Deep In Vogue (Television Thoughts: The Man Who Would Be In Vogue, Pilot Episode, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, F/X

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I had been looking forward to seeing ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ because o a couple of things. Firstly, I remember when this incident happened, and followed the case close enough when it was on the headlines. Of course, the old me don’t remember really that much about the case, so I thought it would be well to see it unfold in a different way. Second, Versace’s killer, Andrew Cunanan, is half-Filipino so culturally it is resonating with me – although really being a psychopath doesn’t really get dictated by nationality. And lastly, this looks to be one of the gayest shows this season – directed by Ryan Murphy, and starring Ricky Martin and Darrin Criss. Well, Criss isn’t technically gay, but I have only seen him play gay, so he might as well be.

And the pilot. ‘The Man Who Would Be Vogue’ was pretty engaging. I know some have complained that it was a little slow, but I thought it moved quickly enough, and really, is there that much to say to warrant nine episodes? It begins at the day of the shooting, and moves back and forth in time. There were details I didn’t really know – that bird which got killed by a stray bullet was something I didn’t know. Plus, I thought the performances were universally good. Edgar Ramirez looks and talks like the real Gianni that it was sometimes jarring. And what great revelation Ricky martin is here. I know he has acted before, and I have seen him on stage even on Les Miserable, but his Antonio D’Amico here has great shades of subtlety (I suspect Murphy’s hand there)  Penelope Cruz is inspired casting – there’s just a dash of camp there for vavavavoom but you never feel it isn’t real – Cruz gives her great humanity. And Darren Criss is blazing hot to look at as Andrew Cunanan, which probably best represented the character: all accounts from people he knew said he had charm. There are moments of deep depth in Criss here – in the ‘fantasy’ sequence of him and Versace on stage at the San Francisco Opera, you can see his mind swirling as Cunanan’s probably was- but slim writing probably hindered him in some scenes. When he gets to his car after killing Versace, we never truly know what is going on in Cunanan’s mind, and Criss never really filled in the blanks there.

For sure, though, the show is great to look at and sounds incredible. The bright Miami sunlight gives it a great glow, and there is that stunning opening sequence of Casa Casuarina choreographed to Albinoni’s Adagio. I am hooked, and cannot wait for the next episodes.

Go Ricky (Concert Thoughts: Ricky Martin, 9/15/15 Axis Theater, Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas)

ri2The saying that “Music is the Universal language” was never more true for me than tonight. I have just gotten back from seeing Ricky Martin on his “One Love World Tour” at The Axis Theater in Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, and I was quite impressed with his show. I honestly thought it would just be an okay show – I was expecting a lot of glitz but not much depth.  The glitz was there, and they are as glitzy as they come – the lights and projections are first-rate. But what surprised me more was how much heart Ricky has, and it’s right there on stage on his show. His show felt intimate. At times it felt like every song was being sung to me directly, and it’s all swoon-worthy. And guess what? Eighty percent of the songs are in Spanish, yet I felt every heartbreak, every promise of a new love, every single emotion in these songs. I had never thought of martin as a most sensitive crooner, but by God, i couldn’t stop myself from tearing up. All his bouncy hits were there – “Livin La Vida Loca,” “Shake Your  Bon Bon,” a reworked “She Bangs” – and he grooved with every song like his life depended on it. He is a fantastic dancer, and while the dancers did do the bulk of his choreography, he moved along with them. His strut is pure sex, and there wasn’t a dry seat in the house. It looks like he never stopped moving for two hours, and each costume change, in basic tones, was as appealing as the other. He had the audience in the palm of his hands, and even as I left as he was still singing “The Cup Of Life” (I’m old, the traffic would kill me )  I was already a willing captive.

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