Category Archives: Review

Review: Love Never Dies At Des Moines Performing Arts

I hesitated when I first got the invite to attend the opening night of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies at Des Moines Performing Arts. It’s the sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera.

I hesitated because I hadn’t seen the original, didn’t know the story, and was only familiar with a few songs from The Phantom that we sang in high school chorus.

Having never seen a bad show at Des Moines Performing Arts I pushed the hesitation aside and planned a date night for my wife and me.   I’m glad I did. We both had a great time!

Love, loss, frustration, and jealousy are all themes touched on in Love Never Dies. They’re packed nicely in this 2.5-hour show set in New York’s Coney Island in the early 1900’s.

The music was as amazing as you’d expect from anything with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s attached to it.  All of the performers were exceptional… but there were two standouts; Rachael Anne Moore in the role of Christine Daae and Jake Heston Miller in the role of the young child, Gustave.

Miller’s voice was flawless and at times almost angelic. This kid has the start to what I’m sure will be an impressive theatre career.

Moore’s soaring, solo performance in the second act is among one of the best I’ve ever seen on the Des Moines Civic Center stage.

Speaking of the stage, I was impressed by the way it was turned into a large turntable like surface. This made for some cool and unique stage movement and seamless scene changes.

There were also some pretty unique and colorful costumes that really added to the performance.

Even though Love Never Dies is the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera it can stand alone on its’ own. Phantom fans will love it… and Phantom newbies can enjoy it too. My wife and I did!

Love Never Dies, part of the Willis Broadway Series at Des Moines Performing Arts runs October 16 through October 21, 2018. You can learn more about the show and get tickets here.

Are you a Phantom fan?

***I was provided with press night tickets for the show to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.***

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Review: Ridge Wallet

My wife didn’t realize it at the time… but when the folks at Ridge Wallet sent me one of their Aluminum Gunmetal wallets to review she would end up loving it as much as I do.

You see, my previous wallet was a brown, bulky, leather one that was crammed with cards, receipts, and maybe a little cash. I rarely had it on me mainly because it was too uncomfortable to carry.

If I put it in my back pocket I’d end up sitting awkwardly on a lump situated to one side just like George Costanza in this classic scene from Seinfeld.

Put that bulky, brown wallet in my front jeans pocket and I could sit comfortably but then there’d still be the annoying bulk of an overstuffed wallet.

Most times I’d just keep my wallet in my work backpack… or if I was with my wife I’d ask her to put it in her purse.  She begrudgingly agreed to every time but I could always tell it annoyed her.

That’s initially what drew my attention to the Ridge Wallet.  It’s a minimalist, RFID-blocking wallet made from Aluminum, Titanium, or Carbon Fiber.

When I first got my Ridge Wallet I was impressed with the packaging and presentation of the product.  There was the wallet, of course, but they also included a special screwdriver should I ever want to switch it from having a cash strap to having a money clip.

At first, I was hoping they’d send me the money clip version, but after using it for awhile I really like how slim it is with the cash strap. It has little rubber nubs inside the strap to keep your bills securely in place.

The minimalist design of the Ridge Wallet has you carrying all your cards sandwiched between two RFID plates and bound together with high quality elastic.  

It took me a few days to get used to getting my cards out but now it’s become second nature.

You could carry up to 12 cards but after assessing what I really need I only have 7; my drivers license, debit, Target debit, HSA, Costco, pizza punch card, and health insurance cards.

It’s a lot less than what I had been carrying but it’s all I really need and it takes less space. A lot less space!  All combined it’s just a little bigger than a  package of Tic Tacs that fits comfortably in the front, left pocket of my jeans.

That’s why my wife loves my Ridge Wallet as much as I do.  She no longer has to be responsible for my stuff and she doesn’t have the added bulk in her purse.

It’s not just my wife that loves it. Everyone I’ve shown it to thinks it’s really cool… and I’ve been asked about it more than once by our local grocery store cashiers.

I’ve been using my Ridge Wallet for a few months now and it looks as good as the day I got it. No scratches or anything… but I am careful to keep it by itself in my pocket. I love it’s sleek, clean look and don’t want any keys or change to mess it up.

Whether you’re a guy looking for a minimalist wallet, a wife (like mine) fed up with lugging around your husband’s wallet, or a woman looking to free up space in your purse… the Ridge Wallet is perfect for you.

For the security minded, I should also mention that every Ridge Wallet has RFID-blocking technology.  Not sure what that is and why you should care, watch this video starting at the 9: 00-minute mark. It shows how it easy it is for hackers to access your card info.

Learn more and get your own on the Ridge Wallet website.

*** I was provided with a Ridge Wallet to facilitate this review.  All opinions are mine.

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Album Review: Girl Going Nowhere By Ashley McBryde

It hasn’t even been out a month but Ashley McBryde’s Girl Going Nowhere album has quickly become one of my favorites. McBryde is an excellent songwriter with a knack for writing relatable songs. When she sings them with her powerful voice magic happens.

I’ll be honest Ashley McBryde wasn’t even on my radar until she stopped by my radio station recently to hang out, share some stories, and sing a few songs. She was funny and engaging. The type of person you’d love to sip some whiskey with around a campfire swapping stories and songs.

McBryde either wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on her debut album. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites on it.

Girl Going Nowhere – This title track is awesome! It’s a see, I told you I could do it anthem whose message is don’t let anyone step all over your dreams.

Radioland – As a guy who spent a lot of time listening to the radio growing up, there’s a lot in this one that I can relate to.

Southern Babylon – This one is interesting. It’s bluesy, sexy, and seductive. I don’t know of any other female country singer that could pull this one off. McBryde does it effortlessly.

The Jacket – This song’s opening riff reminds me of a Tom Petty song and then it works into a sentimental journey. Makes me wish I had a jacket or two to give to my daughters.

A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega – I love the message of hope in this song. It’s a reminder that bad things don’t always have to end badly. You might have heard this one on the radio as it’s the first single from the album.

Andy (I Can’t Live Without You) – This starts out like a bitter love gone wrong song that eventually works its way into a tender story of real, honest love. With just a guitar to back her up… this one really showcases McBryde’s voice and her ability to tell a story and bring emotion to a song.

El Dorado – This song makes me want to turn the radio up, roll the windows down, and cruise.

What’s your favorite Ashley McBryde song?

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