchase tickets go to



The Other Woman

The Other Woman was supposed to be a “hilarious girl power movie” about a man’s mistresses and wife going after revenge when he gets caught repetitively cheating. “Hilarious girl power movie” is not what I spent 109 minutes watching.

Cameron Diaz was okay in the role of Carly and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was okay as Mark. Outside of those two actors is where we find the first flaw of the movie, acting.

Leslie Mann as the wife; Kate, and Nicki Minaj as Lydia were both very hard to enjoy because of their choices in the way they portrayed their characters. Mann’s whiny delivery got very old very fast and Minaj’s accent sounded like a ratchet Barbra Streisand. They could have been delivering some of the funniest, most poignant lines ever spoken in a comedy, but I will never know it. I just wanted them to stop talking!

Obviously, I could also back a truck over Kate Upton’s acting, but I won’t. She was brought in to play a role that she was perfect for; the younger, blonder, bigger breasted mistress. She can do that effectively by just standing there and waving to the camera. No need to criticize that.

Setting aside the acting, the material they were working withdidn’t really give them much of a chance. I’m not saying there is nothing funny about the movie because that would be untrue. The scenes that are intended to be funny are often funny at first and then fall flat because they are taken too far. The writer, Melissa Stack, seemed to work on the mindset that “if some is good, more has to be better.”

Scenes that focus on Leslie Mann’s character of Kate are the worst for this. In the audience’s introduction to her, she takes a funny joke about needing “brain camp” and proceeds to run with the joke to the point where it becomes truly awkward to watch.

The scenes with Mann and Diaz together are also very predictable. The two actresses have good chemistry, but that chemistry is wasted due to some bad writing and direction.

Where the comedy failed the most is in the revenge plot itself. The truly petty acts that were chosen by the women led to pay off scenes that were mildly funny, but completely unoriginal. The execution of the revenge plot finale also seemed to be an afterthought. The petty acts are supposed to be part of a larger “master plan” that you quickly realize doesn’t exist.

There were some other issues that I picked up on that a casual viewer may not notice. They are subtle, but reflect an overall lack of attention to detail:

There is a scene where Don Johnson’s mouth is moving, but you hear Cameron Diaz’s voice. It is like an old Kung Fu movie or something. It was a sign of some half-assed or rushed editing.

In an unintentionally funny scene, they dubbed over Cameron Diaz dropping an F-bomb and thought no one would notice! It was so badly done that I thought I had initially misheard her. After conferring with a colleague, we agreed that Diaz’s lips read “Fuck” but voice said “Freak.”

How could a movie as flawed as The Other Woman make it to the screen to be seen in public in the first place? Conventional wisdom would state that someone in authority would have said, “Whoa, we have some issues here that we need to address first.” I know that bad movies get made every day, but this is not supposed to be a bad movie!

I have a few theories as to how it happened:

  • Cameron Diaz could have lost a bet with Drew Barrymore with making The Other Woman this way as the stakes.
  • Nick Cassevetes, the director, could possibly be in debt to the mob and needed quick cash.
  • Twentieth Century Fox might be playing a belated April Fool’s Day joke.
  • Maybe Al Qaeda has infiltrated Hollywood and is using the film industry to destroy us by rotting our brains and destroying our IQ points.

Root cause aside, if you do decide to go out and give this one a chance, you will laugh, albeit not as much as you should. Diaz does her thing and the rest can be passable to the right person. Overall, if you keep your expectations super low and can drink enough to get your standards for acting down to the right level; you might even enjoy it a little.


Dan Tracy (Tunny) in AMERICAN IDIOT (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)Dan Tracy (Tunny) in AMERICAN IDIOT (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Billie Joe Armstrong is the lead guitarist and front-man of one of the most successful rock bands of all time, Green Day. Armstrong is accompanied in Green Day by childhood friend, co-founder, and bass guitarist Mike Dirnt, drummer Tre Cool, and guitarist Jason White, who officially joined in 2012.

As a group, Green Day is one of the best-selling musical groups of all time having sold over 75 million albums worldwide. The band has released a total of 11 studio albums and has been RIAA certified Platinum over 20 times. Their 1994 major label debut album, Dookie, is listed as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine. The group has been honored with 5 Grammy Awards and is one of VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

As impressive as their list of musical accomplishments is on its own, there is one additional piece of acclaim that Armstrong and Green Day can lay claim to that VERY few other rock musicians can. The members of Green Day created and produced a show that made it from a small regional theatre in Berkeley, CA all the way to Broadway. That show was eventually nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical and won two Tony Awards for Scenic and Lighting Designs.

Green Day’s American Idiot, which is based on the Green Day album of the same name, is the story of three young men, Johnny, Will, and Tunny, who attempt to escape the confines of suburbia. Johnny flees to the city and embraces drugs, Tunny chooses the military life, and Will has to accept the role of father. The three young men are forced to face the lives they have and the lives they have lost.

American Idiot opened at the St. James Theatre on Broadway in the spring of 2010. The show ran for almost exactly one year with 400+ shows when it closed on April 24, 2011. It was directed by Tony Award winner, Michael Mayer with music composed by Green Day and lyrics by Armstrong. The cast of the original Broadway production included members of previous Broadway productions Spring Awakening, A Man for All Seasons, Journey’s End (2007 Revival), Avenue Q, and Rent.

After American Idiot closed in 2011 it almost immediately went on tour and has since spanned the globe.The touring cast has changed over the years as the various tours began and ended. The current cast has been together since October of 2013 and will be making a stop on April 29th at the Durham Performing Arts Center for two nights. After the Durham, NC show, the tour will move on to Atlanta, GA and then to the west coast for a series of shows in California. The current tour is scheduled to conclude at the end of May in Denver, CO.

– – – –

In advance of the show Eastern Carolina Style’s Michael Smith spoke at length with Dan Tracy. Tracy plays one the three leads, Tunny, and gave some poignant perspective and insight on the show…

MAS – This show is so different from traditional musical theatre in so many ways; why not try something, “safer” as your first?

Dan Tracy – I think that taking risks is one of the most exciting things about doing this. And having the taste of what it is like to be a member of Green Day also doesn’t hurt.

MAS – The show has won so many awards and has been loved by so many since it opened back in 2009, did that acclaim add any extra pressure?

Dan Tracy – No, any good show is going to have won awards. You definitely do your homework and put the time in to give the detail that it deserves. That is a big part of my job; it doesn’t add any pressure at this point.

MAS – How do you ready yourself for a show? Touring shows have to take a lot out of you, what do you do to make sure every performance is the best it can be?

Dan Tracy – I do a lot of reading to keep my brain excited and learning about the craft of acting. I keep researching different things. I stay up to date with the news to try and get myself in the mindset for the political side of the show. From there it is about keeping my body, voice, and mind clear and open and executing what I know is supposed to be the show.

MAS – Tell me about you character, Tunny. What does the audience need to know about this young man?

Dan Tracy – Tunny is a confused guy; he grew up in a tough family situation in suburban California. He is looking for an answer to make the pain go away. He’s got a rich emotional rift that he tries to hide from everyone. He decides after taking a trip to New York with his best friend Johnny to enlist in the military. He persuaded by this character called the favored son. The military poses that answer for him, kind of giving him a purpose. He has a difficult time with that too; he can’t seem to catch any breaks. He ends up seeing through all of the darkness into more positive light.

MAS – What do you want the audience to leave the show with, in regards to Tunny?

Dan Tracy – It’s about a person who has almost everything taken away from him and then still be able to move on and find the good. I think that a lot of people can relate to that in whatever way they personally see that story. Not many people have experience losing a limb in the middle-east during a very violent war. But, a lot of people have lost loved ones or they are dealing with addiction or the other themes that this deals with. My character can help contribute to that; as does Will and Johnny.

MAS – How do you, and the rest of the cast, handle questions and criticism from people that come to this show thinking they are getting something closer to the album than what it is? Considering the album has sold 15 million copies worldwide, there is a lot of room for lofty expectations from audiences.

Dan Tracy – There is a pressure on us, at the back of your mind. Every time I stand out and look at the audience when I am singing “Are We the Waiting” there is a lot of my emotional journey, my actions through the story of the show that are on the forefront of my mind. In the back of my brain is that fact that this song could very well be the favorite song of somebody out there in the audience. You try and think of that so that you know that you are putting in the work that you should. It is another way to motivate yourself to do your job every night when you have to do it 150 times in a row.

I have never heard anyone say that they didn’t like the changes that have been made from the original album to what you hear now. They are not even really changes. It is not like anything is gone, nothing is missing they have only added things. I think some of the orchestrations have really added significant richness to certain songs.

People had no idea of what they were going to get, they come to the show, they don’t know what it is about, and they are just taken aback.

