Category Archives: piano music

Cleveland R & R Hall of Fame: Musical Notes

Standard

Oh, how my brothers and I wished we could have gone to the excellent musical

tribute to the Everly Brothers on October 25, 2014. It was called, “Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame’s 2014 Music Masters.” There were so many famous musicians and

music industry ‘captains’ there that it would have been so amazing to listen to

the tribute for this iconic sibling combination who inspired everyone that followed

them.

Revelry included a large group of musicians from the genres and roots of blue grass,

jazz, country and rock and roll legends. I will give you part of the ensemble list here.

Emmy Lou Harris who paired up with Alfred Lee (Everly’s lead guitarist) to sing the

trademark song which is recognizable across the world, with memories mentioned

by British icons and Irish singers, too: “Bye, Bye Love.”

What brought the audience to tears, Chuck Yarborough of the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

mentioned in his article and the evening news the next day also repeated, was Don

Everly, aged 77, coming up on stage to join them in harmony.

Who else was there, you may ask? Graham Nash, Keb’Mo’, Ledisi, Peter Asher, Waddy

Wachtel, Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, Alison Krauss, J. D. Souther, Bonnie

“Prince” Billie and Dawn McCarthy.

The lovely song, “Lonely Island,” was given a special tribute from the Secret Sisters,

Laura and Lydia Rogers all the way from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. T-Bone Burnett,

musician and record producer had insisted they include this song in their most

recent record.

Keb’Mo’ and Ledisi performed, “Let It Be Me,” which meant adapting the vocals

to their unique talents.

Vince Gill and Graham Nash, (Nash started out in the duo, The Hollies but is more

known and recognized for his contribution in another ‘combination’ band, Crosby,

Stills, Nash and Young.) They sang a great duo together.

Rodney Crowell (musical director) and Keb’Mo’ sang “Wake Up, Little Susie,” which

is an Everly’s favorite. Keb’Mo’ has included this memorable song on one of his albums

and spoke about his affection for the warm and friendly Everly Brothers.

Greg Harris, Rock and Roll H. of Fame Pres. and CEO, mentioned when he toured in

Ireland in the 80’s everywhere he traveled, when a guitar was pulled out to play,

whether in a kitchen with a grandfather and grandson, along with Pubs, Everly Brothers

were being played.  He mentioned a tribute to Phil Everly who had passed away earlier

this year, just days before he would have celebrated his 75th birthday. It was a moment

of bittersweet memories, allowing the audience to again mourn the loss of a ‘brother.’

Emmy Lou Harris’ soprano voice joined Rodney Crowell’s in a poignant song, “Love

Hurts.”

The night of duets continued with Peter Asher (who had been formerly part of the duo

“Peter and Gordon,” which is still considered a great part of the British Invasion)

and Graham Nash soaring voices in harmony in “Hard, Hard Year” followed by

“Claudette.” Wow!

Peter Asher later paired with J.D. Souther in the song, “Crying in the Rain.”

Are you like me? Do you remember the continuous variety of the Everly Brothers’

song and playlist?

When Vince Gill joined Graham in Everly’s huge (most sold songs) “Cathy’s Clown,”

both using their natural tenor voices to blend into a beautiful tribute to the Everly’s

I would have loved to be there but I bet Youtube has captured this. I will hope to

find a disc of this fine duet.

Vince Gill and Allison Krauss performed together, “When Will I Be Loved?” The song

is one I could sing all the words to, since it is a classic and never to be forgotten. It

has been sung by musical artists everywhere, including a few of my college buddies.

 

This is the point I wish to make, there are few people who have not been moved,

touched and honored to have listened to an Everly Brothers song.

 

Just a side note:

Did you notice that Jack Bruce passed away over the weekend?

The days when ‘rock and roll were young’ include Cream band,

where Jack Bruce was ‘big time’ in the 60’s and 70’s in England

and the U.S.

Cream had its own sound, a psychedelic combination of blues,

rock and part of the “Flower Power” age.

Jack studied music while a child in Scotland, became a cellist

and symphonic musician before he turned to rock and roll.

Jack Bruce’s solo albums, after Cream ‘broke up’ were covered by

everyone from Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald.

“Sunshine of Your Love,” is one of the many Cream and Jack Bruce

songs that come to my mind. On the album, it featured Eric Clapton

playing the guitar, while Jack Bruce played the bass and sang along

with Ginger Baker on drums. Worth checking out, if you were not

part of this generation, or worth listening to, just to have that

wonderful flooding of memories that may be associated with thie

period of music.

“Wheels of Fire” spent time on the Top Ten Best Songs for quite

some time, Cream sold 35 million albums in two years. It became

the World’s First Ever, Platinum disc! Wow!

 

As a soloist, Jack Bruce developed a combination of blending

jazz, rock and blues, with less of the psychedelic renderings.

He was successful and toured from the 80’s until 2005, when

Cream came back together to tour and help those who were

part of the generation of “Flower Power” to reminisce, dance

and sway along to the music.

