Movies, music, romance

I once got a standing ovation playing a comb, seriously.

play combMDS of Pantheon Songs wonders:

What are some movies that are generally considered to be classics that you found to be just terrible/boring/ridiculous?

I fell asleep watching Citizen Kane on video; in general, I prefer seeing a film first on the big screen. But that lapse was probably because I was tired. The only film during which I ever fell asleep at a movie theater, excluding drive-in double features, was Empire of the Sun (1987), and again, maybe I was just fatigued.

I didn’t love either The Royal Tennenbaums or Lost in Translation, but this may be a function of seeing them after hearing too much hype. Or I was in a bad mood. Or tired.

Nothing, I guess, fits the bill.
Tom the Mayor asks:

Are you worried about Lydia when she gets to the age of Dating?

I was watching a performance of The Lion King that Lydia was in on March 2. There’s a scene where Nala, played by the pastors’ daughter, was being sized up by the evil king Scar. And the male pastor, who was fairly near me, got rather physically tense until Nala slapped Scar and got away.

So sure, I suppose it’s an issue. Don’t know what she’ll face, and kids seem to have more ways to be mean.

Also don’t know what dating will mean to a mixed-race kid these days, though you assume the world is better than this being a problem.
This must mean it’s New York Erratic time again:

What skill has gotten you the most girls? (Thinking clean, like music and singing and whatnot).

My guess is that I can be a very good listener. I was often friends with women I ended up going out with. Someone long ago told me that steering the conversation to be about the other person tends to make them feel good, and not just in romantic settings.

Though I know I did wow someone with my air guitar of Smoke On The Water.

What musical instruments do you play? Which do you wish you played?

I don’t play any instruments. That’s technically not true; I’ve played the comb. In public, including several times as part of the Green Family Singers. I once got a standing ovation playing the blues on a comb in Manlius, NY c 1970, seriously.

I wish I could play piano; I took a year of it when I was about 12, but I just didn’t have the chops. Or guitar; my father played and taught my sister Leslie in about a month, but I couldn’t get it.

What subject in school did you find the most difficult?

College freshman calculus. No idea what I was doing. And I did so well in high school math, with a 97 in algebra, 86 in geometry, and 98 in trigonometry; I would have done better in geometry, except memorizing proofs I thought was dumb.

First calc test I get a 73, the second 56, the third 37. I needed a passing grade on the final. I crammed for two days, sleeping maybe a total of four hours. Got a C on the final, a C in the course. Two weeks later, I looked at my textbook and did not understand a thing.

Which places on Earth you do NOT want to go to?

There are so many. Places that are too hot and sticky, and/or have too many insects; e.g. the Amazon. Places that are too cold, I mean below freezing even in summer; e.g., Antarctica. Places that are too remote because I like people; e.g., some cabin in the remote Rockies. Places that are too crowded because I don’t like people THAT much; e.g. Calcutta.

There is still time to Ask Roger Anything.

S is for Songs from the classics

This swing version of the Lizst rhapsody was a major influence on several aspiring arrangers, including Billy Strayhorn and Billy May.

When I was 11 or 12, I took piano lessons for a little over a year. I wasn’t very good, though I did practice. I will say that it was useful for singing. My piano teacher was Mrs. Hamlin, the organist at my church at the time, who was like family; her parents were my godparents, and her sister’s son was my parents’ godson.

One day, I was laboriously trying to play the Bach Minuet in G, which, incidentally, I had danced to in second grade. Mrs. Hamlin said, “It’s like A Lover’s Concerto by the Toys.” At that very moment, I had no idea what she was talking about, though, of course, now I do.

Actually, I first owned A Lover’s Concerto as a cover version by the Supremes on their I Hear A Symphony album, which also contained their version of Stranger in Paradise from the 1953 musical Kismet, which poached Alexander Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor.

As it turns out, there are a LOT of pop songs that are based on classical music. Some are very obvious, such as Nut Rocker by B. Bumble and the Stingers, based on Tchaikovsky’s “March of the Wooden Soldiers” from The Nutcracker, or a couple songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy, and Night on Disco Mountain by David Shire, the latter based on Mussorgsky.

Others may be more subtle. The J. S. Bach piece O Sacred Head, Now Wounded could be the musical inspiration for American Tune by Paul Simon.

Here’s a lengthy list of songs from the classics, which, of course, are in the public domain, and, as such, are not subject to copyright restrictions. This list is slightly shorter but is more in-depth. There are a half dozen songs here, but there are samples of each version.

The one example I found on no list was The Hungarian Rhapsody #2 by Liszt (heard here) which “was also the basis for a popular song, ‘Ebony Rhapsody’ by Sam Coslow and Arthur Johnston, introduced in the 1934 film Murder at the Vanities. In the film, it was played by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, who also recorded it. This swing version of the rhapsody was a major influence on several aspiring arrangers, including Billy Strayhorn (who later became Duke Ellington’s composing partner) and Billy May (who later recorded ‘Ebony Rhapsody’ with Nat King Cole).

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

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