Archive for June, 2011

About Time

NOTHING beats the sheer spectacle of a live theatrical performance.  However, when those of us do not live within reasonable driving distance to take in a professional show less than occasionally and scraping the $100+ for a single ticket… WELL…. Fifty years ago or so many of the bigger shows would be given the big screen treatment at “Affordable prices.”  However, the popularity of the movie musical has all but gone by the wayside.  There is the occasional offering… Chicago (good), Evita (ok, I suppose), and The Phantom of the Opera (not so ok).

It was announced today that a cinematic treatment of Schoenberg and Boublil’s Les Miserables (really, is there any other?) is finally in the works.  “In the works” insofar as the announcement that Hugh Jackman is attached to the project and a screenplay is being written. Wolverine as the “pup” Gavroche… I can see it now… with an Australian accent.   Of course, I have heard that the musical has been in development for ten years or more and we got nothing more than a Liam Neeson starring flick that “is not the musical” and I have not seen. So, we will see if this comes to fruition.

Until then, the musical itself is coming to the area in November!

Charm

Well… yesterday was another voice lesson.  It went much better than last week’s meeting… perhaps it was because I focused on 4 or 5 pieces I have been working on since almost the beginning.  Once again, a deceptively simple song is one of the most problematic (well… the last part of it is rhythmically tricky, but will come).  Another piece, I need to find that spot of greatest emotional impact.  I KNOW where it needs to be but need to back off just a bit on some of those other big moments.  I have to skip next week as the j-o-b asked me to come in an hour early on Thursday.

Today, I had my first follow up with the doctor.  He seems to think all is well…. progressing nicely.  He asked me what I have been doing… how long I am on my feet each day, etc.  Well… given my current job, I am on my feet probably 95% of the time. I have been taking short walks as the seasons have changed but not quite up to the 3-4 mile hikes I was accustomed to taking but those will come in time.  As we have both commented, “I miss my walking buddy.”  I told the nurse, who lives two houses south of me, that I didn’t think that trying out for The Wizard of Oz or Annie was such a good idea.  Once again, I did bring up the idea of trying out for Roosevelt and brought a chuckle.  But I have been going to my weekly voice lesson so once my leg is closer to 100% I will once again be doing something.  The actual appointment was nothing more than hearing things I had already known.  He did feel my leg and commented that it is still a bit tight.  I guess his prescribed 4 month check was nothing more than witnessing my charming personality 😀 KIDDING… I know it is necessary but doesn’t hurt to display that indelible Jamiahsh charm.

Pottermore

Apparently, the end is just the beginning when it comes to the Harry Potter verse.  July 15th will see the final cinematic adventure take place.  BUT in October will come a website known as “Pottermore” created by J. K. Rowling herself.  The content of the site is being held under wraps (for now, the site is “Coming Soon”).  Speculation by fans ranges from an online community full of message boards and chat rooms (hopefully it is not that… do we really need another social network?) to the e-book release of the seven novels to an on-line game of the world of Harry Potter.   HMMM… the site has changed even since a few days ago when I heard of the site.

I’m of two minds on this.  I’m not sure that this is not an attempt to bleed every drop out of the franchise… too much of a good thing and all that.  However, if it is what the fans want… I guess it will be worth at least a peek once it is fully presented.

The Superhero Network

OK… I am about to illustrate my profound geekiness (or my wealth of Useless Knowledge, you decide).  Way back in the mid to late 1970s, it seemed like at least two of the big three networks (remember those days?) had at least one live-action superhero show on the air.  ABC had The Six Million Dollar Man which lead to the Bionic Woman (which jumped ship to NBC for its third and final season… told you I was going to demonstrate my geekiness ;).  Over on CBS, you had The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman (which ABC tried for a season by putting the story in the original WWII time frame), and The Amazing Spider-Man.

The Hulk and Wonder Woman are much easier to track down than your friendly neighborhood web-crawler for a number of reasons.  Sad to say the budget for the live-action Spider-Man was not over the top.  After locating several of the 14 episodes via youtube, the special effects definitely showed the lack of money put to it.  The crawling up and down buildings left much to be desired and to save even more money, stock footage from the pilot episode would be used.  Funny, but what finally spelled Spidey’s doom was not the cheesy effects but CBS’ self-described fear of becoming THE Superhero Network.  The Amazon Princess and the arachnid were given the ax while The Hulk continued on into the early 80s.

HOWEVER, this was not Spider-Man’s first appearance as a live-action hero. Beginning in 1974, he was seen in short live action bits on the children’s series The Electric Company.

Here is a Great pseudo cross-over Spider-Man episode tied with a classic episode with another series:

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And here is an Electric Company short.  Guess the voice of the narrator:

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Ok… enough geekiness for one day. I won’t go further by saying that Nicholas Hammond also played Fredrick (the oldest Von Trapp male child) in The Sound of Music… although I think I just did.

