Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Boat That Rocked

Last night, a group of us gathered to watch again this wonderful film.

I cannot think of another movie that so perfectly captures my love for rock and roll and the power and joy of the music. It's also just funny as hell.

I've never bought or watched the American DVD, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that if you buy the UK Blu-Ray version it will work on American Blu-Ray players. Do that, and you get the full movie, as it aired in the UK, and not the cut version that ran as Pirate Radio here in the U.S.

Near the end of the movie, a character, The Count, explains that even though the ship is going off the air (a tiny spoiler, but not a big one, because you know it had to end eventually), the music will go on.

To all our listeners, this is what I have to say.

God bless you all.

And as for you bastards in charge, don't dream it's over.

Years will come, years will go, and politicians will do fuck all to make the world a better place.

But all over the world, young men and young women will always dream dreams and put those dreams into song.

Nothing important dies tonight. Just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship.

The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there'll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play.

But, believe you me, they will still be written.

They will still be sung, and they will be the wonder of the world.

Hit it!
After the movie, we watched all the deleted scenes. As Richard Curtis explained in his introduction to them, they were all wonderful--they truly were--but many did not advance the plot, and the movie was already running long, so he had to cut them. Do not miss them.

They include this absolutely joyful scene, which I have posted on this blog once before.

As Gavin says near the end of this deleted scene,
You see, the thing that makes sense of this crazy world is rock and roll. And I was crazy to think I could ever leave it all behind.
From as far back as I can remember, up to this very moment, I have loved the music, loved rock and roll. I expect to want to hear it on my deathbed. If I don't, you'll know that what remains is no longer me.

It is a wonder of the world.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Another reason to love Red Mango

In many trip reports, I've written of how much I love the Red Mango parfaits.  They are delicious and filling and have a tolerable number of calories.

Now, though, we have another great reason for loving this company's products: 

Any company willing to use the tag line
has earned my interest.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to try some Honey Badger frozen yogurt!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The concert at our house

Last night, as I've mentioned in a few previous posts, we held at our home a house show featuring Levi Weaver, a fine Nashville musician. Opening for Levi was The Camaraderie, which in its current incarnation is Ben and Sarah. The crowd wasn't as big as we had hoped, but it was still more than two dozen people, which isn't bad.

The show itself was delightful. I know I'm prejudiced, because my daughter is one of the performers, but I thoroughly enjoyed the music these fine folks made for us.

Ben and Sarah opened with a set that included a few numbers I hadn't heard before. As you can see in this iPhone photo--I have to apologize for its poor quality--they were literally playing in front of some bookcases and next to our dog crates (out of the frame on Sarah's right; the dogs were on a sleepover).  Each time I see them perform, they get better.  If you get a chance to catch them, take it.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version of it.

After a bit of a set change and some setup, Levi came onto the stage.

He played for about an hour with songs in a variety of styles, but almost all personal and heartfelt. My favorite by far was "Dark Clay." I would have happily done all the work behind tonight's show for that one song.

Definitely check out Levi's music.  You'll be glad you did.

After the show, many folks bought merch--as they should!--and we put out a ton of desserts:  rich, dark brownies; tart and sweet lemon bars; yummy, chewy cookies; silky and whipped-cream-covered key lime pie; and, of course, six different flavors of ice cream from The Parlour.  

After the show, as Levi was tearing down his gear, we talked about some of those things that always trouble artists of all types:  the quality of your work vs. the fame and/or success it brings you, how those noises in your head only hurt you, how all that really matters in the end is the work.

I'm truly glad we held this show, and I thank Levi, Ben, and Sarah for singing for us.  I wish you all could have been there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The October leaves fall early: Goodbye, Ray Bradbury, Goodbye

We are less today, all of us, less than the day before though if we felt the loss as it happened it was only as a ripple in the morning breeze. A child died, a child of 91, a great man of a child.  When I heard the news, it hurt like a punch to the chest, the kind that makes you swear your heart stopped for an instant.

Many science fiction and fantasy writers create strange worlds; it is part and parcel of what we do.  Bradbury certainly did that, as anyone who read his Mars stories will attest. What drew the young me to his work, though, was how strange and mysterious he made this world seem. As children, we know the world is a mystery full of unexpected grace and unwanted fear, of dark shadows that the brightest light cannot illuminate, of fields of wondrous flowers no rational process can explain, of hearts and minds beyond our understanding. As we grow older, many of us forget that world and replace it with one that we tell ourselves we comprehend fully--or will, if we but work a little harder.  Bradbury never bought into that illusion. The world he showed us was forever and always a mysterious and wondrous place.

That mystery and wonder extended to the ways he used language, as much poetry as prose, sentences that hinted that even the simplest stories danced and sang when in the hands of a master.

I met Ray Bradbury as a child, and from the first story of his that I read until today I never forgot the feelings his work caused.  I never will.

I did not ever have the chance to meet him personally, and for that lack I am sad.

His stories, though, are still here, still with those of us fortunate enough to have encountered them already, still waiting for the many who have yet to wander into them and be transported to the true world of mystery and magic. 

Goodbye, Ray Bradbury, goodbye.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I'll be watching Saturday night

No two ways about it, this is the must-see film of the weekend for me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What's going on Wednesday night at my place

In case you've forgotten, this Wednesday night, June 6, a nifty concert will be taking place in my house.

As always, click on the picture to see a neat, higher-res version.

The Camaraderie is, as I've mentioned, Ben's performing group, which right now comprises him and Sarah.  Levi Weaver is a cool Nashville musician whose work I quite enjoy.  I've seen both acts perform, and I'm confident you'll have a fun evening.  Suggested donation, which goes to the musicians, is ten bucks or whatever you can manage; come to the show even if you can't afford to pay.

As an added bonus, you'll get free dessert after the show!

You can't beat a show this good and free dessert on a Wednesday night.  If you're interested in coming, just email to reserve a spot.  I hope to see lots of folks there!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I went to see this movie for the astounding cast, which includes Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Tom Wilkinson. From the reviews I'd read, I expected to enjoy their performances but to find the film itself generally meh. 

Instead, I loved it. 

What most reviewers seem to be missing is that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a fairy tale, a sweet story of a group of lost people coming together in a magical place to save each other and in the process each find her or his own way forward. The fact that those lost people are not disaffected young men and women but instead retirees in no way detracts from the movie's magic or power.

That said, even if the story doesn't work for you, the cast almost certainly will.  All four of these British stars, as well as Dev Patel and almost everyone else in the film, deliver topnotch performances.  I must give a special nod to Judi Dench, whose work is more remarkable each time I watch her.  In this film, her character is a suitably complex swirl of apparent contradictions, weak and strong, shut down and open, almost done with life and brimming with it, not seeking anyone and yet appealing and even sexy. 

Unlike many recent movies, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel does not require you to turn off your brain to fully enjoy it. To get the most from it, however, you must open your heart and your mind to the possibility of magic, magic in a faraway land that just happens to exist, magic in the ongoing lives and loves of a group of people who learn how amazing their lives can still become, no matter what their ages. 


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