random tidbits

Last week in music discussion, our TA offered extra credit to anyone who could find out the name of the motown hit that used the same melody as Bach’s Minuet in G, and what group it was. In my infinite nerdiness, I already knew the answer: “A Lover’s Concerto” by the Toys (thank you Mr. Holland’s Opus!). Though it’s pretty repetitive, you can’t deny it’s a catchy song.

The other day in film class we watched Footlight Parade. I was excited because I’ve heard so many James Cagney impressions (and by that I mean the reference in Help! and Micky Dolenz’s “inimitable James Cagney” in a bunch of Monkees episodes) but never truly watched one of his movies. Turns out in this one he’s not a gangster but a mild-mannered musical producer, haha. Just as great. So in case you ever wanted to see James Cagney tap-dancing:

Also, I am really enjoying Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography. It’s fascinating to read about the social interactions between people who are now considered legendary…dinner parties with Mr. and Mrs. Einstein, Rachmaninoff, Aldous Huxley…I can only imagine. There was a part I read today about William Randolph Hearst, which I found amusing:

At times he was surprisingly childish and his feelings could be easily hurt. I remember one evening while we were choosing sides for a game of charades, he complained that he had been left out. “Well,” said Jack Gilbert facetiously, “we’ll play a charade on our own, and act out the word ‘pillbox’ – I’ll be the box and you can be the pill.” But W.R. took it the wrong way; his voice quivered. “I don’t want to play your old charades,” he said, and with that he left the room, slamming the door behind him.

It’s so funny to visualize all these movie stars and distinguished men gathered in San Simeon playing party games, haha. I guess they’re really not that different from anyone else.

***New obsession warning***

Charlie Chaplin = amazing. I now have a new appreciation for silent films. Although it takes considerable ability to create witty dialogue and believable conversation, it takes another kind of talent altogether to convey the same humor and emotion without words. In the past two weeks I’ve watched more silent films than I probably thought I’d watch in my entire lifetime.

Anyway, I can’t get enough of Charlie Chaplin. I’ve been reading a ton of books on him for my research paper and haven’t gotten tired of it yet. He was everything – writer, director, actor, composer, comedian…how can you not love him?

And as usual, I have YouTube to thank for feeding my obsessions…here’s some things I likely wouldn’t have found otherwise:

Blooper Reel – I looooove this! Every time he cracks up it makes me smile. :)
The Great Dictator – Not only was he a master of silent comedy, but just as funny in sound. Tighten de belten, hahaha.
Charlie as himself – Charlie in real life, without the tramp attire. Awww I just want to hug him!

gliding down over Mulholland

I can finally say that I’m truly happy to be in LA. I’ve had a kind of love-hate relationship with the city the past two years, but now I’ve grown to love it. The traffic and smog still suck, but I like the feeling of being a part of something big. And I love discovering new and exciting things, which there are plenty of.

I began making an LA playlist: songs from my itunes that are specifically about the city, or at least make significant references to it. I have compiled part of it into a convenient list of video links, for your (or perhaps only my) enjoyment:

Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty. The ultimate LA-imagery song for me: “It’s a long day livin in Reseda/There’s a freeway runnin through the yard…”
Imitation of Life – R.E.M. I first saw this video in a motel room somewhere when I was like 12, and it stuck with me for some reason. It’s been a favorite ever since.
Cruisin’ – Mike Nesmith. So incredibly 80s! I love the scenes of Sunset Strip…and Mike at the end, baha. This song usually gets stuck in my head forever.
LA Woman – The Doors. This video was made way later than the song, but it has a 60s Mustang so it’s still cool.
Beverly Hills – Weezer. Duh.

There are/will be more, but those are the videos I could find at the moment. There’s nothing like listening to this playlist while riding down Sunset Blvd. on a Saturday morning…

home of the future…er, past?

Disclaimer: I think mid-century interior decor is something you either find strangely appealing or disgustingly hideous. Personally, I love it. From funky starburst wall clocks to chrome dining tables and avocado green appliances, the homes of the 60s and 70s were a sight to behold…

That’s actually a recent pic from some guy’s house in the Valley, there are tons more here. Dig those clocks, chairs, and hanging light fixtures! IT’S MY DREAM HOME! Seriously, I would love to have a house like that, haha. I was lucky though; I got to spend a good part of my childhood at my grandparents’ house, which was the epitome of 70s color schemes. I found a picture to serve as proof:

(Yes that’s me…learning to walk with the assistance of a mustard yellow ottoman.)

I really do love those colors, though. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ll always associate them with my grandma’s house, which stirs up memories of carefree childhood days…family get-togethers, easter egg hunts, cherries in summertime, etc. My aunt lives there now, so while the green carpeting and some of the art on the wall still exists, the place has been significantly modernized. Ah well, I’m glad I still have the luxury of revisiting it every once in a while.
And in case you’re wondering, no, my new apartment will not look like this, haha. I’m sure it’ll have more than a few retro splashes here and there, but I’ll wait til I own a house someday to construct my groovy mid-century pad, muahahaha.

Tonight’s retro entry brought to you by:
Atomic Ranch
Mid Century Mod <- LJ community
Avocado Memories <- some guy’s website entirely about growing up in 60s/70s Burbank

(Don’t ask how I find these things…I have a lot of time on my hands.)

to the great gig in the sky

I’m not that hardcore of a Pink Floyd fan, but I do love their music and they are definitely up there on my list of favorite bands. Last night I decided to pull out Dark Side Of The Moon and listen to it before I went to sleep. Now I’ve just found out that Rick Wright, keyboardist and one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, passed away today. He was 65.

R.I.P. Rick <3

climb in the back with your head in the clouds

The Love show was amazing. I can’t really explain it…it’s just like you’re sucked into this world of elaborately constructed psychedelia for two hours, with people and colors and sound all around you. And the MUSIC…I was blown away. George Martin is a god. The soundtrack is like a whole new Beatles album; songs are combined and remixed and they sound incredible. I love not knowing what comes next, and the way he pieced everything together blows my mind.

In terms of Cirque du Soleil and the entire production, the acrobatics were CRAZY. There was so much to watch that I can’t have possibly seen it all, and still wouldn’t even if I went back and saw the show a hundred more times. Right down to the props and lighting, EVERYTHING was so detailed. It was incredible.

The pictures in this post are from the Beatles Love website…they kind of give you an idea of what it was like, though nothing compares to actually being there.

Lately I’ve found myself in awe of how perfectly the Beatles’ music can represent an entire decade, an entire generation, and everything that came after it. Sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing whether the 60s shaped the music of the Beatles or if it was really the other way around. Out of all my favorite artists and idols, I can’t think of a single one who wasn’t influenced by them.

At the end, the screens came back down and played a little montage of Beatles pictures. The whole show had this ethereal, larger-than-life kind of feel to it, and then to see the familiar pictures of the Beatles at the end and realize that these four guys were responsible for it all, it was pretty crazy. What I think – and what was pretty much epitomized by the Love show – is that the Beatles’ music is an experience. It is experiencing the 60s – from innocence to experimentation to revolution, and everything in between. For someone who never got to live it, it’s probably the closest I can come to knowing what that time was like. I guess all I’m trying to say is I’m glad these guys came along and wrote some songs together; I’d be awfully empty without them.

defending my honor, isn’t that groovy?

This past week has been marked by an excessive amount of Monkee-marathoning. I can’t believe my parents have put up with listening to the Monkees theme song literally ten times a day, haha.

I am so in love with Mike Nesmith. I don’t know whether it’s the hair, the wool hat, the voice, or some combination of quirky attributes that is so attractive to me…I can’t really figure it out so I’ll just post a bunch of videos instead.

Here is a compilation of links I like to call “The Best of Mike, According to Nikki and Thanks to YouTube”:
*Billy Roy Hodstetter at 1:25 – 2:00. AWWWWW so cute!!
*Save the Texas Prairie Chicken I love how his accent is so much heavier in real life and he has to tone it down for the scene, haha.
*Princess Gwen – 3:30 – 3:55. Actually this whole episode is full of win. But “HAROLD YOU BETTER GET THIS CARRIAGE OUTTA THE MUD” takes the cake.
*Mike and Frank Zappa – “I’ll teach you how to play the car…”

And finally, because the only thing better than one Mike Nesmith is TWO Mike Nesmiths! (Uber-Country Mike is my favorite:)

I enjoy times like this, when I have nothing to do besides preoccupy myself with 60s love. While browsing though my past journals, I’ve noticed that it’s a distinct trend: the summer before freshman year I was in my huge Beatles phase…my journal is filled with so many pictures and drawings and lyrics it’s almost overwhelming. Then the summer before sophomore year was the Rolling Stones (and Keith Richards)…I made a CD of Keith songs that I swear I listened to every night as I went to sleep. And the summer before senior year was definitely The Who. I spent hours learning Who songs on guitar and trying to perfect the Townshend windmill. (Don’t really know what I was into the summer before junior year…I think I actually liked recent music for a while, haha). Anyway, I guess drum corps fills up a lot of my break, but there is still just the right amount of time to get caught up in another obsession, and this is the result…


I’ll leave you with that. And now, it’s off to Vegas! PAYCE!