Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Picks Of The Week: Olympics Edition, Part 2

Obsession of the week: Closing Ceremonies

Spice Girls

At my sixth-grade birthday party, a bunch o’ girls and I dressed up as the Spice Girls and danced around in my basement. The carpet was blue and made a great stage to showcase our incomparable talent.

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Boy, am I glad I created my British music playlist earlier in the week; the title of Sunday’s show is “A Symphony of British Music.” I had no idea, I promise!

Entertainment Weekly reports the Spice Girls will reunite! The magazine also says Muse will be on hand to perform their gosh-darn-awful Olympics theme song. I’ll be sad to see the Summer Games go, but it sure has been fun, London.

The best part of the Closing Ceremonies? I get to watch them with Dad and the littlest sister, who will be arriving for a short visit after a road trip to Indy.

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Music stream of the week: Olympics Training Playlist

Speaking of playlists, the roomie created an excellent one to pump you up as you train for the Olympics (or, you know, workout). Included in the list is a Carly Rae song, so this is obviously a Chloe-approved mix.

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Inspiring female athletes of the week: Aly Raisman, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings.

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  • Raisman, 18, shocked us all by beating out Jordyn Wieber in the women’s gymnastics all-around qualifiers. We probably shouldn’t have been surprised, though. Raisman captained the team at the Summer Games. She helped the Fab Five win gold. And this week she competed individually in the balance beam and the floor — on the same day! — taking home the bronze and the gold, respectfully. It took a last-second petition to convince the judges she deserved a medal on beam, but her floor routine was so perfect, I was moved to tears. It also helps Raisman never has a sour look on her face like a certain team member of hers. You better click that link. It’s hilarious!
  • The beach volleyball duo that was May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings ended on a super high note Wednesday night. The ladies won their third consecutive Olympic gold, dropping only one set in the last three Games. If that’s not amazing, tell me what is. I’ll be sad at their absence come Rio, as they are retiring from playing the sport together, but as my mom put it, “They were a great team who really put beach volleyball on the map.”

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Filed under: Entertainment, Health, Internet, Music, Television, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week: Olympics Edition

Obsession of the week: Daytime, nighttime, all the time Olympics madness!

Hanging out with Ryan Lochte late at night. Scandalous.

Hanging out with Ryan Lochte late at night. Scandalous.

No surprise, the Olympic Games have taken over many people’s lives. I am in full obsession mode, staying up late to watch NBC’s encore (and hour shorter) presentation of prime time since I work nights, and waking early to do everything I need to do before work in the afternoon/evening, all while avoiding spoilers.

Need convincing of my London 2012 addiction? Wednesday morning I watched Team USA win gold in women’s gymnastics and saw Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian while anchoring the men in the 4×200-meter free relay, which the USA won for the third time in a row. I skipped out on the medal ceremonies (sorry America!) and rolled into bed around 3:15 a.m., at which point I took what can only be classified as a long nap, then made it to a last-minute 8 a.m. dentist’s appointment. This is what I get for being frugal. But it was absolutely worth it!

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Music stream of the week: “London 2012” AOL radio station

Craving your favorite British hits? Looking to discover new songs by artists from the Olympic host country? AOL Radio has you covered with this awesome station, playing tunes from The Beatles, Oasis, Kate Bush, ELO, Florence + The Machine, Coldplay, Radiohead and more. Oh, and one of my favorites — Spice Girls. I’m holding out hope for a reunion performance at the closing ceremonies.

Muse’s “Starlight” just came on the station. I love that song. The band wrote this completely lame and uninspiring anthem for the London 2012 Games:

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Good tip of the week: Olympics workout game

As someone who likes to play bingo during the Oscar telecast, I was glad to find this Olympic-themed workout game from SparkPeople! I commented to the roomie on Sunday that I would be fat by the end of the Games, what with all the sitting around I did watching sports on the weekend. But with this fun set of I-Spy exercises, I’ll probably become as buff as the athletes for whom I’m cheering. Who am I kidding? I’ll definitely be as ripped as them!

