Tag Archives: TV

June Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

26 Jun

JUNE’S SUPER TRIBUTES

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A tribute to love and the arts, my Performing Arts high school reunion was described by one of my classmates as “a roomful of love.” There was a lot of love, all of us happy to be together, some classmates coming from afar. All these years we have never lost touch with each other. There is a sense of ease when you are with the people you were always most comfortable with. We all knew that we hit the jackpot – none of us cut out for a standard high school experience. We were dancers, actors, and musicians. We were outsiders and we found each other. And we never lost that bond.

HAIL WONDER WOMAN

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Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie? It is the updated version of the classic comic book character from DC Comics (1941) and the TV series (1970s). The most popular female comic-book superhero of all time, the series is celebrated for its depiction of strong women. In her book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Deckle Edge, 2014), Jill Lepore reveals our hero’s origins, essentially based on feminism. Influenced by early suffragists and feminists, Dr. William Moulton Marston created her in 1941. In his first script, he explained her Amazonian origins in ancient Greece, where men had kept women in chains, until they broke free and escaped. Strengthened by supporting themselves, they developed huge physical and mental power. Dr. Marston’s comic was meant to chronicle “a great movement now under way – the growth in the power of women.” … He goes on to say, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

… AND FAREWELL BATMAN

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Adam West was Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1960s TV series. In tribute to West’s iconic portrayal of the Caped Crusader, the Bat-signal was projected onto the tower of Los Angeles City Hall. As I’m sure you remember, the Gotham City Police Department used the Bat-signal to summon the superhero to help them … West’s deadpan delivery of his lines and his genuine yet self-mocking portrayal was what made the show a phenomenon. That and the way he danced the Batusi, of course. And don’t forget that famous earworm of a theme song: dada dada dada dada. Sure the plots were absurd and his adversaries were totally nuts – the Penguin? the Joker? the Riddler? really!??! – but he made all the ridiculousness perfectly sincere and sublime.

THE MUSIC OF ART

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Marc Chagall’s Triumph of Music (left) and Source of Music (right). Aptly, these huge murals are in the windows of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center for all to see and enjoy. Growing up in a Russian shtetl, Chagall was surrounded by musicians, many were violin players. Music became his inspiration throughout his life and his deep love of it informed his artistic style. He listened above all to Mozart while he painted. He died at 97, having lived through the 20th century’s best and worst times (Russian pogroms, WWI, and Nazi persecution in WWII) … His musically inspired works include murals for opera houses and theaters, as well as backdrops, scenery, and costumes for operas. His distinctive use of bold colors and dazzling brush strokes brought to life fanciful dreamlike animals and even a fiddler on the roof! “Color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.”

“…FIND MAGIC WHEREVER YOU LOOK”

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A whimsical tribute to Dr. Seuss and his menagerie of unforgettable characters is at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, MA. On display are our unforgettable “childhood friends” including Yertle the Turtle, Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and Horton the Elephant who heard a Who … Aimed at children of ALL ages, the museum’s cheerful displays convey the positive message of his final book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!Congratulations! Today is your day. you’re off to great places! You’re off and away!” … And just like his books that address life’s obstacles and fears, the museum offers an environment filled with hope, encouragement, and inclusion. A welcoming message that is underscored by Dr. Seuss’s famous line from Horton Hears a Who: “Don’t give up, I believe in you all, A person’s a person no matter how small.”

FEELIN’ GROOVY

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groov·y / ɡroovē adj.
Slang. Exciting, attractive; excellent; enjoyable:

Groovy music; Groovy car; Groovy shag haircut
“Man, those are some groovy guitar riffs.”

Hey man, so you think you know what the word groovy means? In 1932, groovy was a jazz slang term, used in a phrase meaning first-rate, performing well, or excellent such as in the groove … Teens circa 1941 started using it for wonderful. Then in the happy hippie times of the 1960s, it was used as a synonym for cool, excellent, fashionable, or awesome … However, in late Victorian England, it had the completely opposite meaning. In that time, it applied to someone stuck in a groove or a rut – a square. As defined in Farmer and Henley’s Slang and Its Analogues (1890): “GROOVY, Adj. – Settled in habit; limited in mind” … Whoa, that is definitely not groovy.

