Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the category “Review”

Backstage Pass by Paul Stanley

Paul Stanley has always been my favorite member of KISS. I’ve had the good fortune of doing a cover story interview with him, taking part in a backstage guitar meet and greet with the Starchild a few years back, meeting Paul numerous times during KISS meet and greets backstage, interviewing his son Evan for his first U.S. cover story, and much more. His music, personality, and sense of style are appealing and admirable. I loved his first book, Face The Music, so I was eager to check out Backstage Pass.

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Melissa Manchester To The Rescue

Melissa Manchester, a timeless singer with an exquisite voice, performed a phenomenal concert on April 27 that benefited Lulu’s Rescue, an all-breed inclusive dog rescue.

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Audible Review: Is Wrestling Fixed? by Bill Apter

I recently listened to the audiobook Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn’t Know It Was Broken! by Bill Apter. This Audible Original was highly enjoyable for a variety of reasons. First, Bill narrates the book himself, making it infinitely more charming and compelling. Second, I grew up watching professional wrestling (and still do) and I fondly recall buying many of the magazines Bill was affiliated with, including Pro Wrestling Illustrated, The Wrestler, and Inside Wrestling. Prior to the internet, these magazines were the best way to see amazing photos and read articles about my favorite professional wrestlers, and this was during the 1990s when the WWF (now WWE), WCW, and ECW were hotter than ever. It was a magical time to be a fan and this book captures that era, and many others, from Bill’s perspective.

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Beyond The Mirror Edge: The Observer’s Guide To Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap, one of the greatest TV shows of all time, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For five seasons and nearly 100 episodes, this revolutionary show tackled a variety of topics, including important social issues in a unique way. It was humorous, moving, enlightening, and always compelling due, in large part, to the strong dialogue and fantastic acting. Not only were Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell phenomenal in their roles, the supporting cast was equally impressive. If you’re new to Quantum Leap or simply interested in revisiting this iconic series that was ahead of its time, you should read Beyond The Mirror Edge: The Observer’s Guide To Quantum Leap by Matt Dale.

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Audible Review: John Lithgow’s Stories by Heart

I love stories in all forms, from books to movies to TV shows to video games to music. Stories bring us together, move us, and can inspire self-reflection. Several years back, I discovered how audiobooks can make a good story great by having a deft narrator breathe it to life. John Lithgow is one such narrator. His iconic voice has served him well in a variety of roles, including the narrator of his autobiography entitled¬†Drama, which I bought through Audible and thoroughly enjoyed. With this in mind, I was eager to listen to¬†Stories By Heart, an Audible Original that’s part of the Audible Theater collection of audiobooks.

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Philly’s Final KISS

KISS performed its final concert ever in Philadelphia on March 29, 2019. I was there, along with my wife, and it was a blast! Even though I’ve seen KISS live many times, including on three KISS Kruises, I’ve never seen them in the Wells Fargo Center. It was awesome seeing them in a large arena, filled with face-painted fans of all ages. Even better, the band left all access passes for us, something I’ve never had, which meant we could walk almost anywhere we wanted in the building, including backstage, without restriction.

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Book Review: SNES Omnibus Volume 2

As I’ve previously stated, the Super Nintendo is my all-time favorite video game system. Last year, author Brett Weiss released The SNES Omnibus: Volume 1 and I said how it was “an excellent tribute to an iconic system and video game library.” The same holds true for its sequel, which is coming out very soon. The SNES Omnibus: Volume 2 covers games N through Z, along with various essays about different aspects of the Super Nintendo, such as The Super Game Boy and The Super Scope 6. If you’re a video game fan, love Nintendo or simply want to take a deep dive into the golden age of 16-bit gaming, The SNES Omnibus: Volume 2 is a must-buy. It’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

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Movie Review: 350 Days

There have been numerous documentaries about professional wrestling over the years, including ones produced by WWE about its superstars, legends, factions, and historic moments. In addition to these highly enjoyable, polished pieces, there are gritty, reality-based pro wrestling documentaries that are more focused on providing the viewer with an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the legends they grew up watching on TV. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, an excellent character study and inspirational story about how the power of believing in yourself can transcend addiction, was firmly created in this style. 350 Days, coming out April 2, is the newest addition to this style of storytelling, and it’s an intriguing, enlightening, educational, and, most importantly, satisfying, documentary that everyone should see.

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Book Review: WWE Greatest Rivalries

WWE Greatest Rivalries is the newest hardback book from DK and it’s available March 5. This 200-page tome is dedicated to all of the timeless superstars, epic battles and bitter feuds from the classic, attitude and modern eras of WWE. Below is my video review of this new book.

Book Review: 27 by Gene Simmons

Boring. That’s not a word typically associated with Gene Simmons. Unfortunately, it’s the best one to describe his new book, 27: The Legend and Mythology of the 27 Club. I went into this book wanting to enjoy it, as I have with his other literary work. However, I just couldn’t get into this one and found it to be dry compared to the charismatic and compelling style found in his other books.

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