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 Post subject: Pop culture catching up
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:55 pm 
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I'm almost done with a book series called the Iron Druid, about a modern-day, well, druid, whose duty is to preserve the earth and who draws energy from connection with it. It's not all gooey, though; he spends most of the time fighting other magical critters and deities who have other goals. He talks to his dog, and the dog talks back, and is rather wise and funny. And obsessed with sausage, because, you know. Sausage. And bacon. The first book is Hounded.

Ocean's Eight was fine for $5. Standard heist formula, including a snag in the middle and a playback at the end of something we didn't see earlier. LOVED whatshername, the English one, as the designer. Helena Bonham Carter. Sandra Bullock was supposed to be stoic and poker-faced and cool, which took away the aspect of her that many of us like most: the kind of everygirl thing she does. I wished the movie had been funnier, and was glad to see James Corden come on in Act 3 to give it some of that.

Speaking of James Corden, his Carpool Karaoke segment with Paul McCartney is a delight. 23 minutes, and I gather CBS aired it with no ads. I was humming "Hey, Jude" the rest of the day, and that is never a bad thing.

Joel Grey is going to stage Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish. It's not for me (I don't like the show anyway), but good for him.

Next up: I am reading Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World and a new Stephen King novel that didn't sound overly horrorized. I still have two seasons of Orange is the New Black to go, plus the last two episodes of This Is Us.

Music: Been enjoying original Broadway cast recordings of Once On This Island and Bright Star and yes, Spongebob.

If I could quit fooling around with all this, I will get moving on a book on Title IX I've been planning for a couple of years. Finally did an interview on it last week, and will schedule more soon.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:10 pm 
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Write.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:20 pm 
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I wish I had that much free time.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Bob Juch wrote:
I wish I had that much free time.


Oh please. Note signature. You're old. She's younger. You wish the energy.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:38 pm 
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Ritterskoop:


just interested: Why do you, a self-professed Broadway fan, dislike Fiddler?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:08 pm 
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The music is too Russian for my taste, or something. For a couple of hours, anyway. I'm good with one or two songs, and I feel terrible about disliking that show because I worship most anything Bea Arthur was connected with. But it just makes me uncomfortable. I'm certain it's just about what we get used to; there is nothing inherently flawed about the chords or anything.

I had much the same reaction to The Great Comet, which is also based on a generally Russian style of music. And the little bit of The Band's Visit we heard on the Tony Awards didn't make me happy for how I'll feel about that, although that style is not Russian but Arabic, though now I am off to look up if there is a better word to include music from that part of the world. It's not Arabesque, which means something else I can't remember.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:35 pm 
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Ritterskoop:

Boy. Fiddler, music written by a very American set of composers (I should look up their other stuff) has what I would consider a very slight, & in my opinion fairly schmaltzy influence from Yiddish theater & Jewish liturgical music. Nothing Russian about it, beyond the physical setting.

I've only heard one song from Comet which is mainly a tour-de-force for the male star.

Little I've heard from Band's Visit was Arabic-music influenced, which is of course related at the hip to Jewish liturgical. What I heard wasn't as Americana-catchy as Fiddler, for sure.

You're the one who doesn't like blues at all & in the past has mentioned some singers being off-pitch who aren't, to me, aren't you?

Well, I can't make you like it. So much of American music is blues-influenced. Arabic music has a whole series of modes (groups of notes from which pieces of music are built), called maqqams, which have values not used in European classical music.

Also techniques, like sliding between notes that European classical doesn't like, though in my opinion baroque ornamentation was originally very close, & only got separated into picky little individual notes in the modern era.

Do you not like Gershwin either?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:50 pm 
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But you lIke Island, which from Tonys selection sounded very African/Afro-Carribbean, & Bright Star, which is definitely bluegrassy. Interesting.


Last edited by ghostjmf on Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:42 pm 
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I can't recall saying I don't like the blues, but that's another form where I get depressed after more than 3-4 songs. It is just so slow and sad. With gospel, which grew out of much the same tradition in America, there is some hope.

Yes, Bright Star is what most of us would call bluegrass, though Steve Martin has been careful to call it Americana, so as not to piss off the bluegrass purists, for whom, apparently it is not pure enough. To be fair, the lyrics on this show are rather simplistic, which is not a terrible flaw when the music itself is very good.

Once on This Island is very island-y, yes. Haiti was their inspiration, though the island is never specifically mentioned. It is in the Antilles, I think, may be spelled out.

I like Gershwin, yeah, especially any of the piano-heavy pieces.

It might just be about a core of sadness in music that turns me off, and that is hard for me to explain. I still appreciate its genius. PBS or someone did a magnificent hour or two, about ten years ago, on Jewish composers and how 90% of the Broadway canon is done by this group. They did have a mention of Fiddler and Russia and Jewishness, but I don't recall how they set it up. The one thing that did stand out was that they talked about many successful stories on stage are of someone who doesn't fit in, who overcomes the fish out of water start, and who else would understand that so well as folks who come from the Jewish tradition?

To be clear, I grew up Seventh-day Adventist, and went to church on Saturdays, and grew up with a lot of the same health practices as Jewish folks, so I have always felt a kinship. There is nothing critical or defamatory or superior-inferior going on. This is about chord progressions or paths in melodies, which I don't know enough about the vocabulary to say what is going on, only what I like and don't like.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:56 pm 
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Music is so visceral. Edvarg Grieg, Peer Gynt, is hauntingly sad, but so beautiful. I do love the blues because it's scratchy and basic. And jazz.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:07 pm 
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OK< I just played some of the songs. I don't like "Sunrise, Sunset" and I don't like "If I Were a Rich Man" - but "To Life" and even "Matchmaker" are fine. I think the Russian influence I was remembering must be in those first two, because as you say, the others are not overly ethnic or whatever I was remembering.

