Archives for category: Music

I haven’t posted about too many TV sitcoms, yet after watching a few episodes of “The Goldbergs” recently, I wanted to share my thoughts. The 1980s were a part of my childhood and early teen years, so I could relate to many aspects of the show right away. Breakin’ it down by several characters, here are a few elements that jostled nostalgia.

Barry (Troy Gentile)

A regular item he carries is a denim backpack and I had one just like it. But that wasn’t all; I went through a variety of denim pocketbooks in different sizes as well. Then, there were those cropped denim jackets with like long strips of white leather fringe. It was…like, totally…denim overload!

In the world of fragrance, many girls like myself were spritzing ourselves with Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth perfume. In one episode, Barry gives Adam pointers on how to be more attractive to a girl, advising him to use Drakkar Noir. I actually wasn’t aware of that cologne in 80s, but later on, my high school crush wore it and he rocked that scent.

Erica (Hayley Orrantia)

I love the pop culture posters decorating Erica’s bedroom. At some point, my walls were covered with New Kids on the Block pin-ups from the pages of teen magazines. Not just page-size pin-ups, but centerfolds and pull-out posters. I also had a few banners, wherever they were bought, along with tons of other fan merchandise. While on the subject of my generation’s boy band NKOTB, I had a quick glimpse of Erica wearing a t-shirt featuring Jordan, Donnie, Danny, Jonathan and Joe. Later, I caught part of an episode with their names as the title; if the onscreen fan mentioned her favorite, I missed it. I’ll have to catch that one from the start next time it reruns. But who was my favorite guy? Jordan…loved his eyes, smile, hair, voice, style, dance moves. I saw NKOTB in concert back in the day and even got to see them again when they had a tour date in Philly last June. Check out my NKOTB concert blog post.

A lot of other styles Erica wears takes me back to the 80s. My friends and I all loved the combo of big earrings, bangle bracelets, jelly bracelets and denim dyed to colors such as teal. I never shopped at Benetton as the onscreen teen does, but it’s among brands I remember clearly. While watching the show, I haven’t noticed specific footwear looks representing 80s shoe styles. My favorite sneaker brand back then was definitely L.A. Gear.

Erica also had a pen pal who she eventually meets. I remember filling out forms to sign up and get matched to pen pals based on common age range, interests and so on. As a teen, I wrote to a handful of pen pals, but never met them. They lived in countries including Ireland, Germany, Malaysia, Australia and Italy. I still have my letters from them, stored away with many other mementos from my early teen years.

Adam (Sean Giambrone)

It’s funny relating even to the youngest kid on the show, but my generation often did something he did – going out to a local video rental store. It feels like a completely different world or lifetime compared to these days. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time, renting movies on VHS. Then, a guy in one of my graduate writing classes wrote a short story about his own video rental store experiences. The tone of his story was that he missed those times and included several reasons why he felt that way, despite convenient streaming technologies of today. He saw a video rental store trip as an adventure. And of course, we couldn’t forget to rewind and get any movies we rented back by the due date.

A couple of other episodes revolving around Adam had themes of “The Goonies” and “The Karate Kid.” Who knows how many times I’ve watched these two movies? A sense of friends’ one last adventure, led by inspired Mikey (Sean Astin) makes me think of how different time periods in life come to a close. A friend moves far away or we graduate and lose touch with some classmates. At least that’s the case with my generation, since our high school years came before the era of social media and easily keeping connected. Also, the whole plot of a long-ago maritime mystery is a favorite theme of mine that, in the spirit of “The Goonies,” never dies. Then, in “The Karate Kid,” there is the story of a new kid who gets bullied, finds love and the strength to hold his own. It was a mix of common situations that teens experience, making this a relatable movie. But I also had a huge crush on Ralph Macchio when he became known for his role of Daniel, “The Karate Kid.” I remember wishing I could be his onscreen girlfriend, Ali (Elisabeth Shue). And who could forget the wisdom and humor of Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi?

Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey)

Her use of Aqua Net hairspray reminds me of junior high and all that stiff, high-poofed hair many girls had to top off their look. Beverly had a more toned-down style as the mom. However, some late-80s teen girls in my yearbooks must’ve had their bangs sprayed up to stand five inches high!

Opening references to 80s pop culture and history moments are among what I relate to as well, remembering those myself. I also love the added touch of home videos featuring the real-life people behind the show’s characters.

