once-musicalThe musical Once was playing at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady in May. The Wife and I got into our seats about 20 minutes before the 7:30 opening. Already there were a bunch of people, some singing and playing instruments, but others just milling around.

We ascertained from another patron that the audience members could go up on stage and hang out or even buy a drink at the bar. Why we didn’t I’m not sure, other than the desire not to climb over people to get in and out of our seats. But it was very cool to watch.

Then the audience members leave the stage, but the music continues. One man sings a solo. The house lights are still on. Then Guy (that’s the name of one of the characters) sings the first song from the show as the house lights begin to dim but not so much because Girl (the other main character) has to walk down one of the aisles to walk up the steps to the front of the stage.

I saw the movie Once, and I recall enjoying it. This iteration is somewhat funnier, especially the banter between Girl and Guy early on. All the other musicians stay on stage, taking on various roles, moving sets, and singing. The large mirror on the set was used to great effect.

It was such a wonderfully organic production that I may have failed to mention that it was very good. A review.

Bus hallelujah

I was riding the bus to work; the weather was messy. Read the rest of this entry »

Bill LankfordAt some point in the 1990s, I bought a box set called Roots ‘N Blues: The Retrospective 1925-1950, “a four-CD box set released on Columbia Records in 1992. The set features five hours worth of early blues, folk/country and gospel recordings from a variety of American artists. Many of these recordings had never previously been issued in any medium.”

Eventually, I got Moby’s 1999 album Play, and stopped short when I heard the song Run On. Read the rest of this entry »

cher_2A couple years back, on this date, one of my earliest online buddies, Greg Burgas, kvetched about me recognizing the late Joe Cocker’s 70th birthday. “It’s Cher’s birthday too. She’s 68, if I recall correctly. Much more important than Joe ‘Help me I’m constipated’ Cocker. Come on, Roger!”

Now the performer formerly known as Cherilyn Sarkisian is the big 7-0. But what shall I write? I have but one Sonny & Cher song on one compilation, and a Cher song on another. Though I realize I do own some Cher vocals:

“Cher met performer Sonny Bono in November 1962 when he was working for record producer Phil Spector…. Sonny introduced Cher to Spector, who used her as a backup singer on many recordings, including Read the rest of this entry »

Ask a Muslim
I saw on my friend Lynne Jackson’s Facebook page on the Saturday morning of Albany’s annual tradition, the Tulip Festival, that there would be a booth where one could “Ask A Muslim” a question.

When the family finally got there, the family got to meet Nafisa and Fazana (pictured with that hatted Lynne). They were gracious and intelligent and wonderfully open. It was a wonderful idea, though I told them I thought it was quite brave.

Fazana wrote on her Facebook page “I talked to a non-Muslim gentleman who had just finished reading the English translation of the Quran and was pleased to report that nowhere in it did it say that Muslims should kill Christians. Needless to say, I wanted to recruit him to talk to others on behalf of Muslims because we are constantly trying to convince others to believe this fact!”

That reminded me of:

When my sister Leslie and I went to High school in Binghamton, NY, we were asked by the music teacher at suburban Vestal Junior High School Read the rest of this entry »

YoursMineOursI don’t always have a strong memory of movies I saw as a child. I had a vague memory of seeing a film called Yours, Mine and Ours, a 1968 film, starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda and Van Johnson, but I couldn’t have told you where or when.

From the IMBD:

When a widower with 10 children marries a widow with 8, can the 20 of them ever come together as one big happy family? From finding a house big enough for all of them and learning to make 18 school lunches, to coping with a son going off to war and an unexpected addition to the family, Yours, Mine and Ours attempts to blend two families into one and hopes to answer the question Is bigger really better?

It was “based loosely on the story of Frank and Helen Beardsley,” Read the rest of this entry »

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