I will always resent stories that insist we can only be happy if we end up with a partner, or even more specifically, a man. But this story fits its place in history just fine.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:08 pm 
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The best humming I ever heard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oZ9u6_Okk8

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:16 pm 
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Ritterskoop wrote:
OK< I just played some of the songs. I don't like "Sunrise, Sunset" and I don't like "If I Were a Rich Man" - but "To Life" and even "Matchmaker" are fine. I think the Russian influence I was remembering must be in those first two, because as you say, the others are not overly ethnic or whatever I was remembering.

I will always resent stories that insist we can only be happy if we end up with a partner, or even more specifically, a man. But this story fits its place in history just fine.
My mom just caught part of the Fiddler movie on TCM (IIRC) and said she didn't remember it being "so Russian." She also remembered much more song & dance than that part of the movie had. I guessed that she may have seen the play in the past and not the movie. The play WAS a musical, correct? The movie is billed as a musical comedy-drama.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:33 pm 
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Ritterskoop wrote:
Speaking of James Corden, his Carpool Karaoke segment with Paul McCartney is a delight. 23 minutes, and I gather CBS aired it with no ads. I was humming "Hey, Jude" the rest of the day, and that is never a bad thing.
Yup, CBS ran it straight through. It was AWESOME! I sent a link to my nephews and meant to post it here, but it slipped my mind. I thought that some here, especially T-Bone, would love it, too.

They did the songs as one would expect, but also drove around Liverpool and made several stops at places from Paul's youth. Reactions from the locals were priceless.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:36 pm 
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Ritterskoop wrote:
It might just be about a core of sadness in music that turns me off, and that is hard for me to explain. I still appreciate its genius. PBS or someone did a magnificent hour or two, about ten years ago, on Jewish composers and how 90% of the Broadway canon is done by this group. They did have a mention of Fiddler and Russia and Jewishness, but I don't recall how they set it up. The one thing that did stand out was that they talked about many successful stories on stage are of someone who doesn't fit in, who overcomes the fish out of water start, and who else would understand that so well as folks who come from the Jewish tradition?
I think you may be talking about "Great Performances, S38 E6: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy." It played here in September and repeats occationally. The local site did not have the entire 2-hour show, but they have a preview:

https://www.pbssocal.org/programs/great ... y-preview/

If that looks like the show you mentioned, you will at least have the title so you can look for another source or watch for a future re-run.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:59 am 
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Estonut wrote:
I sent a link to my nephews and meant to post it here, but it slipped my mind. I thought that some here, especially T-Bone, would love it, too.


Thanks for posting it. I did watch it when it originally aired and you are correct, I loved it. It was funny, entertaining, nostalgic, and touching (hard to not be affected by Corden's tearful recollection of how one of Paul's songs touched his life personally, and Paul's response). It only reinforces the tremendous impact that band made on the world. You had to have been around in that era to fully understand. Kudos to CBS for not throwing any commercials in the middle of it.

One thing they didn't show in the segment: At one point while they were filming the segment with the barbershop on Penny Lane, there was a tourist posing for a picture outside the barbershop when Paul walked up behind him and said "Hi, I'm Paul!".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... orden.html

Give credit to the dude for not losing his shit completely. I can't say that if it had been me in that position, that I wouldn't have fainted like a 12 year-old girl at the Shea Stadium concert. At the very least I would've been Ralph Kramden ("humina-humina-humina").

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:35 am 
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Ritterskoop wrote:
PBS or someone did a magnificent hour or two, about ten years ago, on Jewish composers and how 90% of the Broadway canon is done by this group. They did have a mention of Fiddler and Russia and Jewishness, but I don't recall how they set it up. The one thing that did stand out was that they talked about many successful stories on stage are of someone who doesn't fit in, who overcomes the fish out of water start, and who else would understand that so well as folks who come from the Jewish tradition?


Just remember this (turn on the subtitles/closed captioning) ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6VKf6bXCCo

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:46 pm 
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Of all the songs in Fiddler, Rich Man is the one specifically derived from Hasidic (ultra- orthodox; "hasid" means "pious") "niggun" ("little tunes") tradition. Not a culture *I* grew up in (I did grow up hearing cantatorial prayers), but Zero Mostel, who first played Tevye, reportedly did & really took it to town.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:51 pm 
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I heard some PBS special where Mandy Patinkin demonstrated how Irving Berlin changed a couple notes in a tune Patinkin knew from Yiddish theater & came up with "Blue Skies".


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:23 pm 
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ghostjmf wrote:
I heard some PBS special where Mandy Patinkin demonstrated how Irving Berlin changed a couple notes in a tune Patinkin knew from Yiddish theater & came up with "Blue Skies".

I found his album Mamaloshen interesting.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:26 pm 
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For people who don't know, Mamaloshen is not a kind of pastry or a fond name for Mama, its "mother tongue".

In Yiddish.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:44 pm 
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The new Stephen King book is called The Outsider, and indeed about the first half of it is not horrorized.

Pretty good story.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:06 pm 
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Ritterskoop wrote:
The new Stephen King book is called The Outsider, and indeed about the first half of it is not horrorized.

Pretty good story.

So, recommend? I have been disenchanted with recent stuff prior.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:16 pm 
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In this case, he writes a good detective story. I especially like a detective who emerges late in the book, who should get her own series.

The only previous work of his I liked: The Green Mile, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and that one about the time-traveling to stop the JFK assassination, though it was way too long. I liked some aspects of The Stand (the regrouping after devastation) but not enough to read it again.

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