5 Shows and Movies on My Disney+ Watchlist

“Disney+” launched today.  For as long as I can remember the Disney company has been a presence in my life.  Be it through film or Disneyland, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t Disney in my world.  When I heard there was going to be a streaming service that would have the largest collection of streamable Disney owned content all on one source, I was elated.  The list of initial shows and movies had numerous offerings for every type of fan.  After running through the service at launch, 12:01 AM November 12, 2019, here are 5 programs that I immediately added to My Disney+ Watchlist:

1.) The Imagineering Story (2019) – Disneyland has always been a passion of mine.  I’ve always had an eagerness to learn about the park’s history and hear stories from the people who developed it’s attractions.  Admittedly, one of the small letdowns I had about Disney+ was that we wouldn’t get any of the original “Walt Disney Presents…” programs (either “World of Color” or “Disneyland” (the TV program)). Disney+ does offer recut shortened episodes of “Walt Disney Presents…” namely “Disneyland Around the Seasons”, and “The Plausible Impossible”.  Those old archived “Walt Disney Presents” shows are treasures and if we can’t get the full uncut episodes, “The Imagineering Story” more than makes up for these recut episodes.  You get the story of Disneyland right from the source.

2.) Heavyweights (1995) –  I have 20 first cousins on my mom’s side of the family.  When we all get together there are 3 films we can all agree to watch as a group.  Those films are “Elf”, “Mean Girls”, and “Heavyweights”.  This film is quintessential mid 90’s live action Disney.  “Heavyweights” comes from that era of Disney film where the 2nd Disney Animation Renaissance was happening, the company was expanding their collection of direct to Disney Channel films, and through this period the company was still releasing a number of theatrical live action films like “Jungle 2 Jungle” and “Cool Runnings”.  “Heavyweights” always stood out as a great subtle comedy with a plot that was instantly quotable.

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3.) The Legend of the Three Caballeros (2018) – In 2016, I remember seeing posts on Tumblr of a rumored new Three Caballeros project in development at Disney Animation.  The posts normally had leaked art, episode names and descriptions, but no solid dates for when they would be released.  There were rumors that Disney was planning on releasing a new show in the Summer of 2017.  Then mid 2017, it was announced “The Legend of the Three Caballeros” would be an exclusive release for the “Disney Life App”, which was only available for download in the Philippines, beginning June 2018.  The series that did end up debuting in the Summer of 2017 was the “Ducktales” reboot (August 2017).  After the “Ducktales” reboot was met with a great critical reception, it became clear that outside of the “Disney Life App” we might never be able to see episodes of “The Legend of the Three Caballeros”.  The fact that we have the opportunity to see it on Disney+ is a very pleasant surprise.

4.) Recess (1997 – 2001) – Up until recent years, Saturday morning cartoons was an American standard.  Saturday mornings were designated cartoon/kid programming times on most major networks.  My favorite go-to Saturday morning cartoon was “Recess”.  As a kid, I loved the adventures of the 3rd street crew and amount of imagination put into each storyline shaped how I viewed my world.  As an adult, I admire the amount of character diversity and also how certain characters differences which would be brought to the forefront in other programs were pretty much secondary in this show.  The show stressed a celebration of our differences and that’s why I loved it so much.

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5.) The Reluctant Dragon (1941) – Another rarity from the Disney vault.  In short, “The Reluctant Dragon” is a stylized, exaggerated journey of an idea pitch brought to the old Walt Disney animation studio.  The full length feature was released in 1941 amidst a major artists strike at the Disney studio.  Upon initial release, the film was met with a low audience response.  Audiences had expected another full length animated feature in the same vein of “Pinocchio” or “Dumbo”, but instead were met with a film that combined live action sequences with animated sequences.  The film would only be released in it’s entirety 3 other times as a DVD special feature accompanying more mainstream releases.  What makes this Disney+ release special, aside from being an uncut feature, if you look closely you can see a number of now classic Disney films in their earliest stages of development (for example, in the sequence where the characters are reviewing concept figurines, you can see models for Peter Pan which wouldn’t be released for another 12 years).

