#GimmeShelter: @VanessaHudgens Shows Us Her Acting Chops. #VanessaHudgens #Surprises #Gigi #GigionBroadway

Yesterday, I watched a movie called Gimme Shelter on Netflix. I didn’t realize that Vanessa Hudgens was actually in the movie until I started it, and even then, I questioned whether or not it was her. Now, my only references to her work other than the High School Musical franchise, was Sucker Punch. That being said, I didn’t really have any high expectations. I’d heard of the movie briefly before, but didn’t get a chance to catch it when it was in theaters. That being said, Netflix is a wonderful invention. Based on a true story, Hudgens plays Agnes “Apple” Bailey, a pregnant runaway teen. The film co-stars Rosario Dawson as her drug-addled mother, Brendan Fraser as her well-to-do biological father, James Earl Jones as a compassionate priest, and character-actress, Ann Dowd as Kathy, the woman who runs a shelter for homeless, young mothers.

The role of Apple is a far cry from Hudgens’ current project as the title character in Gigi on Broadway. Her portrayal is riveting, raw and honest. She gave the role everything her talents could provide, had the dialect down, and was vanity-free.  She really shines and seems to leave the Disney star behind with this role. In a key scene in the hospital, Hudgens spars with James Earl Jones and holds her own against the industry veteran. That scene itself pretty much sealed the deal for me, giving me a new found respect for an actress who has often been simply labeled a teen star. Although the film could sometimes have the feeling of a Lifetime movie or even reminiscent of Precious, it is well executed and performances elevate it to a level that makes it worth a watch. It’s currently on Netflix and I am glad I stumbled upon a gripping tale with amazing performances.

Jam with #Jamendo. #Free #Music

There’s a site that provides creative commons music to the public to download and listen to for free. Sometimes, you can even use it for your YouTube videos and film projects depending on a particular artist’s regulations for distribution. On the website, the artists will put something that lists how they want their music to be used; like this:

You can copy, distribute, advertise and play this track as long as you:

  • Give credit to the artist
  • Don’t alter, transform or build upon this album
  • Don’t use this album for commercial purposes

It’s a great tool for singers and stand-up comedians to use to share their music.

For example, one of my favorite artists is ProleteR.  He’s an artist based in France who fuses jazz, hip-hop, instrumentals, and electroswing that’s energetic and super fun to listen to. You can download both his LP, Curses From Past Times, and his EP, Feeding the Lions, for free. Jamendo is  not only a wonderful resource for performers, it’s great for audiences to discover new and interesting music from all over the world.

The Funniest Late Night Show You Need to Watch: @midnight

It’s 11:59 and 59 seconds.–@midnight opening lines

If a late night talk show and a game show had a baby, it would be @midnight. Yes, that is the name. Hosted by founder of Nerdist.com, and host AMC after shows Talking Bad and the current, Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick, @midnight is equal parts quirky news and game show.

Mondays through Thursdays on Comedy Central at 12:00 a.m., you can tune into some of today’s funniest comedians. You can also participate in the games during #HashtagWars, a favorite among viewers and guests alike. Here’s a sampling from Star Trek: The Next Generation alum, Will Weaton: BridesmaidswillweatonThe comedians are witty and smart. The games are funny and geeky and you should definitely spend your midnight with @midnight. They might just give you points during the show too.