Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Robert Wise

4-time Oscar winner (2 each for The Sound of Music and West Side Story) Wise may actually be as notable for his first nomination, 1 of the 3 he didn't win. He was nominated for Film Editing for Citizen Kane. While the musicals are classics, Citizen Kane is truly among the greats.

We studied CK in my film class in college, and if the professor mentioned Wise by name, I don't recall, but the editing was certainly discussed. The shot through the sign then in through the skylight, we talked about this 25 years ago. OMG I must have been 7 at the time!

West Side Story, co-directed by Wise and Jerome Robbins (by mostly by Wise) won 10 Oscars, but didn't age well. The dancing is excellent and the movie has solid production values, performances and energy. But it also has Natalie Wood and I just... can't... hey look, it's full EGOT winner Rita Moreno and Oscar winner George Chakakhanis, let's watch them!

My mom's a sucker for the classic musicals of the 50s and 60s and The Sound of Music is absolutely one of those musicals. Growing we sounded exactly like Sir Julie Andrews (knighted by me) in this clip. If she lived in Portland (my mom, not Julie... actually either!) we could dress as nuns and go to the sing-along screenings. When I go alone, it seems weird... out of place. Not really, this is Portland. Me in a habit is just another Tuesday night.

Wise also directed Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I guess when you think of the qualities that make Star Trek great you think "dancing and singing." The result is, oh look we're out of time.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Song of the Day: "Dazzling Blue"

So Beautiful or So What
I picked up the new Paul Simon album from the library to day and will be listening to it very soon. I'm randomly grabbing this track and pleased with its sound.

This is Simon's first album of new material in 5 years, and more than 10 years since The Capeman (yes, he did a Broadway musical flop LONG before U2).

Oh, and he's Sir Paul Simon. Knighted by me, possibly just now although maybe I did earlier. If you're that curious, just fucking Google it. Or Bing it. Bing works really well.

Song: "Dazzling Blue"
Artist: Paul Simon (Sir)

Friday, September 9, 2011

I can't say I wasn't warned

Local Fraternity to Spread Cheer

I may be going to a Midwestern college town next month for work. It's home to one of the largest colleges in the country (by the way, do you know what university has the second largest undergraduate student body? the University of Central Florida... no, for reals).

Anyway, I'm researching my destination and there was something about this news story from Sentinel OSU that caught my attention. So I'm sharing it all with you. You're welcome.

The brothers of the Phi Kappa Mu fraternity have begun an innovative new campaign to spread joy around Ohio State’s campus. The campaign, which consists mostly of yelling encouraging messages at pedestrians out the window of moving cars, was inspired by the trials of fraternity member Jimmy Hribar, Jr.

“Basically, we all just pile into Fozzy B’s (Phi Kappa Mu brother, Jeff Fazio) Grand Cherokee and drive around campus shouting advice to people who look like they need our help,” said Hribar.

The brothers began their campaign two weeks ago, and thus far, have considered their work a massive success.

“I mean, we’ve made a real difference in the community, and making a difference and stuff is what PKMu is all about,” Hribar said.

The fraternity keeps at least three Grand Cherokees filled with brothers on patrol from around 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday. “Keeping our work up on the weekends is a big sacrifice. I mean, you know. We all got other shit to do, but it’s cool. We mostly make the pledges take the late shifts, “ said sophomore brother Craig Grange.

The initiative was inspired by Hribar’s personal struggles with depression. “You know, I was really down. I mean, I’m in my fifth year here and I still haven’t gotten into Fisher, and my dad keeps saying real fucked up shit, like I was gonna have to get a job or he was gonna leave his Jeep dealership to my younger brother. Me and Brent [Chandler] were heading down to the oval to toss the football, and all the sudden there was this crazy giant inflatable duck. It really made my day that much better, and made me realize how lucky I was, and that I should give back and stuff.”

PKMu’s innovative approach is setting trends across not only OSU’s campus but across campuses throughout nation. All over, brothers are piling into their Grand Cherokees and setting out for the common good. Truly, the brothers of PKMu have changed the world!

Song of the Day: "The Summer Place"

Fountains of Wayne/Sky Full of Holes
I love the new Fountains of Wayne album--nothing that approaches the disposable nature of "Stacy's Mom" (novelty song, meh). It's described as an informal tribute to the Jayhawks, which is awesome.

Singer Chris Collingwood is apparently a big Aztec Camera fan (they did a solid cover of "Killermont Street"a few years ago); Adam Schlensinger is one of the best pop song writers around (he's been nominated for all 4 EGOT awards)--from the opening number at this year's Tonys to the theme from Crank Yankers, dudes got skills.

And 2 others.

Song: "The Summer Place"
Artist: Fountains of Wayne

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Hey girl!"

(h/t Kelly V-V)

Happy Birthday Pink

At the risk of coming off a bit gay, I am going to say I love Pink. It's not so much that I love her music, or can differentiate between tracks from the last 3 albums, but I like how she exists in the Venn diagram overlap between pop, rock and dance music.

There's a lot I like, but I do have a day job (note to self: make that Venn diagram thing). Here's some songs I like in no particular order. And yes, I do forgive her for "Lady Marmalade"... but only her.


The crazy woman who ran the company down in LA that I worked for once made a bunch of VPs lipsync this song in what I'm pretty sure was a company-paid party for one of her sons. Like a bar mitzvah. I stayed 6 full months so Melanie could enjoy the employee referral bonus.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! Do NOT Courtney Love on us (not the drugs, just, like the WHOLE Courtney Love thing... ick).

Congratulations PJ Harvey

She, or they (I remain confused), picked up a second Mercury Prize for 2010's Let England Shake. Clinton thought it would be Adele for sure, but I guess her consolation will be selling millions of albums. And another Grammy. And a Sarah Lee cheesecake. Sorry, that's totally racist misogynistic homophobicantisemitic size-ist!

Song of the Day: "Not Your Fault"

Over the course of the long weekend "someone" (totally Clark) identified a couple of songs as the new song from AWOLNATION.

Portugal. the Man, Cage the Elephant, some humorous third thing (Bette Midler!). I did finally hear the track later, and depending on when you enter the song (hear it from the beginning or while it's in progress) you might think it's someone altogether different.

But if you stick around a few more seconds, there will be shouting.

Song: "Not Your Fault"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Buddy Holly

Charles Hardin Holley would have turned 75 today if, you know (making an elaborate hand gesture that clearly implies a plane crash) hadn't happened back when he was 22. Although that's not necessarily true, I mean what if he survived that but had been in the World Trade Center on 9/11? So you never know, you know? Yes I *am* babbling.

Here are some songs!

There's a new tribute album called Rave On Buddy Holly that was released a few weeks ago. The line-up is solid with Paul McCartney, Nick Lowe and Patti Smith among the veterans and Florence and the Machine, Modest Mouse and the Black Keys from the hipster side of the menu. It's been in my library queue for a while (I am currently #23 of the 47 holds on 5 copies, I just checked). Which is a lengthy but not particularly interesting intro for "Rave On":

Marshall Crenshaw played Holly in cameo in La Bamba, and his version of "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" are on the soundtrack... um, so here's the original:

According to Holly's Wikipedia entry, Bob Dylan spoke of seeing one of Holly's final performances and feeling moved. Or he was talking about cat food--honestly, have you heard him recently?! Maybe he was talking about Holly Hobby. Here's "Not Fade Away":

I saw some of The Crickets when they toured with Nanci Griffith back in the 90s. If you don't know that Sonny Curtis from the Crickets wrote The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme, well, you do now.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace. And rave on!

Song of the Day: "Romance"

(h/t Leland)
It's sad that I recognize Carrie Brownstein, not from her 10 years with Sleater-Kinney, but from Portlandia (which OUGHT to be called Brooklyndia, but whatev).

Oh, and she was in that Thermals video.

Here she's fronting Wild Flag, a super group (a rock group given a power ring by members of a galactic peace-keeping troop) with, get this, ALL GIRLS. Isn't that just adorable?! Cough, sorry dudes.

I don't know the bands from which the other 3 members (Helium, The Minders), but then I really didn't know Sleater-Kinney either. I mean, I know exactly where the exit is, but that's about it.

Song: "Romance"
Artist: Wild Flag

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got outta prison"

It's David Allen Coe's birthday and his "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" (written by Steve Goodman) may be the most lyrically comprehensive country song ever, EVER.  I believe this verse may cover most of the core themes of country:
Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got outta prison.
And I went to pick her up in the rain.
But, before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train.


Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Anika Noni Rose

1. I love the relatively limited name recognition she enjoys. I'd say she can be an Elaine Stritch for the young gays, but she is on The Good Wife which I *still* don't watch. Note to all the people with a TV show that's soooo good they can't believe I don't watch it, that list is so long and daunting (Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, Justified, The Sons of Anarchy, that HBO show set during prohibition, The C Word, Nurse Jackie, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead)... shit where WOULD I start? Rizzoli & Aisles? Sure.

2. Tony winner Rose is the Tony winner from Caroline, or Change. I thought Tonya Pinkins also won, but oooops, that was Idina's year.

3. In a weird coincidence, someone was singing a song from the fairly obscure musical The Last 5 Years while running errands with me on Saturday. That song included a former stripper and her snake named "Wayne." This song may not mine such quirky characteristics, but it does include some thoughtful standards for your next relationship:
"Think of what's great about me and you
Think of the bullshit we've both been through
Think of what's past because we can do better!"

4. That's all of got. But maybe that's enough.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Can I?"

I keep coming back to J Mascis's Several Shades of Why as one of my favorites from this year. "Can I" is another great example of why.

