Thursday, September 13, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

The annual Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, in Hunt Valley, Maryland--also known as MANC--opened this morning, and continues through Saturday. 

I've been to the convention several times in the past, and regret being unable to attend this year; it is always enjoyable.

https://www.midatlanticnostalgiaconvention.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention/

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11th

At some point--I am hopeful it will be sooner, rather than later--I would very much like to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  The Memorial, of course, honors the passengers and crew members of United Flight 93, who lost their lives on September 11th.

There were many acts of great courage, of profound heroism, on September 11th--in New York, at the Pentagon, and on Flight 93.  The effort to retake Flight 93--to disrupt the plans of the terrorists who had hijacked the plane--remains one of the most moving stories in our country's history.

Here is the National Park Service's website, for the Flight 93 National Memorial:

https://www.nps.gov/flni/index.htm

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Raymond Scott Festival, on Saturday

Tomorrow (September 8th), the renowned musician-composer-orchestra leader--inventor--electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott (1908-1994) will be the focus of symposia and musical performances, in California.  "Scott Works: The Raymond Scott Festival" will take place throughout the day, and evening, at the Colony Theater in Burbank.

The festival is being produced by Reckless Night Music. The company, formed in 2012, oversees and licenses Scott's work, and is run by members of Scott's family. 

https://www.raymondscottfestival.com/

Two of those in charge of Saturday's event are writer and educator Deborah Scott Studebaker, one of the daughters of Scott and the well-known and very talented singer and actress Dorothy Collins (1926-1994); and filmmaker Stan Warnow, Scott's son from his first marriage, to Pearl Zimney. 

In 2010, Stan Warnow released a very fine documentary about his father, which he directed and produced: Deconstructing Dad (please see: www.scottdoc.com).

Incidentally, the phrase "Reckless Night"--referred to above--was part of the title of one of Scott's 1930s compositions, "Reckless Night on Board an Ocean Liner."

The phrase (or, the plural version of the phrase) was also used in the 1990s, in the title of a collection released by Sony Music: "The Music of Raymond Scott: Reckless Nights & Turkish Twilights."

Here is the 1937 Columbia recording of "Reckless Night on Board an Ocean Liner," by the Raymond Scott Quintette (although on the Columbia label, as seen in the link below, it is spelled "Quintet" ):

 https://archive.org/details/78_reckless-night-on-board-an-ocean-liner_raymond-scott-quintet-raymond-scott-dave-har_gbia0018633a/Reckless+Night+on+Board+an+Ocean+L+-+Raymond+Scott+Quintet.flac

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Senator McCain

John McCain was a courageous and extraordinary man.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin

Her singing was beautiful, stirring, singular.

Here is a video of Ms. Franklin performing "I Say a Little Prayer," her exquisite 1968 cover version of Dionne Warwick's wonderful hit song from 1967, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  The video, according to the YouTube description, is from a 1970 broadcast of a Cliff Richard TV show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STKkWj2WpWM

And, here is the recording of the song from the album Aretha Now, which was released in June of 1968:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtBbyglq37E

One of the (many) things I enjoy about Ms. Franklin's version of "I Say a Little Prayer" is that, for more than the first half of the song, she doesn't sing the word "prayer." 

She sings, repeatedly: "I say a little..."

And then, her background singers finish the lyric:  "...prayer for you."

The vocals by the background singers are also, notably, quite beautiful. And--in the above live performance--the choreography performed by them (the minimal, elegant movements) is terrific.  I note, with particular pleasure/enjoyment, the recurring moments in the performance, during which the three singers tilt their heads--briefly, minimally--up and down. I don't know who came up with that, but I think it's fantastic.

Lastly, here is a live version of another of my favorite songs by Ms. Franklin (a song which was co-written by her): 1968's "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone."  According to YouTube, the performance took place in Amsterdam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbPpWG98yQ4

And, here is the original recording of the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcDtxGPr9SA

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Charlottesville

Like so many others, I have, during the past year, thought about Charlottesville, Virginia a great deal.  The events of August, 2017--a year ago today--were, are, heartrending. (I lived in Charlottesville--a vibrant and beautiful city--from the spring of 1995 until the start of 2001.)

Last week, PBS's Frontline program featured a very good documentary about Charlottesville--and about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who descended upon the city.

The PBS report, a joint effort by Frontline and the journalistic organization ProPublica, was titled Documenting Hate: Charlottesville.  Unlike other Frontline programs I have seen, over time--programs presided over by an unseen narrator--the Charlottesville documentary featured an on-camera correspondent, ProPublica's A.C. Thompson.  Mr. Thompson also served as one of the program's producers.

The program can be seen at this link:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/documenting-hate-charlottesville/

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ted Williams, cont'd

The Ted Williams documentary, referred to in the prior post (Ted Williams: "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived"), aired on Monday, on PBS stations; it was superb.

The review below, by Chad Finn of The Boston Globe, appeared in the paper the day before the film aired.  Finn is the Globe's sports media columnist.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2018/07/22/the-new-ted-williams-documentary-mesmerizing/2obyBq5RXxG4IZPdEUtCLK/story.html