theladyrose: (Default)
Thanks so much for all of the birthday wishes - I feel so lucky to have such a thoughtful f-list :) I'm writing bunches and bunches of letters and am slowly getting around to mailing them out, but it'll be a while as I have over two dozen people to whom I'm writing. If you want a postcard, though, leave a comment here (all comments are screened for privacy). [ profile] horosha, yes, I'll accept the raincheck :)

Last Saturday I started off the third decade of my life in Venice, living out a dream that many older than I fantasize of experiencing. My roommate India - the most perfect traveling companion I've ever had who isn't [ profile] eyepiece_simile - and I trekked from one end of the city to the other, through endless calles (alleyways) and across countless bridges big and small. We visited numerous cathedrals with Maria and Marco featured in the title and the highlights of the Piazza San Marco, although sadly. Boiling our visit down to these set points, though, misses out on what you actually experience as a visitor to the city.

As I wrote in something that I'm currently working on: Venice allowed him to find refuge in eternal beauty and the allure of intrigues past, to hide away in the shadowy calles and the ebb and flow of glass green canals. The city restored his faith that even when besieged by change and decay, human achievement could stand against time and still rejuvenate the spirit. It wasn’t the ubiquitous presence of churches, as awe-inspiring as they were, but the grace of cultures melding, the serene congruity of centuries in architectural form simply existing that instilled such wonder. Il Palazzo Ducale exemplifies the tranquil riot of contrasts that is this city, the imposing paneled, gilded and frescoed splendor of the legislative and judiciary quarters juxtaposed with the cool dark jails for criminals of all stripes just behind the walls.

And this rarefied world is slowly sinking into the lagoon that had shielded its initial development and growing pains as a city, lending just the right touch of romantic melancholy amidst the tourist kitsch.

More musings about being in Italy )

On a completely unrelated note, [ profile] lilbabiangel888 tagged me for the following meme:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your LJ along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they're listening.

Technically, these aren't all songs because as an unabashed soundtrack geek, I still find the whole concept of music with vocals and words rather nifty. I'm more of a spirit rather than the letter of the law kind of person, anyway. You can download these if you click on them.

Songs to listen to when leaving Venice:

This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home: Doctor Who Series 3 (Murray Gold)
Ratatouille Main Theme (Michael Giacchino)
Theme from the Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Paul Cantelon)
Broken Hearted Melody: Sarah Vaughan (taken from Infamous)
Same Mistake: James Blunt (taken from P.S. I Love You)
Suzanne: Noel Harrison (courtesy of the ever-generous [ profile] wiccagirl24)
Kissing Through Glass: A Very Long Engagement (Angelo Badalamenti)

Meme 2, snagged from [ profile] swashbuckler332 and [ profile] lehah:

Post a reply and I will:

A) tell you why I friended you,
B) associate you with something - fandom, a song, a color, a photo, etc.,
C) tell you something I like about you,
D) tell you a memory I have of you,
E) ask something I've always wanted to know about you,
F) tell you my favorite user pic of yours,
G) in return, you must post this in your LJ. (More like highly recommended, because I don't like coercing people.)
theladyrose: (Default)
I have officially been cited by LAPD...

For crossing an intersection diagonally, instead of at right angles.

Serves me right for not paying attention to the officers on the corner where I was headed, but I'm still pissed at myself. The absurdity of this situation almost rivals the time I caught frostbite in January in the middle of Los Angeles. If you're going to be written up by the police for something this dumb, you want it to be over-the-top ridiculous, like dancing in the street in a gorilla costume. Now I'm hoping that the ticket to arrive in my mailbox before I move out or else it'll go on my record.

Someone in the [ profile] yann_tiersen community just recommended the most amazing covers of cues from Amélie, Goodbye, Lenin! and a few other Tiersen compositions. I tend to be notoriously picky about recordings of soundtrack cues not done by the composer (and sometimes even by the composer himself - I was unexpectedly disappointed by Tiersen's the Black Sessions), but Dave Thomas's performances are a real treat. This classical guitar cover of the Amélie waltz is pretty awesome, too.

My inner literary geek is selfishly glad to know that Dmitri Nabokov is going to publish his father's unfinished work, The Original of Laura against the dead man's wishes.

Random meme that I found entertaining:

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I'm balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I'm right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I'm still around, and doing, still, alright.
In short, I'm calm and rational and stable -
Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.
What Poetry Form Are You?
theladyrose: (Default)
Have you gotten that message about Gmail Custom Time?  They're doing a beta test here on campus as Google now hosts our web services and uses Gmail as our e-mail client.  It looks pretty cool:

Ever wish you could go back in time and send that crucial email that could have changed everything -- if only it hadn't slipped your mind?

Gmail can now help you with those missed deadlines, missed birthdays and missed opportunities.

Pre-date your messages

You tell us what time you would have wanted your email sent, and we'll take care of the rest. Need an email to arrive 6 hours ago? No problem.

Mark as read or unread
Take sending emails to the past one step further. We let you make emails look like they've been read all along.

Make them count
Use your custom time stamped messages wisely -- each Gmail user gets ten per year.

Worry less
Forget your finance reports. Forget your anniversary. We'll make it look like you remembered.

Learn more about Gmail Custom Time.

Good thing it's not April 1st, right? :P

On to the (more) serious stuff: many, many congrats to [profile] one_blankpage !  I'm so proud of my would-be little sister - you have so many wonderful college choices that I know you can't make a wrong one :D

fans - my awesome roommate,
[profile] lilbabiangel888, took a ton of amazing photos of the latest SN con here and also has video footage if you're interested in taking a peek.  I'm being completely serious.  Squee away!

It was a year since I last updated my records of what soundtracks I have in my iTunes library.  As I find myself realizing that if I'm not careful I'm going to run out of space on my computer, I've been cleaning up my collection.  I've come to the conclusion that I have way too much stuff that would be classified by my peers as easy listening, but god forbid I ever get rid of my orchestral jazz/cult spy soundtracks.  If you'd like me to send you a copy of any of these, I'd be more than happy to do so :D

theladyrose: (Default)
If the tickets are sold out for tonight's final panel for the Academy's Music Soundtrack series, I think I really will cry. I wanted to order tickets earlier but didn't because my coordinator for CIRCLE, the class I'm TAing next week, has rescheduled our orientation planning week THREE TIMES. And she lectures us about professionalism...

LA folk, have any of you ever been to the Linwood Dunn theater before? If you have, do you know what the seating capacity is? I'm really worried that the tickets will be sold out by the time I get there tonight; I'm leaving at 6:15 from South Central (USC) for an event that starts at 7 in hope that I can still buy tickets at the door.

Honestly, the only reason why I'm going is because of Michael Giacchino, he of Medal of Honor, Alias, Lost, the Incredibles, Mission: Impossible III and Ratatouille musical fame. You know, pretty much the only living composer I idolize whose life expectancy is predicted beyond the next 30-40 years (with the exception of [ profile] madbard, naturally). Out of all of the composers I follow, I know Giacchino's body of work better than anyone else's and have been following his career since he started working on Alias. I have every film soundtrack (as well as the MOH video game ones) that contains his music; if you rummage through my past LJ entries, the and the notes on my hard drive, you'll see my incomplete documentation of how I predicted what would happen next on Alias/how the music aurally illustrated the storyline within each episode. I think I'll keel over happy if I can ask him a question or get his autograph and possibly faint if I can get a photo with him afterwards.

I don't really have the time to do this, but carpe diem, right?
theladyrose: (Default)
It's quite possible I'm one of the few people who *isn't* picking up the last Harry Potter book. Ah, the joys of catching a morning flight to New York tomorrow! Family, friends and museums - what more could one ask for? It's a pity I won't be joining my "other" family with the ever amazing [ profile] eyepiece_simile in Cape Cod this year, but we can always see about next year.

So, in the mail yesterday I picked up the most peculiar postcard, which featured San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts (which is roughly an hour's drive away).

"I want to buy your house. I am not an agent. Call me."

Well, you have to give this mysterious sender named Jason props for being to the point.

Today's equally unexpected postcard was of the Kremlin, straight from Moscow. Martina, a high school friend who's also at USC, sent it to me. It's been nice reconnecting with old friends lately - within the past week, Sophia and I checked out the Qwik-E-Mart recreation and walked around Shoreline, and I had lunch with PP (she who teaches choir and intro) yesterday when we ran into the class valedictorian and her mother. This afternoon I met up with Alison, whom I haven't seen since 5th grade though we don't live that far from each other. I hate borrowing clichés, but the two and a half hours we talked made up for those nine years apart. And as weird as it sounds, I actually like the meetings over at my boss's house - there's something surprisingly cozy about the start up environment when you've got three people jammed in a home office trying to figure out what went wrong again when rerecording the newest "how to" site voiceover.

But not all of these encounters have been that pleasant, although the one I'm thinking of is actually imaginary. I had a philosophical sort of nightmare straight out of Sartre's Huis Clos (No Exit) or the Prisoner episode "A, B and C" that involved me at a party in someone's rather bourgeois living room where I was trapped presumably for all eternity as my ex kept hounding me about why we broke up. I've been receiving some awkward messages lately from him; he really is a great guy, but all I want is for him to find someone else who'll really make him happy and appreciate him for who he is. The way things are now, the current extremes of awkwardness makes the prospect of being locked up with Inès or Number 2 an absolute picnic by comparison.

On a not-so-related note, I've been reading this fascinating and equally humorous book by Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness, which focuses on the sources of our regular dissatisfactions than the title would suggest. His commentary about how insistent we are about how unique our perspectives and feelings are, leading us to mistakenly disregard the feelings of others when put in a particular situation as a poor predictor of our own when placed in the same scenario, really struck me. A wise and generous man once told me that I'd come to enjoy John Barry's chamber orchestra album the Beyondness of Things over Eternal Echoes. I found this remark rather strange at the time - considering we came from such different backgrounds, it seemed rather unlikely that we'd eventually come to have the same view. And yet as I've been reorganizing my soundtrack collection to accomodate some newer material and listening to works I haven't heard for some time, I realize how right he was. If the Beyondness of Things is a nostalgic view of life as we'd like to remember it, highlights of breahtaking and sometimes heart-wrenching majesty, Eternal Echoes recognizes the quiet beauty in our everyday lives. It takes a certain degree of maturity to appreciate the more ponderous tonal colors of Eternal Echoes, a deceptively sedate musical retelling of the moments that show us for what we are when we're in our element.

