Hair is a 1979 musical war comedy-drama film adaptation of the 1968 Broadway musical of the same name about a Vietnam War draftee who meets and befriends a tribe of long-haired hippies on his way to the army induction center. The hippies introduce him to their environment of cannabis, LSD, unorthodox relationships and draft dodging.
I was a sophomore in high school, and working on my school, newspaper when the movie came out. I wrote a review for the paper, which I have around here somewhere and may add later, if I feel like it.
My father, who had seen the musical onstage with the original cast, had the music on reel to reel tape, and it was a regular request in our house.
When the movie came out, I was excited to see it for the first time. (Nudity wasn’t a thing for kids then or now, really.)
Until this scene came onscreen, I was all about listening to the music and seeing how it played out in real life.
Now, here’s the thing. Dad used to take us to airshows when we were kids. We would see the old WWII planes as well as more modern military craft. After the movie, I wouldn’t go near the C-130s. I couldn’t shake this scene, no matter what I tried.
It is virtually impossible for me to see these airplanes and not see Arlington National Cemetery on the other side.
This song has popped onto my Pandora feed a couple of times since I added HAIR to the playlist for my Modern Musicals channel.
It’s one-hit-wonder time today, with Kajagoogoo‘s Too Shy, a video I liked a great deal when I used to watch MTV (back when they showed, you know, music).
I always wondered what happened to them, because I knew there was something that happened. Limahl broke away (well, not really, according to Wikipedia), and eventually made a hit out of the theme for the movie version of The NeverEnding Story.
Ah, well. The backstory is seldom as nice a read as the art produced.
Yesterday’s parodies of Bohemian Rhapsody have inspired me to post the reason why I think Frozen will take at least one Oscar come Sunday. Let’s face it – there are few songs from movies that achieve such lofty status in such a short period of time. The Disney movie hit screens on November 27, 2013. Since then, there have been (as of this writing) some 213,000 parodies of the song Let It Go, written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, performed by Idina Menzel. If that’s not a guarantee of success for Original Song, I don’t know what is.
I already mentioned Let It Go once, but once clearly wasn’t enough. I guess I can’t let it go. And, as I said yesterday, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Here are three parodies for your Feel Good Friday pleasure:
First, there’s the tip of the hat to Batman’s Mr. Freeze. (Vocals not ideal, but then I don’t think of “Ahnold” as a particularly musical actor.)
Then there’s the literal version, which ought to get a lot more exposure than it has, because it is, in fact, awesome. High notes and all.
And finally, Cincinnati WKRC Traffic Man Bob Herzog’s exquisitely performed Traffic Man parody, which leads to the inevitable “I wish winter would end” feeling I’ve got, knowing there’s yet another winter storm on the way.
Throwback Thursday isn’t just for the original clip. Sometimes, it’s for the original clip and all the things it inspires.
The original, ground-breaking Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was released in 1975 as part of the album A Night at the Opera. Since then, it has achieved stratospheric status as the UK’s third best-selling single of all time. The work is amazing, considering the analog nature of the recording and the process of assembly. (Click the link for a detailed description of the entire studio and post-production work that went into the final project.)
As imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery, this song has plenty to recommend it, from Wayne’s World…
It’s almost time for the Oscars and it’s finally time to post these two “That’s Entertainment” style videos, produced by Robert Jones as loving tributes to dance in the movies. I think there are some key clips Robert missed in these first two takes, and he acknowledges as much in a comment on the second video:
Ive [sic] got about 250 movies/clips that involve dancing and between the two dance tributes I’ve used less than half. There are so many movies I wanted to work into this one. A video like this is very time consuming. I’d love to make another one though. It’s a lot of fun.
I sure hope he does, because I love the work he did on these two:
I wanted to include something to recognize my connection to Shirley Temple Black, in light of her death on February 10th of this year. This is the first chance I’ve had to include a few links to her life and work.
You can certainly go search YouTube for more, but I’ll tell you I’ve had a thing for Shirley Temple’s work ever since my sitter first wrapped my curly hair in vertical ringlets at a very tender age. I wanted dance lessons like crazy, I thought I could sing just like Shirley. I’m certain I wasn’t alone. Long, long after she stopped making movies, I was a staunch fan. I knew this song by heart, but it wasn’t the only one I could sing (in my own, off-key way):
In later years, after she ended her movie career at the top of her game, Shirley Temple Black became a diplomat, serving in a variety of locations. She also became one of the first public figures to highlight breast cancer, when she was diagnosed with the disease in 1972. She received lifetime recognition through both the Screen Actors Guild and the Kennedy Center Honors.
In the long, long list of child stars, Shirley Temple’s early works remain a sweet, sunny reminder of childhood’s best moments, even if her own life wasn’t among the fairy tales with which she became associated later in life. This biopic from 2001 tells a lot of her story. In a lot of ways, she led the way through a minefield for child stars, and she did it with poise and grace. I’m glad to have experienced her work.
This is the reason why I skipped Ben Stiller’s 2013 remake of the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which was in turn based on a James Thurber short story. I just couldn’t bring myself to see the king of deadpan take the classic I adore and bend it to his will.
Danny Kaye didn’t read music. That never ever mattered. I don’t think there are many (any?) actors alive today who could actually do what he did in his movies.
No, the movie didn’t have that much to do with the original short story. And that’s okay. The new one didn’t, either. And that’s another story.
We’re on the run up to the Academy Awards, and we’re in Russia right now for the Olympics. What better reason (aside from watching these two gifted dancers) do I need to feature this clip from White Nights? Why, none at all.
They made it look easy. I know better.
Celebrating the return of my internet, thanks to that “other” monopoly that made the news last week. Enjoy the first of five posts in the same day.
