When I was staying with my sister Leslie in San Diego in early July, I may have started going a little stir crazy, I think. Keeping track of doctors’ appointments, nurses’ visits, specialists’ phone calls, paperwork for her employer was a tad overwhelming at times.

My sister and/or my niece suggested that I go see the niece go sing with her band, Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact on lucky Friday the 13th. I had never seen her sing professionally except last August, when she was singing backup for Sheila E.

Rebecca and her husband Rico picked me up. We went to a club called the Tin Roof in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Almost immediately, I started talking with this woman, mentioning that I am an uncle of Rebecca Jade; she was quite excited by that. “I always wanted to be a singer!”

One of the waitresses started bringing free ginger ales when she realized that I was part of the RJ entourage. I must admit that I appreciated the reflected glory.

Rebecca thought she and the band would do their set and then we’d leave, but no. The gig was a battle of the bands, sponsored by AARP . “The first-ever AARPROCKS Local Music Showcase! Four local bands will compete in a contest in which the winner receives $5,000! They rock – you pick – one lucky band wins!”

The participating bands:
Rebecca Jade and The Cold Fact
Casey Hensley Band
The Midnight Pine
Within

They all were pretty good. Rebecca and Casey were friendly competitors who gave each other hugs; heck, Casey gave ME a hug. Most of the Cold Fact chatted with me about their new album coming out in October, on VINYL as well as other formats.

Finally, about 20 minutes after the last band played, the winner was announced: Rebecca Jade and The Cold Fact! They even had one of those oversized checks made out to them. It was a great night!

Listen to Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact

Gonna Be Alright

Cuts Like a Winter

For ABC Wednesday

Lego Batman movieWhile the wife and daughter were away in North Carolina, doing good deeds, I was home alone, except for the cats. I went into a movie-viewing frenzy, seeing four movies in four days, and The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) was the fourth.

A free movie on a Tuesday afternoon at the Palace Theater in Albany. What could be the downside? Well, there were well over 1000 kids and their parents, and they were LOUD, making the subtle dialogue in the beginning rather hard to hear, that “Black. All important movies start with a black screen… And music… Edgy, scary music that would make a parent or studio executive nervous… And logos…” bit. But as the movie ramped up, this became less of a problem.

I saw the first LEGO movie on my birthday in 2014, also for free. I enjoyed it. But Batman was there for comic relief, and it really didn’t delve into the character. Now the guy in the newer movie, HE was Batman.

David Sims, the reviewer for The Atlantic, nailed it: It “works precisely because it knows audiences are sick of its hero. It’s a reassessment, an intervention, an effort to try and remember what’s fun about him.” Because Batman can be a real drag, such as Ben Affleck in Justice League, and doesn’t always play well with others.

The film is filled with witty references from many phases of the character, from the Adam West TV/movie character (shark repellent) to “You want to get nuts? Let’s get nuts!” from Batman (1989 -Michael Keaton). My favorite line may have been from Alfred about Batman going through “similar phases” in 2016, 2012, 2008, 2005, 1997, 1995, 1992, 1989, and a “weird one” in 1966, a reference to every year in which a major Batman film was released.

Will Arnett was absolutely dead-on as the voice of Batman / Bruce Wayne, though that guttural snarl must have done damage to his vocal chords. Michael Cera was earnest as Robin / Dick Grayson. Rosario Dawson was great as Batgirl / Barbara Gordon. I learned Ralph Fiennes is the third Academy Award-nominated British actor to play Alfred Pennyworth, after Michael Caine and Jeremy Irons. Zach Galifianakis showed the various shadings of The Joker.

I was glad I went to The LEGO Batman Movie, though it got better as kids exited well before the end of the film.

Operation Red Sea It seems that half of the websites I read regularly have weighed in on how dumb the new Oscar awards are; see Ken Levine’s take, e.g.. As Dustbury put it, “This modifies the common complaint that “Hollywood is out of ideas”; it’s just that Hollywood is out of good ideas.

If you somehow missed it, W’s In & Out describes it: “The Motion Picture Association of America has announced plans to institute a new Oscar category for ‘Popular Film.’ The news was vague, with little insight into what it actually means, but the general thought is that it would be meant to honor big blockbuster franchise films and, theoretically, at least lure fans of those types of film into watching the broadcast.

“Never mind that the show is still one of the highest-rated broadcasts of the year and brought in 26.5 million viewers last year—the odd decision has been met with backlash, especially amongst people who view the broadcast because they love the pageantry and competition between actresses or those who, you know, consider film to be an actual art form and expect integrity from the medium’s most cherished prize. It’s a sloppy solution to a particular problem brought on by Hollywood losing its ability to make mass market films that are actually ‘good,’ and the changing landscape of live television.”

Which begs some other questions: “Popular Film” Oscars: What Movies Would Have Won Over the Past 20 Years? La La Land AND Moonlight fans both would have been happy a couple years back.

And, just out of idle curiosity, what HAVE been the most popular films in 2018? As of August 10, 2018 at noon EDT, according to Box Office Mojo, where I go for all my movie box office statistical needs (totals in millions):

1 Avengers: Infinity War (BV) $2,045.3 worldwide, $678.2 domestic (33.2%)
2 Black Panther (BV) $1,346.8 worldwide, $700.0 domestic (52.0%)
3 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Uni.) $1,264.5 worldwide, $407.3 domestic (32.2%)
4 Incredibles 2 (BV) $1,050.9 worldwide, $585.7 domestic (55.7%)
5 Deadpool 2 (Fox) $733.1 worldwide, $318.1 domestic (43.4%)

6 Ready Player One (WB) $582.0 worldwide, $137.0 (23.5%)
7 Operation Red Sea (WGUSA) $579.2 worldwide, $1.5 domestic (0.3%)
8 Detective Chinatown 2 (WB), $544.1 worldwide, $2.0 domestic (0.4%)
9 Ant-Man and the Wasp (BV) $430.1 worldwide, $198.7 domestic 46.2%
10 Rampage (2018) (WB) $426.2 worldwide, $99.3 domestic (23.3%)

I’m fascinated about items 7 and 8. Operation Red Sea (Chinese: 红海行动) is a 2018 Chinese action war film. Detective Chinatown 2 (Chinese: 唐人街探案 2) is a 2018 Chinese comedy-mystery buddy film. For the 25th Beijing College Student Film Festival, ORS won Best Film, and DC2 snagged Students’ Choice Award for Favorite Film.

There’s no guarantee Black Panther will win, if that’s the patronizing plan. Maybe it’ll be the sixth Mission: Impossible -Fallout, which is 13th on the box office list AND has a 97% positive ranking at Rotten Tomatoes. Or Operation Red Sea, or Deadpool 2. This new Oscar awards plan has been almost universally panned and I hope it is axed.

One Clear MomentListening to Telling Me Lies from the Trio album (1987) always affects me greatly. Part of it is the tight harmony among Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris.

The song was the album’s second single, and it reached #3 on the US Billboard country singles charts. The recording was nominated for a Grammy award in 1988 for Country Song of the Year.

The message is painful:

You told me you needed my company
And I believed in your flattering ways
You told me you needed me forever
Nearly gave you the rest of my days

Should’ve seen you for what you are
Should never have come back for more
Should’ve locked up all my silver
Brought the key right to your door

The song first appeared on Linda Thompson’s One Clear Moment album (1985), her first solo collection “after divorcing husband and former collaborator, Richard Thompson.” The track was written by Linda Thompson and Betsy Cook, as were most of the songs on the album, which many critics believed included many well-written songs, often marred by that era’s heavy-handed production.

Don’t put your life in the hands of a man
With a face for every season
Don’t waste your time in the arms of a man
Who’s no stranger to treason

Listen to Telling Me Lies:

Linda Thompson here

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris here or here

I cover my ears, I close my eyes
Still hear your voice and it’s telling me lies
Telling me lies

***
For good measure, another 1980s female trio with tight harmonies, though a somewhat different style:

You work too hard to take this abuse
Be on your guard jerks on the loose

Listen to Keep On Doing What You Do/ Jerks On The Loose – the Roches, written by by Terre and Suzzy Roche, from the Keep On Doing album (1982)

Leslie Green, Roger Green, Les Green

When I was out in San Diego visiting my sister Leslie in July, we sat around and talked. A lot. Other than go to doctors’ appointments and dealing with visits and phone calls from nurses and hospital folks, there wasn’t that much else to do.

One of the topics was our dad’s death, back on August 10, 2000. The facts, of course, haven’t changed, but my understanding has.

I was the first child, the first grandchild on both sides of the family, after my mother had miscarried almost two years earlier. At some point, I always felt that I was a disappointment to him. Les Green was VERY artistic, in many ways, and I just wasn’t, and aren’t to this day.

Whereas Leslie was largely everything he was. Dad arranged flowers for debutante balls, family and church weddings, and the like. I had no eye for this but Leslie did. I was useful in that I could schlep stuff, but get Leslie, not me, to tie ribbons that looked aesthetically pleasing.

Dad tried, and failed, to teach me how to play guitar. Leslie got her own guitar on her 12th birthday and was competent on it in a month. When we’d sing together, the only instrument I ever played was the comb, which I WAS sorta OK at.

When adults came to visit my parents at our home, I would drag myself away from reading the World Almanac an encyclopedia, or the backs of my baseball cards to say hello, stay as briefly as possible and then retreat to my room. Leslie, on the other hand, would engage them in conversation, even gregariously entertain them. This made no sense to me, as I figured these folks didn’t come to see her, or me, or our baby sister Marcia.

So Leslie was dad’s favorite. I say this without malice or jealousy. I knew it, she knew it, Marcia knew it. Our mother knew it, and tried, in little, awkward ways, to try to balance the scales.

All of this is not in dispute. What I didn’t really recognize until the trip to San Diego was the weight of being Dad’s favorite, of being the little hostess, to be more his artistic collaborator, to be NAMED AFTER HIM.

What also helped me was the fact that I wrote him a letter when I was about 23, complaining about the fact that I was spanked unnecessarily as a child. I may have used the word “sadistic,” but I’m not sure. We didn’t talk, except through my mother, for six months.

I couldn’t stand it, and I wrote ANOTHER letter, expressing the joy I had singing with him; playing cards with him; getting lost with him in Speculator, NY on the way to Lake George; going to Triplets baseball games; him painting the solar system on my bedroom ceiling; et al. He started talking to me again.

I had the BEST time with him, one-on-one, when I was at an ASBDC conference in Savannah, GA in 1998, and he drove down from Charlotte to hang out with me, and, naturally, flirt with my female friends.

I almost certainly had an easier time accepting our dad’s death in 2000 than Leslie did. This is why she wanted the showy funeral, though nothing my father had said suggested he desired such trappings. This is why Marcia, my mother and I waited her out for hours at the funeral home until she agreed to let dad be cremated.

I really wasn’t picking up on the BURDEN of being Les Green’s favorite child until this summer.

Contact me
  • E-mail Contact E-mail; Blog content c 2005-2018, Roger Green, unless otherwise stated. Quotes used per fair use. Some content, including many graphics, in the public domain.
  • Privacy policy Privacy policy of this blog
I Actually Know These Folks
I contribute to these blogs
Other people's blogs
Politics
Popular culture
Useful stuff
August 2018
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  
Archives
Counter
wordpress analytics
Please follow & like us :)
Facebook
Google+
https://www.rogerogreen.com
Twitter
^
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial