Category Archives: England

Oh, What a Night!

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The song, “December, 1963 / Oh, What a Night” leads me to

believe we all have wonderful memories of particular musical

artists for each period of our lives.  We may think of songs

which are sad and mournful, when we wish to ‘wallow’ in our

sorrow. Then there are the songs which transport us out of

ourselves to special places, soaring above or out of this world.

“Oh, What a Night” refers to new love found in 1963, but it

also stands for a different timeline in my own life. . .

I felt transfixed during each of the musical numbers in “Jersey

Boys.”  I felt that I was there in the midst of tragedy when one

of the members lost his daughter. I felt excited when another

of the members of the band  wrote a new song, one that had a

unique beat and message. Some of Frankie Valli and the Four

Seasons’ playlist, was like lining up memories of my own life,

where I was when I heard this one, who I danced with while

the other song was played by a small local band at a wedding.

If you have grown up in the fifties, sixties or even, seventies,

you may be a ‘fan’ or a fond listener to Frankie Valli and the

Four Seasons. I had heard the songs but didn’t really know

the way the group’s story began, nor what happened to the

members, causing them to ‘stall out’ for about 24 years.

Only to meet again at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Induction performance.

The director, Clint Eastwood, is known for wishing details

to fit the situations and fulfilling the character of the times

the movie is supposed to be set into.  A perfect example of

NOT following the book was when he filmed the movie

version of the famous book, “Bridges of Madison County.”

It is about an Italian homemaker and her adventures over

one weekend, while her children and husband are at the state

fair. Robert James Waller has the homemaker wearing jeans,

(possibly to emphasize her figure) while Clint explained in

an interview, he felt this woman could have been his own

mother, so she would wear a common house dress. There

are more examples in many of his movies, some where

the music takes a big part of the film and others where it

is just the background sound behind the story. I liked

finding out during the credits his son, Kyle Eastwood

was a musical assistant and helped with the soundtrack.

Also, Clint’s daughter, Francesco Eastwood plays one of

the wives in the film.

Frankie Valli’s character was played by John Lloyd Young,

who portrayed and sang on Broadway.  In “Jersey Boys,”

(up close and personal in the movie) he captures your

attention and his voice is very similar to Frankie Valli’s.

If you saw the musical play, you may know the characters

each take turns talking directly to the audience. It is a

very interesting technique for telling their individual

stories.

I felt sympathy for the way the real man became  part of

the underbelly of his neighborhood, by being  pulled into

the mob and illegal dealings by his friend and eventual

member of the band, Tommy.  You realize his gambling,

drinking and other vices, such as trying to trade with

stolen goods, would eventually ‘catch up’ with Tommy.

As a viewer, you may possibly worry about his pulling

his good friend, Frankie down.  Their musical career

eventually helps them to get out of their neighborhood

but they could barely escape the ties.

The raw emotions of a death and funeral of one of the

member’s children, still just a teenager, rocks their

group to the very core.

Christopher Walken’s scenes as the ‘benefactor’ and

supposed friend among the mob members ‘steal the

show,’ at times. He is a versatile and fine actor.

The executive producers are Frankie Valli and Bob

Gaudio. The slow building of the band, its members

and their story unfolds and is beautifully portrayed

with the songs many of us loved, sang and danced to.

In a semblance of order, illustrating the sequence and

growth of the band’s body of work is shown in this list

of songs,

“Who Loves You, Pretty Baby?”

“Big Girls, Don’t Cry”

“Walk Like a Man”

“Dawn”

“Rag Doll”

“Sherry”

“Bye Bye Baby”

“You’re Just Too Good to Be True”

“My Eyes Adored You”

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”

and repeating the title song,

“Oh, What a Night.”

The members of the band, Nicky (Massi), Tommy

De Vito, Bob Gaudio (writer/lyricist) and Frankie

performed at the R and R Hall of Fame, after 24

years apart.

* They were inducted in 1990 into the Rock and

Roll Hall of Fame.

They joked,  saying singing together came natural,

even after all the years. They only had to lower the

octave and sing in a lower key.

*They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of

Fame in 1999.

*In 2012, they performed together in England at

the Royal Albert Hall, honored for their body of

music which included 29 Top Ten (on American

music award charts) Hits.

This brief ‘sketch’ of the musical movie, “Jersey Boys”

which came out in 2014 is to persuade you to celebrate

someday soon, by listening to one or more of Frankie

Valli and the Four Seasons’ lifetime of songs. They grew

up together on the streets of New Jersey, sang and lived

quite fantastic lives.

The movie captured it nicely. Too bad it didn’t win any

awards for “Best Soundtrack” or “Best Song.” Tough year

and competition.

What is your favorite song from this group?

Which is one you played the most?

If you never really liked their music, did

one of your family members enjoy them?

You know, “You’re just too good to be true.”

Red Carpet Highlights and Quick Summaries of Oscars

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This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine. I embrace award

ceremonies and enjoy seeing what the rich and famous are wearing.

This has been something that goes way back to my childhood. I

would ‘negotiate’ before I even went to kindergarten, to stay up

late to watch something.

 

It would go like this, “Mom and Dad, I would like to watch “The

Sound of Music” or “May I stay up and watch, the Miss America

Pageant?”

 

Then, my Dad would say, “Name your ‘points.'”

 

This meant using adult negotiating skills and debate ‘points.’

 

I would promise to set the table, take a nap before dinner and I

would not be grumpy in the morning on the way to the babysitter’s.

I raised my three children in this manner, which really did not work

whenever I married. They thought parenting was a monarchy, I felt

it was a democracy, each person’s ideas and thoughts equally valid.

 

 

The Red Carpet before the Oscars, February 22, 2015:

 

I watched, “E!” for awhile and then switched to “Ryan Secrest and

His Crew on the Carpet.”

 

On “E!” Gilliana (sorry, not sure about the spelling but they called

her, “G” for short) had on a red lacy dress with her light strawberry

blonde hair looking very glamorous and off the 50’s “Society Pages.”

 

America Ferrrara had a gorgeous emerald green glittery sleeveless

dress. She looked beautiful.

 

Anna Kendricks’ caught my eye, along with many who have given

their reviews. She wore a peach dress that had a halter with a slit

in the bodice, revealing skin but no cleavage. It was tasteful and she

looked radiant in this color and her hair was swept up on her head.

 

Gina Rodriguez wore a royal blue dress that is from a designer,

which I apologize you may research the name but it is eco-friendly

material made of an environmentally safe material. I am not sure

if this means it will bio-degrade? ha ha!

 

The low cut, bejewled peach dress on Jennifer Lopez, with its full

skirt and floating, flowing train behind was so beautiful. She is just

exquisite, in her taste and ability to not age a bit. She looked like a

Princess in this flesh-colored dress.

 

“Common” the rapper who joined musical forces in writing and

performing the song from the movie, “Selma” named “Glory,”

was on the Red Carpet in a white shirt, white bow tie and black

tuxedo. It had soft black velvet details on the tux’s lapels. Their

collaboration was an excellent way to make their song relevant

for the times.

 

Reese Witherspoon wore a white dress with a black satin sash-like

stripe across her shoulders about four inches wide. It made her

look like she was from Audrey Hepburn’s period of fashion, a

real class act. There was a narrow one to two inch belt of this

black satin fabric at her waist line. Reese wore her hair down and

looked very stunning.

 

Dakota Johnson, who just performed in “50 Shades of Grey,” came

with her famous mother and also, knowing her last name, you may

have guessed this but she is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie

Griffith. She had a slicked back brunette pony tail and she wore a one

shoulder red dress with diamonds or crystals along the edge of this.

The red was a perfect compliment to her porcelain skin and dark hair.

 

 

Eddie Redmayne looked like a teenager, with his hair a little punked

or messed up. He is the actor I was rooting for from the movie, “The

Theory of Everything.” He played Stephen Hawking. Last night, he

looked handsome in a dark blue tuxedo with black details. The designer

was McQueen. His wife, Sophie, is expecting and looked radiant in her

white dress.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch (who played Alan Turing in the movie, “The

Imitation Game”) and Eddie were saying they would be having a big

British ‘bash’ or celebration after the Oscars, including wives, along

with Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley and Felicity Jones, who was Eddie’s

costar. Ben wore a white tuxedo and llooked debonair. Both the men

were saying they felt they had brought the rain to California. A joke

since it is ‘always raining in England.’

Benedict repeated what Eddie had said, “We will all hang together

later on.”

 

Felicity Jones wore a silver-almost pearl like eggshell colored dress.

I heard someone else call it eggshell. It had a bluish tone to it from

a distance and yet, in brighter light looked pink. She is an attractive

young woman and her dress was pretty, too.

 

Robert Duvall’s wife is younger than he, not sure how much but it

is noticeable. She wore a peach glittery dress with deep, low cut and

revealing cleavage displayed. He was up for his performance in the

film, “The Judge.”

 

Tim McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill looked stunning. Faith’s short

hair style and dress was beautiful. Tim looked like he was ready for

the military with his very short hair cut. Later, as he sang the great

song, “I’m Not Going to Miss You,” from the Glen Campbell docu-

mentary, he wore his traditional cowboy hat. This tribute filmed

Glen’s family and friends who traveled around the country giving

a final concert and tribute to Glen, before he totally forgets who he

is. It was to give recognition and public awareness of Alzheimer’s

Disease, which he has had for awhile. The film documents how his

temper and frustration comes and goes, too.

 

Terence Howard, who awhile ago performed  in an Academy Award

nominated movie, “Crash,” and is presently working in the t.v. series,

“Empire,” looked great and discussed with Ryan Secrest his interest

in getting the recently ‘kicked off’ American Idol singer Rachel to

sing on “Empire.” He was saying his character, “Lucius wants to have

Rachel as part of his group of new singers. Lucius would like to be her

producer.” I enjoyed this exchange, since I not only enjoy American

Idol, I do often watch, “Empire.” Ryan said, “That won’t be a problem,

I will see what I can do. . .”

 

Zoe Saldana, who I will always picture her from the movie, “Avatar,”

but is a beautiful woman without any blue makeup on. (In the film

she wears a prosthetic that alters her nasal appearance and her face

is a lovely shade of blue.) She wore a pink rose-colored dress and had

her thick hair in a loose up-do, with curling tendrils around her pretty

face.

 

Rosamund Pike, the actress from “Gone Girl,” wore a red dress that

was appropriate for her venomous character. In reality, she probably

is the sweetest person, as she portrayed in “Pride and Prejudice,” the

older sister to the main character, Elizabeth. The dress was a fantastic

one, which had a long slit and she posed with her one leg forward,

revealing a lovely leg. Her hair was up in a tight bun. She looked

very attractive with her smile making her whole face light up.

 

Sienna Miller, (another Brit), was wearing all black and glittery gown

with a train. She looked like a beautiful porcelain Barbie doll. Her hair

was golden. She was a presenter.

 

Keira Knightley, from the movie, “Begin Again,” (the last of the Brits)

wore a cream colored dress with sprinkles of pastel flowers, violets and

pink Spring Beauties among them.

 

Julianne Moore, from “Still Alice,” was wearing an off the shoulders

white dress. She looked beautiful with her hair up. I really loved the

way she looked in green with her auburn hair worn down at the Golden

Globes. She is a fabulous actress, who can perform many different parts.

She demonstrated classical beauty in her all white attire.

 

Viola Davis wore a pink satin gown and announced the four people

who were given lifetime achievement awards, shown on another day.

The one I recognized was, Harry Belafonte. I wished they had shown

more of this program but the time element always runs long, so they

have to ‘pick and choose’ which parts to show the audience. Another

famous woman/actress who I believe was in a wheelchair during the

awards, was Maureen O’Hara. My Mom really adored this actress of

the past. She was ‘feisty’ and showed ‘character,’ I can just hear her

saying.

 

Kevin Hart, the black comedian, wore a handsome black shirt and

tie, white tuxedo with black lapels. He made me smile, as he said the

person he wished he could get a “Selfie” with was Meryl Streep. It

is always nice to hear famous people being humble and not expecting

to be the center of attention. He cracks me up, whatever films he is

in. I realize describing him as a man of color, may be inappropriate,

but it is hard to tell you who he is, since he is in so many different

movies. He is usually a ‘side kick’ character…

 

Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt, are in movies, but more

known for her role in the television show, “Mom.” Chris is known

more as his character in the television show, “Community.” They

were making jokes that they had a sitter or family member watching

their toddler and were going to use the chance of tonight’s plans to

carry on and have some partying later on, too. Anna had a silver dress

that clung to her in ‘all the right places,’ she is stunning while fixed up

in formal wear. Chris looks like the ‘leading man’ role he is growing

into. The two grew up and have been together for years, coming from

the state of Washington. He wore a traditional black tuxedo with a

white shirt and bow tie.

 

THE MAIN EVENT: THE OSCARS

 

This is a set of random observations along with the awards that

were given out, with some reactions included.

 

“Everything is Awesome,” song from the “Lego Movie,” had the

silly guys from the t.v. cop situation comedy, “Brooklyn 99” in

the huge production accompanying this repetitive song. It was

upbeat and I have heard from my oldest daughter and my two

grandsons that it has a great message about accepting everyone

as they are. It was a fun and funny song in a positive performance.

 

“Whiplash” is about a cruel and demanding musical director.

This was the first award given out,

**Best Supporting Actor to J.K. Simmons.

 

“American Sniper” won,

**Best Sound Editing” award.

 

Adam Levine with Maroon 5 sang a wonderful song,

“Lost Stars.”

He and his wife looked beautiful but nothing sticks

out in their wardrobe to note.

This did not win the award for “Best Song.”

 

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” won two awards right off the bat:

**Best Costume Design

**Best Make-Up

 

(My opinion was, to tell you the truth, shocked. I felt that “Into

the Woods” and/or the three historically accurate films should

have been given a ‘bone.’ (“Unbroken,” “The Theory of Everything,”

and “The Imitation Game.” I have not seen, but have heard the

film, “Mr. Turner,” has lavish costumes and I need to see this since

my artist brother says he is a fantastic artist of his time.)

 

Someone announced that 47 years ago, the Academy Awards were

postponed in honor and respect for the assasination of Martin Luther

King, Jr. It happened only four days before the program/awards

ceremony was scheduled. This set the tone for the song, “Glory,”

that had John Legend singing in a soulful and lovely tone, while

playing the piano. Then, Common came out and added his powerful

and staccato rapped words. I felt the idea of juxtapositioning Jim

Crow laws (preventing blacks from voting) with the bald eagle

in the lyrics was powerful. Every time I hear this song, it has been

on three awards ceremonies, I always find something ‘new’ to focus

in on.

 

“Glory” from the movie, “Selma” won,

** Best Song.

 

“Whiplash” won an award for,

**Best Picture (or Film) Editing.

 

Patricia Arquette gave a fantastic and inspiring speech as she

accepted the award for,

**Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Boyhood.”

 

(She spoke up about the need for Clean Water, she mentioned

a specific company that her family supports and also, exclaimed

about “Women who have stood up for so many other peoples’

rights, need to finally, once and for all, be given equal pay for

equal work.”)

