Saturday, November 22, 2014

iTunes Saturday -- Kinky

Tonight, we attend a performance of Kinky Boots at the Pantages. Though I don't have any tracks from the show shuffling through my iTunes, I do have another Cyndi Lauper song. But you need to hop into your WABAC machine since it's from 1980. From Blue Angel, here's their cover of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's Gonna Be Strong:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Qwitter

I kept coming back to this over the past few weeks and finally decided to cut myself off from Twitter. At first, Twitter seemed like the cool thing to do, but the longer I used it, the more I felt that it was nothing more than a news aggregator. Tweet after tweet of links to news stories or crazy cat videos or this will blow your mind messages, but not a lot of personal content...unless you happened to be a celebrity posting an uninhibited response to a news story or video. I responded to a tweet or two, thinking it would be a conversation, but with no response from the original tweeters, my responses felt more like comments. And I can do that on a blog. Or Facebook.

So I deleted my account.

And nothing extraordinary happened. Well, except for no longer wasting my time reading the rapidly posted links. Though I do still love a good cat video.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Itunes Saturday - Night Like This

I always check out the Free Song provided by iTunes. I listen to the first bars and most of the time, stop there and pass on the offer. Occasionally, a certain song piques my interest, and I hear the entire snippet and eventually download the song. I've managed to find some great tunes, like Running for Cover from Ivan & Alyosha, Pumping Blood from NONONO, and this tune that appeared a few weeks ago from LP, Night Like This:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quickie Book Review: Betrayed by Rita Hayworth

by Manuel Puig

Normally, my quickie reviews begin with a quickie synopsis of the story, but for Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, I must admit to not knowing quite what the story is about. A young boy named Toto features in almost every chapter, and he's fond of the movies, spending hours in the darkened theater in Vallejos with his mother or trying to convince others to go with him. The boys at his school pick on him, but he doesn't let that bother him, instead focusing on his schoolwork so that he can spend his free time at the movies or poring over the flash cards that his mother Mita created for the films.

Most of the chapters present a cacophony of conversations, with characters talking over one another. It took some practice to figure out when conversations switched from one group to another, but at times, I felt like a fly on the kitchen wall, listening in as the aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives gossiped about Mita leaving La Plata with the handsome Berto who resembled a famous movie start. Even the chapters which spoke from a single character's point of view managed to create that frenetic atmosphere of multiple conversations and ideas occurring at the same time.

And yet, I'm still not quite sure what the story was about. I enjoyed reading it for the challenge of understanding the chapters, but for my tastes, something was missing.

Betrayed by Rita Hayworth
by Manuel Puig
Dalkey Archive Press
trade paperback, 222 pgs.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Reunion


To some, this royal red cape may look familiar. That's because Cinderlla wore it at the beginning of the second act of Into the Woods, and last night we were fortunate enough to attend the reunion of not only the original cast members from the show --Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Kim Crosby, Robert Westenberg, Danielle Ferland, and Ben Wright -- but also James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim. For two hours, we enjoyed listening to them discuss the creation of the show and the characters, heard many of the great songs that I fondly remember, and enjoyed a great evening. It's not often that you get to hear the original performers singing their songs from over 25 years ago. And their voices haven't changed, which was a pleasant surprise. I've been listening to the soundtrack again, too, and now want to see the show again.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Cups

In keeping with the soundtrack post of yesterday, today's iTunes selection comes from the movie Pitch Perfect, which if you haven't seen yet, you really should. Anna Kendrick uses this as an audition song in the movie, but thanks to the soundtrack, the full version of the song managed to crack the Top 10. Some interesting info about the song: it was originally written in 1931 and recorded as a bluegrass song by The Carter Family. No relation...I think. The original title is When I'm Gone. But here's Anna Kendrick's cover, with additional lyrics: Cups (When I'm Gone):

Friday, November 07, 2014

Soundtrackin'

I like going through my books and CDs, and preparing lists: favorite horror books, favorite cast albums, sorting Elton John's albums in chronological order. So while driving to work this week, I've been listening to the soundtrack to a small French and Spanish language film called Celestial Clockwork, and a question popped into my head: what are my favorite soundtracks? Yesterday evening, I skimmed through my CDs, pulling all my soundtracks and scores from their home, and began the task of determining which I liked best. Now, to make something clear, I lump soundtracks and scores together for this type of list. Yes, a difference does exist, and my example is that Danny Elfman wrote the score to Batman, that dark fanfare that once you hear it stirring faintly in the background, you know that the caped crusader lurks somewhere close by; Prince, on the other hand, created the soundtrack album Batman to accompany the same movie. His album was very radio-friendly and even spawned the hit Batdance. With that in mind, this list contains the scores and soundtracks I listen to the most.

Celestial Clockwork: the story focuses quite a bit on opera, so the soundtrack features many songs from La Cenerentola from Rossini. But the soundtrack also offers some great French pop, Spanish pop, and the very industrial art-pop Sometimes I Eat Spiders.

Anima Mundi score composed by Philip Glass. The film itself serves as a quasi-documentary, featuring visuals of the animal world set to Glass' compositions, which to many may sound repetitive, but something about the music just fits so well with the visuals.

Saturday Night Fever: classic 70s music from Bee Gees. I know almost every song on here; they're all classics. Even Night on Disco Mountain.

Selmasongs by Björk, from the movie Dancer in the Dark. The songs represent Björk's take on movie musicals, and it's refreshing from the usual movie musical madness. And the soundtrack contains one of the best songs from a movie, in my opinion: A New World which I've featured on a past iTunes Saturday.

Sideways music composed by Rolfe Kent. The lite jazz score is the perfect companion to a story set in the Wine Country.

Mary Poppins. Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. I've loved this recording since I first listened to the lp my parents owned. (In fact, I think they still have it tucked away in their garage.) Feed the Birds still makes me teary-eye when I hear it.

The Illusionist score composed by Sylvain Chomet, and additional songs by Malcolm Ross. The film is both animated and without dialogue, relying on the music to assist with telling much of the story, and Chomet's score does that beautifully.

I could list many, many more recordings from Disney movies, but I think the short list above will do quite nicely. What are some of your favorites?