Jeff Garlin and George Segal star as the father and grandfather respectively, rounding out the Goldberg family regulars. Patton Oswalt narrates episode stories from Adam’s point of view.

Now that my votes have been cast for most of these categories, I’m looking forward to seeing which nominees become the people’s choices. Undecided in a few cases, I’ll have to revisit the choices as the ceremony draws closer. But here are the nominees who have my vote so far:


  • Movie: “Captain America: Civil War”
  • Movie Actor: Tom Hanks
  • Movie Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
  • Action Movie: “Captain America: Civil War”
  • Action Movie Actor: Chris Evans
  • Action Movie Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
  • Animated Movie Voice: Ellen DeGeneres, “Finding Dory”
  • Comedic Movie: “Bad Moms”
  • Comedic Movie Actor: Chris Hemsworth
  • Comedic Movie Actress: Kristen Bell
  • Dramatic Movie: “Sully”
  • Dramatic Movie Actor: Tom Hanks
  • Dramatic Movie Actress: Amy Adams
  • Family Movie: “Finding Dory”
  • Thriller Movie: “The Conjuring 2,” “Nerve” or “The Shallows”
  • Movie Icon: Tom Hanks


  • TV Show: “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Network TV Comedy: “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Comedic TV Actor: Jim Parsons
  • Comedic TV Actress: Kaley Cuoco
  • Network TV Drama: “How To Get Away With Murder”
  • Dramatic TV Actor: Terrence Howard
  • Dramatic TV Actress: Viola Davis
  • Cable TV Comedy: ?
  • Cable TV Drama: “Mr. Robot”
  • Cable TV Actor: Rami Malek
  • Cable TV Actress: Vera Farmiga
  • Premium Drama TV Show: “Homeland”
  • Premium Comedy TV Show: “Veep”
  • Premium Cable TV Actor: Kevin Spacey
  • Premium Cable TV Actress: Claire Danes
  • TV Crime Drama: ?
  • Crime Drama TV Actor: ?
  • Crime Drama TV Actress: ?
  • Network Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Once Upon A Time,” “Supernatural” or “The Vampire Diaries”
  • Cable Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Shadowhunters”
  • Premium Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Game of Thrones”
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actor: Ian Somerhalder
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actress: Emilia Clark
  • Competition TV Show: ?
  • Daytime TV Host: Ellen DeGeneres
  • Daytime TV Hosting Team: Good Morning America
  • Late Night Talk Show Host: Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon
  • Streaming Series: ?
  • Actor in a New TV Series: Kiefer Sutherland or Milo Ventimiglia
  • Actress in a New TV Series: Minnie Driver
  • Animated TV Show: “The Simpsons”
  • New TV Comedy: “The Great Indoors”
  • New TV Drama: “Designated Survivor”


  • Male Artist: Justin Timberlake
  • Female Artist: Ariana Grande
  • Group: Coldplay
  • Breakout Artist: DNCE
  • Male Country Artist: Keith Urban
  • Female Country Artist: Carrie Underwood
  • Country Group: The Band Perry
  • Pop Artist: Ariana Grande
  • Hip Hop Artist: ?
  • R&B Artist: Rihanna or Usher
  • Album: “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
  • Song: “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake

Social Media

  • Social Media Celebrity: ?
  • Social Media Star: ?
  • YouTube Star: ?
  • Comedic Collaboration: SNL with Alec Baldwin as Trump and Kate McKinnon as Clinton
  • Digital Obsession: Facebook Live

Which of these entertainment nominees did you vote for this year?

Now that the nominations for several award programs have been announced, I began putting together my favorites. Starting with the People’s Choice, most of my votes are in for the categories in which I have a definitive top pick. It’s usually more difficult for me to choose a favorite actor, actress or show among those in TV and music. I may add a few in as the ceremony gets closer. Until then, here are the nominees I’m rooting for this year:


  • Movie: “Jurassic World”
  • Movie Actor: Chris Pratt or Robert Downey, Jr.
  • Movie Actress: Anne Hathaway or Meryl Streep
  • Action Movie: “Jurassic World” or “Furious 7”
  • Action Movie Actor: Chris Hemsworth
  • Action Movie Actress: Charlize Theron
  • Animated Movie Voice: Adam Sandler, Amy Poehler or Sandra Bullock
  • Comedic Movie: “Pitch Perfect 2”
  • Comedic Movie Actor: Robert De Niro
  • Comedic Movie Actress: Anna Kendrick
  • Dramatic Movie: “The Martian”
  • Dramatic Movie Actor: Matt Damon
  • Dramatic Movie Actress: Kate Winslet
  • Family Movie: “Cinderella” or “Hotel Transylvania 2”
  • Thriller Movie: “Poltergeist”


  • TV Show: “The Big Bang Theory” or “Game of Thrones”
  • Network TV Comedy: “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Comedic TV Actor: Jim Parsons
  • Comedic TV Actress: Kaley Cuoco
  • Network TV Drama: “How To Get Away With Murder”
  • Dramatic TV Actor: ?
  • Dramatic TV Actress: Viola Davis
  • Cable TV Comedy: “Young & Hungry”
  • Cable TV Drama: ?
  • Cable TV Actor: Christian Slater
  • Cable TV Actress: ?
  • Premium Cable TV Show: “Homeland”
  • Premium Cable TV Actor: ?
  • Premium Cable TV Actress: Claire Danes
  • TV Crime Drama: NCIS
  • Crime Drama TV Actor: Mark Harmon
  • Crime Drama TV Actress: Mariska Hargitay
  • Network Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Supernatural”
  • Cable Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show: “Game of Thrones”
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actor: Jensen Ackles
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actress: Emilia Clarke
  • Competition TV Show: ?
  • Daytime TV Host: Ellen DeGeneres
  • Daytime TV Hosting Team: “Good Morning America”
  • Late Night Talk Show Host: Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Fallon
  • Streaming Series: “The Mindy Project”
  • Actor in a New TV Series: ?
  • Actress in a New TV Series: Emma Roberts or Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Animated TV Show: “The Simpsons”
  • New TV Comedy: “Scream Queens”
  • New TV Drama: ?


  • Male Artist: Luke Bryan
  • Female Artist: Taylor Swift
  • Group: Imagine Dragons
  • Breakout Artist: Halsey
  • Male Country Artist: ?
  • Female Country Artist: Carrie Underwood
  • Country Group: The Band Perry or Lady Antebellum
  • Pop Artist: Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Swift
  • Hip Hop Artist: ?
  • R&B Artist: Janet Jackson
  • Album: “Smoke + Mirrors” by Imagine Dragons
  • Song: “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift w/ Kendrick Lamar or “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth
  • Music Icon: Paul McCartney

Social Media

  • Social Media Celebrity: Taylor Swift
  • Social Media Start: ?
  • Mobile Game: ?
  • Video Game: ?
  • YouTube Star: ?
  • DailyMail . com Seriously Popular Award: ?

It’s interesting that social media was added to the line-up of categories, since I’m very much into many such sites. That’s in part to my journalism studies. Other than the celebrity category, none of the nominees are familiar to me. No favorites in gaming; it just isn’t one of my hobbies.

Which nominees make your favorites list?

Another award season is on the way, bringing a new set of nominees from which to pick favorites to win. Starting with the People’s Choice, those nominated include many that I like this year and a few I’m undecided about for now.  I may update those categories as the ceremony gets closer.



  • Movie – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
  • Movie Actor – Brad Pitt
  • Movie Actress – Jennifer Lawrence
  • Movie Duo – Shailene Woodley & Theo James, “Divergent”
  • Action Movie – “Divergent”
  • Action Movie Star – Chris Evans
  • Action Movie Actress – Jennifer Lawrence
  • Comedic Movie – “Neighbors”
  • Comedic Movie Actor – Seth Rogen
  • Comedic Movie Actress – Drew Barrymore
  • Dramatic Movie – “The Fault in Our Stars” or “If I Stay”
  • Dramatic Movie Actor – Ben Affleck or Matt Damon
  • Dramatic Movie Actress- Reese Witherspoon
  • Family Movie – “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
  • Thriller Movie – “Dracula Untold” or “Gone Girl”



  • TV Show – “Game of Thrones”
  • Network TV Comedy – “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Comedic TV Actor – Jim Parsons
  • Comedic TV Actress – Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting
  • Network TV Drama – “Downton Abbey”
  • Dramatic TV Actor – ?
  • Dramatic TV Actress – ?
  • Cable TV Comedy – “Young & Hungry”
  • Cable TV Drama – ?
  • Cable TV Actor – Sean Bean
  • Cable TV Actress – ?
  • TV Crime Drama – “The Mentalist”
  • Crime Drama TV Actor – Simon Baker
  • Crime Drama TV Actress – Robin Tunney
  • Network Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show – “Once Upon a Time”
  • Cable Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Show – “Game of Thrones”
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actor – Jared Padalecki or Jensen Ackles
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Actress – Ginnifer Goodwin
  • Competition TV Show – ?
  • Daytime TV Host / s – Ellen DeGeneres
  • Late Night Talk Show Hose – Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson or Jimmy Fallon
  • Dramedy – ?
  • TV Icon – Betty White
  • TV Duo – Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles, “Supernatural”
  • TV Character We Miss Most – Neal Cassidy, “Once Upon a Time”
  • Actor In New TV Series – ?
  • Actress In New TV Series – Tea Leoni or Viola Davis
  • Sketch Comedy TV Show – “Saturday Night Live”
  • Animated TV Show – “The Simpsons”
  • New TV Comedy – ?
  • New TV Drama – “How to Get Away with Murder” or “Madam Secretary”



  • Male Artist – ?
  • Female Artist – Taylor Swift
  • Group – OneRepublic
  • Breakout Artist – Charli XCX
  • Male Country Artist – Tim McGraw
  • Female Country Artist – Carrie Underwood
  • Country Group – The Band Perry
  • Pop Artist – Taylor Swift
  • Hip-Hop Artist – ?
  • R&B Artist – Jennifer Hudson
  • Album – “Ghost Stories” by Coldplay
  • Song – “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift


I’m looking forward to seeing how this award season goes and after recently seeing “Interstellar,” I wonder how it’ll do at the ceremonies held later on. I’ll be posting my thoughts about it next. Which People’s Choice nominees are among your favorites this year?

My trip to Ireland was an amazing experience and since I’ve been back home, I wrote about each day’s events on my photo / travel blog. As I hoped, I saw some film locations and music-related sites while sightseeing in Dublin and outside of the city. Here are the pop culture highlights from my eight-day global studies across the pond. Some were actual places connected to movies and music, while others were decorated with images of famous faces.

Before arriving in Dublin, I wasn’t sure of the location of this statue memorializing the lead singer of Thin Lizzy. Wandering around on Grafton Street with others from my group, I spotted it just steps off of the main shopping area and outside of a pub.

1 Thin Lizzy

Also, on a nearby Grafton Street building was this rock history marker.

2 Rock Roll Trail

Dublin’s Hard Rock Cafe in the Temple Bar area of the city. I saw the famously-named cafe as several of us were deciding where to grab dinner. We ended up at the Thunder Road Cafe, which a mixture of music and movie-themed decor. Signs displayed lyrics to road songs, posters of Clint Eastwood in a western and Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” were hanging on one wall. Afterward, we stopped in one pub that had a photo of James Dean walking in New York City hanging on an upstairs wall near live entertainment.

3 Hard Rock Dublin

4 TR Cafe

While leading us a tour of Kilmainham Gaol, the tour guide told a very thorough history of the site. In this area of the old prison, he stated that it had been used in several movies (including “In the Name of the Father” and an earlier version of “The Italian Job”) and a U2 video.

5 Kilmainham

I’m not sure how late these were showing on Aug. 8, which was the day I went out to Connemara by bus with two other students. Once back in Dublin, we ate at O’Neill’s and returned to our rooms to pack for the flight back to Philly. So I’ll have to look around for more info on these films.

6 Irish Silent Film

We quickly passed by The Clarence Hotel as the tour bus bound for Connemara went through Dublin to reach the nearest motorway. Once we reached Connemara, our driver pointed out a bridge on which classic Hollywood actor John Wayne’s picture was taken. I didn’t get a good photo of the bridge, but have plenty of the general area and its mountainous terrain.

7 Connemara

As we approached Kylemore Abbey, the driver also told us that actress Angelica Huston spent time at the enchanting setting.

8 Kylemore

Following the quick photo stop at Kylemore Abbey, we went on a cruise of Killary Harbour. I didn’t know of any film location use at the time. However, the views of rugged land reminded me somewhat of scenes in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, even though New Zealand was the location for those movies.

9 Boat Views

Check out the blog posts I wrote about my trip to Ireland at PhotoJourney; they’re all tagged with “Ireland 2014” and “Global Studies.”

I hope to see more film and music-related locations on a future visit to Dublin and out to the Irish countryside.