 

I liked, Rita Ora’s song, “Grateful,” which was lovely and simple.

This song did not win any awards.

 

**I wrote a post about “Big Hero 6” and declaring it deserving to

win Best Animated Children’s Film and it did!

I had taken Skyler and Micah to see this when it first came out.

There is a special school in the movie, where young people or

teenagers can attend to work on future inventions. The big, white

puffy robot with the film’s name captures your heart. It is empathetic

and caring, there is a time when it has to have this amazing quality

‘turned off’ to help fight in a situation. In the end, everyone realizes

the gift and magic of a ‘feeling robot.’

 

Two who weren’t nominated in this Academy Awards Ceremony,

Jennifer Anniston who was nominated for a SAG and Golden

Globe for her work in “Cake.” And David Oyelolo who performed

the character of Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Selma” who had been

given nominations in the other awards shows, they got up to give

out an award together. Neil Patrick Harris pointed out more than

once about the controversy of ‘lack of color’ in the Oscars this year,

as well as saying something funny about the two ‘rejects’ giving out

awards. (Not using the word, ‘rejects,’ though but the meaning was

given, anyway.)

 

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” took another  two awards,

**Best Production and Set Design

**Best Cinematography

(Now, adding put to four awards.)

 

Lady Gaga was, for me, one of the major exciting highlights of the

whole entire evening. You may wish to google or find her on Youtube,

singing the songs from the 50th Anniversary of “Sound of Music.”

If you have not been watching her or listening to her singing in an

enchanting voice, accompanying Tony Bennett on their collaboration

album, you will be amazed. Simply amazed.

 

When Julie Andrews came out and thanked her enthusiastically and

with such praise, you know that Lady Gaga will never forget this night.

 

Meryl Streep was weeping, had a hard time keeping her voice from

faltering as she introduced the people in all aspects of entertainment

who had died in 2014. Here are the names I recognized and decided

to list for you to sample and you will be surprised at the few who may

have slipped by last year. Also, a few who were not recognized or

honored, too.

Mickey Rooney

Bob Hoskins

James Garner

Elizabeth Pena

Maya Angelou

Anita Ekberg

Edward Hermann

Mike Nichols

Ruby Dee

Louis Jourdan

Sam Goldwyn

Richard Attenborough

Robin Williams

Rod Taylor

Lauren Bacall, plus many more directors, animators, film editing and

makeup, costumes, along with movie reviewers from all around the world.

 

When the names were finished being listed and their painted in watercolor

faces displayed, Jennifer Hudson sang a beautiful song for those who have

gone on. It was, “I Cannot Let It Go, my forever love. . .”

 

“Selma” got only the Best Song Award.

“The Imitation Game” only got one award.

 

“The Theory of Everything” actor who portrayed Stephen Hawking,

Eddie Redmayne won,

**Best Actor

 

“Still Alice,” actress, Julianne Moore who portrayed a woman with

Alzheimer’s Disease won,

**Best Actress

 

“Birdman” won:

**Best Director

**Best Screenplay

**Best Picture of the Year

 

Funniest moments were Neil Patrick Harris pointing out the seat

keepers, while the ones were up accepting awards, going to use

the bathroom or at the bar, along with ones who were giving out

awards. Octavia Spencer was asked to ‘keep her eyes’ on a clear

box which had N. P. H’s predictions in it.  He also came out in

his ‘tidy whities’ to show solidarity for the “Birdman” cast,

who apparently one of them feels it is ‘lucky’ to wear them,

mentioned on another awards show or interview.  The most

funny moment that was to ‘fix’ the mistake John Travolta

made by mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name on the awards

ceremony last year. She read John’s name in the most goofy

way, he came out and they hugged and were smiling at the joke.

I did not feel it was funny, but I hope he doesn’t get in trouble

for this comment, but Sean Penn mentioned something about

the Mexicans who directed, “Birdman” may need to get their

“Green Cards.” (Awkward moment, I felt.)

 

Did you see any of the awards, replayed or in actual real

performance and appearance time?

What was your favorite part or parts?

If you don’t watch, which film were you hoping to win,

did it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bits and Pieces

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There have been a few odds and ends that have been rattling around

in my mind. Some are not worthy of an entire post, some I could in

the future, expand and expound about them. There are interesting

little tidbits that I heard recently on the news or read in a magazine.

 

One article of interest was found in “University of Dayton Magazine,”

which was about the UD Flyers’ football team in 1939,  going out to

California and visiting a famous alumni. I love any kind of ‘archive’

photographs, this one with the dashing movie star, Tyrone Power,

and the football team, all in their coats, ties and dress pants caught

my eye.

 

My favorite Tyrone Power’s movie is called, “Witness for the Prosecu-

tion.” It turns out this was one of the last movies he ever made. Sadly,

at age 44, the action movie star was battling with a sword, had a heart

attack and died on the way to the hospital. The movie he had been

acting in was called, “Solomon and Sheba.” I have never seen this one

nor his beginning two either.  “Merchant of Venice” was his first film

and his second movie, which earned him popularity and a place on the

billboards was, “Girls’ Dormitory.”

 

I believe we need to have a new version of this, a ‘re-make’ of this

light-hearted movie. I sense this would have innocent humor, with

sly innuendos. Nothing like the current R-rated comedies which rely

so much on stupid jokes and mean acts.

(Yes, this comment is a little ‘tongue in cheek.’)
Anyway, Tyrone Power originated from Cincinnati, Ohio. He was

the son of an actor and grandson of a comedian. He had, as they

frequently say, “acting in his blood.” He was born in 1914 and the

sword-fighting scene which ended his life, was in 1958.

 

A quote from the “UD Magazine,” uses the source of an Arizona State

University Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies describing

Tyrone Power as:

“Mystical, darkly handsome, a glorious matinee idol and a rather

‘forgettable’ actor.”

 

Although this comment is rather harsh,  Tyrone Powers was chosen

in an actor’s popularity poll taken of University of Dayton students

and he was found to be number four. The university newspaper took

one of their students from ages 17-18 up to ages 22-23. This poll was

conducted after the UD football team had visited 20th Century Fox.

The tour had contacted and was led by Tyrone Power, an alumni.

 

Tyrone Power may have ‘grown’ more serious over the years,

following several ‘good looking’ and ‘attractive’ stars and starlets

choosing parts with more depth in the characters and plot lines.

 

Here is the list of the Top 3 Actors ahead of Tyrone Powers

(from the UD newspaper poll, taken in 1939):

1. Errol Flynn

2. Jimmy Stewart

3. Gary Cooper

 

While he led a short life, Tyrone Power ‘lived large,’ in my mind.

Here are a few examples of Power’s personal adventures:

1. Served in the military, as a United States Marines, as a pilot.

This was in 1942, during WWII and one particular exciting time

was during transporting materials to Iwo Jima. Next month, on

my February calendar, I make note of the famous day when the

U.S. flag was raised on Iwo Jima.

 

2. “Wild” in his love life, dating co-stars while the movies were

being filmed, just to move on to the next movie and starlet.

 

3. Like James Dean, he enjoyed riding a motorcycle.

 

4. In his 44 years on earth, he was married three times.

 

5. Rather ‘scandalous’ for his time, he relied upon the income of

his second wife. Financial support in the acting world, sometimes

did have the “leading woman” making more than her husband.

 

6. “Mark of Zorro,” was a favorite movie and the poster is still one

of my favorites of all time. His work as a ‘swash buckling’ leading

character and dangerous criminal were displayed in, “Jesse James”

and “The Black Swan.”

 

February 27th- Coming up next month, another famous actor and

director, a genius of his time, is going to be featured at the Gateway

Film Center. This is called an “Independent Cinema in the Heart

of Columbus.” I love the catchy title, “Magician: The Astounding

Life and Work of Orson Welles.”  I am going to see if my friend,

Anna,  or my guy friend, Bill, will go with me to check out one of

the films presented there.  I would like to see the documentary of

this famous Hollywood legendary star and director.

 

A small little ‘bit of wisdom,’ which could be used in so many

different ways is the expression,

“Pachoko Pachoko,”

which in the Lake Malawi area of Africa means,

“Little by little.”

This conjures much meaning in such a succinct form.

 

The CBS Morning has a great feature every week on their Sunday

program which is called, “The Week at a Glance.”  I noticed the

Hall of Fame Awards for Theater were going to be presented on

Monday, January 26, 2015.

What makes this interesting to me is that I watched, “Amadeus,”

on Saturday after Micah went home. The main antagonist of the

film about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was Antonio Salieri. In the

movie, this character is played by F. Murray Abraham. Definitely

nice to have this coincidence, seeing an actor I admire and it would

be a great awards show to be able to attend.

 

There is an anniversary of the German “Death Camps,”  Auschwitz

and others this week; January 27, ’15. A day of memorial and tribute

to those who either died or survived their horrendous experiences

there.

 

All those Star Wars fans, who have money to splurge on memorabilia,

there will be a major auction on Wednesday.  Hope you have a fun

and happy mid-week celebration. If you don’t have money saved for

buying souvenirs, you can always indulge in watching one of the “Star

Wars” movies.

 

Thursday, Amy Poehler is being given “Woman of the Year” award by

the Hasty Pudding Theatrical group. She is best known for her comedy

skits on “Saturday Night Live,” along with her “Parks and Rec” t.v.

show.

 

Harvard University’s group is simply called, “The Pudding.” In 1897,

John Wheelwright described the cross-dressing theatrical group as:

“A kindly association of men of all ages in a gay evening of simple

enjoyment.”

 

I am sure Amy will have a ‘ball’ and she will fit right in, too. I hope to

check this out ‘after the fact,’ on YouTube. I enjoyed when Neil Patrick

Harris’ was given his Roast for “Man of the Year” another year.

 

At University of Cincinnati, there will be a police enforcement

symposium, incorporating all aspects of agencies, beginning a

meaningful ‘conversation’ about their performance in the pursuit

of justice. This will be held on Friday, January 30, 2015.

 

The other activities, on Saturday and Sunday, were so quickly

spoken that I did not catch them. They said something about what

President Obama was going to do and something about the “Annie”

awards show is for. Keep your ears open for these two upcoming

subjects in the news. . .

 

Tonight, there will be a spell-binding special mini-series about the

Revolutionary War. It is titled, “Sons of Liberty” and ironically it

has mainly actors who are not American.  For example, George

Washington’s character is portrayed by Irish actor, Jason O’Mara.

John Hancock is played by British actor, Rafe Spall, in a sort of

flamboyant performance. (Interesting; hm-m!) The British actor,

Marton Csokas will play General Thomas Gage.

 

I am looking forward to checking out this television event on the

period of time historically where we were “enemies” with the Brits,

while seeing them portray the leaders of this revolution. Interested

also, in who they have playing Benjamin Franklin. The British actor

who portrays Samuel Adams is Ben Barnes. This presentation

will be on the American History Channel.

 

“Sons of Liberty” is n conflict with my S.A.G. awards ceremony,

though. The Screen Actor’s Guild show will be tonight, also. May

need to ask Jenny to ‘DVR’ the other show, or just pop in on it,

during commercial breaks. I just love award ceremonies, along

with the Red Carpet pre-shows.

 

In our brains, scientists, researchers and physicians have studied

many things. The newest findings of where ‘happiness’ can be

found through the measurement of the area of the brain called

the “striatum.” There even is a new numerical formula which is

able to ‘measure’ happiness by our brain’s reactions to rewards.

The formula, though, relies on our reactions to our expectations.

This was also featured on CBS Sunday Morning, January 25, 2015.

I am sure this combination of numbers and processes can be

found somewhere on the CBS coverage, it was shown written in

numerals and I could not write it quickly enough, nor would I

have been able to comprehend this.

Apparently, if you have high expectations, as so many positive

people walk around and hope for the best do, than the way

the numbers may reflect lower amounts of happiness. This

brought up a commentator’s valid question,

“If you go into your day with little or no expectations are you

more likely to experience a measurable amount of happiness?”

This portion of the program was titled, “Not Great Expectations,”

should you wish to examine the research and reactions to this

new equation.

 

I have featured another article or post about brain studies, which

used endorphins and other information to measure happiness.

 

I will still head off every day, ‘into the world,’ with lots of hope

and high expectations. I tend to believe you will receive more

and will acknowledge more simple acts and things which will

give you bursts of endorphins and fill your life with happy

moments. I could not go out, seeking nothing and expect to

find happiness. This just goes against the ‘grain’ of my brain!

 

What did you read today that gave you ‘pause’ or something

to think about?

 

Have you any new information or something you may not wish

to fill a whole post about, but wish to share here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery about a Sister

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Be prepared to read about a woman’s story, one which may or may

not have been relevant and meaningful to the musical world. I feel

there is a true basis and possibility that she made a big difference in

how her famous brother became who he was. I have to admit, I was

on my  own personal “movie fest” over the weekend. Originally I was

thinking, I would just post some of my favorites and give short film

critiques.

 

Somehow, this evolved into something ‘bigger’ than I expected. It

was time-consuming and yet, I felt like a private investigator with

her mind open and ready for understanding and analyzing the facts.

I looked up, using different sources, to find out more about this

fascinating woman.

 

Now that I may, or may not, have your attention, I will tell you the

riveting movie that led to my research.

 

MOVIE REVIEW:

“Mozart’s Sister,” a French film which needs you to read the sub-titles.

 

In the movie,  which came out in 2011, Rene Feret is the director

and a young actress who is his daughter, Marie Feret, plays the

sister to her character’s famous younger brother. Historical details

that were  discerned through research shall follow this summary of

this fine movie.

 

First, here are three splendid comments from famous reviewers,

starting with one who’s deceased.  Roger Ebert, “Chicago Sun-Times,”

was always one of my favorite reviewers. He is such a trustworthy

man to recommend movies.

(Of course, many of you will recognize his name and the television

show which I used to enjoy- “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”)

 

Here is what Roger Ebert said of, “Mozart’s Sister:”

“Marie Feret is luminous.” (in this role.)

 

David Noh, “Film Journey” says:

“A triumph!”

 

Ronnie Scheib, “Variety” Magazine:

“A treat for classical music lovers and cinephiles alike.”

 

What was a turning point in this movie which motivated me to

investigate and research?

What happened to make me seek the truth?

 

When Leopold Mozart, father of Maria Anna (also referred to as

Marianne and affectionately known as, “Nannerl”) tells his only

daughter when she is interested in writing musical compositions,

“Harmony and counterpoint are not understood by women.”

 

Of course, this caused me to say indignantly to my television screen

which was innocently displaying the film,

“That’s outrageous!”

 

Big sister, “Nannerl,” is helpful to toddler brother, “Wolfie,” and

helps him practice his keyboard lessons on a harpsichord. This

baroque instrument is lovely sounding. The scales and other early

beginning lessons are closely supervised by their father.

 

At age 5 or 6, “Wolfie” is paraded in front of wealthy families and

is also given an audience with royalty. He is a cute boy and shows

great potential and musical aptitude. The film shows Wolfgang

using creative interpretation of the music and dramatic arm

flourishes. He was supposedly beginning to write his own musical

compositions at age 4 or 5.

