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Posts tagged “Review

Books: The Mountain Shadow


In the month of March, this year, I was preparing for my trip to New Foundland and needed some books, knowing there would be no entertainment while I was there.

I was at my favorite book seller and I actually picked up “The Mountain Shadow” from the shelf, first, because it looked like quite a meaty book, at 873 pages.

When I reached the word “Sequel,” I was like damn … Now I have to read the first book, Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts. When I got on the plane on April 13th, I began reading Shantaram, at 933 pages.

It took me more than a month to complete that read, and I was not disappointed by any stretch of imagination. I loved that book from start to finish, and I gushed about it here.

That’s 1806 pages in total. April 13th to July 15th.

One of my followers warned me about The Mountain Shadow. So I went into the book, with a shadow of my own. I finished the book, because I always try to finish a book, I had begun to read. That is not always the case though.

I felt obligated to read the whole book, to dispel the shadow I went into it with, and to figure out what I would eventually say about it here.

I really missed Prabaker. His smile, his love, and his charm.

“The Mountain Shadow” had its cast of characters that were well written and fleshed out. The First book in a series is usually better than the sequels that follow. That is a usual trend in many series I have read over time.

The Mountain Shadow was a bit darker and much more intense, with the story unfolding into a new chapter of Shantaram’s life. I had to reach the conclusion, to find out if, in the end, Shantaram had found redemption and had figured out his life.

It was not the end I was looking for. I was hoping for something with a little more depth, so the end fell short for me. I’m not giving anything away in saying that. If you want to know why, then you’ll have to read the series from start to finish as I did.

Being in recovery from drugs and alcohol, and reading this series is like smoking and drinking with every word on the page. Everything is book-ended with a chillum and a drink it seemed.

Gregory says at the end of the story that:

This novel depicts some characters who are living self-destructive lives. Authenticity demands that they drink and smoke and take drugs. I don’t endorse drinking, smoking or drug taking, just as I don’t endorse crime and criminality as a lifestyle choice, or violence as a valid means of conflict resolution. What I do endorse is doing our best to be fair, honest, positive and creative with ourselves and others.

Shantaram comes to Bombay to find a life. Because he is fleeing a life in prison.

Did he find that life ? Yes, I think so. Was he honest, Yes I think so.

I believe he had to do what he thought he had to do to survive, in the choices he made to do what he chose to do in the story. Behind the work Shantaram did, there was honesty, love and devotion. That is clearly evident.

Shantaram knows loyalty and love. He learns these two things in the relationships he has with many of the men and women he works for, and those he serves in the Island City.

I’ve known my share of alcoholics and I’ve also known my share of drug dealers. The drug dealers I knew in my past, were good people. They had good hearts even if those hearts were wrapped in weed and alcohol.

I don’t hate them, nor do I scorn them either. They did what they did, because those were the cards they were dealt.

Behind the dirty, crime ridden, drug infested, alcohol swilling story of survival, is a story about love, honor, loyalty and in a way redemption.

We all have lives to live. It might take some time, but if I am honest, at some point we find the vocation we are meant to live out, eventually.

It is all about the Positive Attributes and the Universe that exists around us. Our connection to all that is, in the service of the many, to the good of all.

We are to bring positive attributes into the world, in our lives, in our relationships and in our work. The greater good you bring into your world and the world, the better off we all are.

Shantaram and The Mountain Shadow are worth your Time, Effort, and Devotion.

Gregory David Roberts did a fine job in telling a total story.

Madonna – Rebel Heart – Review (Club Section 200 Row D Seat 14)

IMAG0037We arrived at the Bell Center before 8 p.m. Our seats were in the Club Section, half way up the room, above the first section of seats, and between those and the nose bleeds. Prices started at $150.00 @ for Club seats. We got great seats for what we paid for them.

DJ Diplo spun some records for an hour prior to the show starting promptly at 9:30 and ran exactly 2 hours, start to finish. The stage was backed by a full wall panel of screens reminiscent of past Madonna shows. The walls move left to right and up and down to allow set pieces to be slid onto the stage from behind the set.

The runway consisted of a cross/heart shaped configuration with two false floors in the stage allowing for set changes and moving people up and down throughout the show. It was a simple light set up hanging in the ceiling. The lights hanging on stage were a bit more complex.

The floor of the stage was square and opened and closed, rose and fell, and had projection screen that went along with the back stage wall panels. For several numbers the stage rose diagonally which allowed the set to be tilted towards the audience.

It was quite spectacular.

The projection screens along with the stage were some of the best settings I have seen on a stage. And Madonna is very well known for screen technology to go along with the show. What you see on stage only makes the presentation all the more better.

It wasn’t as massive as the stage set of Confessions. That entire stage set up and configuration was much more massive than tonight’s simple set. The projection screen technology was the best part of the show production.

The opening scene, with all screens screaming, opened with ICONIC, featuring a voice over by Mike Tyson. It was pure production value !!!! Madonna was lowered to the stage in a cage from the ceiling. Probably one of the best numbers in the entire show. Like I said below, the stage set and the projection screens on the back wall and on the floor, were the best part of the show.

However …

I was not wowed by the show. It kind of left me flat. I knew the music she was singing or not singing because of several montage pieces with active screen montage and sing overs. The set list included a bevy of old music, set to new melodies and styles.

There were whole sections of music that was retooled out of the original keys and styles, into a mish mash of cha cha cha, latin style presentation, that really did not do much for me. At several points in the concert, the oldsters who were sitting in our section were on their feet dancing in the aisles, if there were aisles to be had.

I really was not moved to get on my feet at any point in the show. BAH !

She sang almost the entire Rebel Heart, save one or two numbers that did not make it into the show. However during some of the video montages, the actual production video, was shown backing other tracks that were sung or presented as sung.

I lost perspective sitting in the crowd, versus seeing it live on film. We were so high up from the floor, that I was having to choose whether to watch the simulcast on the video screens above the stage or watch the floor show going on below us.

My camera did an ok job at some of the photos below. it is a first generation cell so it is not as swanky as the new phones on the market. By the time we got home, entire film clips of the concert that we had just left were online. So there were very savvy social media folks recording live video and uploaded it already.

I still think the Confessions Tour was and IS my favorite tour, for production value.

Yes, every good gay man should see Madonna once in his life to knock her off our Gay Bucket Lists. It was an ok show. Like I said to hubby on the way home, maybe it will warm on me once I see the concert on film. I will remember it better getting to see it from the stage perspective and not from so far away.