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Film Reviews: 2024 Cinetopia Film Festival, Ann Arbor

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This was technically my 7th time at the Cinetopia Film Festival —I attended it every year from 2014 through 2019, and then of course in summer 2020 it was not held, due to the pandemic. Fast-forward to four years later, and it's now BACK, and will continue until this Sunday, June 23rd . I unfortunately was only able to attend this weekend, due to prior commitments, but I was able to see five films this weekend. Most people purchase passes for the festival, but you can also purchase individual tickets; see the Cinetopia website for more information. Janet Planet. All photos courtesy of Cinetopia Movies I saw this year: 1. Janet Planet . This was a rather slow coming of age film, with probably more of the most-recognizable actresses at the festival—Julianne Nicholson plays the mother in the movie, with a fantastic performance by Zoe Zigler as the daughter. Sophie Okonedo and Will Patton also have supporting roles. Although the movie didn't specify the year, we could tell it was

The Friday Five, 6/14/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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How is already mid-June? Time is going by super fast. I am headed (back; see below) to Ann Arbor this weekend for the Cinetopia Film Festival , which I'm pretty excited about; I used to go every summer from 2014-19, and this is the first time it's back since the pandemic.  Yo-Yo Ma at Hill Auditorium, Ann Abor (2nd from left) What I've been up to this week: Going to Ann Arbor to see Yo-Yo Ma in concert. This is maybe the 3rd or 4th time I have seen him in concert (or maybe 5th; I've lost track). I didn't know he was playing with a full orchestra, and only playing 1 of the 4 songs, which was a little disappointing, but he's always an amazing performer—the most memorable time I saw him was actually when I was a student at UM, and he did a week-long residency there with the School of Music kids. He had a paid concert, which I attended, but also a workshop with them which was free to the public, and it was really cool to watch. For this week's concert, he played

Upcoming and GIVEAWAY: Some Like It Hot, Oct. 1-13, Fisher Theatre, Detroit {ends 6/16}

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*Disclosure: I have an ongoing media relationship with Broadway in Detroit. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. I have seen the movie version of Some Like It Hot , with Marilyn Monroe, but have never seen the musical, so I'm excited that it's coming to the Fisher this fall. Read more below, and enter to win two tickets to the show! About the show: Broadway In Detroit announced today that single tickets for the upcoming engagement of SOME LIKE IT HOT , the “Super-Sized, All-Out Song-And-Dance Spectacular!” ( The New York Times ), coming to Detroit will go on sale Friday, June 21. Tickets will be available online at BroadwayInDetroit.com at 10:00 a.m. and at the Fisher Theatre box office starting at Noon. Set in Chicago when Prohibition has everyone thirsty for a little excitement, SOME LIKE IT HOT is the “glorious, big, high-kicking” (Associated Press) story of two musicians forced to flee the Windy City after witnessing a mob hit. With gangsters hot on their heel

The Friday Five, 6/7/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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This week has seemed rather long, for some reason, so I'm glad it's Friday.  Detroit-style pizza from Uncle Andy's Pizza What I've been up to this week: Getting takeout/dining out . Last Friday, I picked up some Uncle Andy's Pizza from their Orchard Lake Rd. location—a few years ago, they had a Clawson location, and always had Groupons available, so I was consistently getting their $20 Chicago-style deep dish pizza for $10, which was amazing. That location has since closed, but the Orchard Lake Rd. one is close to my fiance's house, in Farmington, so sometimes we do takeout. They had a free cheesy bread coupon, so we got the Detroit-style picture above and that for about $20, which wasn't too bad.  On Saturday, I met up with two friends at Crispelli's, in WB, for more pizza—they are two of the five friends going on my bachelorette party trip next month, and no one has met before, so this was an opportunity for them to meet each other. On Sunday, my paren

The Friday Five, 5/31/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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This has felt like the longest month ever—I swear I've lived like five different lives this month—and today isn't even June, it's May 31st! Although this was a very fun month, I'm glad to have a quieter June ahead of me. HelloFresh trattoria pork chops with couscous and carrots What I've been up to this week: The last of the May weddings . Wedding #3, which was for one of my friends (weddings #1 and #2 were for my fiance's friends, although I am friends with the couple in wedding #1 too), took place at MotorCity Casino this past Saturday. It was the most "active" of the three weddings I attended—they got us up on the dance floor early—and it was a lot of fun, for one of the first friends I made when I moved to Michigan in 4th grade. I had fun at all three weddings I attended, but I have to say I'm glad there are no more weddings until our own, in September ... I am tired! Getting takeout . Last Friday, I got my fiance and I takeout from Pink Garlic

The Friday Five, 5/24/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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This was a busy week and I came back from Chicago having lost my voice, which was not fun. There is ONE more wedding this weekend and then wedding season is done for us this year ... until September, at least. :)  Downtown Chicago What I've been up to this week: Trip to Chicago . I got back from Indianapolis last Wednesday from my work conference, and on Friday we flew on SWA (using points) to Chicago. We stayed at the Intercontinental—a hotel I actually stayed at in 1997, a year after we had moved to Michigan from Chicago—and because my fiance has status with IHG, they upgraded us to what I think was a junior suite, and it was super nice. We used IHG points to book it, and generally when you do that, the cost is covered, but unfortunately they did slap us with a $30/n "resort fee" (pool, wifi, etc.) upon checkout.  Wedding in Chicago . The reason we went to Chicago was the wedding of one of my fiance's friends from college. This was truly an EVENT: they had a pre-wed

Movie Review and Digital GIVEAWAY: The Fall Guy {ends 5/30}

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*Disclosure: I received a digital code in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. I saw The Fall Guy in theaters a few weeks ago, on May 8th, and it's already available to purchase for home viewing! Two  of my lucky readers will win a code to own the movie, too; see below for details. About the movie: As it continues driving pulse-pounding excitement at the global box office, the adrenaline-fueled, action-packed film, THE FALL GUY, is now exclusively in homes on digital platforms where you can buy or rent movies with a never-before-seen Extended Cut, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.  From real-life stunt man and director David Leitch, the blockbuster director of Bullet Train, Deadpool 2, and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, comes his most personal film yet, full of over-the-top action and jaw-dropping, practical stunts. Earning an “A-” CinemaScore and hailed as “an act of pure movie love” (Vulture), THE FALL GUY is a hilari

The Friday Five, 5/17/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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We are headed to Chicago today for wedding #2, which involves an entire weekend (dinner tonight at a hotel, wedding tomorrow, brunch Sunday), but unfortunately our flight is delayed about 50 minutes—as of this writing, as least, because it's changed from being delayed 1h40m to now only 50 minutes. Fried green tomatoes at LouVina, Indy What I've been up to this week: Going to a wedding in Cincinnati . This has been an extremely busy week (felt like two weeks, actually), and it kicked off last Friday, when we drove about five hours to Cincinnati for wedding #1 of 3 this month, a friend of my fiance's. We've actually been to Cincy a few times to visit them, too. Since he was a groomsman in the wedding, on Friday we went to rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, near the venue, and on Saturday was the wedding. On Sunday, they also had a casual Mother's Day/post-wedding brunch, and then we stopped by Jungle Jim's (the best! I say it's like Costco meets EPCOT) and then h

The Friday Five, 5/10/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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This weekend is the first of the three back-to-back wedding weekends, and we are headed to Cincinnati today for wedding #1, at which my fiance is a groomsman. We get back Sunday night and then Monday night I head to Indianapolis for work. HUGE 2-pc. cannoli from Zeoli's, Clawson What I've been up to this week: Dining out/getting takeout . Last Friday night, we were going to cook, but instead got Doordash from Sidecar Slider Bar, in Farmington—they're one of my favorites, but unfortunately they got my fried chicken slider wrong (it's normally drenched in maple syrup and delicious, but they forgot to NOT put hot sauce on so I couldn't eat it, which was a bummer). On Saturday, my fiance, two friends, their daughter, and I went to Highlands, which is the restaurant at the top of the RenCen; they are moving out of state and wanted to experience it. I've been there twice, but the first time was the very last week that Coach Insignia was open (just went for drinks), an