Honorable Mentions:
– The Simpsons – Seasons 2 through 12 – Of the show’s 31 seasons, 2 through 12 are the best.
– Ducktales (2017) – I can’t recommend the Ducktales reboot enough.
– The Mandalorian (2019) – This was probably the main selling point for a lot of early adaptors.
– John Carter (2012) – Probably my favorite Disney flop, that was a crazy exciting movie, more than likely killed by a boring name.
Frank and Ollie (1995), The Pixar Story (2007), Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009), and The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story (2009) – Essential Imagineering documentaries

Have Fun Streaming!

5 Modern Comic Books I Always Recommend

This week Emerald City Comic Con 2020 tickets went on sale.

I’m a comic book fan.  I can’t even remember the first time I started reading comics. I remember just always being a fan of Batman and the X-Men, and as I got older the comic book industry as a whole.  I have memories of collecting comics.  I remember reading Wizard Magazine.

A question I’m asked often, “What are some series you would recommend?” Here are “5 Modern Comic Books I Always Recommend “:

5.) Shade the Changing Girl Vol 1 – DC Comics – When the announcement that Gerard Way was spearheading DC’s Young Animal line of comics, I was pretty excited.  In the glut of comic book reboots happening in the past decade, hearing that a guy known more for his work as a musician (My Chemical Romance) and his handful of comic book successes outside of comic book giants, DC and Marvel, was refreshing.  You can’t go wrong selecting any series from DC’s Young Animal line of comics.  From compelling art to abstract storytelling, I’m a big proponent of DC’s Young Animal.  Shade the Changing Girl stands out for it’s beautiful art direction, and story which reads more like a modern sitcom than a comic book.
Who would I recommend this to?: People who are comic book fans, who don’t consider themselves comic book fans (hipsters).

4.) Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor – Fantagraphics Books – The Hip Hop Family Tree series traces the origins of hip hop as a cultural force in society.  As of now there are 4 volumes filled with unique art and a volume specific discography so fans can research the tracks of the artists discussed.
Who would I recommend this to?: Music Fans, Hip Hop Historians

3.) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill – America’s Best Comics/DC Comics/Vertigo/Top Shelf Comics – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tracks an idealized history where all of literature and various pop culture from “1984” to “Pollyanna” to “Harry Potter” exist in a shared reality.  The first Volume sets the stage for one of the most ambitious projects in comic book history.  The series recently ended after 6 collections/volumes.  If there was a single volume of the 6 I would point someone to, it would be Volume 1 where every character, setting, and major object, is a reference to another intellectual property.
Who would I recommend this to?: Victorian Era Literature fans, Folks who enjoy bar quiz nights

2.) Batman: The War of Jokes and Riddles written by Tom King – DC Comics – My favorite story to come from the “DC Universe: Rebirth” line. Before Batman can marry Catwoman, he has to confess to her his greatest moment of weakness, the War of Jokes and Riddles, when the Joker got into a turf war with the Riddler. Villains took sides and in the end, you’ll definitely see Batman and a few of his villains in a whole new light.
Who would I recommend this to?: Fans of “gangster” films and television, Fans of villains

1.) Identity Crisis written by Brad Meltzer – DC Comics – When this came out in 2004, I feel like it brought interest not only back onto DC Comics, but brought interest back to the comic book industry as a whole.  Without revealing too much, this comic starts as a murder mystery focused on B-Level characters, but expands to a larger mystery which threatens to unravel the super hero community as a whole.  By the end, you’ll be left in awe by both the killer and their motives.
Who would I recommend this to?: Anyone

My Experience at Bumbershoot 49: The Bear Essential Bumbershoot

My favorite set at this year’s Bumbershoot was The Lumineers (above)

One week ago was Bumbershoot 49. The reviews are in.  For every even handed review, you have a review where the reviewer wants you to know Bumbershoot was expensive, different from their favorite Bumbershoot a decade or two ago, and they felt old in the young crowd. I always love reading those reviews. They read like a high school student who was required to go to a play for his art class. The person writes as if they were forced to go, coupled with a lot of padded paragraphs concerning the periphery of the event like history and critiques of transplants, and then like 2 or 3 paragraphs of their experience. They’re pretty funny.

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Jai Wolf at the main stage, Day 3

I attended Bumbershoot 49. I grew up in Seattle and this was my 8th consecutive Bumbershoot. I did what I try to do every year at Bumbershoot. I tried to have a great time. I went out and met people. If I ran into artists, I complimented them on their sets. I danced. I drank. I tried to hear new music objectively. I tried to put out a positive vibe and hoped I would get that energy back.

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ReignWolf, Day 3

Speaking from experience this year’s Bumbershoot felt “less”. There were at least 3 less stages. With less stages, there were less slots for performers, so there was less performances to check out. There was no “Flatstock”. There was no dance arts stage. There was no KEXP presence. There was no Sub Pop or other branded pop up shop. The ticket price remained as high as ever. The film selection at SIFF cinema was lacking. The SIFF programming was 2 documentaries about the space needle that took up a one hour block, followed by a 4 hour block of music videos. The whole festival on paper felt like a group got together, decided to throw a “Bumbershoot”, and the first thought at the pitch meeting was, “We don’t want to spend too much money but we also want to give people the “Bumbershoot experience”, what’re the bear essentials of Bumbershoot?”.

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Posters for Bumbershoot 2019 (left) and Bumbershoot 2012 (right). The reductions are pretty obvious.

As harsh as that critique may seem, that was all information that could have been gleaned from one review of the schedule, map, or lineup prior to the event. I usually purchase my tickets before they announce the lineup because I expect Bumbershoot to be Bumbershoot. It’s a local tradition. If you still bought tickets even after researching that information, then it’s on you for purchasing tickets for an obviously reduced event.  Despite all of this, the actual mood of the event was positive. It felt like more people had attended this year’s Bumbershoot, than last year’s Bumbershoot. Maybe the reduced experiences, caused more people to congregate at stages in heavier volumes, but it definitely felt like the crowds were heavier than they were in 2018. Folks were lined up for laser light shows at Pacific Science Center, half an hour before the show, only to fill the room to capacity. Every stage had pretty sizeable audience turnouts. I hate to bring this up, but the Jai Wolf crowd, broke the barrier on Saturday night and other than being emblematic of an enthusiastic crowd it’s also emblematic of a well attended set.

20190901_153945Longtime Bumbershoot fans getting things started on Day 1

Chatting with folks around the festival, everyone seemed to be excited. One of the first bands I saw on Day 1 were the School of Rock kids. Prior to their set, a group of long time Bumbershoot fans had congregated at the Fischer Green stage (where they would be most of the weekend), and had already begun dancing even before the band took the stage. One of the couples told me about how they were in their 70’s and had been to every Bumbershoot except for one. When asked who they were looking forward to seeing that weekend, the gentleman in the couple said, “The Dip and Rezz.” I went to see The Dip later that night. I stacked up as close as I could to the barricade. A younger fan and her dad stood next to me. I asked the younger fan if she was enjoying her day? She told me about how she was 12, this was her first Bumbershoot, and she was having a great time. I told her about how I was impressed that she would get this close to the stage to see The Dip. It’s stuff like that that makes me happy. It’s reminiscent of the family heavy crowd that attended Reignwolf on Day 2 (the following day). I didn’t think it would be appropriate to mosh at Reignwolf seeing how many children were with their parents in the audience. Those kids are going to go to their first days of school and be able to brag to the other kids how they went to a music festival and were front row for The Dip, or were on their dad’s shoulders for Reignwolf. It’s just so cool.

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Sol, Day 1

As great as it was to meet an experienced Bumbershoot couple and a first time fest fan, I think getting to interact with artists is one of the bigger appeals of Bumbershoot. Other than nodding up to Sol when I would run into him at random stages, or standing next to Nestra for a song or two as he yelled at Pink Sweat$ (who was wearing literal pink sweats in direct sunlight), “Isn’t it hot?!”, my favorite Bumbershoot 49 artist run in was during the Kolars set on Day 3. I had stacked up at the front of the stage. Yogashoot hadn’t wrapped yet, but Kolars had already took the stage and were ready to begin their set. A dad and his kids had posted up right next to me. I chatted with this couple on my other side, but I glanced over at this dad every now and again and mentioned how great this next band was and how we were all looking forward to this set. As Kolars began to perform, two songs in, the lead singer dedicated a song to that dad next to us, “This next song is for Mike.” It didn’t take me too long to realize, Oh wow, that’s Mike McCready from Pearl Jam. The dead giveaway was when he took out his Polaroid camera and began taking shots of the band. All I could think was I have his book “Of Potato Heads and Polaroids” at home, how cool is it that he still takes Polaroids at shows? haha. Realizing he was on family time, I didn’t ask him for a photo, I just thought it was a cool Bumbershoot moment. I got to watch Kolars next to Mike McCready.

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Kolars, Day 3

The performances I saw were fabulous. After seeing their sets at Bumbershoot, I immediately went out and downloaded albums from both Donna Missal and Bryce Vine. Their sets had me chanting as if I were at a pro wrestling show, “Please come back!”. Carly Rae Jepsen proved why her latest album “Dedicated” should be up their as one of the top releases of 2019. LP delivered a memorable set. The Lumineers’ performance on Day 2 made me put away my camera and just be there in the moment. Something about hearing the song “Cleopatra” and dancing and singing with the strangers around me, made me realize I want to just be “here” now.  Taking Back Sunday on Day 3 brought me back to high school. It was a special performance for a number of reasons, but the lead singer being unable to climb back on stage mid set and making the executive decision to just wander the crowd while singing, hugging and dancing with everyone was something myself and fans who were there won’t forget.

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Taking Back Sunday, Day 3

Finally, Rezz closing out the festival was just fun. I normally go to festivals alone and just meet up with freinds at sets we all mutually want to see. Rezz was a performer all my friends who attended Bumbershoot wanted to see. Being able to spend time dancing with them in that crowd felt special. At one point I disappeared for a bit, in order to eat a lobster sushi burrito.  I got closer to one side of the stage so I could dance and chow down.  Randomly a member of one of the bands (no joke, I think it was one of the DJs from Louis the Child) tried chatting with me about how he had eaten a lot of food at catering and how I, dancing while eating during Rezz, was “Living the best life”. All I could think of while dancing, eating, and chatting to this musician was, no one else is probably having a Bumbershoot experience like mine.

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Rezz, Day 3

On paper, this will probably go down as one of the most lackluster Bumbershoots, but for me and a lot of those who attended I can’t say it was a negative experience. I felt like I had a great time, met some awesome people, danced, heard some great artists, and made some great memories. Where it stacks against my prior Bumbershoot experiences, I can’t say it was one of the best, but no where near my worst. I feel like everyone I spoke to after the event have had similar opinions as well. It wasn’t a terrible Bumbershoot, but also was no where near noteworthy. If I were to give a straight no non sense opinion about Bumbershoot 49, it made me excited for next year.  =)

20190903_223727Carly Rae Jepsen, Day 2

See ya next year, Bumbershoot!  I hope Bumbershoot 50 is something special.

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(All photos were taken by me.  Check out my Instagram at: Cakeintherain206)

Discover at your Desk Playlist 8/13/19

I get asked often at my day job, “You’re dancing at your desk, what are you listening to?”. 

As a way to help share the music that makes me move, I decided to make a rotating 10 song playlist featuring songs that make me dance at my desk.  The playlist will feature bands you’ve probably never heard of, local bands you’ve seen on posters, songs from popular bands you may have overlooked, and every now and again a throwback song that you may have forgotten from a performer’s past.

If you’re looking for a new song, artist, or album suggestion, this playlist is for you.

If you want an opportunity to brag to your friends that you heard an artist before they went mainstream, this playlist is for you.

And most importantly, if you want to know what music is making me dance at my desk at my day job, this playlist is for you.

This weeks 10 song playlist (Spotify Playlist included below):
1.) “You Don’t Love Me” – Wilderado
2.) “29” – Run River North
3.) “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” – John Legend & The Roots
4.) “Party Police” – Alvvays
5.) “Florida Key” – The New Basement Tapes
6.) “Do You Feel This Way” – Kailee Morgue feat Whethan
7.) “4ever” – Youryoungbody
8.) “Strange Embrace” – Kitten
9.) “Graves” – CHVRCHES
10.) “The Town” – Macklemore