I don't remember what the point of that story was, but I do remember thinking that my own memory problems seemed to corroborate with the points Gilbert was making, which might explain why I'm willing to trust his argument so much.

And last but not least, a totally unrelated LolCat meme )
theladyrose: (Default)
As I've been listening to some new soundtracks from the library (which has a surprisingly classy Philip Glass selection; I now have the whole -atsi trilogy!) and inspired by some of [profile] swashbuckler332's recent recs, I'm listing a couple of my favorites as of late from random categories.  If it's possible, I swear I feel some of my reviewer "muscles" atrophied - I have a bunch more half-formed reviews I wanted to write scattered about on paper, on my computer and in my head; I'll get around to them when I can. 

I swear, once I get back to college I *will* track down Jon Burlingame (the Man from UNCLE soundtrack producer) and have lunch with him.  Spring term once I'm done with all of my core requirements, I will turn my entire schedule upside down if necessary so I can take that TV music course of his.

: Bernard Herrman Film Scores: From Citizen Kane to Taxi Driver, as conducted by Elmer Bernstein.  I normally dislike compilations as a whole, especially ones that are supposed to reflect a composer’s oeuvre, as they tend to include all of the main pieces you already have anyway or are totally butchered by an inept conductor.  Thankfully legendary composer Bernstein makes sure such an awful fate doesn’t befall Herrmann. The listener is treated to a delightful sampling of Herrmann’s compositions for Hitchcock, with a sprinkle of his best works from the post-Hitchcock era (I love Bernstein’s concert suite of Taxi Driver) as well as Citizen Kane, the masterpiece that was his start in the film industry. The selection of works balance familiar staples (the controlled chaos that is the main title fandango of North by Northwest, the driving title theme and infamous shower sequence from Psycho) with the less well-known (the jaunty but slightly off-kilter title theme from The Wrong Man, the haunting and reflective “Book People” cue from Fahrenheit 451).  This presentation strikes a balance between the contemplative and quietly revealing with sheer emotional intensity.  It helps that most of the pieces are difficult to find – where else will you find a rendition of “the Storm Clouds,” as conducted by Herrmann in The Man Who Knew Too Much remake?  Like Herrmann, Bernstein lends a lyrical expressiveness to the music without making it farcically overwrought while throwing in his unique brand of exuberance for his friend’s work.  My only minor quibble was with Vertigo’s “Scène d’Amour,” which has my favorite build-up out of all recorded versions of this cue, but soon loses steam once Madeleine is “revealed” again.  But on the whole, you can’t go wrong listening to a lovingly presented album of some of film's greatest music.

Runner-up: Festival de Cannes: 60th Anniversary has some of the best selections of late 20th century, hands down.  Most multi-decade “classic film” compilations pander to mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, featuring only a few well-known composers, with a couple of acknowledged Oscar dramas thrown in.  They generally focus on the 70’s onwards, feeding into John Williams and his stylistic ilk, and a couple other sentimental pop favorites (Marvin Hamlisch’s The Way We Were and “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic almost always appear, too).  The Cannes selections are far more worldly and much more stylistically intriguing – so many musical gems spanning genres that would otherwise be very difficult to find.  Kudos to the producers who thought of featuring the M*A*S*H title theme followed up by the title theme from Z.  If you ever want a quick sampler of great film music from around the world and across time, this would be a great place to start.

Best re-released score as conducted by someone else: Joel McNeely’s recording of Vertigo, written by the incomparable Bernard Herrmann, finally does justice to one of the most beautiful scores ever written after the original conductor Muir Matheson (curse you, studio musicians’ strike!) butchered.  I’ve written a fair amount about this score previously; though a few minor cues are missing, having an authentic loyal to Herrmann’s vision is far worth it.

Best animated feature: The Hayo Miyazaki-Joe Hisaishi director and composer partnership is easily the best in the film industry, rivaled only by the Alfred Hitchcock-Bernard Herrmann and Steven Spielberg-John Williams pairings.  Joe Hisaishi’s Howl’s Moving Castle is a delightful and charmingly atmospheric score that expresses the conflicts of loyalty in a beautifully understated way, reflective of the characters’ caution in revealing and giving themselves fully to others.  The soaring waltz theme captures the sense of adventure and wonder of the magical world in which Sophie finds herself. 

Runner-up: Michael Giacchino’s Ratatouille.  Giacchino’s strengths lie in his ability to tell a story musically – he recreates the film in the acoustic medium to heighten our understanding of what’s happening onscreen (because otherwise, how would you ever figure out the labyrinthine plot of Alias?  I have a number of entries dedicated to score analysis of a couple of episodes, although most of my score notes are still on post-its.).  The music don’t just heighten emotion or evoke an atmosphere; they are an aural transcription of the story.  Yes, you’ve got a fair number of leitmotifs to represent the characters and certain locations (Remy and Linguini cooking, Linguini and Collette, the rat colony, Gusteau), but what makes them interesting is how they interact with each other as they do in the film.  Giacchino takes great delight in mixing musical pastiches (the “welcome to Gusteau’s” cue at the start of the movie with the Marseilleise leading into a jaunty Left Bank accordion is brilliant), but I confess I still prefer the deeper thematic substance and homage to orchestral jazz that was the Incredibles.

Best movie whose only redeeming feature is the score: John Barry’s The Specialist.  One might be initially wary of the reliance on a predominant theme that characterizes some of Barry’s later works (same scoring approach as the Scarlet Letter) - more of a European approach for a mediocre American would-be blockbuster.  There’s a quietly smoldering anguish in the jazzy notations of recurring refrains of “Did You Call Me.”  As Elmer Bernstein has remarked, very rarely is a film score pure jazz as the spirit of jazz requires improvisation.  Barry’s music is well aware of the stylistic constraints, and the longing we hear is all the more heightened by the fleeting semblance of musical freedom.  The emotional chaos and literal violence (the titular character specializes in explosives) are underlined by a restrained, subtle sense of form that lacks the space to grow.
theladyrose: (Default)
Watching the third installment of Pirates of the Carribbean is like sticking your brain in a clothes dryer: you're a little confused at first as you try to remember what exactly is going on, then things start warming up and become less boring. But the cycles of treachery/swordfighting/getting the cast sweaty and/or wet in new situations/fatuous pseudo-angsty love scenes for adolescent fangirls gets repetitive, and then the action speeds up to an insane point where the plot is nothing but hot air, and then it manages to slow down enough for a reasonably satisfying end.

I never was very good at figurative language.

It took 8 reasonably intelligent friends and I half an hour afterwards to figure out all of those "Wait, what exactly happened there?" and "Why the heck did they do that?" moments. I'm surprised that the editor didn't contemplate strangling him/herself.

Hans Zimmer's score eerily resembles his work for the Lion King, which basically caused me to laugh so hard that my eyes were watering. Seriously, I could predict what was happening next because the approach was so "cut in generic swordfight cue / fake Asian sounding cue / big serious orchestra version of the Disneyland ride theme / Davy Jones organ theme / Davy Jones heart theme / love theme / cheery fiddle welcome to the pirate life theme / comedic ship crew motif" here. I have to confess, though, that I rather like that idiotic Davy Jones music box theme. Umm, yeah, and I'm opening myself up to ceaseless mockery for that admission.

In non-related TV news, a guy I recognize from the Birnkrant 616 set is appearing in my favorite new comedic detective show, Psych. You can read more about the actor here. There are so many talented filmmakers and cast members on that show - for the many who graduated just a few weeks ago, I honestly hope that they make it in Hollywood because they're seriously amazing. The guy who plays Roger really reminds me of James Roday, the lead actor in Psych. To a certain degree, I feel sorry that I couldn't keep working on that show because of other committments this semester because being a production assistant on that was one of the few highlights of first semester freshman year.  It's a pity the second season's still not through post production yet; hopefully it'll be up for online viewing sometime this summer.
theladyrose: (Default)
You know you're seriously desperate to stay awake by all measures when you find yourself listening to the original Batman soundtrack as musical crack...and starting to like it.  Maybe more than 'starting to.'

Unfortunately, it's really inappropriate considering that I'm writing about an epileptic woman killing herself. And in a weird way I guess it all ties back into terror management theory and how people are afraid of death and subscribe to social institutions as life-affirmation to fill in the existential void. And this theory may actually be rubbish if you read Leary and Schreindorfer.

My brain is tired, yes. And I only have myself to blame for being a dumbass procrastinator.
theladyrose: (Default)
Argh - the new LJ draft recovery system isn't perfect as the vast majority of what I wrote before.

I've always felt more comfortable conducting interviews rather than being the subject of one, thanks to working on the paper for five years. Being put on the visiting speakers beat for 3-4 years gave me a lot of opportunities to talk to fascinating people from diverse backgrounds outside of their official settings; I was happy to see that Lalita Tademy has just come out with a promising sophomore historical novel, Red River. I've only had one less than favorable encounter with a pretentious, insecure Harvard and Oxford grad pole vaulting champion trying to be the next Dan Brown thriller writer. [ profile] melee_melo, you know who I'm talking about; he's the guy who wrote that ''cult'' mystery.

Yesterday morning between classes I interviewed a few students being considered for the 4-year full tuition scholarship.  ([profile] malbal55.)  Being on the evaluation side of that process now now - it's like when I was 6 and tried walking around in my mother's high-heeled pumps for the first time.  Each candidate is evaluated by a professor, an admissions staff member and a student.  It's just a little intimidating to think that you have some input in giving someone over $120,000.  I wouldn't call myself a professional by any means, but I am glad that I had some interviewing experience before joining the interview teams.