Coming Full Circle

On Thursday, I purchased my “new” car.  As another of our tangenteers surmised it is indeed a 2002 Honda CR-V complete with slide out table in the back.  I was informed that Edy would be at the shop and then she and “Big” John would go to the bank and sign the title over to me.  After this, I took a trip to the DMV and paid the taxes.  The lady at the desk looked up at me and said “Two seventy five” and I reached in my wallet and handed her a $20.00 in all seriousness.  She looked at me and said, “Nice try.”  I had a good chuckle and made out my check for the correct amount.

A rather historic tale goes along with this purchase.  Last week, I was informed that nearly 38 years ago I was driven home in a Firebird owned by the same couple from whom I bought the CR-V.  On that day, my mom was ready to bring her third newborn son home.  Instead of waiting for dad to come which would have added another day on our stay at the hospital, she called Edy and she took me on my first car trip.

Along with this purchase comes certain provisos:

  • I am to inform everyone that it was previously driven twice a week (to church on Sundays and to the beauty parlor on Thursdays)
  • It is to be waxed twice a year and all the chrome and interior looking like new.
  • No alcohol (in my present state, I am forbidden to drink and even if I were not, I would not have it open in any car I own… and neither would passengers)

A nice little car… and it doesn’t even feel like it is much different than driving my old Sunfire… may she rest in peace.

 

Now THAT’S A Jamiah Song

I now have my set list for my little weekender.  I’m sure it is too late to submit until fall arrives as they usually take the summer off… or have the last few years.  Today at my lesson, I informed K that I had made a few changes… deleted a few songs and replaced them with others and whittled my list down from about 15 to 10.  Some of them require a second voice… so be on the look out for a request those of you who would be willing (I know at least one tangenteer who I will not ask… upon pain of torture or worse).  One of my new additions was a spark of hilarity.  I have had the song in the back of my mind since I began.  K was not familiar with the song until we had gone through it a few times.  She was in her husband’s car listening to the satellite radio when it came over the air.  After hearing it for the very first time she exclaimed… “Now THAT is a Jamiah piece!”  So glad she agrees.  And it even went fairly well for a lesson in sight singing.

In other news, I must wish a Happy Birthday… in case I don’t make a post tomorrow… to a GREAT friend!  The last few months have not been the greatest for me personally and our Wonderful admin has been right there for me every gimpy step of the way.  Definitely not the only one who has been but I thank God every day for his wisdom, guidance, and above all his friendship.  Happy Birthday, C!

 

Free Fridays

One of the great things about the Nook (of which there are many) is “Free Fridays.”  Most of the titles offered every Friday by Barnes and Noble interest me not at all, but occasionally one piques my interest.  Last Friday’s offering, Stupid History by Leland Gregory, is a compilation of “Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythoconceptions.”  The truth about Paul Revere’s famous ride;  the trial of Lizzie Borden; the Battle of Bunker Hill; and countless other tidbits.  Ironically, earlier tonight I was playing a game in which one of these tidbits would have come in handily.  In the game “Malarky,” the reader reads the question on the card and either reads the correct answer or makes up a load of malarky.  The other players determine whether or not the reader is giving the correct answer or feeding them a line.

One of the questions had to do with sardines which everyone knows is purchased in a small can.  I cannot remember the actual question but the answer had something to do with the fact that there is no such fish as the sardine.  They are usually pilchard or small herring packed into the can like… well… sardines.  I came home tonight and read that fact and had a good laugh.  Imagine how funny it would have been if I had read that tidbit BEFORE the game.

Perhaps this is in bad form, but did you know that Ahnold had competition for the role of The Terminator?  Apparently, O.J. Simpson is “too nice to be taken seriously as a killer.”

All of these are but a few of the (at times humorous) moments in Stupid History.  I may regret this post as the number of trivia games seems to be dwindling at game nights.  However, how much useless trivia do I actually retain?  Ok… perhaps this Free Friday was an attempt to encourage readers to pay for the humorists other books as this was published in 2007.  But still a fun read.

How To Succeed At The Tonys

Tonight (or last night) was the 65th presentation of The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre.  Once again, Neil Patrick Harris shined as the host as he poked fun at himself, Spider-Man (30 seconds of jokes about the troubled musical), and battled with Hugh Jackman to see who would be the better host.  Really in his element as an entertainer.  Since I had to work until 9, I had to watch via the DVR an hour late.

Honestly, I was not overly impressed with the excerpts from the NEW musicals.  Two based on movies (Catch Me If You Can.. never saw the Hanks/Decrapio movie; and Sister Act… which surprisingly did not translate that well to the stage).  The Scottsboro Boys is the now closed and soon to hit the road swan song of Kander and Ebb (who created Cabaret and Chicago).  The winner of Best Musical, The Book of Mormon, was co-created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (known primarily for bringing “South Park” into our lives).