The Friday Five, 5/3/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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This has felt like a long week, but I've been able to see some friends, which I am also doing this weekend, which was nice. Treadmill screen at my gym What I've been up to this week: Working out . I always try to work out twice a week, usually Mondays and Tuesdays, and it usually doesn't happen, but this Monday I did the treadmill at my gym, and on Tuesday a friend joined me—since it was super nice out that day, we walked around the track there (it's a former high school, turned community center) for about 55 minutes, which was nice. The treadmill can track your total distance/calories/duration/etc., too, as you can see in the pic above, and I have a login with it so it knows my name.  Getting takeout/eating out.  On Friday, I brought over Pink Garlic takeout to my fiance's house, which is always tasty. On Saturday, we met up with some of his friends, and got Culver's for dinner (again always tasty), and on Sunday we got Domino's takeout. On Wednesday, my pa

The Friday Five, 4/26/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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I'm trying to enjoy the last weeks of April and early weeks of May, because I know my May is going to be insane (we have three weddings, two of which involve a short car ride or plane ride, AND I have a work trip). This week I still did a lot, but it wasn't as busy, which was nice. HelloFresh banh mi tacos What I've been up to this week: Seeing movies. Last Friday, my fiance and I saw Spy x Family Code White at AMC Livonia. We are both fans of the anime series, and I saw they were doing a movie version and wanted to see it. I also rewatched Mamma Mia! , on Netflix, this week—and heads up, it's leaving the streaming service on April 30th—because I saw the musical in Detroit this week (more on that below!). I also watched Downtown Owl via streamer this week; you can see my short tweet review here . And yesterday I went to the theater to see Challengers , which ended up being fantastic—I'd give it 5/5 stars, and you can click here to see my video review on Instagram.

GIVEAWAY: Jim Gaffigan, Nov. 22-23, Fox Theatre, Detroit {ends 5/2}

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*Disclosure: I have an ongoing media relationship with 313 Presents. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. If you've been following me for a while now, you'll know I'm a huge fan of Jim Gaffigan - although his comedy has changed a little over the years, it's generally very funny, and I've seen him perform at Pine Knob (formerly DTE), Meadowbrook, the Chicago Theatre, and Caesars Windsor.  Click here to purchase tickets. This November, he'll be back in Detroit, at the Fox Theatre, and one of my lucky readers will win a two-pack of tickets to see his show! About the show: Comedian Jim Gaffigan will bring his “2024 Barely Alive Tour” to the Fox Theatre for two performances on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23 at 7 p.m. Comerica Bank is the exclusive presenting partner of the Fox Theatre. Jim Gaffigan is a seven-time Grammy nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, two-tim

The Friday Five, 4/19/24: 5 things I've been up to this week

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This week has been an odd one because I was in Dallas Sunday through Tuesday for work, and I feel like I've been playing catch-up since then (and Wednesday definitely felt like Monday for me).  Giant Eye sculpture, Dallas What I've been up to this week: Traveling to Dallas for work . I was there for two days and two nights, which is usually the shorter end of my work trips, although next month for the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Indianapolis I'll be there for the same amount of time. This time was for SNX, which is a snacks conference. I was also able to see a friend who lives in Dallas, which was super nice because I hadn't seen her since 2018, when we met on a group trip. I saw the Giant Eye sculpture (pictured above), too, which I had seen on Google Maps and was definitely intrigued by; someone else asked me if it changes images, like the Sphere in Vegas, but it does not. Eating out . Last Friday, I met a friend and her boyfriend at Imperial in Ferndale, which is one