Even though it happened Sunday, it bears noting, because . . . well, it’s a story, and a bit out of the ordinary. Doesn’t mean it’s compelling, but I am pretty sure this hasn’t happened to you recently.
I did the Minnesota Youth Symphonies concert on Sunday, this time at Benson Great Hall, or Bovine Growth Hormone auditorium as I like to call it to the riotous amusement of everyone. Oh I remember that year when you said that the first time. We do BGH when Orchestra Hall isn’t available; it had been a few years. When, I can’t say. Time passes. The last few years blur together into an endless procession of youth in formal wear clutching instruments, filing past like the old animations that illustrated the number of dead in the Great War.
It’s a nice venue. Smaller. So my script said the Philharmonic Orchestra, one of four, would be playing the theme from Jurassic Park (also Dvorak, but that doesn’t matter) so I went on nice little rhapsodic salute to Williams, a great composer, doesn’t matter if he was scoring scenes of people staring slack-jawed at nonexistent dinosaurs, etc. Even said that we’d SPARED NO EXPENSE to bring you this tune. Introduced the orchestra, left the stage, door shuts, I hear them start.
Dum-de dum dum! Dum-de dum . . . Dum-de dum dum? Dum de dum dum dum
Uh - what -
I found the stage manager and showed her my script and said “I just introduced Jurassic Park, and that’s Indiana Jones.” Ohhh, right - they’d changed it, but the script wasn’t updated.
That’s fine, but - well. When the conductor came out I said “I’d like say to say a few words.”
“Okay,” she said.
I went out to my mike and stand, and just stood there for a while, frowning and chewing my lip, and eventually said “You remember that scene in the movie when Indy was bullwhipping the Nazi T-Rex?” And they got it. “That’s what I get for not showing up for rehearsals,” I said, “But how many of you got the difference right away?”
Nearly everyone’s hands went up. Exactly! We all know the difference. And that’s a testament to Williams, etc.
There were a few other fun spots, but the highlight came at the end. I had to introduce the last piece - some Wagner, with a guest soprano. They’d finished the Rimsky-Korsakov, and I walked out to my mike and stand.
Except there wasn’t any mike and stand. There were two harps, but no mike and stand. So I milked that moment for a few beats, then spied the mike over on the edge of the stage. Dragged it over, yanked it up, started talking - I didn’t need the script, knew what I was going to say - and the mike wasn’t on. Then it was!
My point? It’s more fun when a few things go wrong. And if I screw up, I suppose they could not invite me back, but after 22 seasons and my obvious willingness to show up, I’ll probably do it until someone thinks there should be a change. Just because.
My favorite part is running into someone in the lobby who loves the column and had no idea I would be the MC and I sounded just like my column too and it was great and thanks!
I wish that had happened.
The hot show everyone’s supposed to watch on Netflix (don’t ask me about broadcast; I’ve lost the habit entirely) is “The Bodyguard,” a British production about a guarder of bodies. NO SPOILERS FOLLOW, as usual; and it’s not a review. Who cares if I like it?
Although I do. Four eps in, at least. It has a nifty ability to keep you off balance just enough to make you want to keep your distance from characters you want to like, or make you like characters you don’t think you should.
Here’s the point I wanted to make: like most great British shows, it makes you think that London is a snake pit of vipers, yobs, a few terrorists and pasty young girls misled by bad men, and B) you wish you lived there. Why? The architecture? The accents? The charming way the men say “Mum” to female superiors? I don’t know. It’s not like the show has shown anyone eating take-away curry.
If I add what I’ve seen to other popular shows, I get the sense that there are two kinds of well-educated people in England: exasperated women, and quietly depressed men.
I should also note that even though the show is nominally about terrorism, and commences with a rather gripping incident, I am 100% sure that the real culprits are Shadowy Forces who are manipulating terrorists for their own evil schemes, and that the final boss will turn out to be someone thin, 62 years old, utterly respectable, and that he’ll probably shoot himself. There’s something condescending and self-loathing about this trope in Western post-9/11 entertainment, but even if “The Bodyguard” goes there, I won’t mind - it’s well-made and smart, even if I suspect it would be a mid-series arc of “24” if everyone spoke with a Yank accent.