MAS – To build on the criticism that I have seen and heard. Some people have said that this type of show is really just a concert trying to be a musical, how do you respond to that?

Dan Tracy – It doesn’t look like a golden-age book musical; it has the form of something you would see in an avant-garde movie. It is not very linear, there are so many things happening at once, there are so many pieces, there are a lot of metaphors happening, there is a lot of interpretation of different moments and there are a lot theatrical devices being used. Some people don’t see the richness when they walk in and see it the first time.

It is the type of show that every time you watch it you see something deeper and more complex. It is a lot for people to take in on their first watch

The cast of the show that will be appearing in Durham:

Main Cast:

Jared Nepute Johnny
Dan Tracy Tunny
Casey O’Farrell Will
Olivia Puckett Whatsername
Taylor Jones Extraordinary Girl
Mariah MacFarlane Heather
Carson Higgins St. Jimmy

Ensemble and Understudies:

Alex Boniello
Liam Fennecken
Sean Garner
Francesca Granell
Antwaun Holley
Andrew Humann
Alison Morooney
Johnny Newcomb
Michael Pilato
Eric Presnall
Turner Rouse, Jr.
Josephine Spada
Chelsea Turbin



In addition to, Michael Smith is also a regular contributing writer for the Fayetteville, NC weekly newspaper, Up and Coming Weekly.

This week’s edition of Up and Coming Weekly features an article about the upcoming Evening of Hope Gala to benefit The Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina on May 3rd.

Click the link below to read more
(You will be routed to

Michael Smith at Up and Coming Weekly


Old Crow
w/ Special Guests

Shovels & Rope

August 20
Red Hat Amphitheater

Old Crow Medicine Show will play Red Hat Amphitheater Raleigh on August 20.

Tickets go on sale Friday April 25 at 10am:

All Ticketmaster outlets

or charge by phone 800-745-3000

The Duke Energy Center box office

Belk box office at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

For more information go to





Legendary George Clinton Fills Red Hat Amphitheater with Funk
May 17

George Clinton, one of the creators of funk music, and legendary Parliament Funkadelic will fill the Red Hat Amphitheater with original, uncut funk Saturday, May 17.

As a musical “explorer” George Clinton and his P-Funk All Stars took their music from Soul to the uncharted land of Funk in the 1970s, scoring chart busters such as “Flashlight,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” “Agua Boogie” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep” along the way.

Tickets to hear the Grammy Award-winning, R&B revolutionary leader live in Downtown Raleigh start as low as $10.

Tickets on sale  at:

All Ticketmaster outlets

The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts box office

or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000


Back By Popular Demand
First Triangle Appearance with Large Band in 4 Years

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band

Durham Performing Arts Center
August 27, 2014

Since his self-titled debut in 1986, Lyle Lovett has evolved into one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. His music, rich and eclectic, is one of the most beloved of any living artist working today. On August 27, 2014, DPAC welcomes him back, marking Lyle Lovett’s third appearance at DPAC.

Tickets go on sale Friday, April 25 at 12 p.m.:

Online at

DPAC Ticket Center: 919.680.2787, 123 Vivian Street, Durham, NC / Ticketmaster Charge by phone at 800.745.3000

“There is a closeness and intimacy when Lyle Lovett performs here,” said Bob Klaus, GM for DPAC. “His connection to our audience is immediate, no matter what he offers from his extensive songbook.”

A singer, composer and actor, Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Among his many accolades, besides four Grammy? Awards, he was given the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award, and was recently named the Texas State Musician.

Lovett’s most recent album Release Me was released in February, 2012. The album was #1 for several weeks on the Americana charts. Produced by Nathaniel Kunkel and Lovett, Release Me represents the end of an era as it was his last record for Curb/Universal Music Group, having been on the label for his entire career. Release Me is quintessential Lyle, mixing a smart collection of originals and songs written by some of his favorite songwriters that show not only the breadth of this Texas legend’s deep talents, but also the diversity of his influences, making him one of the most infectious and fascinating musicians in popular music.

Lovett has appeared in 13 feature films, and on stage and television.



Summer Solstice Tour

Saturday, July 26
Durham Performing Arts Center

Maxwell will bring his Summer Soulstice Tour to DPAC on Saturday July 26.


Tickets go on sale Friday April 25 at 10am at:

DPAC box office

Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone 800-745-3000


For more information go to

The Other Woman

Brick Mansions

The Quiet Ones