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The Friday Five, 6/22/18: 5 things I've been up to this week

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There was no Friday Five last week because I was in Israel - I was there from Sunday 6/10 through Sunday 6/17, and I flew back through Newark on the 17th and took a flight back to Detroit the next day, on the 18th. My jetlag has been slowly improving throughout the week but on Monday I definitely crashed hard and went to bed at 9pm ...

What I've been up to this week:
Traveling. Israel was amazing and I'm very glad I went, even though I'm still finding it hard to walk this week ... we climbed up and down Masada (see picture below) and although I'm not THAT badly out of shape (I walk and do zumba weekly, or at least I try to), it still kicked my butt, albeit providing some awesome photos. If you're Jewish and age 18-32, you should check out Birthright here - they recently extended it to ages 27-32 which is how I was able to go.Planning my next few trips. I am the type that comes home from a trip, unpacks my suitcase the same day, and then the next day is already planni…

UPCOMING and GIVEAWAY: Jim Gaffigan, July 28 at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston

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*Disclosure: I have an ongoing blog relationship with 313 Presents. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Jim Gaffigan will be performing stand-up comedy at DTE Energy on July 28th, at 8pm, and I'm excited to see his act - I've seen his movies before but not his comedy show.

Read on for more details and to find out how to win a 4-pack of lawn tickets!

About the show:
Grammy® nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, two-time New York Times best-selling author, top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling father of five, Jim Gaffigan, will make a stop at DTE Energy Music Theatre on Saturday, July 28 at 8 p.m.

Tickets ($29.50 and four-packs at $89 on the United Shore lawn and $39.50, $59.50, $75 and $125 in the pavilion) are on sale now and can be purchased at 313Presents.com, the Little Caesars Arena XFINITY box office and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000.

Jim Gaffigan is known around the world for his unique brand of humor…

DETROIT GIVEAWAY: 15 admit-two screening passes for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, 6/27 at MJR Troy

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado will be in theaters on June 29th, but 15 of my lucky readers will see it first at a local screening!

I have 15 admit-two screening passes to give away - see below for details. The screening will take place on Wednesday, June 27th at MJR Troy, and seating is first-come, first-serve, so I recommend arriving early.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado is an upcoming Italian-American action crime thriller film directed by Stefano Sollima and written by Taylor Sheridan. The sequel to the 2015 film Sicario, the film stars Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Catherine Keener. The plot follows the drug war at the U.S.-Mexico border as it has escalated to the point where the cartels have begun transporting terrorists, forcing the CIA to team up with ex-hitman Alejandro Gillick.



GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Sunday, June 24th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the next day via email.

Eac…

UPCOMING and GIVEAWAY: Marvel Universe Live at Little Caesars Arena, Detroit {ends 6/26}

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*Disclosure: I received show tickets from 313 Presents in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I last saw Marvel Universe Live in 2015, when it came to the Palace, and this year it is back in town again, from November 15-18, at Little Caesars Arena.

Read on for more info and to find out how to win 4 tickets!


About the show:
Marvel fans, assemble for this live, legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man join forces with Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki’s hands in this all-new, spectacular arena stunt show. Produced by Feld Entertainment, Marvel Universe LIVE! is performing at Little Caesars Arena from Thursday, November 15 to Sunday, November 18 for 8 performances.

Tickets (starting at $20) are on sale now. and can be purchased at 313Presents.com, Little Caesars Arena XFINITY box office and Ticketm…

The Friday Five, 6/8/18: 5 things I've been up to this week

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Last weekend, I went to Ann Arbor for 3 days for the Cinetopia Film Fest - I saw so many movies that it felt like a week! (I saw 11, technically 10.5 movies that weekend, as well as 1 more Cinetopia movie this week, in Dearborn)

This weekend, I'm here until Saturday night, then I head to JFK (New York) that night and later to Israel, for Birthright, the next day.

(related: there will be no Friday Five the next week. First week skipping it, but I'm not bringing my computer with me to Israel. The Friday Five will resume on 6/22!)


What I've been up to this week:
Visiting Ann Arbor for Cinetopia. I drove in on Thursday for the opening night movie (Eighth Grade, with an appearance by the director, Bo Burnham) and reception. I drove to the Farmington area on Friday AM for a doctor's appointment and to see my parents, then I drove BACK to Ann Arbor on Friday, and stayed at the Red Roof PLUS+ near North Campus from Friday to Sunday. I technically saw 11 movies, but one I left ear…

2018 Cinetopia Film Festival movie reviews {Ann Arbor + Dearborn}

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Year 5 of Cinetopia is in the books! At least for me - Cinetopia technically goes until this Sunday, June 10th, but since I'm leaving Saturday night for NY (and then Sunday morning for Israel), I will not be able to see any more movies this week.