I was much more impressed by the two shows battling it out for Best Revival of a Musical.  Daniel and company were very fun while performing “Brotherhood of Man” from How to Succeed… Congrats to John Larroquette on his win for Best Featured Role by an Actor in a Musical.  Sutton Foster and her cast of the classic Anything Goes was the odds on favorite to snag the revival award and it did not disappoint.  I am still amazed that Radcliffe was not nominated for his role.  It does not make sense to blame Harry Potter itself when Jackman won for The Boy from Oz while he was still riding high as Wolverine in the X Men films.

Memorable moments:

  • Spider-Man excerpt did not do a thing to endear it to me.  Re-opens Tuesday.  Julie Taymor is suing for royalties due to her after she was fired from the director’s gig.
  • I found bits of The Book Of Mormon’s song, “I Believe,” to sound like a mockery of “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music.  What can we expect from the co-creators of “South Park?”
  • Brooke Shields (soon to join the cast of The Addam’s Family) got a big long BLEEEEEEEEP (or was it a long mute)
  • Christie Brinkley (yet another to soon revolve into the endless cast of Chicago) looked like a deranged Barbie doll and sounded like a munchkin.
  • “No audience members have been injured during a performance…. YET!” (30 seconds of Spider-Man jabs)
  • Whatever the (what can only be best described as) THING was that Whoopi had on her head.

So… while the year’s crop of NEW musical highlights leave something lacking, the awards and revivals were entertaining.  And please…KEEP THE SUPERHEROES WHERE THEY BELONG!  IN THE COMICS, ANIMATED SERIES, OR MOVIES!

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Feelin’ Groovy

I can honestly say that I AM feeling better today than I have for a while.  I was able to stand throughout my entire voice lesson without feeling the need to sit.  Maybe this thing is not going to take a year to fully heal after all.  But if it does, I can deal with it.  Someone asked when I was going to be in another show.  It just dawned on me that I COULD have tried out for the role of FDR in Annie… no walking involved and he does get to sing and harmonize during the White House reprise of “Tomorrow.”  AH, well…

I am a step closer to replacing my blown Sunfire.  “Big” John and Edy are in the process of looking  for a new auto and they know I am in the market for a good, reliable mode of transportation.  I went to their house this morning and checked out the ’02 Honda SUV (a compact SUV).  Definitely a car that has been well taken care of and very nice, full of bells and whistles.  During my test drive, I commented to Big John that there was no “ka-chunk ka-chunk” as I approached a stop sign as there is in the car I currently drive.  I have been told that it is “nothing to worry about” but somehow….

Back to my latest lesson… I am thinking my list of songs I have been working on is about to be edited.  There are some songs which I do not think I am going to have performance ready anytime soon and there are others that I have been looking at which will take no time at all… one of which we ran today.  Plus, by the end of my first song, I was on my feet!  Much better than sitting on the chair.

Potter Fever

While watching a documentary on the making of the Harry Potter movies, I felt the anticipation and excitement of the approaching climactic cinematic experience building.  What is it that has made this series of first books and now  motion pictures so phenomenal cannot be answered simply.  There are layers and layers of brilliant creative aspects created by J.K. Rowling that you can not name one.  But I do have a favorite aspect of the series.  Character development is so integral to the world.  Not only MUST the big three of Harry, Ron, and Hermione develop and grow but it is so amazing how even secondary characters are almost as important as the core trio.  How many other series contain so many wonderful characters that even the actors profess to being surprised at their growth and the challenge that growth created.

One of my favorite characters, Neville Longbottom, has grown tremendously since his introduction.  In the first 3-4 movies, poor Neville had trouble with even the most elementary of spells.  Who can forget the scene in The Chamber of Secrets in which he is suspended from a chandelier by two cornish pixies (“Why is it always me?”)? By the end of The Order of the Phoenix, Neville has nearly come into his own by joining Dumbledore’s Army and proving his worth.  Hopefully, we will see him grow even more in the final film.

The youngest red-headed Weasley child, Ginevra, has developed from the bashful 10 year old who watched Harry, Ron, and Hermione being carried away on the Hogwart’s Express.  During her first year at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Ginny was possessed by the 16 year old  Tom Riddle… not a good way to begin one’s education.  As Neville has, Miss Weasley has become more vocal, more active, even so far as to come to the defense of her hero, Harry, on the quidditch pitch.

What would a post from me on Harry be without a mention of my favorite character, one of the most mysterious creations I have ever encountered, Professor Severus Snape.  At the start of term festivities in The Sorcerer’s Stone, the glance that Harry and the teacher share is filled with so much meaning that its implications will progress through the entire series.  The loathing seen in Snape’s eyes will not fully come to light until the final film.  Not only did Harry feel a burning in his scar, it made me tingle.

So… three characters… three SUPPORTING characters who are as instrumental in the World of  Harry Potter as the title character himself.  Just the tip of the wand in the marvelous creation of J.K. Rowling. 37 days and counting!  A Potter movie fest (non ABC Family fest with commercials) will be a fun way to build up to July 15!  Yes… Even The Half-Blood Prince.

 

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