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE DOG?

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What makes a movie even better? A really cute dog as the star or in a supporting role, of course. They steal our hearts … Rin Tin Tin was a real German Shepherd who became a movie star in the 1920s. Rin Tin Tin the Fourth starred in the TV series (1954) about an orphan boy and his dog who help the Cavalry soldiers bring law and order to the Old West … Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a Cairn named Terry, whose film credit used her character name, Toto, rather than her real name. There never was a real Toto … Lassie, who starred in Lassie Come Home (1943), is also fictional. A boy in Yorkshire, England owns Lassie until his father sells her to a duke in Scotland. But brave Lassie is determined to find her way back home, encountering adventures that are the basis of the TV series (1954). Although Lassie was a female, she was played by a Rough Collie male named Pal … And my fave: Asta, the Wire Fox Terrier from The Thin Man movies. Owned by famous sleuths, Nick and Nora Charles, he helped them solve crimes by finding dead bodies and sniffing out and retrieving hidden guns. A veteran actor, he fittingly received star billing as “Asta,” his professional name.

WE CAN HELP

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As a tribute to Adam West/Batman, Wonder Woman, talented dogs, the power of reuniting, and the arts and creativity and freedom, donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. For almost 100 years, the ACLU works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and its laws. That includes freedom of speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, and citizens’ rights to privacy. A champion for people of color, women, LGBTQ people, prisoners, immigrants, and those with disabilities, the ACLU operates within the court system to enact change and protect our basic human rights as American citizens. We can help them continue to fight for our freedom and the protection of our constitutional rights now and for the next generations.

Soundtrack to this Issue

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Elvis Costello’s Alison

Their aim was true! 129 points true! Here’s a nod to 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors – Alison from Costello’s 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True. Go Warriors!

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

Oh it’s so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl.
And with the way you look I understand
That you are not impressed.
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
Take off your party dress.

I’m not going to get too sentimental
Like those other sticky valentines,
Cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody.
I only know it isn’t mine. 

Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.

Who rescued whom?KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lKEEP-Buddha“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
PA pic top: Richard Goldfinch
PA pic bottom: Richard Goldfinch
Wonder Woman pic: Wonder Woman’s revised look on the cover of Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 (2016). Art by Stanley Lau
The Cat in the Hat sculpture inside The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum: Mark Murray/Springfield Museums
Alison: Words and Music by Elvis Costello ©Universal Music Publishing Group

Johnny Cash Explains the Hurt

27 Nov

Do you watch Person of Interest? A television show I recently got into. Interesting concept, heroic characters, fast-paced plots. From Bad Robot, JJ Abrams (Star Trek, Fringe). And there’s a dog. What’s not to love?

Question: Can a piece of music elevate and even elucidate an episode of a television show? Did you watch last nite’s episode? If you did, you know the answer is yes, it can. Because it did.

JohnnyCash.11.27.13.hurt.crThe opening four minutes was accompanied solely by Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt. It set the tone and it stated the thesis for what followed.

Revenge, eye for an eye, retaliation, settling the score. The characters suffered a mighty loss in last week’s episode. This week was all about their response.

Healing, light at the end of the tunnel, there’ll be better days…

Sure, there’ll be time for all that.

For now, Johnny Cash is tellin’ you, it’s just about the hurtin’.

Hurt

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear my crown of thorns*
On my liar’s chair

Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stain of time
The feeling disappears
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again

A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Sources:
Hurt: Music and lyrics by Trent Reznor (*changed to crown of “thorns” in Cash’s version)
Johnny Cash’s Hurt: From the album, Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), produced by Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash Pic: from Hurt shoot

Sherlock Holmes and His Violin

17 Oct

I love Sherlock Holmes. The books. The movies. The TV shows. All of the TV shows. In fact as remarkable as Jeremy Brett was, it’s so cool how uncommon, how unexpected, how dazzling Benedict Cumberbatch is. That he’s portraying Sherlock in present time, with present day technology (smartphones and blogging are huge components of the show!), makes this Sherlock even more compelling.