I saw 12 movies this year, but technically 11.5: I saw the first 45 minutes of White Rabbit, but wasn't a fan, so I left and went to see Never Goin' Back instead.

Thursday, May 31st: Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor
Eighth Grade. This was on my top 10 list so I was excited to see it, and they did a Q&A with the director, Bo Burnham, as well. It reminded me of Ingrid Goes West in some parts, because the protagonist (an 8th grade girl) is obsessed with social media, and was very good. 4 stars out of 5.Scheduled to be released on July 13th.
Friday, June 1st: Ann Arbor Nico, 1988. This was my first introduction to the State Theatre's renovations, which are great - gone are the days of uncomfortable seats! I wasn't initially planni…

Cinetopia Film Festival in Ann Arbor with the Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD #DriveMazda

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*Disclosure: I received the use of a vehicle for a week in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
This weekend was super busy for me and I had a lot of driving to do, so I was glad that I had the 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD in which to do it. 
On Thursday, I drove from Clawson to Ann Arbor for the opening night of the Cinetopia film festival, and I stayed there overnight at a friend's apartment. On Friday, I drove to Farmington for a doctor's appointment, then to Walled Lake to see my parents and do some last-minute trip shopping with my mom. I then drove back to Ann Arbor, and stayed there for 2 days for the festival, driving home to Clawson on Sunday. I also drove to/from Dearborn on Wednesday for one more Cinetopia film. 

One of the first things I noticed about this car was its luxe interior—it has nappa leather-trimmed upholstry, and the leather was a dark red color. Very pretty, and very striking. The outside of the car is "Snowfl…

UPCOMING: Wicked returns to the Detroit Opera House, August 8 - September 2, 2018

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I have only seen Wicked one time, in London in 2009, so I'm very excited to see it again when it returns to Detroit this year!

Read below for all of the details.

About the show:
WICKED, Detroit’s most popular musical, will return to the Detroit Opera House, August 8 – September 2, 2018. Tickets for the return engagement start at $43 and are now available for purchase online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-982-2787 and at the Fisher Theatre and Detroit Opera House box offices.

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman. The production is directed by Joe Mantello with musical staging by Wayne Cilento. WICKED is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

Since opening in 2003, WICKED has been performed in over 100 cities in 15 countries around the world (U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, …

Hotel review: Red Roof PLUS+ Ann Arbor, a convenient place to stay near the University of Michigan

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*Disclosure: I received a hotel stay in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

This past weekend, I was in Ann Arbor all weekend for the Cinetopia Film Festival, and from Friday through Sunday, I was able to stay at the Red Roof PLUS+ near UM's North Campus.

I'll be honest and say that I've never stayed at a Red Roof before. This Red Roof has a great location: it's about a 10-minute drive from downtown Ann Arbor (8 minutes if you're coming from the Kerrytown area, according to my GPS) and conveniently located near US-23, as well.


I checked in on Friday morning and was tired from driving all day - I had stayed in Ann Arbor the previous night for Cinetopia, at a friend's place, then had driven back to the Farmington/Walled Lake area for a doctor's appointment and to see my parents. Check-in was easy and the front desk staff was very friendly.


I stayed in room 106, which was on the back side of the building near the lobby. Th…

The Friday Five, 6/1/18: 5 things I've been up to this week

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I had about a 3.5 day weekend for the holiday, which was nice, and I also spent some time outdoors at a marina for a BBQ with friends (and got burnt ... even when I put on sunscreen I get burnt ...) and was able to enjoy some good food.

What I've been up to this week:
Starting off my long weekend with a delicious Yelp event. I was bummed when I was put on the waitlist for Yelp Detroit's event at Pop's for Italian, in Ferndale, but very excited when I received a message that I was OFF the waitlist, about an hour before the event! We got to make our own pizzas and gnocchi, and then were treated to a fabulous meal including both the pizza and gnocchi we made, plus more of their pastas, and some wine, as well. Great way to kick-off the weekend!Hanging out with an Ann Arbor friend. My friend Elyssa was in town from Ann Arbor to visit me, for about 24 hours (Friday night through Saturday night), and we went to Ferndale on Friday night, to Imperial and later Dino's for live-ban…