Τρίτη, Νοεμβρίου 29, 2005

Love in the Aisle of Produce

I'm not the sort of girl who gets hit on all that often. Really. I mean, proposed to occasionally, but generally, I don't get hit on.

Except, oddly enough, in the grocery store. Or in the very close vecinity of one.

Tonight I got hit on twice, once by a drunk guy just outside the grocery store who asked me if I played ball, and once by the stock guy in the grocery store who came up to me and told me that I was incredibly beautiful. This was a little odd because I've traveled all over creation today, the story of which I'll tell later if I get the energy which is unlikely, and I was dressed in baggy, probably slightly smelly clothes, my hair is greasy and bumpy, and I had that "I've been up for 22 hours and haven't eaten in 10 and I've traveled well over a thousand miles today and I'm hungry and there are no deli sandwiches" look in my eye. Maybe he mistook that for a more existential longing, one only he could fulfill.

Why in the grocery store?

Τρίτη, Νοεμβρίου 22, 2005

Resplendent Happening of the Day

The Mango got a new SM job! And it pays! Yay!!!

Κυριακή, Νοεμβρίου 20, 2005

Scary Food Thing of the Day

Brilliant.

Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 19, 2005

RENT: A Review

I saw the movie of RENT tonight. And it was pretty good. Not perfect, mind you, but good. It actually took me quite a while to buy into, for a couple of reasons. One was that I know the soundtrack so well that basically any change sticks out to me. I assume this will be the experience of a significant part of any given audience. Another was that the real opening sequence (RENT) came a little out of left field and I have absolutely no idea what was up with the falling burning things.

That said, once I got into it, and accepted the conventions and changes of the movie, it really worked. Two of the things that worked like gangbusters on film were Maureen's protest and the Without You montage. Also, the way they reset "Take me or leave me" was BRILLIANT.

They made the WISE decision to basically do away with the recitative (pronounced any way you damn well please), as well as a few songs, including Contact, Goodbye Love, and Halloween. I like the latter two of those, but they weren't missed either. Contact wasn't needed and was a little oogie to begin with.

There were quite a few things that took me a moment to buy, such as the big dance number in Tango Maureen, but then I realized that it worked and gave it to them.

There were a few things that had been significantly reorchestrated, like the Roger/Mimi duet in the middle of La Vie Boheme, and that was gorgeous.

One of the major changes in the movie is that there are actually scenes, like, dialogue, book scenes. This helps a TON. They're funny, they make the story make sense, they give you a break from the music, etc.

One of the major drawbacks to the whole thing, though, is that it was written basically as a musical, which means it frequently employs the applause transition. You know, big showstopping number, everyone claps, and then we're on to something different. It's a very weird energy thing a) not to clap and b) to just move on after a big production number.

Something that doesn't work at all is the whole Roger-Santa Fe storyline. First off, it gets introduced in a kinda oddball leftfield number that's inexplicably set on the F train, although it seems to be a fantasy F train (more on that later), and then he goes, for about half a song, and he's back by the end of the song, and we don't really understand why he went or why he came back. I realize that that's a fault of the original material, but if they were cutting things, that whole storyline really could have gone. Chris Columbus said they'd had a really hard time figuring out what to do with it, and it shows.

Another issue is that it's not entirely faithful to the geography of New York, inventing an F stop by Tompkins Square Park (or inventing a park by an F stop), which is fine if your target audience lives in Illinois, but given that a lot of the people who are going to see this movie, like myself, spend a LOT of time in the East Village. Actually, there is a park (Roosevelt) by the F stop, but it doesn't look like THAT park. So I spent a large portion of that number thinking, where ARE they?

But where it counts, the movie worked. During certain parts, I heard people sniffling around me. I was somewhat moved myself. And given the circumstances, they did a good job.

Go see it.

You'll have a good time.

Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 17, 2005

Best Excuse Ever

"Well, I wanted to be there for your [thing], but I had to go teach [major male movie star] how to sing "Little Buttercup" in falsetto. And he was in drag. Sorry."

Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 14, 2005

Ah, Nobles

Okay, I love it. This feature in the Theatre section of the Times is being deliberately cheeky towards Andrew Lloyd Webber. For example:
Spectacles, of course, are nothing new to Lord Lloyd Webber and the "Woman in White" director, Sir Trevor Nunn. The two teamed up on "Cats," "Starlight Express" and "Sunset Boulevard," and individually tackled "The Phantom of the Opera" (Lord Lloyd Webber) and "Les Misérables" (Sir Trevor).

For "Woman in White," adapted from Wilkie Collins's 1860 novel, Lord Lloyd Webber wanted so many locations, Sir Trevor said, that elaborate physical sets would not work. One option was to use a spare, turntable set like that of "Les Misérables." But Lord Lloyd Webber saw Mr. Dudley's animations for Tom Stoppard's 2002 play "The Coast of Utopia" at the National Theater, directed by Sir Trevor, and he was hooked. Mr. Dudley recalls that when he first showed Sir Trevor a moving image he planned to use - a pan across a Russian country estate - Sir Trevor told him he felt like "Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk."


Sir Trevor and Lord Lloyd Webber. It's like a bad rock band. Or something.

In My Musical...

...there are three witches. Their names are Nobs, Squiddle, and Hunch. There's got to be a breakfast cereal that would want to license those from me, right?

I think this show is going to offend both fundamentalists and wiccans. That means I'm doing something right.

Κυριακή, Νοεμβρίου 13, 2005

(In)famous Person Sighting

Today I saw Joe Brooks, the man behind (and beside and in front of and beneath) the monstrosity that is In My Life. I was walking north passed the Marquis, he was walking south. I was very tempted to approach him, though I do not approach celebrities (but he's not one, so that makes it okay) but what do you say to a man like that? "Hey, I hear that through your monumental hubris and lack of talent, your musical really blows?" That would be rude. And if I said anything more positive, I'd end up as an endorsement. Ben Brantley got himself a nicely graphic designed placard over the door of the Music Box with the quote "By far one of the weirdest musicals ever to hit Broadway!" or something to that effect. Although I don't think Ben used an exclaimation point. The chief marketing ploys here seem to be 1) take the most positive thing all of the "reviewers" said, 2) add an exclaimation point, and 3) Only cite Brantley, so it seems, if you're listening on the radio, that he said all the nice things.

In other news, I tried to, on a whim, go see "In My Life" on Friday, but they were out of rush tickets. Which, considering that it's running at about 40% capacity and several hundred thousand a week below run-costs and way below the number at which the theatre evicts you, surprised me. Because you'd think that they'd be taking all comers, at whatever price, at this point. I definitely want to see it, but I damn well will not pay anything over $25 for it. In fact, if they'd let me in for free, I'd promise to say at least one nice thing about it on my blog...

Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 12, 2005

Finale-blogging

I, like most of the rest of the music professionals in the world, use Finale Notation Software. There are some odd ducks out there who use Sibelius, but I am not one of them for three basic reasons: 1) Their font looks goofy, 2) I have a degree in music technology and I still can't make it do a damn thing, and 3) I am a Finale person and I have been since Finale 95 and there's no switching now. Actually, my first notation software, my heart, was some program I don't remember that ran off an Amiga computer. This makes me sound older than I am.


Anyway. Finale. Use it constantly. I have the most updated version, and it's fine, but I have one major gripe, which is really just all of my smaller gripes combined, and this is that it's not really customizable. That's a little surprising, as Finale users are a fairly diverse group with VERY diverse needs. It's pretty acceptable for everyone, but not really great for anyone. I'm going to, as I think of it, be listing features that I would want to have on my personal Finale. Maybe MakeMusic will notice me.

For starters:

In the set-up Wizard, I would like to be able to have customized universal tracks to choose from, representing each of my characters. As it is now, I have to reconfigure the tracks/staves every time I do another song. As I'm doing 30-40 songs for the same combination of about 8 characters, this would help a LOT. I want to be able to customize name, abbreviation, MIDI instrument, and anything else I damn well please. I realize I could create a template with all of my characters, and then just delete all the ones I don't need, but that's stupid and cumbersome and deprives me of the rest of the wizard.

And while we're in the Wizard, how come, if I specify a tempo, it takes an act of God to change it in the same fancy font? I have never sucessfully modified an initial tempo marking. I mean, we're just talking numbers here. I just want to change a 5 to a 6 and keep the same font. Why is this hard?

And speaking of hard, I tend to write music in which there are many changes in time signature. SOMETIMES, if I do mass-moves, my time signatures move with the music. Sometimes they don't, which is a monumental pain. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to when they do or don't. I wouldn't mind if it asked me, when I moved something with a time signature change in it, if I wanted to preserve the change.

