Review: Symphony completes the Boyz II Men sound

Originally posted on New Pittsburgh Courier:


Boyz II Men

Heinz Hall, which is typically filled with formal gowns and tuxedos, had a different flare last night (July 24th) as Boyz II Men brought their Motown sound to Pittsburgh for their annual visit.

Two years ago, I had the luxury of partaking in a concert that featured the R&B group at the same venue, debuting their first live performance with an orchestra.  Not much has changed over the last 24 months.  They still look and sound the same.

The group visited the Consol Energy Center in 2013 as a headliner for a tour with 98 Degrees and New Kids on the Block.  But, it was the symphony accompaniment that was the icing on the cake for this Boyz II Men experience.

The most underrated element of last night’s concert was the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Led by Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh, the orchestra was precise, crisp and harmonized…

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Rickey Smiley returns to The ‘Burgh

Originally posted on New Pittsburgh Courier:


Rickey Smiley (Courtesy Photo)

The last time Rickey Smiley was here in Pittsburgh not many people showed up for his Soldiers and Sailors stand up comedy show. The Oakland facility did not even meet 50% capacity last February.

“When a show doesn’t sell well it’s usually due to timing and the experience of the promoter,” said Smiley.

The poor turnout did not stop the Alabama comedian, who was in movies like Baggage Claim, First Sunday and Friday After Next, from returning to Pittsburgh. Only this time, he’ll be performing at a place that cranks out jokes on a regular basis; the Pittsburgh Improv.

Although we haven’t see Mr. Smiley in more than a year, many morning commuters tune in daily to his nationally syndicated radio show, The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

“I have a great radio show here and I appreciate the support I get from the people here,” said…

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Passes

If your childhood was anything like mine then you are all too familiar with Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo…


Four unlikely warriors rise from the sewers and join forces with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) to save New York from Shredder and his evil minions.

The advanced screening will be held Wednesday, Aug 6th at 7:00 pm at AMC Waterfront 22. For your GOFOBO tickets, please comment below with your favorite childhood movie. I’ll start with a few of mine: It Takes Two (1995), Dunston Checks In (1996), and Monkey Trouble (1994).

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Monty Python Live Passes

Monty Python Live (Mostly) with NCM Fathom Events are having showings LIVE on Sunday, July 20 and rebroadcasts on Wednesday, July 23 and Thursday, July 24.

The Movie Scene Queen is giving away passes for the rebroadcasts on Wednesday, July 23 and Thursday, July 24 to see Monty Python Live (Mostly) at the Cinemark 17 Pittsburgh Mills theater. Please comment below with your interest…



Fathom Events and Picturehouse Entertainment invite you to experience comedy legends Monty Python’s long-awaited reunion when Monty Python Live (mostly) is broadcast LIVE to cinemas nationwide on Sunday, July 20 with rebroadcasts on Wednesday, July 23 and Thursday, July 24.

For the first time in over three decades, comedy legends Monty Python will be performing live on stage together at London’s famed 02 Arena. At a combined age of just 361, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will once again perform some of their greatest hits, with modern, topical, Python-esque twists.

Monty Python are rightfully regarded as among the world’s finest-ever comedians. They influenced a generation and revolutionized comedy. Monty Python first hit our screens with the Flying Circus, which saw 45 episodes broadcast over four BBC series between 1969 and 1974. The Pythons were an instant success and became the face of British comedy. They went on to achieve overwhelming international acclaim with the huge success of films such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975, Life of Brian in 1979 and their final film, The Meaning of Life in 1983.

The Purge: Anarchy

In less than a year, Writer and Director James Demonaco brings forth the anticipated sequel, The Purge: Anarchy. The movie, starring Frank Grillo and Carmen Ejogo, fast forwards to March 2023 and it is time for the annual purge.

Five strangers, led by local police Sergeant Leo Barnes (Grillo), are stuck in the streets for 12 hours of crime-filled behavior. Even after taking necessary precautions hours before the Purge began, some families were still dragged out of their homes or sacrificed at the hands of wealthy citizens.

My main man, Omar from the Wire, was stirring political controversy as usual. In the Purge 2, Michael K. Williams was the anarchy. As Carmelo, leader of a rebellious group, he was determined to overthrow the New Founding Fathers of America.

The Purge: Anarchy

Have you ever notice Williams never plays a soft role? He’s always so tough, vigilant and thorough. From guest appearances on Law and Order: SVU to 12 Years A Slave, I enjoy him in everything

The Purge: Anarchy plays out our deepest fears. The fear of innocently dying at the hands of another human being and the fear of non-protection. The Purge relinquishes all rights to be protected and served by local and national governments and creates an environment is senseless murder is justifiable. The life sacrifices during the Purge is clearly a false reality of cleansing sins and becoming whole again.

This movie series taps into an even bigger issue. The Purge, which is labeled as an event to reduce crime, actually eliminates the poor. The real horror is the government making the most disadvantaged citizens dispensable.

How does this fictitious movie reflect our own real-life local, state and national governments? Although we aren’t actively participating in the Purge, maybe we’ve subconsciously succumbed to it already.

Eric Garner, who was stopped for a petty crime in Staten Island on July 17th, was murdered by five NYPD officers after he repeatedly declared he couldn’t breathe. Anna, who was sexually assaulted on her upstate NY college campus last September, regrets even reporting the rape. Chicago has become a war zone with 11 people killed and about 60 wounded in shootings over the Fourth of July weekend.

The Purge is alive and well now if no one is held accountable for their crimes or so many crimes go unsolved.


Horror movies are the biggest bang for your buck in the movie industry. They are inexpensive to make and still attract box office record type of crowds. The first Purge cost $3 million to create but made $89 million in box office revenue. Other scary flicks like Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones had a $5 million budget and surpassed that by grossing $90.8 million in the theaters. The Saw and Insidious movie series we’re by far the most successful mainstream horror movies. Both original releases, Saw (2004) and Insidious (2010) only had $1 million budgets.

4 STARS: While the movie was slightly gruesome, the Purge Anarchy opens your eyes to two most-relevant horrors: political power and societal chaos. What would you do #IfThePurgeWasReal?

Get On Up Passes

Comment below with your favorite James Brown song for a chance to win tickets to see his biopic, Get On Up.


In his follow-up to the four-time Academy Award®-nominated blockbuster The Help, Tate Taylor directs 42’s Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in Get on Up. Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. Boseman is joined in the drama by Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter and Jill Scott.

The screening will be held Wednesday, July 23rd at South Side Works Cinema beginning at 7:30 PM.

James Brown

Lucy Passes

The Movie Scene Queen is hosting an advance screening of Universal Pictures’ LUCY on Tuesday, July 22nd at the Southside Works Cinema at 7:30PM.


From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson directs Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman in LUCY, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. Lucy open in theaters July 25th!

For two complimentary tickets, please comment below with your favorite Scarlett Johansson OR Morgan Freeman movie. I’ll start with mine: Her (2014) AND Lean On Me (1989)

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen