351 FRIDAY 12 JUNE 2015 (-15)
A Musical – Brad Oscar, Brian d’Arcy James, Ensemble
A Musical, a love letter to the genre, is full of references from popular musicals. When the song came out, I saw a headline on a website claiming something like: “You’ll never guess the references to other musicals this song has,” or something along those lines. I can’t remember the site, but it was probably the Huffington Post. They love those “dare-you”-attention-grabbing headlines. I took their dare. I listened to the song and had no trouble finding all the references. It wasn’t hard at all. In a way, I felt like those geeks who love “Star Wars/Trek” and know every single detail of the franchises; I realised that I may have more in common with them than I ever thought. Don’t get me wrong; that won’t stop me from still making fun of them.
This song has the distinction of being the only song from 2015, making it the newest piece on the list. Just by coincidence, this week also features the oldest song I have included, “Vivaldi Concerto In G,” from 1720. With 14 songs, 1936 is the year with more entries. There’s at least one song from each year I’ve been on earth, except for 1969, 1980, 1990, 2004, 2005 and 2014.
Song Title: A Musical – 2015 Artist: Brad Oscar, Brian d’Arcy James, Ensemble Genre: Musical Composers: Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick Lyricist: Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick Album: Something Rotten! (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Favourite Lyrics: A musical / What could be more amazing than / A musical / With song and dance, and sweet romance
352 SATURDAY 13 JUNE 2015 (-14)
Paris Woman – Ensemble, Bluebell Girls – Top 10 Contender
One Saturday night in 1978, I sat in our family room to listen to a record my parents had brought from a trip to Paris. They had arrived from their European trip earlier in the day, and as they were unpacking, I saw the album. A watercolour painting of a showgirl doing a high kick on its cover looked sophisticated.
“What is this?”
“It’s the record from the show we saw at the Lido de Paris”, Mum answered as she kept unpacking.
“Lido de Paris? What is it?”
“It’s a famous cabaret in Paris. It’s been there since the 1940s.”
I took the record and looked inside through a booklet full of pictures of dancers wearing sumptuous costumes and strutting across an elaborate stage. I thought it was just fabulous. I had to listen to it. So, that night, after a few relatives who had come to welcome back my parents had left, and my parents and siblings had gone to bed, I went into the family room to listen to the record.
That night was the first time I played with images and movements in my head. I just sat there, closed my eyes and let the music of “Allez Lido!” dictate what it wanted me to envision. In a way, it was my first edit. I cut all the musical numbers in my head by combining long shots, medium shots and close-ups.
I used to listen to the record a lot, and as any editor would do, I would change something in my head every time I heard the record. I would listen to a particular song repeatedly until I was satisfied with what I saw in my head.
From then on, I got into the habit of editing musical numbers in my head every time I listened to music.
“Allez Lido!” is, perhaps, the most important album I’ve ever owned. Dropping the needle on the vinyl that Saturday night marked the start of an era. Any story I tell about myself can be traced back to that moment.
More than 10 years ago, my mother was cleaning the family room closet and found the record. She knew how much I liked it, so she had it transferred to CD and sent it to me along with the original record. That was such a nice thing to do. It is the only record from my childhood that I still have.
Song Title: Paris Woman – 1977 Artist: Ensemble, Bluebell Girls Genre: Musical Composers: J. Harbert Lyricist: A. Hornez Album: Allez Lido!
353 SUNDAY 14 JUNE 2015 (-13)
Somos Novios – José Cura
Almost ten years ago, I received a phone call from the man I was seeing, the same man who had recently asked me to move in with him in Hawke’s Bay. He was coming to see me in Wellington because we had to talk. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? “It’s not you, it’s me … Blah, blah, blah … Perhaps we should take a break … blah.”
By the time he left the following day, we had agreed we’d take a break from each other and see where we stood two months down the track. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, but I changed my mind when I launched iTunes that morning, and this was the first song that played, Somos Novios or “We Are Lovers”.
For years, I thought that the universe sent me hidden messages, and it was my duty to decipher them. The fact that this song, about two lovers trying to find common ground to define their relationship, randomly played at that moment clearly indicated that Keith and I were not broken up. The gods had planned it this way. They were sending me a clear signal that, in the end, everything would be okay.
I’m not sure what kind of message the gods were sending him or how he interpreted them, though. Within a week, he had another boyfriend and had moved on. There was no need to wait for those two months down the road to meet again. We broke up for good. Yet, months after that, I became a bit obsessed with the meaning of this song playing randomly the morning he left me. It was years before I finally realised that some things are genuinely random, and that’s all there is to them.
I picked the song not only because it is a beautiful composition but also as a reminder that not everything has to have a meaning and that many things will forever go unexplained.
Song Title: Somos Novios – 1968 Artist: José Cura Genre: Latin Composers: Armando Manzanero Lyricist: Armando Manzanero Album: Boleros
Favourite Lyrics: Para hablarnos, para darnos / el mas dulce de los besos / recordar de que color / son los cerezos, / sin hacer mas comentarios / somos novios.
If only to talking / and give ourselves the sweetest of kisses / To remember what colour the cherry blossom are / no further comments / that’s why we are dating.
354 MONDAY 15 JUNE 2015 (-12)
Vivaldi Concerto In G – Orchestra
When in 2004, Sofia Coppola accepted her Academy Award for writing “Lost In Translation”, she mentioned Bob Fosse as one of the few filmmakers who had influenced her work. On the surface, her film may appear to be about two people falling in love among the chaos of a foreign language they don’t speak and a culture they don’t understand. However, in reality, expressing their feelings and emotions about each other and their respective partners is also getting lost in translation. Right there, that’s where you can see Fosse’s influence. He was a genius at telling two stories, the one you thought he was telling and the one he was actually telling.
I have talked about Fosse, the theatre director (37. Nowadays), the choreographer and dancer (328. Snake In The Grass), and even Fosse, the singer (67. In Our United State). So, it is now time to talk about Fosse, the filmmaker.
Between 1969 and 1983, Bob Fosse directed five films (Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Lenny, All That Jazz and Star 80). Except for “Star 80”, his films garnered 12 Academy Awards total, including one for his direction of “Cabaret”. Additionally, there were other 16 nominations, including two for his directorial work on “Lenny” and “All That Jazz”. At this moment, I think it is worth mentioning that Bob Fosse is the only person to have won an Oscar (Cabaret), an Emmy (Liza With a Z) and a Tony (Pippin’) for best director in the same year. Had he been a baseball player, his batting average would have been … whatever a good average is. The man only made five films, got nominated three times, and had one win. You do the stats.
Just as with his theatre work, Fosse created his own film language. Whether it was the quick editing in “Sweet Charity” or the dynamics of a group of young people standing in for an entire population in pre-Nazi Germany; a comedian’s wife battling with his demons, a narcissistic theatre director convinced he’ll be remembered for his peccadillos, rather than for his art; or even a playmate of the year jumping through a timeline of events that, no matter what will always end in tragedy, Fosse left its signature in every single frame of his films. Along the way, I’m sure, he inspired many filmmakers to push their boundaries when it came to telling their stories. In my case, I can see his influence on my editing style. Whenever I have to cut an important or special story, I always ask myself, “what would Fosse do?” Then, I snap my fingers twice, and off I go.
Whenever I hear Vivaldi Concerto In G, I think of Fosse. He used it at the start of “All That Jazz” to help set the film’s mood. From the get-go, we see the lifestyle that eventually brings Joe down at the end of the movie. The montage also spawned the line: “It’s Showtime, Folks”, which every now and then people use when they are about to start something. Recently, the TV show “Better Call Saul” played homage to Fosse in an episode where Saul navigates through the daily occurrences of his job as a public defender.
Song Title: Vivaldi Concerto In G – Mid-1720 and 1730 Artist: Orchestra Genre: Classical Composers: Antonio Vivaldi Album: All That Jazz
355 TUESDAY 16 JUNE 2015 (-11)
Cuban American Medley – Arturo Sandoval
There is something so infectious about Arturo Sandoval’s music that every time I listen, I just want to stop whatever I’m doing and dance. For those who don’t know Arturo Sandoval, he is a multi-Grammy winner trumpet player born in Cuba. He grew up under the influence of a few jazz masters like Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie. The latter eventually became his mentor. In 2000, Andy Garcia starred as Sandoval in HBO’s biopic “For Love Or Country”, which tells the story of his upbringing in Cuba, his music, and his eventual defection to the USA.
I knew I wanted to include another Sandoval track on the list, so I included Cuban American Medley. I thought it was the perfect combination of the Latin beat and American culture that has been present throughout much of my life.
Song Title: Cuban American Medley (Back Home In Indiana, Take Me Off To The Ball Game, Little Lulu) – 1998/1917 Artist: Arturo Sandoval Genre: Latin Composers: James F. Hanley / Albert Von Tilzer / Buddy Kaye, Sidney Lippman Album: Hot House
356 WEDNESDAY 17 JUNE 2015 (-10)
Deborah’s Theme – Amapola – Orchestra
Once I read that we all should have a musical theme. Actually, I may have come up with the concept. I’m not sure. I’m even confused about what it would mean exactly.
Have you ever thought about what may go through your mind and heart when you know you’re about to die? Do our memories transform into a film that plays in front of our eyes? Do we start hearing the familiar steps and voices of loved ones, long gone, waiting for us at the movie’s end? Are our hearts still alive? Do we still find the strength to have one last dream? Have our lives mattered to at least one person in this world we’re about to vacate? Are we happy? What would we change if we had to do it all over again? That is the moment when, I think, we play our musical theme. It is the piece of music that is going to help us get closure at the end of our lives. If someone were to make a movie about our lives, this is the composition that would tie all loose ends to give our film the finish it deserves.
Fade to black. Roll credits.
Song Title: Deborah’s Theme – Amapola – 1984/1924 Artist: Orchestra Genre: Soundtrack/Pop Composer: José María Lacalle/Ennio Morricone Album: Once upon a time in America
357 THURSDAY 18 JUNE 2015 (-9)
Maple Leaf Rag – Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks
From the I-can’t-believe-I-haven’t-included-this-one list comes Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. Although originally a ragtime, I’ve decided to include this jazz arrangement from the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack. The piece is very playful; I love its beat.
Song Title: Maple Leaf Rag – 1899 Artist: Vince Giordano And The Nighthawks Genre: Ragtime Composers: Scott Joplin Album: Boardwalk Empire, Vol. 1