It seems terribly obvious, but interviews are a two-way street; if the dialogue is being dominated by one person, whether they be the interviewer or interviewee, you should correct that imbalance.  Doing your background research and brushing up on the news headlines are a must, of course, but the most important part with evaluative interviews is to establish a sense of connection as well as present your qualifications in a fresh way.  No one person is the sole subject of the interview - if you have enough time, i.e. more than 15 minutes, there should be a balance in how much the interviewers and interviewees have to say.  It's cynical but true - people love to talk about themselves or are at least flattered that you show an interest in what they have to say about an issue.  Looking back at when I did my interview, I know I wasn't the most qualified candidate out there, but I was really lucky in that I had interviewers who were easy to connect to and who were giving of themselves.  It doesn't really matter in the long-run if you understand everything that the other person is saying; the point is that you're genuinely curious and attentive about what the other person is thinking.

What tripped up some of the candidates yesterday was that they were so nervous about presenting themselves that they didn't take into account the 'connection' factor.  I tried smiling and nodding a lot to help put the candidates at ease before throwing them a curve ball question; they tend to be more candid when they underestimate you.  I've forgotten that people my age tend to maintain eye contact longer with adults who ask them questions than with their peers.  Most of the candidates tended to ignore me unless I directly questioned them, but they probably asked their hosts a lot of questions already.  But that's already a big no-no; if you're being interviewed by several people, you should address your responses to all of them or at least change whom you're addressing for each question.

Unfortunately, they don't seem to realize that it's important to form a connection with as many of their interviewers as possible, not just the adults.  There are students there for a reason - they're key in judging how good of a fit the candidate is overall for the university.  Call me a rampant egotist, but if you plan on attending college, you need to be able to relate and work with your fellow students as well as your professors and the administration.  Telling me on paper that you're a team player and good at communicating and working with your peers just doesn't cut it if you can't do so in an unfamiliar situation.

I'm starting to feel a bit sorry for the next two batches of interviews I'm doing.  But I'd like to think that I'm generally pretty fair and forgiving, and I don't mean to say that the candidates I encountered were antisocial jerks by any means.  They're just inexperienced, and unfortunately it shows.

And now, for something completely different.

Music Meme

List seven songs you are into right now, no matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your livejournal along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to.

1. First Season Main Title (Revised) - The Man from UNCLE - Jerry Goldsmith
2. Generique Stephane - The Science of Sleep - Jean-Michel Bernard
3. I Will Wait For You - Les Parapluies de Cherbourg - Michel Legrand
4. Les Lunettes Magiques - Jeux d'Enfants - Phillippe Rombi
5. Alicia Discovers Nash's Dark World - A Beautiful Mind - James Horner
6. Toccata for Toy Trains - Elmer Bernstein
7. Wichta Sutra Vortex - Philip Glass

Tagged: anyone who feels like doing this meme
theladyrose: (Default)
Do I actually detect some fragments of melody in Philip Glass's Notes On A Scandal score? My knowledge of music theory is virtually nonexistent, but this definitely isn't his old school minimalism. If this and snow in Malibu doesn't indicate that there's something freaky going on in the world, I don't know what is.

I'm also starting to understand why film critics panned the score for being too overwrought and taking the edge off of some potentially black comedy. Glass is definitely capable of great subtlety - the Hours and Glassworks are some of my favorite works of his characterized by this more reflective tone - but it sounds like he's gone with a La Belle et le Bête-ish approach here.  There are some moments highly reminiscent of the Hours, though the orchestration sounds much fuller and the tone more dissonant.

To continue with the film music ramblings, I've come across an original recording of Elmer Bernstein's the Man with the Golden Arm title theme. The website also has some great recordings of pieces from different film scores performed by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra Society; I recommend Miklos Rozsa's lovely El Cid
[profile] blofeldscat
, please forgive my ignorance in not knowing where to put the accent marks.

Much to my delight, I've found
an affordable recording of Bernstein's 'Toccata for Toy Trains' - I almost typed 'Toycatta' there. There's a re-recording conducted by the composer on the FSM-released Elmer Bernstein's Film Music Collection, but the Eames Brothers film compilation contains the gem, 'Westinghouse in Alphabetical Order,' which was written as musical accompaniment for a stock holders' meeting to look over company merchandise!  Now if I could find a recording of either of Bernstein's stage musicals, Merlin and How Now, Dow Jones or John Barry's Lolita, My Love...
theladyrose: (Default)
If there is one important thing that I've learned this semester, it's that one should NEVER leave liquids around computers.

Miraculously, just yesterday night my keyboard went back pretty much to normal, except the shift key doesn't work. But hey, I'm not complaining. I do apologize in being slow in responding to comments as I was pretty much denied computer access for the past few weeks, and I forced myself not to procrastinate when working on my paper in the basement computer lab. I've come to appreciate how much we rely on technology to communicate; as I accidentally left my cell phone battery charger back home, someone in theory could have murdered me in my room – my roommate was out in studio for the better 3/4 of this past week – and no one probably would've known. I really don't know how my floormates can get away with smoking the amount of marijuana and drinking and generally partying during finals that they've done; perhaps they realize how screwed they are and have stopped trying.

Speaking of my floormates, I was extremely tempted to pull a Grey's Anatomy and tack up one of my floormate's panties to the floor bulletin board. The laundry room is right across from the bathroom, dears — leaving your thong around the shower head is kind of nasty minus the "kind of."

Thankfully my roommates next year are lovely; we start scouting around for an apartment mid-January. Rumor is the housing lottery belongs to the 4th circle of hell, but now that USC guarantees incoming freshment starting my year two years guaranteed campus housing we're given priority. We still need a 4th roommate – luckily the greatest demand seems to be for 2-person apartments, although there are a fair number of 4-person apartments – but a fellow classmate may be joining us so we'll see.

I've been alternating between periods of dull le Carré-style drudgery and stress-induced hysterical laughter — yes, it's that time of year: finals. It's crazy how long it took me to write the last half page of my consumerism final – I was probably at the same page length for 4 hours because I kept editing a lot and found my brain too worn out to come up with even more analysis to make up for the edits. I can honestly say for the first time since I've been in college I can't wait to be home tomorrow afternoon and give my brain a chance to rest up and do the stuff it wants to do, like finish watching the rest of Danger Man season one. The one little thing I will regret leaving for a month (as eerily enough, most of my friends here live in the Bay Area) are the honey bran muffins from Commons, but I think I can manage ;p

I can't figure out if I've become lazier since coming to college. Seriously, I've been setting new records for how late I've slept in this week alone; today it was almost 5 in the evening just because my body's forced to pay the massive sleep debt accumulated from insomnia. I've been trying to start my papers a week in advance, but I find that I look back on my earlier drafts and realize how much I need to change so I still end up staying up until 3 AM to get them the way I want. Now that I finished my last take-home final at 2 AM today, I finally got around to dumping out the masses of papers I've accumulated over the semester and sorting out the work I want to keep. I've probably sacrificed a small forest in the process, but it was so worthwhile. It's a little scary, the sense of tremendous satisfaction from finally organizing everything. Somehow I'm deluded enough to think that if I have enough self-discipline the rest of the emotional chaos that tends to randomly explode in my face can be tamed.

I've been trying to work on my Casino Royale film review for the past few weeks, but I keep rewriting it as I'm still not quite satisfied with it yet. A more comprehensive soundtrack review is also in the works.

Year in Review meme )

Random Casino Royale soundtrack note: I read some silly review that praised Arnold's "passionate love themes." What the heck? Arnold's love themes are remarkably restrained, even minimalistic in orchestration compared to his other, more John Barryesque works. I'm glad that Arnold went for a more subtle approach - you can hear the gradual progression of the slightly icy banter still tinged with a certain chemistry to the gradual realization of their mutual feelings. Craig's Bond isn't really that much of a romantic; despite his professional coldness, he strikes me as the kind of guy who acts on his feelings in relationships, the sort of person who omits to tell the truth rather than lie. Neither of them are gushingly in love, totally engrossed in learning everything they can about the other; they come to implicitly trust each other without asking any questions, which underlies the dramatic tensions of what is left unsaid. The simplistic tonal and harmonic palette in the renditions of the theme reflects that unspoken honesty.

That was basically a really convoluted piece of tripe calling itself writing, but whatever. It's driving me crazy that I can't use parentheses anymore because my shift key doesn't wo.

Anyway, getting back to my original point about Arnold's approach – yes, the "I'm the Money" cue introducing Vesper features a wonderfully lush string quotation of the main title theme, but Arnold (and his orchestrator/conductor, Nicholas Dodd) tends to use richer orchestrations for location introduction cues. Listen to the sudden shift halfway through “Blunt Instrument” when Bond arrives in the Bahamas or 'Welcome to Baku' from The World Is Not Enough, and you'll know what I mean. “I’m Yours” during Bond’s recovery is the most full-bodied use of the Vesper theme, but it's really the official culmination of the Bond/Vesper relationship, and the cue also introduces the gorgeous Lake Como sanotorium location.

Yeah, I'm glad that I finally have the time to get around to working on this review in my newfound free time because there's way too much I want to say.
theladyrose: (Default)
There's nothing I'd like more right now than to write up an initial review of David Arnold's Casino Royale soundtrack. [ profile] blofeldscat wrote a great review and feature about the evolution of Arnold's musical approach, so I'm afraid anything I write will. (For the record, I did get the excerpt about From Russia With Love from your book; I'm still mulling it over and am in the midst of coming up with a response.) My initial impressions of soundtracks tend to be rather cursory and misjudged; I usually dislike/feel indifferent, and then a few weeks later upon the second listening

I am so out of practice. It's pathetic — several months and the terms are starting to slip my mind.

A few brief, crude initial impressions — I'll get back to these later )

Coincidentally enough, I have to put off this review (and finishing up the Elmer Bernstein concert review from two months ago) because I need to finish up my paper about consumerism and James Bond.

With luck, I'll be seeing the movie this weekend.
theladyrose: (Default)
Picture an asexual having an intellectual orgasm, and you'll have a good idea of what it was like to hear Jon Burlingame's presentation on the legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein (see the icon).

It feels hyperbolic yet somehow also reductionist to say that I owe a lot to Elmer Bernstein. I've said this before and I'll say it again: his score for To Kill A Mockingbird is what made me fall in love with film music. And if it weren't for To Kill A Mockingbird, I doubt that I wouldn't have written an essay good enough to be considered for my scholarship. In a strangely removed way, Elmer Bernstein has brought me to where I am now.

Burlingame gave one of the best talks I've been lucky enough to hear, sprinkling in personal anecdotes about the composer as well as serious background about the groundbreaking aspects of Bernstein's music. Burlingame balanced the fine line of introducing enough information to those unacquainted with the composer while engaging Bernstein fans with a behind the scenes look at film music history. Interspersed in Burlingame's talk were some appreciative comments from Bernstein's various collaborators in the film industry as well as a few interview clips with the composer himself. Sound and video clips from the scores he was discussing (including the only unofficial videorecording in existence of a number from Merlin) enhanced the lecture. I was intrigued to hear more about Bernstein's forays into scoring TV shows and documentaries, writing musicals (How Now, Dow Jones and Merlin) and composing concert works such as his Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, commissioned by Christopher Parkening. Burlingame also touched upon Bernstein's "graylisted" period and his influence in allowing film and TV composers to retain the rights to their music. I had never realized the extent of Bernstein's involvement in the film and music industries and how beloved he was.

Some random, interesting things I took away from the talk: Bernstein's classic Magnificent Seven theme is actually based on his work on the Burt Reynolds TV show Riverboat, a sort of hybrid of his previous thematic material incorporated with Mexican folk music. Toccata for Toy Trains is easily one of the most delightful music compositions for documentaries I've ever heard. And James Coburn's remark that Bernstein did more for his career as a result of the memorability of the Magnificent Seven and the Great Escape made me smile.

Alas, my recap does no justice to Burlingame's storytelling skills and the real sense of who Bernstein was; it's no wonder that Burlingame is as great of a journalist as he is. Seriously, there were several other watery-eyed women at the end of the presentation; we were all that struck by Burlingame's whimsical depiction the composer. It's not too surprising, then, that Burlingame seems to have quite the fan club; at least five of the attendees had come on campus just for this event. I was the only undergraduate student present; the others in the audience seemed to be members of "Friends of the Doheny Library" speaker series.

I was so nervous introducing myself that I started talking in an accent. (I have no idea why. It was as if I was trying to do a parody of my mother's old BBC announcer accent.) It was amazing that he could figure out anything that I was saying at all.

If all goes well, I'll have coffee or lunch with Burlingame sometime in November and discuss film music, particularly the Man from UNCLE soundtracks. Hopefully by then my speech patterns will stick to the North American continent instead of drowning in the middle of the Atlantic.

[/pretentious fangirling]

(On a different note, I'm trying to think of sufficiently intelligent responses to all of your thought-provoking comments about the supergirl dilemna. I swear I'm not ignoring you!)
theladyrose: (Default)
There's something profoundly disturbing by how beautiful the music of war is. Strip away the harsh dissonance and the sharp discipline of an even-numbered time signature, and you're left with moments of piercing lyricism to which no love theme can compare. Should we be surprised, then, that the death scene in any good war movie is more liable to break your heart than the fleeting romance?

Perhaps it's music's way of reminding us that conflict can bring out the most terrible and the most noble in us.
theladyrose: (Default)
Bravo's music department has some majorly sketchy ways of circumventing musical copyright infringement laws.

My roommate and her friends watch "Project Runway" in our room every Wednesday, so I've just started watching the last three episodes.

In the Couture challenge episode set in Paris from last week, the music folk did some really rearranging of cues from Yann Tiersen's Amélie score: "L'autre valse d'Amélie, "Soir de fête" and "A quai" played in that order in the episode. They were reorchestrated for the main melody line to be played by the accordion and used minimal instrumental backing-I remember hearing a few strings and maybe some light woodwinds at best. They would all start with the original melody, but then the rest of the themes would be reworked slightly as "clichéd French café music." The weird thing is that they do use a short clip (10-15 seconds, I think?) from the actual Amélie soundtrack-I can't remember which piece it is at the moment, but I do remember hearing it around the time when the designers and models go onto the bâteau mouche.

In today's episode, when the gray haired guy presents the models into the workshop for initial fittings in the L'Oréal black and white challenge, I could *swear* that I heard the flute part of Lalo Schifrin's Man from UNCLE season 2 title music reworked with more techno loops. Perhaps the piece of music was chosen for the hip New York retro pop culture vibe; Schifrin's Mission: Impossible title theme is still really popular so I guess the musical powers that be thought that his MfU theme arrangement might have the same coolness factor. It would've been even more clever to have used the Return of the Man from UNCLE music-Illya Kuryakin became a fashion designer after leaving UNCLE-but "Project Runway's" target audience is probably too young to get the reference.

I wonder which film composer will be ripped off next.
theladyrose: (Default)
First off, many happy returns to [ profile] latina_business!

I was tempted to make this a real post about what I've been doing the past few weeks but as I'm lazy and there's way too much to talk about, I'm putting it off.

So instead, I present some random thoughts on the upcoming Casino Royale: (more of a rant, to be honest)

What is with the 800 millionth Felix Leiter being brought back? OK, so this is theoretically pre-Licence to Kill, but still, the character had but a fairly brief appearance in the Casino Royale novel; there's no real need to reintroduce him unless he's going to actually be a continuing player in future Bond movies. But the filmmakers haven't been too kind to Leiter; wisely, they've given him a break after Licence to Kill. Leiter's role in the movie has increasingly shrunk over time (with the exception of Licence to Kill) to the point where the modern audience has no idea who the heck Leiter is. Leiter is probably Bond's closest professional friend in the literary canon, butif they're going to do a John Terry as Leiter in the Living Daylights kind of deal (Remember him? Exactly.) then they might as well get some random CIA agent named Marcus Dixon and put him on extraneous wiretapping duty. Casino Royale really isn't the best vehicle for developing the Bond/Leiter relationship.