 

One Cream song, “I Feel Free,” will be one that makes me smile,

since Jack Bruce, aged 71 succumbed to cancer, is probably part

of that Heavenly Band, feeling free of the pain he suffered in his

later life.

 

Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Standard

As adults, lack of sleep has been found to be detrimental to our health.

Today’s children aren’t getting enough sleep either. There are suggested

times and hours needed for each age group. I won’t bother to quote the

many more hours we all should rest and sleep. I try but can usually only

“sleep in” reaching a whopping seven total hours a night. I found a sweet

album to suggest listening to, for any age.

A new music CD,  released from a long-term collaboration of two friends who

became fathers in 1995, is called, “Precious Child– Love Songs & Lullabies.”

There are some happy parts of this collaboration but one really sad one, too.

The Jazz guitarist and composer named Joe Beck combined with the singer,

composer and pianist Darryl Tookes.

Joe and Darryl worked on this album since 1995, moved by their new venture

into fatherhood. The album had to be put on ‘hold’ due to Joe’s being diagnosed

with cancer. During his illness, their friendship strengthened, but he did not

feel up to working. Once he passed away, Darryl finished the CD in honor of his

friend and their families continuation of friendship.

Although this friendship is about the celebration of family and friendship, I started

to think of this plot as a possible movie. It truly reminds me of that sentimental and

tear producing story of Brian Piccolo and the movie, “Brian’s Song.”

When Darryl was a child, he had parents who believed in the Civil Rights movement.

He also became involved, tagging along on marches and sit-in’s. He aids environmental

causes and contributes to charities for children. When he was in college, Darryl studied

physics. He currently teaches college students music.

Joe’s story about his days in a jazz group when he was a teenager, sound like fun. Joe

got a lot of practice in during the period that Darryl’s family was participating in sit-in’s.

Once an adult, Joe Beck’s music was featured in movies and in television shows. His

work record was diverse, including a period of time working on a dairy farm. Joe raised

money for college music scholarships and one special project: water supply to Darfur,

Sudan. He also was like Darryl, believing in his life making a difference.

I have heard this beautiful music. The story alone pulled my heart strings. Two musical

individuals joined by music, love of their children and family. Both so giving to others. I

imagine their children growing up with such a creative force burning through them.

Check out this new CD. I hope you will find soothing music to share with any children

you may know. It may just be the “thing” to rock you gently, calming you to sleep!

 

You may already have favorite songs to sing or hum to your children. Ever since my own

were young, I have treasured this short list of songs, some from musicals.

1. “Edelweiss,” from “The Sound of Music.”

2. “Feed the Birds,” from “Mary Poppins.”

3. “Stay Awake,” from “Mary Poppins.”

4. “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.”

5. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

6. “The Johnny Appleseed Song.”

7. A simple prayer, “I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, God bless me.”

 

Here were three books suggested by for children:

1. “Zzz . . .” by Trudee Romanek.

2. “Sleep is for Everyone,” by Paul Showers.

3. “Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book,” by Dr. Seuss.

 

Of course, more than once we have mentioned in our unanimous love for the books,

“Goodnight, Moon” and “Runaway Bunny” both written by Margaret Wise Brown.

Oh, for controversial reasons, I must add, “In the Night Kitchen,” by Maurice Sendak.

Although this book has won a Caldecott Award, it also has a nude child in it, so it has

been ‘banned’ and edited by librarians across the land.

I enjoy a cup of Sleepytime Tea, (which has a nice combination of herbs, including

chamomile) by Celestial Seasonings Herbal Teas. I like to nibble on a cookie or a

biscotti. It goes back to my childhood, where milk and cookies were our bedtime

snack. If I have a small glass of wine, it also helps produce sleep, if I am in a prone

position. If I am out dancing or mingling, wine doesn’t do this, instead it makes me

want to be on the dance floor. Rain sure helps, on the roof of a house. . .

 

Please add if you have any suggested reading or your own ‘remedy’ to help us sleep.

If you like, tell us some kind of special routine with your children or grandchildren.

 

“Lassie” and Television’s Progress

Standard

On Friday, September 12, 2014, 60 years of television had passed by, since “Lassie’s”

first debut episode. The show was simple, meaningful and encompassed all areas of

rural living, (1954 – 1973). When they list the ‘longest lasting television series,’ they

place this show close to top of the list.

 

The years I remember the show, “Lassie,” best had June Lockhart as portraying my

favorite mother of all time. The father was genuinely well-acted by Hugh Reilly and

my favorite little boy, “Timmy,” was played by Jon Provost.

 

Although the leading “human” roles changed over the years, there was always the

faithful dog, “Lassie.” (Many dogs played this role, of course, through the years.) I

enjoyed the various transitions of “Lassie,” having family values and including life

lessons.

 

Fast forward to September and October, 2014 for the New Fall, 2014 television

season.

It would be nearly impossible to picture most of the newest additions to our current

television programming to last ten years, let alone 19 years.

 

The “CSI” and “NCIS” shows are still going strong and on this Fall’s t.v. line-up.

I am going to miss having the original show, “CSI,” with its location of Las Vegas,

when it moves to its new Sunday evening slot. Sunday is my favorite ‘catch up’ night,

with PBS, Hallmark and I still am a big fan of “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge.”

The new Fall line up is already getting over-crowded on my own Sunday night.

 

I was talking to a good friend who thinks some of the shows sound “silly” and was

pointing out a Columbus Dispatch critic thought Debra Messing would be hard to

imagine being a cop, in the new show called, “”Mysteries of Laura.”

Since I would first respond, I love the silly show, “Mike and Molly.” I may be quite

blasphemous to say that “Mike” would NEVER make it on a real police force, due

to his large size…

Criticism from someone who loves all kinds of wild SyFy shows like, “Haven” and

“Eureka,”  and on regular network t.v., “Under the Dome,” should be wondering

about their own ways they stretch their imagination! I am laughing with you; not

at you, my friend!

 

Can you suspend your sense of disbelief and let your imagination go?

I remember the funny ways we learned, as children to open our ‘escape hatches’

and step into the Lands of Wonderment.

 

I shall try all the shows with female-driven plot lines. They have had ‘good fortune’

in the past. Imagine “The Good Wife” not being on,  not receiving another round of

Emmy Award nominations. I think it is nice to see women in professional situations,

not wearing an ‘apron’ and carrying out the character of a ‘housewife and mother.’

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy programs that have women who have chosen to

stay at home to do

this very important job and having this be part of the plot line, too. Choices are what

makes this a different world from the Fifties and Sixties’ television programming.

 

“We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”

I like the characters in this sweet little show about a single mother with a son, you may

recognize him from big screen movies, I “About a Boy.” I am sadly not pleased with

where they tucked this show into a 9:30 time slot. It is ‘not cute’ but original and quirky.

We, if you are a viewer, are ‘rooting’ for the handsome neighbor man to become the single

mother’s date. Although it is about a boy, it is definitely about the mother, too. Having

raised 3 children on my own, I am particularly happy to watch this one. I also like the

upcoming role of Katherine Heigl getting another chance on television in “State of

Affairs.” While Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy,” definitely getting better comedic

roles in movies, she is still sorely missed as the character of “Izzy,” on that show. I am

looking forward to seeing her as a CIA agent. She was funny in “One for the Money,” a

movie based on the hilarious antics of a bondswoman in more than 20 books by Janet

Evanovich.

 

If you liked Tea Leoni’s funny past roles you may have seen her show her acting chops

in serious dramas, too. We will see which direction she heads in, “Madame Secretary.”

She was one of the wackiest women on television for 2 years in a show called, “The Naked

Truth.”

 

I have read a decent review of “Red Band Society.” It is not a “Breakfast Club,” nor

is it one that will be all laughs, but will tackle diseases and illnesses with a touch of

humor and give it an uplifting spin. It is a group of young people who are ones who

have hospital experiences, who are dealing with personal challenges. I picture it more

like the movie, “Stand By Me,” in its tone and togetherness. It is about a ‘band

of young misfits.’

 

Critics are harsh when it comes to some and not so much with others. I remember

when I discovered, “How I Met Your Mother.” It was before the critics endorsed it,

awhile back. I am sad how they chose to end it, with the death of the mother but

happy the main gal, Robin, got her ‘man.’

 

The serious shows genre are tougher to predict. I would imagine Scott Backula will

knock the New Orleans’ version of “NCIS” out of the park. I happen to have liked his

‘goofy’ portrayal of character in “Quantum Leap.” I am not sure about, “Stalkers,” but

will support Dylan McDermott, since he is still okay after all these years since his role

as a non-supportive ‘husband’ for Julia Robert’s dying ‘wife’ role in “Steel Magnolias.”

 

Another serious plot line can be found in “Gracepoint.” (Not to be confused with the

CIA/FBI show about the safe house, “Graceland.”) David Tennant, from the British

show, “Broadchurch,”and Anna Gunn are two strong actors that will head up the

already critically-acclaimed and well-promoted television show. This show is set in a

fictional California coastal community.

 

I think that the “Forever” show that is listed on two consecutive days, for its kick-off

first two episodes sounds good.  Sadly, I lost “Journeyman” and also another traveling

through  time show just in the past two years. I will hope this one ‘sticks’ because I like

the concept. I used to enjoy “Time Tunnel” on television and “Back to the Future,” on

the movie screen.

 

I have been a fan of Josh Dushamel ever since the show, “Vegas.” I have enjoyed his

forte into romantic comedies, too. The actor, Dushamel will be on a new show called,

“Battle Creek,” This will be loosely based on likely crimes to be found in Battle Creek,

Michigan. His co-star/partner will be that of Dean Winters. You will recognize him,

but not necessarily ‘place’ him. I will check this one out simply because I love crime-

solving television series.

 

I will return to comedies. This is what a good friend in Lancaster, Ohio mentioned

when we turned 50: “Try to laugh more, watch comedies!”

I came up with a slogan, which I will hope no one else has coined:

“Humor is found in the ‘ear’ of the listener.”

(“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)

So, if you liked “My Favorite Martian” did you ever try 2 seasons of “Neighbors?”

I think not, since it did not make it. This was clever, witty writing with four likable

adults, along with poking fun at Suburbia. I will miss this, unless it is on a later

schedule, it did not make the ‘cut.’

 

If you liked “Scrubs,” you probably followed the guy who was the janitor on over

into “The Middle,” who became the ever patient, sometimes ‘clueless’ Dad in this

sit-com. This also includes Patricia Heaton, who played the Mom/wife roles in

“Everyone Loves Raymond.”

 

If you liked “Taxi,” “Barney Miller” and “Psych,” you may have discovered last year’s

Emmy-awarding comedy, “Brooklyn 9-9.” Hilarious, quirky and goofy at times, but

watch out, you may laugh out loud anyway.

 

I am wishing that Nielson’s Rating chart were in my mailbox, because I had such a

lovely time about eight years ago, studying and analyzing the television Fall Season

Line-ups back then. The first time I had the full control of a remote control.  I wrote

some comprehensive and profuse notes for those receiving my multiple page Nielson

Ratings Report. I  am not a paid writer nor do I write for a newspaper. I was able to

honestly say this, it was all for the love of television and the future of programming

that I was inspired to carry out my ‘duties’ in this report.

 

My final thoughts on the Progress television has made since “Lassie” was on.

You are invited to ‘debate’ these comments, too. I love a good and lively discussion!

 

I personally feel current shows embrace more ethnicities, culture and show characters

with wider world views in our programming. They encompasses much more ‘diversity’

on television since my childhood days. This means the people who are represented

are not stereotyped as much, anymore.

 

I like that there are two children with special needs included in some popular shows.

I recommend, “Parenthood,” and if you have never seen this, start by watching the

first shows. It is cool to watch this fine young actor, “grow up” with two caring

‘parents’ who disagree about how to handle him, along with a supportive ‘family.’

I am not sure how they would ‘label’ the character, “Brick,” in the show “The Middle,”

but the family accepts him just as he is.

I feel the shows today give better examples of the way families really act, showing

varied relationships, how to handle or not able handle serious and controversial

subjects such as addictions, challenges and sexual orientations.

 

We have heroes and villains. The same as in the past, sometimes more graphically

(and honestly presented.)

 

World conflicts and images are horrifying.  We cannot ignore what is going on, bury

our head in the sand. Powerful, and yet maddening, events are daily depicted (some

consider, ‘bombarded’) on our television sets.

We are urged to ‘act’ and ‘choose’ which side of the dilemmas we will take, as a nation

and other countries must, too.

Along with this serious, somewhat negative impact of television’s immediacy to

situations, we have positives.

We have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, sporting events and international

specials, shown across the world. My coworkers and friends from the Philippines

were captivated by Pope Francis being chosen to be the Roman Catholic Pope.

Other friends were entranced by the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana. Then,

many followed the tragic ending to Lady Diana’s life. They were hopeful for the

more recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The baby’s birth and

now, the next one on its way, are subjects that many feel are happy bits of news.

 

History, social studies, geography and science are subjects of programs, for

everyone to  learn about, grow to enjoy and get more educated. There are so

many fascinating shows to watch. Nature, musical and art works may never be viewed

or listened to, first hand. Other countries and animals, places that may not be within

everyone’s budget or ability to travel.

 

Some people are not necessarily able to buy or read the newspaper. They find out

information about the world they live in, from the television news shows.

Hurray For National Geographic, Travel Channel, PBS, Weather Channel and

other quality network programming!

 

We have real and make-believe images still, with our magic carpet rides taking off,

from our own homes.

 

There are subjects and shows I may never care to watch. I embrace and support

those who like QVC shopping, cooking shows, reality shows and true dramas,

because they are part of the wide community of television watchers.

 

Many of the shows I choose to watch, you may not want to watch. I got hooked on a

soap opera, during our second break at work. For the past six years, I am ‘guilty’ of

watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

All the years I stayed home and babysat, I did not watch any soap operas. I did in

college, much to the chagrin of my parents, when I mentioned I was scheduling my

courses around a couple of soap operas!

 

I was listening, the first year of American Idol, to all the animated conversations in

the teachers’ break room. They were talking about the ‘bad’ try-outs and the odd

characters. It was in the very beginning of the national search for those who would

make it to “Hollywood.” This caught my attention and I am so glad that I started

watching it.  I can say, “I remember when I first heard Carrie Underwood’s fantastic

voice, was medium built and had frizzy hair!” Along with several well-known singers

who made it to the Top Ten or higher.

 

I am grateful that I don’t have to sit on a sofa and listen to radio to imagine the

great radio characters of the “Green Hornet,” “Gracie Allen and George Burns,”

or how the President of the United States looks like as he is speaking. I enjoy

hearing my Mom’s excitement when she heard about Amelia Earhart’s trans-

Atlantic plane trip and her memories of the “Fireside Chats,” with President

Roosevelt, though.

 

I liked how we  used to watch to find out if we had school on Snow Days. Later,

if our children or grandchildren have school cancelled. I enjoy watching to see

how ‘my’ candidates or ‘my’ issues are doing, as the voting polls report in their

results.

 

I am saddened that there are blind people who cannot see, but grateful for the

inventions of special devices and increased equipment due to new technology

allowing them ‘to see’ the shows. The descriptions of the setting, characters and

other visual ‘clues’ are given. I have read about these and think the inventors are

brilliant for creating and providing this service. There are new creations in hearing-

impaired equipment, too.

 

Many people cannot afford to go to the movies or take a vacation with their families.

They may not go to Broadway but on PBS, they can see a Broadway play or musical.

They get their main form of entertainment from television.

 

There are others, lying on their back sometimes, healing from surgery or permanent

disabilities. My Dad liked to watch the comedies, while getting his chemo treatments.

Laughing made him feel so much better on those days he was nauseous.

 

The elderly in the nursing home I worked at for 4 1/2 years, liked to watch the shows

on TV Land, old reruns of “Lawrence Welk” and  “Bonanza,” along with their church

programming on Sunday mornings. The beauty of fireworks in our country and

celebrations around the world, brought big smiles to their faces. They enjoyed, as

I still do, the lovely creations in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

We get a sense of conscience from our ‘small screens.’  The night I watched, “Stand

Up 2 Cancer” impacted me, along with millions of other people watching. It moved

us to donate to some form of Cancer (Society) fund-raising, including Hospice Care,

research and local hospitals.

 

Remember “One Small Step for Mankind?” We now look forward to continued

space travel, inventions and research. When we hear of satellites making it to

Mars or other planets this gives us information that we may use in the future.

 

A quote about freedom from H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist

(1880-1956):

“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom,

for no price that is ever  asked for it,

is half the cost of doing without it.”

 

My soap box, put away for now. . .

 

 

 

What do you watch?

Have you heard about any new t.v. show compelling you

to ‘set your DVR’?

 

The Tony’s Are Coming! The Tony’s Are Coming!

Standard

Oh yeah, the place to be tomorrow night is in front of your television set, with

the 68th Tony Awards’ Ceremony about to begin. Or better yet, if fashion,

style and grace are part of your repertoire, before the Tony’s, watch the

outrageous, beautiful and sometimes the most stunning dresses of the year!

After all, the ones who are able to wing it on stage, in front of a Live audience

on a large stage, whether it is Broadway or Off-Broadway, are the ones

to watch!

Here are some television names to watch for:

Tyne Daly, who is known from being part of the police drama, ‘Cagney and

Lacey.’ She has been performing since February in “Mothers and Sons,”

written by Terrence McNally.

Bryan Cranston, who went from playing a bad guy, let’s face it, that we could

not tear our eyes off of in, “Breaking Bad,” to playing a famous man in “All the

Way!” (Hint: He is playing Lyndon Baines Johnson, and doing an outstanding

job!)

Neil Patrick Harris, who has been the Host for the Tony’s has played in the

performance of a lifetime in a dark play called, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Who knew that N.P. Harris could make a strange and dark character come

to life? I always have loved the ‘boy’ who was Doogie Howser and made me

laugh as Barney, in “How I Met Your Mother.”

Tony Shalhoub, has my interest in his role as part of Moss Hart’s play, “Act One.”

Since I have watched him, with my Mom mainly, as “Monk,” the quirky and

rather interesting man with OCD. Apparently, “Psychology Today,” did not

find his real enough nor true to the obsessive compulsive disorder, though.

His role as a police support staff who had to have a companion to settle him.

I liked to watch him while being amused by his techniques. There are OCD

moments caught and featured on Youtube, too. His partner would help him

stay in touch with work, changed and I liked each of his assigned female

‘babysitters’ on that show. The Hart play has been ‘panned,’ also. Too bad.

Idina Menzel has been featured in my posts, since my grandkids love her

voice, raised in song. (In the animated children’s film, “Frozen,” she belts

out “Let it Go!”) Her performances in the show and movie, “Chorus Line,”

along with “Rent” have made her quite a Broadway performer. The 2014

Tony nominated play is called, “If/Then.” I am not familiar with this one,

I have to admit, but knowing the versatility and talent of Idina Menzel,

I will hope it gets an award!

Harvey Fierstein’s gravelly voice can give me chills. He is a fine director

and writer, his 2014 nominated play is called, “Casa Valentina.” This has an

unusual ‘premise,’ men gathering in a cabin in the Catskill Mountains and

tapping into their ‘feminine side.’ Could be fascinating…

His brief presence on the CBS Today Show, this morning, Saturday, June

7, 2014 included asking him what drives him in his writing. Here is his

quote being paraphrased (I am not great at writing each word, but I am

sure that you can look up this and this is the ‘essence’ of its meaning:

If you want to capture my attention and hold it, don’t show me a meteor

going to hit our planet.  Show me people interacting, human connections

and THAT is the show I will watch!”

In other words, Harvey is saying that the human condition is what he has

drawn from,  while writing his plays and screenplays.

One of the most beloved and most performed plays, “The Glass Menagerie,”

is again up for a 2014 Tony Nomination.

I have a personal reason why I follow the different award shows. Some of you

who have followed me for quite some time, may recall that I have always been

a person who followed plays, movies and theater productions. I was very lucky

to have parents  who thought that taking the three kids to these, would be fun,

educational and meaningful. I liked, Musicarnival, The Lakewood Summer

Shakespeare Festivals, and Cleveland productions of Broadway plays. I have

only once been to a Broadway play, to see Joel Grey play as George M. Cohen,

in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” But, my interest went beyond watching, I became

part of children’s plays, worked back stage in makeup freshman year of high

school, set design sophomore year and worked side by side with actors as

understudies. I never was on stage until I went to National Acting Camp

held at Notre Dame University. It was fun trying out and being part of

this, I came back and was senior director of the play, “Take Her, She’s

Mine.” I worked side by side with Miss Marilyn J. Frazier. She was a

beautiful and classy woman, who I believe could have become a famous

actress, had she pursued it.

I would like to give a ‘Shout Out’ to the people who went on stage, under

my direction. All wrote such lovely things on cards and notes, along with

a few special words in my 1974 (senior yearbook), Bluebook.

Hope some of you will be at our 40th reunion this September, 2014!

Billy Bush, (no, not the one on Entertainment Tonight!), Megan Peters,

(she is a Hallmark designer, artist and lovely person), Torry Cavanaugh

(doesn’t that just sound like she should be famous?), Ralph Cutcher

(you stole my heart, but just friends), Lynn Kuhlow (a ‘class act’),

Cheryl Anderson (you played a teenager who was a ‘handful’ just

right!), and good Science Club ‘geek’ and friend, David Frackelton.

When the musical “Hello Dolly” was not available to high schoolers

due to high Equity dues’ cost, we had our other play, “The Matchmaker,”

that year. Alice Cepulo, another Science Club ‘geek’ (I was secretary one

year, my brother president, so we were very active in this club…) was

the student director for this great play. She went on in film making,

after college, joining NASA’s ‘team’ in Texas. She has made a lot of

non-fiction space films. I was so sorry to hear the 1975 graduate and

one of my brother’s and my dear friends, Andy Cepulo killed himself.

in 2013.

That is a summary of my ‘real life’ experiences and I am sure they

are enough ‘credentials’ to let you know that I do know a ‘thing or

two’ about theatre!!

 

Other Tony nominated plays to ‘watch’ and ‘see’ if they get an award are:

“After Midnight,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” (this one has

the most award nominations so far) “Beautiful- The Carole King Musical,”

(which includes two of my favorite songs, “One Fine Day” and “Will You

Love Me Tomorrow?” By the way, I loved her “Tapestry” album!), “Aladdin,’

and Shakespeare’s “Twelth Night.”

Oh, and all the ladies and gentlemen out there who have enjoyed Hugh

Jackman’s singing in the movie, “Les Mis,” and his extremely entertaining

performances in roles like, “Wolverine,” will wish to see his performance

tomorrow night as the Host of the 2014 Tony Awards!

Just to let you know, watching Hugh Jackman is more than enough reason

to be watching the Tony’s!!

Spectacular Finales

Standard

There could have been a ‘ticker tape’ parade, fireworks or an explosion,

but none of those would have ‘beat’ the two nights of ‘back to back’

finales! If you don’t follow “The Voice” or “American Idol” you may think

this post is not meaningful, but I will tell you that if you turn your

radio on in the next month, I am guaranteeing you will hear one of the

winners singing!

I still remember ‘picking’ Carrie Underwood, Philip Phillips, David Cook

and Chris Daughtry. I chose Caleb Johnson, early in the “American Idol”

interviews and singing try-outs. He had been here once before in another

season, and he won the ‘whole she-bang’ last night.

On the show, “The Voice,” I did feel a close affinity with Josh Kaufman,

38 years old, married with three children. I could relate to his ambitions

and his enterprising spirit. I enjoyed his singing, all the way through

it, held my breath when he slipped through Adam’s fingers and got grabbed

by Usher.

I would like to tell you all about everything in my mind, but sometimes

the best way for readers to feel some excitement, is not to tell too much!

After all, you are all here on the internet, either with wordpress of a

dot come blog. You may choose to look up some of these favorites of mine

and their songs they performed. Don’t worry, many of the songs were

actually ‘older’ and recognizable songs.

Here are Robin’s Top Ten Favorite “Collaborations” on the two competitive

singing shows, “American Idol” versus “The Voice.”

TOP TEN BEST ACTS:

My #1 Favorite:

What I call the “Fabulous Foursome”

This involved the three “American Idol” judges and Randy Jackson.

When Jennifer was sitting on the Grand Piano, while Harry Connick, Jr. was

singing, it gave me goosebumps. She was singing in a sweet, childlike way,

Cyndi Lauper’s, “True Colors.” Then, when she had the audience ‘chilling’

and not expecting any kind of change, she jumped off the piano, the Fab 4

struck the beginning chords of “Go Your Own Way,” by Heart and I was not

able to sit down! I had to jump up with the ‘gang’ who I had come to

look forward to. Keith Urban and Randy Jackson jammed on their guitars,

Harry pounded the ivories on the Grand Piano and the electronic keyboard.

Jennifer Lopez’s moves were making the audience, get ‘dance fever!’

My #2 Favorite:

Malaya Watson and John Legend.

Such a beautiful treat. The song, “All of You” is so enthralling and a

true legendary love song. Check this one out, if you like traditional

piano playing and great vocals. Amazingly sweet and shows Malaya’s

ability at such a young age, too. She’s from Detroit, Michigan!

My #3 Favorite:

***KISS and Caleb Johnson***

He won and is America’s new Idol.

Wow! Hot, sizzling and rocking the house! This brought great big smiles

from usually stoic and serious Harry Connick, Jr. In fact, all three

judges were dancing their hearts out to the song. It felt like a real

love, rock and roll ‘festival!’ Such a warm and fuzzy feeling when they

called Caleb’s non-singing brother up to shake the Kiss group’s hands.

My #4 Favorite:

Paramore and Jena Irene.

They were awesome in their matching voices, blending and melodic in

their song.

Great (yellow) balls of fire and joy!

My #5 Favorite:

Jennifer Nettles and Jessica Muse.

Truly magical and fantastic pairing!

My #6 Favorite:

Ed Sheeran and Christina Grimmie, The Voice.

The song transcended time and space, “All of the Stars.”

My #7 Favorite:

Josh Kaufman (who won The Voice) with Usher, singing and possibly

improving Police’s song, “Every Breath You Take.”

My #8 Favorite was Christina Grimmie’s version of the Elvis song,

“Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”

Now, if you wish to check out Jena Irene’s version, you may find she

did an awesome job with this song, too!

My # 9 Favorite:

Josh’s version, the night before, of Adele’s song, “Set Fire to

the Rain.”

My #10 Favorite:

Alex Preston and Jason Mraz, singing together. They performed Jason’s

new song, “Love Someone.” I liked Alex’s voice, wished he had been

able to sing more of his serious numbers. This was light and very

fun-loving, relaxed song.

The two shows gave us really great concerts with many more fantastic

moments. Hope that you will enjoy hearing some of my recommended song

collaborations with famous people with the contestants…

Who I believe will be famous themselves, someday!

Nonsensical Song

Standard

Who would have thought that a nonsensical song, which some

of you may remember, made it to the top 75 in 100 Top Pop

songs? It came out in 1943, but our 60th Anniversary of

making it to the awesome place of Number One, was in March,

1944. Also, this crazy song was used as an eerie chant, in a

2000 horror flick. Read more to find out the name of the song,

and other amazing ways a nonsensical song, literally, ‘traveled

the world…’

Have you ever heard these strange words being sung?

“Mairzy doats

and dozy doats

and liddle lamzy divey.

A kiddley divey too,

wooden shoe.”

How many of you are ‘raising your hand’ out there?

I was talking to a dear, old friend who was giving me

examples of songs ‘today’ that don’t make any sense.

I had to laugh and ask her,

“Have you every heard of the song, ‘How Much is That

Doggy in the Window?’ or how about, ‘Mairzy Doats?'”

She claims she had never heard of this riotous and whimsical

song from back in the forties, used in the fifties and even,

as mentioned above, made it to the Top Pop charts and into many

movies, including a 2000 horror cult film!

There is a middle part of the song, called the ‘bridge’ in

the song written in 1943, by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and

Jerry Livingston. In this section of the lyrics, you hear

the correct phrasing and wording of the song:

“If the words sound queer and funny to your ear,

a little bit jumbled and divey, sing–

Mares eat oats,

Does eat oats,

and little lambs eat ivy.”

According the song’s historical background, one fine day Milton

Drake’s 4 year old daughter came home singing another distorted

version of a song… It went like this:

“Cowzy tweet

and sowzy tweet

and widdle sharkey doisters.”

This means,

“Cows eat wheat

and sows eat wheat

and little sharks eat oysters.”

Clarity, at last! Right?!

These all could have come from nursery rhymes, one

source supposes.

Anyway, in 1943, the original song was played on a radio

station in New York City. It was performed by “Al Trace

and His Silly Symphonists.”

The next year, in 1944, the “Merry Macs” took it to number

one in March. That is our 60th Anniversary band that sang

the song to the Top of the Billboard charts!

Later versions of the song are so interesting, hope that

you may find them amusing also. In 1958, a New Orleans

rhythm and blues artist, Tommy Ridgely, sang this with

a whole different pace and tune!

In 1963, Carlos Mastrangelo of the band, “The Belmonts,”

gave it an ‘up tempo’ beat and they performed a rock and

roll version of “Mairzy Doats.”

In 1967, a group called, “The Innocence,” got the song to

become #75 in the Pop Top 100 of Karma Sutra Records.

Spike Jones was among several other artists who covered

the song, “Mairzy Doats,” who substituted sound effects

for the food items! What an ingenious idea! Sounds kind

of ‘gross’ to me!

The song had its first appearance in a 1944 movie, where

Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame) sang it in, “The

Big Noise.”

Woody Allen featured the song in 1987, in his movie, “Radio

Days.” This movie was about the history of songs, including

ridiculous ones.

Shari Lewis, (this may have been who ‘taught’ me this song!)

included “Mairzy Doats,” in her record, “Lamb Chop’s Play-

Along.”

Two British versions have appeared throughout the song’s

history. It was featured on the BBC radio show called,

“I’m Sorry I Haven’t Got a Clue.” A group called, “Graeme

Garden,” sang it and the joke was, ‘Are they speaking

English?’

In 1965, the WWII suspense movie, “36 Hours,” with James

Garner acting in it, included the silly song, too.

On “M*A*S*H” television show, Alan Alda used the song as

a joke, teaching the Koreans an “English lesson” and

recited it, as Hawkeye Pierce. It was also used on the

show as part of a spy code.

Another television show, which was a type of mystery,

in and of itself, “Twin Peaks,” featured the song sung

with a sinister twist.

This must have inspired the horror cult favorite, “The

Cell,” (2000). This was its last usage, so far, of the

confusing and wacky song, “Mairzy Doats.”

Sometimes the way the world works, where magnificent

music takes ‘back stage’ to such songs, amazes and

baffles me…

Hope this brought you a little nostalgia and a little

goofy smile to your face, too!

Light Summary of the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony

Standard

As in Olympics’ Closing Ceremonies go, I thought

the country of Russia, did an outstanding job!

The presentations, that were centered on their

heritage and culture, were moving, dynamic and

lovely. I am full of adjectives like “innovative”

and “evocative!”

It was called “A Tribute to the Arts.”

I enjoyed the artistic features of Marc Chagall

as one of the Russian artists.

I almost could not find the spelling of the other

artist who was mentioned, I did not recognize the

name.

It sounded like “Malcheck” or “Malaczech.” Once I

studied the wonderful directory of Russian artists,

I did recognize him to be: Kazimir Malevich. Well,

I was close! (Smile!)

Malevich was an avante garde artist and his paintings

were used for inspiration in the dance performances

and the mural like artwork on the field. He lived from

1878- 1935, as a Polish descendant Russian.

They featured black fish swimming around to form

the classic Olympic circles on the ground, This

glowed like shimmering silver rings. This was

carried out through people moving, carrying fish

fins to create the whole display.

There was some humor in that during the Opening

Ceremony, there was a ‘glitch’ where one of the

circles didn’t light up. I think the inclusion of

this display was to balance out the mistake of

the original ceremony. During this portion of the

Closing Ceremony, they had 62 pianists playing.

The fantastic upside-down village floating above the

field with the bright and lively painted design of

one of Marc Chagall’s pieces was delightful. I have

had some acquaintance with his work, since my parents

usually sent UNICEF cards featuring his designs. His

use of a dove to represent Peace and also, the Holy

Spirit at Christmas, is well known. One of Chagall’s

famous pieces, “I the Village,” shows his child-like

and dreamy artwork. His pieces may bring the observer

to smile, as if it were their own memories of some

imaginary times. We have put together, as a family, a

couple of his pieces into a picture puzzle, over the

years.

Chagall lived from 1887 until 1985. Since he later

moved to France, Chagall is considered a Russian-

French artist.

Someone asked, as a commentator, “Why was the village

upside down?” the answer was seemingly that Chagall

viewed the world as ‘upside down.’

I enjoyed the bold colors, dramatic dancing people

who wore wings, looking like Chagall’s doves or birds.

The ethnic, country Russian music was reminiscent of

the cultural music featured in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

This musical was set in Tsarist Russia, 1905.

There was a dramatic tribute to the Opera and this

utilized the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet dancers. This

was a beautiful exhibition of talent and skill.

There were floating dancers and gymnasts, similar

in the Cirque du Soleil type performances.

I was left with the impression of looking at Life

from a different lens. I am sure that this positive

impression, promoted by the Russian government, was

meant as propaganda.

The image of ‘Freedom of Expression,’ through their

“Tribute to the Arts,” shown during the 2014 Olympics

Closing Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia was simply ironic.