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Archive for the ‘Louie’ Category

galchen SOUNDTRACK: HILARY HAHN-Tiny Desk Concert #169 (October 21, 2011).

hilaryHilary Hahn is a violinist.  She looks to be about 12 (although she isn’t, but she did start playing when she was very young).

She plays two beautiful pieces by Bach (she made an album of Bach Partitas when she was only 16):

Gigue (from Partita No. 3) is fun and lively and Siciliana (from Sonata No. 1) is somber and sweet.  Her fingering is perfect.  She is playing an 1864 Vuillaume fiddle and her sound is beautiful.

Earlier in 2011, she had released an album of Charles Ives’ four violin sonatas.   The blurb says that Ives weaved bits of Americana into his sonatas–quotes from old hymns and folks songs.

For her final piece, she combines four of these pieces: “Shall We Gather at the River,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “Battle Cry of Freedom” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” into her own melody.  She comments:

“I’ve actually never played this before, and it doesn’t really exist,” she admitted before launching into the tunes. “You may recognize them. Maybe after hearing these, if you hear the sonatas, you’ll be like, ‘I know that part!'”

She also says she will try to accompany herself.  I wasn’t sure what she meant–she doesn’t use a looping pedal or anything, but the blurb says she plays “just the right double stops (two strings at once)” and it sounds beautiful.

She also asks if anyone minds if she wears a hat.  Ives was often photographed with a hat  and there was Bob’s fedora.  It looks quite nice on her.

[READ: April 26, 2016] new movies, new drama

I was surprised to see that Rivka Galchen had been doing reviews in Harper’s (that image above is actually from The New York Times, apologies).  It seems like a step down from writing long pieces or short stories.  But who knows, maybe it’s a good gig (heck, wouldn’t I love to write about movies and television …hey wait).

Over the past year she has written five reviews of entertainments.

In March 2015, she reviewed Paddington and I really liked her insights into the movie (I posted about that already, here).

Then in June 2015, she wrote about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  I had enjoyed the show by the time I read this piece (when it first came out), but I have just re-read it and it really makes me want to watch the new season (I watched the first episode but didn’t really love it as much as the previous season).  She raves about the opening credit sequence (which is fantastic) but spends a lot of the essay talking about how groundbreaking the show is because we are used to seeing adult men act like boys, but rarely do we see adult women act like girls (with glitter sneakers and a backpack).   The interesting thing is that “She invites admiration, yet it will be a rare viewer who would want to trade places with her…That’s what makes her a more radical invention than most earlier female comic leads.”

Galchen likes the “surprisingly glittering quality to dark moments… which appear unexpectedly and then dont quite vanish.”

She ties all this back to Lucy and Desi (Desilu produces the show). In real life, Desi Arnaz was discriminated against and relied on Lucille Ball to get him onto her show, thus the joke of Lucy trying to get into Ricky Ricardos’s show (I had no idea).

In September 2015, she writes about Louie (a show that she mentioned in the previous essay “Hallelujah”).  This time she is reviewing Season 5 of the show.  She talks of Louie as having a superpower: love.  “he transforms his sister’s aggressive gun-wielding ex-boyfriend into a gentle, giggling man who learns to knit.  Galchen focuses on the fourth episode, with his brother Bobby.  “Part of Louie’s superhero of love is his ability to occupy a position of humiliation and dejection, as if this might protect those around him from the same fate.”

She points out that no one on the show actually thinks Louie has any superpowers, but she enjoys reading it as such.  I have never been able to get into Louie, but she certainly make it sound very compelling–maybe I should start with Season 5..

In December of 2015, she wrote under the heading “new drama.” She writes about Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. She says the movie is about two groups who are above the law fighting each other.  “We never learn what all these missions are intended to bring about. Its’ simply presented as a given that the goals of the I.M.F. are good and that those of the Syndicate are bad.”

I’m intrigued at this note from Galchen: the original theme song was 5/4; “at various points in Rogue Nation, it’s been altered to 4/4.  This is some say, because the 4/4 beat is easier to dance to.

I was delighted at the way she segued the review of this movie into a review of a performance of Antigone, in which  a woman breaks the law to give her dead brother a proper burial.

These are characters for whom what is past–Antigone’s necessitous origins, Creon’s tainted ascent to the throne–is prophetic; the future is there waiting for them all along, and the future is death.  That the dead are still alive and trying to destroy us is, of course, also the premise of Rogue Nation.

She ties in that 4/4 dance beat at the end by mentioning a friend who said after watching the play that he couldn’t stop thinking of John Boehner (who had just resigned).  Galchen say that although it’s tempting to believe that the Pope’s words of kindness were what compelled him to resign, him to retire, it was mostly likely inspired by pressure from the right, but we prefer the Pope version–it’s an easier beat to follow.

Finally in March 2016, Galchen wrote about the Wooster Group, an experimental theater company.  She talks about their lucid, fevered work.  She saw their Hamlet in 2007 and was delighted by their unexpected delivery.  And now (well, then) they are doing Harold Pinter’s The Room.

She speaks of Pinter–his use of violence and long dramatic pauses.  The Room is a one-act black comedy. One of the things the Wooster Group does is show, behind the actors, television screens, partially turned to the audience with what appears to be Chinese political debates.  The actors wear earpieces that pipes the audio from these screens into their ears which no doubt impacts their delivery.

Wooster Group revels in the absurdity of their shows.  I’d be curious to see one of their productions, although i won’t be rushing out to do so.

 

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HarpersWeb-Cover-2016-01-410SOUNDTRACK: WILCO-Tiny Desk Concert #168 (October 17, 2011).

wilco2011Wilco is virtually the only band to have been asked back for a second Tiny Desk Concert.  I’ve listened to this concert a bunch of times but didn’t realize I hadn’t posted about it here.

There is a huge crowd for this show and as it starts, everyone shouts WILCO!

The band sounds great with all the members crowding in behind the Tiny Desk.  Tweedy plays his big acoustic guitar, Nels Cline plays all kinds of interesting sounds in the corner.  The drummer is on a small computer thing that seems to be made up of all manner of small percussive items.  There’s a bassist and keyboardist and a second guitarist all making a great sound.

“Dawned on Me” starts the set and sounds great in this setting—I love the walking bass throughout the song and of course Nels Cline plays a wonderfully insane noisy solo amid this simple and catchy folk song

Before the second song, “Whole Love” Glen’s got to get some things out of his toiletry bag.  This is another great song with Nels playing high notes to complement the rumbling bass.  No idea what the drummer is playing this time—a book?  Tweedy sings in falsetto for much of the song.

Tweedy says “this next song requires a certain amount of tuning—quiet please.”

He asks if anyone has any questions and when Bob says “I’m speechless,” someone on staff says “That’s a first,” which gets everyone laughing.  Bob asks if Jeff likes his bag of toys and Jeff says anyone who would make fun of his bag of toys is an idiot.  Sadly we never see the bag or the toys.

“Born Alone” has another great bass line that opens the song and the drummer is hitting lord only knows what.  This was the song by Wilco that made me really fall in love with the band.  Cline’s slide guitar is very cool.  But there’s something about the end of the song when the whole band plays a series of chords–the steps keep going lower and lower, and each time you think they’re going to stop, they just keep going. It’s very fun.

After that song Tweedy admits to breaking a sweat–Tiny Sweat!

The final song is “War on War.”  He says they played it about ten years ago in the city possibly for the first time.  They messed up the ending the other day, but they hope it doesn’t mess them up this time.  Cline goes berserk on his guitar.  The whole band rocks this song.  There’s some really cool harmonies on this track, too.  The keyboardist even has a little cow sound maker (that you can just barely hear, until the very end).  They get the ending right and Tweedy shouts “Nailed It!”

There is much applause as Bob asks, “Pretty good for a Saturday, huh?”  And as the applause dies down, someone yells, “Now lets trash this dump!”

It’s a great set.

[READ: March 25, 2016] “Hallelujah!”

I wanted to finish up all of the Harper’s pieces by Rivkla Galchen.  I had no idea what to expect from this piece.

It is one of those pieces in Harper’s that has images in the background–in this case musical notes and a portrait of Handel–to go with the  story.  And it is broken up into many little sections labelled 1. Sinfonia (Overture) 2. Accompagnato. 3. Air, etc up through 53 (!).

So this is obviously about Handel’s Messiah and the Hallelujah Chorus. (more…)

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grant12SOUNDTRACK: BELA FLECK, EDGAR MEYER, ZAKIR HUSSAIN-Tiny Desk Concert #70 (July 26, 2010).

belaBela Fleck is a rather legendary musician, and yet I realized I don’t really know that much about him.  And somehow I never knew he was a banjo player (that’s a pretty serious omission on my part).  I had never heard of the other two musicians, although they are apparently world-class masters of the bass fiddle and the tabla.

I also didn’t expect this Tiny Desk Concert to be so interestingly world-musicy.

This set is only two songs but each is about 7 minutes long and they are both very cool (and from the album The Melody of Rhythm).

Fleck’s playing is amazing, with a tone that is often unlike a standard banjo sound.  And I absolutely love the tabla–I am fascinated by this instrument.  The first song, “Bubbles” is an amazing demonstration of Fleck’s banjo.  About midway through he is playing in a decidedly middle eastern style (which works great with the tabla).  And when the bass starts getting bowed around 1:50, it adds an amazing richness to this already cool song.   There’s a cool bass solo (I love that the tabla pauses a few times during the solo).  The ending is just wonderful.

Before the second song, “Bahar” (which means “springtime”) they talk about being nervous, which is pretty funny.  This song opens with the bass fiddle’s bowed notes (including a very very high note).  This one seems to be a more solo-centered, with some elaborate work from Fleck after the introduction. And the tabla solo, while brief, is really cool to watch.  I prefer the first song, but the more traditional nature of the second song is a nice counterpart to the first.

[READ: August 24, 2015] Grantland #12

I enjoyed this issue as well.  This was mostly the spring and summer of 2014, which sounds so long ago, and yet so many things seem so current.

CHUCK KLOSTERMAN-“The Life and Times of Kiss”
I love this article about Kiss.  And I wrote about it back here.

WESLEY MORRIS-“Poison Candy”
This is about the disastrous state of female comedies.  It focuses on the movie The Other Woman which is ostensibly a female centered comedy but is entirely other.

BILL SIMMONS-“Sterling’s Fold”
A drumming down of Donald Sterling.  It’s hard for me to believe that this happened over a year ago.

ZACH LOWE-“Building the Brow”
An article about Anthony Davis of the Pelicans, who is proving to be better than anyone imagined. (more…)

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