Thursday, July 22, 2010

#7: "We climbed aboard their starship..."

The nostalgia of high school isn't a particularly new thing--either as a pleasant remembrance of things past or a sad looking-back at growing pains.  High school stories in general have flooded the marketplace since the perhaps slightly overrated oeuvre of John Hughes up to recent entries like Mean Girls or Superbad or "Dawson's Creek".  But for capturing not only the pain and angst of high school, but the true feeling of being lost, like your equilibrium is out-of-whack because you can't locate yourself, "Freaks and Geeks" hits everything squarely on that thing holding up your glasses.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

#6: "I think she's buying us presents."

As we approach this 30th birthday of mine, I'm reminded of one of my birthday presents 5 years ago, my 25th.  My best friend decided to take me out to a movie, which makes sense because it's our shared love of cinema that threw us together in the first place.  It was actually a couple of weeks after my birthday, on a late Thursday night, around 10:30 or so.  I remember because it was the last showing of Me and You and Everyone We Know in town, so we had to go then.

I had heard about Miranda July's debut (and lone) movie toward the beginning of that year, as it won major awards at both the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals.  So it was a movie I had been very much looking forward to at the time.  As a late Thursday night screening, we weren't expecting much of a crowd, but a decently-sized one was present.  And, usually, we tend to be the only ones who stay until the end of the credits, but most of the audience remained this time.  We walked away thinking this was the perfect crowd to watch a movie with.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

#5: "He romanticized it all out of proportion."

If you were to ask me what I think is the greatest piece of music produced in the 20th century--and, let's face it, I know you want to--despite the fact that the majority of my music listening comes from the blues/rock tradition, I wouldn't say "Like a Rolling Stone" or "(I Can't Get No ) Satisfaction" or "Stairway to Heaven".  I'd give my vote to "Rhapsody in Blue".

The George Gershwin masterwork should be pretty familiar to most.  For most of my childhood I knew it as the theme song for United Airlines.  It was also the music behind one of the Fantasia 2000 segments.  But it really didn't start to resonate with me until I saw Woody Allen's Manhattan, which features the work in its opening scene.

I've lived in Orlando since I was a baby, but I was born in New York and so the city has a particular pull on me.  I'd like to move back.  It's a living, breathing city.  The different scenarios Isaac (Woody Allen) goes through for the beginning of his book are all true, all valid ways to interpret the city.  It's the breadth of experience that makes the city what it is and also what makes "Rhapsody in Blue" so dynamic.  It's a collision of classical and jazz.  There's the iconic clarinet intro.  The bombast of the horns and cymbals.  The cool and soothing piano that eventually becomes fractured, jumpy, staccato.  It's full and dramatic, clean and elegant.  It's also playful and (I think this sometimes gets lost) really flirty and sexy.  It's all-encompassing.  It is the city.

But enough talk, have a listen... [click on the pic]

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

#4: The shot.

Similar to my comment regarding the Beatles in the previous post, I've loved sports just about as long as I can remember.  My first love was baseball.  I played little league and, at least for a kid my age, I was pretty damn good (or so my memories tell me).  But on May 7, 1989, a new sport grabbed a hold of me, replacing the game played by the boys of summer as my new favorite pastime.

The sport is basketball.  The event that particular spring day is simply known as "The Shot."  I had been a passing fan of basketball for a couple of years previous and had slowly learned the nuances of the game, like all other sports, from my father.  I recall the Lakers winning it all in '87 and then Pat Riley predicting they'd repeat the next year--which in fact they did thanks in part to Isiah Thomas's sprained ankle.  But "The Shot" was the culmination of those few years as well as the culmination to a game and series.  Also, it was the springboard for what many would say is the greatest individual career in American team sports.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#3: "It's too hard to sing."

The greatest rock band of all time consisted of four lads from Liverpool.  Don't argue with me on this.  It is a fact.  There are, to be sure, other bands who may have a reasonable claim to this title.  The Rolling Stones come to mind, Velvet Underground and Sex Pistols too, Led Zeppelin and the Beach Boys.  Different people will have different suggestions.  That's not my point here.  Let's accept the notion that the Beatles are it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

#2: "Walkin' is most too slow."

Naming your desert island discs (the 5 CDs you would take with you if you stranded on a deserted island) is always a fun game to play or a good argument-starter.  I've thought about it many times and, like most things, it'll evolve depending on my mood or what I happened to have been listening to recently.  But while it may not be my favorite album, I don't think I'd ever want to be stranded on an island and not be able to listen to Layla and Other Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

#1: "I've always said I like you without your nose."

Any type of personal biography or description of my particular worldview would and should begin with my fully and eternally disgruntled attitude towards, well, everything around me.  I think that's a strong influence on why I look to the past for the culture (across all media) that I seek to absorb on a regular basis.  It isn't so much that the grass is greener on the other side, it's just that (for the most part) the grass has turned brown and died.  You'll find that many of these entries will end up being older than I.

So with that, my first 30-30 entry will be a TV show that I began religiously watching in high school on Nick at Nite, though I first noticed it when I was much younger watching it on lazy summers before I would go out and play little league.  In high school, which was--WOW!--approximately half my life ago, I don't know if I was as much of a curmudgeon as I am now and I would imagine there was more room for hope.  A lot actually.  And in it's own way, it was a television show that mirrorred the hope of an America in which it happened to be firmly entrenched.  A Kennedys at Camelot for network television.

Yes, we're gonna have a party, party.

A slow crawl of realization has been inching its way towards and through the back of my mind that has now become a freight train of full-on panic consuming my every thought.  What I'm referring to, dear reader, is the arrival of my thirtieth birthday (I spelled out the word because looking at the actual number is much too frightening right now).