Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Review”

Manilow Magic In Vegas

Barry Manilow is a class act. He and his team care about the fans on a level unlike any other celebrity I’ve met, and they go above and beyond across the board. A perfect example of this is my recent trip with my wife to Las Vegas to see Barry Manilow’s new residency, which is entitled Manilow Las Vegas: The Hits Come Home! Back in June I was invited, along with 19 other lucky fans, to attend a special interview Barry did in the Rainbow Room in New York. At the end of the interview he turned to the fans and said that he wanted all of us to come see his new show in Vegas on opening night, which was the following week, and that he was going to give us free tickets to the show and pay for our airfare and hotel expenses. In addition to paying my expenses, Barry included a +1 with my package so my wife could join me. Naturally, my mind was blown by this astounding act of generosity.

Read more…

Book Review: Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia

Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia covers the first 30 years of the most well-known video game franchise ever. This book was originally released in Japan three years ago and it is now finally available in an English translation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover any Super Mario games beyond it’s original publication date: 2015. So, you’re not going to get any info about Super Mario Odyssey or any other recent titles in this 255-page tome. Another strange omission is there’s no essay from Shigeru Miyamoto, the visionary producer and director of the original Super Mario Bros. game and a constant creative force in the franchise. Instead, we get an introduction by Takashi Tezuka, one of the designers from the original game. Sure, his insight is interesting. But I would have preferred an introduction by Shigeru Miyamoto and an afterword by Takashi Tezuka, since Miyamoto is more important and well known. Aside from these gripes, there’s plenty to enjoy in this book. It covers all of the major games from the original Super Mario Bros to Super Mario 3D World. This beautifully bound book will let you track the evolution of the Goomba, witness the introduction of Yoshi, and relive your favorite levels. It also includes tips to help you find every coin, star, sun, and mushroom, and it even provides explanations for glitches. Overall, Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia is an excellent book that fitingly pays tribute to my favorit video game character of all time. It’s a reminder and celebration of the magical characters and games that only Nintendo can create.

Dennis DeYoung’s Grand Illusion

fullsizeoutput_35bdDennis DeYoung is one of the greatest vocalists in the history of music, and he’s currently on tour performing one of the best rock albums of all time – The Grand Illusion by STYX – in its entirety, along with a handful of classics fans know and love. I attended his recent concert in Philadelphia and it was excellent. From start to finish, it was a tour de force of musicianship and showmanship.

Read more…

Book Review: The World Of The Rock

DK Publishing is back with another new hardback WWE book: The World of the Rock. Is it worth buying? Below is my video review of this 160-page book, which is available now.

Review: Steve Perry’s Traces

Steve Perry is the greatest male vocalist I’ve ever heard. I remember buying Journey’s Greatest Hits album many years ago and listening to the songs and discovering that I already knew most of them but didn’t realize the band behind these timeless tracks was Journey. While the guitar, piano, drumming, and bass were all exceptional, what captivated me most was that voice. How it soared to heights unimaginable for most humans and how it lovingly and soulfully intoned every word that was sung. With my headphones on, a Discman in my hands, and my eyes turned skyward, I gazed at the stars as the balmy beach breeze and Steve Perry’s vocals washed over me. It was a defining musical moment for me and one I fondly look back on when I think of this special band and this epic voice.

Read more…

Review: Love Never Dies

Love Never Dies

Photo: Danny Knaub

Love Never Dies, the sequel to the legendary Phantom of the Opera, is playing at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia from October 2 through October 7 and tickets can be bought here.

Read more…

Review: FullBlast for Nintendo Switch

With an art style inspired by the 80s and the 90s, FullBlast is a vertical-scrolling shooter that brings a dose of nostalgia to all gamers who spent many an hour at their local arcade engaging in Shmups. It features a modern and vibrant presentation that is the perfect way to introduce a new generation of gamers to this genre.

Read more…

Book Review: SNES Omnibus Volume 1

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is my all-time favorite video game console. I have fond memories of playing Ken Griffey Jr. baseball, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World, a variety of WWF pro wrestling games, and more. I’d play these games solo, as well as at my cousins’ house during sleepovers or down the shore in the summer. It was a fantastic system, which is why I was eager to check out The SNES Omnibus: Volume 1 by Brett Weiss. This beautifully produced hardback book is 416 pages and it’s the first in a two-part series that analyzes all of the games you love or, perhaps, hate from the SNES library. This tome alphabetically covers games A through M and its sequel will be comprised of the rest. At least a page is dedicated to each game, including box art, screenshots, a synopsis, a review excerpt, and insights. It can be read cover to cover or as a reference book where you jump from game to game however you like. I chose to jump around, looking up games I owned and reading about ones I always wanted to play or was curious about. It made for a highly enjoyable read and I plan on revisiting this book many times, as I’m sure you will too. The SNES Omnibus: Volume 1 by Brett Weiss is an excellent tribute to an iconic system and video game library, and I can’t wait to read Volume 2.

Dionne Warwick: Then Came You PBS Special

Dionne Warwick has had a long, diverse, and remarkable career. That one-of-a-kind career is celebrated in the new PBS special entitled Dionne Warwick: Then Came You, created by My Music Presents and produced by TJ Lubinsky. It begins airing on PBS on August 18 and you can check your local listings here.

Read more…

Review: Tetra’s Escape for Nintendo Switch

Tetra’s Escape is a platforming puzzle-game all about blocks. Blocks named Tetras and it is up to the players to do all that they can to save them and make the most out of their special ability.

Read more…

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: