Papa Haydn's dead and gone, but his memory lingers on.
When his mood was one of bliss, he wrote jolly tunes like this:
Papa Haydn's dead and gone, but his memory lingers on.
Last week I saw a trailer for The East, a film opening today in selected theatres. So far the reviews haven't been bad.
The rumors may be true! It's possible that Dan Harmon will return for the next (likely final, likely short) fifth season of Community. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Harmon, the show's creator who left last season, is talking to Sony Pictures Television to return "in some capacity."
Happy birthday, Benny Goodman, everyone's favorite clarinettist bandleader.
Director Steven Soderbergh says he's retiring from film. If so, it's too bad his last project was Behind The Candelabra, currenty showing on HBO. Starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, it's the story of Liberace's love affair with Scott Thorson.
Guess who turns 60 today? Danny Elfman. He was the founder of Oingo Boingo, a decent band, but who would have thought he'd go from that to become one of the top soundtrack composers ever.
Happy birthday, Jay Livingston, the tuneful half of the songwritings duo Livingston and Evans. Do you know his songs? Well who do you think wrote this:
The Hangover was a film that came out of nowhere to become one of the biggest comedies of all time. Deservedly. It was hilarious and also managed to be sweet no matter how wild or raunchy the proceedings got. Than came the sequel, which was also a gigantic worldwide hit but, as a beat-by-beat remake, and with a much nastier tone, squandered away most of the good will of the first.
Hey ya, it's Andre 3000's birthday.
Matt Weiner used to work on The Sopranos, the show that would have vague, cryptic log lines to avoid giving away plot. And now that he's created Mad Men, he's raised this to an art form.
Can you believe it? Everyone's favorite new age sorceress, Stevie Nicks, turns 65 today. She's had a major solo career but is best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac during its most popular years. There's no question as a singer-songwriter she added something to their music that put them over the top.
At the AV Club Todd VanDerWerff has a good discussion of the Valerie Harper sitcom Rhoda, but there are a few statements I take issue with. The show lasted four and a half seasons but was on its way down in popularity by the third. VanDerWerff notes this is because it broke up central couple Rhoda and Joe, which displeased the audience. True, but it was probably in trouble anyway.
For a long time now I've been thinking of posting on words I can't stand the sound of, but what put me off was writing the piece would mean I'd have to write those words. But now there's a piece in Slate on word aversion, so I guess I don't have to.
I was recently at a grocery store with prepared foods (which is pretty much all of them these days). Some woman was ordering a special deal meal--six bucks for barbecued tofu strips with two side dishes.
For the big summer movies, you need big drama. At least Hollywood seems to think so. And what could be bigger than the end of human life on our planet?
It's that time of year again, Bob Dylan's birthday. America's troubadour, he's in his 70s and still out there performing. (There are so many songs I could choose, though I'm limited by how few Dylan originals are one YouTube.)
Big news yesterday--Lois Lerner, the IRS official who's bad at math, invoked the Fifth Amendment while appearing before Congress. (Some claim she did it incorrectly by making a statement first--you can't testify on your behalf and then invoke the right against self-incrimination before cross-examination. I have no idea if there's any merit to this argument.)
Among the arthouse crowd Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's Frances Ha is doing well, having grossed $134,000 last weekend in four theatres. It'll be interesting to see how it does when it goes wide (or at least wider), since I don't think the episodic tale of a young woman trying to get her life together, shot in black and white, is a conventional crowdpleaser--at least not for the mainstream audience.
Happy birthday, Jerry Dammers, founder and chief songwriter for The Specials. They never hit it big in America, but were huge in the UK for a few years.
Happy birthday, Maria Taylor. She may not be that well known, but she's got a nice sound.
Let's say goodbye to Ray Manzarek, whose organ sound--including the bass parts--defined the Doors as much as Jim Morrison's voice.
The Office went out with an hour-and-fifteen-minute finale befitting a show that's been a mainstay of the NBC lineup for the last nine years. Finales are tough to pull off, especially for sitcoms. Half-hour comedies deal with the little things in life, and generally--even when there's an arc--each week starts as if you hit the refresh button, but you want big, decisive things to happen in a finale. Also, sitcoms may be sentimental, but they're mostly about laughs, whereas it's hard not to overdo the emotions at the end.
Happy birthday, Susan Cowsill. The Cowsills were a family who became a popular musical act in the 60s. They were the inspiration for the The Partridge Family.
I just checked out Chris Elliott's The Guy Under The Sheets, his "unauthorized autobiography," but bailed halfway through. Not that it's worthless, but it just wasn't what I wanted.
Happy birthday, Jeffry Hyman, aka Joey Ramone. If he were still alive, he'd be in his 60s today, showing other punks how to grow old. As it was, he was perhaps the most distinctive voice in the movement.
I came home yesterday and there was a message on my phone. It was an automated call--no matter how many times I sign up for the "no call" list they still get through. But this one was unusual.
Happy birthday to Big Joe Turner, one of the great blues shouters. Before rock and roll, we had guys like Joe showing the way.
I was listening to "Plink Plank Plunk," a charming pizzicato novelty composed by Leroy Anderson.
One of the more fascinating periods in Oscar Wilde's short life was his year-long lecture tour of America in 1882 when he was 27. So it's nice to have an entire book devoted to that time--Declaring His Genius by Roy Morris, Jr. Wilde had done little to merit attention at this point--he'd published a small and decidely minor book of verse and written an unproduced and not very good historical play. But he had become a celebrity.
From a piece on Benedict Cumberbatch (the best name in show biz since Stirling Silliphant), who's in Star Trek Into Darkness, which opens today.
Happy birthday, Jonathan Richman. He's never been huge, but after all these years, he keeps chugging along.
Happy birthday, Trini Lopez. He did the sort of fun pop/rock in the 60s that doesn't really exist any more.
Amazingly, the third season of Game Of Thrones is 70% over. Just like each episode, the ten shows are over before you know it.
Happy birthday, David Byrne. He was the leader of the Talking Heads. (He's done a lot of stuff since those days, though people don't care as much.)
This week's Hollywood Reporter cover story features screenwriter and Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. His film career is hot now, but it turns out the he was ready to quit in the first season of Lost--he was already feeling depressed and didn't think he could manage it.
After all the cancelations, NBC has announced its new fall schedule. Since Community only has a 13-episode order, it looks like it'll be a replacement show. So that means the only show on the entire schedule that I plan to watch at present is Parks And Recreation.
Happy birthday, Ritchie Valens. He died when we was only 17, in the plane crash that also took Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. Not too many teenagers leave a lot behind, but Ritchie did.
I just watched the Bob Saget comedy special That's What I'm Talking About. It's a good title, since he makes up so much of what he says as he goes along, and so much of it is generic.
Happy birthday, Steve Winwood. Believe it or not, little Stevie Winwood turns 65 today.
Happy birthday, Eric Burdon. He was the Animal's lead singer, and they were the roughest group to come over in the British Invasion. Their big hit, the song that broke them, was their 1964 take on an old folk song, a take so powerful it convinced Dylan to go electric:
Slaughter at NBC, as Whitney, 1600 Penn, Up All Night, Guys With Kids and Deception were put out of their misery (while they re-upped on Parks And Recreation). And then Go On (Matthew Perry should go back to Mr. Sunshine) and Rock Center. New shows have been ordered and a few other shows are on the bubble, in particular Community. On any other network it'd be canceled but NBC has so many flops that such a show, with a small but intense fan base, has a shot.
Happy birthday, Graham Gouldman. He was a singer and songwriter for 10cc.
Baz Luhrman's The Great Gatsby opens today. I'm not sure if I'm up to it. In fact, The Great Gatsby strikes me as essentially unfilmable. The plot isn't much--what makes the book a classic is its elegant sentences and polished tone, and its sense of longing, reinvention, uncertainty and sadness. It's something a film probably can't capture. Certainly none has so far, and I'm not sure if a Baz bash will do it. Having the film out, however, makes we want to read the book again.
I guess congratulations are in order to Mark Sanford for defeating Stephen Colbert's sister in a special congressional election in South Carolina this week. But I have to wonder if this teaches Republicans the wrong lesson.
I caught the new ABC sitcom Family Tools. Probably because it was in-between The Middle and Modern Family. The set-up, based on a British series, is pretty simple. Tony Shea, who runs a fix-it business, suffers a heart attack. His adult son, Jack, whom he's never gotten along with--partly because his son is a screw-up who can't stick to things--comes back home to take over the business.
Happy birthday to Chris Frantz, the luckiest member of Talking Heads, since he got to marry fellow bandmate Tina Weymouth.
Happy birthday, Johnny Maestro. He wasn't originally named Maestro, of course. It was Johnny Mastrangelo, which wouldn't fly in 1950s show biz.
I've been sensing a Mad Men backlash. It's as if people are starting to wonder how long can we watch people adrift. If that's the case, the latest episode, "For Immediate Release," should have allayed those fears. It featured purposeful characters pursuing specific goals, and enough plot for three episodes. I don't know if I'd call it a classic episode, but it least it was eventful. Some critics think the show should be about angst, and I say fine, as long as stuff is actually happening while they fret.
It's the birthday of Sigmund Freud, one of the most influential thinkers of our time. He may not always have been correct. but concepts he developed still define the debate.
It's Bob Seger's birthday. Growing up around Detroit, I heard him a lot on the radio. Maybe so much I didn't appreciate how good he was.
Want to feel old? Tina Yothers turns 40 today.
Playwright Arthur Laurents, who died two years ago today in 2011, was known for being sharp-tongued. He fell out with many friends in his long life, and was still calling it as he saw it up to the end. Take his final book, Mainly On Directing, published in 2009. More than once he condemns a production of a show he wrote but didn't direct--the 1980 revival of West Side Story, the 2003 revival of Gypsy, the movie version of West Side Story. The people behind them didn't have musicals "in their bones."