And to a lesser extent, why are they bringing back Villiers, who's essentially the stand-in for M in For Your Eyes Only because Bernard Lee died shortly after Moonraker? Yay for the whole blast from the past thing, but it's kind of weird to do that sort of resurrection when all of the original actors are gone. I'd rather have Robinson of the Brosnan era MI6 staff come back-yeah, he's not original Fleming but he's better than the vast majority of unmemorable MI6 background staffers/allies of recent years. He'snot exactly the most recognizable of Bond's superiors-seriously, more people would probably remember General Gogol or even the Minister of Defence from the late 70's-80's.

And, um, isn't Mathis supposed to be French? Or did I just not read the book closely enough...perhaps he's Swiss/Italian?

On the note of old-school MI6 staff members-oh where oh where is MONEYPENNY?! How can you have an old school Bond movie without Moneypenny? If you can't have that character back, then the least you can do is bring in May, Bond's literary housekeeper...

And why is the only old-school Bond alumni besides Judi Dench (as M, naturally) Tsai Chin?! You probably have no idea who she is anyway-she's the Chinese girl from the pre-titles sequence of You Only Live Twice. Actually, I made an icon of her the other day from virtually the only non-screencap image of her in existence: .

Like Anthony Chinn (no relation, as far as I know of) and many other various bit part Bond alumni she's taking on a totally unrelated role in this film, as far as I can tell. If the filmmakers were trying to go for a vaguely recognizable cameo appearance, they're really targeting the diehard fans.

Though it is pretty cool that they have a relative unknown as Vesper. I must confess that I secretly hoped that Mia Maestro woul get the part-yeah, Vesper's British through and through though she can speak French "like a native," but she seemed so well-qualified for the role in acting ability as well as physical appearance (re: Fleming's description of the character). Hopefully Eva Green can act; I've never seen her in anything before.

Thank God David Arnold is laying off on the techno wall of sound approach for Casino Royale. Hopefully this film will provide him with an opportunity to show off some strong dramatic writing for the Bond/Vesper relationship, i.e. musically develop Bond's relationships and actually have the music reflect the complexities of the storyline after failing to do so for the World is Not Enough. I've always been disappointed with the lack of development of Elektra's theme from TWINE.

Edit: So much for continuity in Bond's past...the current filmmakers seem to be of the persuasion that Bond was lying to impress Moneypenny in You Only Live Twice about doing a first in Oriental languages at Cambridge. At least the website is pretty accurate to Fleming's background of Bond, although they don't seem to mention that Bond owned his first Bentley at age 7 or so!

(I just made up the age, but he was no more than a teen if we are to take Fleming literally.)

Second edit: I lied. If you look under the military records of the online dossier, it does say that he got the first in Oriental languages but also claims that he took classes at Oxford (?!)
theladyrose: (Default)
You hear that boom? That's my mind blowing. Only one episode EVER left!

Spoilers like car bombs )
theladyrose: (Default)
Due to the fact that Giacchino's obviously not the only one whose music is used for Alias now despite having sole credit, it's getting even more difficult to analyze the music. Especially since I can't really take notes as Ellie immediately deleted the episode after viewing. Needless to say this review will have a little less score analysis than usual.

Spoilertastic for the past few season 5 episodes; you've been warned )
theladyrose: (Default)
There's a nice feature article on the scoring sessions for Michael Giacchino's (Alias, Lost, the Incredibles musical composer) Mission: Impossible III not to be confused with SoundtrackNet's more in-depth first listen feature. It's a nice overview of the score, some of the work that goes into the score, and Giacchino's career. The soundtrack comes out on May 9th if I remember correctly.

The original link is here.

For those who don't have a NYT subscription, The full article is posted underneath the cut )

cross posted to [ profile] filmscore
theladyrose: (Default)
Sometimes I think my brain is operating differently from what I want it to be doing. For some reason it's been randomly spewing out candidates and composers from the AFI's top 250 film scores of all time list that didn't make it. I have no idea why it's doing this, considering that I haven't looked at that list in at least two months. It's very distracting.

I couldn't fall asleep until 1:30 last night because I've started to work out ideas about what to write for the 24 hour plays. I really hope I will be writing after all; I've been wanting to be a playwright for the past four years and actually might have a decent idea for a satire/sort of dark comedy.

I think I've officially caught senioritis, or second semester senior slacker-dom. Help! I'm determined not to procrastinate too much yet; 3rd quarter is always the hardest for me because of the ensuing apathy, but at the moment I'm determined to break that spell. I was hoping that I wouldn't become infected until after AP exams, too.

Then again, I don't have to do all of the Euro unit reading tonight, do I? Will someone please be kind enough to reply "no" to my question?


theladyrose: (Default)

June 2010

27 282930   


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags