After the Chautauqua County Fair has concluded, we enter what I consider to be the second half of summer. The responsibilities that come with the fall are looming ever-closer, the hottest days are probably behind us and the festivals are starting to become more sporadic. Now is the time to do everything you intended to do this season as it will soon begin to dwindle.
While we're on the subject of summer, I have a message for the many cantankerous individuals who can't stand the heat and should get out of the proverbial kitchen and go to the Arctic Circle until September.
WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS
It’s Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday on Saturday.
All summer long, the citizens of Chautauqua County can't seem to help trying to quell the sunshine. Stop complaining about the heat! Seriously. It lasts about two months if we're lucky - and then everything will be restored to its frigid, endlessly precipitating natural state. It really has not even been all that hot. What has it reached, a whopping 90 degrees max? What a bunch of drama queens!
It seemed fated to be a hit or a miss from the get-go. When ads for "Cowboys and Aliens" began to air, the reaction was either "That looks awesome. Can't wait to see it," or perhaps a little something more similar to my dad's thoughts when I told him I wanted to see it:
"'Cowboys and Aliens?' Are you kidding me? It looks so stupid."
I'm not so sure it deserves a thumbs down or a thumbs up if ever there were a time for a "thumbs sideways," this would be it. "Cowboys and Aliens" really wasn't so bad. The dismal reviews I glanced were a tad overdramatic and were these critics asleep at the wheel during "Horrible Bosses?" If ever there were a time for some disparaging words but I digress.
The chief complaint was the mixing of genres. However, how seamlessly could two disparate elements such as "Old West-era cowboys" and "aliens" blend together? Cowboys and aliens go together like ketchup and steak not a perfectly winning combination but acceptable in a pinch.
Why do "Cowboys and Aliens" seem so outlandish? I actually think that it's a plausible premise. If extraterrestrials exist, that didn't happen yesterday. Why couldn't they have been here a century or two (or more) ago? The simple folk of that era, unfettered by technology, were probably easier to abduct.
Overall, "Cowboys and Aliens" is fluff, which is to be expected, with some action and pretty good special effects. There isn't much more to it than this: aliens arrive in a small Arizona town in 1873 and scoop up several citizens, and their seizure is vowed to be avenged by a handful of the brave souls that remain including a gruff outlaw who shoots first and asks questions later, despite the fact that he can't remember his identity (Daniel Craig); the smarmy, wealthy Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford); and a very attractive, strange woman (Olivia Wilde) who knows how to use a gun. It's not too difficult for the discerning viewer to stay a few steps ahead of where the ragtag crew is headed next. But it's fun and kind of silly the stuff of summer films - though I do lament that it didn't embrace its silliness. A little comic relief may have taken it from mildly amusing to incredibly amusing. "Cowboys and Aliens" never succeeds in suspending any disbelief so why not adapt an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude?
If anything else, it can't be any worse than the blasphemous "Smurfs" revamp, currently smearing the native 1980s creatures' adorable blue legacy (further tainted by Katy Perry as Smurfette) on a movie screen near you. "Cowboys and Aliens" star Harrison Ford said in an interview with Conan O'Brien that his son opted to see "The Smurfs" on opening weekend instead of his film. He then proceeded to rip the head clean off of a plush Papa Smurf. I can't say that I blame him.
Do yourself a favor and see it here. The Dunkirk Movieplex has '90s prices (that is to say, reasonable) and you may as well save some money now since we're going to be taxed to death. What a great way to stimulate a failing economy! The U.S. Government has the best ideas.
THE PLACE TO BE THIS WEEKEND
The Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy is finally upon us! If you love Lucy and laughter and who doesn't? - don't miss this event held in celebration of the beloved redhead's 100th birthday and all things comedy. Festivities are currently being held in Jamestown and continuing through Sunday. Tonight's event is "An Evening with Joan Rivers" I've had this marked on my calendar for months with the ineffable Ms. Rivers performing on the intimate Reg Lenna Civic Center stage at 8 p.m. When else is a legend like this going to be doing a show in Jamestown? And Joan isn't the only renowned female comedian performing at the festival Paula Poundstone will be doing stand-up Saturday at 8 p.m., also at the Reg Lenna. Among the many, many happenings planned are the Stand-up Showcase on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Reg Lenna, featuring some of the best up-and-comers in the business; the big parade on Third Street, Friday at 6:30 p.m.; the "Be a Lucy" Guinness World Record event on Saturday, in which numerous fans will attempt to make the record for the most people dressed as Lucy (all are welcome, go online to register and find criteria); and "Story Pirates," a comedic musical written by kids but performed by adults, Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Reg Lenna. For the complete schedule of events and tickets, visit www.lucycomedyfest.com.
Classic cars and motorcycles are invited to the second annual Cruisin' at the College, held in conjunction with the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy, at Jamestown Community College on Sunday. It will be held on the Jamestown campus on James Street, with registration to begin at 11 a.m. The cruise will run from noon to 4 p.m. There will be dash plaques for the first 100 cruisers, raffles, door prizes, and affordable food concessions throughout the day. Trophies will be awarded in the following categories beginning at 3:30 p.m.: Best in Show: Production, Best in Show: Modified, People's Choice and Driver's Choice. To learn more, contact Diane Ringer at 792-9930 or email@example.com.
Walleye Willie's will feature the following bands this weekend: Lazy Susan on Thursday, Passion Works on Friday and White Chocolate on Saturday.
At Bart's Cove on Sunday, there will be live music by Rinky Dink from 5 to 9 p.m. with a special guest appearance by Brielle.
Straight No Chaser will perform at Chautauqua Institution Friday at 8:15 p.m.
The Clarion will have live music each night this weekend: Lemon 12 on Thursday, Side Effects on Friday and The Groove on Saturday.
The Rockin' the Lot Street Dance will be held at the Dom Polski Club (open to members and eligible guests) on Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. each night. On Friday night, there will be music by Widow Maker and on Saturday, Super Chargers.
The Chadwick Bay Beach Bash will be held all day Saturday in Wright Park and on Lake Erie beach, with a multitude of activities for everyone a sand castle building contest starting at 10 a.m., a Brazilian-style barbecue dinner from noon until sold out, a fire truck pull at 3 p.m., a tug-of-war, a beach bonfire at 9:30 p.m. (weather permitting), and live tunes throughout the day. To learn more, visit www.visitdunkirk.com.
Once a year, Chautauqua County has its very own rodeo and it's that time again. The 67th annual Gerry Firemen's Rodeo will be held this Thursday through Sunday, with shows at 8 p.m. each night on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. On "Tough Enough To Wear Pink" Saturday, the Rodeo will be all about breast cancer awareness, with funds being raised for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For complete details, visit www.gerryrodeo.com.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Get ready for a night of skuzzy noise jammers at Soundlab in Buffalo on Monday, Aug. 8. On tour from Brooklyn are the K-Holes and Call of the Wild. Buffalo locals Fatal Figures and Utah Jazz are also scheduled to play. This show would appeal to fans of loud and sludgy punk rock such as the Birthday Party, TV Ghost, the Stooges and Sleater-Kinney. The doors open at 8 p.m. and the first band is on at
8:30. The cover is $6. Soundlab is located at 110 Pearl St.
As I mentioned last week, it's Turner Classic Movies' "Summer Under the Stars," with the films of a different classic star featured each day. There are a few things to make note of this weekend and coming week. In honor of what would have been Lucille Ball's 100th birthday on Saturday, a whole day of her films will be shown; the many great movies of Orson Welles will be shown Aug. 8 and Shirley Maclaine on Saturday.
We've been bombarded with news of the shenanigans taking place during the filming of "Jersey Shore" in Italy for months now and at long last, it will be on TV in all its tan, tacky glory. The new season of "Jersey Shore," in which the cast embarrasses America as a nation overseas, will premiere tonight at 10 p.m. on MTV. The network just turned 30 on Tuesday. Remember when it used to play music videos, like, all the time? That idea seems quaint now. Even though much of the programming on the channel has become dismal, MTV is doing better than most of us born in the 1980s that is to say, not just marginally employed and scraping by.
It's Shark Week! The event continues on the Discovery Channel on Sunday. Frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about. Sharks are terrifying and the mere thought of them makes me want to hide underneath a bed located at the farthest possible point from any bodies of water where they may dwell.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments and events to firstname.lastname@example.org