 

In the beginning of the movie,  their coach’s wheel breaks after

going over a rut in the country road. It is late and the Mozart family

stays in a nearby nunnery. It is interesting to note that there are

two sisters living there. Their story emphasizes the difference in

the way male and female genders were treated in this period of time.

The two girls have been shuffled and taken away from the palace,

being raised by nuns.

 

At one point, there is a name mentioned of the two girls’ brother,

who is being raised to be a ‘Royal.’ The part that Maria Anna plays,

and is asked to carry out a charade, is to transport a letter to their

brother, if the Mozart family should be ever happen to appear at

Court. Anna Maria treasures this new friendship and promises to

keep the letter safe and take it to their estranged brother.

 

This movie would engage someone who has been enjoying the inner

workings of the staff and upper class levels or tiers of British society

on the PBS show, “Downton Abbey.” Although this is a whole other

period of time, there are still the ideas of class structure and family

expectations being expressed. Definitely, it is an eye-opener in both

the film about the late 1700’s and the television series of the 1900’s.

Traditions and historical details about clothing, customs and roles

women and men played also are featured in both of these storylines.

 

At the end of the film, there is not much said about Nannerl’s  being

anything but helpful to her brother.  There are no illusions that she

may have helped Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart compose his greatest

works.

 

In the movie’s middle,  there is a nice romantic interlude, where

Maria Anna disguises herself as a boy, in a white-haired wig, to give

the hand written letter to the young Monarch from his sister. They

use the young man’s title in the film as ‘Louis XV.’ This story becomes

a very sweet part of the movie. I will not tell you about how it unfolds,

hoping you will someday pursue viewing this one. I will say it depicts

Nannerl’s character as having spunk, showing independence and also,

her romantic side.

 

Before the credits roll, there are a few sparse details given. The written

lettering after the movie ends mentions Maria Anna helped to write

some of her own sonatas as a young woman. It mentions she helped

Wolfgang transcribe his first writings, since he scribbled them. There

is a subtle undertone of the possibility that she was his ‘muse.’  As his

sister, she may have written (created) some of his early works.

 

The movie has places that explain traditional upbringing of “fine young

ladies.” The women are encouraged to wait on men, not to further their

education. Maria Anna tries to ‘rock the establishment.’ Her mother has

disappointment and her father shows anger for her independent streak.

She doesn’t wish to follow the social order of the period. I was rooting

for her, all the way!

 

RESEARCH:

If you enjoy history and reading about a famous person’s family,

you may enjoy this part of the post. . .

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from January 1756 until December,

1791. There is confusion about why he died at such an early age of 35.

 

He was the son of a musician and teacher of music, Leopold Mozart.

His mother was named Anna. He was born in Salzburg, which later

became part of, or known as,  Austria. Wolgang’s father and mother

had seven children, only two that lived beyond infancy. The oldest

living child was a daughter named Maria Anna, nicknamed, “Nannerl.”

There were four years between the two children, sister and brother.

 

When Wolfgang was 3 years old, his sister was learning her lessons,

which included language, music and reading. She was practicing

with her brother close by her side. Later, she would be by his side,

while he was the one leading the lessons. This relationship lasted

probably all of their childhood. “Wolfie” was her little shadow,

trying to do everything she did.

 

There is a notebook that Leopold made for Maria Anna, which is

known as “Nannerl’s Notenbuch” or also written as, “Notenbuch

fur Nannerl.” In English, this was “Nannerl’s Music Book.” This

amazing composition book demonstrated the first lessons that

Leopold gave to her, along with her brother. It consists of only

(originally) 48 pages, now only 36 pages remain.  This book has

her father’s exercises for her practicing beginner harpsichord

pieces. This also included anonymous minuets and some of her

father’s  original  works.  Two composers,  Carl P. E. Bach and

George C. Wagenseil, had their pieces transcribed as passages

in this musical exercise book.

 

In 1982, a man (just a coincidence) named Wolfgang Plath

studied the handwriting within the Notebook and attributed

the variety to consist of five different handwriting samples

or sources. There are evidences of the collaboration between

Leopold, the father, and his son, “Wolfie.”

 

Leopold took his family touring around countries and the cities

of Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. Maria Anna Mozart was

born in 1751 and lived 78 years, until 1829. When she became a

young lady, it was considered inappropriate for her to continue

to publicly play the harpsichord, piano or sing. Up until she was

18, Maria was part of her musical touring family. A biographer

considered her to be a great singer and an,

“Excellent harpsichord player and fortepiano player.”

 

Sadly, there is no mention about Nannerl being a conduit, or

letter transporter, between the sisters raised in a nunnery and a

member of Louis XV’s “Court” or “Royalty.”  This was the main

part of the plot I enjoyed in the movie I reviewed earlier.

 

At age 18, Maria Anna went home to Salzburg with her mother,

to teach musical lessons and stay at home. The following reason

was mentioned in one source,

“This was due to her being of marriageable age.”

 

Wolfgang and his father both wrote letters to Maria Anna which

some have been saved. Wolfgang during the 1770’s, was touring

in Italy and mentioned Nannerl’s writing musical compositions

and Wolfgang goes so far as to ‘praise her musical works.’

 

There are no references in her multiple letters from her father

to any of her own musical compositions in his correspondence.

 

An interesting note (and slightly salacious fact) is mentioned

in some of the biographers’ notes about Maria Anna’s and

Wolfgang’s close, intimate relationship. When they were young,

they developed a “secret language” and they had an “imaginary

kingdom.” They pretended they were married and carried out

their positions while playing together, as “Queen” and “King.”

 

There are a few indications and there is evidence of Wolfgang’s

using sexual wordplay which he used in other letters to his

lovers or girlfriends. This can be found also in the words he

chose and were included in his writing to his sister. One

historian considers this to be a ‘strange relationship’ for a

sister and a brother.

 

As an aside, my two brothers and I would play ‘house’ but

we would not have myself be the “mother” and one of my

brothers be the “father.” We would instead play that one of

the brothers was the “father” and other brother and I were

his “children.” Like the old television show, “Family Affair,”

where the uncle has “Buffy” and twins “Cissy” and “Jody.”

(I used to love this show, with Sebastian Cabot playing the

butler/nanny and Brian Keith playing the bachelor uncle.

did you know it ran from 1966 until 1971?) Or I would play

the ‘mother’ role and the brothers were my ‘kids.’ We usually

had company or neighbors over.  Once in awhile, they would

‘marry’ one of my girlfriends, or once in awhile, I would ‘marry’

one of their guy friends. I mention this to confirm that I would

also think it strange that the siblings played ‘Queen and King’

together over a Kingdom.

 

A sad note about Maria Anna’s independence shown in the

movie, “Mozart’s Sister.” This is not to be found anywhere in

any biographies or any letters. She is shown to be subservient

to her father, allowing him to forbid her to marry a man named,

“Franz d’Ippold.”  They were both young, he was a Captain and

a private tutor. When he proposed, there is an implication she

would have liked to say, “Yes.”  There is a letter in the family’s

collection where her brother, Wolfgang, tried to persuade her to

stand up to her father. Ultimately, Maria Anna was ‘forced’ to

turn down Captain Franz d’Ippold’s proposal.

 

Years went by, Maria Anna was allowed to marry at age 32, when

asked by a man named Johann Baptist Franzvan Berchtold  “un

Sonnenburg.” They were  married in 1783.  Listen to the “fun” life

Maria Anna participated in:  She became the wife of a widower

with five children she helped to raise. She had three more of her

own children with Johann. When she had her first born son,

she named him Leopold. Her father insisted on taking the her

only son to raise him in Salzburg at his home. The biography

doesn’t mention her mother’s role in this drama. From 1785

until he died in 1787, Leopold Sr. wrote letters and in a journal

telling about his toilet training Jr. and teaching him how to talk.

 

There was no mention of the boy’s illness nor a reason why he

should not have been raised as a baby until age 2 by his own

mother.  There is some speculation for her father’s thinking he

would raise another musical prodigy. Since he felt he was the

reason Wolfgang A. Mozart turned out the way he did.

 

After all, Leopold Mozart, Sr. did write and publish a violin

music textbook.

 

SUMMARY:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known for his classical

musical compositions, which included over 600 works.

They include symphonies, concertos, operas and choral

music.

 

Beethoven, while young, lived in the shadow of Mozart.

During his early years composing his own original music,

he was constantly compared to Mozart’s body of work.

 

Composer, Joseph Hayden said of Mozart’s legacy:

“Posterity will not see such a talent in another 100 years.”

 

Wolfgang A. Mozart married Constanze and had two sons.

He died at the early age of 35 years old.

His magnificent “Requiem” was never completed.

His music is still revered and considered the best in classical

music.

 

Maria Anna was never given any credit (that I could find out

about) for her influence on her brother’s music nor were any

of her musical compositions published. The book, “Nannerl’s

Notenbuch” is not considered to be anything but her lesson

book to practice and play music using the hand written

exercises.

 

I need to see the movie, “Amadeus,”  (again) to see if there

are any musical or notable references to his sister. If you

have a good memory or recently seen this, let me know in

the comments whether there is mention of Anna Maria

Mozart please.

 

I strongly recommend, “Mozart’s Sister” as a film to savor

and enjoy, while wishing the story line really happened.

 

Truthfully, being an older sister myself, how could “Nannerl”

NOT have had an influence upon her little brother, “Wolfie?”

 

Either way you look at this famous musician’s life,

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made a huge impact

on the musical world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Forth: Go MOMA Art! Go Golden Globes, and Go Bucks!

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Tragedy struck us through our worldwide connections and in our own

personal, creative bones. We felt the shattering pain and anguish.

Many areas of the world are in our thoughts and prayers.

Especially France.

 

Please allow me to cheer you up with some ‘pieces’ of France being

shown on display here for all of us to view. . .

 

Go Henri Matisse:

Be Inspired!

 

This may not be appropriate but there is beauty to celebrate still.

The Museum of Modern Art has a fantastic collection of Henri

Matisse’s last pieces of artwork. The curator of MOMA gave us

a glimpse of the fine examples of his cutting with scissors and

designs. These were made at the end of his 84 years in life, when

he had become nearly an invalid, not venturing out very often

into the world. The curator told CBS Sunday Morning reporter,

Matisse continued sharing and

expressing himself through:

“Reducing colors to the essentials.”

Later, the curator who is giving a tour of the new exhibit of

Henri Matisse, lets us know where she stands about those who

may be stuck inside,

“An artist should never be a prisoner . . . or set away from the

outside life.”

Do you remember making mosaics out of cut paper? Do you

also remember how much fun it was to fold a paper in half

and produce a heart or a pumpkin?

I remember how wonderful it was to make little cuts into the

heart and make it become quite detailed and adding scrolls

and curlicues.  Try this with red or pink paper, making the

same kind of cuts you made while creating snowflakes.

 

One of the major cut paper works Matisse made was of a

great big mural of swimmers, some were diving, others

intertwined and still others, heading off into the pool of

water, solitary gymnasts.

 

Henri Matisse grew up bin the textile district of France.

Some of his cuttings became ones out of thin, sheer fabrics.

He hired assistants to pin the cut paper or fabric pieces up on plain

sheets of paper, giving directions to how they should be arranged.

There are black and white photographs capturing the over seventy-

year old man starting and planning this new way of expressing

himself, having put down the paintbrushes by this time.

 

Henri Matisse’s paper designs were incorporated into a lovely book

called, “Jazz” which if full of jazz musicians and musical notes. He

was commissioned to produce images that the onlooker becomes

absorbed into, viewing players and instruments of the musical

scene. You can almost hear the jazz notes and rhythms through

the flow of the brightly colored impressionistic designs. They are

modern and yet, so timeless found in the 1947 book. In the 1985

and 2003 editions, with fewer artistic representations, are ones

which were introduced by famous people. The circus and theater

were also influential in his imaginative portrayals of musicians.

 

Go Golden Globes:

Be Entertained!

 

I won’t tell you who will look the most beautiful nor will I

concentrate on the two amusing and beautiful hostesses for

this grand affair. I will tell you my personal favorite movies

and the song I will hope to hear winning Best Song. I will

choose the best actor and actress in both the dramatic film

arena and  the always odd combination of comedic/musical

presentations.

 

 

Best Actor in a Dramatic Film Role~

**I would hope that Eddie Redmayne would win this Best Actor

Golden Globe award.

“Theory of Everything” has the fine skill of transforming Eddie

Redmayne into a very debilitated Stephen Hawking. It is a very

upbeat and triumphant movie and Eddie’s ability to make you

believe he is actually suffering from ALS is incredible.

Although there are many worthy actors for this category, I felt

portraying Stephen Hawking in a believable manner was the

most challenging character role to fulfill.

If I were to choose others, “Selma” leading actor David Oyelowo,

Benedict Cumberbash would also get ‘nods’ from me.

 

Best Actress in a Dramatic Film Role~

Many would say Rosamund Pike is the one who really created

an eerie rendition of the main character in, “Gone Girl.” I would

agree she really portrayed this despicable character well.

I would also like to say if Amy Adams had not just won last year’s

award, (she was nominated for two movies last year) for “American

Hustle,” she may deserve this honor for the movie, “Big Eyes.”

I have not seen Julianne’s double movie roles in “Still Alice” and

“Maps to the Stars” but just watched her in the 2013 movie, “What

Maisie Knew,” which was a four star movie role. She played an out

of control musician from a rock band, who loves her daughter,

Maisie. The character is not able to grasp what is needed to carry

out her role as a mother. It was a very good and interesting role

for Julianne. I will try to see the more recent two movies that were

nominated for her performances.

**Overall, in my own experience, I would choose from my ‘gut’

reaction and hope that Reese Witherspoon wins for her role in

the movie, “Wild.”

 

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Film:

Emily Blunt in “Into the Woods” is my favorite in this category.

(I wish James Corden could win, but this may not be his year.)

 

Helen Mirren is loved by actors, critics and audiences, so she

may win the Golden Globe in this category for her wonderful

character shown in “The 100 Foot Journey.”

 

 

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Film:

I would say that Michael Keaton will win, he is the “favorite,”

for his role in (what I consider a dramatic/fantasy role) in the

movie, “Birdman.”

I think that Ralph Fiennes did a great job in the Budapest Hotel

movie and that Bill Murray showed humor and depth in his role

in “St. Vincent.”

 

2015 Prediction:

The song I liked the best was from the recent 2015 movie, “Unbroken,”

while the credits are rolling. The song and dramatic musical score

are haunting and beautiful. This movie is outstanding, telling the

true story of Louis Zamperini. It is very emotional and worthy of

winning Best Picture of the Year in 2016.  Bill and I saw this two

days ago and found it to be a powerful story of the triumph of the

human spirit. It will probably win for Best Director, Angelie Jolie,

Best Movie, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

Best Film of 2014:

“Boyhood,” took 12 years to make. It filled two entire pages in the

“Cleveland Plain Dealer” about the way Richard Linklater directed

this movie, choosing to follow a boy for twelve years starting when

he was little. It will win due to its being a ‘First of its Kind.” I have

myself on a ‘wait list’ at the library for this one. I want to watch it

at home, stop it, pause it, rewind it, since I will enjoy the story of

this boy’s life unfolding.

 

I felt this way about both the two other serious movies I saw since

2015 started. They came out late in 2014. “Theory of Everything”

shows motivation and strength of character. The reality of ALS,

after Stephen Hawking was told he would only live two years after

this disease started racking havoc on his body, then living past 72

years and hopefully going strong. An amazing and powerful story.

 

“The Imagination Game” shows Alan Turing overcoming prejudice,

obstacles and using his genius mind to ‘fight’ the Germans. This film

proved science and knowledge can be fascinating subjects for a movie.

 

Best Songs from 2014 Movies:

I cannot choose, I love both of these singers and songs.

Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye singing, “Mercy Is” from the movie,

“Noah.”

John Legend and Common singing, “Glory” from the movie,

“Selma.”

 

 

In the Category of Animated Films, I would choose “Big Hero 6”

since my grandsons learned about compassion from this film. It

was a fun children’s animated movie where the idea of creative

thought is also presented.

For artistry and creativity, (yet not so entertaining for children),

I would recommend “The Book of Life.” This colorful and very

intriguing film had scary designs that resembled voodoo images,

but would be great for older children. This could inspire art projects,

too. The others in this category were all entertaining including “The

Lego Movie.”

 

 

 

 

Go Buckeyes:

Get Motivated!

 

Ohio State University is playing the championship game on

Monday night, so this may be the last of my posting. I will

head home after work, take a nap and hope we win over the

Oregon Ducks in the College Championships!

 

 

 

 

Songs and Bands Stand the Test of Time

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While driving in your car, especially here  in America, we have the

luxury of a radio, sometimes if a newer car, Syrius. I used to have

this feature and would program my ride somewhere with such fun

topics as “Coffee Shop” tunes or “Old Rock and Roll.” I was listening

to Casey Kasem’s “America’s Top 40” program on the radio. Rest in

peace, you good man! (Casey Kasem died in June, 2014, at age 82 of

sepsis.) I was struck by this comment, paraphrased since my mind is

not a recorder nor a computer:

 

“More than 23,000 songs were written and sung during the seventies

in the United States, only 370 were major grossing songs, (making

Top Ten lists). In this time period, only TWO were number one hits

written by a duo of song-writers.

I will come back, from the commercial to tell you who they were. . .”

 

Of course, I tried to memorize this comment, was an a red light and

jotted down the two numbers and waited ‘with bated breath’ for the

answer. Why the excitement in this upcoming response? You may not

know me well, but music is a special part of my life and the 70’s were

my stomping grounds, where music laid its foundation and made a

huge impact on my life.  I was in band from 4th grade on, played in

three bands in high school, marching band, symphonic band, pep

band for the basketball team and homecoming pep rallies, along with

the stepping stone to symphonic band: concert band. I loved the way

current songs on the radio made their way into our performances,

along with learning the meaning of different musical terms and the

way the music would build and pull on my heartstrings and soul,

during crescendo’s.

 

The two songs were “Loco-Motion” and “Go Away, Little Girl”

whose authors were Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

The first song has such an incredible legacy, along with being a

fun song. It is one of the only songs of all time, which has been

number one in three different decades sung by three different

styles or cultures. What a landmark song!

1. Little Eva, who is African American, sang the song, “Loco-Motion”

in 1962. This helped her career in singing really soar.

 

2. Grand Funk Railroad, (rock and roll, Caucasian band), sang it

in 1974 and put their own ‘brand’ on the song, “Loco-Motion.”

 

3. The Austrailan singer, Kylie Minogue, made this song go

international with her 1988 rendition.

Way to go, Carole King and Gerry Goffin for making this song

a catchy tune that went across generations and cultures.

 

The second song, this tremendous duo wrote, “Go Away, Little

Girl” was one of my favorites in my teenaged years. When I had

a crush on a senior in high school, Todd D. of Science Club and

marching band “fame,” I pictured Todd singing this to me, along

with meeting me by the Bay High Rockets’ goal posts in five years

after I graduated from high school. (I was only a mere freshman

when I had this ‘crush.’)

1. “Go Away, Little Girl” was first sung by Bobby Vee in ’62. Soon

to be followed and reaching higher sales, by Steve Lawrence later

the same year, in 1962. This made the Popular Top 20 list.

2. The Happenings sang and got this song into the top selling

songs in 1966. This was also a popular song with my friends.

3. The most popular version and more often played song, “Go Away

Little Girl” is sung by Donnie Osmond, 1971.

 

While listening to Casey Kasem, another time, I wrote down this

short note on a scrap of paper last Autumn.

The “most popular song played at funerals” is Frank Sinatra’s

popular top 10 song, “My Way.” I can imagine a lot of people who

would embrace this in their different life styles and endeavors but

had no idea that this was so beloved.

It would take years to ‘replace’ this song but a new hit being played

at funerals is from the British comedy movie, “Life of Brian.” Who

could imagine choosing a song from this movie? Well, I can tell

you one: my brother Randy still roars in laughter while watching

this Monty Python spoof movie, once a year with my family. I am

surprised though at this musical choice:

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” by Eric Idle of Monty

Python wrote this as a reaction to “Give a Little Whistle” from

the Disney franchise of upbeat movies, “Pinocchio.”

 

I am sure Eric is laughing out loud should he find out how popular

this song has become over the years.  Somehow, I thought a more

popular song would be, “Taps” or “Amazing Grace.”

 

Frankly, I feel this is refreshing and would cheer me up to know

I don’t have to listen to “Candle in the Wind,” at Randy’s memorial

service, should I outlive him. This may irreverent comment, but

believe me, Randy would be amused at this song being played,

so ‘Always Look at the Bright Side of Life,” will be on the playlist,

brother. Oh, that reminds me, I will have to add one of the songs

from his other ‘favorite’ movie, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

 

MORE MUSICAL NOTES:

 

The recent death of the Gospel legend, Andrae Crouch, requires a

respectful “note” and pause. At age 72, Andrae had influenced many

listeners with his heartfelt lyrics and soulful songs. Here are a few

which you may wish to check out:

“Let the Church Say Amen.”

“Soon and Very Soon.”

“Take Me Back.”

Along with being what many considered a fine singer and composer,

Andrae helped influence three legendary musicians. Although, he

may not have helped increase each of their popularity levels; he

undoubtedly changed their lives. This was the kind of man Andrae

Crouch was. The tributes and interviews all held warm memories

and kind thoughts of this man.

Michael Jackson was helped with his own song, “The Man in the

Mirror,” by Andrae Crouch’s adjusting its musical arrangement.

Elton John and Madonna received positive influences upon their

careers, by Gospel leader, Andrae Crouch.

 

 

The James Band was one of the alternative rock groups I sometimes

listened to in the 80’s. Do you have any memories of this different band?

Their roots came from Manchester, England. They took breaks in their

recording and individual careers. Some time off, as you may remember.

The first’break’ was a rather long one, after being popular in the 80’s

and leaving the musical scene in 2001;  they got back together in 2007.

Then, another 7 year time span ensued, until last year (2014).

While the members followed their individual pursuits, the James Band

still played on the alternative rock scene on the  radio, though.

Their sales over the years amount to over $25 million.

 

Imagine my surprise and pleasure to say the James Band are back

on the road and had a new album come out in June, 2014 titled,

“Le Petit Mort” including a popular new song, “Moving On.” This

is a solemn, questioning song, one which shows how aging and time

passing influences how you choose your path. James Band has

changed their sound and song choices.  The wisdom found while

growing older is reflected here in their music. The slow pace rises

and slowly builds into a crescendo, with trumpets and guitars

playing. Here are a few snippets of the lyrics I heard of this “new”

song, “Moving On,”

“Leave a little light on. . .”

“Will we recognize our friends when this cycle ends?”

“Will it start again?”

There are moments where time is like seeds being planted,

dreams taken for granted.

Welcome back, James Band!

 

Mick Jones poured out his long and winding road life’s path,

in an interview on the 12/28/14 CBS Sunday Morning show.

Mick’s path is one which encompasses being part of a British

“Spooky Tooth” band, playing with “C’est La Vie” and a French

man named Holliday. Mick Jones said Holliday forgives his

leaving the group to find his own way. Holliday was a “French

Elvis,” according to Jones. Then, Jones proceeded to get to the

‘meat’ of his musical career with “Foreigner.” Not being one

who studies musicians’ lives as they are progressing, I was very

interested in how Jone’s compelling journey went. I always liked

Foreigner’s  songs, “Feels Like the First Time,” “Head Games,”

and “I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You.” When the group

‘went soft’ in one of the band member’s eyes, (or ears)- they parted

ways and the band split up back in 2003.

Mick Jones and Ian McDonald were inducted into the Songwriters’

Hall of Fame, June, 2013, with Elton John presenting them this

prestigious award. They have never made it into the Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame.

Foreigner was unique in its combination of three British and three

American band musicians and singers joining forces. The band’s

3 Brits were Mick Jones, Ian McDonald and Dennis Elliot, while

the 3 Americans were Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.

 

Wow, this has been 12 years since then! Their music is still daily

‘in my ears’ on the radio. Foreigner is a group which has stood the

‘test of time,’  I believe. Only one member of the original band,

has passed away. Ed Gagliardi died in May, 2014.

All have not worked together since 1989. They have had a few varied

combinations of the players.

In 2013,  Mick Jones, Ian McDonald and Lou Gramm renewed their

ties and are working on a new collaboration. They were part of the

Summer of 2013 Tour, including Eagles’ Don Felder playing with

Foreigner and the band Styx.

 

What are some “musical notes” you have been listening to?

What musician or group do you feel has stayed the most ‘current’ ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art, Environment and Health News

Standard

“I loved the title for this short entry in the “Natural Awakenings”

magazine: “Looking at Beautiful Art Bumps Up Brain Activity.”

At Japan’s Oita University there were outstanding research results

and I will share them with you. Another part of this article will give

you some natural choices to replace antibiotics in fighting those

winter illnesses. While looking at locally grown foods, the pesticide

levels are less in those choices over the ones found in stores. Also,

an interesting find that I came across had two ecological and ‘green’

facts to make sure we contribute to a better world.

How did they measure the increase of brain activity ? You may have

guessed that in the Japanese study of MRI scans, (which are magnetic

resonance imaging screenings) were the source for the scientific

results found in this research study.

I enjoyed the comparison of slides shown of still lifes and landscape

paintings to the actual real artwork of paintings in a museum. The

39 subjects were shown slides of art and later, presented with the

paintings. Another element they were researching was asking them

to express their feelings of the element of beauty in the  slides and

then again, what degree of beauty they felt the actual paintings were.

The most “beautiful” in the subject’s ‘eyes’ of ‘real art’ were rated

significantly higher in the pre-experimental phase over the slides of

paintings.  They called the slides of the paintings, “corresponding

photographic analogs.”

“The MRI’s showed that during the experiment, portions of the brain’s

frontal lobe, related to emotions, memory, learning and decision-making

were activated.” (November, Central Ohio; “Natural Awakenings.”)

Final significant results were that when the researchers compared the

“positive effects of aesthetic appreciation of the art paintings versus

the photographs, they noted more activity at the back of the subject’s

brain.” Which means both areas of the frontal lobes and back part of

the brain were stimulated but the back part was raised at a higher level

of activity.  The location in the back parts were in the bilateral cuneus,

which is a part of the occipital lobe and the left lingual gyrus or ridge.

This means the basic visual processing location and the visual memory,

logical ordering and dreaming areas were the most stimulated with

it being verified on the MRI’s.

When we eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we need to make

sure we are getting them from a ‘safe’ source. I think this is a fact we

are all aware of but the interesting facts were presented once again,

which prodded me to share this information here. Conventionally

grown foods contain pesticide residues that are 3-4 times higher in

organically grown foods. This was found in the “British Journal of

Nutrition,” where they conducted 343 research studies and published

last June. Since from the farm to the market is a continually growing

industry, it is nice to have facts that support this movement. The ones

grown on organic farms also were found to have higher levels of healthy

nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and antioxidents. Ones that are

grown with phosphorus fertilizers and not including mineral nitrogen

in their practices were found to contain higher levels of cadmium. The

study’s results confirmed this in the following statement:

“Results indicate that switching from conventional to organice crop

consumption would result in a 20-40 % increase in crop-based anti-

oxidants and polyphenolic intake levels.

The emphasis on Honey and Ginger being such healthy and natural

curative power sources even fought the drug-resistant bacteria which

have a list of long names:

“Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E Coli) and Klebsiella

pneumoniae.” Also known as “Super bugs.”

* Further clinical examination is needed to standardize the amounts

in these two ingredients for cold, flu and germ fighting. The research

was conducted at Ethipia’s University of Gondar College of Medicine.

I concluded, we may as well include healthy doses of honey in our

diet, along with including ginger while cooking. I love sauces where

the sweetness is balanced by the spice ginger, along with making a dark

black tea, with some ginger added for flavoring, honey for sweetening.

India’s green project to improve their environment, is focusing on the

areas along their 62,137 miles of highways. India’s Rural Development

Ministry is following their kind of “Johnny Appleseed,” America’s

noted man of  spreading apple seeds along different areas. India’s

hero is named Jadav “Molai” Payeng, an Indian man who. all by

himself, planted 1,360 acres of forest.

This project has three focuses: to help provide jobs for the rural poor

people, include youth in employment and improving the environment.

The country of India has been suffering from severe air pollution.

The World Health Organization released unfortunate statistics of India’s

youth unemployment rate being 10.2 percent and #6 on a list of World’s

Ten Worst Cities with air pollution. The Prime Minister Narenda Modi

has announced a goal of spreading electricity to every home by 2019,

which will rely largely on solar power. Other areas of health concern are

also being targeted for cleaning the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

 

Merry Christmas news for environmentally concerned:

“The Greenest Tree” is supporing buying locally grown trees,

preferable ones that will be grown outdoors, with a close

second being ones that are cut down in tree farms that are

purposely evergreens growing for resale.

Here is the reason:

85% of artificial trees are sourced from China and often contain

toxic chemicals.

Looking at the carbon trail is also important, meaning how much

effort and use of power and resources was used to get the tree to

your home.

Temporary sidewalk or street corner tree lots may be getting trees

where pesticides are used to create the Perfect Tree. These are not

good fro homes, again, comparing this to the natural sourced trees.

Sometimes, home-grown products are just about what we put into

our body for food, but what we breathe for a month while it is in

our living areas.

According to National Geographic Green Guide, Americans actually

discard 30 million cut trees after the holidays. Oh my goodness!

The wood is ‘wasted’ in landfills.  One state that is leading a better

way to go with old Christmas trees is in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

where they collect them to combat coastal erosion. Way to go!

Locate tree growers by state and learn how to dispose trees responsibly.

There are great places and resources to check up on facts:

http://PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org

http://GreenPromise.com

http://Tinyurl.com/65oqh9

There are detailed steps for care and planting potted trees at

http://WikiHow.com and other locations of the Tinyurl.com

website.

Do you mind letting me know if any of these facts were helpful

or ones you learned today? Also, any other Green Choices or

healthy suggestions are welcome here.