This is the first time I've noticed Kurt Vile's name in the credits which is cool, since Vile's Jesus Fever is also a favorite from 2011.

That's all I've got for you on this Monday. Except it's Tuesday, isn't it? This isn't going to go well...

  J Mascis- Can I by ribio rip

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Farrokh Bulsara/Freddie Mercury

(h/t to Jack for the reminder)
Statue of Freddie Mercury at Lake Geneva

Is Freddie Mercury the Liberace of Rock & Roll? See post below re: my infection and the "let's just say yes."

Sir Freddie Mercury (just knighted by me now) is one of the greatest rock stars my generation will have the pleasure of experiencing. Success emboldened his flamboyance, I think. It was never a gimmick to draw attention--I don't know if he would care for Lady Gaga (who takes her name from a Queen song) or if he would roll his eyes and say "girl that's a bit much." But any guys who were Queen fans in the 70s or 80s, and whose kid today is a Gaga fan, but complains about her theatricality, needs a formal introduction to Irony (the most powerful force in the universe).

Queen's prime time performance at Live Aid (UK side) is considered the highlight of the day. They rocked it. It opens with "Bohemian Rhapsody" and an unfortunate footnote is that song was played at my friend Randall's funeral (even though he originally wanted the Hawaii 5-0 theme, not sure what changed his mind). Here's the full set.

I leave you with 2 personal faves that aren't included in the Live Aid set. Yes there are far better/cooler songs, but this has my cousin Sam Jones (star of Flash Gordon, duh):

And in case you don't realize what a powerful voice Mercury had, try to keep up with him on this one (and also, fuck you Vanilla Ice):

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace!

Song of the Day: "Freedom"

Are Sugababes the Destiny's Child of the UK? Since I have a fever and an abscessed infection in the middle of my left cheek, let's say yes and I can wrap this one up!

Song: "Freedom"
Artist: Sugababes

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Mitzi Gaynor

Mitzi Gaynor? Mitzi Gaynor!

Reading this in her IMDB listing:
Best performance was arguably her show-stopping appearance at the 39th Academy Awards where her singing and dancing "Georgy Girl" stopped the show. The Academy had a hard time getting the audience to sit down and stop applauding.
Sent me to find this at the youtubes:

While I don't dispute that she's great in the clip, I'm not sure I see an audience that wasn't going to stop applauding. Eventually.

But I honestly don't know much about Mitzi. I mean, despite South Pacific being one of my mom's favorites, I haven't seen it all the way through (she will probably insist that I've seen it but I will point out that I fall asleep at the drop of a hat, or the start of a movie). I could easily confuse Mitzi with Lola or Joey.

Aside from South Pacific Mitzi's movie career can be characterized as "lesser movies of the greats" and I mean that in a nice way. She worked with greats like Gene Kelley, Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, ETHEL MERMAN, David Niven, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, George Cukor and Stanley Donen... just not on their best movies. But certainly not their worst. As she said, "I never worked with a stinker. How great is that!" [NOTE: Sadly I don't know, sigh.] 

Actually I like this quote of hers even more: "Dancing is still the hardest profession. Gene Kelly said dancing is a man's game Women have to do the same thing in heels, and have to sing and smile at the same time. Professional athletes don't even have to do that - and they get to wear sneakers." It's not quite "backward and in high heels" but she makes a good point.

Mitzi's biggest night may actually be her appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show with a band called The Beetles Beatles [NOTE: apparently Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings]. It was their second time on the show and Ed gave her 9 minutes (apparently a lot of time) in between 2 of their numbers. Listen to her describe it and drop some Yiddish!

I leave you a song my mother sang to me many times when giving me a bath but not for like decades, are we clear? We are a very musical family. Like the Von Trapps. Except the mother lived. And with fewer Nazis.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Call Me Down To Ohio"

I'm going to take a guess and say that I heard this song on the radio station based on the Netherlands that I sometimes listen to at the office, and I'm basing it on this information when I tried to figure out what "GEM call me down to ohio" might mean and found this:
Hunters Go Hungry is de nieuwe plaat van GEM. GEM is Maurits Westerik. Maurits Westerik is GEM. Na drie succesvolle albums keert Westerik terug naar zijn gevoel. Want dat gevoel was sterk aanwezig bij de totstandkoming van het album. Het thema, het watermerk Hunters Go Hungry zit in ieder nummer. Iedere tekst, ieder liedje is te herleiden tot dit thema. Alle muziek gaat over de stad of over het landleven; Westerik kwam tot de ontdekking dat beide plekken hem inspireren tot het schrijven van liedjes. En dat je dan ineens midden in ‘je eigen stad’ heimwee krijgt naar een plek die je nog niet kent.
And I think we can all agree.
  GEM - Call Me Down To Ohio by excelsiorrecordings

Song: "Call Me Down To Ohio"
Artist: GEM