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Inspiring female athletes of the week: Jordyn Wieber, Missy Franklin, and Helen Glover and Heather Stanning

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  • Wieber, a 17-year-old gymnast and World Champion, came off a heartbreaking miss at competing in the women’s all-around and helped her teammates triumph over Russia and Romania. Team USA took the gold for the first time since this.
  • Also just 17 years old, swimmer Franklin is racking up the medals, including her first individual gold in the 100-meter backstroke.
  • Great Britain’s 2,000-meter rowers Glover and Stanning shot from the starting line and didn’t let up, winning the race by a boat-length, securing their country’s first gold of the Games and the first ever for British female rowers.

Filed under: Entertainment, Health, Internet, Music, Television, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘The King’s Speech’ Reigns Victorious

Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Colin Firth

Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Colin Firth, winners of the acting awards at the Feb. 27 Oscars (Courtesy DVIDSHUB)

It was the beginning of September when I first heard of “The King’s Speech.” I was in a chocolate shop in Telluride, Colo., looking at truffles, when a man struck up a conversation with my parents and me. He was in town for the annual film festival.

“So what’s the best film you’ve seen?” we asked him.

“The King’s Speech,” he said without hesitation. He was moved by it, and of all the films at the festival, he put his confidence in the success of the Colin Firth/Geoffrey Rush/Helena Bonham Carter-driven British import. I needed to see it.

Four months later it hit the big screen in my area. I paid $4 to see an early show at a theater where the rooms have ceiling fans, the sixth row back feels like the first and the film pops from continuous play. A few other ladies had decided “The King’s Speech” was worth a viewing. I was the youngest person in the audience.

I left the theater with blurry eyes. I cried for the last 10 minutes where King George VI – played by Firth in a now Oscar-winning role – gives a radio broadcasted speech at the start of WWII. Like the man in the Colorado chocolate store, I was moved by the inspirational story of conquering a very personal issue (the king stammers) in a very public role (he is the King of the United Kingdom, after all).

At Sunday’s ultimate celebration of 2010’s greatest cinematic achievements, hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, “The King’s Speech” reigned victorious. With big wins for leading actor, directing, original screenplay and best picture, September and the first mention of this film seem a long time ago.

While the ripples from the earthquake near Conway minutes after the show’s end was likely the most shocking event of the evening, Tom Hooper did manage an upset in the directing category for “The King’s Speech.” David Fincher was expected to take home the statue for his work on “The Social Network.” Then again most of us were also calling “Network” the best movie of the year until “Speech” swept the top prizes at the guild awards.

The most entertaining award presentation of the night, and perhaps the most awkward, was that for supporting actress. Kirk Douglas brought the wholesome comedic relief a show like the Oscars needs.

A 94-year-old man calling Hathaway gorgeous and telling category winner Melissa Leo, “You’re much more beautiful than you were in ‘The Fighter,'” is both sweet and strange. And dragging out the announcement of the golden statue recipient was a genius move in the night’s most anticipated and hard-to-call category. It’s too bad it came so early in the evening.

Leo had been the front-runner until she distributed what many thought to be tasteless ads asking the Academy to consider her for the award. That’s when the adorable Hailee Steinfeld gained momentum. And while the 14-year-old’s first feature film performance in “True Grit” was excellent, I’m glad the voters looked at Leo’s more polished work and not her misstep with the media.

Hosts Franco and Hathaway took a hit from the media following their so-so turn as Oscar emcees. Both of them have twice hosted “Saturday Night Live.” They were enjoyable, funny episodes. But there’s a difference between a 90-minute sketch show where the host plays an array of characters and a 3-hour awards presentation where the host plays his or herself.

It would be terrifying to be in front of your most accomplished peers and the ever-critical world, hoping to entertain and gain acceptance by all. Franco and Hathaway have yet to hit the level of respect the acting and viewing community has for entertainers and past hosts like Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg, just to name a few.

In a year where the Academy’s producers insisted on tailoring the show to a more youthful audience, it’s ironic to see the younger generation’s “The Social Network” fall to the older audience’s “The King’s Speech.” It just goes to show the Academy’s voters choose the best – not the most popular – candidate, as they should.

Filed under: Academy Awards, Colorado, Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, Oscars, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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