I want the time signature dialogue box to allow me to put a dashed line in bars with a composite key signature. There's a plug-in that will do it for you, but you have to run that one bar at a time, and it's a pain.

I want to be able to specify a pattern of bars, for example 2 of 7/8, 1 of 8/8, 1 of 12/8, without having to do every damn bar separately, especially with the clicky sliders. I would like to have preset buttons of my favorite time signatures from which to choose.

I want to be able to save all of these things globally, not specific to a file.

I want to be able to save my playback preferences globally. There is no time, ever, when my default preference is play from bar 1 over play from leftmost measure. Never. If I want to play from 1, I'll toggle that option or make 1 my leftmost measure.

I also write with a lot of key changes and I would LOVE to be able to raise or to lower the key of the whole piece as a whole (not just transpose, mind you) without having to move every segment individually.

Unless I ever start writing for the legally blind, there will be no time, ever, that I will want the size to be 100%. Why can't I choose and save my own size of preference?

I'm sure I have more, but I have to get back to writing music. Any other Finale Users have features you long for?

Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 10, 2005

The "Obscene" Spending of Mr. Bloomburg

The election is over. Mike beat Freddy. Everyone's glad, even the Times. Although the Times does have it's panties in a twist because Bloomburg spent so much money. I think this is a mostly knee-jerk response, especially because it's generally accompanied with a statement to the effect of "And we have such pretty, shiny campaign finance laws too!"

The irony of all of this is that the Times and other liberal sorts would love, if possible, to take a large portion of Mike's money and redistribute it to poor people. Or less-rich people. Or government people. Just move it around for the hell of it. Dive into it ScroogeMcDuck style.

However, if Bloomburg spends it, money that would otherwise stay in his giant swimming-pool-o'-cash, on something that he wants and is more or less universally thought to be in the public interest, well, THAT much money, it's obscene.

Nevermind that it went to TV stations which in turn hire anchors and actors and camera men and techs and stuff.

Nevermind that it went to printers, to delivery men, to secretaries.

Nevermind that it went to web designers.

Nevermind that it went to college kids who handed out fliers.

Nevermind that it went to newspapers.

Nevermind that it went to caterers and cater-waiters (see: actors).

Nevermind that it made lots of people employed and richer.

In otherwords, Mike just donated $70 million to the economy of New York. In return, he gets to keep making our air cleaner and streets safer. Thank you, Mike.

Hand update

So my right hand is in a rigid plastic splint, completely immobilizing my thumb, until Christmas. Gah. This impairs both the typage and the pianage. Bother.

Pancakes

I just wrote a full-length song about pancakes. For my rock-musical Scarlet Letter. Hopefully it's funny. And yes, they did have pancakes in 1660. Unless they didn't. I'm sure they did.

Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 07, 2005

de Quervain's

So I think I've figured out what's wrong with my wrist: de Quervain's tenosynovitis. I figured this out with the assistance of Google and without the assistance of a physician, because apparently the one guy at the NYU health center who could diagnose this (which does not, mind you, seem challenging) is booked through the end of the week and then going away till after Thanksgiving, and could I wait till then?

Well, no. At bare minimum, I need to get a thumb splint today. That might make waiting till Thanksgiving an option. My current splint isn't a thumb splint, and as that seems to be the issue, it's a little moot.

I think I'll go to "Urgent Care" tomorrow and see if they can wedge me into this guy's schedule. All I need is a cortizone shot. It can't be hard.

Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 05, 2005

Adventures

I'm in North Dakota.

Doing a lesbian musical.

They loved it. Like, really. LOVED it.

And then we went to the Lutheran Student Center and the fed us large amounts of some of the most amazing food ever. Including this to-die-for baked brie (and, considering the nutritional value of said brie, it's a good thing we're willing to die for it, because it'll probably kill us) and some of the best roast beef EVER. Like, amazing.

A waitress chased us OVER the bridge from Minnesota yesterday because one of our company members left his scarf in her restaurant. Chased us on foot. Running. A LARGE woman.

I brought the house down with my comedic stylings. I just thought you should know.

Tomorrow, thrift stores, farmers market, place that sells chocolate covered potato chips.

The main crops of this area are potatos and sugar beets.

And people with exceptionally good temperments. In the words of Garrison Keillor, "Winter makes us normal."