The only movies I’ve seen with Gene Wilder are The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and one of my favorite movies ever, Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote. They were all released between 1967 and 1980. But he was always excellent then and in a couple of episodes of Will and Grace early this century. Gene Wilder on The Truth | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios, plus Evanier and Tom Straw remember.
What one missed on the radio was Emmanuel Ax’s his utter humility, expressed well in his face.
Some months ago, The Wife contributed to our local public radio station WAMC, for which she got two tickets to watch the taping of the National Public Radio program Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, a weekly hour-long quiz program where “you can test your knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what’s real news and what’s made up.”
While the Daughter stayed with friends, we went to western Massachusetts, dropped off our stuff at a motel, then on to Tanglewood. This is the lovely music venue that’s been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for decades, the site of a pair of music schools, and is a beautiful venue for classical music, jazz, performers such as James Taylor, and John Williams, and the Boston Pops.
From the lawn, heck, even from some seats inside the Shed, you can’t see the stage. The screens help – a LOT.
The show begins. They record about 90 minutes of material for a 60-minute broadcast. The announcer/scorekeeper is a “voice of God” type, Carl Kasell, who is pushing 80. Someone in the audience said she was probably the only 25-year-old with a crush on Kasell’s voice; almost certainly NOT true.
The host is Peter Sagal. In one segment that did not make it on the air, he admitted that he used to twirl around his wedding ring, which his wife at the time HATED. So she bought him another ring to play with, and now that he’s divorced, he still does. He also defined a collective: a “smug of NPR listeners,” which cracked up the audience.
The show does a couple of its set pieces. It’s fascinating that the amount of time the phone contestants are on the line is at least triple what ends up on air, with some quips by the panel and Sagal interrupting the process.
Lots of guessing around us before the show who the guest might be. Would it be James Taylor, or perhaps Yo-Yo Ma? It turned out to be classical pianist Emmanuel Ax. He must have talked for nearly 25 minutes, only 10 of which made it onto the air. His discomfort with the idea of musical competition made it on the air, but the specific answer to Amy’s question about wishing his competiton to do poorly – no, he doesn’t – was left off.
So was a lot of information about him growing up in Winnipeg, Canada for two years, and his total inability to improvise musically. But mostly, what one missed on the radio was his utter humility, expressed well in his face, and his laugh.
There were a couple of jokes about WAMC chair Alan Chartock that might have been too “inside baseball” to air.
When the show was over, Peter did about four minutes of lines he needed to do over for the broadcast, then there was a lively Q&A. We didn’t rush to the car; we weren’t going anywhere soon – and getting out took at least a half-hour – but so it goes at Tanglewood.
Listening to the show on Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. It was good and entertaining, but the live show was a whole lot more fun. If you get a chance to watch a taping, I’d recommend it, but it might take a little luster off the show one can hear each week.
Representations of faith such as the one mentioned above does little to aid the cause of Christendom in the greater world, and frankly mortifies more than a few Christians – such as this one – to boot.
At church this past Sunday, there was a dramatic reading of Matthew 4:1-11, the text in which Jesus, hungry in the wilderness for 40 days, is tempted by the devil. In the service, the choir sang a response praising God periodically during the reading. Then at the end, the devil is walking around the sanctuary, singing the very same song that the choir had been performing. It was quite affecting.
I was reminded of this a couple of days ago when I saw on YouTube a video of a young woman praising God for answering the prayers of “the believers”, that “God literally took Japan by shoulders and shook it.”
HE RATTLED THE ATHEISTS IN JAPAN!! (If you want to watch it, you can’t anymore, as Arthur explains.) Even though, or maybe because I now know it to be a hoax, I’m sorry to admit – as a self-professed pacifist – that I still wanted to reach into the screen and slap this person silly.
I was also reading Jo Page’s column in this week’s Metroland weekly about how the “New Atheists” should Give Faith a Chance and how “it is a kind of arrogance to look down your nose dismissively at the varieties of religious experience.” While I understand her point, I also recognize that representations of faith such as the faux one mentioned above do little to aid the cause of Christendom in the greater world, and frankly mortifies more than a few Christians – such as this one – to boot.
In fact, Arthur’s quote of the week dovetails nicely here: “I knew I’d struggle with the injunction to love my enemies when I first became a Christian. I just didn’t expect so many of them would turn out to be other Christians.” – Tapu Misa
I will opine that, noting pious-sounding language may be spouted by the devil, if I were to believe in a personalized Satan, it would be messengers like the person in the video that I’d be most worried about. I’m not saying she’s the devil in Christian clothing, but… *** And speaking of hell freezing over, I find myself agreeing with FOX News’ Glenn Beck. Yes, I’m surprised, too.
“Analysts from the Poynter Institute and The Blaze, a website set up by Fox News host Glenn Beck, told an NPR reporter that they found a short version of the video deceiving when compared with the full two-hour tape of a lunch meeting between NPR fundraisers and two conservative activists posing as a fake Muslim group.” Nevertheless, James O’Keefe, the same dude who edited versions of his videos to discredit the nonprofit group ACORN, still got NPR’s Ron Schiller fired. Read more HERE.