Sherlock-Violin.10.17.13I love music. OK, not news. Hold off on alerting the media on that one. Back to Sherlock. And music. How happy was I to discover that Sherlockology, the ultimate resource for the BBC series Sherlock, found out how Sherlock feels about his violin. We also learn a bit about what to expect from our latest Sherlock – and his violin – as the series continues.

From the very first introduction Sherlock Holmes gives of himself, both in the canon and BBC series, he mentions his pastime of playing the violin and as such is known for his musical ability in this field as much as his smoking, drug taking and of course ‘the work’.

But true to character, Holmes didn’t have any old violin. During the short story ‘The Cardboard Box’, Sherlock Holmes revealed that he himself owned a violin made by the renowned violinmaker, Antonio Stradivarius. He had purchased it from a pawnshop on Tottenham Court Road for fifty-five shillings although believed it to be worth at least five hundred guineas.

For those not familiar with the worth of this out of circulation currency (we had to look it up too) Holmes clearly had an eye for a bargain. A shilling is worth in today’s money five new pence, making his purchase the grand sum of £2.75, while according to him it was worth £525. Taking into consideration the modern values of historic concertina prices, the actual cost is closer to just under a thousand pounds with its worth being in excess of £185,000. A costly instrument indeed, yet not when compared to the value of Stradivarius violin today when they come with a price tag of not thousands, but millions (the 1721 Stradivarius known as the Lady Blunt sold at auction for £9.8m in 2011.) So could our Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century really afford one?

Whatever Sherlock’s secret is, his violin will definitely be making a welcome return in series three. There was no question that the consulting detective would play the instrument in Sherlock regardless of manufacturer …

[Prior to airing, show creator] Steven Moffat was asked if his Sherlock would play. His answer was a resounding yes, suggesting this was one of the many elements that made the character so rich and eccentric. Benedict Cumberbatch went on to study the instrument under the tutorage of Eos Chater, who performs what you hear in the series.

Having thumbed through the sheet music on Sherlock’s music stand in 221B, it is clear he is certainly a very proficient violinist, not to mention composer … Whatever Sherlock’s secret is, his violin will definitely be making a welcome return in series three.

 

Sources:
Article courtesy of: Sherlockology’s Metro Blog
Pic: Sherlock performs Bach’s Sonata No.1 in G-Minor in The Reichenbach Fall, Hartswood Films/BBC

Monday Marketing Mojo: Like Wow, TV!

3 Jun

Although this week’s Monday Marketing Mojo is geared towards my music followers, this advice is useful for any performing artists, techs, and small biz owners, too.

What if you could get national visibility on TV? Watching a band get the golden opportunity of a music appearance on a major national morning show this week, got me thinkin’. Are you ready? If you got that chance right now, are you ready? Whether your goal is to keep on keepin’ on or to reach the next level, be a pro in either case. If you act like a pro, you will be perceived as a pro. And being a pro means being your best and bringing your A game to the Big Show.

In promoting yourself to a national audience, consider these factors:

Your appearance: Please do consider how you look. It plays a big part in how you are received. And perceived. What you wear should be what you always wear as performers. Be you. After all, that is part of your look. Right? But please don’t forget about being clean, too. Guitar fingering close ups require clean fingernails. Nuff said.

PercussionYour sound: It’s all about delivering. You want to sound the best you can. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to do a soundcheck. But there may be space, electrical, or other constraints. So for example, if you can’t set up a drum kit, be flexible. Have your percussionist at a mike with a tom-tom, tambourine, conga, woodblock, or a scraper. Presenting your full sound is important.

What message do you want to send? Are you promoting a new record? Tell them when and where it’s available. Tell them where you’ll be appearing. And send them to your website.

Did you follow-up #1: Did you thank the show? A personal touch showing appreciation goes far. And shows them you’re a pro. You want them to like you. To remember you. And to ask you back.

Did you follow-up #2: Are you promoting your appearance after the fact? Reach out to your fans and make new ones. Tell them all about it in case they missed it. Include the link. Ask them to share it with their friends. And remind them about your new record, where they can get it, tour dates, and website.

Did you follow-up #3: Reach out to the media. Who knows? The more outlets that hear about you, the more exposure you might get. And the more information you give them about you, your product, and your shows, the more interesting you will be to them.

 Let ‘em all get to know you!

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