Citizen King is a two-hour biography of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. produced by WGBH for the PBS series American Experience in honor of Dr. King’s 75th birthday. The original movie aired January 19, 2004. Clicking the link above will bring you to the web page devoted to the movie, including a timeline, teaching materials and more.
The fact is, Citizen King centers around Dr. King, and on what he achieved in just 39 short years. I think it’s a good but incomplete picture. Before you watch the movie, though, I strongly suggest reading this Blog entry from the Daily Kos.
My birth year, 1963, was a turning point in the Civil Rights movement. I grew up in Rochester, NY and had little experience with the southern states until I moved to Maryland in 1986, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have experience with racism. The question is the degree.
I have tried to honor Dr. King’s messages and am glad to have a platform for sharing these important words, so that those who might learn more can remember that we are not done with the search for justice and equality for everyone, but need to work every day to achieve Dr. King’s goal:
We are not so far removed from those days in the 1960s. Not all of us are ready to join hands, though we are much closer than we were.
… when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
I believe we aren’t done with the work and we aren’t all free. Not yet.
On this rare occasion, I’m providing a link to the entire YouTube playlist, so you can watch all 13 parts in sequence if you wish. Each part is roughly nine minutes long. Click the link below to go straight to YouTube to watch.
I think it’s a safe bet that of all the things I love about Muppet Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Present is my favorite is my favorite character and this scene the best in the movie.
Not just that I have a thing for redheads (because I do), but the emotion carried out, the truth in this scene in relation to the original story, the character is so well played, it just makes me want to see this movie over and over again.
A melancholy little tune, fitting for today’s theme of loss on my Facebook Friends List, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” comes from Meet Me In St. Louis, one of Metro Goldwin Mayer’s classic Golden-Age musicals. The movie, made in 1944, was directed by Judy Garland’s husband-to-be, Vincente Minnelli. (It’s their first film together. Liza was merely a glint in the eye at the time.) The movie from produced two hits for Garland. (“The Trolley Song” was the second.)
I can sing this song by heart, but it always leaves me sad afterward. The holidays aren’t always happy.
Months ago, when I picked out this video, a clip from the movie version of Cabaret, I had quite fresh in my mind all the ghastly conversation that led to unfriending more than a dozen people I knew in person and on Facebook, many of whom fell squarely in the Tea Party’s political camp.
I thought then and I still think today that these might be good people except that they are driven by an ideology which could easily bring about the same sort of violence in the name of Nationalism and supremacy that makes our political conversations today virtually impossible.
Take this challenge. Put the word Nazi into Google. You won’t get the Wikipedia article about the Germans as the first entry in the list. No, you will see a link to the American Nazi Party. No, I will not provide a link. You can do the search yourself.
Every time I hear someone refer to our president and his advisors as fascists, every time I hear someone call for exterminating a group of people for views that differ, I think back. Don’t think for one moment that these are isolated pockets. The Germans had concentration camps and mass graves in far, far more places than just the camps we thought we knew about, throughout occupied territories like Poland as well as in Germany. And the United States was not immune – we held innocent Japanese Americans in our own camps, out of fear that they would somehow reject their country’s values and join those in Japan, acting against those who were not Japanese in the United States.
To be sure, we managed to make those camps more humane, but really? I have heard talk that women who choose abortion should be locked away. That gays should be rounded up. We already do this with people whose families come from across the Mexican border. Have a look at what’s going on in Arizona and you’ll understand just what I mean.
I lost family in Germany in the 1940s and in England as well (soldiers fallen to battle, or family rounded up into the camps). My heritage lies squarely in Europe, though I am third generation. With one quarter’s exception, my family was the target of the Nazi movement.
Almost 30 years ago, I graduated with a newly minted tech theatre degree, inspired in part by this musical. I discovered a way to express important information through a medium that encompassed all of my artistic abilities. Two and a half years earlier, I heard this song sung in our New Paltz production of the show, after spending over a hundred hours working on the show (to the exclusion of my other classes).
If you have the stomach for it, this is a beautiful, chilling song. It is sung by an intensely proud people. A people who have not yet moved to mass incarceration and murder but whose views on the superiority of their race would soon rip their world apart.
On November 9 and 10, 1938 in Austria and throughout Europe, began Kristallnacht, the systematic rounding up and pulverization of a group of people considered outside the Aryan race. Jews, gays, Roma, in fact anyone who failed the National purity test became targets for extermination. In spite of the Schindlers and their like, the insanity was sufficient to imprison or murder an estimated 15 to 20 million people.
That’s the entirepopulation of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio combined.
On this, the 75th anniversary of that terrible event, I take this opportunity to remind you that in some areas of the United States we are a hair’s breadth of this same sort of terror. The Neo Confederacy wants our world back the way it was, all comfy with slaves.
I suggest remembering and listening to the song and paying attention to its singers.
Oh, but it’s so much more than just Oingo Boingo or Dead Man’s Party.
Danny Elfman’s work as composer helped make Nightmare Before Christmas the spectacular artistic effort it is. Combined with Corpse Bride, you have a mash-up of simply epic proportions.
Not the video you remember from the ’80s? There’s a reason. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love it when Elfman mugs for the camera, but the cuts between the movie Back to School (dreadful full-on ’80s teen angst flick) and Oingo Boingo in concert with animated Day of the Dead figures, makes for a much less cohesive video overall.
Seriously. No, I never saw the original. As much as fictional movies like this are about the characters placed in their events, there is nothing to replace the fact that the ship sank and I’m over it. Pretty costumes and awesome acting will not change that fact for me.
Ironically, tomorrow’s last installment of Honest Movie Trailers also features a James Cameron film (you’ll never guess which). All because I can.