When I finish the evening serial and have some time left, I dip into bad movies. For a while I skimmed through “Lifeforce” to reacquaint myself with its ludicrous badness. It does have a haunting image at the end - all those dead people heaped in the church, drained of their life - but it’s undercut from the beginning by the credits that cite the source material as “THE SPACE VAMPIRES.” Lol, as they say.
Here’s the opening credits, with that guarantee of cheapness and violence and nudity, GOLAN GLOBUS. I’ve always liked the theme, even though it runs around and searches everywhere and can’t quite get its hands on a melody. Doesn’t matter; it’s great. The punchline in the credits is the composer, which the video announces from the top. It’s the last thing you’d expect from him.
I tired of that after a few nights, and hello, what does Amazon want me to watch next? Really? Casino Royale? I said sure, because I knew it was an awful, awful movie with a theme that nailed 1967 better than anything else. And I’m right. But I’d forgotten the animation sequences that made the first letter of all the actors unrecognizable. Oh, it’s that movie with Avid Niven and Eter Sellers and Oody Allen! Awesome!
If you could sum up the overculture of 67, it would be Burt Bacharach writing a piece for Herb Alpert that contained HARPSICHORD.
But there are words.
Bond movies had only been around for four years, but the cultural impact was so great they could write something like this - a parade of cliches the standard Bond song would never dare say. Have no fear / Bond is here
The singer was Mike Redway, mocking all the conventions. It’s the same spirit behind Python, and it must have seemed liberating. But there was nothing behind it to replace what they mocked. Only license.
License? Huh? Eh? Trust me, you’ll know what I mean in a month. Remember that word. LICENSE.
Speaking of comic caper secret-agent British 60s knock-offs with prominent harpsichord, I think it’s time for one of the more . . . interesting movie credit sequences. Again, the movie is meh. But again: Bacharach.
That’s quite a sophisticated little tune - and its chromatic innovations may have distracted audiences so they didn’t look at the text and think Aw, crap, a bunch Italian names, I know what THAT means. The tell-tale sign of a crappy “international production” with dubbed voices.
Okay, enough. Now to watch “The Bodyguard,” again. I’m pretty sure the hero doesn’t die because the show’s finale got the biggest rating of any British program, and that has to mean a season two. Unless it’s an anthology, with a different Grimacing Conflicted But Resolute Bodyguard in every season!
UPDATE: Finished it. I'd say highly recommended if this feature was a review, but as I say, it's not.
No, I don’t. But if I lived in the US in 1939, I might:
What kind of cheese is it? It’s CHEESE cheese.
He had a full day, and presumably no time to read any ads as exhausting as this one. “Well, time to go across town for thirty cents.”
#4 is right: Met put out a lot of pamphlets on things like colds and treating small scrapes and oh by the way don’t get polio, etc. I have a few. It made business sense, of course. The idea behind the books seemed to be “we’ll pay off if we have to, but of course we’d rather delay that as long as possible, so you can pay your premiums for a longer time.”
Which is entirely fine.
#6, at the end of the day: a reassurance that they will come across in the end. But only after Johnny Dollar’s cleared the case.
Two-tone nails help, too:
Drink things from STEEL CANS! They will be colder. They can be thrown away. We’ll just make MORE STEEL!
Timeless loveliness in that model; wonder who she was.
Younger, perhaps, than she wanted to let on.
Sakes alive! Land sakes! Goshen!
The three stages of taste, ending in the bland diet of the senior who cannot abide rich things like Butterscotch.
Bill’s so nice to be! Yeah, but not for long, buzzard-skin.
And that’s Mom talking. Good Lord, what soap was she using before? Caustic Lye?
Something of a switch: turns out the powder was supposed to make you think of their Famous Bars, which have fallen out of the popular imagination. Hershey’s killed them right off.