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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

100 Monkeys at the El Rey Theatre Part 2: Because We Need to See More Jackson Rathbone Pictures

Since I don’t have a particularly good camera or any special photographic skills to speak of, I operate under the theory that if you get close enough to your intended target and take enough photographs, you’re bound to get a few good shots. So, I snapped my shutter like crazy two weekends ago when I saw 100 Monkeys perform in Los Angeles and it turns out I have enough pictures for a second post. If you missed it, you can find part one HERE, but this time around it's all about Jackson…

Really, what is there to say? He’s sublime

I’m not exactly sure why Jackson was on his knees in front of me, but how could you possibly expect me to remember anything after that?

One of the things that makes Monkeys shows so fun to attend is that you can clearly see how much the band is enjoying themselves and they sweep you right into their joy of being on stage. I will never, ever get tired of watching Jackson dance. If you’ve never seen the Monkeys perform live or watched a YouTube video of Jackson dancing, then trust me when I say you’re missing out on something important.

The Monkeys switch instruments seamlessly after nearly every number, and in this show we saw Jackson play a few different guitars, keyboards, drum set, harmonica, and tambourine.

I wasn’t going to include this last shot taken at the end of the show because I already used a similar photo in my other post, but then I noticed the bottom of Jackson’s shirt in this one. You’re welcome.

And now I'll end with a random, lovely picture of Rob, because every post must have one (original source unknown, but this one is one of many from a folder on my computer innocently labeled "Car Maintenance Records"). Sigh.

TwiloveSue XOXO

P.S. Don’t forget to visit Mrs P at her other blog!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

100 Monkeys Shows are Like a Box of Chocolates: You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get

Last weekend at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, not only did we get to see 100 Monkeys perform two completely different sets of awesome music, we also saw a great performance by Paul McDonald from American Idol and met Nikki Reed and Ashley Greene in the audience.

I attended with the usual posse (ZAnyMouse, TwiFixx, and the two Twi-daughters) plus VampiresWeLove joined us for the adventure. I won’t even say how many hours early we arrived to wait in line lest you judge me for being weirder than I actually am. I know this sounds odd, but standing around visiting with everyone in line is half the fun. We were also super excited to find a shop across the street that sold Harry Potter/Twilight merchandise and hosted Harry Potter themed parties. Seriously, it was the coolest store ever other than Dazzled by Twilight in Forks.

It’s important for you to understand that for maximum enjoyment, the Monkeys need to be experienced as up close and personal as possible. Luckily, we were able to snag a great spot up front by the stage in the center. As always, the Monkeys delivered a high energy rock/funk show that did not disappoint. The crowd was large and enthusiastic and you could just feel the energy in the room.

This is my favorite picture of Jackson of the whole night.

Uncle, Jerad and Jackson

The Monkeys performed several cuts from their upcoming new CD Liquid Zoo.

The improv song was “Magic Hands” and it kind of looks like Jackson was showing off his magic hands in this shot. The improv songs are always fun because they’re always so unique and you just never know what they’re going to come up with.

They wrapped up with the Thank You song and I only had a few minutes to say hi to TwiredJen, Elusive_S, LuvsMeSumEdward, Jaymes805 and Amandakmelby in between sets before they took off early to get a good spot at the afterparty, but it was great seeing them!

Right before Paul McDonald came on stage, we were totally shocked when security escorted Nikki Reed over by us to watch the show. She was very friendly and talkative, and stood right next to Twi-daughter Nicole and in front of me to watch Paul’s set.

Twi-daughter Nicole and Nikki

It was so cute watching Nikki interact with Paul up on the stage, taking pictures and clapping along to the music. She encouraged us all to cheer really loud for him and enthusiastically whooped it up for her guy. She was very pretty in person and seemed so proud of Paul that she was almost glowing.

Nikki said she goes to all of Jackson’s LA shows, so apparently we haven’t been very observant in the past. When a girl nearby gave her two pictures of Paul, she told her she was going to frame one and give the other to his Mom.

You can sort of see me behind Nikki. That wall to her left is actually a very tall security guard.

After his set, Paul jammed with the Monkeys for a few songs (Paul, Jerad, Ben J., Ben G., Jackson).

The Monkeys did a completely different batch of songs their second time on stage.

I always love their offbeat stage d├ęcor of balloons and streamers. It’s so cute knowing that while we’re up front waiting for the show to start, they’re behind the curtain blowing up balloons and randomly hanging decorations. It always looks like boys decorated the stage and that totally makes me smile.

Afterwards, we saw Ashley Greene back near the bar and she graciously posed for pictures with the Twi-daughters. She really was so beautiful (and thin!).

Twi-daughter Nicole and Ashley

Twi-daughter Megan and Ashley

You know I wouldn’t dare to break my new rule of ending every post with a hot picture of Rob. It’s a very good rule, after all.

I have a lot more pictures of Jackson and the Monkeys from the show, so look for Part Two next week!

TwiloveSue XOXO

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Twilight Experience at Comic-Con: a Look Back to the Day I Forever Lost All Rational Thought

My very first in-person encounter with Twilight cast members was in July 2009 at the “Twilight Experience” in San Diego. Little did I foresee that this would be the day my enthusiastic love of all things Twilight would take the final leap into a full blown, inexplicable and nearly incontrollable (but in a good way) quest to meet the whole Twilight cast. The transformation started out simple enough: Twi-daughter Nicole and I thought it would be fun to see some Twilight cast members and watch the movie on the big screen again. The event took place at Comic-con, where there was a New Moon cast panel to preview the upcoming fall release. Ironically, I remember watching the news the night before and seeing that people were camped out in line overnight for a chance to see the panel and thinking they were kind of nuts. Ah, how times have changed.

The whole thing was actually quite cool. It was a sold out, one night only simultaneous showing of Twilight on 15 screens in downtown San Diego with a pre-show Q&A by New Moon cast members. It was set up like a movie premiere, with a red carpet and a ton of media and press there to cover the event. The line to get in started early in the day and eventually wrapped around the building and all the way down the street, plus people were lined up along the sides of the street hoping for a glimpse of the cast arrivals.

Billy Burke, Rachelle Lafevre, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Kiowa Gordon, Taylor Lautner, Nikki Reed, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Chistian Serratos, Kellan Lutz, Anna Kendrick, Justin Chon, Michael Welch, and Girl-Who-Played-Heidi-Who’s-Name-I-Don’t-Know-And-Am-Too-Lazy-To-Google (photo source: MTV). Does Christian Serratos have the best spot, or what?

(photo source: JustJared)

(photo source: twilightersanonymous)

When it was our turn to enter the theater, we headed straight for the front row. I mean, duh… the actors were going to stand in the front of the theater. Can you believe there were people who actually chose their seat based upon the best spot to watch a movie that we all already owned on DVD?

The cast was split into smaller groups and sent to various auditoriums to answer questions before the movie. We ended up with a really great group: Kristen, Nikki, Rachelle, Kellan and Billy. It’s true, the person I wanted to see the most was not in our group, but let’s not bring up that painful point.

Please accept my apology now for the poor quality of my pictures due to a combination of lame camera, shaking hands, and dead battery. My camera literally shut itself off after each picture because the battery was so drained. The cast took questions from the audience and passed the microphone around to each other to talk. Rachelle seemed most comfortable in front of an audience and handled the bulk of the questions. Poor Kristen looked like she desperately wanted to bolt from the room, especially when someone asked if she and Rob were dating. Nikki quickly took the microphone from Kristen, put her arm around her, and jokingly announced, “No, we are!”

Billy didn’t answer many questions and sort of stood off to the side looking very non-Charlie-Swan-like and making small talk with the front row. I remember thinking he seemed like such a sweet guy.

Kellan was a huge favorite in the room and my daughter was completely mesmerized by him.

It was such a surprise to see Kristen with her “Joan Jett” look.

I don't know if you can tell, but Kristen's eyes are glowing red in this picture. Apparently I was way ahead of my time, snapping this first, exclusive picture of Vampire Bella. Yeah, I know it really is a terrible shot, but I couldn’t not include it.

Nicole must have been staring at Kellan quite obviously, cause Billy noticed and asked if she wanted Kellan’s autograph. He got Kellan’s attention and brought him right over to us. This picture is of him signing her New Moon Burger King crown.

As the cast was leaving, the young girl next to me asked Kristen if they could take a picture together and handed her camera to me. Being the camera genius I am, I couldn’t get it to turn on and had to give it back to her to fix. The girl was so flustered and couldn’t figure out her own camera, but Kristen was incredibly nice, talking with us while she patiently waited. She also signed Twi-daughter’s BK crown. Kristen’s body guard kept urging her to leave because she was the last one left, but she ignored him and waited until the girl could get her picture. I was so impressed by that.

Once the movie started, I headed out to the lobby to use the restroom and could not believe the utter chaos. Hundreds of tween girls (and the rest of us with tiny bladders and Rob fixations) swarmed the lobby trying to catch a glimpse of Taylor and Rob. There was not an inch of space to walk and the frantic theater manager was on a bull horn trying to control the madhouse and get everyone to go back into the theaters. Eventually people retreated after he repeated his “Rob has left the building” announcement enough times. I heard afterwards that when they took Rob into some of the theaters, audience members rushed the front of the room and they whisked the cast right out again without a Q&A.

On our way out after the movie, they gave us lots of free Twilight goodies and a New Moon poster autographed by a cast member. I got Peter’s signature and Nicole got Rachelle’s. This was such an awesome event to attend and I hope we have an opportunity to do something like that again.

Yes, yes, I know this is a picture of Rob from the Water for Elephants premiere in Germany (photo source unknown). I have now instituted a new bloggy rule that all of my posts shall end with a random, hot picture of Rob. I suspect there will not be any complaints in the comments.

TwiloveSue XOXO

P.S. Check back on Friday cause I have some awesome pictures from last weekend's 100 Monkeys show in Los Angeles. Ashley Green and Nikki Reed were there too!